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Archive for Curriculum

Educational Experiments

This past Tuesday we had a guest speaker, Will Richardson, who spoke on the topic of blogging.  The conversation shifted from blogs to how to get staff members on board with using technology in schools.  I began to think of educator reactions, parent reactions and community reactions.  Much of the technology we have been using in this class has been new – I have found this to be very exciting.  And yet, is it not all one big experiment?  I won’t really know for a few years as to the effects of these “technology experiments” in my classroom.  This reason for reluctance was not addressed – I agree that teachers need more time to conduct their own experiments and play with technology but this excuse becomes just that – an excuse to me after awhile.  How do parents and society perceive these experiments with technology?  Dr. Muhammod was a speaker at a PD event recently in my school division.  He said that teachers teach the way they are taught – and I think in a way, parents and society expect this as well.  To borrow a thought from Dr. Muhammod to illustrate this point, in what other profession do children spend 5 1/2 hours per day watching a “mentor”?  Children do not watch dentists do their job for 5 1/2 hours per day, five days per week, 190 days per year.  Schools are a reflection of society;  maybe it’s not just the teachers who balk technology.

Do You Like Green Eggs and Ham?

On Friday I read Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham.” to my students.  We then made green eggs and ham.  The students were surveyed after they tried the green eggs and ham and we discovered that 15/15 students liked the green eggs and ham.  So I thought I would import a survey on our wiki.  I couldn’t figure out GoogleDocs for this purpose (please send me any suggestions) so I tried out SurveyGizmo and I embedded it as a widget on our wiki.  I think the kids will be interested in finding out what other people think so please take this poll!  I thought I would embed the poll here as well but as I have been playing around, there is a poll button which quickly creates polls right here using PollDaddy!  So what do you think, do you like green eggs and ham? 

Using Stephen’s suggestion, I tried Google Docs again, with more success.

http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=cHJJa3RrN3U5bVlHU2o4UldqdUNFZmc6MA..

I think I like the first poll better; it’s prettier (I’m a girl, what can I say?).

Podcasting in the Classroom

Yesterday I tried out vocaroo with my students.  We had read a story in class about a dragon who helped a child overcome shyness.  The students were given sentence frames to rewrite the story.  Each student then read the story aloud while I recorded their voices using vocaroo.  Here’s an example:

Somebody\’s Dragon

I found that the students needed to speak loudly and yet it picked up all of the background noise.  I was so impressed by my students; they read silently at their desks and completed their journals quietly, waiting their turn respectfully.  I then posted these voice recordings on our blogs.

If you have a chance, please check out our blogs – writings and recordings.  Leave a kind comment for these kids who are learning rapidly and could use some encouragement from someone other than their teacher. – Thanks!

Writing About the Weather

Grade one students were given sentence frames.  Each student completed the sentences.  We used a Smart Board Document Camera to capture the writing (thank you for your help Linda!).  I then used the Recorder on the Smart Board to record student voices while they read their own stories.  The students enjoy hearing their voices and seeing their work on the screen.  My next step is to add this video to our class wiki for students to share with their parents.

My first YouTube video!

Check out this video!  My students were learning about measurement in Math so I took a few clips and I was the one who learned something from using video as an assessment tool!

Addition is Grade One

This video from Kathy Cassidy’s Grade One Blog shows some grade one students completing simple addition equations.  It really reminded me that my students, who are the same age, are at the same stage and it reassured me that my students are learning what they need to learn at an appropriate pace.  Kathy Cassidy has also inspired me to create a math video – a lesson in math using new technology.  We can all be learning at the same time.

Spouting Off

I was talking with some colleagues the other day in the staff room at lunch about this great class I’m taking!  We started talking about classrooms of the future and I mentioned that I could see that possibly in the future, classrooms may become obsolete and the number of teachers needed to teach kids would be drastically reduced.  I have since reconsidered these ideas especially with the grade I teach.  For many people, school is not simply a place to send children for an education – cynical as it sounds, it’s also free babysitting.  I think there would be an uprising from parents if schools were closed down and education was delivered via computer.  This also contradicts my Master’s project where I have been looking at the effects of conversation on literacy and learning especially in the younger years.  How would these conversations take place for children with undeveloped reading and writing skills?