Now that Course is about to end and all that remains is the final project submission, I am still overwhelmed. In fact more so, because now that I have all this information just zooming around in my mind, I am questioning myself more and more. I am also confused because I teach three year olds. And thinking about how to integrate technology with them is a bit of a struggle in my mind. I do not want to use it just for the sake of using technology. Yes they can use devices like iPads and smartphones, but how are they using it for ‘authentic’ learning? Being an IBPYP teacher, my main focus is on the ‘ACTION’ part. How am I going to use what I have learned to make a difference? How has my thinking changed during this course? How will my actions affect my students?
Trying to come up with something for the final project, my mind kept going back to the last few lines in my first post. And here I am still asking myself the same question: Am I using technology in my classroom as a ‘substitute’ or am I ‘modifying’ my teaching, let alone ‘redifining’ it? The students are using my iPad to draw/doodle on Paper53 and Seesaw, we use the projector for BrainPop Jr. or You Tube, we use our class Twitter account. Yes, we have made some connections outside the school environment. The students look at the pictures I take of their activities and think about which ones to share with the digital world. They are even helping me tweet what they want to say. Also, one of my other goals this year is to collaborate through Skype classrooms. So am I on the right track of SAMR?! I think I am because I feel I am changing my students thinking and learning landscape but only time can really tell. In the mean time let the explosions happen!
In IBPYP, there are six transdisciplinary units taught through the year, but in Pre-K only four units are taught. That was also one of my problems, because I did not really have a choice since I would be using one unit per course for the final project. The unit that I have used here is “Who We Are”. For the purpose of the final project, I chose to use the connections that my students made with colors. The unit itself is an inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human. I thought this first course in CoETaIL made a good bridge between my learning and my classroom teaching – making connections in every way!
For the project itself I chose to use the International Dot Day activity because that again was making global connections. Sadly I could not collaborate with anyone virtually, we did post the painted dot pictures on the website though. Another reason was that other than the students being new to school and some of them being even new to any kind of school environment, I myself am new to teaching in Pre-K as I have previously also mentioned. I will definitely be better prepared next year.
International Dot Day was on September 15th. We read the book ‘The Dot’ by Peter Reynolds and discussed how to make our dots. The students decided they wanted to use paint. During that week the students worked with me in small groups and painted their dots on paper. We posted pictures on the bulletin board in the Pre-K hallway, class blog and Seesaw. Some of the students have already recorded what they thought about the colors, how they made them feel, and also how they were similar or different than others. The others are still thinking. It is a slow process because I just have one iPad in the classroom.
The students really enjoyed working in Paper53 on the iPad to make their dots. When asked which activity they enjoyed more, most of them said on the iPad because if they made a mistake they could always erase or start all over again. Again, it took time because I was working one-on-one with the students with just one iPad.
Before the Gallery Walk, we discussed the Class Agreement. We could not be loud or disturb other classes. We also needed to keep the learner profiles (Caring, Open-minded and Responsible) in mind when talking about other’s dots.
We are still discussing how we can share our work globally. One option is our class Twitter account. Although they are just three year old, yet they are gradually learning to take charge of their own ‘learning’.
I just love using Visible Thinking routines in the classroom for students as well as for myself. So here is “I used to think…”
“But now I think…”
Whew! It has been quite a journey! And there’s more to come…