Today is our second installment of our #cyberPD event around Alan November's book, Who Owns the Learning? Last week's reading and sharing was A-MAZING! If you missed out, be sure to visit Cathy Mere's Reflect and Refine blog and get caught up. Cathy has also been getting some extra workouts as she created her "Jog the Web" to collect posts related to our event. This week, you'll want to be sure to visit Jill Fisch's post at My Primary Passion to follow the conversation.
Much of the beginning of chapter 3 affirms what I believe to be true about how online/digital forums are especially powerful for our quieter learners. It gives them a way to be heard, without the sweaty-palms feeling of sharing in front of the class. When he mentions the social dynamic of the classroom, he hits on the fact that offering these opportunities to kids really brings together the concept of a learning community that connects both inside and outside of the confines of classroom walls. The quote on page 43 says, "...when you blow the walls off [the classroom] then learning happens anytime, anywhere." I think that's really the key point of what we are all trying to accomplish! Ooh, and did you catch when he talked about inspiring the "learner's mind" throughout kids' lives? Love that!
When Alan shared Darren Kuropatwa's story in chapter 2, one thing Darren said really struck a chord with me. "I wanted the blog to be in their voices, not mine." (p. 41) This is one of my big goals for next year in 4th grade. I will probably still contribute to our class blog, but I really want my students to have ownership over what we share with the world. I know it will take some modeling and the gradual release of that responsibility, but I want my kids to be able to share what they feel is important... in whatever way they choose. In first grade, our class blog was more of a shared writing and modeled writing platform. I never took it to the point of truly being "their" space. (Although they did have their own individual blogs!)
In my new school, I know they are utilizing a "SWAT" team. I know this was crucial, especially last year when the tablets were new to both students and teachers. While these kids in each classroom specifically help with tech issues, I can see it becoming much bigger than that. I loved reading the chapter on page 46 where he talked about having kids help each other out. That is a major community/team-builder! And it also allows for different learners to shine at different times.
Ok. I'm going to put this out there, because I was stunned as I read more into chapter 4. I didn't know a lot of the information he talked about as far as validity of sites and building custom search engines. Yes, I knew about the different endings (.com, .org, etc.) but never really felt the need to teach my first graders about that, since most often, I was their tour guide to many of the sites we visited. But with 4th graders, I can see this information being absolutely essential! When faced with a question we couldn't answer, my first graders would giggle as they suggested that I just "ask my friend, Google." Now, I guess I have to learn more about customizing "my friend" so I can share that with my older students!
I digress, but...have you used the Kid Rex search engine? I stumbled upon it last year and showed it to my first graders. It's a kid-friendly search engine (that might be connected to Google somehow, I think.) We used it quite a bit to glean more information on topics we were interested in. Just thought I'd put it out there!
I have to go back to page 47 before I quit rambling. There, I found my favorite quote from the book so far, and it's from Darren again. It speaks to a sense of agency and a growth mindset (see, Peter? I didn't forget your wise words!) It also encompasses so much of how I feel about improving my teaching craft. Ready?!
"As long as you're asking what's next, you'll get there.
But never be content with where you're at."
I'm thrilled to be hosting next week's installment of #cyberPD, right here at Ruminate and Invigorate! We will also be having a follow-up/wrap-up live Twitter chat at some point after next week.
I wonder what you're all thinking about this week's chapters. Off to find out!