Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Students Saying Goodbye

On my professional blog, I posted today about our school principal retiring at the end of the month. Bev Laporte is a fantastic principal that has really made a positive impact on all of the students at the school. When I told my class that Ms. Laporte was retiring, they wanted to do something for her to say, "goodbye." Below are the common craft videos that the students created in partners today. The children drew the pictures, wrote the script, practiced the lines, and recorded the videos too. This was a reading, writing, and media literacy activity, but also a thank you to somebody special.

Ms. Laporte, we're all going to miss you!
Miss Dunsiger and her Grade 1/2 Class

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

On Mother's Day weekend, I was inspired by Angie Harrison (@techieang). Angie's a Grade 2/3 teacher for the York Region District School Board, and even though I've never met her in person, I am constantly learning from her online thanks to Twitter. In May, Angie wrote about a special Mother's Day gift that her students made for their moms: they created padcasts using the Garage Band app. I thought that this was such a fantastic idea, and I commented on Angie's post right away saying that I wanted to give this a try another year. Angie then said that maybe I could do this for Father's Day instead. She also shared with me some other Father's Day gift ideas.

I was so excited to try something new! I vacillated over different choices, but eventually, I decided to have my students collaborate to make a Father's Day gift. During literacy centres, they worked on GoogleDocs to make a presentation about their dads. Children contributed slides to one of three different presentations. They had to share ideas in complete sentences, check their spelling and grammar, and find appropriate images to match their thoughts. Here is what they created:

All of the dads and step-dads in my class now have a CD with these three presentations on them. Hopefully they'll enjoy watching these presentations and seeing just how much they mean to their children. Angie, it's thanks to you that this year I tried something different other than the ubiquitous tie. Now my mind is reeling with new gift possibilities for next year!

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads, step-dads, and grandfathers in my class and from around the world! I wish you all the best on your special day!


Friday, June 10, 2011

What A Week!

It's been a very busy week in our classroom. Between the car experiment, the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Blowdryer activity, the ladybug research, and the Prezi lesson (see the completed Prezis on the individual student blogs), the students have been reading, writing, talking, and learning all day long. Below is a short video highlighting some of the exciting activities from this week. What did your children enjoy the most? Why? What did they learn from these activities too? I would love to hear their thoughts!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Learning Prezi: Students Teaching Students

A couple of months ago, I was speaking to Mrs. Faux (@mrsfaux), and she mentioned that she was using Prezi with her Grade 7 students. I said that it would be great if her students could teach mine how to use Prezi too. I thought that we could use the screen share feature in Skype to do this. The two of us spoke more about this plan, and even though Mrs. Faux had never used Skype before, she was willing to give this a try. We thought that June would be the perfect time!

Mrs. Faux worked with her students to create six Prezis -- each a separate mini-lesson -- on how to use Prezi. The students ordered the Prezi lessons according to what skills they thought needed to be taught when, and then they grouped them, so that they could teach two skills at a time. Today was our first of three Skype call Prezi lessons.

Last night, Mrs. Faux and I worked together via FirstClass (our email system) to set-up Skype on her laptop computer, and this morning, we did a practice call at 8:30 to make sure that everything was working well. Once I realized that I needed to turn on my microphone for her to hear me (oops!!), we were good to go!

My students were so excited for the call, and her students were fantastic teachers. They went step-by-step, explaining what to do, and they made sure to answer students questions at the end to clarify what they explained as well. I think that the sign of a great lesson is when every student is able to accomplish what is expected, and in this case, that is exactly what happened!

Thank you so much to all of the Grade 7's and Mrs. Faux too for teaching us something new, and giving us a great way to create media texts and practice our writing skills while having a lot of fun as well! We can't wait for our next set of mini-lessons on Friday.

For the students in my class, what did you think about using Prezi? What are you excited to learn next? For other educators that have used Prezi with their students before, how have you used this tool? What did your students think about using Prezi? I would love to hear your thoughts!