A Personalized Learning Network, or PLN, is a term used to describe a collection of social media connections, blog subscriptions, online forums, and other online resources that an educator has selected to to support their professional growth. A PLN is a place to find and share ideas. It may be as simple as reading a blog for new formative assessment ideas or exploring a series of lesson plans for a new idea to implement in your classroom. If you use Wixie, the Tech4Learning Trading Post is a must have for your PLN!
The Tech4Learning Trading Post is an online community where educators can find and share templates for Wixie (and Pixie!).You have to create an account, but it is free to sign up. Once you have an account, you can find and download existing templates, as well as share your own. You can search by subject or keyword, and I have found this site to be a great place to find thinks like sudoku puzzles, holiday activities, and ideas for events like Women's History Month.
I recently revisited the Trading Post and found these four great ideas for using Wixie for Back to School.
Whole Class - Getting to School
Share the Getting to School graphing activity on a projector or interactive board. Work as a class to collect and show data on how students get to school. Who walks? Who rides a bus?
Next, have students share how they get home. Is it the same or different as the method they use get to school? Divide them into groups based on method to find a buddy to get to the bus stop, parent pick up line, or even to walk with home.
To add the Getting to School Activity (or any Wixie file from the Trading Post) to your Wixie teacher account, download from the Trading Post. Log in to your Wixie account and click the Wixie button to open the Wixie authoring application. Click the Wixie hand button in the upper left of the application. Choose Open file, to import the file from your computer, into your Wixie account.
Individual - My Goals
Use the My Goals template to have students determine and state their goals for the new school year. Ask them to share at least one academic goal as well as one social goal, such as making new friends, trying out for the school play, or joining a sports team or club. By having students share their goals with you, you have an opportunity to learn more about your students, and help them achieve their goals.
Share your goals for the year or talk about goals they might choose, such as reading a certain book series, mastering the multiplication chart, or becoming more organized. You may want to complete the My Goals activity on your own to share as a high quality example. You might want also want to talk about setting goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
There are several more goal setting activities in the Wixie Activities library. Simply open the Activities tab in your teacher account, and search for the word goal.
Design a Backpack
New backpacks are equivalent to new shoes for some kids. Finding a backpack that is cool and functional though is not always easy. In this exercise, students become designers; a great way to start the year asking students to be creators, not just consumers of information.
This activity also asks students to write or use the audio recording tool to describe their backpack. Use this combination of visuals, text, and recording to get to know each student's strengths as a writer, oral fluency, and visual expertise.
Small Group - Open House 100 Years Ago
If students will be studying history, explore what school was like 100 years ago. You can work together to identify similarities and differences. To show off what they have learned, ask students to design a poster advertising a School Open House from 100 years ago. Use their work for your Open House to begin discussions with parents about the changing role of education in the 21st century.
And don't limit yourself to September to explore what the Trading Post has to offer. Educators have been sharing both curriculum and event-themed activities for years, and you are likely to find more ideas that will engage your students in learning.