Friday, February 24, 2017

Global Learners

Are you a global learner?  Are your students? Technology can connect people who under normal circumstances would never cross paths.

This year I have had the privilege of introducing my students to students across the globe through Mystery Skype. What is Mystery Skype? Check out this post by Mr. Solarz for a great explanation.

When I look back, I think it all started a few years ago with The Global Read Aloud. I saw then how my students looked forward to using technology to connect with other students. This year (through Twitter and Mystery Skype) I was introduced to World Read Aloud Day by a wonderful teacher in Wisconsin, Jackie Trebiatowski.

Together our classes created a book using the app Book Creator. Students worked to photograph their school and interview staff members. Once each class had their portion of the book completed, I compiled the two books for our final book, A Tale of Two Schools. We each read the book to our class and then met via Internet to learn more about our new friends. What were the most surprising things we learned about our new friends? Our class was surprised to find out they have recess unless it's below 0 degrees AND they have recess twice a day! They were surprised to find out we have a pet snake and our school has over 1,000 students!

If you have not tried Book Creator, I would highly recommend you try the free version. You can create 1 book with the free version, but you will need the paid version to combine books or create more than 1 book. Students can create their own books to share with others.

This year we created our Reading and Math Journals using Book Creator. At the end of Reading Workshop, my students add a reflection about what they have read independently. I originally gave them a template to get started, but now they are free to use any format they want as long as they include the date, title of the book, author, and their reflection.

We were working on figurative language.

I just recently learned about #BookSnaps on Twitter from Tara Martin. What an awesome way for students to document their reading comprehension!

For our math journal, I Airdrop the Global Math Task Twitter Challenge (GMTTC24) each week.

I also send them grade specific Global Math Tasks throughout the week for them to solve. After my students solve the challenges, I share their solutions on Twitter. This year our class had the privilege of contributing math problems for other students to solve. They got a kick out of seeing how other students solved their problems.

Students share both journals with me and their parents on Seesaw. Parents love seeing their child's work and students love the feedback they get from their parents and peers on Seesaw. Like it or not, we are all global learners. And as educators we owe it to ourselves and our students to make those connections.

The world is waiting!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Friday, August 26, 2016


As of today we have officially been in school for 4 weeks! Four weeks mind you! And today was actually the first day that I have felt like we had it together, or maybe I should say "I" had it together.

We have been fine tuning some of our procedures since Day 1 and I really mean fine tuning. Like only 4 feet on the purple carpet at one time. That means only 2 people can be in their cubbies at the same time....all about crowd control. And stacking chairs and balls BEFORE specials rather than rushing afterward made a huge difference. My personal favorite was what to do while we are waiting for everyone to come to the carpet to share after Reading Workshop.  That proved to be the perfect time for kids to update their reading logs in their Reader's Notebooks; something that was never done consistently in the past. It's the little things!

It is soooo important to take time to teach procedures at the beginning of the year.  Someone (can't remember who) said "If you consequate, you must educate".  How can we hold kids accountable for things we have not taught them?

Like I said, today things fell into place. So much so that we physically came together in a huddle before they left to go to the buses and gave a loud "team on 3" with high 5s all around!  As I looked at the kids I saw lots of smiling faces. Kids really do want to do the right thing.  I think we will add that celebration to our dismissal every day!

What are some routines and celebrations you practice in your class?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Lights, Camera, Action!

If someone would have told me that me that my third grade students would not only record a green screen movie using DoInk, but would then upload that video to iMovie to edit (add titles, credits, and background music) and finally post that movie on Seesaw for their parents and other classmates to enjoy I probably would not have believed it. Heck! I didn't know how to do all that myself!

My students used Do Ink to record public-service announcements about recycling. We were having problems with some of the videos.  I wasn't really sure how to use the app, let alone how to edit the final product, but I knew it could be done; my fifth graders had just done it just a couple of years ago. They were pros at it.  They did it all, recording and editing. They did it so well that I didn't pay attention to HOW they did it.  They seemed to figure it all out. Now as a third grade teacher I needed know "how" they did it. . . or did I?

That's when it hit me.  I flipped my class for content, surely there are videos on how to use DoInk and iMovie.  So I went on YouTube and searched "how to add titles and credits using iMovie". Then I thought "Hey! I can google how to use DoInk". So I did.  Next, I created a technology folder on Edmond and upload those videos to our Edmodo class page. I don't know why I hadn't done that before! I told one of my students who was particularly tech  Savvy, "I want you to go home, watch these videos and figure out how to add titles and credits to your Do Ink video using iMovie". And guess what. He did it! He posted the edited version of the video on Edmodo. It was awesome!

When he came back to school the next day, we had a little tutorial session and he showed other students in the class how to use iMovie to edit their videos. Now everyone is doing it, including me!  I learned the "hows" of recording and editing right along side my students!

My students were able to figure it out without my direct instruction!  I guess what I really wanted to say was you don't have to know how to do everything BEFORE you give that experience to your students. You just have to have the resources available and they will figure it out! Yes, even in third grade they will figure it out!

Here are two videos that were created with DoInk and then edited with iMovie.  Enjoy!

We learned how to make the recycling bin fly in from watching the tutorial video! Pretty cool, huh?