Monthly Archives: June 2013

Twitter Continues To Inspire Me!

One of the things that I really like about twitter is how you are notified when you have new followers.  This is a great feature because it gives me an opportunity to read about my new connection, but most importantly how great for me to have yet another follower which is helping me build my PLN.  My PLN is my network of support and inspiration.  It is an amazing group of people from all over the globe, from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.  Twitter is where I turn to connect, collaborate and get inspired.

I discovered a new follower who happened to be a Kindergarten teacher.  So we started tweeting and getting connected.  Shortly I found out that she lives in Neenah, Wisconsin, my home town where I grew up.  It just happened that I am visiting my parents so we were able to meet face to face!  What a treat.  This is not always possible, but when it is, jump on the opportunity if you can.  So I tweeted her when I arrived and we met for an early morning walk.  This was amazing.  Through our conversations we began to ask questions of each other, our PLN, our schools and what we had questions about.  A few days later we met again for a 2 hour session at the public library.  We were able to share our insights, celebrations and challenges within our schools as well as share what is working.

patty

Now that we have connected, we will be collaborating next year. After a conversation about blogging, my new friend Patty now has her own wordpress blog that she is using for her professional reflection.  She is also now setting up kidblog.  We look forward to having our students using kidblog as a platform to share about what we are learning.

None of this would of been possible without twitter.  Twitter has really helped me develop rich, meaningful connections that continue to inspire and support me in regards to my  learning.  All it takes is an idea, a willingness to try and put yourself out there, take a risk and you will always have gifts from others that give because they want to make a difference, just like you!

Using Google To Create Informational Books

My Kindergarten students have become these amazing, independent and enthusiastic writer’s and illustrator’s. We only have 1 and 1/2 days left together, but my students decided to create their own informational book about a topic they choose. So this is what they did!

Some amazing things started happening right away! Wow!

My students used iPads to do a Google search about their topic. The idea came from my students because this is something we have used throughout Kindergarten in regards to our learning. We have had many conversations about “how to” do a Google Search. Simply…. My students tell me they are doing a Google Search. Then they type in photos of…(their topic). They navigate the gallery of photos independently to choose what they are looking for. Through this process and experience of interacting with their ideas, they create and design what they want to write about. For many of my students this is new learning, they choose topics that they are interested in. The engagement is high and everyone is so enthusiastic about what they are discovering.

Let’s Google Tornado so we can see what a real one looks like!Let's Google To See What A Real Tornado Looks Like!

As an educator I am reminded about the importance of developing a culture that supports and promotes my students individual ideas. Through their ideas and interests they become self directed. As I listen to the many conversations that are happening throughout my classroom I am impressed with the vocabulary my students are using as well as what they are learning. One of my students said,”Mrs. D. I read this all by myself”, “Did you know that…”, “I did it, I drew a toucan!”.

Making Observations About The Text Features

Making Observations About The Text Features

This is authentic learning at it’s best. Everything that I am observing this time of year are reflections of our year together. Not only am I noticing the skills in regards to reading and writing that are happening, but it is what my students are doing with their skills that counts for me. The application of knowledge and independence is really remarkable.

Tomorrow I look forward to sharing our informational books. We will be creating a video of the importance of having choice and writing about what we want to know. Of course we will be “tweeting out” to our friends too about what we learned.

A Scientific Drawing On Google!

A Scientific Drawing On Google!

Ahh…… Kindergarten Life is so inspiring. What a grand year it has been!

Comparing and Contrasting Using Air Server

DSCF2122As my students and I continue to experiment with Air Server we are discovering how collaborative it can be.  During our number corner time other mathematicians are able to share their mathematical ideas along with the leader.  Air Server allows us up to 4 students to share their ideas.  When this happens my students are then able to compare and contrast their ideas.  For example we were writing numbers that come before and after a certain number.  Students share their ideas and then others have an opportunity to share how they know their idea to be true.

Later during our number corner time we also explore the date of the day.  For example; the 18th.  Using Doodle Buddy and the stamper feature on the iPad my students are able to create different ways of representing this numeral.  When they appear, students then have an opportunity to share how they know they have 18.  Some may have a group of 10 and 8, so 10 and 8 makes 18.  Another response might be a group of 4 and 14, so 4 and 14 is 18.  The collaboration is powerful because all my students are participating and not only making mathematical connections, but are justifying their mathematical ideas.DSCF2639

What a wonderful way for young mathematicians to compare, contrast and collaborate about their ideas.  Learning is fun, but when you have cool technological tools, it is even more fun and learning becomes alive!

Kindergarten Is Such A Social Place!

Kindergarten is such a social place!  I have been thinking a lot about this lately and the shift I have had in regards to my own thinking about what social means and the important role it plays in Kindergarten.

This past week a father of one of my students used Skype to connect with us from Paris, France.   As I listened and watched the exchange of conversation I was really struck by how all of my students were not only engaged and interested, but were offering suggestions on “how to” make the picture clearer and connection better!  So just by having this available, my students see and experience the value of connecting and what it means to receive a call, the idea of audience and how interesting it can be.

Later in the week we received a post card from Paris, France!  This was so great of this father because my students were able to see a photograph, experience what a postcard is and then add it to our map in our classroom! I am also able to add to our virtual map, Google map too!  This way my students have a variety of experiences and possibilities with how you can connect and communicate with others.

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Later in the day we received another call from our Kindergarten friends in British Columbia, Canada.  Ms. Garrioch and her students shared the metamorphisis of a frog!  Her students took turns sharing information that they felt was important.  Later in our conversation my students were able to ask questions.  It was an amazing exchange of ideas and many learning connections were made.

My students are so use to tweeting and using Skype to connect and have conversations because it is part of our culture.  Kindergarten is a very social place where we all talk all day!  I am thinking about the different tools and social media that I can expose and experience with my students to support our conversations with others.  I am always struck by the level of vocabulary my students are using and how flexible they have become and also their ability to problem solve.  It is all so inspiring!

We connected with Ms. Garrioch’s class through the Kindergarten Around the World Project that I found out about on twitter.  (Click here to read about.) So through this experience my students have made a meaningful connection with other students in another part of the world.  We use twitter to “tweet” back and forth.  Social Media has been a great way for my students to connect and have conversations with others.  I look forward to using twitter again in the fall to re connect with old friends and meet new ones!  What a wonderful, social year it has been in Kindergarten!