The learning has started! Today (well yesterday really) started with a keynote by Richard Byrne. (@rmbyrne).
Richard talked to us about creating responsible users of information. Teachers do you want to learn how to create better searchers and be a better searcher yourself? Check this out – Google Search Education. Here you will find a series of lessons to start you on your way.
As teachers, we need to encourage collaboration in meaningful ways. One idea he uses is instead of putting up “Today you will learn…” on the board, he wrote it to “Today we will explore…”. Sometimes a simple change of language is all it takes. He also discussed the fact that when students are working together and collaborating, we need to expect them to use more resources and go deeper.
Teachers need to encourage our students to take risks and demonstrate their knowledge in a way that works for them – as long as they get the information across.
Here is an example from Southwest Airlines. The flight attendant was tired of relaying the safety information in the same-old, boring way.
The information he needed to get across made it to the passengers, just not in the typical way. It is ok to let our students create and explore different ways to convey their learning.
Tomorrow I am off to Vermont. I am honoured to be chosen to attend the Discovery Education Summer Institute for a second year! This year I am heading to beautiful Burlington, Vermont. My goal this year is to update my blog on a daily basis. There is SO much to learn at DENSI and I want to share it with you. Look for posts in the next few days.
A few of my students took the opportunity to participate in a Lip Dub with some University of Regina students and classes from across Canada and the USA. The song was written by Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies and Commander Chris Hadfield. Enjoy Morhart’s Minions and the rest of the participants!
I.S.S. The Lip Dub from shareski on Vimeo.
A while back Dean Shareski put a call out to his people looking for mentors for his University of Regina ECMP students. Of course I said I would love to help out. I was paired with Allison who happens to be starting her teaching career with my division in the fall. I had the pleasure of getting to know her over the course of the semester. She came into our class twice and showed the kids a lot of great stuff.
Tonight we sat down to talk. As part of this partnership, she had to interview me. She decided to use a hangout so she could record the interview. She asked some great questions and hopefully I gave some great answers. It is hard to think on the spot sometimes! Check out the interview.
I have asked Allison to hang out again on Thursday. I really think Google Hangouts are a great way for my kids to work together. I have really struggled in recent years when it comes to kids working together outside of school. I give them options and ideas but they would rather not hand something in completed than go to another student’s house. It is bizarre to me. So…hopefully when they see how a Hangout works, they will remember this future reference. It is a win-win situation: they work together to complete their work and they don’t have to go where they are not comfortable.
What do you do to get kids to work together on projects and assignments?
So many times I have sat down to write this post but for one reason or another, I haven’t. Where do I start…last you heard from me I was applying to DENSI. Well I was accepted to go and I spent a week in beautiful Bozeman, Montana.
Heading there I had no idea what I was in for. I kept hearing that DENSI was an amazing PD experience and how fun the week would be. Until I got there, I really had no idea. I met a group in the Minneapolis airport and from there it was a week of learning, laughs and fun. Each night my brain was in information overload. There was so much to learn about and so many amazing people to learn from.
Discovery Education planned an amazing week full of guest speakers, activities and an un-conference day. We even spent a day in Yellowstone National Park. I have never been there before so it was a fantastic experience. I spent the day on a photo walk with Daniel Cox. He walked through the geysers with us, providing photography tips. Lucky me since I had just purchased a new camera and lens. Another fun activity was the DENmazing Race. I have to throw this in here because my team, The Breakfast Club, dominated the race and took home the trophy. My team included members from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Texas and Pennsylvania.
The greatest thing about DENSI was the people. The contacts I have made with people from across North America are invaluable. I cannot count how many times I have contacted or been contacted by one of these amazing people for resources, information, project ideas or to collaborate on something.
I have applied to attend DENSI 2013 in Burlington, Vermont. Hopefully I have the chance to attend again this year and make connections with many new and wonderful people! This year they stipulated they wanted an unedited video explaining our DEN (Discovery Educator Network) story. Enjoy!
We recently learned about the Canadian political system and the consequences of engagement or non-engagement in this process. I gave my students various tools in which to present their findings and research. A few are below.
social studies project
Our school division subscribes to Discovery Education. We have access to such a wealth of information, videos, labs, explorations etc. I actually taught the entire Grade 8 Optics and Vision unit using Discovery Education resources. I LOVE DE!
Every year, DE hosts a Summer Institute. This year DENSI is in Bozeman, Montana! Here is my application video.