Kindergarten Teaches the World

Ever since I heard about Somersaulting the Classroom, for those still on the fence about a total flip, I was intrigued. Could something like this be done with my Kindergarten students? I wasn’t 100% sold on a total flipped classroom with 5 & 6-year-old students, but I toyed with the idea all throughout my COETAIL Journey.

COETAIL & ISTE

My goals for this project were to take the same collaborative structure that COETAIL has taught me and attempt to instill that mindset into my Kindergarten students.  By aligning it with the ISTE standards I set out to provide my students with an authentic audience and a platform that extends beyond the classroom, with the intention of them becoming Empowered Learners. 

1a. Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.

1c. Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

The other standards I focused on were Digital Citizen, 2a. cultivate and manage their digital identity and reputation and are aware of the permanence of their actions in the digital world.

Creative Communicator  6d.  Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.

Global Collaborator 7c. Students contribute constructively to project teams, assuming various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a common goal.

For more details have a look at my Understanding by Design unit plan below. 

Throughout this journey, my COETAIL online 9 cohort members have taught me the importance of delivering and receiving effective feedback. The cycle of continuous improvement and positive feedback loops such creating, reflecting and refining, which I learned from COETAIL, was exactly what I wanted my students to understand as well. There were other sources of inspiration as well such Khan Academy’s for their effective use of video lessons. Studio 5’s “CAR” method which consisted of Choose, Act,  Reflect and other innovative methods of restructuring the day was also extremely influential in changing up how I viewed our use of time in my Kindergarten classroom.

Course 3 Visual Literacy: Effective Communicators & Creators that I was by far my favorite course of COETAIL program. It was during Course 3 when discovered Venngage, an excellent program for making infographics. I used it at that time to transformed my CV into a professional graphic. I would revisit it again throughout this course to make the “Choice Boards” that I would update each week and provide for my Kindergarten students.

Continuing to Reach Out & Adjust our Aim

Just like community approach to learning, continues long after the cohorts, my Kindergarten students will too continue on with “Kindergarten Teaches the World” in some form or fashion. Whether we continue to reach out to schools and receive feedback, fine-tune or metacognition, or simply make more learning videos because we enjoy it. They love sharing their learning and I love that because it allows me to It allows me to monitor their progress towards their personal goals and help them adjust their aim along the way.

Redefining How We Learn in Kindergarten

As for the SAMR model, I’d like to think that this learning engagement has reached the level of redefinition. if it hasn’t already it will soon will as my students are excited to take this forward and continue to communicate with school’s and students we’ve made connections with.

Looking back now, one of the things I would have done differently would have involved me reaching out to other school’s sooner rather than towards the end of the unit. Especially, after seeing how excited my students became once they heard back for the various schools.

Final Wonderings & Special Thanks

I’d first like to thank @dianabeabout and everyone in this amazing cohort for all the awesome sharing, collaborating, and overall positive vibes. I’m also extremely grateful for my thriving Professional Learning Network (PLN). This learning experience would not have been successful with you. Therefore I must pay it forward. I’d like to thank current COETAIL 10 cohort member & former colleague @BrianJKasper, along with former COETAIL’er & colleague @mrWrensen.  @BrianJKasper helped my students connect with his classroom in China & @mrWrensen provided us with a cross-continental connection with his classroom in Tunisia. In addition, @pypchef provided us with excellent feedback through the lens of his performing arts classroom up in Vientiane, Laos with both Preschool & Grade 1 student offering new ways for us to take on feedback. Last but not least @Ms_kHansen, my teaching partner at UWC Thailand, thanks for being open to taking part in this project with your Kindergarten students. The fact that both our classrooms are still buzzing about me indicates to me that it was a hit with their students.  I look forward to working with all of you again in the near future. 

Final Wondering….  

What’s next?

Let me know!

🙂

Cheers!

@NicholasKGarvin

 

Smashing Apps & Flipping the Script with Video

 

  “Ultimately, flipped learning is not about flipping the ‘when and where’ instruction is delivered; it’s about flipping the attention away from the teacher and toward the learner.”

– Brian Bennett 


Flip the Switch and Flip the Script

I recently participated in a World Read Aloud lead by with the assistance of 28 other teachers.  Sean tweeted out the link to a Google Slide where teachers could each read a page of the story and then record themselves reading their page on Flipgrid. I’ve always been keen to jump aboard global collaboration projects and I’ve to learn more about Flipgrid for a long time, so I decided to give it a go. After a bit of rehearsal, I recorded my first Flipgrid video. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to use. Also, it felt great to take part in such a cool experience with so many other educators. By the time the story was finished, there were 30 teachers covering 6 continents & 224,355 km pg to pg! Have a look and listen below!

This experience not only provided me with #FlipgridFever but also inspired me to think up different ways that I could use the app or a combination of multiple apps in my Kindergarten classroom. I want to make the learning age appropriate and provide them with an authentic audience. It was then when I realized that Flipgrid might be useful for our guided reading groups. Being that I teach Kindergarten I knew that combination of something new with something familiar would have to first be scaffolded.   I’ll start small and make it relatable to the guided reading routine they already know.  In similar fashion to how I took part in the World Read Aloud, each one of my students will read and record a page of their guided reading book. The story in its entirety will be uploaded to Flipgrid and saved in a video format. At first, we’ll begin by using the reading groups within our class. Then we will expand outward and merge with the other Kindergarten classroom.

I’ve already discussed this plan with my colleague. Our collective plan is to organize the leveled reading groups from both classes to encourage cross-classroom collaboration and increase the number of recorded e-books.  Once finished, the video can then be uploaded to Book Creator where students can collectively create and add images from the story. Eventually, the students can save and upload their final product to SeeSaw.  This Book Creator +SeeSaw  will provide my students with a wide authentic audience and allow them to work together and with students from another class. They will also be using their digital skills acquired throughout the year to navigate communication and creation apps such as Book Creator and SeeSaw.  Once uploaded to their SeeSaw journals the students can seek feedback from family members and seek to reflect on and refine their work.


Reflecting upon Reflecting

As an Early Years teacher,  I need to be flexible, responsive. reflective, and adaptable. This mantra is simply the nature of Kindergarten. Using student reflections to guide my classroom teaching and lesson planning has always been a massive cornerstone of my educational philosophy.  Now, with the likes of SeeSaw, Flipgird and Book Creator, I’m able to provide my students with the proper tools to do the same thing with their learning that I’m currently doing in Coetail with mine. Having a blog to look back on has been a wonderful reflection tool for me, it’s allowed me the possibility to create, reflect, refine and my communication skills. It’s also allowed me to experience and work through ideas that may not have ever come to fruition if it weren’t for the feedback and influence of others.  So, having said that, I’d like to have some form of archived media that will allow my students to generate the same benefits.  The select media that I believe would be the most effective, given the age of my students,  is video.

For all students, the power of video, specifically when used in combination of digital tools such as SeeSaw and now Flipgrid will allow them to reflect on how far they have come on their individual learning journey. In this specific case it Kindergarten student’s reading journey.  The use of video and the ability to record, rewatch a and share these videos also provide them with the authentic audience, this being both their peers and parents. The ability to give and receive feedback on SeeSaw has been an ongoing process that we have been establishing all year in my classroom. The parents are really buying into it and in turn, it’s motivating my students thus creating the perfect feedback loop for everyone involved.   

These specific book recordings provide students with a powerful learning opportunity to showcase growth as well as provide objective evidence for everyone to reflect upon. Looking at my own practice, my professional blog has been a very powerful tool and an evolving reflective learning journal that has helped me grow as an educator. Like my students, when they look back on their SeeSaw learning journals, I’m able to do the same with my Coetail experience.  I’m able to see how my ideas, writings, and communication skills have evolved from my initial blog post to now. I too participate in that same feedback loop, as my students and parents do.  Thanks to other members of this cohort and anyone else who comes across this blog on social media, I’m able to reach an authentic audience and receive authentic and meaningful feedback.  That same feedback loop has encouraged and inspired me to try to new things, take risks, and remix ideas or concepts so that they can fit into my Kindergarten classroom, like what I did after getting inspired by the @worldreadalouds idea.


Kinder Created Content Libraries

Once merged with our guided reading program, the videos take on a whole new level of importance. They can be shared, saved, and reviewed as we begin to create classroom e-book library.  As the students move up to different reading levels they will be placed in a different group and can record another story within their new group. This will also provide parents with evidence of their oral language, reading fluency, and comprehension skills. It will also serve as a digital learning database showcasing student grow and persevering individual content knowledge that can be used to help other students of varying reading levels. 

After some scaffolding and practice of blending together our tech and literacy skills, I can begin to embed the use of videos into other daily aspects of our curriculum. I know that a full on flipped classroom approach would not work for me due to the age level of my students, however, perhaps a partial flip or somersault classroom would. My main goal is to create student-made content libraries that extend beyond a single discipline. I’d like to include phonics and Math lessons and allow my students to help me co-create something similar to Khan Academy.  Keeping in mind the flipped philosophy and the age of my students I’ll need to modify it into something that meets the needs of my students and their situation. Here’s a video by Dan Spencer explaining the benefits of creating a digital content library for students.

First, I will start by creating a few phonics and math lessons of my own and record them on the iPad using Flipgrid. Following the same procedure as our guided reading recordings, over time, I will hand over that responsibility to my students. The end result will show not only collection of Kinder e-books read in their respective leveled groups but also the beginning foundation of other transdisciplinary learned content. 


A Personalized Classroom

As teachers, we’re now equipped with more tools than ever to help promote personalized learning.  A simple Google search can bring about a plethora of ideas and articles on how to transform your classroom.  For example, here’s access a Google doc with a massive collection of Flipped Classroom resources.  Beyond the catchy phrase, it’s important to note that a Flipped classroom is a mindset and not simply a method. With unlimited amounts of potential in this age of information, it’s vital that we as teachers remain willing to adapt and adopt that mindset by taking creative risks that continue to enhance and inspire learning. Salman Khan did this as he harnessed the potential of today’s digital tools and combined it with vision. The result shook up the entire education system and revolutionized student learning. It was years ago when I first encountered Salman Khan’s TED talk and I remember being inspired. It was weeks ago that I was inspired once again by Sean Ford’s @worldreadalouds idea.  I’ve come to believe that inspiration breeds innovation when coupled with the right resources and the right mindset.


Final Wonderings

What feedback in the form of thoughts, questions, or concerns do you have on the idea of me embarking on this venture?

What is the best use of classroom time?

What experience do you have with a flipped or blended classroom approach?

Thanks!

@NicholasKGarvin