Monthly Archives: August 2013

Why I Love Twitter

I love Twitter!  I don’t understand why I haven’t used it professionally sooner!  Just this morning I tweeted out that I was looking for Grade 3 classes who are doing an inquiry approach for Social  Studies and instantly I got a flood of connections.  I mean how else could it happen so instantly?

I really do want to so Inquiry Based for Science, Social Studies but I have to admit I am a little overwhelmed with how to get it going?  Any tips?

Happy New Year!

Since becoming a teacher I’ve always considered September to be the New Year.  When you think about it, it really is. Fresh pencils and erasers, newly waxed floors (thanks custodial team!), new bulletin board displays, fresh classroom/grade level (in some instances), new strategies to try, technology to dabble in and most important a whole new bunch of young faces who are nervous and excited about what their year is going to be like.  I’ve spent the past week at home and school preparing for those fresh faces.  I want them the come into the room on September 3rd and feel like their classroom is a warm, friendly welcoming place.

 I leave a lot wall space blank as I like to build it up with the children I am also big on things being organized and labelled. A place for everything 🙂  I feel like it makes the environment less stressful and more enjoyable for everyone.  It also helps the children with materials management to have it well organized.  I use to make up all the labels and signage for around the room but since teaching FDK for a few years I learned the value of letting the students do that so will be one of our first week projects.  

This year I used brown kraft paper on the bulletin boards.  I got the idea from an awesome Kindergarten colleague at my school @K5_RP.  It looks fresh, calm and organic and I will probably use this for a long time instead of bright colours.  Another colleague mentioned that they used the kraft paper because it’s great for many children with different visual/sensory concerns because it’s calm.  I also think it will allow for the children’s work to stand out.  

I also made a commitment this year to organize my classroom sign-out books.  They are organized into levelled bins and then there is a shelf of just “for fun” books.  I’m going to use http://classroom.booksource.com/ this year to catalogue the books and then students can sign out the books using a device (android or apple) or from the computer. It’s free to use which amazing and you can set up the restrictions.  For example, I’m allowing students to sign out 2 books for a week at a time. Even better if you have parent email addresses an overdue alert is sent to them!  In the book area I’ve put up a sheet of white paper and the kids can recommend books “graffiti style” which I think they will enjoy!  

The centre/hub of our classroom is our technology station. The desks and carpet area are all centred around this key part. Unfortunately our LCD is not ceiling mounted but I have it set up on a table in the middle of the room in a way that works.  Sadly I forgot to take a picture but I will later.  

For student jobs I made an iHelp chart that is in the shape of an iPad.  I found this on Pinterest and instantly I knew this was the perfect chart for me.  The students, especially the ones I had last year in grade 2 will get a kick out of it as they know my love of apple 🙂  I also included a “Tweeter of the Day” sign which will name the student each day.  You can actually follow our class @MsLYGrade3, the kids LOVE having new followers!  

My other great Pinterest find is the “Be” board.  It has the word Be in the centre and then it’s surrounded by great words like “unpredictable”, “punctual”, “organized”, “happy”, “yourself” etc.  Instead of putting up all of the words it just says Be.  We will add a new word each day which I think is going to be more powerful than just having the whole thing displayed.  

I feel ready for this year and I’m super excited.  No I did not get to organizing my filing cabinet but I figure a few planning times and some after school sessions I’ll get to it… or maybe I’ll have to put it on the list for next summer!  

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A Fresh Start

You know what I did today?  I went to school.  I was reluctant.  I’ve moved into a new house that is big and beautiful but with 2 kids and many projects on the go it’s just not getting settled as quick as we had hoped.  I knew I had to go to school to set up but really I just wanted to stay home and work on the house.  It’s also one of those weird anxiety kind of things I have when it comes to situations like starting something new.  

Anyway I went to school today and it was great.  Chatted with a bunch of my colleagues set out the room in a great way that will really be conducive to using 21st Century Tech and tomorrow when I go to school I get to the the fun part of decorating 🙂  Thank you Pinterest 🙂 

 

My Kids are Connected!

After a wonderful 2 day Conference (Teaching and Learning in a Digital World) or #TLDWPeel as it has fondly become for me, it is time for me to enjoy the last week of summer break with my lovely little family.  Keelyn almost 4 has spent the last 2 days with my parents aka Nama and Papa at their trailer and William 1.5 has been with Grandma, Phil’s mom at our home.

 After our commute home from the conference I picked up William, jumped in the car and went to pick up Keelyn.  Lots of driving today but it was rewarded with a nice steak dinner cooked by my dad 🙂  On the way home from my parents trailer Keelyn and I had the following conversation:

Keelyn: “Mom, I know how to sing Twinkle, Twinkle in Spanish” 

Me: “Really babe?  How do you know that?”

Keelyn: “Well when you are 3.5 you just know stuff” 

Let me tell you when it comes to technology my kids “just know stuff” They are pretty connected and it hasn’t been intentional teaching it either.  They observe my husband and I and they have access to devices like iPads and mobile phones and they’ve always been allowed to handle them.  Sure the risk is there that they could be dropped and broken but we’ve taken that risk.  My iPhone always has greasy smudgy prints on it but I don’t mind.  

Tonight on the drive home there was the most vibrant pink sunset I’ve seen in a long time.  Keelyn asked to take a photo of it but I only had my husband’s phone and it’s an Android (I’m an apple girl… I know cause for marriage tension right!) and I don’t really know how to use it well and besides I was driving.  I told her I can’t figure it right now and she told me she could do it.  Sure enough 5 seconds later she was clicking away.  This makes her connected.

Meanwhile, William was having a fit while his sister had the phone shouting “truck, truck!”  He was referring to an app on my phone called I Hear Ewe.  It has animal and vehicle pictures and when you press the picture it tells you the sound the animal or vehicle makes.  At 1.5 he knows that he has to take his little finger and swipe twice to find the page with the vehicles.  This makes him connected.

When K was done taking pictures she told me she wanted to watch a show on Netflix.  Again… driving but she just loaded up the app, chose the show she wanted and watched away.  This makes her connected.

When William sees Daddy’s laptop open he runs up and pats the screen and sticks his face really close and says, “Indi, Indi” repeatedly.  Indi is his cousin who lives in Australia and he gets that he sees her on the computer through Skype.  In fact both my kids when the see their Auntie Melissa, Uncle Matt and cousin Indi live when they visit Canada have little awkwardness because they see them all the time online and they really know t  This makes them connected.

They are connected but they are also well rounded.  They enjoy throwing rocks into mud puddles, hearing Good Night Moon read nightly before bed, blowing and chasing bubbles, drawing pictures, sculpting with playdough and baking cookies with mom.  

But they are also pretty tech savvy for such a young age and that’s something that my husband and I plan to keep up and develop.  It’s not for every family and how you choose to parent your child is just that… your choice. But at the end of the day, when your children enter the school system and eventually the workplace are they going to be connected?  

The Best 10 Google Docs Tips For Teachers As They Go Back To School

I’m actually not familiar with Google Docs but it’s something on my to do tech list.

Educational Discourse

See on Scoop.itEducational Discourse

Back-to-school time is underway, and I’m sure you teachers are already balancing your lives, your classroom, and your pesky administrations. What could make life just a little bit easier for you? Google Docs, my dear educator friend.

See on www.makeuseof.com

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Keynote Address

Key note speaker George Couros did not disappoint this morning,  the room was literally in rolling laughter and tears.  Wow what a powerful speaker I wish ALL educators could have the opportunity to hear him speak!

#TLDWPeel Day 2

I am on my way for day 2 of Teaching and Learning in a Digital World.  Yesterday mind blowing.  So much information, collaboration and learning.  my twitter PLdrummed up its numbers and we were trending number 3 in Canada!  

The Keynote today is George Couros.  I am super excited to hear him talk.  I missed him at Connect 2013 as I went to a different session.  My husraved went and raved for the next hour on our drive home, I was jealous!  

Thank you to our ITRT’s and everyone else involved you really pulled it off!  Honestly this has been as good as Connect 2013

 

Let’s get to spot number 1 today! 

iAssessment

At my afternoon workshop session which is iAssessment Easy, Efficient, Effective.  Currently I use Evernote for assessment but I have just started it and there is so much I don’t know about the program.  Excited to learn how I can bring my assessment into the 21st Century world. 

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Visual of SAMR model

Visual of SAMR model

Keynote Speaker from #TLDWPeel

Wow!  There are over 600 participa to ant the Teaching and Learning in a Digital World Conference.  The keynote speaker sit the moment is Dr. Ruben Puentedera and he is explaiming his SAMR (substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) Model.  I think I roughly fall between Augmentation and Modification.  I would love to get to Modification!