We’ve had the Audioboo App on our school iPads for a while now. It’s a great podcasting tool because you can easily record student’s voices and the recording automatically uploads to the Audioboo website where you can manage all your “Boos” and embed them wherever you want. If you don’t have iPads, you can do it all, right from your PC as well. Here, for example, is a recording of a student teacher giving a testimonial after completing an internship at our school. Recently, the concept of recording students reading books came across my Twitter stream. This was not the first time I heard about the high yield strategy of providing children with the opportunity to listen to themselves read. This has been found to improve confidence, fluency and comprehension as the article indicated. So last week, after being reminded of this, we introduced two new activities at our school, one with grade 5 and the other with grade 1. Grade 5 – The students had already been involved in the 100 Word Challenge, a weekly creative writing activity for children 16 and under. Each week a prompt is given, which can be a picture or a series of individual words and the children can use up to 100 words to write a creative piece. In our case, grade 4, 5 and 6 students complete their writing on Microsoft Word, post it on their blog and then link it to the 100 Word Challenge blog. They receive some excellent comments from teachers and students around the world and may be selected as part of the weekly showcase of excellent writing. Here’s where the podcasting comes in. Starting last week the students have been voice recording their written entries. We have been embedding the Audioboo recording into their blog post along with the written piece. The students really enjoy hearing their voice and will be able to monitor their own progress as they add more entries to their blogs throughout the year. Here are a couple of examples: Alexis and her story about a dark stormy night in New York City and Tyler writing about a poor bird. Grade 1 – If you want to see what pride looks like, just watch the face of a grade 1 student as they listen to themself read. Last week, before returning their library books we voice recorded them reading their book. Then, we assisted them in embedding the recording in a Kidblog post. After sending the posts out through our school Twitter feed, a teacher and her students from Texas left a bunch of comments. What a powerful affirmation for our students. Here is Kayla reading Frog and Toad are Friends and Lemuel reading Nicky Upstairs and Down. I encourage you to take a look at the comments they have already recieved. They can’t wait to hear themselves read again next week. We are looking forward to discovering more ways to incorporate voice recording into the literacy activities at our school. If the way in which our students are engaged in the process is any indication, I suspect more teachers will give it a try.
Categories: 21st Century Competencies, 21st Century Learning, ETMOOC, Inclusive Education
Tags: 21st century competencies, 21st century learning, Audioboo, blogging, connect, Elementary School, Engaging Students, Kidblog, podcasting, technology, voice recording
Last week we made one small change in our school library/media centre that immediately paid big dividends with student engagement. We’ve been spending the past few months transforming our library to one that better meets the needs of today’s learner, and along the way have been tweeking as we go.
During that time our paper collection has been downsized somewhat. Electronic material is definately increasing but providing a balance is the key. I have found that while our older students prefer electronic devices and reading online books through our Destiny Quest library system, young emerging readers still like to get their hands on books where their tactile senses can take charge. When these students visit the library we usually lay out a few books for them to choose from as it is difficult to navigate the packed shelves. We’ve been looking for a way to provide them with more flexibility and choice
So we decided to give the library a 90 degree turn. Now our younger students can easily browse and have the freedom to make the choices they want. It was neat to watch them the first time they encountered the new set up. The engagement level was amazing.
Categories: 21st Century Learning, Education Transformation
Tags: 21st century learning, 21st century library, competencies, connect, curriculum, digital natives, Education Transformation, Elementary School, Engaging Students, Library, Student Choice, student engagement, Transformation
This past week we connected a laptop to the Smartboard in our library and my grade 4 students participated in a Skype call for the first time, engaging in a wonderful dialogue with Ms. Witherspoon’s grade 4s from South Carolina. After this wonderful experience two things became very clear to me. First of all, skyping with other classes is easy. Secondly, lending itself to the development of a varirty of important 21st century competencies, skyping with students is a no brainer.
Since opening a Twitter account for our school last August (@stmarylibrary) I’ve noticed that most classrooms use their account to engage others. Educators who have figured this out, mostly use Twitter for one of two reasons. Either to direct followers to their blogs and other student created work or to arrange more full engagement through Skype. As a matter of fact, this is exactly how we met. After following one another for a few weeks we began to reply to the interesting happenings each school was posting. Through these posts and replies we decided to introduce our students through Skype.
Our Skype visit with @spoonsclass was not strategically planned out by any stretch of the imagination, but the conversation provided for some amazing learning. For starters, our schools are two time zones apart and a quick look at Google Earth gave them some much needed perspective, seeing that South Carolina was about a 38 hour drive from our home in Southern Alberta. After sharing a little bit about each of our schools the questions started. At first, the students were mostly interested in snow, class pets, and the length of recess. At that point there were no set curricular outcomes being met but the level of engagement was extremely high and inappropriate behavior was nonexistant. In the middle of the question and answer period we found out that one of their students was celebrating a birthday and our class spontaneously broke into song. Then the students proudly shared their countries of origin as both schools are highly multi-cultural. We learned that some of our students come from the same countries. As our Blackfoot students from the Blood Indian Reservation introduced themselves the @spoonsclass students informed us that they recently studied the Plains Indians in their Social Studies classes. It was very interesting to find out that students from the South Eastern part of America study the history of our First Nations students. The teachers agreed that there were some great possibilities for future learning activities. Before saying goodbye our students agreed to leave comments on each others blog posts http://kidblog.org/SpoonELASS/ http://kidblog.org/4DE/ http://kidblog.org/4TE/ and become e-pals. We can’t wait for our next Skype visit.
If you are interested in giving Skype a try check out Skype in the Classroom. It’s a no brainer.
Categories: 21st Century Competencies, 21st Century Learning, Education Transformation
Tags: 21st century learning, collaboration, connect, grade 4s, Kidblog, Skype, student engagement, technology, Twitter, video cenference