Learning something new everyday!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Is it meaningful?

This post is more about the questions I am mulling over in my mind right now, than it is about sharing my learning....

A few nights ago I attended the third event in the "Engaging The Digital Learner: Going Deeper" series. There were a couple of teachers from my district sharing ways that technology is improving teaching, sharing, and assessment in their classrooms.Thanks @M1chelGagnon and Brette Galy. I  enjoy hearing about the great things happening in classrooms around me and am inspired to be creative and share as well things that are happening in my school. Later in the evening we were inspired and challenged by Bill Ferriter as he spoke about Teaching the igeneration. 


I believe my students are actively involved and engaged in my room most of the day (maybe most of the day is not good enough?),  but I wonder if being engaged and actively participating is "it".  Can I rest easy knowing that engaged learning is happening in my room?

  • Does the learning meet the curriculum expectations?
  • Are the activities meaningful? Does it matter if the snowman has 2 or 3 or 4 body parts? Is it meaningful to talk about snowmen in winter if there is no snow on the ground?
  • Is it important for 6 yr olds to use technology?
  • Is blogging actually creating an authentic global audience for my students?
  • Is giving my students access to iPads, (even in a centre style as we have 5 iPads in our room) increasing their screen time, beneficial?
  • Is having a word wall the best use of space?
  • Are my guided reading sessions truly targeted individual instruction?
Yes, these are some of the experiences currently going on in my grade one room and yes my mind is spinning with justifications and alternatives. I can answer yes to these questions and tell you my thinking, but am willing to hear suggestions for improving my "best practices".  Some of the games, crafts and apps we use/do may seem frivolous at first glance, but they all have a greater purpose. I am working at making this purpose better known to my students.

I am also thinking of how to 'build a bridge' as Bill said, between what they know about digital tools and how to use these tools for better learning. Many of my students use their tech tools at home for gaming, a few of them are beginning to blog and comment from home as well. We use many more tools in the classroom on a daily basis, but I struggle to ensure it is not about the novelty of the tool, but about the best tool for the job.  

The challenge I was left with on Wednesday evening -  Is It Meaningful? - is an important responsibility to keep at the forefront of my ongoing planning.


  1. Great post, Lara. This is a question, "Is it Meaningful?" that all teachers should ask themselves each day they work with their students - whether they are working with technology or not. Good for you for reflecting on your practise and thinking of meaningful questions that will help guide your practise and, ultimately, the learning of your students.

    You are right, it is our responsibility to keep things meaningful. :-)

    Thanks for blogging and letting us become a part of your learning.

  2. A great reflective post Lora. Reflection is key. I can assure you we all have things that we could do better for our students, and the joy (or curse) of teaching is that we continue to strive to find the better way to do things. I struggle with so many questions myself. It is who I am as a learner, and as a teacher. Some days my brain hurts because of it, but other days I can sit back and smile at what I or my students have accomplished. In our never ending quest to do the very best for/with our students it is just as important to sit back and watch the beauty of your hard work.