Thursday, 16 May 2013

Building a Community

This past week we created a community on the floor in our class. We brainstormed a list of “must haves” that a community needs. Then I had students write about an important thing in our community and why we needed it.

 Later in the day, I moved all the desks to the side and created a large space in the middle.

I put tape on the floor to represent the streets and the rest was up to the students. 

They each created those important places and items in our community with construction paper. As they each completed their work, they came to the floor and placed their building or object where they thought it belonged. The students then wanted to add extras to the community: grass, parking lots, lego cars, airport, stop lights, bridges, even closed roads due to construction.

Starting to build.

Putting the pieces onto the floor and into the community.
We added North, East, South and West signs in the community to work on direction and location. Students moved through the community in a variety of directions, using appropriate language to how they moved.

The final product.
I also took pictures of specific areas in the community according to what each student was most interested in. The students then used these pictures to write in their student blogs. You can read about their community here on our student blogs.

Throughout the entire process, all of my students were completely engaged. We were able to integrate Social Studies, Language, Math and Art into this project. My students loved it and so did I. This is something I will look into doing again next year.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

QR Codes and Padlet

Thanks to Kristen Wideen and her willingness to share what she does in her class on her blog, I attempted QR codes and Padlet (an electronic chart paper for sticky notes) with my Grade Ones today. Creating a QR code was really quite easy. Although I haven't had much experience making them before, they didn't take longer than a minute to create. I googled "QR creator", copied the url from Padlet and with a press of a button, created a QR code. This makes going to sites so much easier. A few years ago (when Padlet was Wallwisher) I remember having my Grade 6's type out the url on their computers. It was agonizing. Doing that with my Grade 1's would be really unimaginable. However; scanning a QR code today was painless.

Recently we started our study on communities. Today we used Padlet to brainstorm ideas for a KWL chart. Discussing what they KNOW about communities and what they WANT to learn.

With 11 iPads signed out and working in partners, my students typed out things they knew about communities. All my students were engaged, willing to share their ideas and enjoyed reading each others ideas as they were added in. This would not be the case if we were doing this with markers and chart paper.

I was impressed with what my students wrote and what they were interested in. They have some genuine questions and wonders about communities. I am beginning to see where we need to go next. This is a perfect opportunity to branch into some inquiry of the questions they have and learn about important people in our community and what they do.

Where my students impressed me even more, was their technology learning today. There was a lot of learning of how to use Padlet, as it was a new program for them. We couldn't figure out how to edit a post, if you accidentally clicked away or touched another part of the screen (which, if you're 6 or 7 years old, can happen a lot when handling an iPad). Huge thanks to +Padlet who answered our question quickly when I asked on Twitter. All you need to do is double click on the sticky... we tried everything but that! :) Of course, I didn't think to tweet it out until the END of the day, but together, we made it work, as I could delete or change things on my computer if needed. The key to it all, is that we kept on going without any tears (in Pete the Cat style of course!).

I love working with technology with young students as they're not often afraid to make a mistake or try something again or try something new. Technology doesn't scare them, it interests them. They are willing to try it out and play. Can we say the same with ourselves?