Yesterday was one of those amazing experiences that I had using a synchronous tool with my Kindergarten students that really had a positive impact on what we were exploring inside and outside of our classroom. As a Kindergarten teacher I have lots of opportunities for my students to create and design their understanding of the topics we explore. We use our imagination and interest, but also our hands!
Yesterday morning we had an opportunity to use SKYPE to connect and learn from a forest ranger in Yellowstone National Park! Wow! My students were so captivated and interested in this session. Our forest ranger was engaging, shared photographs and real artifacts of animals and other real things that are part of forest life. Through this experience my students learned about forest life in the west. We were able to make connections with ideas that we were familiar with in Vermont too. My students learned about special adaptations of animals and how these adaptations impact their life. As I watched and listened to the conversation between the forester, in Colorado and my classroom I was struck at how comfortable my students were in using Skype as a way to share and the great questions they had. My students were engaged and enriched with this experience. They were able to experience again the value of making connections with others who have a special expertise and a different perspective about what we are exploring.
I look forward to using @SKYPEClassroom again to enrich my students learning. This is a wonderful, easy and fun way to connect real learning opportunities in authentic ways.
As we began to explore the forests of Vermont my students were very interested in the trees that grew in the forests and the animal live. So we began to create our own forest inside of our classroom. We constructed trees using paper, paint and cardboard. We even collected real tree growth from the natural world and found ways to display and share inside our classroom. Later we created non fiction books, created posts on our Kidblogs about our favorite forest animal, the rabbit! Later we were also able to create our own rabbit too!
As an educator I have opportunities to use a variety of technologies to support and enrich learning for my students. I continue to share and try new ideas that offer inspiration and challenge my thinking. It is vital that I think in a transparent way when teaching. It is an opportunity for me to offer my students and their families to learn alongside me, with me and feel like they are a part of their child’s education. This is how I am able to make a difference, engage and connect. I would not do it differently. Technology is definitely changing education, but it is creating an opportunity for all of us to connect and engage in meaningful ways that supports learning inside and outside of our classrooms. How are you making this happen?