Tag Archives: relationships

Sharing Our Story…..

Sharing Our Story:@vermontkkids123

My Story….

Recently I had the opportunity as a former Ignite award winner to work with an amazing storyteller, Sue Schmidt. Myself, along with 3 other talented educators were able to share our stories at a recent Vita-Learn conference.  For me, this was really hard at first! As I practiced my story, wrote it down and then shared with a live audience I was struck by the ease at which my words and passion came through. I learned that when we share a personal story, it has such deep meaning because it represents a journey, a beginning and a place where we end up but still evolving.

The other thought I have about this process is how reflective it was. My reflection was both backward and forward about my experience. I thought a lot about my inward reflections as well about my journey and what I thought others might be thinking about what I was sharing, my story. As reflective and challenging as this process was, I felt very inspired and confident in my story and hope that it inspired others too.

Telling our story….

Back in Kindergarten, I started to think about when and how my Kindergarten students have opportunities to share their stories and when. One of the opportunities in our class is to create an iMovie about the Global Goals for Sustainability. One of my colleagues and awesome ELL teacher, Patti Tursi offers her expertise in being a director for our movie. She shares how we are going to talk about why we want people to know about the goals and why. As we begin this work collaboratively we meet and come up with a plan of action. The plan provides us a way to organize our thoughts and ideas but is also flexible if we need to change things. We use Google Docs because we can both add and change things anytime, anywhere. If we have questions we can post and support each other in our thinking. So we begin…

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Our plan….

  • introduction
  • What are the goals?
  • Individual photos with words
  • Voice over photos
  1. How are we learning about the goals?
  2. Service-learning connection/experiences
  3. Think: goal(s)
  4. Create photo/illustration
  • individual/small group
  • Background of the world with our identity(color, collaborative)
  • Exploration of the filming”studio”/stage we created with the children
  • Explore microphones
  1. Rehearsal/Filming: Practice using student voice to tell their story and connection with the goal they choose
  1. Filming Cutaways:
  2. A small group of students work with Patti to edit and make decisions about what we want to keep and/or retakes

The children learned so much from Ms. Tursi. She has a special expertise in creating movies and as our director, we all learned how to create a movie and what was involved. Through this process, the children were collaborative and very respectful and supportive of each other. They learned how to use technology in an authentic way with a strong purpose to inspire others. Thinking reflectively about what they thought of themselves as storytellers about what they are passionate about, helping the world. As an educator this really is amazing and how wonderful that we can all learn alongside each other to create a story/message about why others need to engage in the goals.

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Reflecting further…

Through the use of a microphone, iPad, iMovie, Google Docs, Ms. Tursi’s time, energy and expertise, and flexible space we were able to collaborate with each other to create something wonderful. The process is easy to think about: a plan, design, create/produce and publish.

So because of this experience, one of my students thought it would be a great idea to tell the school about the goals and ask for others to help us collect food one more time before school ends and then walk and deliver the food before school ends. So we did! Small groups of Kindergarten students are visiting interested classes to speak about the goals and why they are important. They share our work around Global Goal #2 Zero Hunger as a way to share how collecting food connects. Then something wonderful happens. Another Kindergarten teacher reads the story; “On Market Street to her students and shares that her students decided to do something kind for others and that they also wanted to collect food for the food shelf. Awesome! So now students from both classrooms are making a morning announcement at our school to explain what we are doing and why we need everyone’s help.

 

 

When we share and invite others to help we create a positive culture of learning and a culture that encourages kindness and builds empathy. I am proud to be an ambassador for the global goals and feel privileged to work and learn alongside so many inspiring educators, students, and their families globally.

Check out one of my kindergarten students writing she created during a play time….  What if we all felt this way? How can we all make this happen?

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My Story as an Ignite Teacher

 

Today I had the opportunity to share my story as an ignite teacher. What a pleasure it was to share and listen to my fellow Ignite teachers stories.  I shared my story about how my learning evolved with the support of technology and how opportunities for developing meaningful and deep relationships were created. I believe that because of the connectivity and my willingness to be transparent in my own learning, I am able to learn alongside my students daily as we share our voices globally.

Here is my story………

I am learning how to connect and learn about the world alongside my students. Together we are exploring how digital tools and platforms offer opportunities to have conversations with others, who like us want to make the world a better place.

In the beginning, I had computers in my room that I did not want. I asked to have them removed because I wanted the space for other things. The computers stayed, collecting dust. I did not understand how technology could be used and why did we need computers anyway?  I kept thinking about why do I need these machines, what purpose do they have, and how will they help with my learning and that of my students?

In 2008 I participated in a blogging workshop. I was immediately intrigued by how I could use blogging as a way to share what we are doing in Kindergarten, why it is important and how learning evolves. So I started a class blog and immediately my students and their families connected and our conversations and relationships deepened and learning became the focus. Blogging helped me experience the value of audience and how by sharing a variety of perspectives, relationships develop and we open up opportunities to have conversations about our learning. Now parents, students and others globally can read and listen to what we are learning about and how. I thought about how wonderful this will be for parents especially. Families had access to our day of learning, our stories…Families were in a way being invited, daily to see what is happening inside and out of Kindergarten anytime they wanted to, no more losing and misplacing endless pieces of paper about our days. Our learning was always available. Parents and their children would have a way to begin a conversation about their day.

One of my students was from Africa. He traveled by himself to the United States where he met his new family and school. With the help of his mom, we were able to use Skype as a way to say hello and learn a bit about Africa. My student introduced his Mother to us as his African mother, Rita. The children were mesmerized by this conversation, and as my student introduced his classmates, I watched the expression on Rita’s face, one of happiness. Then his mother asked her son, “How are you? Do you like your school?” Right then, at that moment it struck me about how important conversations are and the value of developing relationships that share who we are and where we come from. So at this moment, we all learned about how technology can be used to create a bridge to connect. Later my students asked why this child had more than one mom. He shared; “I am lucky because I have an American mom and an African mom.” We learned about the value of acceptance… and our perspective of family widened, we learned that families look different.

Later another child’s parents were traveling in Japan. They shared videos and photos of what life was like there. The children were really intrigued by the speeding trains. When the child’s parents connected with us using GoogleHangout, their child was able to say hello. As he softly cried, when he saw his parents on the screen. he told his parents how much he missed them. In those moments he was reassured that he would see his parents tomorrow. The other children immediately spoke kind words and told him that it would be okay. At that moment we experienced empathy and the webcam that was once put in mouths and licked was now a portal to connect and speak with people who care about us and our learning. Through our interactions with each other, we learn about the importance of friendship and empathy. 

As we explored Global Goal #13 this past year, and previous years, Climate Action, the children were able to learn about waste.  As we explored what waste, how it is created and what might be some possible solutions we connected with Recycle Rhonda from the Chittenden Solid Waste District. We learned about ways that we could be less wasteful through hands-on workshops. We created a padlet to ask others globally what they were doing to be less wasteful. Then during one of Recycle Rhonda’s visit,s one of the children asked if she was on Twitter. She replied, “No.” Sothe children explained to her what Twitter was and if she joined Twitter we could talk to her. So she joined! The children now share their positive actions around waste with her via Twitter. The children, at the ages of 5 and 6 are modeling and teaching an adult about how to use this social platform in a safe, kind, and responsible way.  The children begin to experience and understand how this platform can help us make connections, share our learning and have conversations with others who are interested in our learning. Now we, together with experience understand how we can deepen our learning through the use of technology. Twitter becomes a platform to have conversations.

I’ve decided not to try to keep up with it all, but to focus on the things I’m using while being open to new ideas.  Another challenge is being explicit and intentional about what digital platform to use and how. I have been inspired by the authentic, personal experiences that myself, my students, my colleagues, and their families have shared in regards to how technology has enriched and enhanced their understanding and connection with each other and the world. For me, learning is for everyone. I have hope that technology will offer endless opportunities for everyone to share their voice and connect with others who have a passion for what is important to them. Learning is always the focus… the technology is a tool that offers a bridge to the world. Through our ability to be transparent, we model how we can all learn from and alongside each other in positive ways to make the world a better place.

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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.