We all have students we wish we could help a little bit more each day. Those that need one on one time and we aren’t able to provide it everyday. If you’re like me, some days you leave school feeling a little defeated – by time constraints, lack of resources, lack of ideas, lack of personnel. You want to reach every child, every day. You hope that your passion for learning will seep into your students. That your encouragement to take charge of their own learning takes root. That they take a path of self discovery. And if you’re lucky, you get to hear all about it.
This year, a few of my students came to kindergarten absolutely ready to read. One student, Callie, was already reading. She has been following her second grade sister’s lead for some time now. In class, she asks just the right amount of questions to keep me on my toes and challenge her fellow students. She is a self motivator learner and helps her peers just because she wants to. More and more she has become a fellow facilitator of learning in our class.
As we work to create a student centered classroom, voice and choice are extremely important. I believe when a child feels invested and valued, more learning can take place. Also, more chances are taken and children feel comfortable stepping up to challenges. It is ok to not know. It is ok to ask someone else who might know. It is also ok to get excited about learning – and carry that learning over into other aspects of life. Learning at school should translate to home and vice versa. And when that happens, as a teacher, you feel lucky. You get to witness one of those moments.
Here is Callie’s moment, shared with me by her mom. Callie created a book, using Book Creator on her home iPad. Book creator has not been taught yet in my class – she is taking what her older sister has shown her and combined it with her own creativity and knowledge.
I’ve included screen shots of the book pages, all that’s missing is her sweet voice narrating.
This week we started connecting globally with other kindergarten classes through the global read aloud. We tweet everyday and read posts from other kindergarten classes, but this project really hit home with them. I explained that so many kindergarten classes would be reading the same book at the same time. They were mesmerized. They were excited. They wanted to know what it would look like. Being a part of the global read aloud means that my students are part of a bigger community and I am also a part of a larger network.
For primary grades, the global read aloud is focusing on Eric Carle for six weeks. This week was week one: The Hungry Caterpillar (one of my all time favorites). We were already studying farm animals and it seemed to tie right in. Using my edmodo group, I was linked to a great puppet show of the story. Many of my students were already familiar with it. We watched the puppet show on the smartboard and then we moved on to the read aloud. I always love to hear what the students think Eric Carle uses to make his pictures. Several students thought crayons. One budding artisit thought he uses crayons with “water paint” on top. We visited the Eric Carle website to learn about his collage technique. Needless to say, the students loved it.
Our next step was to respond to the story. We discussed our favorite parts. I modeled using the Hello Crayon app on the iPad to create a picture of my favorite part.
My favorite part was Saturday – the day he ate just about everything.
From that point – they were on their own to create freely. We started this during our writing time and worked diligently, productively, almost silently straight through our afternoon rotations. They explored the app and its finishes with the colors.
The creations are beautiful. I loved hearing why they chose to illustrate what they did and why they made the drawings look a certain way.
I then uploaded their creations into the Showbie app (more on Showbie from my mentor here and here). This app gives us the opportunity to curate class projects and digital portfolios with the iPad. I am still in the process of compiling all student illustrations to complete our class book. I will share once it is complete! (Technology is a wonderful, albeit fickle at times, tool).
For more information on Global Read Aloud 2013 – Please visit: http://globalreadaloud.wikispaces.com/