Friday, October 27, 2017

#IMMOOC Lead by Example

We want our learning to follow the same guidelines as the students' learning.  If it is best for them, isn't it probably what is best for us?  

If you are a leader, think about your teachers before making a PD mandatory.  Will it truly help them or will they just feel like it is a waste of time? The picture above says a thousand words!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

#IMMOOC Sharing is Critical

We need to be more open to share our ideas with one another instead of judge what someone is doing or not doing in their classroom.  I welcome anyone to my classroom to see what we are doing and am willing to share any lesson ideas with others.  I also love to get ideas from other teachers.  I don't always do the lesson exactly how they did it, but I will take the idea and run with it to make it fit for my students and their needs.  

Let's be more open and willing to listen to other's ideas so we can spend less time recreating and more time working with our students!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

#IMMOOC What Should the Classroom Look Like?

One of the sad things about being an educator is hearing my fellow educators talking about how they taught this great lesson with students sitting in their desks listening to their lecture, students practicing on a worksheet and the teachers walking around to see how each student is doing.  

Every grade level needs to give students choice and voice in their learning!  We also have to connect their learning to the real world, make time for reflection, give opportunities for innovation and self assessment and build problem solvers who can think critically.  

While I feel it easy to say every grade level, I've never taught higher than second grade.  However, I still believe that those upper grade students should have the same opportunities as lower grade students even though they take an end of year assessment (SOLs in Virginia).

Let's just try it to see how they do!  Give your students a chance to show you!!  Then come back and leave a comment to share what happened!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

#IMMOOC Lay the Foundation for Innovation!

Show this graphic to your principal today!!  Every leader should take this advice from George in order to create a willingness for teachers to be more innovative in the classroom.

Monday, October 23, 2017

#IMMOOC Give Opportunities

One of the battles educators face, especially more veteran ones, is figuring out how or even being interested in finding time to use the technology themselves.  But one of the things they don't understand is that our students already know how to use it.  We just have to give them the opportunity to use it in a safe, structured way so that when they are out using it independently, they will do so responsibility!

What types of lessons do you teach about digital citizenship and how to use technology correctly?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

#IMMOOC My Educator Inpirations

There are two educators that I continue to learn so much from as they inspire me to create learning opportunities for my students.  One is Alice Keeler, who was on sharing her thoughts just last week about homework and innovation.  The other is Christine Pinto, who is writing a book with Alice Keeler about how to use Google Apps for Education (GAFE) with young students, and writes a blog about it here: GAFE for Littles

Both of these ladies have helped break down the barriers for kindergarten students.  Almost daily, I hear the phrase, "They can't do that!"  Well how do we know???  Have you at least given them the opportunity to try?  If your answer is no, then you are prejudging a student before giving them an opportunity to show you if they can do "it" or not.  

I would encourage anyone reading try something new with your students!  Something you have never done before.  Give them an opportunity to show you if they know how to do "it" or not.  I have always been surprised with what my students can teach me about new things!

What is something you have tried with your students or would like to try with them??  Leave a message in the comments, I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, October 9, 2017

#IMMOCC My How Things Can Change!

This week, as I reread part two of The Innovator's Mindset, the quote above really spoke to me because it is what I am up against right now in my school.  Before we can give students the opportunities to learn and grow and be innovative, we have to be able to do that for ourselves.  If teachers only want to do what they did last year because it is easier for them to just copy from their old plan book, they should no longer be teaching!  I also loved how George said in the book that teachers need to consider their job a passion instead of a "job."  

My energy and passion for innovation and technology in kindergarten makes people very uncomfortable if they do not have that same passion.  It can sometimes be a struggle!  As I said last week, I am so fortunate that I have an administration that values my passion and energy and are willing to let me take risks.  Sometimes I fail.  The lesson doesn't go exactly how I envisioned or the technology doesn't work exactly how I wanted it to.  That's ok!  I think on my feet and adjust the lesson in the moment to fit what is best for my students.  After the kids leave, I will rethink what went wrong and develop a plan for the lesson to go a little bit better the next time.  

One of the tools I use to help me with new lesson ideas is Twitter!  While I have not started tweeting my ideas out, I am probably the biggest Twitter stalker out there!  When I open my Twitter app and see that George Couros or Alice Keeler has shared an idea or question stem, I get so excited to see what others are saying.  Because I teach kindergarten, I also follow Christine Pinto who is a kindergarten teacher in California who believes 5 and 6 year olds can use any Google App you give them!  Her website is called GAFE for Littles (GAFE = Google Apps for Education) and she has a tab where teachers can share their Google creations.  

I now believe that even kindergarten students can use something like Google Classroom for workflow with assignments in Google Slides, Google Sheets and Google Docs.  Last year, my students worked together on a Google Slide presentation.  Each student got their own page on the slide.  We used PebbleGo to research animals and then created a page in the class book about that animal.  Does this take longer than a paper pencil activity?  YES!  But is it what is best for the students?  YES!  The time invested in teaching my kindergarten students how to use Google Apps was well worth it when the final product looks like this: 

We also used PebbleGo to research jobs in our community and created this book: 

My students, who were 5 and 6 years old last year, were able to create this document because I gave them the opportunity to do so.  I didn't tell them what to write on their slide.  I didn't tell them what pictures to use.  They researched the animal or job and then shared their learning by typing their sentence.  The Explore tool in Google Slides allowed them to find pictures to go with their writing.  I was so impressed with their willingness to write - they were so excited to share what they had learned!  We shared their work with parents on Seesaw!!! have you changed over the years or what kind of roadblocks do you have when trying to be innovative in your classroom?  If you have no roadblocks, what kind of lessons or ideas do you have to share with us?  Leave a comment below!  I love to hear what other teachers are doing in their classrooms!