Information About My Major EC&I831 Digital Project!

For my Major Digital Project for my EC&I831 Social Media class I created a classroom blog using Edublog. It was exciting to see the growth of this project while teaching my students about blogging and digital citizenship.­­ Click on the My EC&I831 Major Digital Project page to read all my blog posts about how blogging went last year with my grade two students!

 miss steph classroom blog
I also encourage you to check out our classroom blog!

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Who Has Amazing Students In Their Class??? This Teacher Does!!!!

amazing

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I have EIGHTEEN AMAZING Secret Agents Students in my grade two classroom!  I am so proud of each of my students.  They never cease to amaze me each and everyday.  Lots of people do not know how capable young students are!  Some people were nervous about me starting blogging with my young students.  Some people commented…Will they be able to log on?  Won’t it take a while for them to type out their posts? Will students be able to follow the directions on what to do on the blog?  When students are younger they are more confident because they are not as a afraid of trying something new.  Everything is so exciting in their eyes!  Blogging has been very exciting in my classroom! I am so thankful for having supportive parents and staff.  They have made this project very enjoyable so far and I am looking forward to seeing where blogging takes us in our grade two learning and blogging journey.

Please check out my screencast!  You will get a chance to see a tour of four of my student’s individual learning blogs!  An extra special shout out to those students and their families for signing off and giving me permission to screencast their individual blogs.  In this screencast you will get to see some examples of posts that they students have wrote, pictures that have been added as well as some student work that has been posted.

Please let me know what you think! If you have any ideas of what I could do or suggestions that would mean a lot to me.  Thanks so much!

**My student’s would also love it if you leave a comment on our classroom blog or on their individual learning blogs! 🙂

Check It Out!! A Video Tour Of My Classroom Blog…

microphone

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Hello Hello!! I have completed screencasts before and I think it is a fantastic way to showcase your learning!  I am very passionate about teaching reading and I wanted to learn more about Literacy Development.  So for my EC&I804 Curriculum and Development class I created a script of what I was going to say and a presentation to showcase my findings for my research question “What should early year’s teachers focus on to promote literacy development?”

I was very happy with how my project turned out.  The only thing I would want to change is to slow down how fast I was talking in that video.  We had a time limit of eight minutes so I needed to talk fast to make sure I had time to fit everything into my video to show all of my findings.  To create the video I used Screencast-O-Matic to record my audio and images of my slides for my project.  Then I posted my project onto Youtube!  That was the first time that I have ever posted anything onto Youtube before.  Now I have two other videos on Youtube.  One video is my summary of learning introduction and the other video is me explaining my Prezi presentation.  It can be a little scary at first putting your work on the Internet to the world to see, but this class has allowed me to feel more confident in sharing my learning through using different social media tools.

This weekend I did my very first screencast without having a script of what I was going to say.  That is a huge change for me as I am someone that likes everything all laid out and planned.  Here is a video of me giving a tour of our classroom blog using Screencast-OMatic.  Please forgive me for some of my pauses and stumbles during this video!  I am hoping to keep practicing Screencasting without writing a script because I know I will not always have time to write a script for every thing video that I record.

I would love to hear your feedback!

What did you think when looking at our classroom blog? Is it easy to navigate and find your way around our classroom blog?  Is there any more widgets that I should add onto our blog?  Do you have any suggestions for me about student blogging?

Thanks so much everyone! 🙂

So….What’s Next?

grade 2

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It has been a very busy few weeks in my Grade Two Classroom! My Secret Agents have been learning so much!  I am so proud of their growth and I am excited to continue to watch them expand their thinking and explore the world.

In my last post “Who’s Excited For This Week??? This Teacher Is!!!” I spent time reflecting what I have done so far in my classroom blog.  Since my previous post we have added some posts onto our Classroom Blog and my student’s individual blogs.

class blog

My Classroom Blog:

On our classroom blog we have posted a few more posts as a class.  One post we discussed learning about what good commenters do on a blog.  I got the idea from my EC&I831 classmate Danielle Degelman.  On our discussion page for the Google Plus Community for our #eci831 class she posted a picture and commented that she gave the students sentence starters to help them when they are giving a compliment, creating a comment, making a connection, and asking a question on other people’s blogs.

In another post we talked about even and odd numbers.  My students learned a song called “Odd Todd and Even Steven.”  They enjoyed singing that song so much that we decided to video them singing and posted the video of them singing on the blog.  I was very happy with how easy it was to upload the video onto the blog.  I will continue to add videos onto our classroom blog!

We also posted a blog that discussed my student’s learning projects.  My students and I are looking forward to begin creating their animal projects starting on Tuesday! They have been busy bringing materials from home after I sent a note home explaining the project to my student’s families.  I have not seen so much positive energy from my students this year.  I am hoping to try #GeniusHour sometime later on in the year with my class during learning buddy time.  I think Genius Hour ignites student’s imagination, creativity, and curiosity to explore topic that they want to learn about.

Finally on our classroom blog we posted a brief post showcasing what we have been learning about numbers.  My students have been busy exploring place value, describing numbers, and representing numbers in many different ways.  On Twitter I saw that Sue Waters @suewaters tweeted about being able to add in a picture gallery onto a blog post.  I wanted to try to insert a picture gallery onto one of our classroom blog posts.  One day I went around with my camera and I took some pictures of my students representing numbers using number tiles and base ten blocks on form two part mats.  I followed the steps that were listed on the link and inserted the picture gallery rather easily.  Sue also tweeted about being able to add in tiled galleries onto a blog post.  I am going to follow the instructions on that link and try out the different examples of tiled galleries another time on our classroom blog.

Here is a tour of our classroom blog:

 

My Student’s Individual Blogs:

Most of my students only had an about me page and only a few had art work for the header at the top of their blog.

about me blog page 1

Now my student’s individual blogs are starting to show growth that allows visitors to get to know each of my secret agents a little better.

 

I created a to do list in my previous blog post about my major digital project.  I am very proud that I was able to check everything off of the list and also did a few more things as well!

1. I did upload my student’s self portraits onto their individual blogs.  Their self portrait also became their avatar for their blog as well.  My students are very excited to have their very own avatar on their blog.  They have an avatar on their Mathletics account so they were thrilled to have one for this account too!

self portait
2.  I uploaded pictures of my student’s math increasing pattern work onto their blog. Then student’s added a comment of a description of their pattern explaining the pattern rule.

linking cubes
3.  My secret agents had the opportunity to create a blog post on the topic of their choice.  So many students choose different topics so I encourage you to check it out!  I also had my students blog about what they like about blogging so I was aware of what my students liked about this project.  Then I could get some ideas of what I should do again with my class.

kids posts
4.  This past week my students have been busy beginning their animal project.  They were able to choose an animal or two animals to create their project.  My students will get three afternoons to create their animal.  If my students chose two animals they had to be from the same animal family.  Once they choose their topic my students created a plan for their project.  They drew a picture of what they wanted their animal to look like and then labeled what they were going to use for each part of their project.  Along the side of the plan my students listed what materials they were going to use to create their project.

animal plan
5. Once my students were finished creating their plan they were given time to blog about their project.  Later on I added their plan onto their page.  I was able to copy my students work on the photocopier and email my students work to myself through the photocopier.  When I sent the work to myself I turned the files into PDFs which allowed it to be easier to add the work onto my student’s individual blogs.

animal blog post

6. Some of my students completed some artwork during center time.  After they were finished I help them choose what part of the artwork they wanted to go onto their header of the blog and then we posted it.

art work for blog

7.  Last week after going through what good bloggers do when commenting I modeled to my students what to do.  We went on some different teacher’s classroom blogs and left a comment on their page.  After lots of practice I gave my students time to write their first comment on a friend’s blog.  To make it fair I handed out secret agent number popsicle  sticks from a jar to my students.  Then they went on that friends blog and chose what post to comment on.  It helped out a lot when I gave my student’s sentence starters for the 3 C’s and Q.  (Thanks Danielle for the fabulous idea!!!).  Also one day I gave my students the opportunity to read the comment I left on a post that they wrote.  I wanted each student to have at least one comment on their blog page!  Before the Christmas break I am going to get students commented back to each other and the chance to reply back to me too.   We are still taking baby steps in this area, but we are starting to make progress! Slow and steady wins the race!

Here is a tour highlighting a few of my student’s individual blogs and some of the things that I just talked about in this post:

Blogging is one time of the day that I never hear complaints from my students about having to write.  My students ask about when they get to blog next if it is not on our schedule for the day.  My student’s favourite part is looking at our clusters map on our blog to see who as looked at our classroom blog.  Then we go on a journey on Google Maps to explore what city/town/country that person is from.  I am thrilled to have my students blogging about their animal projects this month.  I think it will allow my students to truly showcase what they know about animals!

My digital project maybe ending for this class, but this is a life long project for me with my students.  I am excited to continue this journey!! I am glad that I took this class so I actually started something that I always wanted to do, but did not have the support or the know how in what to do to get this process started. Through blogging now I am able to see my student’s growth in just a short period of time! Please continue to explore and read our classroom blog! My class would love to hear from you!

But before I go please tell me….How’s Our Blogging??

colourful blog

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Who’s Excited For This Week??? This Teacher Is!!!

After a weekend of rest and now that I am feeling healthy I am very excited for this coming school week!

excited teacher
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I spent a lot of time this weekend looking at my classroom blog and reflecting about what I see when I look at our classroom blog.  I asked myself what have I done so far???

1. I began this journey by starting our Miss Stephanson’s Classroom Blog and each of my students have their own secret agent blog linked onto our blog to showcase their learning.  I also got permission forms back from each family allowing them to participate in the blog! (Insert happy dance!)

2. I created an about our secret agent classroom page.  It gives details about our school, classroom, and about myself professionally.

3. I also added in a blogging guidelines page.   It allows people who look at our blog to know what my expectations are and what the guidelines are when leaving a comment.

4. Finally I created a contact me page.  I thought it would be a good idea to have a contact me page so people can ask questions and get a hold of me privately through e-mail without having to post my personal e-mail address online.

5.  As a class we have created a few posts together.  When we wrote the posts about Remembrance Day and what they know about germs my students told me their ideas and I typed them out.  Since we did not have a lot of time those days I quoted my students ideas and in brackets I wrote what secret agent gave the idea.

pic of germ blog entry  remembrance day entry

When we blogged about the Firefighter Presentation and when they participated in the Missoula Workshop my students helped me create the introduction.  My students also added their own comments onto both blog posts to showcase their learning.

Does anyone have any ideas about what else I need to add to our classroom blog? Is there any pages that I should add onto our blog?

After reflecting about our classroom blog I started to look at my student’s learning blogs.  When you clicked onto my student’s blogs some of them have their artwork as their picture on their own blog page.  While some students still need to post their artwork.  Most of my student’s personal blog pages look like the picture below.agents blog page 1

The only thing my student’s have on their learning blogs is an about me page.  When people click on the page link they are able to get to know my amazing and intelligent students!

about me blog page 1

So what’s next?? Why am I excited for this week??

I sat down and started to create what I do best….a to do list!!  I am going to get my students to add some posts to their personal blogs.  Then their pages will not be empty anymore!

to do list

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1. My students have made fantastic self portraits already so I thought that would be awesome to add their portrait onto their blog page.  All I need to do is scan their work or take a picture of it.

2. My students just finished learning about increasing patterns.  I thought it would be perfect to upload a picture of an increasing pattern they made in class.  Then they can describe their pattern and tell everyone what they know about increasing patterns.

3. I am going to ask my student’s what they want to add to their blog.  After all it is their learning page and their opinions and ideas are very important!

4. I am going to have a discussion with my students about comments and teach them the 3 C’s + Q model that I discussed in my “Just Keep Blogging…” post.

5.  On Tuesday and Wednesday it is our Student Led Conferences. I am going to have laptops in the hallway opened up to our classroom blog.  Then students can show their parents our blog and it would be a great reminder to parents to check out our blog weekly.  By having our blog open it will also allow for other parents and students in the school the opportunity to check out our blog too!

checklist

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I am hoping to have everything checked off my to do list by the end of the week!

Does anyone have any advice in how they got their students to blog more independently? Do you upload the pictures yourself or do you get your students to upload their own pictures?  Do you upload work onto your student’s blogs only during school hours or do you upload work after school too? 

I am open to any ideas or suggestions about our class blog or advice what has worked great when blogging with your class!!   Please share!!

Just Keep Blogging…Just Keep Blogging…Just Keep Blogging…Blogging…Blogging

“Life is a continue learning process.  Each day presents an opportunity for learning.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita

I am someone who finds quotes very inspirational.  I know that may sound very cheesy, but it is the truth.  I find that quotes can help spark creativity and can give me a lot of motivation.  I have quotes posted in my classroom, house, my agenda, and I even have a calendar that gives a motivational message everyday.  I thought this quote was a fitting way to begin this blog post about my digital project and EC&I831 Social Media class.  This class has been a huge and exciting learning curve for me!  Everyday I have been reading everyone’s posts and I am so impressed with my fellow classmates work!  They are all fantastic educators and have great ideas to share!! My #eci831 classmates rock!!  I have learned about so many great websites, apps, tools, blogs, videos, and resources from everyone.  It has provided me with so many opportunities to learn, reflect, and grow as an educator.  Thank you so much everyone!

When I was looking for a blogging quote for inspiration to begin this post I stumbled on this website that discussed Blogging with Elementary Students.  While I was exploring through the website I came across a link that took me to a post on Ms. Naugle’s Classroom Blog.  Her class posted a video to teach their parents how to leave a quality comment when they visit their blog.  I really liked the idea of having the students create the video to explain to their parents how to leave a quality comment! This reminded me of the comment that Jenn Stewart-Mitchell left me on my Digital Citizenship Webinar blog.  She told me about a great model to keep the conversation going called “the 3 C’s + Q model.”  I have talked a little bit about commenting on blogs with my class, but I want to continue discussing that topic and go more depth.  My goal is to discuss giving positive comments on blogs with my students next week and look at the model that Jenn told me about more closely with my class.  Then once my students understand the process I want to get my students to help create a digital story or video to explain to their parents how to leave a quality comment when they visit our classroom blog.

While exploring Ms. Naugle’s blog I saw that her students created a math journal post to showcase their learning about a math concept they were learning about.  My students journal their math thinking in their pause and think journals, but I like the idea of students blogging about math.  They could take pictures of their work or manipulatives that they used during math class and then explain their thinking.  When I clicked on Bennett’s blog I saw a post that he had created a post about trapezoids and how he used Glogster to help showcase his learning.  Has anyone ever used Glogster before?  This is the first time that I have ever heard about Glogster so I am going to continue to look more into it and try it out.

Then continuing my journey through exploring the website when I clicked on a science blog I came across another link that I have never heard of before.  It was called Thinglink! It allows people to create interactive images! Very cool! I wanted to try using this tool so I signed up for Thinglink and started to explore the tools features.  (I now have so many new accounts and passwords that I had to write them all down in a book so I do not forget what passwords I used for each account).  On the website I began to search through all the different creations that people had made.  I liked the creations that used a variety of images to link to, but I have no clue how they added in so many images. Yikes! But, yahoo for being able to find the answers on the internet.  I am someone who learns best my watching someone show me the steps so I turned to YouTube.  On YouTube I searched how to add multiple images in Thinglink and I found this video on youtube.  I never would have thought to use publisher to create my college of pictures to help me create what I had envisioned in my head.  I decided that I would keep it simple for my first time using this tool so I created an all about me page.  I took different photographs of my stuff to help make my creation come to life.  I was impressed that it did not take me long to put together once I collected all of the pictures that I wanted.  I insert my photographs into publisher and placed them how I wanted the images to appear.  After I grouped the images together like the YouTube video instructed me to do and I saved my image.  It made it easy to insert my image into Thinglink and then all I had to do was insert the links that I wanted for each of the images.  Check out creation that I made using Thinglink and let me know what you think!

I am glad that exploring through the blog gave me some new ideas to use in my classroom to help my students continue to add to our classroom blog in different ways.  I was getting a little bit frustrated with myself because I did not get everything accomplished for my classroom blog like I wanted to and discussed in my previous blog post about my digital project.  But, I should have remembered that during report card time our classroom gets so busy so I should have set out smaller goals for myself.  This week I was looking forward to getting everything done on my list, but I was out of my classroom sick Thursday and Friday with a chest and sinus infection.  I did not know who my substitute was going to be so I did not want to plan my students to blog since they are still learning the blogging routines and not every substitute knows about blogging.  I love using technology in my classroom, but it is hard to carry out routines when you are away from the classroom when you are sick or attending different meetings.  There are lots of people do not know about the different tools and how to use them so I would not want them to be uncomfortable and it can be very hard to explain what to do as well.  I often try to only have my student complete tasks using technology when I am in the classroom, but I have left Smartboard and laptop tasks for the substitutes before because my Smartboard and the laptop cart gets used everyday in my classroom.  My fellow colleagues use their Smartboards and the laptops everyday as well so we help each other out when someone is away from school.  We each write in our sub plans to talk to our fellow colleagues if the sub is having any technical problems with the Smartboard or laptops.  What does everyone else do when they are away from their classroom? Do you still have you the students complete technology tasks when you are away or does it depend on what the task is?

When I saw the image below I thought it was a very fitting way to end my blog.  I just need to take a breathe, keep working hard, and carry on blogging.  This weekend I am going to reflect by reading the last blog post about what I wanted to accomplish with my project and make a new game plan for the week.  To end on a very positive note I was very happy that my students helped me create a new blog post last week about Remembrance Day.  This week we also created a post that discussed what my students have learned about germs.  So I thrilled that we did add more posts to our classroom blog!  I also made sure this week that all of the pictures that were used in our classroom blog posts were cited! Very important to teach to our students to properly give credit to others for their work.

Happy blogging everyone! Stay tuned to what I am planning to achieve this week for my digital project!

keep calm and blog on

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A Great First Week…

student blogging

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I was very nervous to begin blogging with my class, but I was so happy with how our first week went. We are beginning to have some great discussions about their digital footprints and learning a few blogging terms. Each week my goal is to teach one lesson about digital citizenship to my class.

I was happy with the amount that we accomplished in our very first week of blogging. As I mentioned in my previous post “Exciting News About My Class Blog” my students worked on creating their about me page.  First they wrote in their journals and decided on what they were going to say for their about me page.  As a class we brainstormed and created some sentence starters to help them with writing their first ever post.  Then the next day I signed out the laptop cart and walked my students through what to do by demonstrating it on our Smartboard.  Since my students have logged onto other accounts before such as Mathletics it made that process a lot easier.  The hardest part was walking them through how to get onto their dashboard to add their first page.  Once they were able to type their post the process became a lot smoother.  I did not edit my student’s journals or their posts.  I want them to be able to see their progress and growth.  Below I typed out the post in brackets modelling the correct spelling and grammar.  Later on I am going to get my student’s to reflect on their posts and make goals in how they want to improve.

Finally last week we added two posts onto our classroom blog together. On our first post we welcomed everyone to our page.  My students were so excited to find their very first comment the next day.  Thanks to Kelly @kwhobbes for taking the time to go to our blog and type a comment to my class.  That is what makes having a public blog exciting.  It allows students to have a voice and for it to be heard.  I encourage you to check out Kelly’s personal blog and explore his great work!

While I was reading through the Edublog Blogging with Students resource I liked the suggestion of writing a post as a class and then have them add a comment onto the post. During the week we had two volunteer firefighters present to our class about fire safety.  We created a post as a class about the presentation then on Friday some of the students commented what they learned about from the fire fighters.  Instead of having everyone type their comments at the same time I had my students add their comments in during center time.  Today the rest of my students added their comment onto the blog.  I found it easier only having six students blog at the same time so I was able to get each student faster and help answer questions.  Once my students know how to navigate around the blog then it will make it easier to have them blog at the same time.

Goals for the week:

*Have my students create an avatar for their page. (We were not able to get to it this past week like I planned).

*Post my students art work that they created on Friday at the top of their learning page.

*Create a post or two as a class to add to our blog to show case our learning for the week.

*As a class check out one or two other class blogs to see what other students are learning about!

Check out how our classroom blog to see how it has developed over the past week. Please leave a comment! My students would love to hear from you!