The Great Ed Tech Debate- Take 1 & 2

Wow! Great job teams, the Great Ed Tech Debate was started strong!

Initially, when I first read all the statements, my opinions was were mostly one sided. This past week, I was reminded how many sides of each story has!

Debate Topic #1: Technology in the classroom enhances learning.

My first response was like “Duh! What would we do without it!” Most of my peers agreed as we saw in the pre vote when around 80% of students believed that this statement was true!

Here are the main arguments that convinced this statement to be true.

  • Technology engages students.
  • Improves access for teachers and students to receive up to date resources and facts.
  • Provides means for all learners with multiple needs.
  • Enhances communication and feedback
  • Efficient planning and teaching, so teachers can spend time connecting and building relationships.
  • Technology allows students to take the lead on inquiry-based learning.
  • Students learn skills that will set them up for the future.

Let’s be real, there are countless ways that that technology enhances teaching and learning. However, the apposing team’s statement brought to my attention some very interesting, and accurate points!

Here are the main arguments that convinced this statement to be false.

  • Technology distracts students from learning.
  • Technology emphasized societal gaps and highlight inequities.
  • Less retained when note taking and engaging on technology
  • Negative effects on physical, mental, and social health.

While my list for the negative effects of technology is much shorter, they seemed to have hit me in a much deeper way and even as an adult, I can relate to some of the effects!

I hate to admit it but, technology can distract me, in my personal and professional life. While, I love technology and it benefits me in countless ways, I see the detriments it does or can play. Even though I have boundaries and know limits, I can spend too much time scrolling, obsessing over this and that, and then become overwhelmed!

For me, these boundaries and knowledge came with experience and my era of technology development was very forgiving. Today world of technology is much less forgiving. Apps, tools, connections are all being tossed children’s way with little or no guidance, leaving them reliant and obsessive on devices.

Being so incredibly reliant on devices, can make social situations more difficult face to face than over an email or even a phone call. As time goes on the difficulty will only continue to grow as the face to face interactions and connections are not practiced.

With the availability of technology and the joy it brings to children, things such as sports, fitness, sleep, reading and even eating can be pushed aside. We know as adults how time consuming and addictive devices can be and like to think we have the will power to stop, eat, sleep but it even for adults we know it can be challenging. So for children, they really need that guidance.

Lastly, I must agree with the information that is less retained while reading and taking notes on the computer. I am still a person who loves to print off readings, highlight and write notes on the side. I find the same thing with students. When I ask them to play a digital game about a topic, they sometimes rush through and don’t understand the concept, because it appears more abstract. However, a game with blocks and dice, etc. can sometime be much more effective.

In conclusion, both made excellent points about how amazing technology came be. Its quick, effective, engaging, connects us to every possible opportunity out there, but….

The big BUT here is that it is used effectively and proper situations, with an intentional purpose. Technology is amazing, there is no doubt about that, but moderation, boundaries and background education needs to be put in place to make it the best it can be.

 

Debate #2: Technology has led to a more equitable society.

This topic was slightly different than the last because I was totally split down the middle… I agreed but I also disagreed! I was interested to hear each team’s arguments and see if they could help me decide a favourable position.

Agree Arguments:

  • Personalize lessons to meet students learning needs.
  • Opportunities to reduce societal gaps.
  • Optimize workspaces for people with all abilities.
  • Bring awareness to the present gaps in society.

Disagree Arguments:

  • The Digital Divide became more emphasised and expanded during Covid Pandemic.
  • The gap only becomes larger as society relies more on technology.

Since both teams made amazing points, my opinion remained undecided, much like our first topic.

On the one hand, I have witnessed the life changing tools provided by technology that can give people the ability to see, move, hear, share stories, reduce pain… the list goes on.

Yet, what is unbelievable is that those resources are not shared by all. Due to the discrepancy of resources and knowledge that are attained by different classes, the gap continues to be increase.

While the main culprit is not technology, but the various other continuous systemic issues, technology does play a part in perpetrating those gaps.

In the end, this is such a tricky question because yes, it is completely extraordinary what it can assist people with. However, if it not available, implemented, taught and practiced the gap only grows.

Oh Technology, What Would We Do Without You!

Technology is a naturally engrained part of my day, from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep, I am connected in some sort of way. Even when I intentionally disconnect, technology is what gets me to that space.

Now, because technology is such a huge part of every day, I decided to categorize the uses up into three sections, Communication & Connection, Effective & Efficiency, and of course Luxury & Entertainment.

The list was overwhelming so I tried to break it down as best I could without writing a novel.

I came to realize that although I am not the techiest person, man on man do I rely on technology.

Communication & Connection:

Devices: Cell Phone, Computer

Apps: Text Message, Facetime/Zoom, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Email

If I had to choose one thing technology did for me, it would be the most basic of communication. I feel so grateful to have a device that keeps me consistently connected with family and friends. It puts my mind at ease to check in with a sick friend, School emails keeps me organized and on top of my duties for the week, I can share good news with my family in one place, and I can get a sweet video from my niece and nephew to bright up my day. As many would probably agree, all these simple methods of communication, became more valuable than ever during the Covid Lockdowns. Although nothing replaces face to face connection, I am truly thankful that I never missed a beat even in months of not seeing loved ones!

Effective & Efficiency:  

Devices: Computer, Projector, Cell Phone

Apps: Various Teacher Subscriptions, Email, Pinterest, TPT

Although I am most thankful for communication, without technology I would be completely lost in my work as a teacher. First, I would be late to work every day, I would spend every moment of my free time prepping for teaching and guaranteed my lessons would not be engaging at all!

 

My first thought was back to when I was in elementary school, how my teachers would have to hand write report cards, and notes and make their own worksheets! Jeepers!! Thank goodness for copy & paste, and printers!!

Now, with a click of a button I have access to pre-made lessons, worksheets, units, and various tools and videos to engage in those lessons. We have so many options, and although it can be extremely overwhelming, we are so lucky that if one way of teaching doesn’t work we can instantly show student more examples or a variety of different way to get the outcome across. Not to mention teach me concepts I don’t know!

We can project videos, interactive platforms and examples and even do examp

les along with the students using a document cam.

These devices also make me reliable! With the use of my phone I can wake up on time, check the traffic updates for my route to school and access to instant communication to help colleagues and students’ families.

Luxury & Entertainment:

Devices: Cell P

hone, AirPods, Watch, Wifi

Apps: Social Media, Music, Netflix, etc., Skip the Dishes

Okay, okay… I know I talked the other sections up, but of course I love my little bit of luxury that technology provides me. I start my day with a really smart lamp that imitates a sunrise so I can wake up slowly and cozy…. How it works, I don’t know…WIFI?

Then I roll over and the first thing I do is grab my phone, look for any updates from family and friends. Then, get this, before I even get out of bed I know how to dress for the weather, updated on current events and posting and I am reminded to pay my bills and transfer the money over in minutes. It’s amazing!

Then I slip on my watch, which will tell me how many steps I take, how many hours I stand and exercise, and get this it will remind me when to breath when I need to relax!

As I drink my coffee, I scroll through my social media platforms where I am informed of all the gossip, who’s birthday it is and get jealous of all the people traveling the world! I then pop in my AirPods that sync up to my watch and phone so when I go for a run, I can have my little friend Siri, tell me how many km’s I’ve gone, my pace, she’ll skip songs for me and would even reply to text messages if I wanted!

If I chose to workout inside, I have my own personal trainer on my fitness app or if I want to hit the treadmill, I can try to forget I’m running by somehow magically cast one of my pointless reality shows from my phone to the tv.

These routines all happen before 7 am…

As my day goes on, technology is consistently my source of information, entertainment and of course communication.

I do enjoy a good break from, MOST technology, when at the cabin or out camping, but evidently it is the reason I am there. It is how I book my camp sites and pointed me in the right direction with the help of Google Maps. It is how I ordered the groceries and the sleeping bag I am using.

The list goes on and on and on. Our world completely relies on technology. Although it sometimes gets a bad wrap for being unreliable or tricky or killing our brain cells…. When used properly it saves us time, creates community, and of course keeps us amused!

Thank you Technology!! Don’t know what I would do without you!

Summary of Learning

What a semester!

I can’t believe how fast it’s gone… I guess it’s true what they say, time flies when you’re having fun! And Learning…. And feeling Successful!
As I have reflected many times before, technology has never really been my thing and when the pandemic hit and suddenly our lives became dependent on the use of technology like never before. That being said, I really can admit I did a terrible job teaching remote learning at that time.

I can proudly say I would do a much better job if I encounter another pandemic in the future. And if not, (fingers crossed) I have gained tools, platforms and most of all confidence incorporating technology into my classroom daily.
Thank you EC&I 834 for an amazing semester!

Enjoy!

For a Closer Look at the Book!

 

 

The Grade Finale- Finale Prototype Submission

Well here it is!

Although, I still have much to learn about the world of online teaching, I am proud of what I have accomplished through this class. As I have mentioned many times, when we first headed to online learning, my lessons were not very good… to be kind, and technology use in the classroom, was an extra add on, that was a special activity for the students.

Man oh man, how that has changed!!

In my EC&I384 course, I have become so much more confident in implementing technology throughout my everyday lessons, and even sending some “homework” to engage family members in the learning. There are so many teacher/student friendly platforms, that truly enhance and engagement in students learning! I would love to go back and adjust my teaching style during online learning, although do not wish for another pandemic….ever!

In this prototype, my focus was to create a well-organized, easy to use, underwhelming system, for students, families and teachers to connect with. I believe my choice of Seesaw as a management system was a game changer. I initially was going to try Google Classroom, but switched it up halfway through and so happy I did.

For a more in depth look at my course, take a look at my blog post titled Let’s do it- Course Overview. I also posted a walkthrough of Module One which discusses some more of my rationale and the idea behind the set up of my course. This is found in my post It’s a Start.

It really was just a start! Once one module was completed, peers reviewed my profile and module and provided excellent feedback, that made it even more student friendly! I truly appreciated the extra sets of eyes, to express a different perspective than simply my thought process.

Below I have provided a course walk through where you will get a quick sneak peak of the modules and the tools I loved using Seesaw!

If you would like to explore a little more, use the link provided and instructions to sign in as “Suzie” using these instructions. SuzieLogIn

If you want to explore as a teacher, just let me know in the comments and I will send the sign in your way!

Feel free to critique and provide feedback!

And thank you to all my EC&I834 friends! You have taught me so much over the course of this semester!

 

Peer Reviews & Thoughts on Accessibility

Well to start off, I can not thank Bev and Kendra enough, they were the best “hype girl” reviewers ever!

I appreciate the confidence you have in my course and also the suggestions made!

Two points that were provided, included the math game Prodigy being too challenging for Grade 1 students! Well, it totally was because I had the grade setting on Grade 3!! It has now been changed back to Grade 1 and Patterning activities have been assigned! (Feel Free to give those a try Bev and thank you for bringing that to my attention!)

The other suggestion, was to add my “I can…”  statements from my profile into the online activities! Love this idea!

I find “I can..” statements easy for parents to understand the intention of the lesson and the scaffolding process. These statements are also used during face to face, class periods, which provides familiar language for grade 1’s! I also find then very encouraging for students to know they will be able to perform the task!

Moving on to this week’s classroom discussion about accessibility and equity. This is a concept that hits home to my current teaching role. Many of my students lack accessibility to basic needs such as food, a clean, safe home and access hygiene supplies. School to these students and families, is so much more than just learning. So, our initial response to the pandemic was “Holy Cow, they need food.” With and amazing admin. and strong staff we were able to supplies food to families to get them through the week. In the first wave, we had very little participation online, but at that point it seemed like fed families was more important.

When we entered the second (or third, or fourth, who knows how many there were!) we had that time to prepare and make learning more of a priority. Again, thanks to a wonderful admin. we were able to get permission to supply technology to families who needed a technology. However, there were some guidelines. We choose to provide to families who we considered reliable, leaving some students out. Although I understand that decision, as I was a part of it, I do understand it isn’t fair to the students.

To be honest, I don’t know what the solution would be to this. My school always made sure to provide paper copies to families without access to technology but then they aren’t able to interact with peers and teacher, ask for help and get support.

To end on a more positive note, I am very glad that there are so many tools to help with families who don’t fluently speak English and also to students who aren’t able to read yet!

The LMS I decided to use was Seesaw for these reasons! On Seesaw families are able to translate to all written messages to the default language of their device very easily. They can also respond back using their language and it will come to the teacher in English. For this reason, I always provide written instructions. Seesaw makes it very easy for the teacher and students to record audio instruction and responses, which allows students to understand and share without the ability to read or write.

I feel like Seesaw has created an easily accessible, straightforward platform to adapt to multiple needs, as long as families have technology involved!

It’s a Start!

OKAYYYYYY!

This week I was asked to share my first module of my blended learning course. I would first like to say, I would LOVE so feedback! I felt like I was taking a shot in the dark for this assignment, so feedback is appreciated!!

Secondly, I wanted to acknowledge that since writing my course profile, quite a bit has changed!

The biggest change being my LMS. I was originally going to use Google Classroom but decided to switch to Seesaw. It is a platform I am more familiar with and it provides many tools that benefit teachers, students, and families.

Course Shell:

This blended learning course is intendent to be used, in and outside of the classroom, as well as, as a means of teaching content if at any time individuals or classes need to go to a true online learning experience. Within the classroom context, students will have access to the unit modules during Math rotations, where they can review content, practice and be assessed in one location. Extensions will be provided to students who need to me challenged.

At home, students can share their progress, complete unfinished tasks, or additional practice.

Seesaw will be used as a hub to communicate to families, provide in and outside resources, activities, and assignments.

Module 1: Is it a pattern?

In class students would start by watching BrainpopJr up to introduce the Patterning Unit. This video will be posted in class Seesaw, for future reference.

They will further discuss patterns and identify patterns around the classroom. From there students will be work through 4 math centers which include “Math with Teacher”, “Math by Myself”, “Math Games” and of course “Math on Technology”. Groups will be a mixture of different reading and numeracy levels.

Math w/ Teacher: Students will complete Math Makes Sense Worksheet accompanied by Patterning Practice and Patterns (Ontario Curriculum).

       

Math Games: Students will play repeating pattern games created by Tara West.

Math by Myself: Small Book read and complete by Math Place.

 

**These resources will be consistently used throughout the course in their designated centers.

 

Math on Tech: Collection 1

Students will sign into personal Seesaw accounts using QR Codes, provided at station.

Students will then find there assigned info and activities in order of completion.

Lesson #1-What is a pattern?

BrainpopJr Video will be reposted to refer too!

Task 1- Interactive ScratchGarden Video. Students will watch and complete video. Can be watched at home to reteach to family.

Task 2- Complete Seesaw task “Is it a pattern?” in class.

 

Task 3-Homework- Sign into class Flipgrid. Find and post three patterns around your home. If students do not have assess to technology at home they can bring back ideas to share in class.

Once students have completed activities, teachers will be automatically notified to assess and provide feedback.

 

Module 2: Identify to Core and rule.

Every class will start with a small review and discussion from the previous day.

Display Flipgrid on the board. Analyze and discuss patterns found at home. Students who were unable to post can share their findings at this time. Do they agree that they are patterns, why or why not?

Ask students what the core of an apple is? It is the middle that holds that apply together and allows the apple to keep growing. This is the same as the core of a pattern! Display patterns and not patterns on the board. Have students identify the core and count how many times it repeats.

If the Core keeps it growing then the Rule makes sure it is doing it correctly. Create Rules together using “First ____, Then ____, Last _____”

Math on Tech: Collection 2

Students will sign into personal Seesaw accounts using QR Codes, provided at station.

Students will then find their assigned info and activities in Lesson #2-Finding the Core and creating the Rule. (Saved as a collection)

Task 1-  Watch Find the Core and make the rule using the Seesaw Template.

Task 2- Among Us and Tell the Rule Seesaw activity.

Task 3-  Homework- Sign into class Flipgrid. Orally share a Pattern rule. (Ex: First draw a smiley face, then a star, last a ! and repeat).  Then listen to a peers video and draw out their rule. Bring to class to share!

Tasks are shown in order of completion.

Once students have completed activities, teachers will be automatically notified to assess and provide feedback.

Module 3: Extending the Pattern

Review by displaying rules and patterns posted on class FlipGrid.

Ask the question what would come next? This is called extending the pattern using the rules you know to predict what happens next.

Math on Tech: Collection 3

Task 1- Watch Scratch Garden interactive video.

Task 2- “What comes Next?” Seesaw activity.

Task 3- Homework-  Sign into personal Prodigy account with provide link and passwords.

Complete Assigned Assessment.

 

Module 4: Attributes (colour, shape, size)

Start by watching/doing Jack Hartmans Pump up the Pattern.

Discuss how these patterns were using body movements. Patterns come in all shapes, sizes, colours, actions, etc. These are called Attributes.

Math on Tech: Collection 4

Task 1- Attribute Review Video. Watch and participate in the video.

Task 2- Seesaw Attribute Activity.

Task 3- Homework- Flipgrid Action Pattern

 

If you’d like to see it put into action, please take a look at the video down below! I tried to highlight some of my favourite features and how teachers might create lessons for their class and a sneak peak at the student view!

Please provide any feedback and questions you may have!!!

Thanks in advance!

 

Collabration and Community Online.

Creating connections and building safe, caring relationships with your student is pretty much the key to survival in teaching. I believe its how you get them on your team and the same team as your peers. It gives them the ability to trust you, be vulnerable when help is needed, be willing to be adventurous, make mistakes and what I truly believe is the best part of school!

I used to feel creating this type of environment was my strong suit as an educator, that was until the physical environment of the classroom shifted to an online learning environment. That first year, what a struggle!!! I had very little engagement and didn’t hear from numerous families for months. But I don’t blame them. With so many in crisis, I’m sure the last thing they were thinking of was finding technology and the resources to try to get them participating online.

From that we all learned a lot! In the Fall and Winter of 2020,  we were given the opportunity to prepare by providing resources, pre-teaching students and organizing families for the possibility of going online, as we knew there would be a great chance of doing so.

I really utilized the Seesaw application to connect families to students learning, the school atmosphere and a quick communication tool between home and school.  It was a very easy and familiar tool to staff and teachers, and it was the best way to enhance a blended learning style and online learning.

Seesaw effectively created a community for educators, as you could share and “borrow” activities and assignments from the “Library”. This allowed me the opportunity to quickly post extra practice and show off their skills at home, as well as incorporate them into our Literacy time at school.

I loved how students were able to choose how to complete assignments. They could record audio answers, type, or write. They could draw or make a video.  They could match up or slide “cards”. It was very user friendly and directed for primary students. They felt good about completing activities and weren’t frustrated signing in or understanding the task. There was also a variety of way to instruct students. Teachers could link videos, record video or audio instructions, as well as extra text for adult instruction! There was also a translation tool so families could translate teachers messages into their familiar language and also respond with the teachers ability to translate! I truly loved using Seesaw!

I supplemented my online learning experience with two synchronous Zoom meeting a day. There was a group of 11 students I saw everyday, 8 I saw here and there and 2 I didn’t have any contact with. From my past experience I was very pleased with this turn out. I loved that students got to see their teachers and their peers.

However, what has currently been brought to my attention is that… the space I was providing didn’t really allow for that collaborative and interactive piece. I was constantly talking and muting my students. I wanted them muted the entire class unless I had asked them to unmute themselves….

Looking back… I’m like oh my gosh!!!

Although I had a much easier time connecting and communicating with families, I didn’t allow for that community piece and peer interactions between students which is what makes school fun!!

So where do I go from here….

I find it so challenging with primary students to keep them engaged, provide the opportunity for students to demonstrate knowledge independently, offer simple instructions and also have them interact and connect with each other.

Hmmm… so where do I go from here!

I just hate providing 100 platforms families need to sign into and have code and all the things, however, I think my best bet is to include all those platforms into one Learning Management System.

So, of course I am going back to what familiar to me and using Seesaw as my LMS and hoping to incorporate other platforms for students to interact and collaborate.

If you’ve read some of my earlier posts you’ll notice this was not my original choice. I started off by saying I would use Google classroom, but as you can see I love Seesaw!

Seesaw will be the central hub for families and students to communicate with educator and find all required assignments and expectations. And although I love all the features it provides, I am going to try to expand to create more opportunities for students to express and show their progress.

The platforms I know I will incorporate:

  1. Zoom- If needed to go to strictly online learning, I will provide a synchronous meet, and after provide a recording of students who were unable to attend the live meet. Students will be able to interact, with some supervised “Choice time”. Once students are explicitly taught the ground rules, break out rooms can be utilized. As stated earlier I dont want to have them muted at often and I want them physically participating! Here are a few simple ways to keep them engaged and bring in some familar activities from the classroom!
  2. FlipGrid- Free platform that allows students to share and post videos to a classroom grid. With a little pre-teaching, students should be able easily sign in using QR code and have student share video recording of thoughts on a topic, present their work and understanding. Students can also great videos to respond to a peer’s post. There are also tons of tutorials online to help students and families troubleshoot if problems arise. There are a ton of ways to use fliprid online and in a blended classroom. Here are a few… or 50!
  3. Prodigy- Free Numeracy app where teachers can assign specific units and students can play with or against each other.
  4. Kahoot/ Blooket- Educational games that can be played face to face or online. Teacher created a quiz type game and students can work together or compete on specific topics.

I hope to add more to my repertoire as myself and students become comfortable with the ones provide above.

Although, I don’t think there will be any way to top collaboration, socialization and engagement like in face to face, I hope to keep growing to make it almost as good!

 

Jamboard, Google Classroom, Padlet, Edsby, SeeSaw, Zoom…. OHHHHH MY

Maybe I am getting old… but I feel like old schooler who just hates change, or at least scared of it!

The number of tools, resources and information can be totally overwhelming to me! I still don’t understand google drive for goodness sakes! I think I’ve uploaded a file and then bam it’s disappeared somewhere! I truly loved using SeeSaw for communication and lessons and activities during online learning. However, the request to transition to Edsby this year wasn’t the smoothest for me!

That being said, I cannot blame technology! I can only blame myself for not diving in and embracing such changes!

So as I decided to take EC&I834 this semester, a rush of anxiety came over me and at the same time a no brainer, as this world adapts there is no time like the present to adapt along with it.

This week our task was to choose an online tool, play around, have some fun and think of the benefits and challenges it would provide in a learning environment.

Well let me tell you as soon as I opened the (never-ending) list, I was faced with the challenge of what to choose!

I clicked around and here are a few I tried:

JamBoard– Signed up but didn’t really know where to start!

EDPuzzle– Lots of good videos and questions/ quiz to enhance comprehension.

Adobe Creative Cloud– Super cool platform for presentations, but not really for the grade 1 and 2’s I work with.

The one I was pleased to stumble upon was BoomWriter.  Writing can be one of the most challenging  subjects for my grade ½’s. Their stamina, ability to generate original ideas, confidence and general engagement can be so difficult to hold onto. Yet, you put a tablet in front of them… BAM! They know letters, trying to spell words and create sentences. Actually, remember to use their periods! It is amazing!

I may have made that sound to good to be true, but seriously overall participation went from like a 3 to an 8!

Let me back track a bit here…

The set up for BoomWriter was very simple. Email. Name. Role. Verify Email. Done!

It then allows you to set up classes, which would be handy if you taught a variety of class or groups of students.

Each student is then provided a printed sign in/

QR code, which is also emailed directly to parents and guardians. This means its okay to find their code in their backpack 3 months later!

 

Then just get going on assignments. Teachers can designate activities but students also have open options for free write use. The site contains a wide variety of collaborative group projects, individual journals, prompts, questions and the list goes on!

Choose first what kind of writing you would like students to complete.

At the school I am currently teaching at we wrote a collaborative story, passing it on to each class as each grade wrote a “chapter”. I wish I would have known about BoomWriter Earlier! So Cool!

 

It also allows you to start off your own story OR the choice to pick a prompt to continue!

 

Now as you can see these prompts are a little intense for a grade ½ reader and writer. However, this is supposed to be a collaborative class project and if that’s the case then there would probably be some assistance provided. Take a look! Aren’t they are great story starters!

 

From there, students can add their additions to the story and submit for teacher approve. I would love if there was a talk to text option or auditable option to read the prompts to the students.

For my beginner writers, I would not as for a chapter each but simply a sentence or three to continue the story.

 

Once its complete you have the option to download and print for free or actually order a personalized copy in book form!

The next section is the Personal Journal.

 

In this section teachers can again ask for specifics, such as topics, use of vocab, connect to current events, pop culture, or academic topics.

Or Students can free write!

If you take a look at the benefits for students above it conquers every challenge I was thinking of plus more!!

I tried this out with a few students in my class, it was so fun to watch! They got started right away, worked for the entire ten minutes and had this mature confidence about them!

I also love the fact that it familiarizes keyboard skills from such a young age. It is a skill you truly cant get by without these days!

Another advantage is the instant results provided to and from the teacher. All students writing and feedback are in the same place with easy access to go back and review or display progress!

The last section of course is to create your own assignment. To be honest, I didn’t dig into that section much because… the others were just so fun!!

I really thought this would have been a great resource during Online Learning in the Pandemic. It would have been interesting for students to keep an online journal of their time spent in lockdown and it also could create a learning community without all participants being active at the same time.

I love how it can be used as a group or as independent work. I hope to work it into some of my Literacy Centers in the future.

I do wish that there were some more basic and simple activities for grade one and two. Although I have it set on a grade two setting the prompts are quite elaborate. Although, I can see this being used with my students that need a more challenging assignment!

Lastly the cost… I did not see anywhere that it was a free trial I was using or that I would need to sign up for a subscription in a month. However, when I used my handy search engine skills, it did say that after the first month, a subscription would cost $12-14 a month.

Check back in a month and I’ll let you know!

In conclusion, I should really get over my fear of trying new things… who knows you might stumble across something that get you and your students as excited as I was about BoomWriter!

Let’s Do It!- Course Overview

So, in March 2020, December 2020 and then again in April 2021, I got the chance to teach online.

Did I teach a whole unit?

Not a chance! As embarrassed as I am to admit it… I just couldn’t do it!

There seemed to be so many barriers in the way… Lack of attendance, unreliable devices, my extremely basic knowledge of technology… It was a really good time to review and nail down some loose ends!

However, with EC&I 834 giving me the knowledge, resources, and opportunity to develop an online course, I say bring on virtual teaching!

Although, I hope to never teach fulltime online again, I hope to integrate these tools in a blended learning format with my students, allowing flexibility, independence, quick assessment and the chance for students to become completely comfortable with technology and its tools at a young age, for whatever life throws their way! (Fingers crossed not another pandemic!)

So here it is… the first draft of my Grade 1 Patterning Unit, in Blended Learning style!

P.S- I’m open to all suggestions and critiques! There is a comment box below for a reason!

Course Overview: Grade 1 Patterning

Target Audience:

Grade 1 Students. Ages 6-7.

Course Timeline:

Expected to take 3 weeks but could vary depending on instructors’ timetable.

Course Delivery: 

This course will be delivered in a blended learning/online format. There will be a face to face component, along with online asynchronous activities and lessons to enhance students learning in the classroom and at home. Such activities will create an easy transition to online learning (synchronous and asynchronous) if circumstances occur.

Modules will include a short overview video or audio, of the target task. Along with an interactive activity to complete and a take home activity to complete at home.

Online modules and activities will be accessed through the class Seesaw portal. Here students will find class links to Zoom Meetings, Prodigy and Flipgrid. If transitioned to purely online, students will be encouraged to join meets at a common time to work alongside the instructor. However, Zoom classes will be recorded for students who are unable attend at the given time and activities can be completed at their own pace.

 

Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes: 

The course will complete the Grade 1, Saskatchewan Outcome Patterns and Relations.

P1.1

Demonstrate an understanding of repeating patterns (two to four elements) by:

  • describing
  • reproducing
  • extending
  • creating patterns using manipulatives, diagrams, sounds, and actions.

([C, PS, R, V])

P1.2

Translate repeating patterns from one form of representation to another. ([C, R, V])

 

I can statements….

Each “I can statement” represents a module student will complete.

  1. I can identify and describe a repeating patterns core.
  2. I can find errors in a repeating pattern.
  3. I can complete and extend repeating patterns.
  4. I can reproduce repeating patterns using manipulatives, diagrams, sounds or actions.
  5. I can create my own repeating pattern using manipulatives.
  6. I can find and explain repeating patterns in my environment.
  7. I can find repeating patterns in my daily schedule and calendar.
  8. I can translate repeating patterns from one form to another.
  9. I can create a repeating pattern using a letter code.

Course Material/ Considerations: 

Technology:

This course will be most successful if majority of families have access to at least one device and wifi at home. Although prior teaching will occur, it would be helpful to have an adult or older family member at home to help guide students.

For each activity, there will be a paper/ hands on copy to complete at home if family has difficulty accessing technology and wifi. Activities and lessons are short, to accommodate shared deceives at home. During face to face learning, students will also be given the opportunity to work on technology. They can use this time to demonstrate their completed hands-on activity online or catch up on modules missed.

All at home modules will also be briefly discussed and reviewed the following day.

English Language Learners:

For EAL families, simple translation of instruction will be provided during Seesaw translation tool.

 

Attendance: 

Students will be encouraged to utilize modules if they are not able to attend school due to illness, weather, trips, etc.

Students will be given time in class to complete modules they were unable to at home, those who are completed will be given the opportunity to play learning games during their tech time as an incentive.

Communication:

Students and families will be given updates and information using personal emails, Edsby, google classroom and/or telephone calls. Families are encouraged to ask questions or communicate concerns in order best utilize this course.

Assessment:

Students will be encouraged to share their understanding through Seesaw activities and quizzes,  personal Prodigy and Flipgrid accounts, and through posted or emailed pictures of completed tasks.

During face to face and synchronous zoom meetings, the class will share understanding through Kahoot, Blooket and Boom cards.

Student understanding will be assessed through teacher observations and conversation, is person and online. As well as, data    collected from SeesawProdogy, Kahoot, (Snapshot of Prodigy Assessment)               Blooket, Boom cards and handed                                                                                                   in/ emailed assignments.

(BlooketStudentReport)(Kahoot Student Report)

I believe this will be a beneficial course for my students due to the flexibility of completion, independence and responsibility of self-learning, applicable and relevant skills of our time and engaging course outcomes.

Intimidating, Overwhelming… But not so Bad!

First thoughts of the term online/blended learning…

Completely intimidating and overwhelming! However, my first experience with online learning was also during a period of uncertainty and panic as the global pandemic started. Which did not help!

In March 2020 when the students were sent home and I was advised to set up an online learning program for my students, I truly had no clue where to begin.

From the start we were faced with many physical challenges. The students and families that I work with have little access to technology, transportation, and some with funds for life’s simple necessities. Some do not speak fluent English so simply communicating was hard.

Stress Levels were high!

I ended up providing paper packages to my families, I used SeeSaw to post online learning activities, both of which were accompanied by zoom meetings to work the workbooks together. As you can probably guess by the barriers above, it was very challenging for students to participate. There were days where no one showed up to the zoom meetings, most online activities went untouched and I received a total of 6 paper packages back over the course of 4 months.

My first experience with online learning was not the most positive. To be honest it was quite negative…

Online learning felt nearly impossible and unfair to the demographic I was working with.

Luckily the pandemic didn’t end, and I got a second chance at online teaching in December 2020. (I hope you can hear the sarcasm in that sentence!)

This time it went much smoother. We had a little bit of time to prepare, pre-teach some of the online tools and families were more prepared for what was to come. Contacting families seemed much easier, I had a lot more participation with my online activities and zoom meets! I also became a lot more familiar with the programs I could use such as google slides, classrooms and the other tools available on SeeSaw.

Although participation was better… it felt extremely unfair to those who did not have access or support to retrieve the learning opportunities.

Not to mention, it just is not the same as in class learning. A huge part of grade ½ is the social aspect, teamwork, cooperation, problem solving, play and simply just talking! It was very hard to work this into my online learning schedule as everyone was just still becoming familiar with the technology.

I think that will always be a difficult aspect to translate online to young students.

Which Blended Learning is Right for Your Classroom?

However, I have just recently learned that blended learning does not just mean at home learning! There is a large spectrum of blended learning and I was pleased to hear I wasn’t totally dropping the ball!

Turns out I have been integrating the idea of blended learning throughout my classroom almost my whole career! I must give the pandemic credit…. After teaching online and returning to the classroom I integrated technology so much more and not afraid to take risks or learn along with my students.

Turns out, it was not as intimidating after all!

While many challenges come along with online learning, I have grown to see the benefits, especially as I switch roles from being the educator to the student!

Although, I still sometimes feel overwhelmed with hyperlinks, blogging, even online textbooks… I have truly enjoyed being a student online and I see the advantages that it could be provided for people in many situations. The flexibility with children and childcare, full time jobs and traveling can allow learners who otherwise wouldn’t be able to extend their education to do just that! It also allows for collaboration and interaction between people who would otherwise would never meet.

It is also clear that this world is forever evolving and specifically in the technological world. While many people, including myself, like to deny this fact and would rather like to do it the old school way, I believe we are not doing ourselves any favors. Not to mention our students! If we don’t provide these opportunities in the classroom for students to become familiar with technology then really we aren’t setting them up well for the future!

In the end, I am sitting neutral on the fence! I see the struggles many face with technology but I also see the endless opportunities it provides!

Looks like EC&I is already changing my perspective on this technological world! I know throughout this semester I will become more confident and find tools to take back to my students!

Let the Journey Continue!