Monthly Archives: September 2014

I Blog Because…………..

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Why I Blog

In 2008 I was introduced to this idea, blogging idea because I was in a workshop that my school offered by an amazing technology educational integrationist, Bonnie Birdsall. I was inspired by her presentation and all of the possibilities that blogging could offer. I remember my mind being flooded with all of the possibilities that I started to think about in regards to communication, relationship building and perspective.

So my journey began….

Here I am 6 years later.  I manage 5 blogs, in my 5th year of using Kidblog and have had many opportunities to blog on other Blogs like SmartBrief on Education, Teach.com, Kidblog, Eduwin and I have also had the honor of writing a couple of articles for the ISTE Leading and Learning with Technology magazine.  These have all been amazing opportunities for me to share my voice using an asynchronous tool to be transparent about what I am exploring and discovering in regards to learning and how technology can really enhance learning experiences for myself and my students.

If you are thinking of blogging, do it!  Take a risk at sharing your voice with others.  I have found that the rewards of blogging have been inspiring and engaging.  I have had my thinking challenged, my perspective is wide and I appreciate what others have to say and ask in regards to what I am sharing.  Through this type of online conversation I am inspired, my thinking is challenged and I begin to connect and learn from others, collaborations develop.

I began by creating a classroom blog.  My goal was to create a place where my students and I could create posts about our learning explorations that we experienced inside and outside of kindergarten.  As I began exploring blogging with my students, I found the children to be very excited about it.  They enjoyed seeing themselves, hearing their ideas and asking each other what they noticed.  This was the beginning of something wonderful for me in regards to not only becoming more transparent, but also how this asynchronous tool was about to transform my learning as well.

What I noticed….

  1. Opportunities for conversations:

As a kindergarten teacher I want to make sure that I have plenty of opportunities for my students to engage in rich, meaningful conversations in regards to what they exploring.  These conversations are extremely important because they validate the thinking and ideas that my students have.  When a child can hear and see themselves in a photograph, a video, a podcast they are immediately engaged and naturally begin to make connections and observations.  This is a wonderful way to begin to validate and highlight the conversations that are happening inside of your classroom.  Then when you post on a blog, you begin to model explicitly what can happen when you share your thinking with others. You are thinking about how you can share outside of your classroom walls. Your students will be intrigued by the blog and how it can be used to highlight what they are exploring.

Then by adding a map widget on your blog you begin to help your students develop the idea of audience and perspective. Your students begin to think about the value of what can happen when they share.  I always tell my students that this map is the world, it is a way that we can share what we are learning with others.  Others are interested in what we are exploring and learning.  This is another opportunity for me to explicitly to model how a conversation can begin through blogging.  We begin to notice, look at others blogs and make comments about what they are doing too.  Through this type of modeling I am beginning to take steps with my students about what it means to be a safe, kind and responsible digital citizen.  The map on our blog now serves as a place where we notice all of the attributes blinking.  This is motivating for my students because they get interested where people are in the world and that they are interested in what we are learning.  Engagement and interest is high.

Communication became fluid, available, enriching, variety of tools: Communication is vital.  I want my students and their parents to be informed about daily kindergarten life.  Blogging is a great platform for this to happen because it is always their.  Sending paper notes home is really inefficient for me because folks loose the paper, forget dates, etc.  Using blogging as a platform is one way that I can consistently share what is happening inside/outside of kindergarten in regards to learning.

  1. Parents want to be informed and be able to contribute and have conversations with their children about their day in school.  Blogging is a vehicle to help make this happen.  The blog is a way for parents to engage and have face to face conversations with their  children about their day in school.  The photographs, video, etc. offer an opportunity to share and reflect. Here parents can begin to see and hear how learning is enriched through using blogging as a platform. Through blogging I am able to open up opportunities for parents to ask questions, post comments and share with other family members.
  2. In Kindergarten I have many opportunities throughout the day to capture what and how my students are exploring their ideas and what they understand about them. When I am able to photograph and/or use a video I offer another way for my students to reflect and explain their ideas.  As an educator this also gives me a way to listen to what my students understand and how they came to their justification of what they share.  Through face to face conversations and turn and talks that occur authentically I am able to use my class blog as a way to share not only what my students are learning, but how they are learning. Here is where excitement and engagement can really be ignited!
  3. I have seen how all of my students become more confident and take risks with sharing their ideas because they enjoy seeing themselves and their work.  When I model and share their learning I am offering them an opportunity to share their perspective globally.  All students want to share and talk about what they are doing.  The blog offers a way for my students to get positive compliments and feedback.  The commenting that occurs has been thoughtful and positive.  This inspires my students to take risks and share more!
  4. When others connect with us we also have an opportunity to model and share our ideas. Without always being aware of it my students are mentoring their learning for others.  This is also inspiring and offers time for my students to reflect and share what matters most about what they understand. Once we begin to share our voice, we capture what is important and give others opportunities to try what we are doing and the tools we are using.  All it takes is an idea and the willingness to try.  The opportunities unfold on their own.
  5. We are modeling how to be safe, kind and responsible because we always share about what and how we are learning.  Our online etiquette is the same as it is when we are having face to face conversations.

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I blog because……..

1.Opportunities for conversations=Builds Positive Communication

  1. Family engagement, Connection
  2. Authentic Learning
  3. Positive Self-Esteem=High Engagement
  4. Collaboration can lead to mentoring opportunities
  5. Digital Citizenship: safe, kind, responsible, explicit modeling

Blogging has offered me endless ways for my families to connect and engage in their child’s learning.  As a professional I continue to grow, learn and be inspired through my own learning, my students and others who take risks and chances in sharing.  I am able to make a difference because I care, but I am also willing to be transparent and share and engage in global conversations with others who strive each day to make learning fun and meaningful.

So when others ask me why I blog, I say;”Why not?”

 

The First 6 Days @vermontkkids123

Hurray for Kindergarten!  I am so grateful and happy to be able to go to work each day where I am able to make a difference.  This year has come quickly and already I am amazed at all of the opportunities that have appeared for myself, my parents and my students.

We are connecting!

Modeling “how to” be a safe, kind and responsible citizen is vital.  As an educator of young children these ideas are easy and fun to thread throughout our busy days together in regards to everything.  I also have opportunities to model ‘how to” connect online as well.  Twitter has given me and my students lots of opportunities to share things we are experiencing.  We have had conversations with Kindergarten children in New York, Vermont, South Korea and Wisconsin.  My students and their families with my guidance are able to experience the value of a ‘tweet” and how it can enhance and connect our learning with others. Through my modeling my students and their families experience how social media can be used in meaningful ways in regards to learning.  This is important.  I want my families alongside of me as I begin to share how we connect.

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Skype is also being used already with parents who are calling us to say hello and ask what we are doing during the day.  By using familiar faces I begin to model how this synchronous tool can be used to connect and have conversations.  Through parent participation they begin to “see” how this tool can be used.  Again I invite my parents of my students because I want to be explicit about how the tool might be used and the positive impact on learning.

Blogging about our busy days together has really helped my parents and my students begin to experience and reflect on our learning.  I have already had a couple of comments!  Our class blog provides another way for my students to have conversations with each other and their families about what they are exploring inside and outside of Kindergarten.  We have a shelfari where we keep track of the books we read as well as a map of the world!  The map is especially awesome because it offers my students another opportunity to get a global perspective about where we are in the world, but also that others are interested in what we are learning.  Through our sharing others will get inspired and have their thinking challenged.  As an educator I welcome this continually.  Through this type of reflection I grow as a professional, a learner and become more transparent and open in regards to how I think about learning.

Face to face and turn and talks happen in an almost seamless fashion throughout the day.  My students are beginning to understand how listen to understand and offer their perspective through discussions around books, caterpillars we find outside and through collaboration when creating structures out of a variety of materials.

We are so lucky to have a Smartboard and document camera. My students have experienced in only 6 days how these tools can enhance our learning.  Through our ability to interact with these tools we are able to reflect on our thinking and share what we understand.jpg

We are collaborating!

Through Twitter we have made a new connection with a 6th grade class in Vermont.  We are learning about global citizenship and how to “Tweet” responses to specific questions we are asked.

We have learning buddies in our school!  We connect weekly with them presently and share books.  In the future we will be using Google Hangout as a way to share a story that we read aloud.  Our learning buddies model how to be kind and caring as well as model ways for us to engage in books. we also follow them on Twitter too!

Through AirServer and iPads we are able to create and share our understanding of new concepts we explore.

DSCF4228This is an awesome way for young children to begin to learn “how to” create letters and numbers.  We begin by exploring the different ways to make lines.

We are creating!

Through Twitter we create tweets about our busy days together.  It always begins with;”What do you want to share with the world today?”

We are creating different ways to write our names using a variety of materials.  We are creating illustrations that tell stories so we can share our ideas.

My students are learning ‘how to” collaborate and work together to build structures and negotiate ways to be inclusive with our play.  We are having conversations about what we can do as a learning community to help others.  My students have amazing ideas.  Stay tuned for what we decide to solve together to make a difference for others!

Kindergarten is the most wonderful place to be, really!  We are learning through our exploration and discovery of things we find in nature, through our conversations with others and the many stories we read.  Our classroom is a place where we make a difference everyday for each other.  We are modeling together alongside others too!

I look forward to this week because we will be exploring voicethread, Kidblog and celebrating International Dot Day!  All of these are ways that any educator can use with their students to bring learning to life. Only 6 days and look at what can happen!  All it takes is an idea and the willingness to reach out and say hello!