Time4Writing – Elementary School Grammar Rocks Review
August 27, 2012 by Leave a Comment
When my daughter, a new 2nd grader, first began this class, she was a bit confused. She has never taken an online course and I had to sit next to her for the first several lessons to help her understand the flow of the online interface and the expectations of the course. We also rarely use number grades to assess her learning, so she was a bit confused by the grading process.
The first unit in this class is about Nouns. The assignments in this section are supposed to be for Week 1 and included a student orientation quiz to help teach the student how to use the online course and a quiz to follow up on the information. Then, she read about the types of nouns. What I liked about this part of the course was that she could choose to watch a video of the information, just read it to herself, or listen to someone read the information to her as she followed along on the page. Through the weeks, she has chosen to LISTEN to the information while browsing it on her own as well. This helps her to utilize auditory learning strategies to help retain the information.
Once the information was presented, she got to play a fun game practicing the information and was then able to take a quiz about it. The next section did the same thing by presenting the information (with the audio and video choices), providing practice, and then quizzing. Finally, she had an assignment that was a writing activity. This type of assignment is the type that is submitted to the teacher to be graded and students must wait to get the graded assignment back before moving on.
My daughter had some difficulty with the written assignment because she has never done something online quite like this. It required her to copy and paste, and then make revisions to the assignment using an text editor within the program. I had to help teach her how to do this and she has had trouble with it on each written assignment since then because she just isn’t used to doing it. I will say, though, that she has gotten quite a bit better as we are currently 5 weeks into the course.
Those assignments were considered a week’s worth of work, but my daughter completed it all in less than 2 days. She likes to work in spurts, so instead of working on it every day, I have let her work on chunks of the work twice a week. It has been working well for us and she is able to complete work quickly and with enthusiasm. She hates having to wait for her written work to be graded, but she has enjoyed getting her assignments back. Her teacher, Ms. Nicole, is very encouraging and often includes a short note on the graded assignment that boosts my daughter’s self esteem, even when my daughter has missed some answers!
Grace is 5 weeks into the Grammar Rocks class right now and we will be finishing it up over the next couple of weeks. I like that the teacher emails a mid-course report to me as the parent. I will also receive an end of the course report, alerting me as to how she did in each of the course’s subject areas. At any time, I am able to log in and check out an Activity Report (saying which days she accessed which assignments and what grade she received) and Grade Report (for the graded work). Students are easily able to see which assignments they have completed because the program marks in a green check mark when assignments are viewed, submitted, and graded.
We had enjoyed this course, but I would recommend it to higher grade levels or for kids that have a little more experience with independent work. My 2nd grader has never done any real school any other way than one on one with mom, so she had a bit of a hard time thinking of this course as more “serious” work rather than a fun online game that is okay to mess around with. I had to explain to her that it wasn’t like her online games where she could put a little effort into it without consequence. She didn’t initially have the mindset required to view this course as a real set of lessons that would be graded. Additionally, sometimes she was confused by the material presented because it didn’t quite provide enough practice for her. If she did the quiz or practice RIGHT after listening to the information about that part of grammar, she could do fairly well. However, if she waited to do the practice or quiz until the next day, she would often make mistakes and I would make her go back and listen to (and read) the coursework again to help reinforce the lesson being taught.
I feel that these courses work well for remediation or extra practice of concepts already taught or that will be taught more in depth later. For our purposes, the few activities on Nouns or Capitalization, etc, were not enough to just say, “Well, she did a great job! Moving on!” We will still have to drill this information over and over through our regular curriculum for her to really have it down solid.