Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dot Day - What I am learning

Hi Friends,

Have you read or seen the book, The Dot, yet?  Do you know about Dot Day?  Are you participating? Well, as I mentioned in a previous post I am participating in International Dot Day and am loving being involved with creative educators and students around the world!  You still have a chance to sign up and get involved.  International Dot Day is starting Sunday click here for details.

After a successful 'Skype In The Classroom' call to celebrate Dot Day with Christine Gillion's Grade 2 students in Australia, I have learned a few things that help make a Skype in the classroom call successful.  Here they are:

Getting Connected..
1. Test your skype connection before the official connection (Swap contact details, search for the other person, then add them to your account.  Then they will have to accept your invitaiton. )
2. Decide who will call who and make sure that you have your time zones correct
3. Decide what to do if you get disconnected (How long will you wait?)

Discuss with the other teacher
1. How long do we want the connection to last?  (ie Let's connect for 20 minutes)
2. Will we talk "class to class" or "student to student"?
3. Will one class share and then the other? Or will you take turns?
4. What will the kids talk about?  Ask Questions?  Give information?

Kids get very silly when presented with talking to other students online.  (Or at least my students do!)
They know you are focused on the logistics and your attention is no longer on them so...

Prepare your kids (So important, eh?)
1. Prepare the students for the behavior that you expect as a speaker and as a listener
2. Teach them how to be independent and call the next student up to speak
3. Do a run through of how you would like it to go (ie practice!)

During the Skype -
1. Take photos of your students
2. Share the photos with the other school

After your Skype - 
1. Have your students reflect on their communication skills and behavior

If you are in an IB School this is a perfect time for students to apply their communication skills and show their international mindedness.

I'll share more as I go along on this skyping/Dot Day Journey.


Cleaning Up/Tidying up Songs...

Hi Friends,

One thing you would notice if you were a fly on the wall, in my classroom, is that I use songs to teach just about everything.  We are always singing.  I have songs for routines,  songs for transitions, songs for reading strategies, songs for everything.

Some songs are ones that I have acquired over the years, from who-knows-where,  that I sing Acappela. (Not too nice on the ears of adults, however kids are much more accepting!)

Recently though, I have  fallen in love with Youtube for teacher songs.  I no longer need to sing in my tone-deaf voice, I just click play and listen/watch! (Of course, I like to sing-along too!)

Here are a few of my favorites for cleaning up... It is so much more fun to put on music and watch the kids get to work.  Your kids will be experts at tidying up and you'll be stress free.

Tip: show the video first and ask the students to come up with the expectations for what it will look like and sound like in the classroom.  Otherwise, your kiddos will just want to dance or try to see the video on your computer!

Songs are also great for cementing in concepts.  I love to start my units of inquiry, math inquiries, or any inquiry with a song as a provocation... I'll share more of those soon.

Favorite Educational Tune-sters:
Harry Kindergarten 
Dr. Jean  
Jack Hartmann

For Reading Strategies chants and songs, check out Reading Power!

Our class song for this year is ...'s What I am!  I just love it.

We may just re-write the song a bit to include the IB PYP Learner Profiles...

Do you use songs in the classroom?  I'd love to hear how, comment below.  


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

International Dot Day

Hi all,

Have you heard of International Dot Day?  I never had, but it sounded cool, and when I watched the video of the book, The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, I  just had to participate.  The theme is creativity, encouragement, and the power of a teacher.
So, I have listed all the links here for you to be able to participate in International Dot Day, which is taking place September 15 (and beyond).   Students and Teachers around the world will be connecting based on the theme - "make your mark and see where it takes you". 
Let me know if you would like to connect with Grade 2's in Thailand!  Just leave me a comment below or contact me on twitter @ innovatecreater.

Here is the main website...

Watch this video of the book

Here is the Google Doc you can use to sign up and find classes to connect with

Here is the link to the International Dot Day Teacher Handbook

The Twitter Hastag is

Here is a link to an International Dot Day Connection Sheet I will be using to keep track of our connections.

I'd love to hear your comments!