Tag Archives: transformation

Exploring Coding:@vermontkkids123

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.

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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:

  1. It helps you think mathematically.
  2.  It is so fun.
  3. It helps you learn.
  4. Coding helps your brain solve problems.
  5. It helps my thinking.
  6. It helps us learn to use technology.
  7. Coding helps us think and justify our thinking.
  8. Coding is learning Mrs. D.
  9. Coding helps you learn about math.
  10. Coding is important because you can do it by yourself or you can collaborate.
  11. Code

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.

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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.

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Allen Brook School’s Davison is VT NEA Dorta Winner – myChamplainValley.com

Allen Brook School’s Davison is VT NEA Dorta Winner – myChamplainValley.com.

My Advice: Caitlin, Megan, Jessica, Katherine and Patrick

Last week my students and I said our final good-byes to the last of our college interns in Kindergarten.  During this year I have had the pleasure of connecting and working alongside 5 amazing, collaborative, engaging and inspiring people who have challenged my thinking, supported my students and have been open to being transparent in their practice which has led to some deep, reflective conversations which have benefited all students.

One of my interns had a set of interview questions for me in regards to teaching culture, etc. One of the questions was about what advice would I give to someone pursuing a career in education and what would I recommend that they do.  I have continued to think about this idea for awhile now because it is really important for new people thinking about a career as a teacher.

So this is my advice……

1. Care, care a lot. You will be able to make a difference for many if you have empathy and perseverance.  Take the extra time to be patient and listen.  Notice how your students react and interact with each other and the culture you create and design.  Be responsive and flexible to making changes that support your students needs.  Collaborate to make a difference for others in the communities you teach.  Through your modeling of caring, your students and their families will become engaged.patrick

2. Be passionate.  Celebrate the learning that is happening inside and outside of your classrooms.  Express your excitement through your face to face, online and other opportunities that you create.  Through your passion, your students will get inspired and become passionate about their learning explorations.  Remember to dance, laugh and sing.gre

3. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and challenge your thinking. Remember as a teacher you have lots of opportunities to learn and interact.  Think about how you and your students might learn alongside each other.  Look for others who are doing creative and innovative things.  Through others ideas, you develop your own inspiration and find your voice.  You have the ability to be brilliant and make a difference.photo+1-30

4. Connect, connect, connect.  Develop your PLN!  This is vital and very important.  This is where your thinking is challenged and you will connect in many ways that will turn into future collaborations.  Through your connections you will develop a group of people, who like you, care, want to make a difference and are willing to make changes that improve their teaching practice.  Your PLN is always there.  Count on them and lean on them when you need support, want to celebrate, collaborate and need inspiration. Join online communities that promote and engage what is important to you.

5. Be transparent. mm2   It is okay to share what you are thinking and why.  Through your transparency you will invite others in and share your perspective.  Think about asynchronous and synchronous tools that can share the learning you and your students are exploring together.  Information is important for all of us.  Make it meaningful and interactive. Through your explicit modeling of sharing globally, your audience will be broad and you will connect and others will benefit from your ideas as you will be inspired by theirs.

6. Be well.catherine  Remember that what you do for your own personal wellness is important.  Your wellness of mind and body gives you stability, strength, endurance and patience. Exercise and healthy eating keeps your mind and body healthy and active. Be sure to pursue your passions that recharge you and make you feel energized.  Positive energy is contagious and helps everyone be successful.

I want you all to know that it has been my privilege and honor to have you in Kindergarten.  I have learned from all of you and I thank you for your daily energy that you shared with all of us. I wish you all the best in your future experiences in education.  I hope you will discover the magic in working with children.  We need people like you, who care, ask questions, connect and smile.

Being Intentional: Being Passionate: Being Transparent

Hip, hip hooray!  Tomorrow I get to go to Kindergarten and celebrate the new year with my students!

I have been reflecting a lot about how fortunate I am to have so many passions and also the importance of sharing them as well as modeling how passions can lead to making a difference for others.  Tomorrow I begin a new year with my Kindergarten students and I look forward to reconnecting with them and their families as we move into a new year of learning together.

Passion for me is something that inspires me and captures the essence of what I enjoy and am learning from.  It supports my confidence and gives me opportunities to share my voice. As an educator it is really important for me to have passions that challenge my thinking both inside and outside of my classroom.  Through my challenges I have opportunities to model how I persevere and grow.

This past year I have connected with some amazing people thanks to twitter, Skype, facebook and my amazing and inspiring PLN.  I continue to feel fortunate in experiencing the value of how we can all touch others in ways we never thought possible and inspire change to happen.

Opportunities that appeared for my students, their families, others:

* my students care very much about “filling buckets”(inspired by a story;”Have You Filled A Bucket Today?”)

* students inspired and connected with other classrooms to begin to use twitter and Skype to connect

*my kindergarten students collected food and are finding ways to make a difference for others inside/outside of Kindergarten

*students experiencing and exploring how kidblog can inspire them and give them a platform to share

*students are blogging about what matters to them and then sharing with a larger audience

*students all have voices and are using a variety of tools to share what they are learning

*students are developing close relationships inside and outside of our classroom that support their ideas in regards to learning.

*students are modeling and experiencing “how to” be a safe, kind and responsible digital citizen

*kindergarten students being models for each other and problem solving

* students modeling how to collaborate and have conversations in a variety of ways that promote critical thinking

*kindergarten students discovering their voice and experiencing how to share it

*students are learning how to learn*

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My students and I have had the pleasure of connecting with a grandparent of a couple of my students who has discovered how Skype can support and facilitate face to face conversations.  My students have also inspired and modeled for a Kindergarten classroom in Wisconsin about how twitter can give you opportunities to “talk” to others and share.  We are also experiencing together that the world is huge and amazing and how we can share our ideas.  We created a map that reminds us where and how we are connecting with others.  This has been amazing because it reflects who we have inspired and who has inspired us in regards to our learning.

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I look forward to thinking of how I can capture, model and share not only what we are learning in Kindergarten, but how we are doing it!  I strive to be intentional and explicit and hope to continue to model the importance of how much fun learning is.  My wish is for all students to want to learn, to desire to know and to be passionate about what interests them.  A huge task I know, but a task I welcome because what I do each day is meaningful and it does make a difference. 

Transformation is important because it captures the essence of who we are and all that we have to offer.  This past year thanks to my PLN I have been challenged and inspired as well as supported.  My PLN is full of amazing people that I may never have the opportunity to meet face to face, but they are always available and willing to support, share, connect, inspire and challenge my thinking.  I will be forever grateful for this.

The Importance of Being Creative and Innovative: Why?

I value and believe in creativity and innovation.  Creativity opens up ways for all learners to express and share how they make discoveries.  Innovation is a way to enhance the how of what we discover. It also reflects the deep and critical thinking process of what we have experienced in regards to learning.

As an educator I have a variety of technological tools available for me and my students that can help make creativity and innovation more present and part of our classroom culture.  I feel I’m most successful when my students and their families also begin to experience how these technologies can support what they are noticing about their learning discoveries.

asYoung children are amazing thinkers!  They see patterns and make connections easily.  When they have time to share and connect with each other about their ideas, they begin to create and inspire each other. How are you inspired?  By who?  Why?

An example comes to mind here.  During a literacy time my students were creating self portraits.  We were using mirrors, but they kept sliding over.  One of my students said, “Why don’t we just use an iPad?”  So we did!  Through this idea everyone was able to be more successful with the task and others were collaborating together to help each other set up their iPad using the camera and also why this was a great idea. ImageThe portraits my students created were amazing and contained so much detail!  The camera on the iPad made their face real and so clear.  Some of my students decided to take a picture of themselves to draw.  So just by using the camera on an iPad my students discovered “how to” enhance what they were doing and the activity became much more rigorous and enhanced through a technological tool.

Throughout the year I have had and continue to have many parents, students and professional colleagues share their ideas and understandings around learning in a variety of ways.

Many of my parents of my students send videos of their child discovering a “college word”, reading orally using expression, photographs of writing they’re doing at home, etc.  This is why I need to be open minded and creative when it comes to planning and learning.  When I am successful is when I am making a difference through my example of how I am using technology in ways that are meaningful in regards to learning.  The meaningfulness of what I am doing is shared not just with me, but with my students and others colleagues.  When we model how we are changing our thinking about learning, we are modeling how to be flexible in our practice as well.

I share with my PLN(Professional Learning Network) too!  We inspire each other with our experiences in regards to learning.  Using twitter with my students and my parents has also helped educate why it is so important to use social media in school.  It opens up endless ways to share and collaborate about learning!

This week as I plan I am thinking about how I can be flexible, and model how I change my thinking in regards to learning.  I am also thinking about what tools will help me share and model this  so that my students experience the learning that comes from making mistakes and how this is necessary to get closer to what we understand.  mr

So why be innovative and creative?  I look forward to hearing from others about what you are doing with your students too!

My Kindergarten Students…..

Kindergarten is really an amazing place.  I am in my 5th year of teaching Kindergarten and I continue to be amazed at what 5 and 6 year old children can do.  Last week was filled with ah ha’s and clear reasons why it’s important to be transparent in my teaching practice and how technology can help with this.

During our “Echo Time” the leader of the day is responsible for building words using the SMART board while others use their “tapping hand” to tap out the sounds they hear, then create on their iPad.  The students check their understanding with what has been built in the word box.  Then the leader calls on someone to come up to identify the pattern.  This is a great opportunity here also for young reader’s to represent their idea using SMART tools and then they have an opportunity to justify their reasons behind their thinking.DSCF2118 DSCF2119

Through the use of these tools my students make authentic mistakes and then “change their thinking”.  They’re not afraid to make mistakes because the technological tools make it easy for them to “change their thinking”.  This is modeled and of course we all know that through our mistakes is where the learning takes place.

Later in the week we shared our “How To” stories with the help of our SMART board and document camera.  Both of these tools together give my students opportunities to interact with what they have created, become a leader and build confidence through asking for questions and comments about their work.  When students come to the board to interact with the writing all students make connections and observations.  Now when it’s time to write, the students have a new perspective about what they might change or add.DSCF2052

Just by having a variety of technological tools available, modeling how they can be used and what they can do, my students begin to feel confident about using them because it is just what we do in Kindergarten.

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In the photographs above you see the way in which we practice reading each day.  I use a variety of tools that support the reading and writing strategies that we learn in Kindergarten.  The variety of tools give all students an opportunity to use visual, auditory and kinesthetic ways to interact with print. ** An important point here is to note that as an educator I do want to and do monitor the face time my students have using electronic devices.**

We also tweet what we are learning as well as what we are discovering.  I leave our class twitter account open all day.  This way when my students wish to ‘tweet” something to share with others, they can.  Just through this social site we are able to connect and collaborate with others just like us!

Air Server has been a wonderful addition to our number corner time.  My students can remotely connect through our iPads and share their ideas on our SMART board.  After I introduced how Air Server works and what we could do, my students immediately began to explore, problem solve and share through this technology.  Many times I am not always clear about how the technology may or may not work, but through modeling my students begin to see and become flexible in their thinking. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t.  Through these experiences as a class, we begin to collaborate and work together to solve a problem.DSCF2124

Air Server In Kindergarten!

Prior to our winter break I was introduced to Air Server.  Wow!  What I am finding out is how easy it is to use as well as how my students are also benefiting from this neat, wireless tool!  What is so amazing is that I can now and my students can remotely access our Smartboard through an iPad.  What an inspirational tool that helps me and my students think, interact and reflect with our ideas.

Now every time I have a new app to share, I can do this remotely!  I can be anywhere in my classroom.  The value of this is now I can be flexible about where I am and also my students can easily interact with the SMARTboard, but are also able to remotely share their observations as well about what we are exploring.air1

For example; During our “Number Corner” time the children use iPads to create patterns, write numbers that come before, after and count using iPads.  Now the leader of the day is able to use their iPad remotely.  So what this means is that the leader displays the number patterns, numbers, etc. and others create what is being asked on their iPad and then they “check in”.  When my students “check in” they are checking their understanding with what the leader of the day is sharing.  This is a wonderful way for all children to be empowered by using a technology that helps others reflect on their own thinking.

So this is what I notice(keep in mind that I have only had 3 days with this tool)

1.  My students are able to make decisions about where they are, physically in the classroom when sharing and checking their understanding.  This encourages all learners to facilitate what they understand.

2.  I notice how excited and engaged my students are about what we are exploring.  This is contagious with all learners in kindergarten.

3.  I see how easily my students can begin to take on leadership roles about what they want to share.  A great self esteem experience for all my students.

4.  Air Server seems to be a pathway for me, my students and others to connect and collaborate with in regards to what we are learning.

5.  The access of what I have on my ipad is available for everyone and everyone has an opportunity to investigate the possibilities of the apps we use.

6.  My students take risks with making observations and connections about their understanding.

7.  What another great way to help promote the idea of being a safe, kind and responsible digital citizen.

8.  I already noticed how a couple of my students began to problem solve “how to” get back on line, when Air Server delayed.  Really!  Just the idea of looking for a way to problem solve a problem in a collaborative way.  Critical thinking happening here for sure!air2

I look forward to blogging more about Air Serve.  I have only used this tool for 3 days!  Looking forward to discovering more using Skype and other tools that enhance learning opportunities for my students.