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Posts Tagged ‘audience’

During Connected Educator’s Month, many adults (and some students!) in our district used a daily prompt to share their reflections. It was a great way to build community, share, connect, and without intending it – encourage newbies to tweet. It was successful with a good-sized list of regular contributors.

Today I shared an adaptation of that to focus on giving thanks. Here’s the document we’re using for the next two weeks to share our gratitude. Feel free to adapt and use with your school!

Here’s my challenge for today’s prompt- why I’m thankful for our students. (made at canva.com)

I'm thankful

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I’ve had a few experiences lately where I’ve been so impressed with what’s happening at the primary level. By that, I mean grades K-2, but this is certainly prevalent at other levels as well.

I taught some courses this summer and had the privilege of working with teachers at all levels. Recently, teachers from two different courses, who teach at the primary level, have had things to share with me.

One course was all about integrating Google tools. During our week together, a few teachers and I got to talking about Twitter. Yes, not a Google tool, but still a powerful one. They wanted to hear more about how to use Twitter to make classroom connections. I continued the conversation with one teacher beyond our summer work. Last week, she came to visit one of our kindergarten classes, Sharon Davison‘s (@kkidsinvt), and watched the class use Twitter to share with other kindergarten classes (class account: @vermontkkids123). Our guest, a first grade teacher, also has explored the #1stchat hashtag and has lurked in a Twitter chat as well. She is overcome by the sheer numbers of primary educators that are out there sharing and connecting. Her visit to our school helped her get underway.

bloggingAnother summer course was about the integration of writing and digital tools. All of the participants in that one are primary teachers, plus one principal. Two of the teachers, who teach in our district but another school, have added blogging with their students to the vast array of things teachers are responsible for these days. They approached it systematically by paper-blogging and paper-commenting, leading up to using the technology for those tasks. The second grade teacher got things underway with her students and they blogged a few times and left one another comments. The teacher was thrilled and set up a future session with her colleague, who teaches first grade. Today, the second graders taught the first graders how to access and create their blog posts. I was invited to observe and help out. They didn’t need my help- these students were ALL engaged and on task. They all felt successful and the first posts by first graders were a huge hit.

I got back to my school and walked into a computer lab filled with a first/second grade class (multi-age). They also were blogging! The teacher was so excited at how well things were going, how easily the students were navigating Kidblog, and how many skills are embedded in the experience. She is eager to try to help more of her colleague see the light.

Finally, one of our third/fourth grade classes (multi-age) has been participating in the Global Read Aloud author study of Peter Reynolds’ books. They’ve been blogging about his books and including some amazing reflections. They have also learned a lot about commenting – from penny comments to dollar comments, as well as highway and dead-end comments. The teacher used the Global Read Aloud hashtag #grapeter to share a set of recent posts about Peter’s books . What came next was the biggest surprise of all; Peter Reynolds commented on her students’ posts! the students and the teacher were jumping up and down with excitement. What a fabulous way to understand the power of a larger audience.

It’s been great to have more and more positive examples of how our younger students can and do achieve a lot with digital tools.

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Post 23 on the Teach Thought 30-Day Blogging ChallengeWrite about 1 way that you “meaningfully” involve the community in your classroom. If not, write about 1 way you would like to bring that into your curriculum.


 

globeAs I mentioned in an earlier post, a few years ago we created a school-wide goal to publish, share, and communicate with an audience beyond our classroom. We believe strongly in the power of connecting and broadening our audience. I translate that, on behalf of this post, to our community. In this case, community is not only our local community, but also the global community.

Some examples of how that’s happening so far this year :

  • Classes using Skype to connect with a professional photographer in California. Last year this same teacher set up a Skype meeting with a pathologist in Boston who also shared his microscope slides live with the group.
  • Another teacher is using Skype to connect with a group of teachers in New Zealand with whom she’s been collaborating on a project.
  • At least two of our first/second grade classrooms collaborate with other classrooms here in Vermont as blogging partners.
  • Some middle school classrooms regularly blog and seek feedback from the world – they often use the #commentsforkids hashtag on Twitter.
  • We have many classrooms at a variety of levels who tweet as a class- to share what they’re doing in class and to connect with other classrooms for collaborative projects.
  • Other classrooms are sharing images of what’s happening at school with a broader audience via Instagram.
  • In a few weeks, we’ll be partnering with our local educational access station, RETN, to video and live-stream our Candidate Forum hosted by students. Candidates for different positions around the state come to our school to participate in this event. Students will also be in control of all of the cameras and control boards at this event.
  • One of our kindergarten classrooms always has Skype open and welcomes calls and visits from parents and other classrooms. This teacher also connects with others globally for collaborative projects. You can read about what they’re doing in Sharon Davison’s blog.

I’m sure there are many more examples that I’m not yet aware of and haven’t included here. We are committed to collaborating with our communities near and far. We bring them into our schools and classrooms in ways that connect to and enrich learning.


 

image: creative commons licensed (BY-NC-ND) flickr photo by Send me adrift.: http://flickr.com/photos/sophiadphotography/8103704644

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Post 19 in the TeachThought 30-Day Blogging ChallengeName three powerful tools/strategies students can use to reflect on their learning, then discuss closely the one you use most often.


 

 

reflectionStudent reflection is integral in the learning process. It helps them dig into the ‘why’ of learning. It helps them connect learning to other aspects of their lives. Reflecting on their learning using digital tools affords students with the opportunity to share to a larger audience, gives them all a voice, and recognizes their contributions.

Blogging: Regardless of the platform (our teachers are using Kidblog and Weebly), blogging is a fabulous tool. I like how it’s not content-specific. It’s not just a writing tool. Students can blog about any aspect of the curriculum, any portion of their day, and use it for reflection. The ability to comment and provide feedback for one another is critical to the process. Our schools set a goal a few years ago that I wrote about here. The goal was: Using technology as a learning tool, students will share and communicate learning with others within and beyond their classroom walls. Many teachers found blogging to be an ideal tool to support these efforts.

Exit Cards: I’d suggest Padlet as a tool to use for exit cards. It provides quick and instant feedback in a nice, visual manner. Teachers and students have used Padlet in a variety of ways, not only for feedback and reflection.

Backchannels: We have had a number of teachers at various grade levels use TodaysMeet for backchanneling. (There are other tools for this as well.) It helps those who often wouldn’t participate feel comfortable doing so and expressing themselves safely. They reflect, ask questions, voice their opinion, or share their perspective.

 

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Post 14 in the TeachThought 30-Day Blogging ChallengeWhat is feedback for learning and how well do you give it as an educator?


 

feedback

Feedback is critical for learning. However, there are some important elements that must be in place for feedback to be effective.

1. First we need to build community. Whether adopting and implementing the principles of Responsive Classroom or building community in other ways, students need to feel safe, trusted, and respected. They need to know how to communicate and collaborate.

2. We need to develop a culture in which students know making mistakes is part of the learning process. Edutopia shared this post a few years ago that still resonates with me, The Role of Mistakes in the Classroom.

3. We need a growth mindset and clear definitions of how we grow and learn. I’ve been revisiting Jackie Gerstein’s post, The Educator with a Growth Mindset, a few times in recent weeks.

4. We need an audience. It can’t only be the teacher and classmates. Here’s a quote from How Digital Writing is Making Kids Smarter, that illustrates the value of a larger audience.

“Academic studies have found that whenever students write for other actual, live people, they throw their back into the work -– producing writing with better organization and content, and nearly 40 percent longer than when they write for just their instructor,” Thompson writes.

5. We need to learn about feedback and commenting. This is something we intentionally teach. What are the parts of a good comment? How do we give one another feedback? How will it help us and impact our work? How do we interact with others in person and online?

I rely on the classroom teachers with whom I work to establish these elements in the culture of their classrooms. When I get the privilege of working with them, I see the impact that learning feedback has on their experience in school. When these elements are in place, the real learning happens. Feedback truly is for learning.


Image: creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by Karl Horton: http://flickr.com/photos/karlhorton/1903050006

 

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Last week was the Dynamic Landscapes conference here in Vermont. I  presented at one session during the day about our year-long school goal. This goal for our K-8 students and teachers, was to share, publish, and/or collaborate with an audience beyond our classroom. I’ve talked about this a few times in past blog posts here and here.

I’m sharing the slides I used at the session here, with MY larger audience. Some teachers have helped to reflect on the goal and offered feedback. It is obvious that we’ll continue to work on this goal for the next school year as well. Our plan is that we can refine and re-define our goal as well as stretch ourselves beyond what we were able to do this year.

Included in this presentation are some video clips of teachers and students. I noticed that the teachers all talked about their PLNs or how being connected has helped them work toward this goal with their students.

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