Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Adventure in Learning Continues

We have continued to add posts to our blogs this term.  We have used the blogs as lesson reflections, recording real world events such as recent heavy storms and sharing stories about our friend from Sydney, Flat Rosie.  You can see Flat Rosie on the board just below the screen supervising the children's blogging.

On Monday 5 November we will be having a Skype call with Flat Rosie's class in Sydney. This will be an exciting culmination of the Flat Rosie visit. After that she will be returning to Australia with a new friend, Sipho. 

We have enjoyed some fun lessons this term, notably "Don't Eat the Data". The children were each given a box of Smarties. They had to sort them and count each colour then enter the data into an Excel template and convert the data to a chart. They managed to exercise self control until the data had been sorted - except one of the brightest boys who mysteriously only recorded 11 Smarties on his graph to everyone else's 20+. They then used their blog to reflect on the lesson and what they had learned.

Blogs are such a good way to give children practice in literacy skills. Kidblog is a great platform for young children as logging in so easy. A new addition to Kidblog is a viewer map which has been added. This makes the reality of writing for a global audience so real to the children and it's a great motivator. They only have a short time each week to add to their blogs but they are getting much more efficient at logging in and adding to their blog.

I always have the dilema of how much editing I should do. The fact that our blogs will be read by other children we need to keep the text as error free as possible. I walk around as they type and help them edit and correct their errors while they are working. I believe this is a more effective way of helping our children learn correct grammar and spelling than if the teacher takes in a set of books and uses a red pen to highlight errors. 

It's always sad when the Grade Threes have developed to a level where we can be adventurous in our projects and then they leave at the end of the year. I hope the skills they have learned in computer lessons will help them in their new schools. 

The Grade One classes are just beginning to develop skills in typing their names and simple sentences on the computer now that they have learnt to read in class. It's encouraging seeing them develop during the year and to know that in a year's time they too will be ready to start blogging.

Through a Skype group called "Hello Little World Skypers" (HLWSkypers) I have been able to connect with teachers in other countries. Last week one of the classes spoke to a teacher in Moscow and another group spoke to a class in Indonesia. This was really exciting for the children. We then went to the big wall map and put an X on the places on the map, giving them a global perspective and a beginning understanding of time zones and hemispheres in a real world setting. I am hoping to extend our global connections in the new year. Another useful Skype group is the Global Classroom Project.  Through chatting with teachers I have picked up contacts and ideas for projects. Networking is definitely the way to go! Thank you fo my Professional Learning Network. One idea is to have a Mystery Skype. Here is a blog post by a teacher who held a Mystery Skype for her students.

And so our school year is winding down and planning for 2013 begins. New classes, new beginnings and new ideas for stimulating projects in the computer lab. I am learning new things every week and look forward to what we will all learn together in the coming year.

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