Tag Archives: kids

Stars are Born!

I believe that we can engage children and have them truly own and demonstrate their learning success by incorporating multimedia learning in the classroom. This belief was reinforced by a few projects that I worked on with a class of Grade One students who I had the pleasure of working with for the past six weeks.

Anytime a child believes he has an audience for his ‘performance’ he will be more engaged and concerned about his production and success. Tell a child that she will be in a movie or on a poster and her eyes will light up. Kids are natural performers. Even the reluctant, shy ones will smile and be excited when they see themselves on the screen or in print.

One of the first activities we did was to create a ‘number hunt’ where the kids had my camera and were in charge of walking around the school to find things that were found in groups of one, two, etc.. After the pictures were taken, I used Sliderocket to put together a presentation that we shared with our class, another class and with the parents and guardians by sending the URL home for them. I was also able to download it and print it so that after it was laminated it became a popular book for the children to read to themselves, reinforcing both counting and number words. Relating to their own environment and relevant objects was important.  You can see our presentation HERE.

On Groundhog Day, we used Wallwisher to record the information that we had learned about groundhogs and the traditions around the day. The kids were thrilled to see their names being recorded on the screen and they again shared the URL with their families at home to re-read and share. We used Wallwisher again when doing a KWL session on nutrition, food,  and reasons that we eat.

We made Photovisi presentations that we printed out to record our 100th day of school activities and our Valentine’s Day fun. The picture stories with their photos were great for retelling events, ordering events and sharing with our school community and children’s homes.

The most fun we had was producing our very short YouTube video showcasing the digraph /sh/. Going through the process of learning about the sound, watching similar project videos by Kathy Cassidy’s students, brainstorming words, preparing our ‘props’, and then the steps of actually producing our video was intriguing, interesting, and motivational. The video was put together using Movie Maker and uploaded to YouTube. The kids felt like superstars! The joy and pride on their faces while watching the finished product was proof that they were invested in it. They truly had tried their very best, knowing that they would have an audience beyond the immediate classmates and teacher. Sharing the product with their parents and guardians was an exciting event!

These kids were amazing writers, actors, directors and producers. They had not had experience with creating these kinds of multimedia presentations and they were eager to be a part of it. Their enthusiasm and pride was evident and they were completely engaged in learning to share what they knew. These projects were fun and engaging and these children were truly ‘stars.’ The knowledge that they could have an audience beyond their classroom was motivating for them. Their desire to show what they knew and teach others was a huge source of pride. They were superstars and I am very proud of them!

This particular school does not have many technological resources. In a Kindergarten to Grade Eight school with approximately 550 students they have 30 laptops for the whole school and one computer per classroom. There are 4 additional computers in the resource center and one interactive whiteboard housed in a Grade 8 classroom. These could be considered limitations but the amazing projects that we were able to create are proof that there are some wonderful tools that allow us to incorporate learning and technology for kids to create with.

The problem that I have seen isn’t a lack of tools but seems to be a lack of teacher engagement with these tools. Is it fear of the new tools or an unawareness of the tools? How do we get more teachers to see the benefits of their use and to take the risk to try them?

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Hallelujah Chorus from Quinhagak, Alaska

This YouTube video was created by a group of Grade Five students from Kuinerrarmiut Elitnaurviat in Quinhagak, Alaska.  It was planned for an audience of about 200 people in another village but has almost one million views, now, to the amazement to the people of Quinhagak.  They can be very proud of this piece.  Enjoy!

Let’s get SMART(board)!

We had the opportunity to ‘play’ with the interactive white boards (IWBs) this week in our ECMP355 class.  I am of the opinion that SMART boards are a valuable teaching tool and I look forward to having the opportunity to design with and use them in the future with a classroom!  Reading reviews of IWBs online and talking to friends who are administrators of schools and have the potential to purchase those devices, there is still a lot of hesitation and negative thoughts about the use of  IWBs.  If these devices are being used as glorified overhead projectors, primarily for the use of the teacher to display or interact with, with students only observing, I think that the potential is being lost.  “Good” technology in the hands of ‘bad’ teachers doesn’t automatically create ‘good’ lessons!   We need access to information and support to ensure that these tools are being used effectively.  Our presentor, Ward Milligan, spent a great deal of time showing us several different ways to create interactive activities for our students to use to enrich and enhance their learning.

Our Tech Task this week is to find and explore a couple of interactive white board games relating to a specific Saskatchewan Curriculum objective.

I chose the following Grade Two objective:

Life Science – Animal Growth and Changes (AN)
AN2.1 Analyze the growth and development of familiar animals, including birds, fish, insects, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals, during their life cycles

(Saskatchewan Curriculum, Grade Two Science)

The two activities that I found are based on the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

The first one is literacy based and relates directly to the caterpillar’s life cycle as it is presented in the book.  It is called The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  There is a video (no internet required) to watch the Eric Carle’s story and then there are a number of activities for the kids to do, including memory games and counting as well as recalling and sequencing the caterpillar/butterfly’s life cycle.

The second is also related to The Very Hungry Caterpillar and explores the life cycles of other animals as well as the caterpillar.  The title of these activities is Life Cycles.  This set of interactive activities explores the life cycles of mammals, insects, amphibians, and birds. Kermit the Frog makes an appearance and there are videos and songs included.

Both of these activities were found at the website SMART Exchange which is a resource filled with activities for all subjects and grade levels.  It is a community that encourages submissions and sharing by educators.

Come to the Dark Side

I love kids. I love the energy, the enthusiasm, the gleeful innocence and hilarity that they bring.  And I have 2 kids of my own who I get to find joy with every day.

I also love the unpredictability.

While driving around town a while ago I turned to speak to my 6 year old daughter who was in the back seat.  This is what I saw:

Darth Kenna

Yes, that is Darth Vader wearing a Hello Kitty t-shirt.  That girl cracks me right up.   Her brother must have left the mask  in the vehicle.   Add on that it’s a Darth Vader voice-changing mask and you can imagine how it sounded when she answered me.   I wonder what other drivers who passed us thought?