Voice and Choice – Teachers & Students Ring Out

From time to time we continue our focus on sharing  practices in SD41 that create community and build connected stories using our blogs.

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On the Cariboo side of the city, resides Armstrong teacher, Jude Comeau. Her blog called Division 11’s Class Blog-Learning One Byte At A Time,  is a hive of connected learning.  Her purposes are multi-fold; informing the parent community of targeted lessons and activities, student blogging as authentic writing on a digital platform, student e-portfolio of writing process over time, student voice and choice.  From a glance at the student work, I can see the negotiation of language as they get better and better at articulating their story.

Here’s a student piece on “important from heart”:

THE SECRET PROJECT
We are very busy with our project. I hope it turns out amazing for everyone! I have seen some of your illustrations! They look amazing! I have seen Alyssa’s illustrations and they look like an artist drew it because she is an artist! Good for you! I hope your Moms will like it because you worked very very very very hard on it! We have to thank Mrs. Comeau for buying the tea, the cookies, the juice and more ! You are the best teacher in the world!!! For Mothers day this is my Mom’s third time going to it! First my brother was in her class three years ago! Second my sister had a mothers day tea in preschool with the same mugs. They borrowed it from Mrs.Comeau. So this is her third time going! Hopefully my sister is in her class! Then she will have four!  I hope this turns out great for everyone! Thank you Mrs. Comeau!

From …

Can you feel this grade 3 student’s energy and spark as she writes – I do. blog_comeau2

Oral language is showcased through the use of a talking avatar, Tellagami  (iPad app) where they share their best books. These were so convincing as salespeople that I wanted to hop over and read the books myself.  And they discovered the power of polls. The latest one provided another opportunity to gather information as well as discuss the results. Since the topic was Mothers’ Day, I’m wondering just how the conversation went.

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Over on the North side, is Aubrey French teacher, Laura Hintz. Her blog named Division 7 – notre coin de communication, is another example of story sharing.  She uses her camera to capture work done on the whiteboard and posts them as snapshots of learning. This is powerful for both students as a review and for parents to glean a window into school.  Using the blog in this manner offers more class time for collaborative dialogue rather than having students spend the time in copying down notes.

Her students have been granted ids to share their voice online.  An ecclectic set of posts (written in French) connected to each student writer is showcased providing an e-portfolio of sorts into their learning.  Comments from peers are a part of the journey of writing to support and grow the community of writers. Students experienced multiple times the power of crafting comments that “lift the writer”.

None of the posts are perfect and this should not be the goal. A blog is always a work in progress offering space and time for sharing, reflection and reworking of ideas. Writing takes practice, a lot of practice is required to craft focused powerful communication.  Great writing requires a lot of reading and synthesizing to inform thinking.  The journey of both classes of student bloggers and teacher storytellers also shows courage.  Courage to put ideas out there and courage to receive feedback.  In doing so, they not only share their story but give courage to the rest of us to share ours.

Our Learning Technologies team is always available if you would like move along this direction – providing opportunities for students to live and experience digital citizenship.
How are you sharing your story?

iPad Apps that Enhance your Language Arts Program

Pete the CatJoined by a group of enthusiastic K-12 teachers and principals, we explored a number of apps at our District Pro-D session on February 21st. The feature story was Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin. After listening to the story and the oh-so catchy song, we used a strategy called Milling to Music to move around the classroom to share connections with different partners. Great energizing strategy to use across the curriculum!

Hover over the circle icons and you will get additional information.

This image was created using Thinglink, which takes images and embeds interactivity.  For more on using this in your class, click here.

Click here for a copy of the handout.

Click here for ideas on how to use Popplet.

We would love to hear how your students are using some of these apps.

Digital Learning Day – Feb 5

The days of January have been whizzing by, partly due to the start of another term and partly due to our wonderful west coast weather.  Having some sun certainly invites a bit more energy in the steps as well as some hopeful signs of spring just around the corner.

We are hearing about so many projects in flight or in the planning stages of inquiry wonder.  Many have chosen to invite the technologies allowing entry points for learners.  Did you know that February 5th is  “Digital Learning Day“?  Although we know that many of you already use technologies in seamless ways, this is a day designed to invite you to further participate in a little something special.  Maybe it’s a connection with another class across the way through your blogs.  Perhaps it’s an encounter with creating a podcast or using QR codes to showcase/share your work with books.  Maybe it’s questions you post out on Twitter about things you wonder. How about creating a found poem and building it into a wordart piece to post?  This month’s Learning Technologies newsletter is full of ideas for you to ponder and put into action.  Consider celebrating the day with a little something special.  Drop us a line and share your story.

Since I’m a huge fan of Peter Reynold‘s work, I love how he captured the ideas for digital learning. It just looks so inclusive!

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