Action Planning at Natalia ISD
Natalia ISD is in its second year of Clarity implementation. Year 1 data results prompted the districts to take action and get a new digital age learning initiative off the ground. Each campus identified a cohort of 4-5 teachers who worked with ESC-20 staff throughout the spring 2014 semester on implementing resources and strategies to increase awareness and student engagement. The need for more professional development targeting digital age learning, for more access, and for 4 Cs implementation resulted in the creation of a new Instructional Facilitator position (Randy Smith), the purchase of numerous mobile devices and increased bandwidth, and an implementation plan to address the areas of highest need.
In 2014-2015, the district established a Google Domain. Randy Smith has worked very closely with cohort teachers at each campus to provide just-in-time, job-embedded training on communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity using Google Apps for Education, Google Classroom, and other digital resources available at the district. Randy Smith's podcast details the action planning process and the priorities established by the district's digital age learning committee.
When you visit Natalia Elementary, evidence of meaningful technology use addressing the 4Cs can be found in every hallway. Students are proud of the digital projects they created such as "talking planet" videos, inventor biographies on Prezi, and poems. If you are curious to learn more about them, just scan the QR codes and voila! Furthermore, iPads are available to students anytime just like any other school supply.
In Ms. Boothe's 5th grade, students create screencasts to explain the difference between facts and opinion, and add concrete examples from a social studies lesson on voting. This class has also participated in Mystery Skype sessions with schools in other parts of the country. What a creative way to apply geography skills!
At Natalia Middle School, Ms. Gonzales' math students and Ms. Cruz's social studies students are reviewing for the upcoming STAAR test in an untraditional way. They log into Google Classroom and submit the answers to practice tests in Google Forms. Not only the teachers gather results immediately (no need to grade papers) and make decisions reagarding next steps, but students get immediate feedback as well via email using Flubaroo.
A student explained that she really liked this way of learning. Since she struggles with reading comprehension, receiving immediate feedback helps her correct mistakes at that moment. Other students are still getting used to the transition from paper to paperless but are overall very positive about the process.
Ms. Cruz explained that although using Google Apps for Education has been very beneficial, it can be time consuming, especially in the initial stages of implementation.
In Ms. Dandona's Anatomy & Physiology, AP Chemistry, Chemistry, and Pre-AP Chemistry classroom, flipped learning, social media and video projects are implemented on a regular basis. Her mantra of success is, "We are Committed to Collaborate, Create and Communicate." The 4Cs are evident in this very busy classroom where every wall is decorated with student projects. Below you will find examples of creativity and ingenuity.
How is the human digestive system similar to a theme park? Click on the image to view an explanation of Gastro Heights.
Can't remember what each symbol stands for in the periodic table of elements? No problem! Try these analogies: the periodic table of the internet, the periodic table of music and the periodic table of the NFL.
The above are just a few examples of the transformation happening at Natalia ISD. These fantastic instances of digital age learning implementation are just the beginning of a very ambitious long-term plan for growth and sustainability, and would not be possible without the vision and support of Mr. Alexandro Flores, Assistant Superintendent, and Mr. Michael Steck, Superintendent.
Congratulations to Natalia ISD and best wishes for continuous growth!