Thursday, June 27, 2013

Farewell: Looking Back on Grade 1

Today is our last day of Grade 1.  We did a lot of fun things this year and we learned a lot.  Here are our favorite things from Grade 1:
  • playing the Kinect
  • picking out of the birthday bag
  • writing
  • playing on the computers
  • making PhotoStories with the Grade 10s
  • math writing
  • reading
  • playing with lego
  • going outside for recess
  • free time
  • free gym
  • word study
  • playing games
  • working with Mrs. Obach
  • word study games
  • math games
  • helping people in Africa
  • helping animals
  • making bunny treats
  • adopting animals (7 polar bears, 1 meerkat, 1 orangutan)
  • having fun
  • going on a field trip to Alyssa's Ark Small Animal Rescue (and Montana's!)
  • going on a playground tour and picnic field trip with our Oak Lake Kindergarten friends
  • visits from the Lion's Club
  • playing PAX games
  • baking cookies to get money for adopting polar bears
  • having a garage sale to raise money to help people and animals
  • using technology
  • watching a movie, swimming and playing soccer
  • writing persuasive texts
  • Tweeting
  • getting Granny's Wacky Prizes 
  • word sorting with Mrs. Obach
  • writing retell texts
  • learning about 3D objects
  • doing math with a partner

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Microsoft Virtual University: Understanding the Learning Strategies of the 21st Century Learner

Today's Microsoft Virtual University with Richard Olsen focused on what we know about good learning and teaching. 

Big Ideas:
  • How has learning and teaching changed?  
    • More student-directed, authentic, collaborative, interdisciplinary, differentiated learning.  Less teacher-directed.
  • We now have fast access to high-quality materials and resources online, which can help teachers and students.  How does access to high quality content change what schools and teachers need to provide?
    • Students need critical thinking skills to determine what information is relevant, factual, useful to their purpose
    • There is less need to provide "textbooks" or other learning materials in the traditional form and more need to provide a device that allows students access to the huge amount of information online. 
  • We have changed what we publish and publishing can be free.  
    • We no longer share only the "finished product"
    • We share our location, our thoughts, our intentions, short notes, works in progress using tools like Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, blogs, websites etc. 
    • This sharing provides opportunities for intervention at various stages.  Students and teachers can get suggestions and feedback all the time!
    • Online publishing allows students to reach a wider audience, to collaboratively publish and to have a real impact in the world
    • Online publishing helps us share student work with families. 
  • Ease of collaboration provides opportunities for collective knowledge building 

Connections to our classroom:
  •  We have undertaken a number of collaborative projects with students in our classroom working together and working with other classrooms near and far.  Social media, video conferencing and online publishing have allowed us to collaborate and to reach a wider audience.  Our projects have included:
    • Environmental Awareness Campaign:Students encouraged people to care for the environment through their poster and video campaign.  Topics they addressed included tree planting and litter reduction. 

    • Reusable Bag Reminder Campaign: After researching reusable bag use, students learned that many people were forgetting their reusable bags.  Students came up with the solution of reusable bag reminders and then designed, created and distributed their reminders.   

    • Litterless Lunch Competition: students participated in an inter-classroom competition to have the most reusable containers in their lunch each day, thus reducing litter and helping the environment! 
    • Animal Rescue:In partnership with Alyssa’s Ark Small Animal Rescue, students learned about rescue animals and found ways to help local animals in need.  Students collected used blankets, towels and clothing to be reused as animal bedding at the rescue.  Students in Kindergarten made homemade dog biscuits and delivered them to the Humane Society just before Christmas. Students in Grade 1 traveled to Alyssa's Ark to volunteer and to deliver some homemade animal treats! 
    • Species Preservation: Polar Bear Adoption:Students decided they wanted to help animals this year.  They chose to adopt polar bears because of the threats they are facing, so they developed an action plan to fundraise and adopt bears through the World Wildlife Fund Symbolic Adoption Program.  Students successfully held a cookie sale fundraiser and adopted SEVEN polar bears!
    • Recycle for Good Garage Sale: Students held a garage sale, selling unwanted toys, clothes, books and household items from many generous donors.  This student-run event raised $464 to help people and animals.
    • Schools Around the World Blog - We took part in a collaborative project that sharing information about our school and school life with other schools through a collaboratively-authored wiki.