My First Post! A little exciting and yes, I am a bit nervous, but here I go……..
One of the wonderful things about Kindergarten is that we share all day long and take great delight when a child’s eyes widens to a discovery, an ah ha! I hope that this blog will inspire others to try new technologies that promote engagement and excitement in learning, while also providing endless opportunities for designing and creating learning too!
It all started for me 3 years ago when I took a workshop on blogging. Blogging? What is it? What does it do? How will it be helpful? Why blog? These were the questions I had prior to signing up, but I am so glad that I did! Now, 3 years later I manage 3 class blogs; class blog, science blog and a summer reading blog! I even started using Kidblog this year! Yes, every 5 and 6-year-old child in my classroom has their own blog! Amazing… So my transformation begins and my eyes widen in amazement as to what is happening and continues to unfold before my eyes daily, in Kindergarten!
Blogging you say?
I created a class blog for the children, myself and their families, then as it became more interactive and reflective, others outside of the classroom, community, state and country began to take notice of what we were doing. I began everyday during our morning meeting talking about our schedule for the day and what new learning lay ahead. At the end of each day I would create and design a post with the children. I was amazed at what they wanted to share, everything! I had a digital camera, 1 FLIP camera and we began documenting all the learning that we could each day.
The next ah ha for me was getting a SMARTboard! Our school was purchasing 6, so I had to apply. I did and was lucky enough to have been selected! So… you see the blogging became really powerful as the children were not only to be reflective, but also interact. Wow! Again, the language, the engagement just unfolded before my eyes. Back to blogging……….
Right away children were excited to go home and share what they did in school that day! Parents were so pleased and immediately I received feedback about how much they felt integrated and a part of their child’s day! This was the beginning of change and transformation for me as a teacher……. No more paper handouts in folders, everything became digital and available anytime people wanted to access the information. The beginning of developing responsible and safe digital citizens who embrace the tools of our age to support learning, collaboration, designing and creating their learning as well as making connections.
My Life Studies Blog was and continues to be wonder! It reflects what 5 and 6-year-old children observe, explore and experience in the physical and natural world. I created this blog 2 years ago so I would have a place to showcase our 4 Winds Science program which is led and directed by volunteers, parents in our community. I soon discovered that this was also a place where I could post the physical and natural science we were doing in Kindergarten too! My reason for starting this blog was to make more room!!! I found that our class blog had so many different types of experiences recorded, that the pages were archiving quickly! So this way the posts did not seem to be archived as fast. Science is also one of those wonderful opportunities for young children where everything that we, the Kindergarten teachers need to teach, we need to do through inquiry. The inquiry becomes important as it allows for the young child to explore and discover in a way where they can ask questions and begin to “talk out” what they observe.
Science in Kindergarten! The ideas I am sharing can be done, incorporated in all/any grade levels and have really made a difference for me and my teaching of science. In the spirit of collaboration and sharing………..
A blog that focuses on science is a great as it allows and encourages others a place to communicate and interact. Once it evolved into something more, a place where I post all science related content that I am covering in Kindergarten. I have had many children sick, traveling etc. and the blog has been great to keep parents and their child involved with experiences they may have missed. Also my followers are beginning to grow. I only have a few now, but 2 of them have shared science related activities and topics with me that have been used by other teachers in their classrooms.
Podcasting has also been really powerful as it has given children a chance to reflect on their scientific thinking! I created 2 podcasts, one was of the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly and the other of the bird. You can find them on my literacy wiki. The children had an opportunity to explore the science topics, create a model of the life cycle and then reflect, talk about the stages. Really a great tool to use as an assessment tool “did they get it?”
The other wonderful idea/practice that I am using is twitter. Wow! I have made lots of connections with other teachers on lots of different topics.
More on collaboration in another post.
Then summer was approaching last spring and our technology integration specialist shared a summer reading blog she had created when she was teaching! Yes! Blogging in the summer, sure! Why not? So I created a Summer Reading Blog! It was a great suggestion and idea! I created posts of former students and new students whom I have never met! The connecting and collaborating began! New student and their families would post comments, artwork and even notes about books they had read with their child. I checked periodically to read and see the posts and then of course comment. The power of connecting and relationship building began immediately! I was thinking… hmm…. Can it be this simple? easy? It was! Now both parents and their children are reading together, posting together and meeting other children and their families who will also be in Kindergarten in the fall. One parent shared with me how it was so inspirational for her and her child as the child felt connected and saw books she knew and wanted to try. This is just another wonderful example and way to promote literacy, but also begin to model how to be a safe and responsible digital citizen! I was thinking how grand this is. Also, hmm… thinking that this is what it looks like for children.