As students enter the upper elementary grades, they start to groan a little bit more about school. Not a lot, but the end of the school year was all about testing and then the summer was fun and now they are back to school. We have to get to know the students, set the classroom expectations, and make it engaging so they realize that school is more than a bubble test.
You can use Wixie for activities that will both help you get to know your intermediate students and help them take ownership of their growth and learning.
It is still helpful to do "getting-to-know" you activities as students get older. Combine higher expectations for writing and thinking with the BioPoem template. Start by having student type text in blank text boxes, and the edit to add more text to the lines of the poem. After they have throught through how they will answer each line, show them how to add images from the Library to support the content of their poem.
If student devices have web cams, have them capture their image to add to the page. Wixie will ask for permission to use the web cam, but if students also click the "Always" check box, you will only have to do this one time. You can also have them use the record feature (Options panel for the page) and read the text of their poem or share additional information about themselves. This will also ensure that Wixie can record from the device microphone.
You can assign the Bio Poem to your students so it shows up in the Activities area of their Wixie Projects view when they log in. The Bio Poem activity is also accessible from the Templates tab.
Asking students to open the activity on their own is a great way to let them know that they are also responsible for their learning. Once they know how to open a file from the Templates, they can repeat this process to find things like graphic organizers to support research and other thinking projects.
About Me: Fact and Opinion
The Templates also includes several About me-style activities. For fourth and fifth grade, Wixie Integration Specialist Danielle Abernethy suggests using the one with a Fact and Opinion focus. When students have been going to the same school for the past five years or more with the same group of students, they start to develop opinions and often share those opinions with classmates. "I like this activity because it offers students a chance to share information about themselves that others may not have realized before," she shares. "This activity can help them sets the record straight and empower the students in letting themselves be known."
The first page of the activity asks students to capture their image from a web cam, glue it down and erase half of it so they can draw the other half. As an alternative, leave the entire picture intact, but use the paint tools an stickers to modify.
Start your year off right, by making it clear to students that you have high expectations for their work and effort during the school year. Follow-up those expectations by asking students to set personal goals for the year.
If your students have never used Wixie, assign a goals activity you have modified or even create your own design. I like starting from a certificate background so their goals look more official and I can get them to take the process more seriously.
If your students already know Wixie, simply share parameters like number of goals, or a combination of academic, physical, health, and artistic goals. Let them decide how to create and design their goals. This personalized approach also helps with buy-in.
If you have heard the quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery (think The Little Prince), "A goal without a plan is just a wish" then you know your students likely need more than just a list to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. After students identify their goals, have them brainstorm specific actions they can take to achieve that goal.
It will also be helpful for them to learn how to to write SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
For example, "get better at reading" is a great thing to wish for, but it isn't very helpful as a goal. It doesn't tell you what to do to attain it and it is awfully hard to tell when you have achieved it. Changing it to "read 10 books this year" give students a specific goal with a time limit. For this student, it is also likely to help them get better at reading, but reading this amount.
No matter what you choose, have a great year with Wixie!