As I am finishing up last minute things in my classroom today I was thinking about all the different ways my students have been mentors this past year with each other, helping model how to tweet and blog with other classrooms as well as sharing their expertise with adults.
Last spring a teacher approached me and wanted to observe how I use technology with my students and was also interested in how I use the SMARTboard as well. I asked one of my students to provide additional support and more 1:1 time after our meeting. As I watched and listened to the conversation I was really impressed with not only how comfortable my student was with the SMART technology, but the problem solving that took place during this 1:1 support time with a teacher. I loved seeing the teacher take notes as she asked questions about not only the operation of the board, but what happens when things go wrong and do not work. Watching my student navigate through how to solve problems as they arise was really wonderful.
I am not only proud of all my students, but this experience reminded me of the importance of self direction, problem solving and critical thinking. All of these ideas were happening at once and being facilitated by one of my kindergarten students. As a teacher of young children I have a unique opportunity to model explicitly how synchronous and asynchronous tools can be integrated in a seamless way in regards to learning. Once my students understood how this tool works, how we use it, then they are able to create and design their ideas as well and make contributions. Through our contributions and being able to teach and share what we know with others we get inspired, experience positive self esteem and make connections. This student was empowered because she was able to make a contribution, help another teacher and engage in conversations that challenged her thinking and helped her reflect on what she has learned. For this amazing teacher, my friend, I think about what great professional development this was for her!
Really looking forward to summer and ISTE 2014 where I have an opportunity to share what a magical place kindergarten is. Happy Summer Everyone!