Today we continued to work on our International Engagement Project and researched Poland as we are excited to know more about the country that our letters are going to. Many of my students asked some good questions again today as we tried to use a new medium for them we used socrative.com which allows teachers to make on-line quizzes and surveys as well as to ask open ended questions and have the results show on the projector. I was very excited to try this program with my students today but had to abandon the project for a more traditional teacher directed method as it sadly was too much freedom for some of my students, while most of my students were posting appropriate questions that were focused on the topic, I sadly had 3 or 4 students who are not yet ready for the responsibility of posting their questions on the board for the class to see. While no one posted inappropriate questions, they were not using the program effectively choosing to post comments that were off topic and single words that did not relate to the task. I would like to try this task again but will need to give more specific ground rules about what students are to be posting to the board using this program. One of the things I like about socrative is that all students can share their responses at the same time, the do not have to wait for the teacher to call on them to share out to the class, for most students this kept them engaged as they were sharing out their questions as they came to mind and I was able to set it so that there was no limit on questions! This also helps me to record the questions that were asked and who said them. These are some of the questions that my students have asked, we had 100 in total today:
- What do children play with in Poland?
- What is the weather like in Poland?
- What do children learn in school?
- Do polish children learn about canada?
- What are the cities in Poland?
- What do people eat in Poland?
- What sports do they play?
- What do people wear in Poland?
- What animals live in Poland?
- How long has Poland been a country?
- What is Poland famous for?
- What are some famous places in Poland?
- Who are some famous Polish people?
- What types of landforms ( rivers, lakes, mountains) are found in Poland?
- What are the buildings made from?
- What type of animals do they have?
- What do people do for fun?
- What do they celebrate in Poland?
- How does the population compare to Canada?
- What types of jobs do people in Poland do?
- What is the traditional clothing like in Poland?
- How do you travel to Poland?
- Do they dance in Poland?
Tonight was my first large professional development event, I attended the ” Engaging the Digital Learner” event at the Langley Events Centre Tonight, the event was put on my SD35 or the Langley School District , where I am doing my practicum. I am really grateful to be able to participate in this series and learn from all of the wonderful speakers. Tonight I learned how to use a program called Skitch which allows the user to take a screen shot of any web page or image and annotate it with text or shapes. This was a really fun program to use and I can see my self using it in several ways to promote learning or as a way for my students to comment on the web pages that they are looking at.
We also looked at several factors for using technology in the classroom and looking at using it to get beyond the 4 walls of the school and help students to connect to the broader world by connecting with people around the world and experts. Something we have been doing in our letter writing project. Tonight we also discussed the need to teach the critical thinking skills and the skills required to extract, synthesize produce and engage with content , this reminded me of what I was learning about 2 weeks ago at the TC2 professional development event I attended.
I think that for me my biggest take away of the evening was that it’s okay and even benefits the students to see both us and technology fail. It helps students to see us as human and demonstrates that we are still learning. While the act of failing in front of the students starts the process we must accept and own our failure to them and show them out process for getting back on track. Hopefully by modelling this the students will be more likely to accept their own failures. I was reminded of one of my mom’s favourite sayings that I need to remind my self every day as I am learning with my students. Fail is an acronym that stands for a First Attempt In Learning and if you fail there’s always a Sail ( Second Attempt in Learning) and a Tail ( Third Attempt in Learning) if you need them, we don’t have acronyms for other numbers yet. I find that these ideas help me to keep things in perspective and to learn from my mistakes and make changes to my practice because using this model and though process failure isn’t the end point it is a stepping stone to learning.