As this class now draws to an end I have spent lots of time thinking about what I have learned in this class and what I have yet to explore. Each time I think about how great this class has been, I can’t help but think of the Thanksgiving projects that are done every year in school when we list what we are thankful for. Therefore, here is my list for this class. Careful, it is quite long (I never imagined that one class could teach me so much in such a short length of time).
- I am thankful that I got the chance to see that Social Media can have a positive impact in regards to parent communication in the classroom. This past semester, I implemented a classroom blog for my parents and they loved that they could see a little snip-it of their child’s day.
- I am thankful that I got the chance to learn about so many on-line tool. Never would I have had the time to discover all of these tools myself, but now that I know where to go to get a list of tools that I can use, I know that I will be using them in the future.
- I am thankful that I was introduced to the world of blogging. I was skeptical of blogging in the past because I never really saw much of a point to it. Now, having blogged for the last four months (or so), I am loving it. I love that I can share my thoughts with those who want to read about what I have to write about. And if no-one wants to read it that is fine, but at least I have had the chance to share what I was thinking about.
- I am thankful for learning how to use Twitter. It took me a while to start using Twitter but I am starting to get the hang of it. I am still a little sad though that I can’t use it to it’s full potential because I don’t necessarily need to be connecting with other educators right now because of my maternity leave.
- I am thankful for everyone who has become part of my PLN. I love that there are people out there who are willing to support one another and to take part in my learning.
There are many more things that I could list however I think you get the point. I have found this class to be extremely useful, not only for educational purposes but also for personal ones.
For anyone who is interested in how the organizer of Kindergarten Around the World actually uses Twitter in her classroom here is a great new clip that shows exactly how it is done. It is truly amazing to see how engaged these young children are in what they are learning about. Hope you enjoy.
P. S. I am really loving how everything I have learned in class is coming together. I can get awesome ideas from Twitter, blog about them here and link others to these valuable resources also. I am beginning to wonder how I functioned before this class!
This class has been quite an eye-opener for me. I first enrolled in this class because of the fact that I was pregnant and needed a class that would allow me to not have to go to the university once a week for the entire semester. The idea of technology and social media in a classroom interested me, but I wasn’t sure how much I would actually get out of it because I taught/teach Kindergarten or Grade 1 (yes, that was how I thought a few short weeks ago). I did use technology on a regular basis in my classroom but I never really expected this class to show me how much more I could be doing. Boy, was I wrong!
Now that this class is almost done, I can see the “error of my ways” and I can’t wait to try to implement these new found (for me at least) ideas into my classroom. I had slowly started integrating some of the ideas into my classroom, but I would love to do it on a larger scale. The following is few of the ways that I would love to incorporate what I have learned this semester into my classroom:
- Classroom blog – This was something that I had begun (thanks to this class) but I would like to develop it a little more. I would like to have parent permission to put up student’s working and copies of their work, along with everything that I had already been posting.
- Twitter project – Kindergarten Around the World – Allow the students to connect with other children in a Kindergarten classroom in a different country to compare and contrast our lives.
- Digital Storytelling – After seeing how easy this was with my own children, I would love to do this with my students and then post it for parents to read.
- Incorporate more technology – Hopefully, use the SmartBoards in the school for interactive lessons with the children. My school division was also accepting applications for a “Mobile Device Project”, and if this happens in the future, I would love to submit an application.
Now, when it comes to my own personal use of Social Media, I will definitely be continuing with my blog. I find that by blogging, I have somewhat found a voice. I am able to write about things that interest me in my chosen career and there are people that will read and respond. Therefore, enabling me to hash out different ideas, or develop new projects, or create new themes, etc. Blogging has enabled me to find more like-minded individuals who have helped to encourage and support me in the new things that I have been trying.
I realize that there are still many things that I have to learn in regards to Social Media and the classroom. I would love to give VoiceThread a try. I have heard so much about it through everyone but that is one tool that I still haven’t wrapped my head around. I also haven’t quite figured out how I would use it in the classroom. There are still many of the Digital Storytelling tools that I would like to explore also.
I also would like to continue to explore Twitter. I know there are a lot of great chats that I could follow (and I do follow some really great ones already) but I find that I still don’t share as much as I could. I understand that it is all about learning and jumping in once you feel comfortable but something keeps holding me back. I don’t know if it is because I don’t think what I have to share is important enough or if I am uncertain how people will respond to what I say. I don’t know why I let something like that hold me back, because really if it is something you aren’t interested in, you can simply ignore it. I find that I have been taking some baby steps recently by asking for help with different things so maybe I am taking some of the all important first steps now. We will have to see.
I have spent lots of time over the last few days thinking about different ways that I could incorporate some of the Storytelling tools into a Kindergarten classroom. I have played around with a couple of the links that Alan Levine has on his list, however I seem to always come back to the 5 Card Flickr. I really enjoyed this and I have told anyone who will listen to me about it. I have a number of friends who teach middle years and and they have all said how they think that this would be good for a writing assignment, in French or in English. I found that I could easily see how this would be beneficial in an older classroom because the students do more independent work and can work through a project like this. It did however take me a long time to figure out how to use it in my own classroom.
Finally it dawned on me that I could do it as a whole class project and introduce the students to storytelling. The children are all great at telling stories, but they are stories that have happened to them so they are more re-telling stories instead of creating stories. With a project like 5 Card Flickr we could learn about how to create stories based on the images that we were provided with. One benefit of using a tool like this is that the children have a starting point because they would have a visual to work with. It might be a little difficult because they pictures are not directly related but with a little practice I am sure they could get the hang of it.
Unfortunately due to my current maternity leave I can’t actually try this in the classroom. On the other hand, I do have a couple of kids at home that are close in age to Kindergarten students so they might be able to help me out. I am going to try to get my sons to help me later today (once the oldest gets home from school). I will be sure to post their attempt so that we can all see if it is in fact a possible project with younger students.
Last weeks EC&I 831 class with Dean Shareski has had me thinking lots recently about the need for sharing in Education. I find that I am a huge supporter of sharing and I truly appreciate it when people share with me. In my reading of everyone’s blogs this week I came upon Sarah’s blog posting, Who’s YOUR Teacher. In this post, she talks about a conversation that she had with a friend of hers that is currently on maternity leave. I am one of those people who has used (and will continue to use) some of this wonderful teachers ideas and resources. When I was first starting off in a Kindergarten position, this specific teacher was very helpful in steering me in the right direction and providing me with different on-line resources, as well as tradition paper resources that could be used in the classroom. I am so very grateful that she shared with me and I know that others are also. I hope that she truly understands that her past experiences have not only evolved her teaching style, but by sharing her knowledge with so many others that she has in turn also helped us by sharing her vast knowledge.
After listening to Dean talk during class, I found myself continually thinking about sharing and how I view my role in sharing. When it comes to sharing in different on-line forms, I feel as if I am quite comfortable with that. The main reason why I have no problem sharing different ideas, thoughts, resources, etc on-line is because if I don’t put it out there for people to see then they won’t see it at all. So in a way, I am limiting what I share to what I feel comfortable sharing. You see, I am constantly second guessing different things that I do, but I find that when I put something on-line, it is only the things that I feel very comfortable with.
My final project has required me to take a bit of a leap of faith. I am sharing my thoughts and interpretations with people that I have never met and will probably never meet. However, I know that by sharing these things I might be making someone’s life just a little bit easier. I still find it difficult to put myself out there like that but I am getting more and more used to it. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and resources with others because without others I wouldn’t be in the position that I am in now and be able to share also.
However, back to my title for this post, I find it difficult to swallow when people “take” things. A number of times I have walked into my classroom to find another teacher going through my resources. I am more than willing to share what I have with her but for some reason it rubs me the wrong way to find her going through my stuff. When she notices me in the room, she will always say something like “I hope you don’t mind me doing this. I noticed that you were working on . . . earlier this week and it looked like something that I want to try.” Of course, I usually simply tell her that it is not a problem. Although it bothers me that she thinks it is completely acceptable to go through someone’s stuff, I don’t want to tell her that she is not welcome to it, especially if it means that she won’t have to “re-invent the wheel” so to speak because we are both teaching the same grade level. I simply wish that she would ask before she does something like that.