It’s 2018 – Moving Forward

It’s already  22 days into the new year! Recently we moved all classroom blogs and student BlogFolios to a new service allowing for growth over time. It’s been exciting to connect with people from all the team initiatives and be a part of their learning stories. 

LOOKING AHEAD:  As I’ve said before, change is the only constant one can depend. While I have written about available opportunities with regards to tools and platforms  in past posts, a few others are worth mentioning. You may wish to forward this information to anyone who might be interested – extending the learning for others. 

Synergy – Focused on innovative practices in communication, these teachers (primary and intermediate) use iPadcaster and green screen to bring experiences of past, present and future to life. Imagine having your own portable TV recording studio. What’s involved is a whole lot of research skills, organization and practice in oral speech; lots of practice. See the connection?

WordPress Class Blogs/Student BlogFolios  – Start the new year with a new theme look to wake up your audience, especially if you’ve been on the same one since you started. New themes (Frindle, Emmy, Lavelle, Merriment, NewFangled, Renden, Child Ed, Hand-drawn) and features like calendars, tables, Forms collection or direct notification to parents, serve to communicate the ongoing story of learning. Capture the heart by pulling “aha” moments, and connect them to curricular standards – leads to great dinner table conversation. Extend these stories in student BlogFolios as opportunities for private reflection. Engage student thinking as they work through the “evidence of their learning process” – I see core competencies here, don’t you? These connecting parent-student-teacher conversations are not restricted by time or place (happens anytime, anywhere).  

Google Classroom – our longstanding integrated approach to written output in a collaborative conversational environment. Simple interface allows any grade level access to this powerful tool. Take advantage of new extensions that support struggling writers (eg. voice typing. We’re working towards adding Read/Write).  Use any device available to you. 

O365 – all secondary teachers and students now have access to connect/work within this online suite of Office. Pilots will go out to elementary soon. This extensive suite includes all that you expect and more (eg. Sway). Consider this environment for collaborative teams (teachers or students). Another any device available to you.

iPad Apps – a couple to strengthen our Top Twenty List

  • Image Compress and Resizer – compress any image taken on ipads/phones for uploading to any site. Extremely simple slider makes a successful entry point for any age. Instructions here
  • Compressor – oldie but a goodie. This one uses a slider for that simple touch.
  • Video Slimmer – want something more? Add editing tools to the mix. Worth the small price. 

ADST – if you purchased Spheros and need a little support, find our instructions under the Curriculum tab of ADST. If you are interested in adding more Spheros to your collection or starting one, please email us. 

*Check the Learning Portal (Staff Development Calendar or February District Day) for upcoming sessions. 

*Check our Resources links on the sidebar for any new connections.

If you have any stories to share, please add your comment below. We’re always interested in what’s happening at the school sites. 

Mid November Reflections – Voices

It’s mid November and the leaves have displayed their Fall colours (either still hanging onto trees or splashed across the landscape). We truly live in a wonderful part of the world. 

One of our concentrations is to provide a written voice for every student. Six teams of classroom and LSS/ELL partnerships from six schools launched, each with their own set of laptops or ipads. These teams are using a variety of tools to support voice: Google Apps for Education, student blogfolios to reflect, Solo software (focused on CoWriter offering word prediction) or ipads with DoInk green screen, Explain Everything and padcaster. As part of the journey, the teams meet together to share and push their learning as well as document their ongoing story. Lessons learned and nuggets of connections will be shared here on our Teams page. Even better – ask them yourselves:

  • Maywood – Satpaul, Jason, Halina; 
  • Edmonds – Hayley, Angela;
  • South Slope – Grady, Deb, Jennifer A; 
  • Chaffey-Burke – Carlene, Alan; 
  • Suncrest – Balbir, Joe;
  • Parkcrest – Sheila, Scott;
  • UHE – Kristina (year 2);
  • Marlborough – Ann (year 2) 

We’re looking forward to strengthening our strategies. 

Necessity is … “Making”

A couple of years ago I was working with a teacher doing some audio recording using iPads. The students were creating book trailers to sell their favourite books and were they ever focused in trying to describe their chosen books without really giving anything away. What transpired were constant redo’s as they reviewed their Tellagami‘s (avatar app) to get better and better at their speeches. No long boring talks either as recordings could only be maximum 90 seconds.  No one was told they had to redo but as they watched their own videos, a few, then more and more decided the end result wasn’t good enough YET. So off they went to practice and redo and redo. What unfolded was spontaneous self reflection, ownership and oh so “core competencies” in action when that wasn’t even a term.

Since then, I’ve wondered how to get those recordings without the ‘hub-bub’ of background noise – a difficult one as there really isn’t any place that students can go that is truly quiet in a school. (And no, I don’t own a hammer so anytime I think of these wild creations I go and borrow from neighbours.) In my world the simpler the concoction, the easier it will fly so scrounging I went – starting with a plain box and a bunch of foam found in the recyling bins (this is when I’m super glad that I work in the same building as IT – so much treasure in their junk boxes). Result? A portable sound booth! Testing and re-testing found that students didn’t have to crawl in to get the effect. As long as the ipad was surrounded by some sort of insulation it appeared to work. (A hint if you decide to try this – hot gluing the foam pieces on the box helps to keep things in place.)

Fast forward to now –> This year we launched the redesigned curriculum – Applied Design, Skills and Technology (ADST). The K-5 curricula focuses on the act of design and thinking (what I would like to offer as “make, test and remake and enjoy”. These skills are the core foundation of all later work in technologies. My foray into having a real world problem (how to get rid of background noise) readily connects to ADST. In those terms:

  • “ideate” – come up with an idea and try it
  • “prototype” – make a creation and test it out; assess my results and redo it
  • share – tell and share 
  • sit back and be proud of the results. And imagine what’s next… wondering if egg cartons will work??

This process takes a lot of practice to move towards developing a mindset of making, critical problem solving, creative thinking, perseverance and resilience (especially when things don’t go well).  What are you doing in your classes that connect to ADST? You might have to just identify those processes with language. 

We’d love to hear from you – drop us a comment. We need your stories.