New Levels of Engagement

I absolutely love, love, loved our presentation last class!!!  Liz Kolb had soooo many awesome ideas and great sites to share!  Poll Everywhere, remind101, Celly, StudyBoost, Cellblock, ipadio, yodio, ClassPager, textnovel, QRStuff …to be exact.  I was in aww, seriously it’s individuals such as Liz who continue to blow my mind with the opportunities to encorporate technology into the classroom.  Now I also agree that with any form of technology, certain risks and issues are bound to arise, but this is this case in the classroom already so I will not let that be an excuse to not give it a shot.    

Cell phones in the classroom??  I would have to say, that for me personally, this is the first time I have heard and seen only positve experiences and opportunities having to do with them.  Most of the time teachers are complaining and unknowingly signing themselves up for a constant, continuous battle with students.  So why not embrace it.  Why not use the very tool their glued to, to teach them and maximize engagement for everyone, including students who may not usually be willing to speak out in class!  I’m convinced…and excited, so thank you Liz for opening up a whole new world of wicked awesome things to use in the classroom!  And I agree with Dean, Liz is certainly someone who needs to be in our “network of people”.

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Skyping with Mrs. Cassidy’s Grade Ones

So I FINALLY got the chance to meet my mentor and her class today via Skype!! It was awesome!  They were so cute and so excited to share things about themselves and their classroom.  I have used Skype before, like I said, but never to a room full of 6 year olds! (and one 7 year old I should probably mention).  They started by asking me questions about myself….Where do you live?  Do you have any babies?  How old are you?  Have you ever Skyped before?  Have you ever commented on a blog?  I answered their questions and needless to say some of the conversations went in other directions, but it was really neat.  Then I asked the class a few questions….What is your favorite thing about school?  How old are all of you?  What kind of things do you do in your classroom?  After asking this question I was amazed!!  They said they had a smartboard…but that’s not all, they have 9 computers, 2 iPads, 6 DS’s, and an Xbox Kinect!  Like really?? I later asked Kathy if this were common among classrooms in her school, she said “no”.  She personally does everything in her power to scrounge and scrape so that she can provide her students with them, so incredible. 

I would invite you to check Mrs. Cassidy’s Classroom Blog out.  She does soooo many neat things with her class and she has seriously inspired me a lot already.  One quick example….children were invited to bring their own DS to school, as mentioned earlier she also has a few in the classroom for those who don’t have,  with them the students entered pictochat and sent number sentences back and forth to one another during math….is that cool or what?!

Any other ideas on how to use either a DS or an Xbox Kinect in the classroom???

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Digital Writing with Bud the teacher

I took some very valuable advice from listening to Bud Hunt speak of digital writing.  He said “We need to write more, even if it isn’t good”  and also something along the lines of  just writing to write, not because we have to or someone told us to.  I personally need to take this advice seriously because this isn’t something I would normally do….write just because, hmmm.  This suddenly takes me in another thought direction…there is a line though.  I think of how annoyed I sometimes am when people post their every move during a day on facebook like what they had for breakfast, followed by where they are headed with so and so and then you hear about how the drive was and so on and so on…I personally am not a fan of this but all the power to people who don’t mind everyone in the world knowing their business.  (sorry for the rant, back to digital writing)

I think the idea of “writing” and what it looks like today is really cool.  The fact that writing may not even consist of any words at all is weird, but if you think about it “writing” doesn’t work for all students.  Why not give them the choice??  Yes I expect some sort of reflection on a certain topic but it’s up to you how you want to deliver it.  I think this is purely awesome!!  We have similar freedoms in this particular class and although I may not be the most comfortable with all the different ways in which we can use these tools, it’s at least nice to have the option.

Another thing I found interesting was when Bud said “rather than evaluate, respond”.  Opening up a space where dialogue is encouraged  between you and your students and making a place where conversations about learning are important, is vital.  If this is offered I think students will have a much better overall understanding rather than looking at a score out of 10 and wondering what the heck I did wrong, or right, for that matter.  Also there is bound to be a much stronger relationship with students which is equally as important.

 

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Treaty Walks

I would like to share a blog with you all.  The amazing woman who began this blog, 100 days ago or so, had a celebration this weekend to officially launch it.  At the beginning of the school year Sheena Koops decided she was going to walk to and from school each day meditating on the treaties, blogging and posting pictures along the way.  On Sunday January 29th @ 3:00 many people from the community of Fort Qu’Appelle gathered to hear her story and see some of the fantastic pictures she has taken.  There was also a panel of people there to help answer some of the burning questions from both Sheena Koops and her audience, about Treaties.  I was really honoured to have been a part of this because I am also from this community and learning about Treaties has become really important to me and my future as a teacher.  You can check out her blog here. 

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Collaboration

I have to say I could have listened to Gary Stager all night!  I thought he was genius honestly, and super witty too which kept it interesting.  I had to laugh when he was talking about how when teachers don’t understand something technology related they are slowly coddled through it and not a whole lot is expected from them but when it comes to students and this very same ordeal we wonder why the heck they aren’t getting it and what’s wrong with them.  This is so true…and I agree, pretty ridiculous.  What stood out most for me was when he was emphasizing how important it is to be “interesting”.  I think this is key to being a great teacher.  Not only being interesting, but,  interested also.  Interested in learning and building relationships and always wanting to know more.  Ultimately with this sort of attitude you will be an intersting teacher with students who want to learn with you. 

I was amazed when he said that in 1985 he had his first online class and he got his first set of classroom laptops to conduct online projects in 1990!  He truly is pioneer!  Lastly I was left thinking about music because he expressed his passion for this also.  I started thinking about music and how much I love it.  I wanted to share the following two youtube videos with you because they both are super collaborative and I feel like they are quite suitable. 

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youtube

So I’m not sure why I can’t remember this but… I need some help.   I want to link to a couple of youtube videos (which I know how to do) but I don’t want just the link to be there I want to be able to acutally see the video right in my blog…so if anyone can aid me in this simple task I’d greatly appreciate it!

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