A Reflection

 

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It’s the start of a new school year and the beginning of Course 5. Reflection is part of my everyday, it’s an important part of how we understand who we are and how we learn. It’s something we ask the students to do everyday, so why wouldn’t we? The exciting part is that reflecting  gives us the choice and helps us to make changes….or not.

I found myself comparing the beginning of the school year this year with the last and did some serious thinking. Something has changed and I wanted to reflect on that. Then I read Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano’s Amplify Reflection and that was enough to motivate me to write a short post and do a quick stock take. Perhaps you can relate to some of my reflections?

#I’m not scared         

Pensiero_-_c-When I started the Coetail course last year technology  was something that I really wanted to improve in my classroom but found it a little scary. After a year of reading, trying things, failing and trying again, learning from others, I now find the overlap between pedagogy and technology  has become my ‘favourite’ part of my teaching.  I can’t wait to try new things this year. I’m genuinely interested and hungry to learn. 

 

#Now what?

  • Introducing Minecraft as a learning platform to enhance our communication and collaboration Unit of Inquiry.
  • Connecting my Grade 1 students globally though blogging.
  • Starting self-directed learning with our Grade 4 buddies. Thank you to a member of the new cohort Jennifer Byrnes for including a powerful video on this.

#I’m on it     

gazzat_-_cre-It’s only the end of week 2 and the students are already posting on Kidblog  and Twitter because I know how to get everyone set up very quickly, using the I do, we do you do approach.  Modelling how to to the students has become part of my visible routines. It’s important to me to teach the students about blogging and commenting from the beginning of the year so that they can benefit sooner. I understand how powerful these connections can be for the learner.

#Failing #Learning                 

nicolasnova_-I had quite a few failures or frustrations along my learning path last year-it taught me about problem solving in an genuinely authentic way. Be good problem solvers we ask of the students, but it’s not always so easy when there are other pressures around you and you don’t quite have the skills to solve. It must be how the students feel sometimes. I became more confident to ask for help, but at the same  more resilient and creative in resolving difficulties. It took me a long time to understand Twitter and all that it has to offer. I joined Twitter chats and found it difficult to follow at first or even contribute anything remotely interesting. I started to ask myself why I wasn’t getting it. So I looked to my PLN and read blogs by  Tricia Friedman  and others.  I learned to reach out, in different ways, to get conversations going and I’m genuinely getting better at Twitter Chats. My now what? will be to try my own.

#You can    

MICOLO_J_Tha- (1)This year at our Back to School Night I volunteered to be the one to talk about how we use technology . I’m no longer scared, I think I’m beginning to know what I’m talking about and understand that it doesn’t take a ‘ tech expert’ to talk about technology, just a good teacher and someone who believes in it’s importance and relevance in our schools and students’ lives. I’ve noticed a change. Before school, after school, lunchtimes, members of our grade 1 team are coming to me to talk about pedagogy and technology. I love it. We are building a common and collaborative approach to technology in Grade 1.

#The ripple effect

climbnh2003_-In the last term of the year our Education Technology Coach organised speed geeking during a Faculty Meeting and asked some of us to share how we use different technology tools in the classroom. I can see the effect this has had throughout the school. Colleagues are approaching us individually and asking for help, and ideas. Sometimes the ripple effect is the one that works.

#Change can be good 

Change encourages reflection and  differences in thinking. Change in working teams allows colleagues to spread their brilliance elsewhere and for others to have a voice. On the Coetail site, I was genuinely excited to see a new cohort popping up on the blogs. Different things to say, different thinking and styles, new things for me to learn.

#Collaboration is the key

Everyone is out there to help and learning from each other is key. It pushes conversations, changes perspectives, encourages understanding, is reassuring and it matters today more than anything.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e01yEHu-68w[/youtube]

 

# Positive work habits

To describe oneself as a life long learner is strange- how can we not be? I’m always going to be a learner but now I’m better at it and have better work habits because my connections have sparked a genuine interest and motivation to learn new things.

  • Before school, strong black coffee drinking is Twitter time to connect to others
  • 2 out of 5 lunchtimes are collaborative learning with colleagues
  • Football pick ups and any other waiting around for my teenagers are used reading my RSS feeds and articles on Pocket and connecting to others.
  • Saturday and Sunday mornings are blogging times, connecting to others

My learning is continuous, I can’t believe I did this in my vacation and enjoyed it.

Self-directed learning
Self-directed learning

To all of you who blog online, tweet, message, email, hang out on google you are all part of my learning and encourage my ” now what?” mind set , you matter.  You take the time to share. A genuine and heartfelt Thank you.

thank you

Join the Conversation

6 Comments

  1. Suzy I enjoyed reading your post, your reflections have given me some good ideas for organizing my time to hopefully keep me on track with the workload. I am still finding my fingers hesitating over the “publish” button but reading and seeing your confidence growing with technology is giving me courage to take the plunge……..just need to write something now!
    Cheers,
    Lisa

    1. Hi Lisa,

      It took me a while to get into some kind of working routine when I first started Coetail and I was so afraid to hit that publish button. I remember a great piece of advice that Rebekah Madrid wrote at the beginning- just hit publish anyway, what’s the worst that can happen? The best part is reading other’s blogs, making connections to your own teaching/classroom and trying/applying what I am learning. If you need help, door is always open. Looking forward to reading your blog.
      Suzy

  2. Hi Suzy,

    I really relate to your reflections. I am super excited to connect our classes through blogging! Your “I do, We do, You do” strategy is great. I really want to try it out in many ways in my classroom this year. I think I have asked you this before but at your school, do students have access to technology in Kindergarten? I am thinking one of the reasons I am struggling with getting things set up is because my students don’t really independently use technology before they come to grade 1. I am planning on using some Common Sense Media lessons to help get my students used to using the iPad’s as a learning tool. Do you have any other suggestions about how to get them started?

    Abby

    1. Hi Abby,
      Thanks for your comments. I also totally relate to your difficulty with starting the year with students who have not used technology independently and with no or very little understanding of any aspect of digital citizenship. So my year has started with sharing with parents and students elements and an awareness of digital citizenship. I included this in my Back to School presentation on technology integration in Grade 1.
      My year has also started with a lot of tech input on my behalf, teaching them how to use and why we use. So connecting our classes through blogging will be a perfect example for them. Each week I insert ‘ten minute tech’ sessions with the kids where I introduce them to a particular app like Explain Everything, Popplet etc. I use tech buddies too to work with students who need a little longer. I find this is really helpful for both students, the tech expert learns to problem solve in how they explain/show how to do something to their buddy. It’s so great in building empathy, patience and listening. it would be so easy for them to just do it for them but this way takes time but builds great relationships. Ten minutes tech also includes using Kidblog and Twitter, because for me, it’s the sharing of their thinking that is the most valuable for them. When I introduce Twitter, we write paper ‘ conversations’ first. When it comes to iMovie and screen casting, this will take longer. I use my I do, we do, you do model and always make a video on using, or slides so that the students can go back to these. We recently made slides of how to upload to Youtube and Kidblog and my TA and I leave this at certain points around the room so the students can refer to them. I invest a lot of time in all of this at the beginning, but find the reward huge. I will also put some of these slides, models, videos onto the blog for both parents and students.
      We have had an issue with i-Pads and Airplay since the beginning of term, but somehow we are problem solving and getting round this.
      Our ETC makes TIC TAC TOE skills sheets for the kids to complete when learning new tech skills. I am thinking I might do this with my Grade 1’s and use the words I am…. Safe, Ready and Responsible . I have seen wristbands with these words on and am thinking I would like to use something similar as a visible reminder around the school. The students could apply their design thinking skills to design/make some themselves.
      What is obvious to me is that more conversations need to happen within our Early Years Team about expectations and progression around technology. This year, this has already started to happen.
      Hope this was helpful in some way. Looking forward to our students blogging and using Skype.

      1. This was very helpful! One of my stuggles has been the time it takes to introduce so many things. Spending 10 minutes each week on an app sounds doable. My next step is getting them all logged into their Seesaw accounts.

  3. Hi Abby,

    Great that your students are logged in to SeeSaw. We posted a comment and have also posted photos of our school. Looking forward to the Skype today and follow up later for us.
    Suzy

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