Beyond the Glass

Reflections on education in a connected world. Jackie Sakatch

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.

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A way of sharing classroom activities

Smilebox is one of the tools I use to share classroom activities with families.  The children love to see themselves in the videos.  I often wish I could do more editing of photos in Smilebox.  I usually create the presentation myself at home on the weekend.  I would like to expand my practice by involving children in the picture taking process and by having them contribute to the caption writing process.     Has anyone used this tool or a similar tools in their classroom?

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