What a wonderful start to the new year @vermontkkids123! I am blogging about the variety of collaborations, connections and discoveries that have already taken place. Friday was our 26th day of kindergarten and we have been so busy!
On our 3rd day together we began a new project called;”Learning Buddies” with Mrs. McCormack’s students. We began by sharing a story and talking about our collaboration of learning that we were designing as the year develops. Right away I ask the students if they understand what a collaboration is. I then asked; “What do you think it means when you collaborate with someone?” Right away a few of the students responded ‘working together”. Yes!! So our discussion began to unfold and the students were excited to think about the how and what we would be doing with our time together.
Later a parent emailed me a photo of her child “collaborating” with her Barbie dolls. I have been thinking a lot about this and I am so amazed that this young child was able to transfer/apply the meaning of collaborate to something she enjoyed and was meaningful to her. Wow! This new vocabulary word was just introduced and I was amazed at what happened.
We now begin “tweeting” with our new friends and also connecting with other Kindergarten classes who follow us @vermontkkids123. Each day we talk about what is important to us about what we learned and explored during our day together. My students use our stuffed twitter bird to hold when it is their turn to “tweet”/share about what they want to say. This is another way that we are connecting and collaborating with others about our learning. Many of my students parents follow us so it is really motivating for my students to know that they are ‘tweeting”/talking to their parents. This is the beginning of developing a sense of audience outside of our classroom. The children began to notice other Kindergarten classes, so we read their tweets and respond to a few. One of the tweets we read was from the Kindergarten students at Yokohama International School in Japan. They tweeted that they had earthquake drills. We had an opportunity to share about how we have fire drills and ask then ask what an earthquake drill was. Another way to share and connect through twitter.
Later on one of my students parents is traveling to Cape Town, South Africa and wanted to use SKYPE to say hello to his son and the class. During the day we received our 1st SKYPE call. My student was so excited to see and say hello to his father. The children were also excited as well. Again, by introducing another way to connect and share outside of our classroom my students begin to think about how this might work and how it is meaningful to them.
Later on another student shared that his dad was traveling to California and that he was going to call us using SKYPE. wow! Already my students are beginning to experience and think about how to connect in a safe way. When his father called, we shared what they weather was like and had an opportunity to talk about the time difference too.
Now we have created a Google Map where we have pinned all of our connections we have made so far in the 26 days we have been together. I have shared the map with my families as well so they can look at and talk about with their children. Last week we created a map of the world out of paper and placed it on one of our classroom walls so that the children can see and reference when we make connections. Now we are learning about the continents, the oceans and where we are in comparison to others. Possibilities will include looking at the climate, culture and who knows what else. All of this is inspired by what we are sharing and experiencing.
Exploring the natural world is a huge part of kindergarten. My students have lots of opportunities to observe, explore and reflect about what they see in nature. We have been involved in creating and designing scientific drawings of insects using iPads, paper and other tools. We have been sharing our work through blogging and twitter! This week we are sharing our work with ePals and posting our creations on the Smithsonian page where we will earn “Smithsonian Stars”. My students will now have an opportunity to see what other kindergarten children are creating too! This is another great way we can compare and contrast what we are learning.
Through twitter I am able to participate in a project called;“Kindergarten Around The World”. Our connection is with another kindergarten class in British Columbia, Canada. We have begun connecting through twitter and sharing a Google Doc! I will post more on this collaboration as it develops!
We are becoming safe, kind and responsible digital citizens in kindergarten. We are using higher level vocabulary that describes how and why we share and connect with others. We are learning to be reflective and how to share with others in a safe way. We are developing relationships with others who want to share about what they are learning too!
So far the technological tools we are using are; SKYPE, ePals, Google Maps, Google Docs, blogging, kidblog, twitter, podcasting, iPads, SMART board, document camera, computers and voicethread. And yes! We are meeting face to face with others too!