Nature Kindergarten in Sooke School District is another recipient of the Rural Innovation grant from The Eleanor Rix Professor of Rural Education at the UBC Faculty of Education. As a kindergarten teacher the idea of this nature kindergarten is very interesting. Check out their blog. I hope that they continue to share ideas throughout the implementation of this program in the 2012/2013 school year.
Well that’s a wrap folks!
On May 5 our group gathered at UBC to attend the Growing Innovation Learning Symposium to connect with and share the projects within the Rural Innovation initiative. There are amazing things happening around this province in education. Each of these projects has been hatched in rural or remote school districts within BC. There are schools reorganizing based on needs of students, there is innovative curriculum being developed, there are schools looking to be sustainable and teachers collaborating in every corner of this province. I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed by the amount of great things that are happening!
So folks let’s spread the word!!!
This is our presentation from the day and we would love to hear about yours.
If you want to share your presentation, be a guest blogger or connect please make a comment on this post.
We need to get this information out!
We need to honour and celebrate our innovation so that we can encourage and learn from others.
I have been pretty excited about using the Collaborize Classroom platform for my online Literature Circles in partnership with another school. My students have a completed a few Collaborize Classroom “Icebreaker” activities that focus on appropriate online discussion behaviours and how to respond to a classmate’s post. The “netiquette” activities were created by Catlin Tucker, a teacher in California but were available to me through Collaborize Classroom’s Topic Library; downloading to my classroom page was simple and I could edit the document to suit my needs.
Initially, some student responses were short, off topic and contained “text talk.” One of the activities involved students agreeing to follow specific online discussions rules and express their opinion about the rules. A few students were disappointed that there was an “avoid sarcasm” rule but it created a lively online discussion thread. Students were able to voice their affection for sarcasm with others but they also were able see that sarcasm was not going to move online discussions “forward.”
Here is a student response to “the rules” of online communication: “When you keep a postive attitude and follow the rules that are applied then you are going to keep a good online conversation going. I like the rule that tells you to use people’s names because then you know who’s talking to you or who the message is directed to! The hardest rule is probably keeping an open mind because not everyone agrees and it usually becomes a huge online fight..”Posted By XXX on 04/05/2012 08:42 PM Reply
I recently started using Collaborize Classroom to create my own assignments and have found it to be quite easy. I have been very careful about creating assignments that require students to:
- read or view something
- think about what they have read/viewed
- respond in writing
My students are getting better at writing and expressing their ideas in such a short amount of time. I noticed a big improvement (quality and quantity) in student’s written responses when I required them to type their response into a googledoc or word document, proofread it and then copy & paste it into the reply box. Students found it helpful to use sentence starter prompts when replying to another person’s post. I found the sentence starters to be an effective way to reduce the number of “Good job Eric/Erica!” comments. For the time being I decide who each student must reply to so that no one is left out. Maybe I will use some sort of stickpin app this week to make choosing easier for me and totally random. Is anyone familiar with such an app?
I have found Andrew Churches’ wiki invaluable for Digital Taxonomy rubrics. I love the recent edition of Starter Sheets for various Web 2.0 tools. Starter sheets introduce a tool or technology, provide step by step processes for getting started, offer ideas for using the tool in a variety of settings and also provide an alternative web-based option. This is a resource you will want to check out!
Since we are on a Twitter theme I thought I would ask another Twitter friend to explain a wonderful collaboration which is happening between kindergarten classrooms which knows no boundaries! Mardelle (@mathmurd) is a BC kindergarten teacher I have gotten to know on Twitter. She is very involved in the #kinderchat which happens as a ongoing discussion on Twitter and has its own dedicated chat on Monday nights. She is a collaborator, explorer and risk-taker, my kind of gal!!
Mardelle came up with this wonderful idea about how to use Skype in her classroom and how to encourage others to try it too. The thing I love about this project is the freedom of it. Mardelle has set up the structure and the group and we all use it as we like. Because of the connections made through this group we organized and participated in a collaborative experiment with eggs.
The following post is by Mardelle from her blog, Weeds are Plants Too. She kindly agreed to post it to our blog as another example of collaboration that is happening within schools and classrooms.
Thank you Mardelle!
picture by kopp0041 on flickr
As a kindergarten teacher, I am on a constant quest to find authentic, engaging avenues for Play to bring to my current group of kinders. I am a little crazy about it, truth be told. I have exhausted the patience of the colleagues I work with, facing glassy eyed “She is talking Play again” looks. So imagine my excitement when I discovered the world of Twitter, and a Personal Learning Network (PLN) that is as intensely taken with the importance of Play as I am?Enter #Kinderchat, my 27/7 PLN.There are endless ways to Play, and that is at the heart of the #Kinderchat PlayProjects. Connecting young children to a world of play has never been easier. Twitter, Family Facebook, GoogleEarth, Voicethread, GoogleDoc Storytelling, SkypePlay – the world is at your fingertips, inviting you to connect in a way that is just right for the children in your care.I currently find myself the curator of a Play Project that is just right for me - SkypePlay.If you are new to Skype, it is an online, visual telephone call. Teachers use it to connect their children to experts, authors, and to other classes. In Kindergarten, I found that the large group gathering was nice every now and then, but that children just wanted to come on up and have a face to face chat, connecting through conversation, and exploring a curiosity about who that other kid is, and what are they doing where they are.In a nutshell, Skypeplay gives children a peer to peer audience for their play that provides immediate interaction, collaboration, and conversation.And so, a network of Kindergarten classes are connecting, building relationships, exploring geography, and discovering that while everyone might have their own place in the world, we all love to play.Why on earth (no pun intended) would you need to play with children via a screen when you have kids right there in your room to play with?Well, why not? That is my short answer. But I get it. We need to ensure that the world of Social Media is not just a gimmicky thing we throw at kids because we think it is cool.So. Here is a story from my room. Three boys started building a 3D structure. As it grew, and design ideas were tried, discarded and refined, their excitement grew. Other kids in the class came over, said “cool” but got back to their own play as fast as they could. Then our Skype Phone rang, and a brand-new-to-us class wanted to play. When our new friends came online, they were overwhelmed with excitement – “WOOOOOOAH!! What is THAT!!!” My boys beamed, and strutted with pride, and then spent their time explaining the structure, the components, the time frame (“We have been building for two days, but expect it to take 90” ) while the other kids questioned, listened, and planned for themselves. How many curriculum outcomes do you see there?Teachers in the project have facilitated discussions about tornados, snow and no snow, gardens, worms, mountains, oceans, islands. We have giggled over “Giant Face Boy!!” and wondered if we are in the future because it is after lunch here, and before lunch there. I have seen a boy make eye contact with a child a world away when he has struggled to do that with the child beside him. We have talked Skype manners and internet safety. We have classes plotted on a flat map, on a globe, and we have soared over towns and cities via Google Earth. We have been Alice in Wonderland, stepping through the Looking Glass.And it has opened up a world of play. Literally.
Our Innovation project is about the power of connecting with folks in alternate ways. Karen ( @LirenmanLearns) is a twitter friend who has been involved in several chats and events that I have been involved with. We keep bumping into each other out in cyberspace and hopefully we will soon be meeting face to face and working together on a writing project. Well last night was amazing! At 6pm PST (9pm EST) 6 Grade 1 teachers met and brainstormed about how we could support each other teach in our teaching of writing. It was like a cyberspace staff meeting, but way more fun than most staff meetings I have been to. We planned, we giggled, we shared! I was going to write a post about it but Karen did such a fantastic job on her blog Learning and Sharing with Ms. Lirenman I thought, “why recreate the wheel” so I ask her if I could repost her post here and she kindly said yes! Below is the post that Karen made on her blog and she was willing to share with us. I could not have explained it better myself. Thank you Karen!
My question is, have you ever used Google Hangout? What potential do you see for its use? And yes, I will look into why it didn’t work at my school, and how I may (if possible) get it to work. I mean really, can you imagine seven grade one classes learning and sharing together!
It’s a feeling many have around the rapid speed and trends around technology in our workplace and with our students. A few months ago Sarah introduced the use of the app Storyrobe. I was interested and could see the potential. Then life events took over: Christmas, meetings, report writing, hockey games, exercise, learning to use a smartboard, and more.
Then last weekend, finally a Saturday morning to muse on the computer for my own pleasure. There was Stroyrobe again. Wow, did I have fun. This app opens many doors for students of all ages who struggle with written output. From a beginners point of view it is easy to use and manageable. Thanks for sharing Sarah, we are enjoying this one immensely!
I have had parents, teachers and students all ask me why I have Kindergarten and Grade 1′s blogging. I even ask myself in the beginning of each year, when the learning curve is steep and I feel a bit overwhelmed by new students, this same question. My answer to this has varied slightly as I read and connect with other teachers around the globe who also use this tool but my main goal continues to help students learn to write.
In Kindergarten and in Grade 1 we are learning the basics of writing and the purposes for writing, blogging gives us both opportunities. Communicating with the world is the main reason children write, these communication tools are changing for my young students. Through blogging they can see how powerful writing can be and a real purpose in writing for an audience. Their blogs are also a showcase for their learning . Their progress is clearly evident on these blogs, students can see it, parents can see it and I can see it. The interesting thing I find is that several students have been extremely motivated to use this tool to write while other students clearly enjoy the paper and pencil form. Why? I am not sure but I do always see an importance for giving students choice while offering a variety of forms of communication.
In my Sunday morning coffee/google reader/twitter/internet session I found this interesting post with some great links. Henrietta Miller’s blog Techie Brekkie was particularly interesting in her post about Blogging in a Primary School and one of her links include this great video from Rachel Boyd Why let our students blog? Rachel has said it well on this video I am sure I do not need to recreate this wheel. Thank you Rachel for sharing your ideas.
Do you see blogging as a useful way to teach writing skills? What challenges or concerns do you have with this writing form? Why you think some students are more motivated to communicate digitally than others?
One of the aspects that I love about digital portfolios is the idea of live recordings of students completing assessment activities. I have used the livescribe pen to record writing and thinking that students are doing with me (running records), independently (journal entries) and with other support staff in the school. We have also used our iPods/iPads to record oral reading, take pictures and record thinking or events that happen in our class.
Recently we have been working on equations in our class. As part of my assessment of the student’s understanding of addition and subtraction I gave them number sentences and students were to come up with “stories” that described what the equation described. We came back together as a group and shared our stories with each other and recorded them using the iPods.
Students were very respectful during this session listening and learning from the other students so the recording were quite good. I also would recommend using a tripod to record. I then took the footage and edited in iMovie to create these little clips which are posted on our class blog (HERE) and if students wanted to they could post them on their personal blogs (HERE). I will then take these clips and file them in their Evernote assessment portfolios as well they may choose to post them on their personal blog portfolios. I will then ask students to reflect on their story by writing or discussing them with me. This activity created an opportunity for students to reflect on their learning, me to evaluate their progress of this concept and parents to get an direct view of their child’s undersand.
Here is an example of what we did;
How else do you use recording devices to collect data about student’s progress? How do you have students do self-reflection about their learning? Do you have any ideas of ways to capture student learning?
In December, my English/English First Peoples students created a scavenger hunt for their K/1 Buddies at EagleView Elementary. The scavenger hunt idea was inspired by Laura Murray’s book, “Gingerbread Man Loose in School” but we wanted to use the Livescribe pens as the medium for leaving clues. The Grade 10 students worked in small groups to create a 4 line poem, AABB rhyme scheme, that was place specific at the elementary school.
” This is where you go
When you sprain your toe
Here you’ll find a friend
A band-aid he will lend.”
Handwritten poems were then distributed out to the other student groups; each group had 5 different poems to record onto a Livescribe pen. My students had used the Livescribe pens previously in class to record their own spoken word poem so they were familiar with the pens. My students were amazed to realize that their recorded voice/poem was easily accessed by simply touching the pen to a “dot” on the paper. My students were blown away, for this activity, when I used a paper punch to punch out the dot, glued it to another piece of paper and it still worked! I wish I had recorded the demonstration because my students’ reaction was priceless! I felt as if I were a magician.
Each group was responsible for recording the 5 separate poems on the Livescribe pens, punching out the dot and gluing it to a color coded paper square. My Grade 10 students were quick to complete these tasks; it took less than a class period in total time. The hardest part was when I had to figure out the order of the color coded groups so that we did not have 2 groups at one station during the scavenger hunt. There must be a mathematical algorithm to figure that one out!
This was a great opportunity for both Grade 10 and K/1 students to practice their Oral Language skills! The Grade 10 students were able to record and re-record their poems to ensure that they were clear and well paced. The K/1 students could touch the Livescribe pen to the “dot” as many times as needed in order to listen to and solve the clue.
Do you think you would consider using the Livescribe pens in a similar way?
How do I edit the iPod video to fit fullscreen in iMovie?