PSA Day – BLOGATHON

network34As a professional, reflection takes up a large part of our lives. Active choices stem from reflective moments steering our professional learning.  Ultimately that learning reflects back into our classrooms with students. 

We were privileged to spend Friday with a group of K-12 teachers and student teachers at Burnaby Central. Titled “Blogathon“, it provided an opportunity to experience the world of social media through our sd41 blogs. Goals of the participants ranged from a basic understanding of communicating using social media, how it could be used to have students dialogue with each other (increasing authentic literacy skills), how it flattens the classroom by inviting experts and other schools (critical thinking), how to share information with parents and community (green friendly world), how to use blogs as a vehicle for formative assessment, how to integrate various web tools as teaching/learning workflow, how digital citizenship plays a key role today.

Beyond the basics, we looked at images and resizing (even the new copyright changes), using widgets to extend information [News Announcement, T-Countdown, Google Language Translator, MailPoet (as subscription), Gravity Forms (surveys)…]
*Written instructions can be found on our blog, under WEB RESOURCES > BLOGS > HOW TO

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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?

Who’s Telling Your Story If You’re Not?

storytellStorytelling is as important today as years past – perhaps more so. There are many competing forces and it is challenging to capture audience’s attention.  Questions to consider might be “What is your story? Who is telling your story? How are you telling it? Is it getting to the audience you wish?” Answers will differ depending on who you ask – teachers, students, administrators, community.

Social media is an easy way to get the word out. These include blogs, wikis, Twitter or even various online magazines. Even QR Codes placed on class windows and bulletin boards lend to a sharing of story. (It becomes easy for parents to use their smartphones to capture and take home little snapshots of information.)

Using multiple platforms can be wieldy. A blog is a good starting point— it offers many ways to bring out your creative genius as well as a place to share what is happening in the school or class. The platform allows for inclusion of images, audio, video and text (something for everyone). Posts can be short or long, ‘newsletter-ish’, or just capture the ‘moment-ish’. It offers students a chance to flex their voice and create a positive digital footprint. Especially when the commenting function is being used to teach communication to ‘lift and clarify’ thoughts.

So how is your story being told?