Category Archives: Google

Building an Awareness Globally

I have the privilege of being a teacher.  I look forward to each year with my Kindergarten students because together, we get to learn about the world and build our understanding of what we can do to help others and ourselves.  I appreciate the support I get from my families each year as we all begin to develop an awareness of others through our ideas and personal experiences.

As I begin to explore ways to build an awareness of the world I always think about what are the tools available to use to help capture and enhance the amazing discoveries we are making inside Kindergarten.  So this year I am using Twitter, Kidblog, Padlet, AirServer,Blogger, Skype and GoogleHangout.  These platforms, applications and tools all offer opportunities to share what my students are curious about and also capture their ideas that we share globally.  I think the sharing no matter what platform you use is a wonderful way to demonstrate explicitly what you are exploring and then your students have opportunities to see who in the world is interested in their learning.  This is so powerful for children because they are inspired and excited to see where in the world they are having an impact and who is also interested in what they are learning.

Recently we used Skype as a way to learn about the life of bees with an expert.  My student intern created a unit of study about bees.  She use Skype as 1 way  for the children to ask questions and share their learning.

Twitter is on all day because you never know when you might want to share an idea. This way my students get to connect with others who are sharing what they are learning.  When we “tweet” we are demonstrating and modeling “how to” have a conversation on line. Look here and here to read posts I have had published in regards to using Twitter.

Padlet is a fun and easy way to ask others globally for ideas and to share.  This tool is like a sticky note so when I explain and share with my students I have something explicit to connect this with.  My students were able to see what a pumpkin looked like in Germany and Australia recently via this tool.  A great opportunity to make connections and see what is different, the same and wonder about what all of these plants need to grow no matter where in the world they are. Look here at ours.

Kidblog is a wonderful way to explore ‘how to” write with an audience in mind.  This way my students begin to experience that a larger audience will be reading and looking at there posts, so they become excited and focused on doing their best.  Kidblog also has a map of the world like we have on our classroom wall and our class blog so we have many opportunities to connect and see who in the world is interested in our ideas. Look here, here and here to read posts Kidblog has published.

Blogger is another way to enhance and share your learning and that of your students.  Through our own ability to be transparent and share our voice, we offer invitations to share our students’ voices too. The families of my students love the class blog because it offers  them an opportunity to have face to face conversations with their child about there day inside Kindergarten.  This is important because I want the learning that takes place inside my classroom to be outside as well.  This is whereby students begin to develop an awareness of the world and how many wonderful things we have to share.  Look here to see a post that was published on blogging and here to read about the positive effects of blogging.  Why I blog…..

GoogleHangout is an easy and fun way for parents to read a story to the class as well as share with other children globally about a topic of interest.  Read Across America is a great opportunity for teachers to connect with others globally via a great book!

This year many parents have been emailing me photos of their child making connections with ideas we are exploring inside Kindergarten.  This has been a wonderful way for my students to share their connection with the class and facilitate a discussion.  This type of opportunity also gives all my students inspiration and raises their self confidence.  They matter and what is important to them matters too.

In the photos you might notice a child seeing a rhombus created with light in her home.  This is one of the attributes we are exploring in Kindergarten.  Another child sharing a climb he made also noticing a circular shape on top of a mountain. He shared what he saw as well while on top of a mountain.  This is another opportunity for me to weave in the idea of perspective. Another child creating pizza.  We had an opportunity to talk about straight lines and curvy lines because of what this child created.  We were also able to justify our thinking because we made connections with other things that are triangular.

Interacting with the world has opened my eyes to what is possible to explore even with 5 and 6 year old children.  We are able to enrich our understanding of the world through our ideas and sharing our perspectives with others.  Then we make connections with what we see others doing and we begin to question which is where we think critically and deeply about what we are exploring.

In Kindergarten, Writers Are Making The World A Better Place For Everyone!

This past week in Kindergarten I began a new writing theme, persuasive writing. In Kindergarten this is a very fun and engaging theme because children get to write about real things that matter to them.  As I began to introduce this new idea with my students I used a phrase from Lucy Calkins Unit of Study Books;“Writers Write To Make The World Better.” This was a great way to begin to explore “how to” write persuasively.  Prior to this theme of study we explored how to writing so my students were already familiar with thinking about what features we might need to have when writing a persuasive piece. unnamed-1After we had time to think by ourselves(private reasoning time), then we turned and talked with each other.  These 2 steps are important for young writers because they need to be able to have conversations face to face to help them understand their idea and also reflect on what others have to share. Then we were ready to share our ideas in a large group.  We came up with 3 important key ideas.    One of my students shared that he thought being able to write a persuasive piece was about convincing somebody to do something and like your idea! Yes!  This was a great way for us to begin our first attempt to write our own pieces.  Many of my students choose to write about real world problems, I was so amazed at what they had to say.  Here are some of their ideas; ‘I want people to stop shooting animals”, ‘I want people to stop running away from bad people who want to hurt them”, “I want people to pick up garbage”, “I want people to start caring about the Earth.” Right away I noticed many things, the language that was being used, the sophistication of some of their concerns as well as the empathy everyone had.

unnamedAfter we began to write, many of my students noticed that a lot of our ideas started with 2 words, “I want”. So this became our story starter for our pieces. Twitter is also available for us throughout the day to share with others as well.  Just by “tweeting” our ideas we connect and make connections with others.  Many of our Kindergarten friends on Twitter are exploring similar themes.  This is another rich way we can share and have conversations in a global way in regards to learning. This week to continue our theme I am thinking of inviting my students to convince others about why they would make a great friend.  I think this will be a nice way to honor the ideas of Martin Luther King and also a great way for us to experience another way we can have hope and celebrate friendship. Many of my students were very interested in writing pieces about animals and how they need to be saved because they might get extinct!  As we shared and explored our thinking and reasoning behind these animals, many of my students wanted actual photographs to see.  So we used Google to help us!  My students have learned these tips when we use Google to search for information to help us with what we are learning.

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Google Tips:

1. Ask your teacher or an adult to help you!
2. Go to Safari on the iPad.
3. Type in photos of (name of your animal)
I am finding so many creative and wonderful ways to use digital tools to enhance and engage learning inside and outside of Kindergarten.  Just by using Google we are experiencing ‘how to” to search in a safe way in regards to our learning.  Experiences like this will only help my students and their families learn “how to” use digital tools in responsible ways.
I have many opportunities as an educator to make learning fun, interactive and meaningful.  Just by writing a persuasive piece, we came up with many ways to share our work and use digital tools to connect and inspire our thinking.