Tag Archives: relationships

Exploring the Global Goals

Digital Tools: It’s Always About The Learning!

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.

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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.

Ways We Celebrate Our Learning: @kkidsinvt

I have been thinking a lot about the importance of having celebrations inside and outside of Kindergarten.  Celebration is easy, fun, seamless and looks and sounds differently from day to day.  As an educator of young children a large role I play with my students is to model “how to” capture what we are exploring, but also the importance of dancing and singing out what we discover.  Through our “shouting out” we are celebrating what we are discovering.  When we share, we make connections and have an opportunity to share our story.  Stories are so important and everyone has many.  In Kindergarten we use a variety of technological tools to tell our stories.

What an amazing week we had in Kindergarten.  My students are really amazing thinkers!  We explored a new App on the iPad, used AirServer to share our understandings, posted on our kidblogs, tweeted connections and collaborated together around finding ways to enhance our understanding of how we know a triangle is a triangle.  We also explored Tellagami!

Exploring Tellagami was really fun.  I am always looking for ways that my students can create and design what they are learning in ways that allows them to share and tell their story.  A Personal Tellagmai I was so amazed and excited to watch and listen to what my students created.  I was surprised at how easily they navigated their way around the iPad and how easy it was for all of my students to come up with an idea about what they wanted to create.  Their ideas were related to ideas we are exploring in Kindergarten as well as personal experiences they have had outside of Kindergarten.

Tellagami In Kindergarten

Celebration is vital and very important when it comes to learning and developing relationships with your students.  Technology really helps capture and enrich the learning experiences that my students are having.  Through their excitement we celebrate and give compliments about what we are creating.

Our leader of the day uses AirServer to connect and remotely access their ideas so that everyone else can see and give their ideas about what they notice.air server  My students use AirServer daily to share what they are learning!

During the month of November we are exploring 2 and 3 dimensional attributes.  Geoboard is a great App because it gives students the opportunity to explore the different attributes as well as opportunities to justify their thinking. Through their own understanding of specific features, my students begin to create and make connections with what they are exploring.  Some of the conversation went like this:”Look, it is a triangle because it has 3 pointy things and straight sides”, I shaded in all my triangles, triangles can be different sizes, I am going to see how many I can make, I made triangles inside other shapes, I made a tower!” The conversation is exciting, positive and reflective.  My students are all sharing their voice, making connections and justifications about their discoveries as well as sharing how they know their idea to be true.  This is an authentic example of how celebration can look and sound.  I think sometimes that my best celebrations with my students are those that I have not planned!

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After we created triangles my students took screen shots of their designs.  Many asked “Mrs. D. Can we put this on our kidblog?”  Yes, of course!  We will work on this next week.  I am amazed at how my students understand that what they create and discover has a special place where it can be shared.  My students really like kidblog because other people leave compliments about their posts.  This is a one of the reasons why I use kidblog.

Looking forward to next week.  I am thinking of ways that we can enhance our learning and share what we are learning about the forest and about what opportunities I can create for my students to share. Technology gives me and my students endless opportunities to share our stories. Through our own stories we become connected and we begin to take risks in regards to learning.

What’s Been Happening In Kindergarten?

I have been thinking a lot lately about not only how lucky I am to be a Kindergarten teacher, but the reasons why. So I thought that I would share what’s been happening.

For me Kindergarten is like a breath of fresh air each day. The excitement for learning is contagious and never ending!

1. Celebrating! We celebrate numerous times throughout the year in a variety of ways. Recently we just had a Dr. Seuss Luncheon! My students were able to share what they learned and enjoyed from this author study through turning and talking, creating books, creating and designing a blog post on their kidblog. Each child was able to use Doodle Buddy to create an illustration to go along with their post too! Then we made comments on each others posts. I also emailed my parents and asked them to leave comments too! Wow! My students experience how they can not only share their celebrations of learning with others, but also that others find their ideas interesting!rose

2. Connecting! My students have connected with other kindergarten students outside of our school community through Skype and twitter! Both of these tools have given my students real life experiences in exploring the world outside of our walls in a safe, kind and responsible way. The connections we have made give us opportunities to be accepting of others and to value and respect how we are the same and different.

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Twitter continues to be a place where we can model how to be a safe, kind and responsible digital citizen. This week I gave my students a special ‘Twitter award” for tweeting to others. They were thrilled! I asked them why they liked their award and they shared because we tweet and we share what we do in Kindergarten. This social media continues to be a valuable resource and a way for my students, their families and me connect and discover the world!DSCF2387

3. Creating and Designing!

During a math workshop time this past week we were using iPads to write our numbers. One of my students came up with an idea. Using NumberRak we built numbers and then created them on Doodle Buddy! So I was so surprised and thrilled! My students are beginning to think about how technology can enhance and deepen their understanding of what they understand.DSCF2390

During a writer’s workshop time 1 of my students wanted to see a Dr. Seuss book, but I only had 1 copy. She thought that she could just Google it! So we did! She found the picture she wanted for her illustration of a writing response she was creating.DSCF2276

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/62461515″>Google</a&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user6476024″>Sharon Davison</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

During another writing time one of my students needed a book with a bike in it. He was unsure how to draw. We did not have any books, but this student decided to Google bike on an iPad to help him out! This seems to be happening a lot and in a very authentic way. Really amazing for me and my students.

4. Collaborating!
My students make connections with the ideas we share through blogging as a way we collaborate with others. This video says it all!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/62461514″>blogging kkids</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user6476024″>Sharon Davison</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

So Kindergarten life is really busy and wonderful. Everyday holds new discoveries and experiences. The learning is inspiring and energizing. What a wonderful place to be.

Yes! Kindergarten Blogging!

I had one of those ah ha moments this morning during our writer’s workshop time.  The children were sharing possible choices during our writing time.  One of children shouted out,”Mrs. D. what about kid blogging?”  The child shared that he wanted to write about Kindergarten and how much fun it was.  Then other children were also excited by the idea as well.  The children are independent now on their blogs.  We have gone through ‘how to” make a post and save their post until I have had a chance to approve.

The children came up with the following criteria for blogging: 1. Make sure you have a title.  2.  Write at least 3 thoughts about your idea .  3.  Take a picture of what you want to share and ask Mrs. D. to help you put your picture on your blog.  4. leave spaces between your words.  (use the space bar to help you)  5.    log out

I am so amazed as to what the children are doing at this point with their kidblogs and how aware they are of audience!  They love to share and look forward to receiving comments from me, other classmates and their families.

Blogging has been another way to engage young children and their families and others in the world to make connections.  Young children are beginning to think about what they are learning and what they want to post/share with others.  The feedback that the children get is so positive that the comments are engaging and seem very reinforcing so that they have a chance to think a little more deeply about what they posted/shared.

Blogging in Kindergarten!

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.