I am sure we can all agree that the Cohort experience has been quite the learning journey. I definitely recommend this PD to any teacher looking for one that is EFFECTIVE. It was interesting to discuss what other Cohort members were thinking of for their action plans, where they were going, how they narrowed their HMW questions down, and how it all unfolded. For some people, this was an easy task, while for others, this was more of a challenge. The Cohort 21 facilitators were awesome at making each and every one of us feel like our HMW questions were important. Thank you @gnichols for reminding us of this. My HMW question changed over time and speaking with others helped me to narrow my focus to: HMW find and use meaningful technology to improve the primary classroom experience?

I enjoyed my Cohort21 experience for several reasons. Some of these reasons are listed below. They are not in any particular order.

  1. I have a well-stocked tool kit that can be used for years to come.
  2. I enjoyed working and collaborating with like-minded people. It was interesting to hear about what is happening at other schools.
  3. I loved that the Cohort experience allowed me to forget about everything and to reflect on my teaching. Something I find very hard to do with 2 little ones.
  4. The facilitators did an AMAZING job providing us with their guidance and support on all HMW questions, no matter how small. THANK YOU!
  5. Cohort21 got me out of my comfort zone through some of the activities we did and it challenged my thinking. It was great to take responsible risks and try something new.
  6. Cohort21 held me accountable. I had all of these ideas in my head, but never set aside time to just dive in!

My program has improved this year, because I have been able to provide the students with several opportunities to learn using resources beyond the walls of the classroom. Students really enjoyed participating in various Google Hangouts. During our World Fair unit, students had the chance to learn about different countries using Google Expeditions. We were also able to connect with people in the USA, Brazil, China, Australia, and Africa. That is pretty amazing considering we didn’t even leave our classroom!

I learned how to tweet. Although I am not a pro yet, I am getting better. I will continue to tweet for the remainder of the year and will share my twitter handle with parents at the beginning of the next school year. Students are using Sesame portfolios to reflect on their work and this has also been a great way to keep parents informed.

Students learned how to code using code.org and Scratch Jr. They also attended a field trip where they learned about Lego Wedo. Students learned how to program Dash and Dot.

I am very happy that I was able to introduce my students to different kinds of technology this year. Not only were students enthusiastic and engaged, but now they are also one step closer to being better prepared for the future with technology.

Using Virtual Goggles with Google Expeditions
Learning about China through Google Hangouts
Coding with Dash and Dot
Coding with Lego Wedo

Now what?

My goal is to continue to try new kinds of technology in the classroom as I hear about them. I will continue to collaborate with Cohort 21 members for ideas and guidance.

Click here to visit my Slide Deck:

Thanks to @gvogt ,@gnichols, @ddoucet, @jmedved and @lmcbeth for all of your guidance and support!


Here it goes...Blog #2

I found our 2nd FTF session informative and interesting.  I really enjoyed the ideate and iterate stage. I liked reading other HMW questions and suggestions from other Cohort 21 members. I thought it was very helpful to receive ideas and guidance from other members. Thank you for your help!

I enjoyed the design thinking experience because it forced me to think about my teaching and reflect on it. I can never seem to find time to do this! Not only did it allow me to reflect, but the empathizing stage was something I never really ever considered. It is so important to think about how the users may be affected. In this case, the students are very eager to embrace any kind of technology they are introduced to.

Some of my HMW questions included:

  1. HMW use meaningful technology to increase student engagement?
  2. HMW find more meaningful technology to improve the primary classroom experience?
  3. HMW use more technology to communicate with others about what we are doing in the classroom?
  4. HMW find out what kind of meaningful technology is out there if we don't even know what exists?

I have decided that my action plan focus will be: HMW become aware of meaningful technology that exists and how do we implement it to improve the primary classroom experience?

With suggestions from others, I have already implemented a few ideas in my classroom. The Google Hangouts were a hit. We were able to connect with an ornithologist and zoologist. The feedback from my students, parents, and colleagues were all very positive. Kahoot! is also a big hit, although I have some little ones who are overly competitive... Lastly, Sesame HQ has also been implemented and the students and parents enjoy looking at photos, videos, and school work on their feed. The students were recently taught how to login to their accounts with QR codes, snap pictures or videos, and reflect on their work. The children love the independence and it helps me since the students are also adding work to their portfolios.

Next steps: We are heading into our World Fair unit. I am hoping to connect with classes via Connected Classrooms (I have recently joined and am currently trying to set something up- our biggest challenge is going to be time zones!) I recently learned about Belouga  (https://belouga.org/) which I will have to learn more about in the next couple of days.  I think these are going to be invaluable resources. I've tested out 2 types of virtual reality goggles so we can 'travel' to other countries. One challenge I've come across is how to find enough devices to support this activity. The students at this age are very young and many do not have their own device. We have access to ipads, but the experience wouldn't be the same. Please let me know if you have any suggestions.

I know some of this seems very basic, but this is all very new to me. Any guidance or suggestions are welcome.

My questions to you are: What meaningful technology have you used to enhance your primary program? What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?





Here it goes...my first blog EVER!

I do not even know where to begin. With juggling work, life, and Cohort 21, I feel myself constantly treading water (which is why it took a while to write this post!) I know I am not alone, but sometimes it feels like it.

As a teacher of almost 20 years, I have had my fair share of challenges and have somehow managed to overcome them. One of my biggest challenges is trying to juggle too much at once. I have been told that I am the type of person that likes to "make work." I admit that that is a tad true. However, I have a good reason for it. I swear!  I am always looking for ways to enhance my teaching and my program. When I heard about Cohort 21, it seemed like it was right up my alley. Although the first F2F was daunting, I realize that this IS the right PD for me. I like that it is personalized, we choose the problem/goal, and we have a supportive of group of like-minded individuals who want to help us achieve our goals.

During this PD experience, I am hoping to:

  1. Gain a better understanding of the tools out there that will enhance my program. When I was first introduced to Google Hangouts at our first F2F, I was lost and confused. Since then I have reached out to an ornithologist and had the opportunity to connect with him via Google Hangouts with my grade 2 class. In addition, we will be meeting with a zoologist next week in the same manner. Who knew? Having these experts in the classroom was an amazing way to collect information for our research projects.
  2. Collaborate with other teachers to help put my action plan into place.
  3. Reflect more on my teaching practice. I have to admit, with my hectic life; sometimes it is very hard to find time to do this.
  4. Take more responsible risks by trying new things. I know that some things will work and others will not. I am sure that getting me out of my comfort zone will open more doors for me and will help improve my practice.

I am sure I am missing something, but for now, I have to make lunches, fold laundry, write report cards, and if I am lucky catch a few ZZZZZZZs!

1 Comment

c21_logo_mediumWelcome to Cohort 21. This is the first post on your new blog. This journal is an integral part of your Cohort 21 experience. Here you will reflect, share and collaborate as you move through the C21 learning cycle towards your action plan.

Cohort 21 is a unique professional development opportunity open to CIS Ontario teachers and school leaders who are seeking to explore  what it means to a teacher in the 21st century.