This past week was an amazing one in Kindergarten! I am so excited and thrilled at how my students, their parents and others are reaching out to connect, share and use technology in meaningful ways that capture what we are learning. This is happening in a variety of ways.
Last week we visited the food shelf in our community and dropped off food that we had collected. My students reminded me that we needed to blog about our trip because others would be interested in how we made a difference. When I asked; “How will they know?” My students shared that they see the triangles blinking on our map of the world on our class blog and that is how they know. Wonderful! The gadget on our class blog gives us feedback about where in the world people are from who are interested in Kindergarten Life.
I had a wonderful opportunity on Friday where I was invited to be a part of a class discussion at Clemson University in South Carolina, facilitated by Ryan D. Visser, Ph.D. So during my lunch time I was able to give an overview of how and why I use technology with my students, families and myself. I was also able to share about what I am seeing in terms of engagement and how my students are interacting with technology and the positive impact it is having on their learning. This was a great way for me to connect with others and have a meaningful conversation via Skype. Ryan and I connected on twitter.
I needed to check in with a parent and thought of this while at my computer. I noticed she was online(thanks to Skype) So I was able to call and have a quick conversation. This was easy and seamless because Skype is part of my classroom culture. We started using Skype on the 1st day of Kindergarten. My point here is that once you begin to use technological tools in authentic ways that enhance connection, reflection and transparency, you begin to transform and your learning is open to others and others will begin to connect and collaborate through your learning.
Twitter is on all day in my classroom and my students are great about sharing what they want to tweet. Social media is used and part of my classroom culture because we use it to reflect, share and connect what we are learning and experiencing. Last week we were beginning to read the live feed from others that we follow and my students began asking how do we tell them we are doing that too.
We are also part of a Flat Classroom project and we created a padlet about what the view is like from outside our window. My students reminded me to tweet this and email this to their parents so that others can post their window view. This is another easy way to connect and share what you are learning. I got this idea because another teacher from Ma. contacted via Skype over the weekend and asked me to post on her padlet. We connected through Skype play last year. Again connections are everywhere! They are active and inactive, but they are always connections.
One of my students parents called us during snack time via Skype to say hello and ask about our day. This is a part of our culture, not a disruption. My students are excited to have conversations with others about what we are doing in Kindergarten. Through authentic opportunities to engage, we connect and get inspired because we are wondering what is next.
Try twitter, Skype, blogging, create a padlet and connect. Showcase something you are doing with your students. For me it is always about the learning, but most importantly about how I am going to share my story with others. Through sharing we get inspired, make connections and gain insight about learning.
I want my students and their families to feel a part of Kindergartenlife. Learning is fluid, ongoing and exciting. Communication is constant and helps build strong relationships which impacts learning in endless, positive ways.