Hip Hip Hooray!

hip hip horray

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!

oct 23 blog

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!

This New Journey Has Begun…

digital footprint with words

Photo Credit: Chris Swift via Compfight cc

I was very excited that I received approval from my school division again to continue blogging with my students this year.  Last year I was introduced to Edblogs when Sue Waters talked to our class when I took EC&I 831.  I am really happy that I chose to use Edublogs because all of the guidance you get through their website and their Support Team is incredible.  As I mentioned in my previous blog post I have been busy changing my blog over to my married name.  The support team responded back to my e-mail very quickly and answered all of my questions.  They also gave me guidance in how to create a new account, change my account information onto my new account, and helped me transfer my old Miss Stephanson classroom blog posts onto my new Mrs. Kyle classroom blog.  I am currently now figuring out what to do with my last years student’s individual blogs so I can create new individual blogs for my 2015-2016 secret agent students.  If you have any good tips in what you do with your previous students individual blogs please let me know!

This week I was able to send home a parent letter to my student’s families when I got approval from my school division.  The letter explains what a blog is, why I believe blogging is beneficial, what our classroom blog guidelines/rules are, and what blogging in our classroom is going to look like.  At the bottom of the letter is a parent permission form that my student’s parents must fill out before their child can begin to blog in my class.  (Permission Letter to Parents About Using A Blog 2015-2016).  I attached the letter onto this post so you are welcome to use it or edit the parent letter for your own classroom.  Last year I searched the Internet and followed Jonah Salsich’s format.  I used a lot of his ideas and sentences when I created my letter.  I was so grateful that Jonah shared his parent letter onto his blog.  Thanks Jonah!

 Last week my grade two students along with their grade six were introduced to the term digital footprint.  Together with their partners or groups of three they brainstormed what they thought the term digital footprint meant.  Students wrote down their ideas onto a piece of paper that was in the shape of a footprint.  After students shared their ideas with the rest of the class and we  had a group discussion.  Later in the year students will get an opportunity to look back at their predictions and get to create new footprint explaining what they have learned from all of the lessons.  This will allow students to compare their ideas and see their growth.  When our class discussion was over I showed everyone a video from the Common Sense Education website called My Online Neighborhood.  Then I showed them another video called Your Digital Footprint.  The videos allowed students to get a snapshot of what they will be learning about in the coming weeks and months.

After we watched the two videos it led to a lot of great questions and discussion.  After our discussion I finally I explained to both classes that they will be learning about the Internet, safety, digital citizenship, and what a digital footprint is.  I am hoping that my students and the grade six students continue to ask good questions.  I am looking forward to learning more about digital citizenship so I can educate both classes in how they can be digital citizens.  If you know of any good resources, videos, picture books, or other websites to educate elementary students about digital citizenship please let me know!  I am busy working on piecing my unit together!  Please check back to read my next post about our online field trip that my students went on Thursday!!!

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
Photo Credit: Lotus Carroll via Compfight cc

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

Photo Credit: Rob Warde via Compfight cc

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

Photo Credit: AJC1 via Compfight cc

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

  Photo Credit: hgjohn via Compfight cc

Exciting News About My Classroom Blog…

excited

Photo Credit: timparkinson via Compfight cc

Today I received the last parent permission form!  All of my students have permission to take part in our classroom blog.  (Insert happy dance!!) I am thrilled that all my parents are onboard with having their child participate in blogging.  My grade two’s are so excited about blogging and learning more about it.

Today I put Ms. Cassidy’s blog on the Smartboard so we could explore what a classroom blog can look like.  We read some of the posts on their classroom blog page and then explored some of student’s learning pages.  As a class we also started to talk about what a digital footprint was and why it is important to have a positive digital footprint.  I am going to continue to teach lessons about creating a positive digital footprint because it is important for children to know that what they put on the internet stays on the internet.

Next I opened our classroom blog on the Smartboard and as a class we explored what pages I have added onto our blog so far.  My students are really excited to choose what colour their learning page is going to be.  After I turned my students attention to the about me section on their learning page.  As a class we brainstormed what they could say for the about me page.  I wrote their ideas on the Smartboard and we created some sentence starters to help them create their first post.  To make it easier for my students I had them write their ideas down in their journals.  Tomorrow I am going to have my student’s type out their entry onto their learning blog page. (I hope it goes smoothly tomorrow!)

This week I also want to:

*Have my students create art work for the top of their learning page pictures.

*Create an avatar for their page.

*Create a post or two as a class to add to our classroom blog page.

*Send out a letter to parents explaining a little bit more about our classroom blog and provide them with the link so they can check it out!

Have a look at our classroom blog and see how it evolves over the week!

Digital Citizenship Webinar…

digital citizenshipTonight I had the pleasure of participating in a webinar presented by Kathy Cassidy that focused on Digital Citizenship.  I love that we have fabulous teachers right in our province doing amazing and innovative things in their classrooms.  Thank you to Raelynn Smith for tweeting about the webinar this week on Twitter.  In one week of having Twitter I can see how useful it can be as an educator.  I have been able to follow some wonderful teachers who have shared some great resources already so far.

From this webinar I was able to get some excellent tips and ideas when I begin to teach Digital Citizenship to my students.  During the hour Kathy discussed why it was important and commented that “their world will be digital.”  I agree because most students now have access to computers, iPads, iPhones, etc. and they need to be prepared in how to use these tools appropriately.  She also discussed that students need to learn that “what goes online…stays online.”  I think that is something that people do forget about.  There have been cases that old negative comments, pictures, or videos that have been posted online have prevented people from great opportunities later on when they get older. Kathy talked about the importance of students building a positive digital footprint and she poses questions to her students such as “What do people think of you when they see you online?  What do you know about that person?  Would you want to have this person as your friend? How do you want other people to think about you?”  I thought those were excellent questions so students could reflect on their blog page and what other students might think about them by reading their posts and comments.  It is important for students to be safe, respectful, and kind to each other when using technology.

Also in the webinar Kathy discussed her classroom blog.  Some of the blog apps that she mentioned were the Edublog app, Easy blogger app, and the Easy blogger junior app.  Later on Kathy talked about parents need to sign a permission form.  In her school division they have a division form that parents must fill out that allows teachers and the school to post students work and pictures online.  She also has parents and students sign an acceptable use form.  When students blog they use iPads and work together with other students in the classroom.  I think that is very powerful because I believe that students learn more through collaboration.  I like how Kathy has a rule that students can not publish to their blog or Twitter account without her looking at the posts or tweets first.  She mentioned that on her student’s blog pages they do not post any pictures on the individual blogs to avoid names and pictures matching up together.  But, she does post pictures of the students onto her classroom blog page.  She also showed us a chart that she posts in her room to help remind students how to write good comments when posting on a blog:

  1. say something you like
  2. make a connection
  3. ask a question
  4. reread the comments

I never thought about all the learning and curricular outcomes that can be reached by having students blog until this webinar.  It is great for working on writing skills and self editing.  It gives students an audience and a purpose to write.  It also provides students the opportunity to reflect on their work and set goals.  Kathy discussed that blogs can become a student portfolio and samples of work can be posted on blog by using screencasts, podcasts, or pictures to showcase learning.  Students can read each other’s blogs and classroom tweets on Twitter during read to self or read to partner.  Blogs can also be opened on the Smartboard then students can read the posts and comments together as a class.

This webinar made me reflect about our Pink Day events that we had last year at our school.  We had a presentation that discussed the acronym THINK and that students need to THINK before they talk, text, or write to someone using any form of technology.  We have THINK posters hanging up in our school as good reminders to students on how to be kind, respectful, and to fill other people’s buckets instead of being bucket dippers.  Here are two different versions of similar posters that we have posted in our school.

new think image

  Photo Credit: ToGa Wanderings via Compfight cc

Thank you for reading my blog today.  I know I wrote a lot, but I did not want to forget everything that Kathy talked about and that I learned from her webinar today.  If you ever get the opportunity to hear Kathy Cassidy speak I highly recommend it!!  Check out Kathy’s fabulous class blog and you can follow her on Twitter.  Now I am excited to start the process in creating my own classroom blog! Let the learning begin!!