Archive of ‘Standards’ category

Uncomfortability leads to learning for all

Creating a class of student voice and choice has been extremely rewarding but an uncomfortable and learning process for me.  I’m a pretty new classroom teacher but still the idea that students should be quiet lingers in the back of my head.

Today I was introducing Biodiversity and my class would not stop talking. It took us forever to get through our ideas of what Biodiversity could mean. CRsjeNFUAAAtym-

Finally I got them to go back to their seats to calm down and then we talked. I told them how I was feeling and asked why they were talking so much. I told them that I assumed that it was because they were being disrespectful. Many students hands shot up and they told me that they were just really excited about the topic. I asked the class who else felt this way and they all raised their hands.

I realized that my class just really likes each other, is really excitable and needs time to talk to each other. I know now that I need to schedule in time to my teaching to give them moving and talking breaks but I didn’t even think to give them ‘turn and talk’ time.

Asking my students what they need has been a HUGE learning moment for me. Whenever we have these talks, they always come up with a solution and we are both learning about each other in the process.

I’m thrilled that they are so excited about our class and what we are learning about. I know that this year is a learning process for all of us and I’m so excited that we can communicate and trust each other.

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.

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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.

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Click on the picture for the link.

What I learned from ‘Unshakeable’

I began gearing up for my Summer Reading plans in May and wanted to get a bunch of professional books that I could read. I have a huge list on Goodreads but wanted something special to read, so I reached out.

Pernille Ripp is an influential teacher and person to me. Her book, ‘Passionate Learners’ changed my entire viewpoint as a teacher. You can check out my blog post about her book ‘Passionate Learners’ here and her other book ‘Empowered Schools, Empowered Students’ here.

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I had never heard of ‘Unshakable’ but I went online and ordered it right away.

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This is what I learned from Angela Watson’s ‘Unshakeable.

  • Bring your personality into your classroom. We are all unique so share with your students what you are passionate about and what you love. If you share your true self with students, you will have a better time in the classroom and create a stronger bond with your students.
  • Be present. At school with your students or when you are completing your work. Don’t watch T.V. while you mark papers because you will be doing it all night long. Focus on marking and allot yourself a specific amount of time to truly focus. In the classroom don’t multitask. Listening and look at your students, be involved. The work can wait.
  • Make lists of what you need to complete daily. I find this so important for me. If I don’t write it down on a list, I will forget about it. Writing my to-do’s on a list will ensure that they get done, even if I’m procrastinating completing them.
  • Prepare for the morning to make it less stressful. Next year I’m going to pick out what I’m going to wear the night before. I find I get stressed by this decision and it makes me frazzled and I just grab whatever to wear. When I look better, I feel better so I will make time for that.
  • Make a positive impression with parents on the first day of school or before. Call or leave a message introducing yourself, your contact information, and Meet the Teacher night info. This will start a positive relationship from day one.
  • No more complaining or listening to complaining. Change the subject or walk away. This year is going to be positive.
  • I need to create a personal and classroom vision statement.
  • Let the students discover why you are teaching a certain lesson. Why do you need to know this now?
  • Have fun! Create a classroom music playlist with your students. Dance, and be silly.
  • Students and teachers both need down time throughout the day. Plan to have downtime worked into your schedule. If you are feeling drained, your students are too.
  • Teach and reteach routines and procedures. It’s good for the teacher as well as the students to know exactly what to do. If there are changes to the routine, write them on the board.

Obviously from this list I learned a lot. I really encourage all teachers to buy and read this book. I will definitely look at this book for inspiration and for resources for years to come.

Get Connected: Professionally and in your Classroom

On July 14th, 15th, and 16th I was honoured to present “Get Connected: Professionally and in your Classroom” for ETFO’s Summer Academy. I was a 3 day course that I created, organized and presented.

Maybe you are interested in this course but could not attend so I’ve decided to share my 3 day presentation and resources I used in the course with you.

The course covers:

To get the entire course, click on the picture below

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Learning while Presenting

I was lucky enough to be a presenter for ETFO’s Summer Academy this summer. My workshop is called “Get Connected: In your Classroom and Professionally” and we learned about Twitter, Blogging, Skype, Global Projects and GAFE.  I had 3 days to teach these teachers with varying degrees of technology experience how to create and use these tools to connect themselves and their students to the world.

While teaching these amazing teacher’s who gave up three days of the summer vacation to come spend time with me I learned some great lessons.

Learning is joyful.

After the school year, teachers are so tired and burnt out. Yet, teachers sign up for courses and read books just to be better at teaching the next year. During the course when I was explaining Google Drive, a teacher jumped out of her seat and ran to hug me in front of a whole room of teachers. The power of learning and sharing how to learn motivates us to be better and do better. Another teacher started clapping when she understood how to do something and then tweeted about it.

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We are all experts at something.

After the first day of  presenting “Get Connected” I went for a walk with two other teachers. One of the teachers I start walking with, Barbara Brockmann, turns out to have won a Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History and a Writer’s Award for her book of five plays that brings wartime history alive for students in Grades 5-12 in 2014. You never know who you are going to meet at these conferences so always make sure to meet some new people. We are all experts at something, what are you an expert at?

Teachers just want to share.

During our walk, Barbara begins to share many resources to teach social studies for my future Grade 6 class. When you feel passionate about a topic, it shines through and I was thrilled with all the resources she shared with me. I actually had to go back to my hotel room to grab my laptop to record them all.

Here are all the links if you are interested:

historicalthinking.ca

 

http://www.ohhfa.ca/media/Steps_to_Creation_of_a_Heritage_Fair_Project_Revised.pdf

http://www.ottawaheritagefair.org/English/awards.htm

 

http://activehistory.ca/

http://oessta-teachers.ca/

http://www.onthemarkpress.com/product/01/EBC145/Remembrance-Day-Plays-Grades-5-12eBook

http://www.canadashistory.ca/

 

Project of Heart http://projectofheart.ca/

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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

Get Connected Workshop Advice

I’m so excited to have been chosen to present and plan a 3 day course for ETFO’s Summer Academy. My course is called ‘Get Connected-Professionally and in your Classroom.’ I have never planned something this huge and need some help to make sure I’m planning it well.

I want to it be a jam packed 3 day session that provides a lot of learning but leaves you resources to learn on your own if you don’t it it all during the 3 days.

Here is my planning breakdown:

Day 1:

Introductions, Setting your class to connect (permission forms), Digital Citizenship, Twitter Basics, & Classroom Blogging

Day 2:

Twitter Con’t, Skype, Skype in the Classroom, Google Hangouts, Connected Classrooms, Mystery Skype, Mystery Number, Global Projects & Professional Blogging

Day 3:

Google Drive, Forms and Docs, Go Noodle and Remind

 

I would love some feedback.

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