Providing Evidence of Sharing and Amplifying Learning. One Teacher’s Journey

This blog post will provide evidence of sharing and amplified learning. This is the lens I chose to focus on as I entered a grade 3 math lesson. Whenever documenting takes place, in order for it to be useful, a plan needs to be put into place. Why am I documenting? What is my documentation focus? These are just a few of the things I needed to reflect on before I began. The lesson was introduced and the sharing happened. The following video provides evidence of a grade 3 student sharing some of her strategies to solve the first problem introduced.

As I walked around to the different groups, I came upon  a pair  where the sharing of ideas were clearly one-sided. Below a student is sharing his/her strategy and the other student appears to be listening. Fifteen minutes later, there was still no evidence of an exchange of ideas. This is just the first step in my documentation of this pair, Will there be growth?

As the student who was doing the sole sharing left to participate in a Gallery Walk, I witnessed the other student add to their work. He shared. But I believe his partner never benefited from this missed opportunity. Further documentation was needed to have concrete evidence that sharing eventually took place. My documenting journey continues.

I then witnessed a guest blogger capturing a student sharing various math strategies he used to solve the problem he was working on. This guest blogger is amplifying the learning that is taking place in this classroom. Once he posts it on his blog  and the commenting begins, there will be untapped possibilities to extend the learning.

What do I take away from this valuable experience? Documenting is a very mindful exercise. It is not just an opportunity to take a series of photos or videos. Ask yourself; “What do these photos and videos really capture?” Was this the best way to make the learning visible? How can I best store them for future use? What can I do differently next time in order to use my documentation to enhance classroom learning? I am excited to add new layers to the documentation process!

 

The Daily 5 Chronicles

This year is no different than any other year, as each year I am excited to grow professionally and learn new things. New things I can use in my classroom to enhance the learning opportunities of each of my students. The Daily Five is the focus of my PGP (Personal Growth Plan). Seemed simple enough at first, until I read the book and realized that there are so many important components that have to be worked on in order for it to be truly successful. To understand and accept that the biggest constraint of a trilingual school is time, is key to properly implementing this program. At the beginning of the year, I was convinced that the three components I would use in my classroom would be Read to Someone, Read to Self and Word Work. I felt that writing would take too much time and take away from the other components of the program. As we began the Daily 5 I took a moment to think about what goes on when a student creates an entry in their journal. They are encouraged to edit and work on their spelling, make the story interesting {expand their vocabulary and add lots of details}. So technically, as they write they are doing work work.

After a few months, this what I know to be true, the Daily 5 looks and feels like this in my grade 2 classroom.

  • Uninterrupted ‘Read to Self’ time as they enter the classroom;
  • During our block of time three times a week we work on Word Work, Work on Writing and Listen to Someone (IPADs  Tumblebook App);
  • I do a Read Aloud as well on a fairly regular basis;
  • Conferencing goes on at this time, as well as small group guided reading sessions.

In October as I launched the Daily 5, I wasn’t completely satisfied with Word Work and I felt it needed to look and feel a little different. That is when I reached out to Andrea Hernandez a “master teacher” in the Daily 5. She mentioned something I had seen on Pinterest A Word Collector. Here, the students are encouraged to add words that they can read, but do not yet understand their meaning. Then they use a dictionary or IPAD and find their meaning and are celebrated when they use this word in conversation or add it to a journal entry.

This video shows one of my students as he stops reading his book, quietly walks over to the board and adds a word. Every other student was engrossed in their own novel and so didn’t comment or stop what what they were doing to look up. The student immediately returned to his spot on the carpet and his chapter book. My class love any opportunity to add to the board and as recently as this afternoon pointed out a word they heard during my Read Aloud that happened to be on the board. The student was eager to share that the meaning of the word could explain how it described the character’s action well. Evidence my students are expanding their vocabulary.

My students love reading and ask for Book Bin time, they also are very self motivated to go to the library and choose “Just-Right” Books for both home and school. Here’s where I noticed my Grade 2 sports fans did not have Just-Right books to satisfy their need to read about any and all sports. With the help of our excellent librarian and a quick trip to Amazon we found many appropriate books to add to already wonderful library.

Finally, at this point in the year my students are setting goals for themselves. Using CAFE the 4 key components of successful reading, each child has had an opportunity to conference with me to see what they feel still needs work. We will have periodic check-ins to ensure the success of these goals. There is still more work to be done, but I can happily say the Daily 5 instills behaviors of independence and creates a classroom of highly engaged readers and writers.

I am a believer

Recently I have been given the opportunity to be a part of an incredible cohort lead by Sylvia Tolisano. This cohort and I are on the same yet different journey. How to best prepare our students NOW for the 22nd century. When it comes to technology, many from my generation say “by the time I learn to use one technology the world is on to another” It was pointed out that the form of technology used, is simply a tool. From even the beginning of the first cohort meeting, this was implied and repeated. I now understand that to be true, and there are many tools I am learning to use, but the most important thing I discovered was, what these tools do to enhance learning!

At our last PD day I was asked to be part of a Speed Geeking workshop. It immediately made me reflect on what I had learned to this point and how I can best share this knowledge with others. At first, I became caught up with the tool itself and not focusing nearly enough on how the tool can enhance learning. I presented iMovies to the staff and how this can be used in their classrooms. Where and how did I start?

I had no previous experience with using iMovie at all. I had to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. With the help of a colleague, we modeled as a team to the grade one class how they can document their thinking on how to solve a math problem. Within a 40 minute period, I was a believer.  I got to see first hand how much I could get out of this app. As I write this, without deleting the word app, I understand clearly that it is not about the app. The apps will change. It is what I saw before my eyes and what two six-year olds can independently accomplish. One student was able to ask questions, give positive feedback and promote another student to share their strategies, and their thinking, while the student video recorded the other. I, on the sidelines was able to see first hand how well the student understood the concept as she could understand it, explain it, and teach it to others. It wasn’t the app that did this. It was the student. The tool just allowed me to visualize and capture the moment in time, which then allowed me to share and amplify learning during our Speed Geeking workshop.

Two things to note at this point;

  • the 15 minute sessions in Speed Geeking opened up my colleagues eyes to various new possibilities within their own classrooms, regardless of subject or language.
  • I now can’t wait to give every child in my classroom that same learning opportunity as those first two mentioned above.

 

                                                                       I AM A BELIEVER!!!

 

I Spy Documenting Learning

Today as we skyped with Jocelyn I spied learning. It took on different forms and different tools were used to capture the moments. Melissa used her computer to document all the new ways to enhance our classroom learning. It was indeed just the first step in our learning journey. I took a video and captured this first step. She was engaged and focused. This list I believe is valuable information for learning. What will she do with this? How will it enhance our classrooms? Joshua was busy tweeting information to people globally. Jocelyn shared, which allowed Joshua to start a global network. This is another form of documentation as learning, sharing and contributing. As we all were in engaged in this learning opportunity Chelsea demonstrated her quick problem solving techniques. Bethany’s photo displaying this would be another excellent example of documentation as learning. Today I spied a lot of learning.