Monthly Archives: March 2013

Edcamp: Why Attend?

Yesterday I attended my 3rd edcamp.  Wow!  I was able to meet new professionals and reconnect with others.  Being part of such an awesome professional experience holds lots of surprises and new discoveries.  Every camp that I have attended has been amazing. I have no idea about the what I am going to be doing or what I am hoping to learn.  It just seems to present itself in the workshops that people offer and the ideas seem to just appear through informal dialogue and new learning that others experience.  It is free as well as food and beverages.20130323-101029This is what we collaboratively brainstormed together!  Lots of possibilities here for learning!

An edcamp is an unconference.  As a collaborative group, you get to decide together about what you want to do.  In the beginning you say hello and then design the schedule for the day.  The other great thing about this model of professional development that I love is that if you are in a session and it turns out not to be what you need, you just leave.  I love this idea because it is a great model for us as professionals to take charge of what our needs are.  If it isn’t working or not for you, find something that is.

In Vermont we have a dedicated group of professionals who organize this.  Big kuddos to Ned Kirsch, Larry Fliegelman and Greg Marino who helped make this professional development available!  I know I am forgetting others to thank also!  Thank You!

I look forward to the next edcamp.  I hope those of you reading this will consider attending the next time.  Really such an inspiring group of educators.  This is a very important part of my PLN(Professional Learning Network)!  Why not make it part of yours too!

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What’s Been Happening In Kindergarten?

I have been thinking a lot lately about not only how lucky I am to be a Kindergarten teacher, but the reasons why. So I thought that I would share what’s been happening.

For me Kindergarten is like a breath of fresh air each day. The excitement for learning is contagious and never ending!

1. Celebrating! We celebrate numerous times throughout the year in a variety of ways. Recently we just had a Dr. Seuss Luncheon! My students were able to share what they learned and enjoyed from this author study through turning and talking, creating books, creating and designing a blog post on their kidblog. Each child was able to use Doodle Buddy to create an illustration to go along with their post too! Then we made comments on each others posts. I also emailed my parents and asked them to leave comments too! Wow! My students experience how they can not only share their celebrations of learning with others, but also that others find their ideas interesting!rose

2. Connecting! My students have connected with other kindergarten students outside of our school community through Skype and twitter! Both of these tools have given my students real life experiences in exploring the world outside of our walls in a safe, kind and responsible way. The connections we have made give us opportunities to be accepting of others and to value and respect how we are the same and different.

DSCF2417

Twitter continues to be a place where we can model how to be a safe, kind and responsible digital citizen. This week I gave my students a special ‘Twitter award” for tweeting to others. They were thrilled! I asked them why they liked their award and they shared because we tweet and we share what we do in Kindergarten. This social media continues to be a valuable resource and a way for my students, their families and me connect and discover the world!DSCF2387

3. Creating and Designing!

During a math workshop time this past week we were using iPads to write our numbers. One of my students came up with an idea. Using NumberRak we built numbers and then created them on Doodle Buddy! So I was so surprised and thrilled! My students are beginning to think about how technology can enhance and deepen their understanding of what they understand.DSCF2390

During a writer’s workshop time 1 of my students wanted to see a Dr. Seuss book, but I only had 1 copy. She thought that she could just Google it! So we did! She found the picture she wanted for her illustration of a writing response she was creating.DSCF2276

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/62461515″>Google</a&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user6476024″>Sharon Davison</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

During another writing time one of my students needed a book with a bike in it. He was unsure how to draw. We did not have any books, but this student decided to Google bike on an iPad to help him out! This seems to be happening a lot and in a very authentic way. Really amazing for me and my students.

4. Collaborating!
My students make connections with the ideas we share through blogging as a way we collaborate with others. This video says it all!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/62461514″>blogging kkids</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user6476024″>Sharon Davison</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

So Kindergarten life is really busy and wonderful. Everyday holds new discoveries and experiences. The learning is inspiring and energizing. What a wonderful place to be.

The Importance of Being Creative and Innovative: Why?

I value and believe in creativity and innovation.  Creativity opens up ways for all learners to express and share how they make discoveries.  Innovation is a way to enhance the how of what we discover. It also reflects the deep and critical thinking process of what we have experienced in regards to learning.

As an educator I have a variety of technological tools available for me and my students that can help make creativity and innovation more present and part of our classroom culture.  I feel I’m most successful when my students and their families also begin to experience how these technologies can support what they are noticing about their learning discoveries.

asYoung children are amazing thinkers!  They see patterns and make connections easily.  When they have time to share and connect with each other about their ideas, they begin to create and inspire each other. How are you inspired?  By who?  Why?

An example comes to mind here.  During a literacy time my students were creating self portraits.  We were using mirrors, but they kept sliding over.  One of my students said, “Why don’t we just use an iPad?”  So we did!  Through this idea everyone was able to be more successful with the task and others were collaborating together to help each other set up their iPad using the camera and also why this was a great idea. ImageThe portraits my students created were amazing and contained so much detail!  The camera on the iPad made their face real and so clear.  Some of my students decided to take a picture of themselves to draw.  So just by using the camera on an iPad my students discovered “how to” enhance what they were doing and the activity became much more rigorous and enhanced through a technological tool.

Throughout the year I have had and continue to have many parents, students and professional colleagues share their ideas and understandings around learning in a variety of ways.

Many of my parents of my students send videos of their child discovering a “college word”, reading orally using expression, photographs of writing they’re doing at home, etc.  This is why I need to be open minded and creative when it comes to planning and learning.  When I am successful is when I am making a difference through my example of how I am using technology in ways that are meaningful in regards to learning.  The meaningfulness of what I am doing is shared not just with me, but with my students and others colleagues.  When we model how we are changing our thinking about learning, we are modeling how to be flexible in our practice as well.

I share with my PLN(Professional Learning Network) too!  We inspire each other with our experiences in regards to learning.  Using twitter with my students and my parents has also helped educate why it is so important to use social media in school.  It opens up endless ways to share and collaborate about learning!

This week as I plan I am thinking about how I can be flexible, and model how I change my thinking in regards to learning.  I am also thinking about what tools will help me share and model this  so that my students experience the learning that comes from making mistakes and how this is necessary to get closer to what we understand.  mr

So why be innovative and creative?  I look forward to hearing from others about what you are doing with your students too!

Tools That Help To Transform: Being Intentional

As an educator I want to be intentional about my actions within and outside of the classroom in regards to learning.  I feel that the more transparent, we, educators are about our practice, the more intentional our work becomes.

Just in the past few months I have begun to transform even more.  The transformation is intentional and sometimes it just “sneaks up” on me!  The technological tools available are all key and vital when it comes to any kind of transformation.

What a wonderful week I had with my Kindergarten students!  This time of year is so exciting because I get to see my students become more independent and watch as they navigate using the many technologies that we have been exploring and discovering together during the year.  Wow!  As an educator I am seeing some amazing ah ha’s and uses of some of the tools that are a part of our Kindergarten culture.  I have listed a few examples below.

1.  Twitter!  My students have opportunities all day to tweet about what they think is important.  This past week a couple of my students told me that they were “ready” to start typing the tweets themselves.  I asked ‘”How do you know?” They told me because they are reading.  They also shared because they know that they have to use a period, a capital letter and leave spaces between their words.  Oh yes!!!  This is a reflection of the many things we explore during our reader’s and writer’s workshop time.  This is amazing that my students see the connections here with not only that “they are ready” to tweet, but what they need in their tweet and that it can be shared with others.

2.  Air Server!  This has been a wonderful tool to explore with my students.  During our number corner time the leader of the day and a few others are able to connect through our SMART board and share their mathematical ideas!  Two of our Math Habits of Mind are Changing Your Thinking and Multiple air serverRepresentations.  By using iPads remotely my students are able to share the many different ways a number looks like!  If they have a different idea or Change Their Thinking, this is valued and recognized as a habit that all mathematicians do.  In order to learn we need to Change Our Thinking(make mistakes).  The self confidence of all my students is high because they all want to be able to share and collaborate using the interactive tools.  Interactive tools that promote deep thinking and collaboration as well as risk taking.

math3.  iPads!  I love that I am able to have iPads available for my students.  Their uses are endless, really!  During a dice game a couple of my students thought that instead of writing their numbers on paper they could write on an iPad.  When I spoke with them further it occurred to me that paper rips easily and it is hard to change your thinking.  An iPad makes it easy to try and try again.  I was also able to see how naturally my students offer to help one another too, not just writing numbers, but navigating with the iPad.

As I continue to model a variety of technological tools in a very intentional way, my students will do the same.  They begin to see and discover the value they can have in regards to their learning.

These are questions I find myself asking over and over again…..

What tools are you using with students?  How are you using them?  What are you noticing?  What are your students noticing?