Hip Hip Hooray!

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Photo Credit: SewSweetViolet via Compfight cc

We had another fantastic week in my classroom!  At the end of the week the last blog permission form came back to school.  Now all sixteen of my grade two students have permission to take part in our classroom blog and create posts on their own blog.  Everyone is allowed to have their picture posted onto our blog and can have videos or audio clips posted onto the blog as well.  (Insert happy dance!!)  I was able to finishing creating the remaining individual student blogs for those two students who handed in their permission forms.  I was beginning to think about what those two students would have done if they did not return their forms back while the other fourteen students were blogging.  I was thinking about students creating a notebook blog and if they handed in their form then I could scan their work and upload it onto their blog. Has anyone else experienced students not handing in a permission form?  If you had students that could not participate on the blog what did you have those students do while other students were blogging?

My students are almost finished their community project!  Please take a look at my students working on building their community projects!  They all have been working very hard at finishing up their project and adding in their own creativity.  It has been a lot of fun watching their designs come to life.  Next week we are going to put the final touches on the project by creating roads and placing their buildings on the roads around the community.  I was hoping to record an audio clip or video of my students finishing up this project and talk about their community.  I was wondering if anyone knows if you are able to post audio clips or videos without using Youtube? Or is Youtube one of the only ways you can post videos easily onto a blog?  If Youtube is the main way to post videos onto a blog then do teachers need to get parents to fill out another permission form if you are uploading videos onto Youtube?  If you have any tips or advice on the best way to post videos or audio clips onto a blog please leave me a comment on my blog.  I would really appreciate it!

I was able to accomplish almost everything from my to do list that I wrote about in my previous post.  My students each drew a self portrait of themselves.   A few students were away so they will need to finish their self portrait next week.  I was able to help add their self portrait onto their individual blog pages and create their blog avatar.  We talked about why they were using a drawing for their avatar on their blog instead of using a photograph. It led to a good discussion about posting pictures onto the Internet.  For the header of their blog my students decided that they wanted to use their Dot Day art work that they created.  During Dot Day  my students rotated around to different stations and were able to create a variety of artwork pieces using different mediums.  Each student choose their favourite piece from Dot Day to become the header artwork for their blog page and I helped them post their art onto their blog as well.  My students were really excited to see their work posted onto their blogs.  Please explore our classroom blog and check out my students art work!  A lot as been added onto our blogs this week!  I know my students would be excited to see that more people have visited our blog and their own blog.  If you have time please leave a comment on my students individual blogs as well.  My students would be thrilled to read your thoughts!

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Photo Credit: Picture Taken By Mrs. Kyle

On Thursday my students brainstormed ideas of what they wanted to write for their about me page as a class.  During our class discussion I wrote down their ideas of what they wanted to share on their about me.  After the brainstorming was over students recorded their ideas in their journals.  On Friday I taught my students how to log onto their blog so they could create and type their about me page.  I am very thankful that I have a Smartboard in my classroom because it made it easier for my students to follow along and for me to model what to do.  I was also lucky that I had another adult in the room during blogging time.  She was able to help my students as well if they had any problems.  I had a few students away Friday and some had to leave class a bit early for Missoula Children’s Theatre practice since they performed Friday evening.  Check out Secret Agent #15s about me page and all my other fabulous Secret Agents in my class! This coming week students will be given the opportunity to finish or create their about me page on their own blog!

I was away from school for a few days so we did not have time to co-create criteria together on what they think a good blog post looks like.  I plan on co-creating criteria for a blog post on Tuesday. Then later in the week when students create a blog post about their community project they will have a guideline of expectations to follow.  Since I was away we did not have a lot of time to blog during the week.  I did have a few students who typed out their about me pages fast and wanted to continue blogging so they created their first blog post discussing what they have been learning about in school.  Last year I found so many of the students who struggled with writing and did not want to write, but loved blogging using Edublogs.  I am not sure if it was the novelty of being able to type on the computer or having an larger audience of people reading their ideas and seeing pictures of their work, but I enjoyed last year seeing their faces light up while they were blogging.  I looking forward to seeing my students reactions while they are blogging and hearing their opinions about blogging as they begin to understand more what a blog is and what they can post.

This past week my students did a great job remembering safety online when reviewing the going places safely lesson.  On Wednesday I will introduce my class to the common sense education lesson about ABC Searching.  As a class we will talk about the proper way to search online and I will introduce to them to a picture dictionary.  I will have students go onto the websites that was suggested on lesson plan and have students work together to create an ABC book.  I am looking forward to continuing to reflect on the safety topic as students work on their searching skills.

Please check back later in the week to read about how my major digital project is progressing with my students!

Slow and Steady…I am Continuing My Race!

Wow!  Where did the week go!  This past week has been very busy for me because on Monday, October 5th our division had a Professional Development Day and our school brought in a fabulous presenter Jeanne Corrigal later on during the week.  She talked to the different grades in our school and taught our students about some Metis and First Nations teachings that she learned from her father’s friend Jim Settee and her family.  My students learned a lot from her presentation and as a class we created a blog post telling everyone what we learned from Jeanne.  I was so impressed with her presentation and how she was able to keep our Kindergarten to Grade Two students engaged while delivering her message.  I am excited to extend her lesson and teachings into my classroom with the resources that she provided us!  It is so important to bring teachings from different cultures into the classroom often throughout the entire year and not just special events or holidays.  This week my class also created a post showcasing what they have been learning about during the week throughout their day.  During this time I have been modeling to my students about the blogging process and I have been showing them how to navigate around our blog.  We have also been exploring and looking at other classroom’s blogs so they can see what different classroom blogs can look like and what their classroom blogs about.  Next week we are going to begin to co-create criteria together about what a good blog post looks like!

Near the end of the week I have been busy working on creating my student’s individual blogs.  I have been waiting to get all my student’s blog permission forms (Permission Letter to Parents About Using A Blog 2015-2016) back before I began to create their blogs.  As of right now I have fourteen out of sixteen student’s blog permission forms back.  I decided to create those fourteen students blogs and I will create the remaining students blogs when their form gets handed into me.  Last year I had all my students hand in their forms and everyone was allowed to participate so I am hoping for the same outcome this school year!  When I was beginning to create my student blogs I could not remember what I did and what that process looked like.  Thankfully I blogged about this process last year so I was able to look back at my blog called “Approaching The Starting Line…”  When I looked back at my old blog post and I clicked on the Edublog link that explores and outlines student blogs and tips on when creating student usernames.  I could not remember what I did when it asked for my student e-mail addresses.  Since my students are young and only seven or eight years old I did not want to create individual accounts for each of them.  On the Edublog website it gave helpful information in how to create student accounts using one email account.   When I read over the information on the link I was happy to remember that my students did not need their own e-mail accounts.  The Edublog website has been a fabulous resource for as I have been using my classroom blog again.  I am looking forward to my students creating their first blog post!  My students have been asking me many times when they get to blog so I know they will be excited to get started this week too!

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Photo Credit: nwresd via Compfight cc

This week I also decided to add in another widget onto our classroom blog.  I created a flag counter widget!  When someone from a different country visits our blog this widget will showcase the country flag of the visitor onto our blog page.  This widget will allow students to view different flags from a variety of countries.  I am hoping that it will open up conversations about places around the world like the ClustrMaps widget does.  The ClustrMaps widget puts a dot on the world map of where the visitor lives who came to read and view our blog.  Last year my students enjoyed getting their agendas out and exploring their world map when we looked at the ClustrMaps.  In grade two students need to learn about mapping skills in social studies so this one widget provides a great learning opportunity for the social outcome-DR2.3.  When I went to create the flag counter widget I could not remember what to do since I created ClustrMaps  widget last year wither.  I read through the Edublog support for adding in widgets and then Youtube came to the rescue again as I found a video that walked me through how to add the new flag counter widget onto a blog.  That is the beauty and power of the Internet!  It is amazing that I am able to find resources and receive support at the click of a button.

This week I have a few goals set out that I would like to accomplish:

  1. Begin to co-create criteria with students about what they think a good blog post looks like.
  2. Have students draw a self-portrait of themselves so they can use their drawing as their blog avatar.
  3. Have students choose their own favourite art work that they created.  Students can create their background picture for their blog using their favourite drawing.
  4. Students will write in their journals to plan what they want to say in their about page for their blog.
  5. Along with our learning buddies we will review the Going Places Safely lesson and have open conversation about what they learned about.
  6. Give students time to do their first blog post!

My blog post “Approaching The Starting Line…”  gave me inspiration for the title and the direction for this blog post “Slow and Steady…I am Continuing My Race!”  I believe that blogging is a never ending journey!  My students and myself might cross the finish line by reaching some goals or tasks that were set out, but there is always more to learn about.  I only created my first classroom blog last year so I have so much to learn!  I am looking forward to a busy week with my student!

Please check back later this week to read about my progress with teaching my students about digital citizenship and the blogging process.  If you have any recommendations of other great resources and supports regarding digital citizenship and blogging please let me know.  I always look forward to learning new things and expanding my ideas!

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

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  Photo Credit: Camdiluv ♥ via Compfight cc

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…

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Photo Credit: fensterbme via Compfight cc

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! 🙂

Reflecting On What I Learned About Student Blogging From Sue Waters…

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Wow! I really enjoyed class on Tuesday night listening to Sue Waters discuss student blogging during my Social Media class. It is amazing to have a speaker present to us all the way from Australia. The power of technology! It was interesting to find out that Edublogs was one of the largest provider of educational blogs. I also really enjoyed listening to Sue’s personal journey about blogging and how her journey led her to working for Edublogs.

I think Sue brought up some really good points about how writing is just one component of blogging. There are so many other ways for students to reflect and share their thoughts and feelings other than writing it down in a blog post. It is important as an educator to allow your students to use a wide range of tools when blogging. Blogging can help build a community and allow for reflection. Reflection is a critical part of the learning process and I believe in our everyday lives. When we reflect on our experiences we can learn about our strengths and what we need to continue to work on to grow as a learner.

I think the discussion regarding if a blog should be public or private raised a lot of good points. I think by making your blog public it allows for a lot of learning and excitement to occur with your students. But, it can be tough making the decision. I am right now leaning to have my class blog public as I am never going to post my students names anywhere on my classroom blog. I am also not going to post student’s names or photographs on their personal pages attached to our class blog. In the school I teach at many of the classes each have a class name/theme. In my class we are the 2S Secret Agent classroom. So each student will use their secret agent number to post their work under. I want other people to be able to comment on my students work other than just myself, fellow staff members, and my student’s families. I think it will lead to a lot of great discussions and learning if I allow our blog to be public. As discussed in our class the power of audience is key as blogging is “about social learning!”

I agree that blogging should not just be an add-on project. Teachers should be integrating blogging into their different curriculums. When I begin to blog with my students I am going to take little steps so I do not become overwhelmed. As discussed in our social media class as the teacher, I am going to write a comment or question on our class blog then my students can create their responses to my post and write their comments. After my students begin to understand more about blogging and become more comfortable they can start to create their posts on their individual pages. I am also going to teach my students about the blogging cycle: revise, evaluate, review and reflect.

During the presentation Sue walked us through the Edublog blogging series. The link is:  http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/blogging-with-students/ It is a fantastic resource and I have been using it already! I appreciate that you can ask questions right on the Edublog website page and your questions will be answered. Or you can even send Sue a tweet on twitter and ask her questions about blogging @suewaters. Wow! She is an amazing lady. I am looking forward to continue to work on my classroom blog as my digital project. I am very happy that I chose to use Edublog for my classroom blog. I like knowing that I have fellow classmates in my social media class that will give me advice about blogging through our different social network communities and that I am able to ask Sue questions through Twitter. Technology has opened up doors for me to meet other teachers who are passionate about teaching and has allowed me to collaborate with other amazing educators!

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