Parent Connect Parent Connect

14Nov/120

Quality Tutorial Designers Checklist

Helping students become quality Tutorial Designers has been on my mind and agenda. The reasons are plentiful, from the train of thought "if you can teach it, you know it", being a vital skill in the 21st century, Alan November's work "Who owns the Learning?"/ "Digital Learning Farm" to tutorials being an important piece in the self-motivated and self-directed learning of our times.

Teaching, nor creating (digital) tutorials, may come natural to everyone. There are are several skills involved. which are valuable for our students to learn.

  • communication
    not only understanding content and process, but being able to express and communicate them to someone else. The communication can be accomplished in a variety of media.
  • collaboration
    curating all student created tutorials in one place (ex. wiki) will create a hub, where students can search for tutorials of content, that they need a refresher on and it creates a depository for students in future years to come.
  • writing
    writing a script is an essential part of tutorial design. Tutorial writing could be considered part of the expository writing and technical writing genre
  • vocabulary
    using specific vocabulary related to the content explained
  • storyboarding
    "Storyboards are graphic organizers in the form of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing"~ Wikipedia
  • digital storytelling
    a tutorial is a special type of story. It requires the "teller" of the story to engage the "listener" via different digital media
  • networking
    tutorials are meant for others to learn from us
  • digital media
    creating, editing, and mixing of a variety of media forms (text, images, audio, video, etc.) and the fluency to work with a variety of media and switch effortless between them
  • empathy
    the ability to understand and share the feelings (ex. not know how to do something or understand) of another

In addition to supporting students in gaining competency and fluency in the above mentioned skills, we  emphasize QUALITY work. It is about depth of content knowledge and  emphasis on showing evidence of learning, not just using a specific technology tool.

In an effort to support teachers and have a handy list for students when creating tutorials, I created the following checklist. The checklist is divided into three parts:

  1. Steps
  2. Technique
  3. Quality Considerations

Each part is divided further into different sections

Steps:

  • storyboarding
  • creation
  • dissemniation

Technique:

  • screencasting
  • audio
  • movie
  • images
  • text
  • comics
  • miscellaneous

Quality Considerations:

  • audio
  • video
  • images
  • text
  • content
  • strategy & procedures

10Oct/120

State of the Blogging School Address

State of our School Address (regarding Blogging)

3 years ago, we created blogs (WordPress platform) for ALL classroom teachers and resources. There was an expectation for teachers to be at least on the first step of the blogging ladder, illustrated in the image below. Their classroom blog needed to be, as a minimum,  a replacement of a weekly folder filled with parent-school communication and homework assignments. Teachers were expected to learn how to update their blogs (at least on a weekly basis), insert images and videos and categorize their blog posts. (Getting to Know your Blog- A Beginner’s How To Guide)

This was a steep learning curve for some teachers. In addition,  it was extra time consuming, as it was taking teachers longer time to learn and be comfortable with uploading and inserting images, creating photo galleries, creating links, posting, etc.

Then the question shifted from How to We Did it… We Built It…Will They Come? Some teachers continued to email parents weekly, pointing them to the blog to look at images and news, others resorted to “bribing” students with extra credit if their parents went on the blog, yet another class created a  Blog Tutorial for Parents & Grandparents video.

In preparation for our students to become actively involved in contributing on the classroom blogs, as a school, we needed to Update & Upgrade Our School’s Media & Publishing Release in order to reflect the shift from students as consumers to students as producers.

Some teachers felt ready sooner than others, to climb the next step on the ladder. They opened their classroom blog up for comments to their students. They started to shift from merely pushing out information to parents and students to see the opportunity for a conversation. Teachers were learning to, not only post information, but posing questions for students, encouraging them to think and to participate in a virtual conversation. – Preparing Students for Commenting with Wall Blogging.

Once students were well on their way to begin. They were comfortable in logging into their accounts, reading posts and submitting a commenting, the next step was to focus on the QUALITY of their writing. What constitutes a quality comment? One class answered this question by creating a newscast- Quality Commenting Video by Third Graders

The next step on the classroom blogging ladder was for not only the teacher to produce content/posts, but for students to take ownership. For one teacher, it meant the realization that her classroom job list was in need of a 21st century update What is… What Will Be Obsolete…in Second Grade?

Some teachers:

  • had daily  student “bloggers”,  who were in charge of updating the classroom blog, being the Official Scribe of the day.
  • had students take (handwritten notes) summarizing the daily learning during each subject area, to be then typed and uploaded on Friday to the blog (younger grades).
  • highlighted best work from students as it was produced.
  • put students in charge of photographing classroom/resource activities and learning taking place during the day, the class discussed and voted on the final images to be uploaded at the end of the day and write a short blurb to each image. – Let’s Ask the Kids: 2nd Grade Bloggers

Some classroom blogs were growing beyond homework assignment, as teachers found opportunities to amplify the use of their virtual spaces to get kids involved and engaged in conversation

As commenting and posting to the classroom blog became the routine, especially in the upper elementary grades, students were eager to “earn” their own blogs. It was up to the teacher to set the criteria for students to earn them (ex.5 quality posts moderated and published on the classroom blog).

Once having earned that promotion, students became administrators of their own blogfolio , a combination of an online portfolio and a learning blog. Students were able to choose their own theme from a variety of pre-approved themes available. They chose their own title and tagline, and wrote their About Page.

It takes time for the faculty to see that the students’ blogfolios are NOT a project from/for the Language Arts class. We are not there yet.Teachers, still need to take advantage of pulling in resource teachers and student experiences. Non-Language Arts teachers still need to realize that the blog is a platform for learning for THEIR students too. All this is a process for teachers and students to work through.

We had Professional Development workshops helping teachers subscribe to RSS feeds (Subscribing via RSS & Google Reader to Classroom Blogs) in order to streamline the process of reading AND giving feedback to all their students. This is a daunting task for many teachers, as they are feeling overwhelmed. I have met too many teachers (at other schools) who, precisely for that reason, gave up blogging with their students. It was simply too much work to read and sift through all the writing and commenting (!!). We are committed to working through this at our school though. We are concentrating on finding new ways to embed the reading, the writing, the commenting, the conversation into the “way we do things”, not something we do in addition.

I created the following infographic to demonstrate the flow of blogging in the classroom. The hope is to deflect from the emphasis on technology and the “translation” from analog work to digital work during the blogging process.

You can download the infographic as a pdf file.

There is so much to consider when blogging with your students. You will be able to read about some, some you will hear from teaches who are already blogging and some things you will just have to experience and go through for yourself in order to make it work for you and your students. What we do know, is that no teacher can attend a 3 hour workshop on blogging and is ready to blog with their students the following Monday. I wrote extensively about the process for Stepping it Up- Learning About Blogs FOR your Student as a guide for teachers who want to see blogging as a platform for their own professional development and as a medium for student learning.

Ann Davis, on her blog wrote a post titled “Rationale for Educational Blogging“, an article (and the following comments) worth reading! David Jakes responds in the comment section speaking directly to the teachers “who have kids write for the refrigerator”.

Ann Davis’ quote of “It is not just a matter of transferring classroom writing into digital spaces”, resonates deeply with me. It is a challenge, that we are continuously reflecting on in school, as learning and literacy coaches, but need to do a better job in helping faculty work through this as well. Tough questions need to bubble up  to the surface:

  •  Where it the Authentic Audience?  by Andrea Hernandez
  • What does it mean when students, teachers, parents feel “blogged out”?
  • How do we prevent student blogfolios from becoming an accumulation of “Homework for Thursday”, “Homework for Friday” posts?

Where do we go from here?

We will continue to seek the following through our blogs:

  • quality writing and commenting
  • documentation of the learning process
  • hub for learning artifacts
  • reflections
  • meaningful discussion
  • metacognition
  • authentic feedback
  • global awareness and connectedness

We will encourage, support and participate in activities that will foster the above goals.

Examples:

  • quad-blogging
  • commenting mentor program
  • blogging buddies
  • professional blogs for our educators to build reflective teaching practices, connections to a global network of educators and building a personal brand

10Oct/120

What is the Daily 5?- Parent Connect 9/24/12

This year, we are piloting a new literacy program in grades 2, 4 and 5.  This grew out of our summer professional development book groups, which you can read more about here. The program, called the Daily 5, is grounded in the knowledge base of what activities and behaviors are most effective for developing basic literacy. The Daily 5 was written by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, who also maintain the DailyCafe.com website.

Our first Parent Connect this year was dedicated to sharing information about The Daily 5 and our implementation of it this year. Here is a review for those parents who were not able to join us, as well as anyone else interested in learning more.

Everything we do is grounded in an understanding of what our students need in order to be successful in this connected, high tech world. We believe the Daily 5 helps us help our students to become independent learners.

Our librarian, Karin Hallett, shared some of the research behind this program in the following slides:

If you would like to learn more, here is an excellent article that synthesizes current research and underscores the importance of self-selected independent reading.

We watched a video of Amy Stein teaching her second graders the "I PICK" strategy for learning how to choose "good fit books."

We also watched Stephanie Teitelbaum introducing "Read to Self" to her 4th and 5th graders.

Here are some thoughts from Andrea Hernandez and Jon Mitzmacher:

This final video includes a discussion about The CAFE Book, which is the counterpart to the Daily 5, as well as information about the data collection process.

Stephanie has started a professional blog, Teach, Blog and Tweet, where she will be documenting and reflecting upon the process as it unfolds. Please feel free to follow her there, and add your voice to the discussion.

 

2Sep/120

Twitter Policy and Rationale

We want to keep our parents in the loop about Social Media use in the classroom and are posting the following Twitter Policy and Rational.

Twitter Policy and Rationale

Several classrooms at the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School are tweeting!
We wanted to be transparent in our rationale for using Twitter as a platform with our students for academic learning.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a social media platform, a micro-blogging service. Every tweet is limited to 140 characters or less. Twitter is surfacing everywhere in our daily lives, from your favorite restaurant chain to your rabbi, politicians, celebrities, sports team and TV shows. What is less known about Twitter is the academic value of learning with and from other educators and students, experts, authors, organizations, companies from around the world that support 21st century learning. By tweeting with our students, we expose them to social networking strategies, support their growth as global digital citizens and model focused, clear writing.

Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety

Our students DO NOT tweet on personal accounts. The tweeting classrooms are using a classroom Twitter account, set up and managed by the classroom teachers and the 21st century learning team. We monitor and choose carefully, who is allowed to follow the classroom Twitter stream and who we follow on Twitter. Netiquette, Internet safety, digital citizenship including copyright lessons are interwoven throughout the year and continuously discussed and reinforced. Netiquette is defined as the "acceptable" way how to communicate on the Internet. Learning acceptable behavior is part of digital Citizenship, one of the core literacies of the 21st century. We remind students of  our classroom rules and emphasize that "real world" etiquette,  rules and consequences transfer to online behavior as well.

The use of Twitter in the classroom follows the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School's guidelines for Media and Publishing release. Tweets will occasionally mention students’ first name, but never their last name. We will also be sharing classroom images, video or audio, directly related to student learning.

Twitter as a Tool for Learning

We want students to produce and contribute developmentally and age appropriate quality content. This is a process that can only be internalized by “doing”. The focus of Twitter in our classrooms is always learning. We connect, share and reflect on our learning experiences at school as well as tap into and link to individual student background knowledge.  Younger students will tweet  and document experiences they have through observation. Older students will be “thinking” about their learning on a deeper level and learn to articulate their metacognitive process of reflection.

The classroom teacher and 21st century learning team will actively search for and connect classrooms with same grade level twitter buddies and pre-approved mentors, to give students an authentic audience for their writing, with whom students can share their learning, ask questions and gain perspective.

...First graders might read a story with another first grade class from Canada and collaboratively tweet a summary of the story or describe the main characters. They might even share, via Twitter, a link to artwork they created illustrating the story’s setting.

...Fifth graders might tweet with a High School history teacher from Boston about their studies of the American Revolution and might receive images of historic sites.

We will be continuously modeling quality during the process. Before we click the "tweet" button, the class will ask if their tweet:

* is Informative?
* documents their learning?
* asks questions?
* responds to someone else's question?
* curates information for specific audience?
* links to quality resources?
*adds Value to any links re-tweeted?
* states its intent clearly?
* is globally conscious?
* is grammatically correct?
* is spelled correctly?

As students tweet, they learn about word choices, clarity, the writing process (write/revise/edit/publish), networking skills, research skills, summarizing skills, global awareness and connections.

21at Century Skills & Literacies

Twitter is not the only tool that our classroom and students use to connect globally. We use a variety of platforms, such as blogs, wikis, podcasts and Skype to allow our students to practice skills such as communicating, collaborating, connecting, creating and critical thinking skills. These tools also expose them to and support  emerging 21st century literacies (global literacy, network literacy, media literacy, information literacy) in addition to basic literacy skills (reading and writing)

We encourage our parents to follow our classroom Twitter feed to join their students' learning journey.

http://www.twitter.com/1stmjgds
http://www.twitter.com/4thmjgds
http://www.twitter.com/5thmjgds

We will be adding links to more Twitter classroom accounts from school as they become active on Twitter.

You can follow also our head of school, Jon Mitzmacher, Admission's Director, Talie Zaifert, 21st Century Learning Specialists, Andrea Hernandez & Silvia Tolisano, librarian, Karin Hallett and the following classroom teachers on Twitter: Shelly Zavon, Stephanie Teitelbaum, Deb Kuhr, Amy Stein, Seth Carpenter, Pamela Lewis, Sara Luetchau.

28Jun/120

VoiceThread Docents on the iPads

Our second grade teacher, Ms.S., was ready to “upgrade” a traditionally taught unit on reptiles. We met to discuss how she could incorporate the 5 C’s of 21st century skills as well as support new emerging literacies. The basic idea was to upgrade a typical report,  using books from the library to research and fill out a “research” template on a piece of paper.

“Upgrading” meant to find ways to go beyond the traditional text based resources and local classroom community and AMPLIFY…

  • the skills being introduced or supported…
  • the reach students’ voices (in a myriad of media) have…
  • teaching as a skill of learning…
  • the audience they are writing, talking or presenting to…

With that in mind, we came up with  VoiceThread, as a tool to allow for this amplification to happen. We wanted students to become “docents”, responsible to research, learn about and teach others about a specific reptile.

A docent is defined as

1. A teacher or lecturer at some universities who is not a regular faculty member.
2. A lecturer or tour guide in a museum or cathedral.
The classroom teacher set up a visit from our local Reptile Store, who came to school with live animals. Each student had an “assigned” reptile they were researching. We took pictures of each student with “their animal” (to be inserted as the main page of the VoiceThread. Students were able to ask specific questions of the reptile expert during the visit as well.
Two students were assigned the role of photographer and videographer to document the visit and question and answer session with the expert.
Our first lesson back in the classroom, in preparation of using VoiceThread, was about Avatars. Since we were going to use VoiceThread under a school account, each students received their own identity complete with an avatar.

We talked about the movie Avatar, which most of the second graders were familiar with and how the “alien body” was a representation of the humans and allowed them to breath on planet Pandora. Since we are not able to “physically” move on the Internet, we also need to use an avatar to represent us in the virtual world. We talked about how our avatar should mean something to us and be a representation of how we want to be “known” online. Students had a choice of taking a photo of themselves (not the entire face, but a non-identifying body part, ex. eye, ear, elbow, hand…) or take a picture of a drawn self-portrait. They could also take a picture of their pet or favorite animal at home and send the image file via email to me to be uploaded to the VoiceThread account.

 

 

Here are the logistics of how I set up the VoiceThread to be used with the iPads.

  • Create the VoiceThread “Blazin Reptiles”  under teacher’s own VoiceThread account.
  • Create a separate VoiceThread account for students (with individual identities for each student).
  • Invite the student account to view and be able to add comments on the VT from my account.

The idea was to be able to log into the student account on each student iPad without them having the ability to delete the the VoiceThread project. The student account houses all the student identities.

Side Note: Although this sounded good in theory and USED TO work in practice (!!!), we found out that VoiceThread no longer allows multiple logins from multiple devices :( After logging into the student VoiceThread account on each iPad, in order to save time and problems with students trying to log in themselves during class, we received multiple “Session Expired” warning windows pop up. We tried to sign the iPads in as quickly as possible, so students could continue recording their prepared voice comments.

After tweeting about the problem, VoiceThread replied on Twitter:

Once students had created their avatars and they had been loaded under one account as different identities, we brought the iPads for each individual student to the classroom.

I connected one iPad wirelessly to the projector via the Reflection app  and walked through the steps of

  1. Finding the VoiceThread app
  2. Changing the Identity in the Account setting
  3. Opening up the Blazin’Reptile VoiceThread
  4. Navigating to the specific image with the picture of their reptile
  5. Choosing between text, audio or video comment
  6. Recording their voice comment
  7. Reviewing the audio (discarding or saving the comment)

One student volunteered to demonstrate the steps as an example in front of the entire class.

After we ran into the problems of students being logged out continuously, we reduced the amount of iPads connected to the student VoiceThread account and grouped students around one iPad to take turns.

We are envisioning:

  1. First round of audio comments: Students create audio recordings from their research notes.
  2. Second round of comments: Students listen to each other’s comments and leave questions for their peers about reptile, that was not covered in the first round comments.
  3. Third round of comments: Student docents listen to their classmates’ comments left on their reptile’s page and answer by elaborating and digging deeper into research if necessary.
  4. Fourth round of comments: VoiceThread being embedded on classroom blog (and Langwitches Blog). Comments with questions or facts about the reptiles being sought from outside “experts”, possibly another second grade class who studied reptiles.

Note: Time ran away from us…summer break arrived …The VoiceThread did not make it past round one :(

3Feb/120

Another Student-Created eBook- A Week in 2nd Grade

In the course of our iPad explorations in 2nd grade, some students made the choice to read ebooks that were in the iPad library. One of those books was the butterfly book, written by the first graders. Second graders loved reading the text and looking at the illustrations and photos in this beautiful book. They were also inspired to create an ebook of their own.

Julia reading the 1st Grader's Butterfly Book

Julia, who loves looking at the daily agenda, suggested that it would be fun to write a book about a day in 2nd grade. After discussions with the class, we settled on the plan to collaboratively create a book detailing, "A Week in 2nd Grade."

The first step was a collaborative brainstorming session to decide the most important and interesting things to include in the book. It was decided that each student would be responsible for writing and illustrating (via a photo taken with the iPad) one page. After deciding what to include and assigning pages, students used a graphic organizer as a pre-write to brainstorm ideas for their topic. 

The next step in the process was to write a paragraph using paper and pencil. Finally, students were ready to use the Book Creator app on the iPad to create their page. As students worked on various stages of the writing process, teachers met one-on-one with the students to help them edit their writing. Because this process was quite long, not every piece of writing was perfectly edited. We felt that it was important to actually finish the project and publish the book and teachers did not edit student work without the student's participation. The writing you see, therefore, is authentic 2nd grade work and may contain some errors in spelling or grammar.

If you own an iPad or iPhone, you can download the ePub file  and directly drop it into your iTunes library. Once you sync your device with iTunes, you are able to read our ebook .

If you are reading this post on your iPad, simply click on the ePub file and choose to open in iBook.

15Nov/110

Working on iPad Fluency in First and Second Grade

We want our students to :

  • use apps on the iPad to create, not just consume
  • fluently pick apps that will serve a purpose
  • fluently switch between apps, then insert, embed, share and disseminate their creations

We have to expose students to a variety of apps to help them gain skills in iPad Fluency

By fluency I mean the ability to:

  • connect tasks effortless together (ex.creating and editing a video, then uploading, embedding and disseminating on several platforms)
  • CREATE and then being able to COMMUNICATE- the ability to create and communicate your creation is one of the main characteristics of fluency
  • record, edit and then publish a movie that automatically posts to my blog
  • take an image…edit…then automatically post to my photo stream as well as embed into a blog post
  • work within several apps, then remix content from each one by being able to import them from one app to another.

In the first few weeks after the iPad deployment, we are concentrating on allowing students to test and explore a variety of apps, as well as work on that fluency piece.

Here are a few examples of our lower elementary school students.

In first grade, students practiced their Hebrew letters in Doodle Buddy.

They then drew illustrations and learned about emailing the finished image to the teacher.

In second grade, we are helping students create an image, then saving it into the Photo Gallery (by an in-app function, via the built-in camera or taking a screenshot) and then edit and email that image to their teacher.

Second graders were learning to introduce themselves in Hebrew. We decided to create an eBook with each student contributing their own page.

The image can be created in a drawing app, such as Doodle Buddy, or being taken with the iPad’s built in camera, then imported into Doodle Buddy to write or type over it.

By adding an International keyboard to the iPad, we were able to easily switch between the English and Hebrew letters.

Here were the instructions for our students, which we modeled by mirroring the iPad display via projector:

  1. Take an image with the built-in camera
  2. Go to Photo Gallery and edit if needed
  3. Go to Doodle Buddy app by finding the app icon or by searching for app by name
  4. Import image from Photo Gallery as background
  5. Choose a marker, color, thickness and write your name in Hebrew on the image
  6. E-mail the image to your teacher

We are realizing that after a few run throughs of creating- saving- sending, our students are picking the sequence up easily.  (The hardest part for these early elementary school students is to spell my name in the email correctly :)

We are also making it a point to have students explore the apps we have loaded on our iPads. As we are discussing, at the beginning of class, WHAT we want to CREATE, we are asking for input from the students:

  1. What app would be best suited (any alternatives)?
  2. The sequence from creating to saving and then the best way to share it with others (email, publish, classroom blog, etc.)

It is crystallizing itself clearly, that the iPad lessons are building on each other. The best success, I have been able to observe, is when students had explored an app in one class, worked with the app to create, in another class and finally pulled the sequence together for a larger project by remixing, sharing and collaborating.

27Oct/110

iPad Exploration

After finally getting the 20 new iPads set up and ready to use (a major undertaking for which I take no credit-- read about it here), I am planning to embark on an explorative journey of how to best use these tools to transform learning in 2nd grade.

Aside from a little fun in Kitah Alef one afternoon, using Doodle Buddy to practice writing Hebrew letters, I have very little experience with the iPad as a school device. I am only a moderately fluent user of my own iPad, which I use mostly to consume information.

So, where to begin?

I will be using iPads in one of the 2nd grade learning centers, twice a week. My initial goals are to learn more about what can reasonably be done by 2nd graders during this period of time and to let the kids do a bit of structured exploration. So far we have only been able to add free apps to our iPads. (Here is our list.)
Rationale
I need to do my own experiential learning of how to use the iPads with young children, while continuing to gain fluency in using the iPad for my own productivity. I am willing to allow curricular goals to take a backseat in the early stages of exploration. In my many years of using technology with students (of ALL ages) I have always had big goals, but I have learned that what seems simple to me is not always as simple as it seems. In fact, I believe that one of the reasons many teachers turn off from using technology actively with students in the "messiness" of it. For me, part of embracing the messiness (which I have come to love) is to realize that it's all learning.
Plan•Do•Review
In thinking about how to structure the early exploration, I recalled a model called Plan, Do and Review. In researching the method, I see that it is used most frequently in preschool, but is also indicated as developmentally appropriate for use in lower elementary grades.
I like this model because it gives students opportunity to explore and choose but within a guided structure designed by the teacher. I believe that creativity and exploration are often more productive within a structure. I have observed that students, when given too many choices, may have trouble committing to an activity. They become overwhelmed with choices and jump around from one thing to the next, never really "doing" anything.
Plan
In the initial meeting with students, after a brief introduction to the iPad and discussion about proper care and handling, I plan to provide students with 3 or 4 choices of apps/activities to freely explore. I will keep demonstration to a bare minimum and let the focus be on problem solving and exploration for the students.
Ideas for choices:
•Listen to a student created podcast, downloaded from the MJGDS podcast channel on iTunes. We have many excellent, student-created podcasts, including one that they made last year in first grade.
Doodle Buddy
Google Earth
•Read an eBook (we have a few free eBooks downloaded, as well as two student-created eBooks.)
Puppet Pals
•Sock Puppets
The emphasis will be making a choice and then sticking to that choice for the entirety of the "do" period.
Do
Doing is the active engagement. Some choices will offer more exploration and experimentation than others. It's all good. Or even if it's not good, it's ok. That's why there is time to review.
Review
Review can be formal or informal. I am hoping to have time for a formal, written review. I've created a google form for students to use (at this point, I will probably print the form and have them write it. In the future, we plan to download the forms app so students can fill out the form on the iPads).
Although that will complete one Plan, Do, Review session, the cycle will continue with the next session as students become more familiar with the process itself, as well as the things they enjoy doing during their "do" time.
This is my plan for at least the first few sessions of working with the 2nd graders. It should give me opportunity to get a feel for using the iPads with the small groups. From there, Miss Stein and I will strategize on next steps.
Filed under: 2nd Grade, iPads No Comments
6Sep/110

What’s New?

Welcome to 21st century learning in the school year 2011-2012! (Since we're so far into the 21st century, maybe we should call it something else....any ideas?)
We have lots of exciting news to share with you.

New Tools

First of all, we have new equipment! We are thrilled to have brand new MacBooks for student use at school.  We are working hard to get the new laptops set up and into the carts. We are also going to be piloting iPads this year. Stay tuned to learn with us as we explore the educational applications of this technological innovation.

   

 

New Spaces

As we have all experienced, with the renovation of our office and hallways, spaces really affect how we feel about a place. Learning spaces should reflect our pedagogy. Sam Gliksman, in "Learning Space Designs & Their Impact on Education" writes:

We go to great lengths and expense to provide technology to our schools - hopefully in part because we see it as a means of empowering students to research, explore, experience, collaborate and more. Does your physical learning environment support that vision? How does it impact the process and flow of learning taking place? 

Here, in the room formerly known as the "computer lab," we are giving serious consideration to how the physical environment reflects our beliefs about learning. The ultimate vision for the use of technology in our school is, in the words of Chris Lehmann, for the tools to be "like oxygen: ubiquitous, invisible and necessary."

So, we have dismantled the computer lab and distributed the old desktop computers to the classrooms. No longer will K-5 students have "technology" once a week as a "resource class." We are re-purposing the space as a hub for our new, mobile technologies. Some possible names for the new space are: "cyber cafe," and "learning lab."  We are still playing with ideas- please share yours in the comments!  We have grouped the tables to enable working together and covered them with map tablecloths to inspire thoughts of global connectedness. We will have a green screen for video making. We hope to see teachers and students of all ages working side by side on projects, using the technology tools in pursuit of great learning.

Parent Education

"Parent Coffee Talk" also has a new name for the new year: "Parent Connect."

 If you haven't joined us in the past, please consider checking it out. The discussions are dynamic, and we all learn from each other. We look forward to welcoming you to our newly-designed learning space where we can discuss in detail our visions and dreams for the year ahead. Feel free to bring interested guests and BYOC (Bring Your Own Coffee!).

edJEWcon

This last bit of news is certainly not least. MJGDS will be hosting edJEWcon 5772.0 , a participatory learning conference for Jewish schools, in the late spring!  We have dreamed and discussed, planned and envisioned, and now we will have the real opportunity to open our school and invite others to learn with us and from us. Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs of Curriculum 21 will be our keynote speaker. Much more will be shared as the details take shape, but this is an incredibly exciting event!

25May/110

Let’s Talk About Summer


Recommended Resources-

Virtual Bookshelf-
Shelfari

Blogging-
WordPress
Blogger

Blog Tutorial by our Second Graders:

Audio Recording-
Voicethread

Programming-
Scratch (free download)

Problem Solving-
Whizzball
Fantastic Contraption

Keyboarding Practice-
http://www.learninggamesforkids.com/keyboarding_games.html
Dance Mat Typing
Krazy Keyboarding for Kids
Type Racer

Creative-
Pixie Parent Guides- free resource for parents (grade and subject specific). Pixie is wonderful, creative software that we use at school. It can be downloaded and used free for 30 days at http://www.tech4learning.com/pixie Tech4Learning also has a parent purchase program if you are interested in purchasing their software at significant savings.
Tux Paint (free download)
National Gallery of Art - some great interactive tools for creating and learning about art

Digital Storytelling-

Mixbook
Book Builder

Have a wonderful summer! Learn, create, share...