She is now 3 month old almost 4 month old, our little one. It’s a gift and I’m very thankful that I get to experience this journey. On the other hand I definitely miss my work at school and as much the professional input and exchange I always got from my colleagues, my PLN through Coetail, Twitter, etc. It’s time to get into it again at least online. Time will tell whether I can make it regularly but nothing wrong with giving it a try. Here I am again.
For a while already I’m so proud of my Grade 4 students (and about myself) and finally I can tell you about it. The two Grade 4 German classes advanced level published their eBook about interesting facts about the brain.
The classes created, collaborated and contributed and it’s my hope that this publishing experience was something where learning started and future learning will happen.
Here a quick overview of what was happening in the classroom:
The students …
read nonfiction as learning about the brain
watched videos as learning about the brain
inquired into features of a nonfiction page
inquired into a chosen topic
applied the reading strategy “determine importance”
summarized nonfiction information
organized and created a nonfiction page with Book Creator
practiced and improved their German by using the language
=> experienced the publishing process of a book
=> created a resource that will be available for download across the world
Here again the link to the iTunes Store: “Interessantes über das Gehirn“. The students will be more than happy to see that people are actually download the ebook and maybe even write a review. Thx.
The whole planning started in mid december with an empty “Understanding by Design” unit template which was very helpful in terms of thinking through the entire project. I had done the unit before therefore I knew the content and could focus more on redefining and recreating the unit. If you want to have a closer look on the planning, feel free to do this here:
The whole project ended with a video which describes it and reflects on it.
The students, my colleagues who were involved and I indeed had great learning experiences – we were all risk takers and learners in order to go a step further in terms of teaching and learning. Many things like learning through a flipped classroom, creating and publishing an eBook as well as working with a limited amount of iPads or own iPads students brought to school happened for the first time.
My colleague and I were amazed by the high level of motivation of the students. The fact that they watched movies to acquirer knowledge about the brain; the fact that they could chose their own topic to inquire into; the fact that the eBook will be published to a real audience; the fact that they got the chance to work with an iPad motivated them immensely. The students were learning and improving the German language through using the same.
One challenge I didn’t expect: the parents. The majority agreed to publish it on iTunes and also to mention the whole or only the first name. One student in my class didn’t even want create a nonfiction page with the iPad. “And my parents don’t want this either.”, he said. He couldn’t explain why and the parents never approached me and until today I don’t know what the reasons are. The student create then the page on paper.
Another parent couldn’t understand why it has to be published on iTunes. Unfortunately it seemed to be difficult for them to articulate their concerns. I have an idea of their concerns and maybe I still will get a chance to talk to them.
Obviously I took it for granted that parents agree to authentic and meaningful learning, partly also because they chose a PYP school for their child. I see now the need to let parents now even more and in detail what our ideas of teaching and learning these days are. Creation yes, (internal) collaboration yes, but I wonder now how important is contribution to a real audience for the parents (and for teachers)?!
Thank you COETAIL for a wonderful and exciting learning experience!
What comes next? Well, luckily the Coetail experience won’t end here! I’m excited to read and watch about the other final projects as well as to follow other educators within Coetail and around the world. Contribution will be a bigger part of my online life and I hope that once in a while I’ll inspire other people like so many great teachers and educators inspire my life.
So let’s keep in contact through Twitter (@blaho_blaho), through Google+, and email (blahoblaho at gmail.com) or whatever will be invented. It became so easy! Btw. I was the only one at our school who did the Coetail Course so I wouldn’t mind a Google Hangout to celebrate a little bit. Who is in?
First time I got in contact with coding/programming was at school (BASIC? I can’t even remember … ) early in the 90ties. It always interested me but for whatever reason I never got into it. Dad, why didn’t you buy me a computer? Just kidding. I became a primary school teacher – no programming at university or similar at that time at all. 2004 I got a second contact when I started working for a software company (Tcl, php … ) as a trainer for their software but I never really had to program. When I decided to go back to work as a teacher I was convinced that I will never get in contact with coding/programming again.
I was so wrong!
“I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer
because it teaches you how to think.”
— STEVE JOBS, THE LOST INTERVIEW
First I read the following article (and so many more) few month ago: What 90% of Schools Don’t Teach and it makes it very clear: There will be a huge demand for programmer in future! Therefore: Are Coders The Scribes of Our Time? Interesting question as well. Do I teach the students to code? No. I could find excuses. Well, I never really learnt it. Well, I’m a language teacher. And so on. Not yet. One of my goals for the next school year probably will be to get into coding apps for the iPads for primary school students. So far I discovered a few apps:
Learn the basics of computer programming with Daisy the Dinosaur! This free, fun app has an easy drag and drop interface that kids of all ages can use to animate Daisy to dance across the screen. Kids will intuitively grasp the basics of objects, sequencing, loops and events by solving this app’s challenges. After playing Daisy, kids can choose to download a kit to program their own computer game.
The new Bee-Bot App from TTS Group has been developed based on our well-loved, award-winning Bee-Bot floor robot. The app makes use of Bee-Bot’s keypad functionality and enables children to improve their skills in directional language and programming through sequences of forwards, backwards, left and right 90 degree turns.
Beginning of March 2013 I set myself several goals regarding educational technology. I had started the Coetail Course beginning of February and realized that there is so much out there to explore. 2013 will be my year of getting into educational technology. So far I’m not disappointed at all. Opposite is the case: It’s learning without ending. It’s inspiring, exciting and enriching. Some things I already tried in school.
I discovered the Chrome Web Store a while ago and they are indeed awesome. You get any imaginable application which is integrated in Chrome and allows you a faster access as well as additional functionalities. The apps are also a never ending story. I can get lost in that store. Exciting and dangerous at the same time. Here just a quick overview what I use for my productivity online. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten a lot of chances to use Google Apps with my students yet. In future …
I am using so far:
Google Drive, Gmail, Gmail Offline
AdBlock – Blocks advertisements on all websites.
Evernote Web – Usually I use Evernote which is installed on my computer. Evernote Web is useful, but gives me only access to synchronized notebooks which makes sense.
Evernote Web Clipper – This app allows me to save a website (whole page, an article, just the URL or as pdf) directly into Evernote.
Tweetdeck – best tool to organize Twitter.
Feedly – RSS Reader – best tool to get all news of blogs and websites
Readium – Allows me to read eBooks (epub) in the browser.
With/for the students:
Timer – timer countdown, alarm clock, stopwatch
iSpeech – For my students who have difficulties with reading. Text is read aloud for them.
Evernote Clearly – Converts articles on the web into a easy, readable and printable look.
Connected Mind – Tool to create a mind map. Haven’t had a chance with the students yet though.
Check out the Chrome Web Store! What apps are using using for teaching and learning! Thx.