Just Keep Blogging…Just Keep Blogging…Just Keep Blogging…Blogging…Blogging

Here is the direct link to the post I was referring to in my recent post!

Justine Stephanson-Kyle's Blog

“Life is a continue learning process.  Each day presents an opportunity for learning.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita

I am someone who finds quotes very inspirational.  I know that may sound very cheesy, but it is the truth.  I find that quotes can help spark creativity and can give me a lot of motivation.  I have quotes posted in my classroom, house, my agenda, and I even have a calendar that gives a motivational message everyday.  I thought this quote was a fitting way to begin this blog post about my digital project and EC&I831 Social Media class.  This class has been a huge and exciting learning curve for me!  Everyday I have been reading everyone’s posts and I am so impressed with my fellow classmates work!  They are all fantastic educators and have great ideas to share!! My #eci831 classmates rock!!  I have learned about so many great websites, apps, tools, blogs…

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Why Blog?

why blog question handwritten on the school blackboard - stock photo

 

We have been tossing around the concepts of classroom blogging, student blogging, and professional blogging this semester.  We have been given many tools to help this become successful in our rooms.  My own personal project was to begin a classroom blog of my own, and this class was the proper motivation I needed to do so.  I am understanding through conversation that we each have our own concepts of what a blog looks like in our rooms.  I have enjoyed reading the progress of Justine Stephanson’s posts on her student blogs. Her recent post titled: Just Keep Blogging…Just Keep Blogging…Just Keep Blogging…Blogging…Blogging | Justine Stephanson’s Blog, is not only catchy – as I catch the movie reference- but continues to show the progress and learning for both her and students.  She is taking a different route.  She is giving control to her students and they are contributing to their blogs.  I admire that she is able to be patient enough to help her students with this task. This particular post also has an incredible amount of links to other blogs.

If you have been following my personal reflections on my project and previous posts, I have used my classroom blog for a different purpose.  It is more of an opportunity for communication and collaboration between parents, students and teacher.  Each of have a different role to contribute.  I, the teacher, upload and post the content.  The parents read, comment, and share with other people.  The student’s go home and remind… which could sound more like a nag… their parents to look at what they did at school.  They absolutely love seeing themselves in the pictures.  I am very careful to include all students in pictures but it has happened that I have forgotten some students.  Can you picture what that may look like on a 5 year old’s face when they cannot see themselves????!?!??!?!

 

Portrait of a little girl. She is crying - stock photo

 

And then I look like this:

Mother comforting her crying little girl - parenthood concept - stock photo

followed by a post with a few more pictures of that child…. Kind of stressful!

To avoid this, I have not put in a better system and explain to the children that everyone will be seen just not always every post.

Between our rooms we have two different methods but I do think they are serving the purpose we are both trying to create.  I am enjoying the process of blogging in my classroom and in the new year will look to involve the students more!

I have been reflecting on why I want to have students create a post, even just one.  I want them to be proud and see their own progress; to share their progress and be accountable for their learning.  The article, Content Delivery in the “Blogosphere”, was a recommended read for this course in September.   The article has 4 main reasons why students should blog:

1.The use of blogs helps students become subject matter Experts.

2. The use of blogs helps increase students interest and ownership in learning

3.The use of blogs gives students legitimate chances to participate

4.The use of blogs gives students opportunity for diverse perspectives, both within and outside the classroom.

 

As I have been reflecting and thinking of ways to collaborate with the students, this article came into mind.  I am thinking I may do some buddy work to help and add some additional hands.I know the progress is happening and even more can help.  Also, with extra help, I will likely get this student:

Portrait of a beautiful and confident girl showing thumbs up isolated one white - stock photo

when they see what they can create.

So why do we blog?  We blog for success, progress, accountability, community, collaboration, happiness… any other words?!?! So to quote Justine Stephanson -“Just keep blogging… Just keep blogging.. Just keep blogging, blogging, blogging” 😉

Thanks for reading!  As always, if any of you who teach primary have similar stories or suggestions – I am all ears… eyes really;)

 

Major Project Reflection

Week 9.. or 10 (My goodness time flies!!)

 

I went a different route for my reflection this week.  My thoughts are coming together about my blog and I had positive feedback from parents this week…. even conversation about starting their own personal blog.  Some of the tools that I put on the blog they asked how to use for home – SUCCESS!!!!!  I actually had to contain my excitement when really I wanted to high five my students mom 🙂  I have been concerned that my families have not been using the blog because of lack of comments.  When my families came in this week, I learned they were sharing but didn’t always feel they needed to comment.  I spoke to them about making comments because it does excite the students when they see feedback from others – not just their teacher.

 

Anyway,  I created this “wordle”.  Wordle.net requires Javascript, which was not working on my computer.  I took this opportunity to search for other sites similar to wordle.  I came across Tagxedo.  When you drag your mouse over the words, it raises them to see them a little more clear.  IT did not work when I saved it.  I have embedded the code.  The image of all of my key thoughts, which is the purpose of the wordle, is here but if you click on the link it will take you to the page where it shows the best image.

 

 

tagzedo

 

Direct Link 🙂

 

http://www.tagxedo.com/art/0712b7c62e54491a

 

Thanks for reading and sharing in my reflection journey… I am excited that many of the tools I am using from this class I can use on my classroom blog – now I need to find a way to use this so my Kindergarten’s can read it.  I am thinking just letters 🙂

New tools to try – Digital Storytelling

On a colleagues, Andrea Needer, recent post she focused on digital story telling and what she has done with her children at home and how she will make it work in her classroom.  It is an excellent post and certainly directed me in a similar direction with my classroom. My classroom will be going to Canadian Western Agribition.  Each student will be going with a family member and as Andrea was typing about how it is nice to put those memories into a story, I thought it would be such a great memory for my families and students if I created a digital story from this event.  I am going to use Magisto  as my first tool to try digital story telling.

Capture5

 

Here is a first attempt of a Magisto.  I will have to play around with a few different styles.

http://www.magisto.com/embed/IAIOJVgIGGsyUB1hCzE?l=vem&o=w&c=b

http://www.magisto.com/embed/IAIOJVgIGGsyUB1hCzE?l=vem&o=w&c=b

I also posted the videos onto our classroom blog.  It was a fun tool to use!

Capture6

 

Anyone who has used it before… how do I avoid the zoom in to my lovely classroom background?

Learning through Twitter

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I am attempting to connect with other educators throughout the world through Twitter.  While looking at my feed earlier this week I saw ISTE being re-tweeted.  I quickly “googled” it to learn of its relevance to Education…. turns out it stands for International Society for Technology in Education.  Having never heard of this organization before in one day I have read two separate articles.  Old me would say, “Oh, neat.  A new site”  but new Twitter me is saying, “Retweet this!  Favourite this!  Share this!”  I am so proud of myself 🙂  I am still not using it as much as I would like but I enjoyed feeling connected and certainly making improvements.

 

Anyway,  the tweet

Capture4

really got me thinking.  I clicked on the video and point number three is what stuck with me.  Getting people on the same page.  The speaker talks about how parents, teachers, and peers all have different ideas of using technology.  We each have a confused idea of what it looks like to be a digital citizen.  She says that it is okay we are on separate pages but we need to be aware that we are and cannot ignore the other.  If you read or watch my reflections I am continually repeating myself and asking about ways to communicate effectively with parents.

It seems that at the age of 5 and 6 the children know how to use the tools but are using them as entertainment rather than learning.  This is not to suggest that all 5 and 6 year old use them as toys but in my classroom many of the students need a tremendous amount of support.  Many of my students ask me how to pull up a YouTube video or to play games….  teaching parents and students about different ways to use technology seems to be a new goal I am creating.  I do not think it is intentional but I may be assuming my way is the right way.   I am just so eager and excited to use the tools I am learning!

How do we get on the same page?

I am starting small: Making plugs where I can, asking parents what they use at home, and how they use their technology,  I am receiving some feedback but certainly I want them to feel connected to our classroom.  I post links that  can be used at home to extend learning – we want to be on the SAME PAGE  My hope is that they will share our blog and their child’s learning with their families in different parts of the world.  Isn’t that incredible???  Their grandparents who live in a different country can be a part of their child’s learning and progress as well.  Pretty exciting:)

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Image search for notebook free / Compfight / A Flickr Search Tool// //

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I am making progress with Twitter.  I would not have found this article had I not been on it.  A small victory as I am connecting outside of my comfort zone and finding it less intimidating as well.  If you do not already, follow @isteconnects to connect on #edchats and other passionate educators.  Thanks for reading 🙂 

 

Managing Twitter as Professional Development

 

Twitter

Twitter

Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/93212162@N08/8476983849/”>mkhmarketing</a&gt; via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

After Tuesday’s class, I noticed in all areas I am working hard to incorporate the tools we are learning and other tools I find along the way.  The one area where I am struggling is with Twitter.  It is not natural to post my thoughts publicly.  I often make comments to others about what I see – I check it frequently – but I seek a personal response instead of the response I can from Twitter.  I see many of my colleagues using Twitter as a tool and doing it successfully.  How long did it take some of you to get going or “addicted” to Twitter??

 

I have been doing some of my own research looking for research that supports Twitter as Professional Development and networking.  I came across one that is much easier to follow and has the links easy to access.  It is called: Twitter for Education.  A site like this provides you with many options and I think I need to really make a decision on what I want Twitter to be.  I know Twitter will not be a personal form of social media, rather a professional one.  I have mentioned many times, that I am a Kindergarten teacher.  I just put into the search button on Twitter:  Kindergarten.  a few things popped up.  But that is another thing I do not know well… how do you properly search on Twitter?  I found #kinderchat and certainly liked all of the items shared on the page.  …… Can you see my brain spiraling????

 

Networking.. Expanding:

I cannot believe all of the material on using Twitter in the workplace and as a professional tool.  In an article titled, “Twitter as a Learning Tool, Really!”, the author quotes Michelle Lentz, saying: Lentz recommends that you follow your choice of interesting people for a while, and then send a direct message to a few of them, using the @username format, to introduce yourself and join a conversation. Before long, you can begin building a support group. Twitter is not for everyone, says Lentz. “It’s good for mobile, on-the-go people who can learn anywhere,” she says.  This seems fairly straight forward but my natural instinct to wait to be invited is kicking in.  To be honest, that makes me incredibly nervous.  How do you muster up the courage to ask people you have never met questions about your workplace, school environment, education, or anything else!  I think the correct word would be vulnerable.  Like a said, I need to find the best way to make it work for me.  I am seeking a challenge and this certainly is giving me one. I am sure many of you who are strong on Twitter think this is a little silly.  My thoughts are, if I share my struggle perhaps with enough suggestions there will be one or two I connect with??  That being said, I do want to use this a tool to expand my knowledge in best practices for Kindergarten.  I am open! This is not meant to sound like I have made up my mind and am afraid of Twitter.

 

I would like to have a post in the future talking about my new successes with Twitter, so this is my honest plea for help:)  Send me a tweet @kennadn or comment on here.  Maybe you will have found this post because of a tweet and that I will consider a success – now to get to it!!