Tools of the Trade – Action Plan


I’ve had the backbone of my action plan in mind for quite some time, but I was waiting for the right content to fill in the gaps, and my students provided inspiration for that content for me this week (just in time!)

Inspired by PD

After being inspired by a PD session at BSS last summer, I was determined to brainstorm new ways to use documentation in my classroom. Student photographs, quotations and sketches are displayed around my class, and student videos are published my classroom blog. However, the students have no ownership over the documentation, other than the fact that they are in it! Eager to get my young learners more involved in the documentation process, I was on the hunt for tools for them to use.

Then, in early October, I attended a PD session at Sagonaska School on using the iPad effectively in the classroom. The school has a focus on using technology to set-up students with learning difficulties for success. Throughout the session I was brainstorming ways that I could bring this back to my early learners. One of the points that resonated with me most was how accessible the iPad is. I hold the belief that effective practice for students who face challenges is effective practice for all, so I was excited about the tools out there that I could potentially introduce to my students. iMovie, in particular.

Inspired by the Cohort

At our second face-to-face session at Cohort 21, we were introduced to three models of looking at technology integration into the curriculum. The model that I feel most closely resonates with my program is the Technology Integration Matrix. Upon reflection, I found it surprising that as an advocate of technology in the classroom, and as an avid technology user myself, I mostly fall into the “Entry” and “Adoption” levels in my classroom. Occasionally the students have the opportunity to independently use technology while I facilitate (Adaptation), however, I feel there is plenty of room for improvement. For my Action Plan, I have decided to aim for Adaptation, Infusion and Transformation across all five characteristics: active, collaborative, constructive, authentic and goal directed.

Inspired by Ice

Knowing what I wanted to incorporate into my plan, I was stumped on deciding a topic or curriculum area to undertake this massive, uncharted project. Science seemed like the best fit, but inquiry topics that the students would be engaged in were not emerging. That is, until, this week! While heading outside to the yard, one of the students slipped on ice as he was coming out of the door. He enlisted the help of a friend, grabbed a scrap piece of bark, and they both started chipping away at the ice. when asked about what he was doing, he explained that he used his body to measure how far out the door swings, and used that to determine where they should chip away the ice, to prevent anyone else from slipping. Soon, almost the entire class joined in and I stood there amazed as they used these pieces of bark as fantastic tools to achieve a common goal. Also inspired by the level of engagement the students had in the book “The Most Magnificent Thing” by Ashley Spires, our new inquiry topic was established!

Taking Action

So, as of now, these are the stages I have plotted out:

  • Begin a student-led inquiry of tools
  • Lead the students through research, designing and building
  • Have the students document their process by using the iPad to take their own video and photographs
  • Coach the students through compiling their video in iMovie
  • Assist the students with narrating their film
  • Share with their peers
  • Receive feedback
  • Re-design, document and add to their final film.

Looking forward to more inspiration at the third third face-to-face and seeing where this adventure takes us!

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4 Responses to Tools of the Trade – Action Plan

  1. Derek Doucet says:

    Hi Jessica,
    What a heartwarming experience! Sounds like you have a lovely group of young learners. I think your action plan bears fruit, and it will be so neat to see what they come up with. I am always impressed when learners at such a young age can take control of their learning.

    We’ll address this tomorrow in our F2F but I wonder what problem or issue you are trying to solve? I am so happy that TIM seems to resonate – it’s certainly an excellent way to see where you are with tech integration! Great self-reflection, and it’s ambitious to tackle all characteristics of the learning environment. I don’t want to stifle your enthusiasm but I might cautiously suggest that you choose to focus in on one or two aspects and build out from there.

    This is exciting, and having a son in SK, I look forward to seeing what you uncover with your action plan!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks, Derek! I am consistently amazed in the capabilities of young learners, and love exploring where we can go next!
      My instincts are to focus on ‘Active’ and ‘Constructive’ in particular, but I am anticipating that our next F2F will help me narrow in on key points to help break it into achievable chunks!

  2. Jessica,

    I think what inspires me the most about what your writing is that you are working with students in kindergarten! I think that there are teachers out there who wouldn’t have older students engaging in this process for fear that it is too challenging or time consuming (or another silly excuse), but you are showing through this action plan that young students are power protagonists in their own learning!

    I’m so excited to see where you go with this plan!

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