Monthly Archives: July 2013

My Eduwin: What is your #Eduwin?


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I had the opportunity to be a part of a live podcast yesterday at EduReach with Michelle Russell, Cheryl Lykowski, Carlos Fernandez and James Gubbins.  Wow!  It was an incredible experience.  If you teach, be sure to go to: http://www.whatisyoureduwin.com/  This is where you have an opportunity to share the awesome things that you are discovering with your students and colleagues.

How did I find out about #Eduwin? I was on twitter one afternoon reading about the wonderful things that my PLN was involved in when I read a tweet shared by @flourishingkids.  She shared the link to #eduwin and that it was a great place to share what you are doing.  So because of this tweet, I went to the link, read about #Eduwin and decided to share!  I shared my learning about blogging and the impact it has had on me professionally as well as my students, their families and colleagues.  Shortly after I submitted my idea, #Eduwin contacted me and an interactive, live podcast was organized.

This was my 1st podcast.  It was amazing.  I was able to have conversations with 4 talented people whom I have never met.  They are now a part of my PLN!  What was so great about this podcast was that we were all in different parts of the US;  Vermont, Chicago, Michigan and Florida.  This was possible thanks to Google Hangout!  I am new at using Google Hangouts, but it worked so well.  I felt as though we were all in the same place together.

The conversation was very inspiring for me.  As an educator I feel it is so important to have opportunities to share about what we are doing with our students.  I learn so much from the successes and challenges from my colleagues.  The dialogue is important and vital for my growth as an educator.  Through this type of experience I am now willing to do this again and encourage others to share as well!

I am struck continually by the energy, courage, creativity, perseverance and knowledge that I come across when I am connecting with my PLN.  For me twitter and linkedin play an important role in my transformation and growth.  If you are not using social media as part of your profession, I hope that you will consider it!  The world is a huge place with so many opportunities to connect, collaborate and grow.  I value all of the connections I have made because they have helped me become a strong and transparent teacher, who continues to find ways to make a difference for my students.

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Connecting With Parents: Value of Conversations

I value connecting and communicating with my parents and my students before I meet them as well as throughout our year together. These are vital and very important in regards to not only the strong relationships I want to develop, but how it supports and strengthens learning.

How it starts….

Prior to Kindergarten I send a post card to each of my new students via snail mail. I then create an email distribution list and contact my new families. I welcome them, give them LOTS of information in regards to how we connect and where to go to get information in regards to Kindergarten.

I send out a Google Form asking permission for using Social Media, YouTube, Skype, kidblog, posting their work and photos, video on the websites I have created. (Click here to see the form) This way my parents and students have opportunities to connect, share, have conversations virtually about what kindergarten life will be like. This is so important. Parents need lots of opportunities to ask questions, share and connect. As an educator I welcome the opportunity to get connected with my students and their parents. Through our connections and conversations that we have before, during and after Kindergarten are extremely important and valuable.

I also offer an informational meeting prior to school staring for all my new families. The focus is getting connected digitally. I invite former Kindergarten students to help me show how and why we use the tools we do in regards to our learning. This is an easy, fun and interactive way to have a large group conversation about how my new students and their families will be connecting throughout our year together.

My Rationale…..

I feel strongly about making opportunities for both my students and families to connect prior to Kindergarten starting. What an awesome opportunity I have to get everyone connected in the beginning. Digital culture is really different for many people. I look at this as a way for me to really highlight and promote the use of a variety of technologies in a safe, kind, responsible way. As I model and use technology in meaningful ways I am demonstrating and encouraging my students and their families to interact in a variety of ways digitally. The interaction is always focused on their learning and is meaningful in regards to what we feel is important to what we discover.

In the beginning my focus and goals are about connecting and developing relationships. As an educator the relationship is huge for me and very important. I want to be as transparent as I can in regards to what I am doing and why. This way my students and their families gain perspective about what kindergarten life looks and sounds like. Also, most importantly, how they can interact and be involved with their child’s school experience. Time is very valuable and opportunities arise out of nowhere sometimes, even unexpectedly. I try to capture and embrace those moments to share and connect. Through my modeling, parents feel connected and that their voice is heard and needed.

The information I share…….

1. Class Wiki This is where parents can connect, read and ask questions about Kindergarten life. This wiki has the “nuts and bolts” of what their child needs, daily schedules, etc.

2. Literacy Wiki This is where parents go to read, see and listen to what literacy is and how it works in Kindergarten. Each page focuses on a different aspect of our literacy program.

3. Math Wiki This is where parents go to learn about what mathematical thinking and exploration looks like and sounds like in Kindergarten. Each page focuses on a different strand, concept of what their child will be experiencing.

4. Class Blog This is where parents go with their child/children to see what is happening in Kindergarten. I blog in the beginning of school with my students so they begin to develop a sense of audience and the importance of how we connect, share, and what we explore.

5. Life Studies Blog This is where I highlight and emphasize science exploration. I originally created this blog to showcase our 4 Winds program. This is a parent run and organized science program in our school.

6. Summer Reading Blog This was created for former and new students to connect with in regards to literacy. This idea was shared with me by our Technology Education Integrationist, Bonnie Birdsall(@bonniebird).

7. Kidblog This is an amazing platform to use with my students and their families. Through blogging everyone experiences how you can share your voice and connect with others in a safe, kind and responsible way. A wonderful way to experience and model how to be a digital citizen.

7. Kindergartenlife This blog was created as a place where I can reflect about what I am doing and why. I share my discoveries, challenges and celebrations in regards to teaching Kindergarten.IMG_5286

I use a lot of technology because it gives everyone a voice. Technology is not separate from what I do and explore with my students. It is a part of our daily life and culture because I model a variety of tools in authentic ways, ways that capture and enhance our learning experiences. Learning is for everyone.