We’ve had a great time over the past 8 months…
Netbooks and SMART Boards are everywhere! Students and educators have become co-learners as we embark on 21st Century learning, MINUS the technology barrier. We barely remember waiting for the “lab” to be free for computer time, and when we have on-the-spot research or inquiry, the SMART board and Internet give us just the right tool when we need it.
In reflecting on how our practices have changed, we’ve gathered a few tidbits of photos and video to share what learning looks and feels like with supplementary technology at our fingertips. Here is a video on Animoto to give you a sneak peek. Please feel free to comment on our work- we love to hear from you and REALLY love to talk about what’s new.
The Intermediate teachers at Sioux Mountain School have focused on incorporting Aboriginal perspectives into our daily curriculum. Students have been working on Glog and Prezi Research Projects highlighting a Nation of their choice. ENJOY!
In a Cycle of Inquiry, students in Ann McDonald’s kindergarten class wanted to learn more about rocks. Where better than to learn about rocks than by checking in with the experts?
FAST FORWARD A FEW SHORT WEEKS…
Enter, The Smithsonian.
With the help of free communication tool Skype, teachers and students met almost face-to-face with curators from the world-class museum, in what turned out to be not only a first for kindergarten students, but for the folks at the Smithsonian as well. The experience was a meaningful experience for all of those involved, as the experts had sent actual rock samples to the school beforehand and were able to hold up the same samples as they shared in real-time with the class at Lakewood.
There were endless thanks given on both ends as the session concluded, and a copy of our little Animoto video was shared with the museum as they hope to use visuals like this to encourage management to allow subsequent connections to be made with other students across the world. Our five-year-olds may not know the big-picture impact of this learning experience on others, but they sure were excited to ask the “tough questions” to their panel of experts!
(click link to view video of our Skype with the Smithsonian)
Students at Lakewood have been using a class blog page since September. Soon after, students began expressing interest in creating their own PERSONAL blogs, so it became clear that we would have some work to do on digital citizenship and Internet Safety.
We decided to use a very student-friendly and secure web tool calledKidblog.
With Kidblog, we are able to create a safe environment where students can learn how to create quality blog posts and comment on eachother’s work, within the safe confines a teacher-monitored domain.
Every student has their own blog page, and can personalize it as they see fit.
In a short time, students moved from consumers to creators, and bumped up their critical thinking by exploring a variety of curriculum-related topics.
Below is a sample of a grade 5 student’s blog post:
Students are continuing to “tweak” their comments before inviting their families and friends to view their blogs, soon to be released to the public during Education Week this May. Stay tuned!
In terms of collaboration and co-teaching, the primary division came out in full-force this year through our PLC CYCLE. Our Board-wide initiatives include taking a look at whole-small-whole instruction, (in other words, a 3-part lesson including small group and whole-class components). To this end, CILM Math and a “Bansho” type of instruction fits in perfectly.
Gayleen Bell, (grade 3 teacher), took the lead in this cycle of inquiry by inviting the primary teachers to work with her in an introduction to fractions. The diagonostic component would be a co-plan/ co-teach, which of course means a terrific student-to-teacher ratio.
The process very much resembles a whole-small-whole format itself, with teachers meeting to plan the lesson, joining the class to share in the lesson, and later coming back together to discuss the outcome. There certainly is power in this process, and every individual gains from the experience.
Taking photos and video along the way helps the teaching team to reflect in a “big-picture” way. Along with examples of the student work, we are able to gain an understanding of best practices and strategies for delivering content.
We put together a little video with Animoto, a user-friendly movie-making program, to share the 3-part lesson with our students.
The classroom teacher, Gayleen Bell, was very pleased with the outcome. Not only did it allow her to get a great diagnostic assessment of her student’s prior knowledge with fractions, it allowed her the opportunity to share in her own professional development in real-time, with real content. Students also loved seeing the Animoto movie of their work on the SMART Board, and look forward to continuing to use a number of technology-based applications throughout their Fractions unit.
We have been using Ipads in the Early Learning Classrooms on a regular basis. One app in particular called “Show Me”, has given our students a chance to show the process of their thinking. By the way, this is a FREE app! (We knew that would get your attention!)
Who would have thought that a Grade 1/2 class could create their own short videos with a message? Mrs. French’s class did just that! Working in pairs, each team created their own video with ideas of how to help the Earth. What was originally a project related to Earth Day became a real opportunity to collaborate with peers and practice problem solving skills. All of the work you see here belong to the team-very little “helping”-which often looks like “doing”-came from the teachers. Taking photos with an ipad, deciding on music, arranging the text frames-all of these decisions lay with the students. Keep in mind, some of these students are 6 years old!