Learning something new everyday!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Connections Part 2

It is now October and Thanksgiving is behind me (that will be the next post), I am remembering my "word" CONNECTIONS! While I am happy to have made some organized thoughts regarding this in August when life was still a little quieter and I had time to think and plan, I am regretting my haste in putting it out here! Do you know what I mean? Not because I think differently, but because I feel the pressure to be true to my plans in a day when there is so little time and so many things to do. Sooooo.....


The steps that I've taken so far with my students and myself professionally have had very positive results. This has not come without a fair amount of stress in stepping outside my comfort zone and trying new things that I don't know how to do.

  1. Quad Blogging has been a very exciting experience for us so far.  My class was matched with 3 other classes http://blog.st-barts.bolton.sch.uk/reception , http://kidblog.org/PhoenixKidsK-2/ and http://room10waihibeachschool.wikispaces.com/ .  We began by visiting the Waihi Beach School blog is Sept. and making comments to them about their learning (They were looking at heart, lungs etc. from a dead calf that a parent had brought to school. My students were intrigued to say the least!) I mentioned this in my class newsletter and got an immediate reply from a parent of one of my students whose family is from Waihi Beach, NZ!  So, the next week we get an email from the school in Waihi Beach that my student, Ollie's grandfather had stopped in for a visit!  My students (and I) were amazed!  These places and people were suddenly real to them.
Ollie's grandad  visiting our quad blog partner school
image courtesy of Jess Hardley, Waihi Beach School

    2.   Our class also joined a Primary Blogging Community that we partner with in a similar way.                      We have only just begun connecting with this group, but I feel confident we will learn from them,   too.

     3.    We joined the Global Read Aloud
We joined with Mrs. LirenmanMs. Leech and Mrs. Wideen for a google hangout to read one of the chapters together each week. In this way our classes are connecting and hearing the story being read by different teachers to 4 classes at once. We see all 4 classes on the screen at the same time. We can take turns sharing predictions and listening to each other.  While I had practised at home first with Karen and Niki, our first scheduled Hangout with our classes at school came with a little technical difficulty on my end. The three other classes were on line waiting for me and I was unable to join in. The frustration was mounting (students were beginning to lose patience), fortunately Niki across the hall remembered that I needed to switch the wireless access to our school guest access in order for this to work. So, after a few tense minutes on my end we were able to join in the fun.  This was my turn to read the chapter and my students first time seeing themselves on the screen which lead to much waving and head bobbing.  I have to say that it was well worth the stress of that first time.  My students want to know each time we read now, "are we going to 'hangout'?"

4.    Making connections within my district is happening via our school's team participating in the Engaging The Digital Learner dinner series.  The first of the series was a couple weeks ago when we had guest speaker Dean Shareski sharing about telling our stories (very inspiring).  While there, though we met some teachers at our table who are interested in visiting our classes and and sharing practical ideas about managing technology  in the classroom which is a big issue for us.  We also got the opportunity to meet some of the  amazing IT people in our district that help make these things possible. Since then we have had them visit our school to see our needs and how we could improve the finer details for our students (apple TV/ air play).  The Primary Teacher's Association in my district also has exciting plans which I a looking forward to.

5.    Positive calls home was on my list as well.  I have to say I have not done this, YET.  I still think it is important, but simply have not got there yet.  Soon.  I have heard though, from parents that the implementation of the class blog has been beneficial in connecting our classroom to student's home life.

6.    Collaboration within my school is happening!  We are fortunate to have collaboration time built into our schedules in the way of buddy time.  Next week our big buddy classes take the students to do an activity together while the primary teachers meet to collaborate. The next week we switch roles and the intermediate teachers get the opportunity to meet.  I must admit though, that otherwise, I don't get into other classrooms in my school as much as I would like.

Ok, I think that I am making improvements in my teaching practices through connecting, but I still have much to do.


  1. You are providing wonderful experiences for your students. You are making learning real, meaningful and powerful for your students as well as for yourself and your colleagues. Thank you for encouraging me to take this leap with you.

  2. Thanks Niki! I'm thankful for the opportunity to do what I love and work with great people. Truly blessed!

  3. Lora, I love that you are taking steps out of your comfort zone. I keep doing this too and I actually think each time I do it, it gets a bit easier. Never easy of course, but easier. As I keep saying I look forward to seeing where our year as connected teachers, and friends, takes us. I'm so thankful for that fateful day last February. :-) Karen

  4. Thanks Karen, It does get easier to be uncomfortable. Or, maybe its just that you get accustomed to the feeling! I too am grateful for that meeting. Look what you inspired! I would never have anticipated the path I am currently on, or that it is so exciting!