Beyond the Glass

Reflections on education in a connected world. Jackie Sakatch

Final Reflections on Creating a Digital Identity with Children

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Tim & Selena Middleton

A final reflection is a bit of a misnomer because the work of creating and supporting young learners in digital spaces will be part of my teaching practice from this day forward. My learning journey has begun but by no means have I reached the end of the road.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by daveynin

I am proud and comfortable with the steps that I have taken to become more aware of resources available to support young people online and the actions that I have taken so far to make their learning activities a success. Highlights of these step and blog posts that reflect and document the growth are below:

Updated classroom blog that includes a Twitter account

Teach children to Tweet and comment on blog post.

We made a beautiful painting on canvas. We are proud of our painting. We painted the picture using team work.

— Jackie Sakatch (@MrsSakatch) November 13, 2013

Develop and maintain a YouTube channel with my son.

Curate Digital Citizenship Resources for parents and teachers

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by David Goehring

Next Steps

I plan to continue to use Twitter in my classroom.  I want to expand the number of blogs that my students comment on and work with them to create entries for our classroom blog.  Eventually I would like to connect with other classrooms through Skype.  I am hoping to visit Kathy Cassidy’s classroom in the new year to see first hand how she supports her learners with technology and individual student blogs.    Cory Antonini, our consultant stopped me in the hallway last week and mentioned that he had another teacher who would like to start to connecting their  classrooms through Twitter and that he had another idea for me to try.  I am excited to explore other learning opportunities.  In the future I would like to explore creating individual student blogs or learning portfolios.

My son has numerous plans and ideas for his YouTube channel.  I feel it is my job to support him but to also stay out of his way and allow him to create his own learning path.  He has mentioned that he would like to create a playlist for his videos and wanting to create more videos where he interviews people.  Perhaps he will create his own blog.

The Digital Citizen Resources LiveBinder that I have created is easy to use and I plan to continue to add content.

Final Thought

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Bart Everson


Moving Forward by Starting to Make Connections in Grade 1/2.

Blue Glow
This week I met with Cory Antonini a consultant on our school team to discuss connecting my classroom.  I wanted to make sure I had a clear understanding of what the polices were for Regina Public School regarding individual students blogs and the use of twitter.   I described to Cory the experiences that I had last week when I tried to have my classroom connect and comment on other classroom blogs.  Cory and I viewed my current classroom blog and created a classroom Twitter account.  When we tried to add a Twitter feed to my current blog we were unable to.  After some discussion about wanting to eventually add individual student blogs and have a variety of security options available I decided to use Blogger because it is linked to the Regina Public Schools Google account.  Cory also showed my the Kidblog website and suggested that I explore it for when I want to add individual student blogs.  I want to find a tool that is easy for young children to use and is easy to manage.  Cory encouraged me to continue  teaching my children how to comment on other classroom blogs.  He also suggested that we start creating content as a classroom through shared writing experiences and posting them on Twitter and our class blog.  Learning another blog format is a bit of a challenge but experience is the best teacher!   If you are using Blogger or Kidblog I would love to hear about your experiences.

I am currently in the process of creating content for the new classroom blog.  I was excited to be able to add a translate function to the blog.  I teach a large number of children who are new to Canada and English is an additional language in their homes.  I hope that this tool allows families to receive information from the school in the language that they are the most comfortable.


Another step forward that our school took this week was to have a technician come to our school to set up our iPads.  We now have a way to add apps to our iPads and have ordered cases to keep them safe.   I welcome any app suggestions that you might have.


The Middle Ground can be Murky; The Risk of Vulnerabilitiy

“It seems disingenuous to ask our students to learn things that are challenging for them if we are not willing to model being a learner ourselves…By being willing to try new things in front of the children, to make mistakes, we exemplify the learner attitude we want our students to have.”

Cassidy, K. (2013) Connected from the Start:  Global Learning in the Primary Grades.  (p.112).

This week my class started to comment on other classroom blogs as I outlined in my post Taking the First Steps.  I was excited to see how the children would react to connecting with other classrooms.  Friday morning I had the data projector and computer set up.  I had the blogs I wanted to visit bookmarked.   The children and I met in the classroom meeting spot and discussed connecting with other classroom blogs and commenting on what they had posted.  Prior to this lesson we had viewed our classroom blog and explored the content.  I clicked on the first link and the children seemed disinterested in the content so I tried a different post, again they did not seem very excited or interested.  It was not the reaction I was expecting at all.  As a listen to the conversations among the children I heard them talking about going online to play games once they knew we were reading and commenting on blogs they became disengaged. At this point I gave children the choice to go and read by themselves or to continue working with me on connecting.  Most of the class selected to read. I decided to continue on with the small group I was left with to see if I could get some insight into what posts they would find motivating.   I decided to try a blog post from Mme Fraser who interned in my classroom last year and whom the children knew.  We commented on a blog post about apples and the Terry Fox Walk.  Some of my children remembered doing a similar apple lesson with Ms. Fraser last year.  We then went back to look at our classroom blog.  The children wanted to make a Smilebox video of our Thanksgiving collage project  to post on our blog so we started to create one together.

I decided I should read Connected from the Start:  Global Learning in the Primary Grades perhaps following the model of an experience teacher would give me the answer to my questions about why my students were not really interested in commenting on other blogs.   In the book Kathy Cassidy  the chapter describing connecting with Skype comes before the one about connecting with blogs.  I think that for my class having the personal connection to Ms. Fraser  made it easier to connect than having no connection at all to the children in the blogs I was trying to get them to comment on.

When I think about my own journey in the #eci831 Google+ Community I know that at the beginning I was much more comfortable commenting on the blogs and posts of people I knew from other classes or who I had professional relationships with.  Dr. Richard Schwier spoke to our class about connecting  and developing relationships within a virtual community.  I think that the next step I need to do with my class is to create connections with the children in the classrooms that we want to connect with.

t shirt design / connect theme
If you want to connect with our classroom please  visit our classroom blog so that my children start to see the power of being connected learners.


Taking the First Steps.

En Marche

I have been pondering the first step that I want to take to open the filing cabinet in my classroom.  I am trying to decide between starting a classroom twitter account or introducing my children to a small number of blogs and teach them to comment on those blogs.  The blogs that I would start with are Mrs. Cassidy’s Classroom Blog,  a teacher in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan who has written the ebook Connected from the Start:  Global Learning in the Primary Grades which I have purchased and plan to use a Mentor text.   Mme Fraser’s Blog who interned in my classroom last year and because I am teaching a number of children for a second year has a relationship with the children.  I have also selected Mrs. Maley’s Classroom Blog because it was highlighted in the Leader-Post recently.   The class has access to our classroom blog which I write but would like to eventually turn into a shared writing experience with the children in my class.

Sue Waters presented to my #eci831 class on October, 1, 2013 and spoke about the importance of not only creating content on blogs but also being a consumer of content and participating in the community.

The reasons for starting with twitter is that it is a quick way to community the activities that my class is doing with others.  Twitter could give my class a larger and more diverse audience faster than reading and responding to my small preselected blogs.

When I woke up this morning my initial idea was to send out a tweet

asking what other people thought.  I decide that I am going to send out this tweet.   I am also going to post it on the #eci831 google+ community and create this blog post.  I am curious about the different comments I will receive in each of the forums.  I am wondering which forum will provide the most insightful comments and where do I feel the most supported.


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