Sunday, July 27, 2014

More Than Interactive Cardboard Boxes!

What do you get when you give students a chance to explore their own curiosity, plan for fundraising to make a change and science tinkering with electricity! Interactive arcade cardboard boxes for the whole school to participate and play for making a change.

I have shared a blog post about the curiosity blocks where students lead their own curiosities. Being involved with Free The Children, students decided to create arcade games during curiosity blocks and fund raise for building schools. Blog about Curiosity

This blog post   by the Gr 6 students documents and explains all initiatives that they have organized For Free The Children. The students were also featured on Free The Children Blog about their creative fund raising. St-Gabriel-plays-change Free The Children

Students have already created the arcade games for the First Initiative for Play For Change . As a class we decided to keep the arcade boxes and turn them interactive to apply electricity (Science curriculum for Gr 6 students). We started with the fundamentals by exploring through several tasks at discovering what is static electricity and how is it applied in everyday life? What are circuits and how do switches activate circuits? What are the different kinds of switches? The overall expectations of the curriculum were unpacked by the students. Please see previous posts from this and last year explaining how students unpack the curriculum and set their learning. 

Students take ownership of learning when they are creating and producing. Through making students seize control of their thinking especially when they are reflecting during the process on what they have learned and how they have accomplished their creations. Classroom Blog on Electricity by Gr 6 students

As teachers we have to keep in mind that the work should be done by the students. We need to give students the chance to have a voice and control of their thinking, share learning, create, fail and learn from each other. These Interactions are about the assessment and the reflections that are part of the inquiry and thinking process. Through making, collaboration, problem solving and the sense of wondering are ignited which it reinforces skills to solve real problems.

This Padlet has some examples of students' creation on electricity:

Propelling Curiosity!

 It is important to provoke students' learning for curriculum inquiries in many exciting and innovative ways. It could be artifacts, videos, current event news, objects, interviews, wordles, pictures and even from a story book.  As teachers we always have to bring reality into the the inquiry process to connect real life experiences into everyday learning.

There are multiple ways of  propelling curriculum curiosity in class and inviting students to spark and ignite in questions that they never seem wanting to stop learning, sharing and collaborating that conversations become an ongoing vehicle of exploring and developing ownership of learning.  It is so exciting to see students push each others thinking and learning by questioning, seeking, pursuing, confirming, convincing, comparing their ongoing development of thinking and reflecting in depth on their learning.

Of course along the way students co-construct criteria not only for the purpose of reading, writing and speaking, also for the learning skills. These foci of strategies that overlap and extend thinking as well as learning skills (responsibility, self-regulation, collaboration, independence, organization and initiative) that loop and promote metacognition and reflection on learning. Reflecting (at the end and the beginning of the day) on learning, is what drives our thinking throughout the process and determines next steps and learning goals. It is explained in this post on Metacognitive Discussions.

The focus of this post, is to share some examples that created opportunities for thinking and provoking curiosity leading students in ownership of learning.  During this process, I become a mentor, a listener, an observer and an activator while students developed their curiosities. Students' questions always lead the inquiry process. Provoking focuses on students' questions, which is a very important step in letting them engage and take leadership and ownership of the process. The process is carried on with categorizing of the the questions then comparing them to the overall expectations of the curriculum.

These questions are a routine in activating conversations:

1- What do think is going on? Background knowledge
2- What makes you think this? Students support background knowledge and share the how and the why of their knowledge before searching to confirm and proceed to new learning. It is very import to give students this opportunity of building on each other's background knowledge and engage in conversations to pursue thinking and inquiries.  I love this stage as it solidifies their dependence of learning from each other then it provokes more thinking and further questioning actions and new inquiries through discussions. This is a very important step to takeby encourage listening, speaking and respecting other opinions and knowledge for further clarification of concepts.
 3- What would you wonder about? (After their discussions). What new learning are you wondering about? Throughout the year students develop searching skills, annotation for reading and choose ways to share new learning.

It takes time to immerse students in skills by providing exciting learning opportunities.We spend time building skills at the beginning of the year which become the core for our success and reflecting on these actions during the process to improve accountability.

There is so Much to share I will post some and every year I keep focusing on getting better at capturing the process through blogging. Some of the process captured on the Classroom Blog by the students  We focus on French daily that typing the process in English lags a little.

I seek the subject related examples off the news and social media.  Some examples of Science and Social Studies for provoking curriculum inquiries:


Gr 6 

Ottawa's Great Forest  Before our walk to Beaver Pond



Social Studies:
Gr 6
infographics-on-nelson-mandela  classroom Blog post about Mandela



If the-world-of-100 villages


Nestle 'to act over child labour in cocoa industry' For Gr 5 on refugee and citizenship

Indian's exploited child cotton workers For Gr 5 on refugee and citizenship

etats-unis-malala-yousafzai-inspire- Gr 6 & 5

Gr 5
-confederation-line Ottawa’s world-class light rail


Comment organiser une cérémonie de citoyenneté

An example of students contribution after deconstructing the curriculum expectations:

Provoking learning does matter for curriculum inquiries. Students become so engaged with daily issues that themselves will continue searching and sharing realistic examples in everyday life experiences. What will you do to provoke your students curiosity this coming year? 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

SWAT Team! How to search?

 The SWAT team, Students With Advanced Technology my Gr 6 and 5 students implemented technology with teachers, students and parents.  They created a site and a Google Calendar for booking.

They have explained many apps ( pic-collage, iMovie, Green screen, fotobabble, Audio Boo...) and Google Docs, GAPPS.

The students have covered many skills and applications for capturing the learning process through tech tools in class. It is important in class to give and allow time for students to explore how to use the tool, learn and reflect on how tools are useful for capturing learning.  These skills are important for students during production to minimize time and focus on the learning process than the tool itself. 

The SWAT team also prepared series of videos on Google searching. The students have uploaded some videos by Screen Capturing the search skills using Snagit. I have uploaded some videos from the Snagit Library on YouTube to share effective research for students by students. 

Three videos that I was unable to embed from YouTube of Ottawa Catholic Board Google account- advanced setting was the same as others. Time to use only ocsb for blogging.
Videos tips on

More on the SWAT Team SWAT team during Education Week