Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Classroom Crib Continues To Evolve

Change Is Necessary Again

Back in August of this year, I introduced my newly redesigned "classroom crib" on a blog post discussing a few of the benefits of designing your classroom with a purpose in mind. Well, we are starting the 2nd 9 weeks of school and it continues to evolve and change! I have taken out a couch and have moved a few pieces of furniture to meet the needs of my students and their learning. Floor space and mobility are key components when you start to fill the classroom with little bodies and mobile devices. Its so difficult to know whether your design will be functional until you see students in action on a daily basis. So you begin to adjust and tweak a little here and there until the students begin to move in ways that suits the climate of the classroom. The conversations and environment play a very important role in "building relationships" and collaboration between students MUST be "purposeful". 

What I Have Learned

I continue to learn that "relationships" are what brings life to the classroom. The conversations between students and their peers begin to take a more "purposeful" meaning in a way that students feel safe and happy. These observations, along with other key factors, are impacting student success on a higher level of engagement. Students feel comfortable talking to their classmates and the environment gives the classroom a sense of "purpose". This has been my goal this year to bring this kind of learning into my classroom. I want students to feel "empowered" when they walk into my classroom and that they "matter" to others around them. I believe that designing a classroom with these goals in mind, can help students feel successful so that they can "empower" others in the same manner. I see and hear their conversations and watch their learning begin to unfold in in "purposeful" play!  I continue to learn and grow in my learning each day as I watch my students learn from each other. Their English language is growing exponentially as their conversations are more meaningful and richer. I have introduced new technologies this year, music during transitions, which the students love, to shake things up a bit. They have more time for independent reading with their small pillow while the lights are turned low. They walk around with their iPad with "pride" and hug it like a book, so loved, yet so powerful. This kind of environment has changed my students to be learners of "compassion" and it has changed their teacher to be a "change" agent in her classroom. What a blessing! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Classroom Google In A Primary Classroom...Oh Yes!!!!

Its October and I haven't posted any new learning since school started!!! Its been a rather hectic start to the school year with new curriculum in both math and science that teachers in my district are learning new content at the speed of light!! But the learning in my classroom has been so inspirational that I have enjoyed creating new "digital lessons" that have empowered my students in new ways!

My new favorite tool that I will be discussing on this post is ClassroomGoogle. I first heard about it this past summer as they were getting ready to roll it out at the start of the school year. I began looking at videos on +YouTube to help me get a better understanding of its platform. I was so amazed by its "user friendly" platform that I instantly fell in love with it. So I began "tweeting" out ways other teachers were using Classroom Google and instantly received a wealth of knowledge by my PLN on +Twitter . 

I decided to use it as an "exit ticket" for reading comprehension with the new #GRA14 Read Aloud that started this week on Edmodo by my dear friend +Pernille Ripp. I always look forward to this time of year as the Global Read Aloud kicks off the fall season! Inferencing and drawing conclusions are two "huge" skills that students must be able to do independently if they want to be great life long readers. So Classroom Google was an easy and fun way for 3rd graders to practice these skills and participate in discussions. You can bring in images, links, YouTube videos as short introductions to a specific lesson. Using it as an "exit ticket" is a great way to informally assess comprehension by students when discussing various topics. Also using it in math as a way to bring in background knowledge or flipping the classroom. But the cool thing about Classroom Google is the integration of Google Drive. Students in my classroom have gmail accounts so this makes it so easy for students to upload content created straight into a folder the teacher has created or their very own google drive. Its a "one stop" place for learning to be seamless and fun!! My goal is to move in this direction where the students are uploading assignments to their google drive or a shared folder created by the teacher! The students seem to be enjoying Classroom Google and its "user friendly" platform. Here is the link to my Classroom Google and what kinds of activities the students have participated in. I did forget to mention one very important piece and that is that students and or district must have the GAFE tools in order for you to use Classroom Google or have access to it.