Author Archives: Brooke Kemp

Collabration and Community Online.

Creating connections and building safe, caring relationships with your student is pretty much the key to survival in teaching. I believe its how you get them on your team and the same team as your peers. It gives them the ability to trust you, be vulnerable when help is needed, be willing to be adventurous, make mistakes and what I truly believe is the best part of school!

I used to feel creating this type of environment was my strong suit as an educator, that was until the physical environment of the classroom shifted to an online learning environment. That first year, what a struggle!!! I had very little engagement and didn’t hear from numerous families for months. But I don’t blame them. With so many in crisis, I’m sure the last thing they were thinking of was finding technology and the resources to try to get them participating online.

From that we all learned a lot! In the Fall and Winter of 2020,  we were given the opportunity to prepare by providing resources, pre-teaching students and organizing families for the possibility of going online, as we knew there would be a great chance of doing so.

I really utilized the Seesaw application to connect families to students learning, the school atmosphere and a quick communication tool between home and school.  It was a very easy and familiar tool to staff and teachers, and it was the best way to enhance a blended learning style and online learning.

Seesaw effectively created a community for educators, as you could share and “borrow” activities and assignments from the “Library”. This allowed me the opportunity to quickly post extra practice and show off their skills at home, as well as incorporate them into our Literacy time at school.

I loved how students were able to choose how to complete assignments. They could record audio answers, type, or write. They could draw or make a video.  They could match up or slide “cards”. It was very user friendly and directed for primary students. They felt good about completing activities and weren’t frustrated signing in or understanding the task. There was also a variety of way to instruct students. Teachers could link videos, record video or audio instructions, as well as extra text for adult instruction! There was also a translation tool so families could translate teachers messages into their familiar language and also respond with the teachers ability to translate! I truly loved using Seesaw!

I supplemented my online learning experience with two synchronous Zoom meeting a day. There was a group of 11 students I saw everyday, 8 I saw here and there and 2 I didn’t have any contact with. From my past experience I was very pleased with this turn out. I loved that students got to see their teachers and their peers.

However, what has currently been brought to my attention is that… the space I was providing didn’t really allow for that collaborative and interactive piece. I was constantly talking and muting my students. I wanted them muted the entire class unless I had asked them to unmute themselves….

Looking back… I’m like oh my gosh!!!

Although I had a much easier time connecting and communicating with families, I didn’t allow for that community piece and peer interactions between students which is what makes school fun!!

So where do I go from here….

I find it so challenging with primary students to keep them engaged, provide the opportunity for students to demonstrate knowledge independently, offer simple instructions and also have them interact and connect with each other.

Hmmm… so where do I go from here!

I just hate providing 100 platforms families need to sign into and have code and all the things, however, I think my best bet is to include all those platforms into one Learning Management System.

So, of course I am going back to what familiar to me and using Seesaw as my LMS and hoping to incorporate other platforms for students to interact and collaborate.

If you’ve read some of my earlier posts you’ll notice this was not my original choice. I started off by saying I would use Google classroom, but as you can see I love Seesaw!

Seesaw will be the central hub for families and students to communicate with educator and find all required assignments and expectations. And although I love all the features it provides, I am going to try to expand to create more opportunities for students to express and show their progress.

The platforms I know I will incorporate:

  1. Zoom- If needed to go to strictly online learning, I will provide a synchronous meet, and after provide a recording of students who were unable to attend the live meet. Students will be able to interact, with some supervised “Choice time”. Once students are explicitly taught the ground rules, break out rooms can be utilized. As stated earlier I dont want to have them muted at often and I want them physically participating! Here are a few simple ways to keep them engaged and bring in some familar activities from the classroom!
  2. FlipGrid- Free platform that allows students to share and post videos to a classroom grid. With a little pre-teaching, students should be able easily sign in using QR code and have student share video recording of thoughts on a topic, present their work and understanding. Students can also great videos to respond to a peer’s post. There are also tons of tutorials online to help students and families troubleshoot if problems arise. There are a ton of ways to use fliprid online and in a blended classroom. Here are a few… or 50!
  3. Prodigy- Free Numeracy app where teachers can assign specific units and students can play with or against each other.
  4. Kahoot/ Blooket- Educational games that can be played face to face or online. Teacher created a quiz type game and students can work together or compete on specific topics.

I hope to add more to my repertoire as myself and students become comfortable with the ones provide above.

Although, I don’t think there will be any way to top collaboration, socialization and engagement like in face to face, I hope to keep growing to make it almost as good!

 

Jamboard, Google Classroom, Padlet, Edsby, SeeSaw, Zoom…. OHHHHH MY

Maybe I am getting old… but I feel like old schooler who just hates change, or at least scared of it!

The number of tools, resources and information can be totally overwhelming to me! I still don’t understand google drive for goodness sakes! I think I’ve uploaded a file and then bam it’s disappeared somewhere! I truly loved using SeeSaw for communication and lessons and activities during online learning. However, the request to transition to Edsby this year wasn’t the smoothest for me!

That being said, I cannot blame technology! I can only blame myself for not diving in and embracing such changes!

So as I decided to take EC&I834 this semester, a rush of anxiety came over me and at the same time a no brainer, as this world adapts there is no time like the present to adapt along with it.

This week our task was to choose an online tool, play around, have some fun and think of the benefits and challenges it would provide in a learning environment.

Well let me tell you as soon as I opened the (never-ending) list, I was faced with the challenge of what to choose!

I clicked around and here are a few I tried:

JamBoard– Signed up but didn’t really know where to start!

EDPuzzle– Lots of good videos and questions/ quiz to enhance comprehension.

Adobe Creative Cloud– Super cool platform for presentations, but not really for the grade 1 and 2’s I work with.

The one I was pleased to stumble upon was BoomWriter.  Writing can be one of the most challenging  subjects for my grade ½’s. Their stamina, ability to generate original ideas, confidence and general engagement can be so difficult to hold onto. Yet, you put a tablet in front of them… BAM! They know letters, trying to spell words and create sentences. Actually, remember to use their periods! It is amazing!

I may have made that sound to good to be true, but seriously overall participation went from like a 3 to an 8!

Let me back track a bit here…

The set up for BoomWriter was very simple. Email. Name. Role. Verify Email. Done!

It then allows you to set up classes, which would be handy if you taught a variety of class or groups of students.

Each student is then provided a printed sign in/

QR code, which is also emailed directly to parents and guardians. This means its okay to find their code in their backpack 3 months later!

 

Then just get going on assignments. Teachers can designate activities but students also have open options for free write use. The site contains a wide variety of collaborative group projects, individual journals, prompts, questions and the list goes on!

Choose first what kind of writing you would like students to complete.

At the school I am currently teaching at we wrote a collaborative story, passing it on to each class as each grade wrote a “chapter”. I wish I would have known about BoomWriter Earlier! So Cool!

 

It also allows you to start off your own story OR the choice to pick a prompt to continue!

 

Now as you can see these prompts are a little intense for a grade ½ reader and writer. However, this is supposed to be a collaborative class project and if that’s the case then there would probably be some assistance provided. Take a look! Aren’t they are great story starters!

 

From there, students can add their additions to the story and submit for teacher approve. I would love if there was a talk to text option or auditable option to read the prompts to the students.

For my beginner writers, I would not as for a chapter each but simply a sentence or three to continue the story.

 

Once its complete you have the option to download and print for free or actually order a personalized copy in book form!

The next section is the Personal Journal.

 

In this section teachers can again ask for specifics, such as topics, use of vocab, connect to current events, pop culture, or academic topics.

Or Students can free write!

If you take a look at the benefits for students above it conquers every challenge I was thinking of plus more!!

I tried this out with a few students in my class, it was so fun to watch! They got started right away, worked for the entire ten minutes and had this mature confidence about them!

I also love the fact that it familiarizes keyboard skills from such a young age. It is a skill you truly cant get by without these days!

Another advantage is the instant results provided to and from the teacher. All students writing and feedback are in the same place with easy access to go back and review or display progress!

The last section of course is to create your own assignment. To be honest, I didn’t dig into that section much because… the others were just so fun!!

I really thought this would have been a great resource during Online Learning in the Pandemic. It would have been interesting for students to keep an online journal of their time spent in lockdown and it also could create a learning community without all participants being active at the same time.

I love how it can be used as a group or as independent work. I hope to work it into some of my Literacy Centers in the future.

I do wish that there were some more basic and simple activities for grade one and two. Although I have it set on a grade two setting the prompts are quite elaborate. Although, I can see this being used with my students that need a more challenging assignment!

Lastly the cost… I did not see anywhere that it was a free trial I was using or that I would need to sign up for a subscription in a month. However, when I used my handy search engine skills, it did say that after the first month, a subscription would cost $12-14 a month.

Check back in a month and I’ll let you know!

In conclusion, I should really get over my fear of trying new things… who knows you might stumble across something that get you and your students as excited as I was about BoomWriter!

Let’s Do It!- Course Overview

So, in March 2020, December 2020 and then again in April 2021, I got the chance to teach online.

Did I teach a whole unit?

Not a chance! As embarrassed as I am to admit it… I just couldn’t do it!

There seemed to be so many barriers in the way… Lack of attendance, unreliable devices, my extremely basic knowledge of technology… It was a really good time to review and nail down some loose ends!

However, with EC&I 834 giving me the knowledge, resources, and opportunity to develop an online course, I say bring on virtual teaching!

Although, I hope to never teach fulltime online again, I hope to integrate these tools in a blended learning format with my students, allowing flexibility, independence, quick assessment and the chance for students to become completely comfortable with technology and its tools at a young age, for whatever life throws their way! (Fingers crossed not another pandemic!)

So here it is… the first draft of my Grade 1 Patterning Unit, in Blended Learning style!

P.S- I’m open to all suggestions and critiques! There is a comment box below for a reason!

Course Overview: Grade 1 Patterning

Target Audience:

Grade 1 Students. Ages 6-7.

Course Timeline:

Expected to take 3 weeks but could vary depending on instructors’ timetable.

Course Delivery: 

This course will be delivered in a blended learning/online format. There will be a face to face component, along with online asynchronous activities and lessons to enhance students learning in the classroom and at home. Such activities will create an easy transition to online learning (synchronous and asynchronous) if circumstances occur.

Modules will include a short overview video or audio, of the target task. Along with an interactive activity to complete and a take home activity to complete at home.

Online modules and activities will be accessed through the class Seesaw portal. Here students will find class links to Zoom Meetings, Prodigy and Flipgrid. If transitioned to purely online, students will be encouraged to join meets at a common time to work alongside the instructor. However, Zoom classes will be recorded for students who are unable attend at the given time and activities can be completed at their own pace.

 

Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes: 

The course will complete the Grade 1, Saskatchewan Outcome Patterns and Relations.

P1.1

Demonstrate an understanding of repeating patterns (two to four elements) by:

  • describing
  • reproducing
  • extending
  • creating patterns using manipulatives, diagrams, sounds, and actions.

([C, PS, R, V])

P1.2

Translate repeating patterns from one form of representation to another. ([C, R, V])

 

I can statements….

Each “I can statement” represents a module student will complete.

  1. I can identify and describe a repeating patterns core.
  2. I can find errors in a repeating pattern.
  3. I can complete and extend repeating patterns.
  4. I can reproduce repeating patterns using manipulatives, diagrams, sounds or actions.
  5. I can create my own repeating pattern using manipulatives.
  6. I can find and explain repeating patterns in my environment.
  7. I can find repeating patterns in my daily schedule and calendar.
  8. I can translate repeating patterns from one form to another.
  9. I can create a repeating pattern using a letter code.

Course Material/ Considerations: 

Technology:

This course will be most successful if majority of families have access to at least one device and wifi at home. Although prior teaching will occur, it would be helpful to have an adult or older family member at home to help guide students.

For each activity, there will be a paper/ hands on copy to complete at home if family has difficulty accessing technology and wifi. Activities and lessons are short, to accommodate shared deceives at home. During face to face learning, students will also be given the opportunity to work on technology. They can use this time to demonstrate their completed hands-on activity online or catch up on modules missed.

All at home modules will also be briefly discussed and reviewed the following day.

English Language Learners:

For EAL families, simple translation of instruction will be provided during Seesaw translation tool.

 

Attendance: 

Students will be encouraged to utilize modules if they are not able to attend school due to illness, weather, trips, etc.

Students will be given time in class to complete modules they were unable to at home, those who are completed will be given the opportunity to play learning games during their tech time as an incentive.

Communication:

Students and families will be given updates and information using personal emails, Edsby, google classroom and/or telephone calls. Families are encouraged to ask questions or communicate concerns in order best utilize this course.

Assessment:

Students will be encouraged to share their understanding through Seesaw activities and quizzes,  personal Prodigy and Flipgrid accounts, and through posted or emailed pictures of completed tasks.

During face to face and synchronous zoom meetings, the class will share understanding through Kahoot, Blooket and Boom cards.

Student understanding will be assessed through teacher observations and conversation, is person and online. As well as, data    collected from SeesawProdogy, Kahoot, (Snapshot of Prodigy Assessment)               Blooket, Boom cards and handed                                                                                                   in/ emailed assignments.

(BlooketStudentReport)(Kahoot Student Report)

I believe this will be a beneficial course for my students due to the flexibility of completion, independence and responsibility of self-learning, applicable and relevant skills of our time and engaging course outcomes.

Intimidating, Overwhelming… But not so Bad!

First thoughts of the term online/blended learning…

Completely intimidating and overwhelming! However, my first experience with online learning was also during a period of uncertainty and panic as the global pandemic started. Which did not help!

In March 2020 when the students were sent home and I was advised to set up an online learning program for my students, I truly had no clue where to begin.

From the start we were faced with many physical challenges. The students and families that I work with have little access to technology, transportation, and some with funds for life’s simple necessities. Some do not speak fluent English so simply communicating was hard.

Stress Levels were high!

I ended up providing paper packages to my families, I used SeeSaw to post online learning activities, both of which were accompanied by zoom meetings to work the workbooks together. As you can probably guess by the barriers above, it was very challenging for students to participate. There were days where no one showed up to the zoom meetings, most online activities went untouched and I received a total of 6 paper packages back over the course of 4 months.

My first experience with online learning was not the most positive. To be honest it was quite negative…

Online learning felt nearly impossible and unfair to the demographic I was working with.

Luckily the pandemic didn’t end, and I got a second chance at online teaching in December 2020. (I hope you can hear the sarcasm in that sentence!)

This time it went much smoother. We had a little bit of time to prepare, pre-teach some of the online tools and families were more prepared for what was to come. Contacting families seemed much easier, I had a lot more participation with my online activities and zoom meets! I also became a lot more familiar with the programs I could use such as google slides, classrooms and the other tools available on SeeSaw.

Although participation was better… it felt extremely unfair to those who did not have access or support to retrieve the learning opportunities.

Not to mention, it just is not the same as in class learning. A huge part of grade ½ is the social aspect, teamwork, cooperation, problem solving, play and simply just talking! It was very hard to work this into my online learning schedule as everyone was just still becoming familiar with the technology.

I think that will always be a difficult aspect to translate online to young students.

Which Blended Learning is Right for Your Classroom?

However, I have just recently learned that blended learning does not just mean at home learning! There is a large spectrum of blended learning and I was pleased to hear I wasn’t totally dropping the ball!

Turns out I have been integrating the idea of blended learning throughout my classroom almost my whole career! I must give the pandemic credit…. After teaching online and returning to the classroom I integrated technology so much more and not afraid to take risks or learn along with my students.

Turns out, it was not as intimidating after all!

While many challenges come along with online learning, I have grown to see the benefits, especially as I switch roles from being the educator to the student!

Although, I still sometimes feel overwhelmed with hyperlinks, blogging, even online textbooks… I have truly enjoyed being a student online and I see the advantages that it could be provided for people in many situations. The flexibility with children and childcare, full time jobs and traveling can allow learners who otherwise wouldn’t be able to extend their education to do just that! It also allows for collaboration and interaction between people who would otherwise would never meet.

It is also clear that this world is forever evolving and specifically in the technological world. While many people, including myself, like to deny this fact and would rather like to do it the old school way, I believe we are not doing ourselves any favors. Not to mention our students! If we don’t provide these opportunities in the classroom for students to become familiar with technology then really we aren’t setting them up well for the future!

In the end, I am sitting neutral on the fence! I see the struggles many face with technology but I also see the endless opportunities it provides!

Looks like EC&I is already changing my perspective on this technological world! I know throughout this semester I will become more confident and find tools to take back to my students!

Let the Journey Continue!

 

 

 

 

 

About Me!

Welcome!

My name is Brooke Kemp, and I am a grade 1/2 teacher in Regina, Sk. I have many passions, and lucky for me, my job happens to be one of them! I love the ability to interact with young children, expert colleages and caring community members. The joy students have when the learn, try or accomplish something new is contagious! It is such a pleasure to get to be apart of that experience with them. The best part is, everyday I get to be that little kid again! Each day at school is a new experince fill with unique adventures!

How lucky am I, that I can learn, play and teach all in one space?!

This past year, I wanted to expand that space even more and made the decision to go back to the University of Regina to work on my Master’s degree in Curriculm and Instruction. Which is actually why I have created this blog! While bloging right now feels extremely uncomfortable to me, I hope to become more tech. savy thanks to my recent enrollment in EC&I 834!

Watch out there is a new blogger in town!

Twitter: Miss. Kemp