Archive of ‘Commitment to Students and Student Learning’ category

Creating Class Blog with Student Voice

This year my goal is to have student voice and choice be the most important thing in my classroom. We started this by creating our class name. We brainstormed for longer than I had expected, a week and a half. I was waiting for a name so I could create a classroom blog and twitter account. We came up with some great names: Tech Titans, World Skypers, The Skypers Crew. We ended up voting and the winner was Tech Titans.

You can check out our blog (a work in progress) here, and follow us on twitter @techtitans4. We are still working on a logo for our twitter page so check on that later.

I decided instead of me going ahead and creating a blog, I would leave it blank and get students to see some examples of what class blogs can look like.

I created a Google Doc with classroom blogs that I find inspiring and shared it with my students.

Blogs to Check out:

Grade 1: http://.edublogs.org/

Grade 1/ 2: http://www.mslimscassidysclassrenmansroom.blogspot.ca/

Grade 1/ 2: https://mrsbowkersclass.edublogs.org/

Grade 3 /  4:http://epcotclass.blogspot.ca/

Grade 4/5: http://www.awesomegeniuses.blogspot.ca/

Grade 7:http://www.mrsripp.com

I gave each table a blog to check out first and then when they were done, they could move onto any blog they were interested in. I introduced Google Docs to my students and got them to make a list about what they want our blog to look like.

Here is our list:

  • Tweet Attachment thingy
  • pictures of field trips we had
  • Contact Us button
  • Comment Section
  • Calendar of special events
  • Timeline
  • Book Reports
  • Share the sites we use to learn.
  • add a background to make it look yum yum
  • Custom Font
  • Challenges for other classes
  • Filter to make us Fab!
  • A follow us button
  • Subscribe Button
  • Mascot
  • Events that people will want to see. not boring!
  • Presentations
  • Giveaways.
  • Contests/challenges
  • Artwork.
  • Plays.
  • secret missions
  • birthday parties
  • math models
  • science experiments
  • PJ day
  • track and field
  • tournaments/tryouts
  • videos of things we did in class
  • good information
  • different people can write about it
  • making robots and castles and then take a pic
  • explain what we did in the day
  • put our goals put labels of what we did
  • Questions!!
  • put good pictures of our work
  • write about people who visited our class
  • fun background on the blog
  • Everybody can write their own post ones at a time,like whats happening at school,what is their feeling today are they happy for example, whats their comments about todays experiment on Science.Taking pictures from important events.
  • you have to finish your work on time. you have to be polite. you have to know what you’re writing.  

A great list for our first look at classroom blogs. I’m so excited to work with these students this year!

 

Student Choice and Social Studies

If you read my blog you know I’m doing something different in my class this year. I’m giving my students choice in everything they do.

We have just completed our first social studies project together and I wanted to share the process and outcome.

In Grade 6 students about supposed to learn about Canada’s impact on the world. I decided to share a Canadian History timeline with them and let them choose a topic of their choice.

Some of the selected topics were

  • World War 1
  • How Ottawa became the Capital
  • Hockey in Canada
  • Schooling in the 1700-1800’s

Students worked in groups to create something to show the class.

The presentations were varied. We had mostly slideshows but also had posters, homemade videos, and models.

After their presentations were completed I gave the group a self assessment rubric and they went off and had time to self-reflect.

I met with the groups later that day or the next day and we compared their self-assessment rubric with the one I completed. We discussed the differences in the rubrics and the similarities. If there was a discrepancy, I let the students determine what grade they should have.

When all the presentations were discussed, we met as a class to talk about the project in general. I wanted to know what did they like, and what needed to be fixed.  

As you can see, the class loved being able to choose their own topic, assessment type and they got to work with peers of their choice. Next time we are going to add some immediate peer feedback. Right after students present, their peers will share one thing they really liked about the project and one thing they would like to see next time.

We also discussed how they could improve their own project next time.

IMG_6986

The experience giving my class choice in their learning has completely changed the way I look at teaching.   The students couldn’t wait everyday to work on this project and were highly focused during their group work. I love talking to my class to get feedback about how the projects are going and it will be something I continue to do for the rest of my teaching career.

Learning Skills-Self Assessing and Reflecting

I created the below document to help my students learn about the learning skills we assess them on in Ontario. I am going to give them this document at the beginning of the year so that they can create goals about these learning skills. I want my students to  be able to self-assess and reflect on what they can do better for the next term.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 7.46.51 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 7.47.03 PM

Click on the picture for the link.

Goal Setting and Changing in the Classroom

I’m so excited to be teaching Grade 6 next year. One thing that I want to do with my class every week is Goal Setting. I recently finished reading “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg.

0385669763

It was an interesting read and one that really can be linked to the classroom environment. Students need to learn how to set goals so they will succeed in their later educational pursuits, work and in life. I know that in my personal life sometimes I need a reward to complete a task that I don’t want to do such as working out or doing the dishes. I created this worksheet for students to use and to practice creating their own goals. For students to be able to complete their goals, they need to be as descriptive as possible in how, when, and where they are going to complete their goals.

Click on the picture to download.

1

I’m sure you have some students in your class that have a routine that is less than positive. The below worksheet is to change their routine. You would meet with the student in private, when they are calm and discuss the trouble they are having.

For example: Student A sees another students take one of his crayons and he hits them to get it back. You can discuss why this happens, what are some other options they could choose and the student could suggest some rewards that they would like to get if they choose a better option rather than hitting. Please click on the picture to download.

2

The below image is from CharlesDuhigg.com, the author of “The Power of Habit” and also describes in detail how to change a habit. 
How-to-Change-a-Habit

I would highly recommend reading “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg.

Authentic Learning using Skype

In my classroom we have been using Skype in the Classroom to meet experts and ask authentic questions.

I started asking my class what they wanted to learn about during the year. We made a huge list and I tried my best to get a bunch of experts to cover most of the topics. We skyped with different classrooms and experts around the world.

Our favourite by far was skyping with SANCCOB a Penguin and Seabird rehabilitation centre in South Africa. They first gave us a presentation about what they do and then we had a question time with a penguin! 

Here are some students asking questions. 

 There is nothing better than thinking of a question, asking it and getting the answer right away. 

* Thanks to the parents of my students who allowed me to use these videos.

Kid Tech Coach 

Recently I became a Google Education Trainer (GET). I honestly felt so excited to be listed among all of these amazing educators and I knew that my connection to the trainer community would inspire me to be better and more creative.

I’m pretty involved in the Ottawa education community. I have planned Edcamp Ottawa, Playdate Ottawa, am a co-founder of ONEdchat and Think Tank Ottawa. I love to plan events and create spaces for people to learn from each other. When I became a GET I wanted to do something bigger. I kept on thinking about what the education community needed. I am always trying to inspire non-techy teachers to get involved and try something new. I love Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and know how empowering it is for students. I wanted to make it easy for non-techy teachers to teach their students GAFE. I first thought of making step by step videos that teachers could play in their classroom and learn with the students. But then I realized, students do not want to listen to another teacher, they want to listen to their peers. Students listen more and learn better when their peers explain something than when teachers do, so I created Kid Tech Coach.

Kid Tech Coach (5)

 

This website is to provide training for GAFE and other technology for students using videos made by other students. This is a way that students can share their expertise in technology and show their learning.

As an educator, this is a great way for our students to create a positive digital footprint, and it teaches our students collaboration, communication, technology skills and creativity. It also encourages students to learn digital media principles, such as engaging with an audience, production principles, etc.

Please follow us on facebook, twitter, and check out our blog (still in it’s early production).

If you have any videos of students that are already created giving tutorials on technology, you can submit the videos here.

Making Thinking Visible in my Primary Classroom

I just finished running a book club called #bowkerbooks this winter. The participants signed up for the book club and voted for the book they wanted to read. The selection that was  chosen was “Making Thinking Visible” by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church, Karin Morrison. 

download (1)

During this weekly chat, we would discuss a chapter with predetermined questions based on that chapter. I kept on thinking that my class, a very active grade 1/2 class wouldn’t be able to do these routines. I had tried asking my class  “Can you tell me more about that?,” a strategy to get students to further elaborate on what they said.

This week, after the book club had ended, I decided to try a new routine ‘See, Think, Wonder.’ When my students came in from 1st recess I had a picture up on the screen. You need to know that my students usually talk over each other and can only sit for 10 minutes at a time listening, but this time was different.

Mona_LisaI honestly couldn’t believe the thoughtful questions that my students asked. I was blown away by their questions. To hear the audio of this, click here.

The next day, I decided to try it again. I put up a picture of “The Scream.”

download

At first I thought I shouldn’t have picked this painting since my students came in saying it was scary and creepy. But the discussion we had was amazing. They had great thoughtful questions again and really made connections. They even took the picture and inferred that he was lost. We also got into a debate whether it was a boy or girl. To listen to the audio, click here.

I googled the painting and showed them a map of Oslo, where that painting is. Then they were curious about where the ‘Mona Lisa’ was so we googled that. I showed them the Louvre and they thought the pyramid was so cool. Then we took a virtual tour of the Louvre.

This was my first experience with this class of real inquiry learning. For over an hour my class sat still, listened and asked thoughtful questions.

I’m going to do this a lot more often!

 

 

Classroom Technology Usage Posters

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 4.33.35 PM

As we use more and more technology in our classrooms, I find myself getting confused about which students I can post pictures of on our classroom website, twitter and who is allowed to skype.

At the beginning of the year, when you collect your technology in the classroom permission forms, you can make these posters so that students, staff and visitors know which students they can take pictures of.  It is also a great reminder for you to remember who not to post on your classroom blog and twitter account.

If you know me well, you know that I have a love for Mario Brothers. Here are some examples of the posters using Mario and Luigi.

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 4.35.30 PMScreen Shot 2015-02-27 at 4.36.03 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This resource should be printed and displayed on your classroom wall and should be easily seen in the classroom.

Click on any of the pictures or on this link to get the free downloadable resource with the 4 different display options.

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 4.45.07 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 4.44.54 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 4.44.30 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 4.44.09 PM

 

 

Focusing on Learning

During the last Ontario Edchat we were chatting about Report Cards. It was an amazing discussion that really made me start thinking. We should be focusing on our students learning, not just assessing for grades. I decided to create these learning focused worksheets that your students can use to see what they knew about the topic before the unit and what they learned after the unit is completed. In an ideal world I would use these sheets unit after unit so that the routine is automatic and the students feel confident about it. Here are the two different versions.

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 2.01.52 PM

The next one I thought would be neat to do more of a brainstorm on. The students can fill out what they know about a particular subject and fill in the box attached to “What I think I know” in one colour. At the end of the unit they can add what they learned about that topic but in another colour and add another colour to the box attached to “What I know now.” I decided to choose the wording “What I think I know” because it makes the students feel more comfortable to write things down and when they are writing about their learnings after the unit is complete they can cross out what they learned is not true.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 2.01.04 PM

 

Please let me know what you think of these printables in the comments and let me know if you used them.

Week 2: Cold Thaw Collaboration Challenge

I am participating in the Cold Thaw Collaboration Challenge being put on by the wonderful Maria Verwey. For week 2 we have been asked what we are reading, what our professional goals are for this year and our one word for 2015.

Reading:

Right now I’m reading ‘Making Thinking Visible’ which is my book club book. 047091551x

This upcoming Wednesday we are reading and discussing Chapter 2. Last week we discussed Chapter 1 and I was blown away by the amazing discussion we had. You can still participate and sign up here.

I’m also reading ‘What Great Teachers do Differently’ by Todd Whitaker.

Goals:

Right now I have a lot of professional goals. I became a Google Educator in the summer and I’m working on becoming a Google Trainer this year.

Since it is my first year being a contract and permanent teacher, I’ve been focused on learning about how a school really works. I joined the School Learning Plan Committee (SLP), the Lead Team, and am hoping to be on our Technology Team.

I’m also focused on continuing to provide great PD opportunities. I am hoping to do that through a Summer Conference I’m hoping to help plan, my #bowkerbook club that is happening right now and maybe in the summer months, applying to present at a ETFO Summer Academy workshop and another Edcamp Ottawa next fall. I am also hoping to continue with Ontario’s Edchat (@Onedchat) and make it more popular.

In my classroom I also want to focus more on learning rather than marks and continuing to try to collaborate and do cool projects even though it seems to not be working out this year.

My One Word: 

My one word is Care. I wrote a post about it here.

 

1 2 3