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Teaching Kindergarten in the 21st Century and Beyond
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Category Archives: Twitter/Social Media
Posted on September 5, 2016
A very exciting time of year for me is the beginning of Kindergarten. Summer ends and I find myself interacting and learning new ways to connect, engage and enhance learning. Creating a culture for learning is always a challenge because I get new students each year and we explore our new classroom inside and out alongside each other. I am watching and listening to see what interests my students have as well as how they might be learning and sharing their ideas that they are curious about.
An idea I tried this year…. and it was so successful, was to read The Dot by, Peter Reynolds as out 1st story together. I choose this story because it illustrates so easily the value of sharing your idea and even more importantly how a teacher needs to be ready and engaged with what is “there”. The imagination of a child is wonderful and this story captures how I can, as a teacher, take time to notice what each of my students is capable of, the gifts they have and to always celebrate what they know and are willing to show me. Through what we celebrate, more will come and I hope my students will grow confident through their ideas and by taking risks with what they want to share.
As I read the story I kept referring to what do you want to make? create? and design? I was specific with this vocabulary because I want my students to begin to explore how their ideas matter and how together we can collaborate and inspire each other. I also created cards and laminated them so that these words become part of our culture, words we will use to support and inspire each other.
When I asked my students questions while I was reading the story I began with phrases like; What do you notice… I wonder….. Again the vocabulary is important because it offers everyone an opportunity to share an idea, rather than an answer to a specific question.
After reading the story we sang the Dot Song together. It was really magical. I played it on the Smartboard and afterwards I had a quick opportunity to let parents know about this great author, but also that I see safeshare.tv as a way to play videos safely. Again, I am trying to weave and thread through a variety of ideas in a meaningful way.
Then as we were getting ready to take our first bus ride I had an opportunity to share our class blog. Again I am trying to highlight things that we, the parents and students will be using to highlight our learning. When sharing the blog I am able to connect the story we just read. Letting the children know that the book has text and pictures just like our class blog. So as we begin to create, build and design our learning like the child in the story, we will be “making our mark” on our class blog where we can share our ideas with the world.
A great opportunity to participate in an international celebration of creativity. Join others globally to celebrate International Dot Day. Go here to join. When I shared this with my students they were very excited. This offers us all an opportunity to share and celebrate our creative spirt. Through our willingness to share, we can all become inspired…..
So after 2 days in Kindergarten we have created book bins with author names and names of themes.
This way the children become familiar with book names and authors. I am now beginning to let them them know they will also be authors this year just like…….
Children begin to get excited about books and reading. We begin by reading to self. In Kindergarten we have a variety of spaces, places and books to read. We need different things….. Creating a culture needs to be flexible, but also make room for children to shine as individuals… Not an easy task……
I invited parents in to create science journals for our outdoor classroom and hand painted aprons too. It is important to include parents whenever you can so they can also be a part of their child’s learning. Even in the beginning days parents feel connected and a part of their child’s journey.
We “tweeted” and painted a map of the world to reflect where we will be able to post who we are connecting with and how. This is important because I want to model how we can have conversations globally in a safe, kind and responsible way.
Creating a culture of learning is the most important thing I do as a teacher. The culture reflects what we are doing, why it is important and how we will be sharing what we are exploring globally. Teaching is a privilege and an opportunity to offer hope and inspiration. This year I am thinking about the value of opening my classroom globally and ways I can learn alongside my students and families. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has ideas to share about how you begin to develop a learning culture…..
Thanks for reading and sharing.
Posted on April 26, 2016
Posted on April 3, 2016
Posted on February 18, 2016
Digital Learning Day is one of those opportunities students and their teachers have to share about why this is an important day to recognize and why digital tools are important in regards to our learning. So my students created Kidblog posts and we are using Twitter this week also to share how and why we use digital tools.
This afternoon I asked my students to think about why this might be an important day to celebrate and what are the ways we use digital tools. I was really impressed and also felt validated about why digital tools are important. Here are some of the responses that were shared today.
- We can have conversations with other people in the world.
- We can share our learning with the world.
- We show how we use them in a safe, kind and responsible way.
- They make your brain think more things and they help you learn.
- They help us to have conversations with other people. We connect.
- You learn how to use digital tools.
- They help you think better. They help you think when you don’t know what to do.
- They want you to learn.
- We celebrate this day because we want other people to know what we are doing.
- Our parents know what we are learning.
- They are fun.
- We help each other and collaborate.
Learning is for everyone and technology gives us all a voice. Digital tools and platforms have enriched and engaged my own learning and that of both my students and their parents. The communication is ongoing, fluid and just by offering a variety of platforms to share, I am also modeling explicitly “how to” use tools in safe, kind and responsible ways. Parents want to be informed and engaged. They are important stakeholders in their child’s education. So today was another opportunity to model and celebrate the value and excitement me, my students and families have in regards to learning, but also how we share and reflect what we are exploring.
Happy Digital Learning Day!
Posted on April 21, 2015
Posted on January 25, 2015
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. After 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.
After 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.
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.