You can be creative in anything – in math, science, engineering, philosophy – as much as you can in music or in painting or in dance.- Sir Ken Robinson
I work with some pretty amazing educators. These folks inspire me daily to bring my A-game. I love that sharing ideas is a welcome part of our school culture and I know that it takes a village to educate children.
One of our amazing first grade teachers shared how her students use Book Creator for their math journals. I was immediately intrigued and of course, we tried it that very day! It’s no secret how much I love Book Creator, so creating math journals with this versatile app was very exciting.
We have been discussing more and less in math this week. We have done a variety of hands on activities and have used the stickers in Pic Collage app to show more and less. The children uploaded this to Showbie earlier in the week. We also used ten frames and cubes to show how many more we would need to make a “ten”. We talked about which frames showed more and which showed less.
So, for our culminating activity we used Book Creator to demonstrate more and less in our new math journals on our iPads. The students used the same cubes to make 2 piles. They used the built in camera in Book Creator to take pictures of the two piles and then labeled them more and less. You could also use dice to show this.
The first grade teacher used the dice to show addition. The children took pictures of the dice and then wrote the number sentence.
With the ability to write and draw in Book Creator, students can use the pen to annotate or show their thinking. They can also use the recording functionality to tell their thinking if they aren’t able to write. We will continue to add pages as we work on math skills and at the end of the year, this book can then be emailed to parents. What a great way to demonstrate growth! It is also a good artifact to be used in parent-teacher conferences throughout the year.
We are excited about our new math journals and look forward to adding to them all year!
Today we will do exciting new things. Let’s get to it!
Immortality is to live your life doing good things, and leave your mark behind.-Brandon Lee
Today is International Dot Day! After reading The Dot by Peter Reynolds, we have worked on a variety of Dot Day activities. We have cut and colored dots, painted dots, made dots on our iPads and then compiled them all into a class Dot book. We wore our dots. We have written about dots, sung about dots and well, frankly, we’re all a bit dotty at this point!
The best part of today was Skyping with some other kindergarten classes internationally. A group of Apple Distinguished Educators gathered at a global institute this past July to work together. At this institute, several kindergarten teachers formed a cohort and came up with a global iTunes U course designed to connect our classes through various activities all throughout this school year. The course is Connecting Classrooms Across Continents. The enroll code is https://itunesu.itunes.apple.com/enroll/KJK-647-TDB if you’d like to join and follow along. Currently, the course involves kindergarten classes in SC, Maine, Kansas, Italy, Ireland and the UK. During our Skype today with Marc Falder’s class in the UK, we shared our dots, our writing, and how we plan to “make our mark”. The kids loved talking with each other and discussing the differences in our dress (they wear uniforms and we don’t), in time (it’s 5 hours later there) and in speech. (southern US vs British English). We found them on the globe and talked about how to get there from here.
The children were fascinated by our global friends and are anxious to talk to them again soon! Our iTunes U course will give us many opportunities to go beyond the walls of our own classrooms and connect internationally. We will see that while we are all the same, we are all different. Cultural diversity at its best!
We love The Dot and the lessons it provides. We know that all we have to do is “Make our mark…and see where it takes us.”
How will you make your mark?
Today we will do exciting new things. Let’s get to it!
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free. -Jim Morrison
The number one rule in our kindergarten classroom is to Be Brave. This covers so many areas of life that it is an appropriate rule, and truly the only one we need. It is hard to be brave sometimes. It’s hard to speak up, step out, or stand alone.
A reader of this blog messaged me not long ago asking if it gets easier letting go and letting young students make choices in their learning. As a long time educator (like me), she shared concerns about letting children have that voice and choice in demonstrating their learning. I get it. Before iPads, I was afraid to let go. I mean…where is the control in that? I thought I needed to be in charge. Of Everything. After all, that was how I was taught and how I was taught to teach. iPads changed that. How can a technological device make such a dramatic change in philosophy? Perhaps I would be more accurate to say my students using iPads changed my thinking. Watching them use the iPad for creation, on their own, awakened me to new possibilities in learning. Yes, it was scary but what a difference it made.
Someone once said, “If you are the smartest person in the room, it’s time to find a new room.” How has your teaching changed in the last 4 years? If it hasn’t, why? Is it because it’s easier to do what you’ve always done? Is it because, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” Is it because you just don’t have time/support/resources to make any changes? Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess is a popular approach to changing professional development to be engaging and interactive. It helps you kickstart your own creativity and make your classroom experience rich and engaging. He has a book on Amazon…worth the read! Another organization dedicated to ongoing learning for educators is Teach Like a Feral Pig. Their mission is for all educators to continually grow their “edutusks”. I still want one of their t-shirts! I often compare teaching to being a ninja. This site emphasizes several key traits that tie teaching and ninja behavior together (particularly the one about not ever going to the bathroom)…The ninja one is tongue in cheek (slightly) but the point is…stop making excuses and make changes! If you are stagnant, get a new PLN. Find a Twitter chat…if you are nervous, lurk and take in the conversation.
Start the new school year with inspiration, the willingness to make some changes, and be a pirate, a feral pig, a ninja…whatever! Just BE BRAVE!
Today we will do exciting new things! Let’s get to it!
Photo credit: Creative Commons