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Teaching Kindergarten in the 21st Century and Beyond
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Tag Archives: learning
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 January 2, 2016
I am grateful for being a teacher because….
Being a teacher is a privilege and a honor. Teaching is about offering hope all day long and being available to encourage, create and design learning opportunities that have an impact. I also feel it is about creating a learning culture that is open to the world where all learners can connect, take risks, share their voice and have friends.
Today I am thinking about my own path and reflecting on an amazing year of growth. I have much to be grateful for. As a teacher I have the ability to help promote empathy, patience, risk taking, acceptance and collaboration. These are ideas that I think are important to think about as I weave a multitude of learning opportunities throughout the day.
So for today…..
to inspire ideas through inquiry and passion.
to learn more about “how to” create opportunities globally for my students. Culture is rich everywhere and I want to find ways to connect and celebrate what the world has to offer.
to be a part of solution based problem solving opportunities where I am able to share my #edvoice in hopes of making education better.
to collaborate with others around making a difference.
to learn alongside my amazing PLN which hopefully will just keep on growing.
to have my thinking challenged through opportunities that present themselves.
to explore nature often with my students. Nature is full of patterns, fresh air and authentic opportunities to learn about the natural world.
to be able to continue to mentor others who are interested in becoming a teacher. Teaching is an art and through our ideas we have opportunities to “paint” and “weave” all day.
create and design meaningful learning opportunities alongside my students because this is the heart of my work, where I have and can make an impact.
model and practice daily “how to” have conversations using a variety of tools that will help my students connect, reflect and ask questions.
listen with an open mind and value perspective. This is vital for all of us to be able to collaborate globally to make a difference to solve world problems.
bring a smile and gratitude daily to build confidence and trust inside/outside of Kindergarten. Through our ability to accept each other, we develop patience and experience the value of kindness.
show gratitude for former and present families that I have the privilege of knowing who give their time, energy, enthusiasm and support in endless ways.
be transparent in my thinking and use a variety of digital tools to create bridges globally to help solve world problems to make a difference.
pursue new ideas and revisit previous ideas through a different perspective.
make mistakes and experience them as learning opportunities, opportunities for me to grow and have my perspective enhanced.
offer invitations to learn alongside others who are learning how to learn for themselves. This is where I can encourage, question and reflect.
celebrate and recognize others for their ideas and work. Together we all have the ability to be brilliant and make a difference.
Looking forward to another year of connecting, collaboration, inspiration and growth. Thanks to all of you who are a part of my journey. I hope you all are able to dance, sing and laugh often….
I am grateful…..
Posted on December 13, 2015
Last week was really wonderful. My students, some parents and myself participated in the Hour Of Code. This is my 2nd year participating and I am already thinking more about how I can use the Hour of Code week as an opportunity to introduce coding to my students and then continue to weave in opportunities for my kindergarten students to continue to explore coding.
Last week our technology integrationist, Bonnie Birdsall visited Kindergarten. She was awesome. She shared a video of coding happening globally and then alongside me and my students we explored code. We used Daisy the Dinosaur as a way to begin. The children were very interested and intrigued about how they could make the dinosaur do things. After this introduction I then began to explore more coding alongside my students and families.
My students were so proud and happy when they finished a challenge. I was so excited to hear how they were all supporting each other and asking questions to help them solve problems. Lots of critical thinking happening!
I had 2 fathers volunteer to come in and work with small groups of children using Daisy the Dinosaur. What I noticed was lots of collaborating with students and I was amazed at how my students were supporting each other when stuck and the connections that were being made. Remarkable really.
Here were some of the responses my students made about why everyone should know how to code:
- It helps you think mathematically.
- It is so fun.
- It helps you learn.
- Coding helps your brain solve problems.
- It helps my thinking.
- It helps us learn to use technology.
- Coding helps us think and justify our thinking.
- Coding is learning Mrs. D.
- Coding helps you learn about math.
- Coding is important because you can do it by yourself or you can collaborate.
We created a poster to display in our classroom. I really liked how a few of my students made brains. I asked why and I was told that that is where we think! Wonderful.
Later in the week my students created a Kidblog post about coding. I am always reminded about how easily young children can make connections and build on their prior experiences when trying something new. A couple of my students were creating their Kidblog post and wanted to know “how to” spell a word, so 1 child went to get a book to find the word he needed! Another child went to get our ‘how to” use Kidblog book to help guide her through the steps. Wonderful. What a great example of young learners using prior experiences and tools that we created together to create and design what is important.
As a teacher I am able to learn so much from my students through this experience. How are they figuring things out? Sounding out words? Looking for environmental print? Print in books? Other ideas? This is also an opportunity for me to grow and to begin rethinking about what I need to do, where do I need to go next in regards to learning opportunities that my students need.
Technology really offers so many ways for even our youngest learners to not only connect and engage, but also problem solve and build their own confidence with digital tools. I am grateful for being able to be a teacher and work alongside so many wonderful people.
Then I was inspired to write a project in regards to coding! If interested, my project for Bee-Bots can be found here.
Posted on November 22, 2015
This is a very exciting and busy time of year for everyone. As a kindergarten teacher I am trying to weave in opportunities for my students to share, reflect,connect and make a difference. These ideas begin in the beginning days together as we get to know each other and develop, create and design our learning culture together.
This past week we used voicethread as a way to share what we were grateful for as well as Kidblog. Both of these platforms are opportunities for my students to connect, reflect and inspire others to think about what they are doing to make a difference and also what are they grateful for.
One of the features I like about Kidblog is how versatile it is. My students can take photos of their ideas and then upload to a blog post. Sometimes we use other apps as well to create pictures. After their picture is uploaded my students create a title and last week was the first time we added a thought/sentence expressing our idea!
Right away I noticed the writing conventions that we have been exploring being used! For example; Children were remembering to leave spaces between their words, capitalize the 1st letter of a sentence. Some even remembered punctuation. I was also thinking about the comprehension in their drawings. They were detailed and their pictures told a story and reflected their idea of what they were grateful for. The writing of their thought/sentence matched their illustration. So as an educator I am able to learn many things from this blog post about my students writing, their understanding of comprehension of an idea and various conventions.
Moving forward this helps me get a sense of what is familiar and known as well as where I need to focus next. The invented writing reflects their understanding of sound/symbol relationships. It shows me what they understand a word to be, a thought and how they express themselves.
Another feature about Kidblog is that it has a map of the world. This is important because my students get to see where people are from throughout the world that are interested in our learning. As we blog and Tweet our learning we are connecting with others along the way, learning alongside each other.
As an educator I begin to create a culture alongside my students that is transparent and reflective. Our culture is also global because we are sharing our ideas with the world and look forward to getting compliments on our Kidblog posts.
I am most grateful to be able to use a variety of tools that enhance, enrich and engage learning for myself, my students and their families. Through our transparency we are able to connect globally and extend our ideas and learning outside of our classroom walls.
Posted on June 28, 2015
Lately I have been sharing lots of ways digital tools can enhance, enrich and engage learning for not only the students we teach, but their families and other educators. When I share a platform and/or tool I am asked to talk about the digital tool, which I am happy to share as well as why I choose the tools I do. These questions offer me an opportunity to reflect again on the why and what I do and how it all happens. For me what is most important is how the digital tool will support and enhance learning for my students as well as how their voice can be shared globally. My students have amazing ideas and are always excited to share and ask questions about what they are exploring. The digital tools give them endless ways to share their learning with each other and the world.
When I share ideas and reflect it is always about the learning that is happening and/or has happened. The digital tools offer ways for my students, their families and others to engage, connect and be reflective. Through our ability to reflect and rethink about what we are doing, we learn how we are exploring ideas and what is it about how we are learning that we understand the process of gaining new knowledge and acquire new information. As an educator I want to make sure that I am always offering invitations to my students and their families that invite them to learn alongside me. This is possible through the use of digital tools because it offers ways to enhance and engage in conversations. Conversations are important and vital because this is the heart of our work, as educators, where we have opportunities to listen to our students voices and get at what is most important.
I value perspective because it gives me opportunities to have my thinking challenged as well as be inspired. My students need to be able to experience different perspectives as well. Through their ability to listen and rethink about what they are exploring, opportunities for collaboration appear and the digital tools help bridge this and make it possible.
Last year my students were exploring the forest. We created a forest inside our own classroom as well as explored the different types of animals and plant life that grew in Vermont forests. As we explored this idea of forest life we were able to extend our learning to other forests in the US via @skypeclassroom where my students were able to have a conversation with a real forest ranger in YellowStone National Park. This experience was so meaningful that all of my students were excited to learn more about forest life and take risks with new texts and create their own books about forest life.
So through Skype, posting on our Kidblogs about an animal, creating podcasts of what we learned about the Vermont forest and then Tweeting about what we were learning and how we were learning we all became very invested and engaged. This is where my students pushed themselves because they were curious about what we were learning. Through their curiosity about a topic of interest, they invested their own time and hard work pushing themselves to create a multitude of projects that helped encourage them to be creative and learn more about the topic.
Digital tools are amazing. They offer so many wonderful ways to enhance learning opportunities. I always think about the learning and then think about what digital tools might be helpful as I explore this new theme with my students. I also think about what tools will give us opportunities to connect and share our learning globally too.
As an educator I will always have lots of “have to’s”. The piece I look forward to is how I am going to get at the content, make it meaningful and engaging as well as what digital tools will help me and my students. The why of this work is always at the heart. It is what appears and is discovered by your students. The real learning comes from your students own curiosity. I am trying to make it happen whenever I can.
Posted on April 21, 2015