Thursday, September 27, 2012

Learning Today Looks Nothing Like Learning in the Past

I know, I say it over and over again, but I can't thank twitter enough for getting me connected with so many inspiring educators.  This year I want my class to be equally connected because I know how powerful it truly is.  So what global or collaborative projects have I got planned for my class so far this year?

1. Quad Blogging :  My class is involved with Quad Blogging with primary classes in the UK and New Zealand.  We've been visiting their blogs and leaving them comments. We've been learning from them.  This coming week the three classes we've been following are coming to visit us. I can't wait.

2. Global Read Aloud:  On Monday, October 1st we are taking part in a global read aloud as I read Charlotte's Web to my class.  Not only will my class, along with many other classes around the world, be reading the same book, but we will be connecting with other classes while we do it.  So far I have three different collaborative projects going on with this one project.

Within my school district Niki Leech and Lora Sarchet and I will be using google hang out to read a chapter (or more) to each of our classes at the SAME time.  One week I will read to Niki and Lora's classes via Google Hang Out, the next week one of them will read to us. It's something so simple (listening to a chapter be read) yet so powerful to know that others are doing the exact same thing at the exact same time.   I am more than willing to invite other classes into our hang out too so please let me know in the comments if you want in.  We will be working on our BC time zone.

I will also be working with a teacher in Ontario. We plan to skype with our classes Monday morning to set the project off and hopefully continue to skype (maybe once a week Kristen??) to see how we are enjoying the book and ask each other questions about the book.

Finally (I write that with a smirk because I have no doubt there will be others that I connect with before this project is over) my class will be writing and skyping with a class in Manhattan.  For this connection we will go "old school" sending a couple of letters back and forth over the course of the read aloud (the month of October).

While I have three different projects going on all around this one Global Read Aloud, I feel confident that we will be able to do all three with out interfering with the rest of our learning.

3. Primary Blogging Community: This one is the brain child of Kristen Wideen's and it's a take on the Quad blogging I mentioned above.  Kristen has set quad blogging primary style.  In the month of October I have been matched up with three other classes from around North America.  Over the month we will visit one another's blogs and leave comments. In the month of November we are going to try and arrange a google hangout or skype call.  In December we will send something in the mail.  In January we will do another round of quad blogging but this time the focus will be on our students individual blogs.  I'm looking forward to getting this started on Monday too.

4. Elementary School/ High School Collaboration - Through twitter I have meet Valerie Leeds an English/Humanities teacher at a local high school.  I put out that I was keen to do a project with high school students and she was keen to jump on in.  After some back and forth discussion, and a face to face meeting I think we have our project figured out and it will involve more than just our two classes.  My students, with the help our our big buddies, will be coming up with a setting, characters, and basic idea of a story.  We will then be sending our story ideas to Valerie and her students will be writing a story based on the information we provided.  Then she will send the stories back to us and we will use technology to illustrate the stories. Then we will send them back to high school and  Teresa Oakland, a drama teacher at the local high school, is going to have her students act out the stories and we (and our big buddies) are going to go to the high school to watch the plays.  Pretty cool hey, yet still relatively simple for each of us as we are just doing what we normally do, but we are doing it collaborative style. Each class is covering their own required prescribed learning outcomes but we are doing it in a much more exciting and engaging way.

5. Skyping, Skyping, and More Skyping - Finally my school has open wireless which means things like skyping and google hang outs are EASY to do.  Tomorrow we have our first skype call with Kathy Cassidy's class in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan.  I feel quite confident in saying it will be the first of several we have this year.  I also feel confident in saying that there will be a lot more skyping with a lot more "far away" classes this year.

6. Connecting Through Kidblog - I am really excited that kidblog now allows us to add links to other classes blogs right onto our class kidblog.  Already I'm excited to add Niki and Lora's individual student blogs to our blog roll so my students will be able to visit and comment on their students' individual blogs.  I am also excited to add Karen Fadum's class to our blog roll too.  The cool thing about these three classes is that we CAN meet face to face since we are all in the same school district.  How powerful is that!  Of course I'm game to add other grade one  kidblog classes to our blog roll too.

7. Connecting at the District Level - I know I keep mentioning Niki and Lora but I LOVE that we have connected with one another.  This year my vision is that our classes do a lot more things together, even if virtually.  I can already see that we will be having a field trip down to their school, and they will be having a field trip up to ours.

8. Collaborative Writing: Jenni Van Rees (Ontario) and I talked over the summer about having our students write a project collaboratively.  While we haven't finalized the details yet I am totally looking forward to this project too.

9. Collaborative Projects with Grade 6s in Ontario - Last year Aviva Dunsiger and I connected through twitter. Our classes met a couple of times once through a video she shared on her blog and through a skype call where we shared frog jokes with her grade 1/2 class.  This year Aviva has a grade six class but we are still going to find a way have our students work together on  project.  We've talked about having reading buddies, which may work but nothing has been finalized yet.  I am really excited to be working with Aviva.

10. Skype Read to Someone/Listen to Reading: I have this vision in my head that during my class reading time a couple of students from another class some where around the world (okay more than likely in North America because there is this thing called time zones) will skype in and share their reading with one or two of my students.  I want my students to have an audience to read to outside our classroom.  So if you're reading this and are keen to skype in to us around 9:45 - 10:15 am PST please let me know via the comments.  I know I can make this work and I can just see how cool it would be for my students.

11 Blogging Around the World - This is something I did last year and am already doing again this year.  Blogging around the world is just as it sounds - we visit grade one (ish) blogs from around the world and leave them meaningful comments. It's exciting to read and learn from others.

12 Working With The Class Next Door - For the first time in many years I have a grade one teacher right next door to me who is keen and interested in trying new things.  We've already set our PE schedules together so that our students will work together then but we've talked about doing a lot more things together.  She's a really great teacher and I am so excited to do  projects with her. Super excited!

Now the problem is I can go on as my head continues to spin with ideas of ways to get my grade one students connected in meaningful age appropriate ways.  Twitter is filled with inspiring educators willing to take risks and try new things.  I can't wait to see what else we get up to this year.

Learning today looks NOTHING like learning in the past.

What adventures do you have planned for your class this year?  If it feeds our educational needs maybe we can join along for the adventure too?

(Ah, and not sure how I let this one past by without a mention.... this is my 100th post on this blog! Looking back on my very first few I am once again reminded of how far I've come this year.)


18 comments:

  1. Wow Karen, you are going to have an amazing year with your students and colleagues. My class is looking forward to connecting with yours on kidblog and I am sure we will connect in other ways as well, the opportunities are endless! I love the global read aloud and if time permits message me the details please.
    Looking forward to a great year of teaching and learning.
    Karen Fadum ( not McFadum although that is an interesting name )

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  2. Karen, I am so sorry I messed up your name but if you notice it has been fixed. If you're game I am quite certain there will be many opportunities for our classes to connect this year. I will also send the Global Read details your way. It starts this Monday though so get your hands on a copy of Charlotte's Web! What a year we're about to embark on. So happy to have you along for the ride. Karen

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  3. Wow Karen! You have lots of amazing learning opportunities for your students. I'm so glad to be mentioned as part of them. We'll definitely have to find a way for our two classes to connect.

    Good luck with all of your exciting projects!
    Aviva

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    1. Thanks Aviva. Yesterday we skyped for the first time this year and my kids were so excited to meet other kids just like them from some where "far away". Connecting is so powerful, as we have both discovered already. Between the two of us we will come up with something that is meaningful and purposeful for both of our grade levels. I can't wait.

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  4. Awesome...just awesome :) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to leave me a comment George. There will be a lot more sharing this year. So much of what I do isn't difficult or complicated and hopefully it might spark some one next door, or across the district, or around the world to try something new too.

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  5. Hi Karen, What an exciting year you have planned. We, way over here in Salem, MA would love to connect with your class in some way(s). Right now, like you, we are getting ready to strt the Global Read Aloud 2012, but we are reading The One and Only Ivan. e have started blogging on Kidblog and hope you don't mind that we are adding your class to our blog roll. kidblog.org/PhoenixKidsK-2/
    We also are quadblogging (Lora is in my group) and part of the Primary Blogging project. I like your Reading and Skype idea, so keep us in mind. Always up for Skyping; am trying Mystery Skypes with Texas next week.What about writing a progressive story? Did that last year with Aviva's class.
    Like you, we are trying to establish honest, authentic connections with other classes around the world.
    Betsye

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    1. Yes, yes, please add us to your blog roll. We LOVE having people visit us. I'm pretty sure you already have my class blog but in case you don't it's http://www.mslirenmansroom.blogspot.ca/ . We visit a lot too. You've got some great ideas that I'd love to discuss more with you too. I'm pretty sure I have your e-mail if not I know I can find you on twitter. Let's get collaborating Betsy! I want my students as excited about connecting and learning with others as I am, and after our first Skype call yesterday I think they are the perfect students for me.

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  6. Just realized that I will need your kids' Kidblog link to add to our blogspot.

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    1. http://kidblog.org/MsLirenmansClass2012/

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  7. Thanks for sharing Karen! I will be sharing this post with colleagues....proof that technology is possible for young students...and yes...learning & teaching needs to look different.

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    1. My pleasure Louise. Thanks for reading, and for commenting. :-) Karen

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  8. Karen, it sounds like you and your students are going to have a fantastic year! I am excited about our upcoming project!

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    1. Theresa I am super excited for our project too! What I like is that it seems so doable for all of us even though my students are in grade one and yours are in high school! It is exciting times.

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  9. What a fantastic post! I'll be sharing it around with the teachers I work with.. Thanks Karen.

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  10. Thank you very much. I hope it will help others see that so much more is possible these days if you're willing to try something new. Karen

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  11. I might have to share this with my district as well. I love how you explain what you do. Global digital writing is an experience more than a discussion and you really illustrate that.

    Kimberley
    1stinmaine.blogspot.com
    Msad6ai.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you very much Kimberly. I hope it helps others with their learning journey too. K

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