Volunteer Appreciation Song

"What makes you wonderful"

A popular song "what makes you beautiful" by pop artists One Direction is infamous among young students.  For the upcoming volunteer appreciation assembly I changed the lyrics to the chorus and taught it to my grade 3 students.  Thankfully they love the song and cannot get enough!  Keeping it a secret around the school is proving to be tough for them =) We are currently practicing the lyrics as well as some moves to do while on stage.  Cannot wait for Friday to see the final production!!

Feel free to use the lyrics and adapt them for your class:

Na na na na na na na na na na, na na na na na na na na

Hey, hey you light up our school like nobody else
The way that you give your time gets us overwhelmed
All of the work that you do its not hard to tell
we all know-o-o, we all know your wonderful

If only you saw what we can see
You'd understand why we thank you so gratefully
Right now we recognize you and we hope to see
That you know-o-o, that you know your wonderful-ul-ul
Thanks for being wonderful

Shout: Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers!

Structures Unit: Eggxellent Eggxperiment!

I have been teaching a unit on strong and stable structures with my grade 3's for the last few weeks.  We began to talk about stable bases, triangulation, and compression and tension.

What better way to test out some of our theories than to conduct an engaging experiment that literally had students at the edge of their seats! Not to mention myself and my associate teacher!

We began by watching a short Bill Nye episode on compression and tension.  During the video some of his assistants conducted this egg experiment and my students were amazed, but thought it was all part of the magic of TV.

We decided to try out the experiment for ourselves!  We started by putting 3 eggs each into a water bottle cap, then adding a water bottle cap on top.  We arranged them into a triangular base.  I called up 3 students to bring their math textbooks and we voted at which point the eggs would break.  Most students voted that the eggs would break after 3 textbooks (and I agreed).  We soon realized that our hypotheses were wrong as we had ran out of student textbooks (20) and the eggs were still holding strong.  Students could not believe their eyes.  We then searched for dictionaries, thesauruses, and any large books in the class.  One by one, we continued the experiment.

44 textbooks later, our giant tower fell over, causing the back two eggs to break.  What a fantastic and engaging experiment.  I believed it would be a quick 10 minute thing, but it turned into 30 minutes of excitement and authentic learning.  Well worth putting other things on hold.  I could not have planned a better learning experience for my students.

We will be writing about the experiment after the weekend to consolidate our learning.  If you are teaching a unit on structures... this needs to be tried!

Learning with Jelly Beans!

Math is sometimes a subject that students dread because it can be extremely difficult.  Last week I began a multiplication unit for my grade 3 class and I wanted to make the lessons enjoyable and easy to understand.  After teaching the students the basic vocabulary and reviewing key material such as addition sentences, multiplication sentences, and skip counting, we began to look at arrays.

What better way to create an array then to use Jelly Beans! My students loved the idea of using a concrete material that smelled delicious and was fun to use.  Students who have a hard time staying focused and completing work on time were motivated to learn!

Any manipulative would have worked, but increasing their motivation and enthusiasm with the use of jelly beans was well worth it.  Math can be fun, and learning can be great, even when the subject is new and complicated.

Students love to show me how much they know about arrays now and I know it was because we kicked off their learning with a fun and exciting lesson!

Technology's influence on learning

Technology in the classroom can be debated back and forth depending on its use value and purpose.  I admit that I was skeptical at first to see how technology could effectively be used in the classroom to improve teaching.  That was my first mistake.  Technology is not, and should not, be brought into the classroom solely to impact a lesson for shock value and to improve a teachers lesson.  Rather, technology should be looked at through the lens of improving student learning and achievement.  If it does not serve this purpose, than it has no place being in the classroom.

There are many different technologies that can be used in a classroom, but I want to comment on my favourite one that I saw first hand improve student learning.  During my first block I had the pleasure of working with a wonderful grade five class.  During their research for science students made posters and gave presentations by reading what they researched for the class.  Two students however, could not read and write at the grade five level and were on grade one IEP's.  The Live Scribe pen was introduced to these students as it allowed them to record what they wrote down and play it back in their own words that they could then communicate to the class.  Without the Live Scribe pen and its recording function, these students would not have been able to read what they wrote down and participate to the fullest in class presentations.  Not only did it give them an avenue to communicate, it gave them the confidence and motivation to learn and participate as a barrier involved in reading and writing was removed.

Technology with a purpose to improve student learning should always be welcomed in the classroom. Technology without a clear purpose for improving student learning, however, should not be used.

Leadership Mission Statement

A leader is someone who takes it upon themselves to become knowledgeable in a specific area (whether with technology or another aspect of education such as a particular subject) and who shares that knowledge among a community of co- leaders and learners.  A leader is someone who is constantly learning new things and is not afraid to seek help when needed.  A leader must not know everything, but be willing to offer coaching and support in the area in which they have taken it upon themselves to learn and become an expert, and seek guidance in those areas in which others have become experts.

I doubted my leadership skills throughout the Ed Tech course as I did not find myself confident in every technology taught to us.  It was just recently that I discovered that as a leader I didn't have to know everything, but that I can take it upon myself to lead and teach in specific areas in which I feel comfortable.

As an Ed Tech Leader I will be a participative leader- by which I will collaborate with my teaching community in order to teach and coach one another based on our strengths.  I will not be afraid to admit my weaknesses and ask for help, as no one can be a leader in isolation.  Leadership involves teamwork and cooperation, to share in the glory of each others strengths and successes.  I will help to foster an environment conducive to collaboration and shared leadership, and will contribute with my knowledge of educational technologies to benefit teaching and learning in the classroom.

Teaching with technology

What is better than doing what you love?  Teaching is my passion and at the technology showcase I discovered that any form of teaching if fine by me! Children are the ones I am passionate about but teaching my fellow student teachers how to incorporate Twitter into their classrooms felt amazing!

We are constantly being told that the technology cohort will set us up for leadership with 21st century teaching tools.  For the first time at the tech showcase, I was able to see that I am a leader among my community of fellow student teachers.  If I can lead a workshop on Twitter, then I certainly can continue to lead by teaching other great tools on my block.

It will be my personal endeavor to continue to be a leader in the teaching community and to share all of the skills that I have learned about incorporating technology into the classroom.

The Tech Showcase was just the beginning!

Ideas for using Twitter in the classroom

Here is the handout that we gave out at the Tech Showcase illustrating how to incorporate Twitter into your classroom.  Kudos to a great team: Jackelyn Chung, Christian Leguerrier, and myself!

Brock Meet and Tweet

Application to the Classroom
      The Goal:
      To promote collaboration between peers and schools
      To enhance writing skills (summarizing, inferring, predicting, grammar)
      To increase interest and motivation in literacy through social media

      Learning Task:
      Two (or more) classes will be connected through Twitter
      Class #1 will tweet a photo with a question to ask the other class. For example, send a photo of a burnt down house with the question “How do you think this happened?”
      Class #2 will respond within 140 characters. If the class chooses to, they may tweet back another question pertaining to the picture or they may send their own photos for.  class #1 to discuss.
      The process repeats

Uploading a Picture from your computer to Twitter

      From your twitter page click on following and then select tweet to on the dropdown menu
      Click on the camera icon in the bottom left corner of the text field

      This will automatically access your documents file in your computer
      Select a photo that you wish to upload through your “my pictures” file
      In the text field, type the twitter handle of the person you wish to send the picture to (eg. @classroom1a) 

Uploading a Picture from the Internet
      Locate a picture that is copyright free from the internet (there are many sites that offer this such as http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/)
      Select the picture that you wish to use
      Open a new tab on your web browser and go to https://bitly.com/

      Copy the url of the page where the picture is located and paste it into the field in the top right
               corner of the bitly site
      This will create a shortened form of the url which you can then copy and paste into a tweet
      When others click on this shortened link from your tweet it will take them directly to the picture

Curricular Expectations

Twitter is a fantastic tool for bringing classes together, but also for matching engaging learning tasks to various curriculum expectation.


Language Arts
      Reading (Grade 3)
      1.5 Making Inferences/ Interpreting Texts: Make inferences about texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts as evidence
      Writing (Grade 3)
      2.1 Form: Write short texts using a variety of forms
      2.3 Word Choice: Use words and phrases that will help convey their meaning as specifically as possible
      3.5 Grammar: Use parts of speech appropriately to communicate their meaning clearly, with a focus on the use of proper nouns for titles
      Media Literacy (Grade 5)
      1.2 Making Inferences/ Interpreting Messages: Use overt and implied messages to draw inferences and construct meaning in media texts

Collaborating with other classes through Twitter can also be useful for sharing ideas and experiences in Social Studies as well as Math and Science.  Students working on an Early Civilizations unit, for example, can share resources for Egyptian games and quiz each other on famous pharaohs.  Successful science experiments can be shared, or math problems can be collaborated on.

1) Site for copyright free pictures:
2) Site to crop url’s: https://bitly.com/