Sunday, 28 April 2013

Flat Stanley

This year I read "Flat Stanley"written by Jeff Brown to my Grade One class. In the past 7 years, I have done a Flat Stanley project with 2 of my other classes, but nothing like the project it became this year. Thanks to Twitter, our project went online and across North America. I asked my amazing PLN if anyone was willing to host one of our Flat Stanley's and quickly I had an amazing response. Teachers from all over Canada and United States offered to host a Stanley in their classroom. I realized this was bigger than I had imagined and created a blog for people to post pictures and information as well as the traditional way of mailing pictures or postcards to our class. For the past few weeks, my mailbox at school has been very busy with a new letter inside everyday! We have received stickers, pictures to share, books for our classroom, etc. The generosity has been amazing! Our Flat Stanley blog has also been filling up - we have over 60 different posts of where Flat Stanley has been and the adventures he's had. We've watched videos, shared pictures, read tweets and have gotten a small glimpse into a variety of different classrooms.

To my PLN - thank you for taking the time out of your busy classroom schedule to host our Stanley. My students have been absolutely thrilled with the adventures you have shared with us. We have learned so much about our province, country as well as different cities around America. Our world has grown a lot bigger, but also smaller, as we've been able to make many connections with how things are similar in your classrooms with ours. You have been very generous with your time as well as your resources to share with us. The cost of postage alone for some was shocking. Thank you for being so willing and selfless to share your adventures of a 'piece of paper' with a classroom you've never met personally. That means a great deal to me and all my students. From the bottom of my heart and 22 other students in my class, THANK YOU so much!

If you haven't had a chance to check out our Flat Stanley blog, go here to see all the fantastic adventures Flat Stanley has been up to in the past month.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Using Educreations... and failing at it

Sometimes the best learning happens when you fail.

Today, I messed up. I tried something new and although it seemed to be going smoothly at first, it didn't end as well. I had my students use Educreations to record their learning on 3D shapes. I split my class into groups of two and with iPads in hand, we went out into the school on a shape hunt looking for 3D figures. We took lots of pictures and they were being so creative in where these objects could be found. Once we went back to class, I thought we'd put these pictures into Educreations and create a short little movie. We have used Educreations the past few weeks sharing their made structures and explaining how they built them. (Side note: our school has recently gotten 20 iPads to share - so using iPads is still a very new thing for us!) I thought that since we've had success with this app before, it would be a great app for them to use today. My Grade Ones were importing their pictures, creating a title page and were totally focused and completely learning by labelling and discussing their 3D figures. They were just about to get to the audio part when we realized the bell was about the ring and it was time for home!


1 group finished and were able to save.

Another group began their audio, but was interrupted by some noisy kids in hall getting ready for home. Turns out, you can't re-record...

The rest of the groups were not quite done and needed some more time another day, but it turns out, you can't save a draft...

These iPads are not ours - they are the schools. Other classes use them and have them signed out for the next few days. Educreations may be used by other classes, so I had to save what they did have done, even though it was not complete. It was a sad moment for me to realize their hard work of a final product was not possible from today's work.

It's not always about the product, it's about the process. I've been saying this to myself lately as our class is working through inquiry. I needed to remind myself of this as the realization of my mistake.  Did my students find, discuss, compare and label 3D figures? ABSOLUTELY. It was hands on, engaging and purposeful. Some of my students didn't even realize they were doing MATH! The process was a success. The product? Not so much.

I am so proud of my Grade Ones and the things they are capable of - even if I can't share their learning with the world. At least this time.  I've been told from a great twitter friend (@ ) that 30hands app is great for this. You can re-record audio and save draft files. When it's finished, it saves in your photo roll so easy to embed too!

Lesson learned: Educreations, although a wonderful app for sharing our learning, taking pictures and recording audio is not always the BEST app to use when you need more time to complete and may need to re-record.

Sometimes the best learning happens when you fail.