Thursday, July 31, 2014

Book Study - Who Owns the Learning? By Alan November

I am reading through this book making notes and texting my friends... I am SO excited to apply these ideas in my classroom! This book is packed with ways to engage students and empower them to learn and teach each other. Students 'create content, collaborate and connect globally' = perfect! As I read about how to continue to transform my classroom and develop my Digital Learning Farm, there are a few student roles I'm learning about:

The first is 'tutorial designer' - students create a product to reflect their learning and to teach others, in the classroom and globally. Last year we used Educreations and ChatterPix often in Dual Language to practice vocabulary and concepts. I need to take this to the next step and publish their products, either on their blogs or on our class Twitter, or both! I plan to begin by modeling for my 2nd graders during time I hope to provide each day in our schedule for reflection. I'm excited for this option since students can publish tutorials to benefit learners in our classroom and beyond! I read 'The emergence of easy to use creative tools can empower EVERY student to become a contributor to the ecology of the classroom.' (Ok, I put 'every' in bold, but that is the part I love!) Yes!! All students working toward the common goal of learning together! Plus, the shy girl in me loves this option for building communication skills in my quiet students. It is less intimidating to speak to an iPad and share online than to speak in front of a room full of peers. It also provides choice in products. Every student can contribute on a level that works best for him/her!

The next is 'student scribe' - students taking notes to share with the class. I am unsure how this looks in second grade but my vision is to provide opportunities for students to reflect on their learning each day via Kidblog. I love the idea of students being the 'author of their own textbooks' and will use this to drive our reflection time. Next I would like to use Google Docs or Padlet for my students to back channel and write ideas and questions as we go through lessons. Perhaps this will be a class position? An idea I gained this summer from iPadpalooza was to have a Daily Tweeter. I have recreated the form that was shared and I will have paper copies available for my students:
Students will write the date, their name and then fill in the 140 dashes to create a tweet. I will approve it and they will type it on our class Twitter account to share with classrooms and professionals we are connected with.

Another is 'student researcher' - students search for answers to questions that come up throughout the day from both the teacher and students. I would make it an option to be an independent or partner activity. One point was teaching students to search and find information that is valid. I wonder how can I teach 2nd graders how to find valuable information when searching on the internet. We use Kidrex to search but I would like to find  out how to do a better job at teaching how to know if information is valid. A peer mentioned she explains that anyone can post information to the web and it can appear true. I need to look in to this one and find additional ways to inform my students. I considered using or Thing Link to narrow their options but that would prevent them from learning to search appropriately.

Then there is 'global communicators & collaborators' - students connect and collaborate with others globally - kinda spells it out this time. ; ) While connected, students learn valuable skills that go beyond the basics. I love the idea of back channeling during a Skype. I have a QR code on each table that is linked to our for the year. It is so helpful to have it ready to use at any time and perfect for many things, and I can add back channeling to the list. Last year we Skyped with a few classes and an author. It is a fantastic tool to use in the classroom! I hope to go beyond our community next year. I already set up our class account on! I'm excited to see who we can learn from and connect with. Plus, another peer of mine set up a Google Document to connect educators. I'm hoping to find a match or two or three this year! I'm a little uncertain of having this part as a student role, or if it will be more of a classroom activity. I'm open to see where it goes in my classroom.

This entire Digital Learning Farm reminds me a lot of Genius Hour that we started last year in my classroom, except everyone did each of these jobs to answer their questions. I am curious if these jobs will be independent jobs in second grade or partnerships or if we will work through it together, my students and I. I'm excited for a new class and look forward to implementing these ideas in my classroom!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

TED Talk

I stumbled upon this TED Talk tonight. I was on Twitter and read a Tweet by @wfryer (Wesley Fryer). It caught my eye since it mentioned "Hack a banana, make a keyboard!" which led me to believe it was about MaKey MaKey. I have observed MaKey MaKey at a variety of conferences this year - my favorite was when elementary students attended the conference to model how they use MaKey MaKey! I was interested in the history behind this invention, so I clicked on the link and was captivated! Jay Silver explains his thinking behind his invention. It is interesting and overall very inspiring. I enjoyed the variety of ways people use MaKey MaKey - so creative! I can use parts of this TED Talk in class to motivate and inspire my students to look at the world around them with a different view, to challenge us all to look at items beyond their defined purpose. (Which I believe children do easier than adults at times) Listening to Jay's speech was inspirational to me. It is entertaining and funny, but sends a message. Each box tells you "The world is your construction kit!" I love how he said originally he wanted to create a perfect world himself, but now he sees it will be created by '7 billion pairs of hands, each following their own passions' in their own spaces. I love how he transformed to a learner platform. He has provided the resources to others to go forth and create on their own. What an inspiration!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Google Forms part II

This summer I have had a wonderful opportunity to attend EdTechTeam Texas Summit featuring Google Apps for Education (GAFE) where I learned new ideas and ways to incorporate technology in my classroom, as well as continue to grow my PLN. One of the awesome ideas I took away was to use Google Forms to collect assignments. I attended Doctopus but it seemed complicated (although the presenter did a fantastic job walking us through each step). Another presenter offered an idea. Use Google Forms to collect student products. I have created my own on stand-by, ready for this upcoming school year:
Another amazing idea was using Google Draw just as you use Padlet. Teachers can create a Google Draw and share it with students. Students can add their ideas, questions, answers, etc. for all to see. A teacher friend of mine used this when he was at a conference. Students were able to communicate with him and interact, even though they were apart, as well as their peers. A perfect tool for communication and collaboration!
An additional idea was to use Google Docs for a KWL chart (or other thinking maps) Teachers can create a Google Doc and share with students and students can access the chart and add to it as they advance through their learning. I'm working on possibly making a Word Wall and sharing it with my class using the same type of format.
Last week I attended #edcampfwtx. It was my first edcamp experience and I highly recommend it! It is unlike most conferences, as it meets the needs of those who are attending. What a perfect model for what we do in our classrooms! One session was on Google Hangouts. I have watched a previously recorded GH that was about using Twitter in the classroom. It was awesome because I could watch it, pause if my boys needed me (at home) and resume at a later time. It was interactive with those who participated during the time of the Hangout. However, at edcampfwtx I was able to watch, set up and experience a Google Hangout. I can see the benefits for using GH with my students and other classes, with those in my PLN, and for collaborating with peers that live around the world. Here I am trying it out with another teacher:
These are just a few of the ways I have learned how to use Google this summer. I enjoy learning a variety of ways to use Google in my classroom, as well as with peers as we collaborate. Recently I met with some fellow teachers and we created a Google Draw and wrote ideas as we chatted with each other. Everyone has access to it from their Google Drive and we can continue to add ideas to share! Google has so much to offer, both in the classroom and beyond. I'm excited to learn more!