Thursday, March 31, 2011

Keeping Our Teeth Healthy

Today we were fortunate to listen to a fantastic presentation on dental health. The students learned what they should eat and what they can do to keep their teeth clean and healthy. We captured some of this learning in pictures today, shown in the Animoto Slideshow below.

The Grade 1/2 students then worked in partners to reflect on their learning, and share what they learned with others too. This activity matches up perfectly with our Grade 1 Social Studies unit on Community Helpers and our Grade 2 Health Unit on Healthy Foods. We hope that you enjoy our presentations too!

We'd love to know what you know about keeping teeth clean and healthy. Please help us learn by leaving a comment here. Thanks for your help!

The Grade 1 Classes and the Grade 1/2 Class

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Visiting Community Helpers

Here is an Animoto Slideshow of our visit with two special community helpers today: a police officer and a firefighter. We learned a lot from them! We hope you learn something from this slideshow too!

The Grade 1 Students

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Our Fantastic Friday

Yesterday really was an amazing day, and I'm glad that I could capture some of it in pictures. Watching the children working together and writing yesterday made me realize the value of choice. Instead of telling the students what tools they had to use, I outlined the form of their writing and gave them control over the rest. It was awesome! Students were using everything from the iPod Touches to the iPads to the computers to markers and paper, and they were all happily engaged in writing. They were helping each other, they were problem-solving, and they were learning. As a teacher, I can't ask for anything better!

I hope that you enjoy this Animoto Slideshow with your children, and that you get a chance to use this slideshow to discuss yesterday's writing activities. What did the children think about them? Did they like having more "choice?" Why? I would love to hear your thoughts!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Anything's Possible

Creating Their Presentations

Today, we did an activity that I would have never thought I'd do with a group of Grade 1 and 2 students: we made Presentations on GoogleDocs. Since just before the March Break, we've been learning about feelings as part of a Character Education/literacy activity, so I thought it would be interesting for the students to create their own slideshows on "feelings." The students worked in partners to find appropriate images on Google Images, copy the links, and insert the pictures into their slideshows. Then they wrote sentences and/or captions about each of the feelings.

The activity itself does not seem that complicated, and it really wasn't, but it was the "searching" part of this activity that I was hesitant about. Our Board filters lots of Internet content, but when searching images, it's hard to know what's going to appear. Everything may not be appropriate. Can six- and seven-year-olds deal with this? Will they filter accordingly?

Today was the test, and my students did an outstanding job! The amazing part was sitting back and listening to them create their slideshows. They took this responsibility very seriously. They discussed what images to use, and they immediately let me know if they saw something inappropriate. The students also thought about the target audiences of this slideshow: their parents and the teacher. Even though some of the images were appropriate, I heard the students say that they wouldn't choose them because "Miss Dunsiger might not like them," or "this isn't something we do at school (fighting), so I shouldn't pick this picture." Wow! Today, all of the students showed me just how responsible they can be!

Below are the completed slideshows. I hope that you enjoy them! To help us with this feeling activity, I'd love if you would share what you do when you feel different ways. As I asked the students today: how can we behave our best even when we don't feel our best?

Thanks for your help with this activity!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

We Did It!

We have been working hard on our educational Television Show, and yesterday, the students did the first full recording of their show. I had another chance to work outside of my comfort zone by using JayCut to edit the video and produce what you see below. I would definitely suggest plugging in some external speakers when listening to this video, as the sound quality is not as good at times. This is my no means a professional production, but it is what six- and seven-year-olds independently produced in small groups, and it was a great opportunity to share out learning with others in a new way.

The students would like to watch this video again, reflect on how they did, and try a live performance the next time using UStream. I plan on doing this when we get back from March Break. I'm interested in seeing how they change their performances based on their reflections.

Here are some things that I learned from this experience:

1) It is important to give students the opportunity to present information in a lot of different ways. Many chose to just have a discussion, and having some more variety in the performances would have been great!

2) Planning is important, but script writing may not be quite as important. The students really wanted to stick to their script, and this made things stilted at times. Using an organizer to plan out some ideas instead of writing a full script, may have been better.

3) Have students list what props they're going to use and how they're going to use them. Students realized the importance of having props, but not all students used all of the props that they chose.

4) Develop a conclusion as a class. What is the meaning behind the television show? Make sure that this message is clearly stated at the end.

For teachers that have done a similar project before, what are your suggestions for improvement? I would love to hear what you have to say! And once again, a special thank you to Colin Jagoe (@colinjagoe) and iAnna for inspiring all of us to try something new.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

Today, my class started to practice their lines and actions for our big television show. They were so excited! The students quickly learned that it takes a long time to memorize lines and figure out how to present to others in an interesting way too. Watch this Photo Peach slideshow of the "young actors" hard at work:

Practicing For Our TV Show on PhotoPeach

While we are still not ready for our final presentation yet, here is a recording of one of the groups presenting "scared" during our initial full-group rehearsal:

I love how this group considers the audience -- a group of six- and seven-year-olds -- in their presentation. They knew that Spiderman would interest these young children, and they planned accordingly. Way to go!

Thanks again to Colin Jagoe (@colinjagoe) and iAnna for inspiring us to complete this project in the first place and continuing to motivate us even when it gets hard. We watched the second iAnna episode today, and the students were even more excited to practice after seeing this great acting. Thanks Anna!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Come On In And Have A Look

It's been a while since I've posted an Animoto slideshow here, and when looking through my photographs this weekend, I realized just how many I have to share. Take a look at the slideshow below to get a glimpse into our classroom and some of the activities that we do each day. What are some activities that your child enjoys the most? Why? I would love to hear what you and your child have to say!


Friday, March 4, 2011

It All Started With A Tweet ...

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a tweet by Colin Jagoe (@colinjagoe) about a guest post on his blog by his seven-year-old daughter. She made a "television show episode" called iAnna, which is very similar to iCarly. When watching her show, I knew that I needed to try out something similar with my students.

I then saw a tweet last week by Heidi Siwak (@heidisiwak) about her class UStream Channel. When I saw this, I knew what to do! I would have my students create a television show on UStream.

Last week, for our Word Wall and Word Family activity, students learned about feeling and colour words after reading My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss. As part of our school focus on Social Justice, we've been spending time discussing feelings, so why not have students create an educational television show on feelings? An idea was forming ...

Yesterday, I showed the class iAnna. We used this excellent example to help us develop "success criteria" for television shows. From there, the idea took off! Watch this PhotoPeach Slideshow to see where the students are going with this mega-media literacy project:

Our TV Show Project: Starting The Process on PhotoPeach

The students are so excited for Monday and our continuation of this fun and educational activity! A special thank you to Anna, Colin, and Heidi for helping me step out of my comfort zone (television shows, music apps, and UStream are very new to me) and learn along with my students: a whole class of excellent teachers! And to think this whole project started because of a single tweet ...