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After our 2nd F2F session I received a lot of valuable feedback and suggestions on my HMW question of technology integration within the classroom. I knew this would be challenging, since my skills are very limited with technology. Since there has been many changes involving technology with this new generation of students, I do believe it is  best to educate myself in ways that would benefit their overall learning experiences. 

One suggestion that I tried was using google slides for a Book Talk assignment.  Normally I would give them a sheet of paper (outline) that they would fill out and present it to the class.  This time, I gave them a lesson on how to complete this assignment on google slides and they were all very eager and anxious to get started. Students were asked to prepare this at home and present it to the class once completed.  To my amazement the students who I normally have to chase to complete anything in class were one of the first to complete this at home. What was beneficial was that I could comment on their progress and edit their work while they  continued working on it from home. I could not believe by introducing this form of technology, truly changed their perspective on their work. Once I surveyed all of the students, they all expressed how they enjoyed completing this assignment via google slides verses writing it down on a sheet of paper.    

Going through this experience, I can now see how introducing technology can be beneficial to their learning.  Their great excitement and enthusiasm was revealed as they presented their work to the class. They were all able to add pictures, change the background colours and fonts and add special effects to their Book Talk. They also gave tips to other students on how to format their work differently. I was in awe and learned many pointers from them. I was a little apprehensive and discouraged at first, but I now see the value and attitude change technology can add to assignments.  I guess my next challenge will be what else can I do to continue stimulating them in this same manner using technology without losing the basic skills of spelling and cursive writing?

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I have been working for over 20 years in a Montessori school where the fundamental skills of phonetic reading, math facts and cursive writing are taught at a very young age.   Our Montessori philosophy believes in working with concrete materials and then leading students to abstraction. In the past, our Montessori school has not been driven by technology because our emphasis has been on fostering and developing these basic skills that all students require to succeed. However, as we know, technology is a big part of today’s world and is woven into just about every aspect of our lives. I am not tech savvy myself, and require guidance on how to make this change happen within the classroom.

This year our classroom has been given 4 desktops, one laptop and 5 ipads.  My challenge and struggle this year will be how to continue teaching our enriched Montessori curriculum and integrate technology to enhance student learning.  How can I open up a whole new world of engagement, personalized learning, and collaboration with the use of technology? 

We are currently using Raz kids for a reading program with our grade 1’s and IXL with students who require additional assistance with math or language skills.   I know this is a start, but there is so much more I can do. If anyone has any great apps that they use with their younger students please pass them along. If anyone has any great ideas I am more than grateful to hear what you are doing.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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c21_logo_mediumWelcome to you Cohort 21 Blog. This journal is an integral part of your Cohort 21 experience. Here you will reflect, share , collaborate  and converse as you move through the C21 Action Plan process. 

This is your first post and an opportunity to share a little bit about yourself as a learner and leader. Please respond the to the following prompts below:

1) Reflect on your own personal learning journey and K-12 education. Identify one learning experience that you can point to as having made a significant impact on some element of your own growth and development. It could be that teacher and subject that really sparked significant growth or a trip that opened your eyes to a whole new world or way of thinking or a non-catastrophic failure that you learned so much from.  Briefly describe the learning experience and identify the various supports, structures, mindsets and relational ingredients that were put in place by the teacher or facilitator that directly contributed to your growth and success. 

Throughout high school I enjoyed all subjects related to math and science and I continued to  struggle with English (writing essays in particular). In the 11th grade I had an awesome teacher that taught me many things in English that changed my views about writing.  This transformation happened when she suggested I meet up with her during lunch hours to get feedback on my assignments. These regular meetings created a personal bond where we got to know each other more on a personal level.  Feeling more comfortable gave me the confidence to express myself more freely in writing which then enhanced my grades. I also connected with other students who needed the same support and we helped and edited each others work.   I now realise making a small connection with someone can go a long way. Teaching and school life is not all about academics; creating personal bonds and getting to know students on a personal level is just as important.

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2) What is the one Learning skill (MOE) or Approach to Learning (IB ATL) that you feel is MOST important in this day and age? How do you intentionally build it into your curriculum and develop it in your students throughout the year?

I believe a very important learning skill that all students need is collaboration.  Cooperation, empathy, being able to advocate for oneself, taking turns, striving to achieve one common goal and social skills are all part of collaboration.   We build this into our curriculum when we have class discussions or class meetings and define this learning skill (in student language) so they are able to apply these skills with their daily work or assignments.  Carpet work is part of our Montessori environment where students need to work side by side, share materials and help each other. A lot of discussion happens when students need to share materials to complete their work.  Collaboration is not an easy skill to teach so we continue to model and enforce this daily. Collaboration is essential to have a calm and peaceful environment

 

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3) Insert an image below that best captures the essence of that Learning Skill or ATL. (Click on the "Helpful WordPress Video Tutorials" link in the left hand sidebar to learn how to insert it)

https://www.shutterstock.com/search/children+collaborate

(Insert Image here - **Don't forget to give the image correct attribution to let everyone know where you got it from** )