Sunday, June 16, 2013

Celebrating Father's Day

It truly is incredible the number of inspiring educators there are that openly share their knowledge, ideas, expertise and work through the use of technology. Twitter, blogs, and other forms of social media certainly act as a catalyst for bringing educators, parents, friends and school communities together and I'm so grateful for all that I've learned, continue to learn and continue to feel inspired by as part of this professional learning network!

Today's post highlights a particular inspiration I had from a wonderful colleague, Angie Harrison (http://techieang.edublogs.org). Having been a regular follower of her blog, I particularly enjoyed her "Special Someone" post and the idea of recording a sentimental message for someone special in our students lives. Since our students created an artistic piece for Mother's Day, my DECE (Heidi Theis) and I decided to utilize our class' technology to follow in Angie's footsteps for Father's Day.


After sharing the idea with our class, they were thrilled to be able to share with their Dad's all that they love about them and why they're special and especially with the use of our class iPads. Since Angie had posted some of the challenges of this activity that she experienced with her class (e.g. some students struggled with talking and drawing at the same time and finding a quiet space for students to record their ideas), Heidi and I took this into account when planning for this special Father's Day surprise.


To begin, we had each student create a plan of what they want their drawing to look like on the iPad. This helped students get used to talking and drawing at the same time because we would dialogue and ask questions as they were drawing (e.g. why their Dad is special, what they like doing with their Dad, etc.).
Next, we modelled the use of the app "Explain Everything" for students individually so that they could see how it works. Finally, we took students out into the hallway one at a time to record their special message! Voila! Once exported, we sent individual personalized emails to each of our students' families with specific instructions to only open on Father's Day!


Here is a few examples of some of our student's special Father's Day messages. Thank you to these families for letting us share these sentimental messages on the blog and we hope you feel inspired just like Angie inspired us! 

T.B.'s Father's Day Video

S.M.'s Father's Day Video

I.D.'s Father's Day Video

W.F.'s Father's Day Video

To all of the incredible father's of our students! We would like to thank you for being your child's biggest fans and for encouraging them to be the best they can be! Your support, interest and involvement in their education is wonderful and we truly hope you enjoyed your special message and secret envelope surprise! 

We would also like to wish all of our followers, colleagues, friends and family members a Happy Father's Day! 

To my Dad, thank you for being my biggest fan, supporter and endless inspiration and example of what hard work looks like. You always encourage me to follow my dreams and I am so grateful to have you as my Dad! 


Our Father's Day was spent at Paintlounge creating a collaborative piece as part of their Father's Day Workshop! I think my wonderful brother and Dad are hooked already! Safe to say, they'll be coming back with me again!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

What Can You See? and Egypt!

With the "What Can You See?" project, our students have been able to not only develop a greater understanding about the world around them, but in fact, the project has grown to the point where our students can learn about and appreciate different cultures around the world. 

As part of this new and exciting chapter of "We can see" books, one of our JK students (T.B.) recently got back from a trip to Egypt where he was visiting family. He was very excited to share his pictures with us and tell us stories about what he saw there and where he had visited. We had offered to compile his photos and create a digital book to share as part of the project on his families behalf!


We thank T.B. and his family for collecting these wonderful photographs and for letting us put them together into a digital book to share with all of you!

This video, along with our video from A.C. and her family in China, has generated lots of discussion in our classroom as our students have begun to see connections from these "We Can See" books to other books found in our library and at home. T.B. is very proud of where his family comes from and his ability to teach us new things about his culture and country! 

Even though the end of the year is approaching rather quickly, we still encourage our families to participate in this wonderful learning opportunity well into the summer months! If you haven't already, please check out our shared learning space for this incredible project by clicking on the link below: