My husband Phil and I have been involved in this great program called Cool Little Kids. It’s Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for young children (3-6) that are experience signs of anxious behaviour. It’s a parent program to learn strategies to help your children overcome anxieties. We’ve only attended 2 sessions so far we’ve already learned so much to help our daughter Keelyn.
Something that I’ve taken away both session is the question “what do you think will happen if you do x”. It’s a great way to start conversation with children and allow them to express how they feel.
I used this idea with my class this week during a math lesson. I gave them the open-ended task for perimeter “How many figures can you create with a perimeter of 16cm?” Many were up for the challenge and problem solved a bunch of creative solutions. A couple were frustrated and expressed “I can’t do it” and one didn’t even try. I asked those kids “what do you think will happen if you make a mistake”. You could see their thoughts turning and one student said “I’ll get a bad mark on my report card” and another said “I’ll look dumb” and another said “I’ll feel frustrated”. Finally a fourth student said “I think that if we keep making mistakes we will still learn about perimeter.” When I inquired what do you mean? He said, “well if you keep drawing figures and counting the perimeter you are learning how to figure it out”. I smiled for this answer was perfect and really profound for a 9 year old.
We brought the question back to the whole class as a discussion and talked about how taking a chance and trying out something even if it isn’t something we are comfortable with and even if we make a mistake has a ton of value and a ton of learning. I feel like my students really got it. In fact the next day we did a perimeter/minecraft art activity where the kids did block letters for their names or initials like text in minecraft (I was quickly corrected that it was pixels not blocks) and had to calculate the perimeter. My most reluctant student happily created his letters and even calculated the perimeter without the normal worry lines on his face. Maybe it was pairing the activity with the name “minecraft” that made him give it a shot – but I like to think it was the pep talk about making mistakes. I guess time will tell!
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I’ve had the opportunity to connect with many #Peel21st educators and other members of my twitter PLN to discuss 21st century teaching and learning and what it means to us. When the #Peel21st Blog Hop was presented I was excited to share as I missed out on the first round. Read on to learn what I think about the meaning of 21st century learning and then check out the other blog posts listed at the bottom of my post.
When @jrichea presented the #peel21st Blog Hop I was excited to participate. I was even more excited that the topic was 21st Century Learning and what it means to me. I’m having difficulty articulating it. Images of BYOD, Twitter, #geniushour and inquiry float around. While I certainly feel that those are elements to successful 21st Century learning I don’t think they define it. When I think about my own two children Keelyn and William I can’t help but hope for an education system that embraces their interests, quirks and nurtures their passions. That doesn’t make them feel self conscious or embarrassed when they don’t “fit in the box”. That’s what 21st Century learning means to me.
Keelyn and William – 21st Century Learners!
Blog Hop Participants
Today is World Teacher’s Day. I’m spending the morning snuggled up on the couch with my two favourite little people. We are watching Umi Zoomi and our fire place is on. We have a busy day of errands, mostly party prep for Keelyn’s 5th birthday party this week. My husband Phil also an educator is outside building our fence (he’s wearing shorts and a toque 🙂 ). It’s actually a pretty fantastic way to celebrate.
I’ve been teaching for 11 years now and I feel that finally I’ve found my groove. I am much more confident as an educator. Thanks to the connections (both online and offline) I’ve made I created a style of teaching that works for me. I’ve become a risk taker and I no longer take things personally when a lesson I prepare doesn’t work out. I am able to step back and reflect and either move a long or shift my focus and try again. I make decisions in my classroom based on the needs of my students in fact everything I plan and craft up is with those unique 20 individuals in mind. In a lot of ways being a teacher is so much tougher than when I first started. I’ve been a mom for almost 5 years and a lot of the time I had to dedicate to professional learning, running extra curricular, working on committees is now refocused on my family. It’s been tough to balance. My daughter has recently broken her arm and when I’ve been off with her for appointments I’ve had to push back on the feelings of guilt that were building with being away. I had to tell myself out loud “my family needs me!”
Teaching is certainly not glamorous and I often think I should have chosen a job where I could wear stilettos but I love that I am a teacher. I love the connections I’ve made to kids and colleagues and as I reflect back on my practice I’m glad I became a teacher!
Be sure to thank an awesome educator today!
Last week my colleague Michelle Philpot @K5_RP and I participated in another Peel 21st North Network Meeting. We had been asked to share about our experience with our Grade 5 Coding Club and the Makey Makey. Of course we said sure we love promoting our Coding Club #MasseyCodes but we kind of had that what did we just get into feeling as truth be told neither of us really know how to use the Makey Makey. No worries, we would get our coders to teach us.
In case you aren’t familiar with it, the Makey Makey is an invention kit which turns every day objects into keyboards. It can be really simple as hooking up a lime to it and playing Flappy Bird or using it to run your blender. It’s fun for all ages and a quick search on YouTube will open you up to the possibilities.
Anyway as time drew nearer for the North Network Meeting Michelle and I grew more nervous. How would we competently talk about this to our peers when we didn’t really get it ourselves. We then had the brilliant idea to bring along some of grade 5 experts and let them do the talking. The kids were excited and nervous and made us promise that they would use the Makey Makey but we would do the talking. Sounded like a great deal to us!
As it turned out only 1 of our students, was able to attend but we felt like he was the star of the event. His shyness over talking about it quickly fell away as he explained the how and why of the Makey Makey. He even shared his opinions about the Raspberry Pi and why he didn’t think it was a great Minecraft Server 🙂
It was a proud teaching moment for Michelle and I. We don’t teach grade 5. She’s Kindergarten, I’m grade 3 and neither of us our computer programmers or anything near that but we both recognized the importance of coding and bringing it to our students. It’s allowed many of our students to shine in a way that they don’t get to in their classrooms. They also problem solve together, collaborate together with laughing and a smile on their face the whole time. It’s pretty awesome to see!
J teaching all about the Makey Makey
My colleague/friend Michelle and I spent the whole day preparing our Prezi for the North Field Office Digital Leadership Conference. I’m super excited that our proposal to present at this conference was approved and we are going to get to share what we do and love in our classrooms – Genius Hour.
Michelle teaches Kindergarten and really every day is Genius Hour in her room. Her classroom is a full on Inquiry Learning environment and a lot of what I know and have learned about Inquiry learning comes from her and the Kindergarten team that I use to be a part of. Truthfully if you are not sure how to implement Genius Hour or Inquiry Based Learning then I encourage you to befriend a K teacher. Spend some time in their classroom or chat them up on Twitter. Better yet teach Kindergarten for a year you really will get a solid understanding of how it works!
I also use Genius Hour in my classroom and I’ve said this before but it’s been a game changer. I started it because I have a wide range of students in my class and I wanted something that could address all their individual, unique needs at the same time and would allow them to feel good about themselves and be successful. This is totally happening and I’m so excited to share about it at the conference.
We are also going to focus on the technologies that we’ve integrated into our Genius Hour time like Twitter, PicCollage, iMovie, BookCreator, Educreations, Magisto, Aurasma, YouTube Capture, KidBlog, and so on. After the conference I’ll share a link to our Prezi for all to view. If you are a Peel District School Board teacher there is still lots of time to sign up on My Learning Plan for the conference on March 27th in the evening. There will be an AMAZING Keynote speaker George Couros and you do not want to miss him!
Hope to see you there!
Posted in Home, Professional Activities
Tagged #geniushour, #Peel21st, Digital Leadership Conference 2014, Genius Hour, George Couros, iMovie, Inquiry Learning, Kindergarten, PDSB, Peel District School Board, Twitter