Tag Archives: conversation

SKYPE: A Way To Connect, Enrich and Engage

Skype has been a fun, easy way for my students to say hello, have conversations about what we are learning, ask questions, listen to a story, connect and learn new things. Earlier this year a friend, Cathy, I met in an online course thanks to the #plpnetwork that we were both participating in last spring offered to be a guest speaker for my students. I discovered that she was very interested in and had a lot of knowledge about the Monarch Butterfly.  So this Fall when I was exploring this unique animal I was able to use Skype as a way to connect my students with an expert and ask her questions about the life of a Monarch.  My students had great questions and were very comfortable using this synchronous tool because we have had many opportunities earlier with different parents who were willing to call us and say hello and ask us about our learning.  Through this type of modeling and explicit exploration of this tool my students were able to experience what it might be like as well as explore what online etiquette is and how this tool can help support our learning, learning as digital citizens.

Last week another friend and colleague, Brianna Laue, I met at Vermont Fest 2 years ago used Skype to have a few of her students read a couple of wonderful stories aloud to us!  This type of experience gave my students a chance to enjoy a read aloud, but also make connections and other noticings about the story and some of the strategies that the readers were using. Some of the strategies that my students noticed were: *read nicely, good readers, read with expression and they showed us pictures.* This is the beginning of reader’s workshop for my students.  They had an opportunity to be a part of a read aloud where other students were teaching us and through their modeling I can now build on this experience to further my students understanding.photo 3

6 weeks into Kindergarten and all is grand!  I am very grateful for the connections I have made over the years.  My connections are an important part of my PLN.  I continue to be inspired and supported through my connections. They challenge my thinking and broaden my perspective.

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Connecting Through A Quick Conversation!

Just a quick post in regards to what can happen when we take time to notice a smile and say hello!  Connecting through a conversation can be enriched and an opportunity can arise!

This morning I noticed a child getting his shoes on.  I said hello and waited to see if he needed help.  Falling out of his backpack was a bag filled with treasures and one caught my eye.  It was a flag of South Korea.  I made a connection with this right away and asked him if he would show me what else he had in his bag and where the flag was from.  I discovered this child goes to a Korean school and his family is from South Korea.

So…..  I shared with him that my class has connected with a Kindergarten class in South Korea!  He smiled and I invited him to come to my classroom to share his treasures.  He did!  It was wonderful to see how willing and excited this child was to share his story and experience with us.  My students were so excited and very eager to share our Padlet of what we are learning about our Kindergarten friends in South Korea.  He shared a couple of books with us and we made connections and shared what we noticed about the the text.  Then 1 of my students noticed  that we also have a book like his!  We made a text to text connection!  Again, another opportunity to mention in an authentic way a comprehension strategy that we are learning about through a child’s willingness to share.fish

I believe and value making connections because through our connections we have opportunities to share our story, enrich someone’s experience and enhance our understanding through another perspective.  So today I am grateful and so glad that I took time to say hello and connect.  We all have opportunities to connect and share our story.  All you have to do is say hello!

Tweets, Tweeting via Twitter @vermontkkids123

My students are amazing and brilliant!  We continue to explore twitter daily to connect, enrich and collaborate with our friends.  My students are benefiting from our daily conversations that we have with a variety of people.

How?  Together we are modeling “how to” have an online conversation in a safe, kind and responsible way.  We are also experiencing what it means to be a mentor and also how we are developing a learning community.  Our learning community is fluid and changes depending on what is tweeted and if we connect.  What I enjoy about this experience with my students is the dialogue and how we begin to “look” at twitter throughout the day.  I simply say:” Let’s see what others in the world are doing today!”  Through this simple dialogue and comment we begin to connect and share with others.

Exploring social media with my students has opened up a new perspective and given us opportunities to “see” the world globally.  While posting on our kidblogs my students made a connection with the map of the world.  They were so interested in where people were in the world and that they were sharing our learning.  kidblogThen we made a connection with another map of the world that appears inside our classroom and also on our class blog.  What do all these virtual and real face to face maps have in common?  They represent where we are connecting, how we are connecting and how we are not only sharing our learning, but modeling how to be safe, kind and responsible digital citizens.

Later during a reader’s workshop time one of my students makes a text to world connection.  She sees a map in a book and recognizes it.  I then have an opportunity to have a conversation about not only her connection, but why the map may be in the text and what it’s purpose is.text to world conn

One of our classroom connections on twitter is @vtfirsties.  Through our conversations we have been able to inspire, be mentors and learn from each other.  Our latest tweet from them. Screen shot 2014-02-14 at 10.55.02 AM

Now my students begin to experience how their ideas inspire others.  Through this experience we begin to connect and collaborate.

This past week I asked my students how we share our learning with the world.  These are some of the responses.

1. Take a picture and post it to Twitter
2. Take a screen shot, post it to Twitter and Tweet it
3. Just describing on Twitter what you wrote about
4. Post it on our Kidblogs
5. Take picture and put it on our classroom blog to share
6. Skype and share our story

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We connected with @kindertweeten, in Chicago and we discovered that we were both creating “How To” stories.  Now we have an opportunity to share our work!  Through this modeling we celebrate our writing as well as share with a larger audience.  The positive commenting inspires us to not only write more, but share!  The impact is so positive in regards to writing.  It helps us feel successful and willing to take risks.dld 1

As a teacher this gives me an authentic picture of my students understanding about not only that they share outside of our classroom, but the specific tools that we use.  We are beginning to explore the world in regards to our learning and how we connect and what we have in common as well as other perspectives.  My students really enjoy the positive feedback that we experience.  Through this positive conversation via twitter we become connected and engaged with our learning.  We are learning side by side with other students and their amazing teachers about “how to” use social media to connect, collaborate, get inspired and have conversations about our discoveries.

The Value of Conversations

Last spring I had the honor of participating in a panel discussion with Steve Hargadon and other amazing educators at the Dynamic Landscape Conference at Champlian College in Burlington, Vermont.  Prior to this panel discussion I first met/heard Steve speak through a prerecorded Google Hangout created by Lucie Delabruere and Charles Wilson.  It was an amazing conversation.  Steve shared with us about the importance of having conversations and being open to what they can reveal, inspire and the value of face to face conversations.  This has had me thinking deeply for awhile now about how I can not only have meaningful conversations, but how this might look and sound like for me professionally and with my Kindergarten students and their families.

View the panel discussion…..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUVRPyR4Ot0&list=PL1oMB99j4uZZYwb3EjI2YKk_CzLOx3mr_&index=1

What has happened so far….

1. Twitter:  My students have “conversations” through threaded tweets about ideas that we find interesting, curious about or that we connect with.  The blue lines help my students visualize how our ideas, words are connecting. My students parents are also tweeting us as well and asking us questions about ideas we have explored.

2. SKYPE: Skype has been an awesome tool for us to use to have face to face conversations with others outside of our classroom.  This tool has only enhanced and enriched our thinking and we have developed a very positive and kind online etiquette as well because of how we use Skype to converse.

3. SpeakPipe: This is a great gadget that I found out about thanks to Karen Lirenman. I put this on our science blog.  Some parents leave questions and comments about scientific ideas we are exploring.  I have also had a few educators leave comments and questions for me as well.  This is great because I am then able to continue our conversation via Skype or Google Hangout.

4. Blogging/Kidblog: Blogging is an amazing platform to share and reflect.  My students experience commenting and giving compliments as another way to “speak” about what they are discovering.

5. Google Hangout: This is an amazing tool that can bring people together to have a conversation regardless of where you are.  I have used this tool with students, other professionals to share their ideas, have conversations and get help and advice.

6. Oral Language: I have created an Important Word Tree in my classroom where we post new words that we begin to explore and use everyday in Kindergarten.  This has been an amazing opportunity for me to capture and enhance the words of my students as well as offer them other words that mean the same thing.  For example in kindergarten we are not talking, but having conversations.  This has really raised the level of vocabulary not only being used, but how my students are beginning to strengthen and develop their oral vocabulary and understanding.DSCF3067

So because of my experience last spring I was inspired, my views and perspectives were challenged and I made some new connections with other inspiring educators.

I learned about how conversations can be experienced in a variety of ways and some of the tools that can make this possible.

One of the things that I enjoy most when I meet new people is what their story is, their experience and what they have discovered.  This offers me an opportunity to stay connected and know that these connections are always there and available.  The technology does not replace ideas or opportunities to have face to face conversations, it captures, connects and enhances our stories.

Who are these amazing educators?

You can find these educators on twitter.  They are: @stevehargadon @alanfletcher4 @babbitjoyce @nissakauppila @mattallenedu @techsavvygirl and @chaswilson.

Digital Citizenship: Learning is Enhanced, Connections Made via Twitter!

I participated in an awesome #vted chat last night and our conversation was about digital citizenship.  I have been thinking a lot about the chat and how much I learned from others who shared. I was inspired to share about what has happened in @vermontkkids123 this month.

What a wonderful month it has been in Kindergarten. I have been reflecting and thinking about how I am modeling and engaging my students, their families and myself  in regards to becoming digital citizens.  It has been an amazing month of connecting and integrating technology into our busy days together.twe

Twitter has enriched my professional learning and also the learning of my students.  The connections and learning opportunities we have experienced have been rich, interactive and have given us opportunities to connect with others.  My students have also been models for others in regards to “how” we tweet and why.  We had a great opportunity this month.  @vtfirsties contacted us via twitter.  They are a first grade class in New Hampshire.  They connected with us on twitter and Skype!  We had a conversation via Skype and it was awesome!  One of our new friends asked us why we tweet.  One of my students shared that we tweet because that is how we connect with other people and we then we can share.  So proud of my students.

Now we have a new connection.  We have exchanged comments on each others kidblogs too!  The students have used 2 different platforms to have conversations, connect and share!  Later one of my students was noticing the blue line on twitter between tweets.  I asked;” What do you think it means?” Two of my students shared that it means we are connected!  Wow!  Yes, it does and now I have another opportunity to go deeper in terms of what else they may notice.  One of my students shared that we can have lots of conversations at the sametime.  Yes, because we have more than 1 blue line between tweets.  This is how easy it can be and so meaningful when using social media to help develop digital citizens.We also connected with a Kindergarten class in Wisconsin.  Through twitter we have learned a new mathematical game that is helping us develop the concept of subtraction.

Our conversation focuses on what we learned and discovered through a connection we made in regards to what we were learning.  Our friends in Wisconsin, @naulta132 also get to experience how they have made a difference for us.  This is how we, as educators of young children can model and help our students experience what it means to be a safe, kind and responsible digital citizen.

Students enjoy getting a paper twitter bird as an explicit artifact that they can bring home and share with their family.  Kidblog is another way to share how we are learning and with who.  Skype is a way to have face to face conversations with others outside of our classroom.twee

I feel that as an educator I am modeling how we make a difference and make contributions to the world through learning, this is part of being a global citizen.  The digital part is how we share our story.  Through our stories we connect, have conversations and inspire others.

Connecting As An Educator: What it looks and sounds like @kkidsinvt

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.

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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.

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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.

Kindergarten Is Such A Social Place!

Kindergarten is such a social place!  I have been thinking a lot about this lately and the shift I have had in regards to my own thinking about what social means and the important role it plays in Kindergarten.

This past week a father of one of my students used Skype to connect with us from Paris, France.   As I listened and watched the exchange of conversation I was really struck by how all of my students were not only engaged and interested, but were offering suggestions on “how to” make the picture clearer and connection better!  So just by having this available, my students see and experience the value of connecting and what it means to receive a call, the idea of audience and how interesting it can be.

Later in the week we received a post card from Paris, France!  This was so great of this father because my students were able to see a photograph, experience what a postcard is and then add it to our map in our classroom! I am also able to add to our virtual map, Google map too!  This way my students have a variety of experiences and possibilities with how you can connect and communicate with others.

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Later in the day we received another call from our Kindergarten friends in British Columbia, Canada.  Ms. Garrioch and her students shared the metamorphisis of a frog!  Her students took turns sharing information that they felt was important.  Later in our conversation my students were able to ask questions.  It was an amazing exchange of ideas and many learning connections were made.

My students are so use to tweeting and using Skype to connect and have conversations because it is part of our culture.  Kindergarten is a very social place where we all talk all day!  I am thinking about the different tools and social media that I can expose and experience with my students to support our conversations with others.  I am always struck by the level of vocabulary my students are using and how flexible they have become and also their ability to problem solve.  It is all so inspiring!

We connected with Ms. Garrioch’s class through the Kindergarten Around the World Project that I found out about on twitter.  (Click here to read about.) So through this experience my students have made a meaningful connection with other students in another part of the world.  We use twitter to “tweet” back and forth.  Social Media has been a great way for my students to connect and have conversations with others.  I look forward to using twitter again in the fall to re connect with old friends and meet new ones!  What a wonderful, social year it has been in Kindergarten!