Sunday, February 22, 2015

Experiences of Significant Ideas

Engaging students with significant experiences during their learning requires that teachers direct students into real problem solving reasoning.  Students should be given the time to experience their curriculum and promote curiosity  into their daily local and global environment. The students need to be presented with opportunities to question and create curriculum real world extensions and fuel their passion to learning. The students become experts at orienting learning and begin extending the curriculum to everyday experiences.

 Grade 5 and Grade 6 students have inquired based on the science curriculum expectations about the human body and biodiversity. Both grades have integrated the arts with the science by explaining their learning through the arts. The students acted and drew about biodiversity and the human body. The post of Collage Of Learning refers to the integration of the arts with science and YouTube for visible Thinking  post,explains how students shared the facts about the science concepts and how they reflected on the drama by using video notes.

Pictures from an eportfolio about the visual art and the drama.

 Prior to unpacking the science expectations, students' thinking is provoked, as it is described at an older post, ,Propelling Curiosity. The Grade 6's were provoked through this video about bear siting in cities  and this biodiversity video.  The Grade 5 students had a chance to observe animal organs from the butcher shop and have discussions about the purpose and functions. A folder of some images of the organs 

During the inquiry process, I need to encourage more problem solving for the students by connecting real life and real experiences in relation to their environment.. Sure students discover for themselves what they don't know, I still think we need to push further on how and why they are learning and encourage further discussions about their surroundings.  The focus of this post is to provide further options for students to discover real issues on why these issues  matter in everyday life. 

The Grade 5 students applied their learning by listening to local events about the flu, vaccination and Ebola. The students also had discussions about healthy eating and how commercials lure us into the industrial food choices, by viewing commercials and reading articles. These images on the Padlets include videos, news broadcasts, and articles that mattered beyond facts. 

 The reason I am not embedding the Padlets is due to privacy of links from students' responses. 

Recently we heard the news about the Medi Robot comforting sick kids, CBC News Calgary, below is the French article that I shared with the students.

Grade 6 students have applied their learning on biodiversity by reaching into local issues that mattered like the effect of the daily applications of salt on the roads and solutions, the Ash Borer Tree  and how trees were cut in Ottawa and will not be replaced until 2017,  the siting of the Coyote in Ottawa and the effect of pesticides on gardening.  The students were able to connect to these issues that they have unpacked in relation to  the curriculum.

As I am checking the next science curriculum and reflecting on how the new concept should matter in students' everyday life.and reach beyond facts, it is important to give students the chance to be critical at reasoning about their learning. 

Learning is beyond knowledge of facts, it is extending these facts to everyday life experiences. Effective critical thinking skills and collaborative skills need to be implemented through critical reasoning tasks for authentic ownership of learning. The students become  critical, creative, and reflective problem solvers . When promoting local and global issues critical thinking reasoning solidifies the foundation of raw materials that matter within everyday life and future learning.  As I am thinking ahead with the new concepts, how will I extend and bring passionate curiosities for what matters?

Couldn't agree more with this tweet from tonight!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Youtube For Visible Thinking

The Ottawa Catholic School Board provides all students with Google accounts. Grade 5 and Grade 6 students have amplified their learning by using YouTube for explaining science inquiries.In a previous post A Collage Of Learning students integrated the arts as well to explain their learning.

The focus of this blog post is to share the process of using YouTube for visible learning and thinking.
After researching, reading, analyzing the text and determining important facts in relation to their inquiry of  the science expectations, the students organized their information in a graphic organizer focusing on synthesizing the information.

  1. Uploading images on Google Photo Slides.

2. Students could choose slide duration, slide effect, and transition.

3.  Video is uploaded to Youtube to add annotation from the reading organizer.

4. Enhancing video for slow motion for reading annotations.

5. The students also added a video from Youtube for further discussions by using Spotlight. More  focusing is needed  to make sure the spotlight is visible and to add a comment where to click and when to start the video link as well  opening  in a new window.

6. A screencastify of a student's collection of evidence on the eportfolio.

7. The students also used video notes to reflect on their drama video  presentations while focusing on the criteria. I was able to add comments as notes as well.

Grade 6 students used YouTube video slides and annotation to explain the biodiversity of Canadian animals and to analyse the positive and negative human impacts.  The extra step that the Grade 6 students added was using the Snagit images about the classification of the animal in their photo slides.


Technology has amplified students' voices by emphasizing on the evidence of their learning in line with the co-constructed criteria, curriculum expectations through video slides and annotations on YouTube. The students' voice was also evident by reflecting through video notes about their drama presentations. We will be posting all of the cross-curricular evidence on a Thinglink for access to all about the visual art, drama and explaining human systems for Grade 5 and biodiversity for Grade 6. Technology is important for students' voice to strengthen their learning experiences and their importance of being at the centre of learning. Through technology the process of learning becomes visible to capture students' experiences. I continue to reflect: how can students' voices and thinking be evident for all?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Double Dates- #7 & #8 My Learning Partners.

I am enjoying the #28daysofwriting blog posts , it has enhanced my focus on learning. I started  reflecting yesterday and as the day went on I had difficulty focusing with family activities. This is a double weekend blog dedicated to my students who always motivate me and guide my thinking. My daily voyage with my students inspires me to continue persevering and learn with and from them, students matter!

 What I have learned  from this partnership with the the students, is to always create conditions to ensure they are learning through:
  •  Risk taking 
  • Allowing many chances at learning 
  • Unpacking the curriculum and co-creating criteria
  • Providing time to reflect 
  • Opportunities to collaborate 
  • Students voices and choices
  • Questioning and inquiring,
  • There is no one way of learning
  • Changes are the process of learning
  • Provoking thinking
  • Students are initiators
  • Moving during learning 
  • Relevance of learning 
  • Real life changing experiences
  • Reaching out to them for changes in my learning
  • Assessment is learning
  • Empathy to issues locally and globally
  • Creating is learning experiences
  • Joy and laughter 
  • Respect and dignity 
  • Partnership at evaluation
  • Acknowledging how they matter 
  • Reasoning and problem solving
  • Innovations by connecting experiences and reaching to new ideas
  • Trust and collaboration
I always look forward to my partners in learning. This partnership matters as they make a difference in my learning growth. This teamwork allows collaboration for embracing new possibilities. What unexpected learning will I be reflected upon this week? 
I guess the next posts will continue to be on the empowerment of this learning partnership.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Global Collaboration

Grade 5/6 students have participated this year in a cultural exchange with Lyon France, thanks to the French department at Ottawa Catholic School Board for arranging this cultural exchange. The students have learned about geography, history, food and holidays.

On our last Skype session the French students inquired about the Canadian Geography and the pronunciation of the Provinces and Territories in English. At the end of the last session my students sang for them the Canadian National Anthem and shared with them the concept of distances from across Canada.

Our Skype session this Friday started by having the French students sing their national anthem. Today the students compared winter activities between the two countries. Students from France were so surprised at the way we live in these cold conditions. How do students commute to and from school? How do we manage to survive in this cold?

Since September the students have had this opportunity to connect and learn with another culture and become more of global citizens. The students have the opportunity to grow in cultural perspectives, geography knowledge, language competencies by speaking both languages and interpreting the spoken English from the French students. Communication skills were enhanced by listening carefully for understanding the language and the accent and be able to respond by explaining and clarifying their intentions. 

These experiences have encouraged the students to understand that Global Citizenship is global collaboration of learning that fosters global competency for many years.

 How do we continue fostering these global collaboration and give our students the chance to become Global citizens?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Students Lead Innovations

Grade 5 and 6 students rolled up their sleeves today and took charge by presenting their ideas and concepts to the Griffins Den (teachers, a bank representative, vice-principal and principal). The students followed their heart and their passion convincing the Griffins Den by sharing their team's name and product for the social entrepreneurship. The students are taking part in The Learning Partnership Program Entrepreneurial Adventure.  @TLPCanada

My teaching partner Carolyn Brambles with our BMO business partner Gordon Mills, we have been mentoring and guiding students' innovations for a social justice entrepreneurship. The Grade 5 students venture will be fundraising for the Shepherds of Good Hope and the Grade 6 students' venture will be fundraising for Free The Children.

For four weeks the students have been developing their innovations around the SMART goal and making sure their concept is attainable, reasonable and realistic. After several meetings in teams and measuring their ideas to the SMART template, today was the day to present and convince the Den and their colleagues of their innovation.

This has been a significant journey as students unpacked many skills along the way. The students had to collaborate, be responsible, persevere, determine and reflect as a team in order to make their concepts real.

By defending their concept through many questions from the Den, students today unleashed the power of innovation:
  • Being curious
  • Being imaginative
  • Initiated in meaningful conversations about their idea 
  • Self-motivated
  • Reinforcing positivity among each other
  • Resilient to pursue the complexity of the concept.
  • Collaborative thinkers
  • Building on each others' ideas
  • Having a vision and creativity
  • Critical Thinkers
  • Problem solvers
  • Risk takers
  • Having unique and genuine voices 
  • Being reflective for opportunities of growth
  • Self-directed learners
  • Decision makers
  • Being accountable
As educators how are we empowering students to be innovative and take their own actions in developing their skills? 

Below is the Storify of the day.

Powerful Partnerships!

Today was a great day! This afternoon  teachers and principals were partners in learning.  It was an opportunity for teachers from Learning Connections to partner with their school principals and co-facilitate speed dating sessions about Apps /Tools for other principals. The session was organized and lead by Karen McEvoy an Educational Consultant at the board office who leads Learning Connections.

Jane Hill our principal at St.Gabriel School and myself lead a session about coding. The best part of the session was when I highlight how Mrs.Hill interacted and learned coding with and from the students.

The students sent Mrs. Hill a Christmas Greeting Scratch card. Of course Mrs.Hill replied back by sending a New Year greeting Scratch Card. The students were excited that they remixed the coding and added notes identifying Mrs Hill's next steps in coding (changing backgrounds, changing sprites...).

This slide had the examples of students cards and replies after speaking about coding apps and Scratch.

This collaborative partnership of a principal  implementing new learning with and from the students, creates joy for the students and instigates valuable collaborative team learning.  Understanding by doing also applies for school leaders to value the change in students learning. What can you do to invite and interact the students with your principal?

An update from today's twitter!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Collage Of Learning!

Learning is a day of collage!  We always hear learning is messy what about an interactive messy collage of innovators with many ideas!

Earlier in the year I captured the learning by vlogging about our day and producing videos of the learning process. I get carried away now with students' process and giving feedback that I forget to capture the learning. 

 This post focuses on. how does learning roll out and how do students make learning last?

We start our day by looking at the daily reflections from the students eportfolios. Yesterday one of the students reflected on the step by step of how to create a photo slide show on youtube. Her reflection became the criteria of the day for the students who are using youtube to create a photo slide of the functions of the human systems.  The students also had a great question that we will pursue tomorrow. 

Students following Angelika's reflection as a criteria for creating the photo slide at completing the Gr5 Science about the human body.

 Some students are persevering with the art of an organ from the system and building a model of the system with plasticine.

Liam is preparing the prop for the drama to explain the urinary system.

I even captured a video of it!

Learning is always fun and lasting and there are always ways to have students invest in their activities.

How can we always create an interactive environment of connecting students experiences? How can we always grab student's' heart and minds for learning?  What will the collage of learning be like tomorrow?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Why are we doing this?

Today I was inspired by this tweet and had me reflect about students interactions from the classroom to real life connections andexperiences.

Gr 6 students are applying their learning from the Science curriculum about the human impact on biodiversity.

On Friday, after analyzing a French text about pesticides and its impact on plants, animals and humans, students were  able to apply the French and science context to a relevant experience about the use of salt in the winter. The students thinking was provoked by watching  Road Salt and its impact on the environment.  Today we also looked at the news on how the National Capital Commission report will not be replacing the diseased ash trees until 2018 .

The students also analyzed this video in French and made connections to the parks in their neighbourhoods and the Beaver Pond near the school.

Students curiosity lead them to the City of Ottawa bilingual site to further learn about the disease and its treatment. 

The tweet had me reflect on the importance of making learning relevant and how learning is important to the students. How can learning become relevant enabling students to think differently?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Why collaboration matters!

As I embark to be part of the  #28daysofwriting with Tom Barrett who has always been an inspiration for learning in my online learning Twitter community, my focus will be reflecting on pedagogical and daily inspirations from my students.

In class we always develop a positive approach for learning from each other. We reflect on our learning skills and determine our next steps. Last week I recorded short vines about students analyzing their science reading about "Les éléments nutritifs". The students, together analyzed a text for understanding in order to learn the importance of nutrients on the function of the human body (Gr 5 Science Curriculum) on healthy eating habits. Students shared their background knowledge on daily nutritions and referred to the Canada's Food Guide for further inquiry.

For reading students are provided with opportunities to analyze and think together rather than relying on the teacher or Google translate. It is a collaborative thinking  community, building on each others' knowledge, understanding, and strategies developed by the students . The students annotate the text while reading, highlighting Mots amis, inferencing unfamiliar words and connecting to their background knowledge.

The purpose of our collaborative community is to overcome challenges, learn together by giving everyone a voice and building on each others' learning. Students question, connect, share and build their confidence in learning a second language. Students persevere, take risks by caring and persist on finding meaning together.

With positive engagements of building confidence, students' accomplishments become team based, and collaborative skills become comfortable leading to conditions for thriving together. Students learn interdependence of decisions by ensuring each others strength and building new learning to the benefit of all.

This week students will follow up by reflecting on their skills when watching the video and sharing their point of view on healthy eating habits. We need to keep in mind by asking, what opportunities are we allowing for learners to learn form each other? How students can become their own self-directed learners?