Digital Coach, Good Practice, PYP Exhibition, Uncategorized

Collaborating Online – The PYP Exhibition

Following on from my post Using Tech to Enhance and Engage – The PYP Exhibition, I thought it would be useful to share how we collaborated online throughout the Exhibition process.

At the beginning of the inquiry I built a Google Site with a page for each of the Exhibition student groups: Dance, Painting, Film & Photography, Storytelling & Drama and Music. This site was used as a central hub for students, teachers and mentors to store and access Google Drive resources, to ask questions, share ideas, and reflect.

exhibition 1

A key feature of this site was the use of Padlet as an online communication tool. This resource acts like a virtual notice board, where members of the Padlet can post sticky notes and make comments to share ideas. With this engaging and easy to use tool, users can make notes, add pictures, videos and links and comment on each other’s notes (if desired). Within each group’s page on the Google site, I embedded their Padlet for ease of accessibility. Each Padlet was set to private so that only invited users could see the board and student posts were moderated by teachers; ensuring students and teachers had a safe space to collaborate.  Below are some screenshots of our Padlets with student and teacher names removed.

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Digital Coach, Good Practice, PYP Exhibition, Uncategorized

Using Tech to Enhance and Engage – The PYP Exhibition

This week our school has just celebrated the learning and achievements of our Year 6 students during their PYP Exhibition. Exploring how people express themselves, the students conducted an in-depth inquiry over six weeks into a Central Idea they helped to create based on their interests and passions.

CENTRAL IDEA

The Arts are a creative language that we use to express ourselves and to inspire others to change the way they think and act.

Facilitated by their teacher and mentor, each student developed their own line of inquiry to investigate. After weeks of asking questions, conducting research, collaborating with peers and exploring different concepts, the students presented their learning to their parents, teachers and other students across the school.

Throughout the Exhibition, students, teachers and mentors used a Google Site (with the added sparkle of Padlet) to communicate and organise resources. See my post Collaborating Online – The PYP Exhibition.

Being able to join Year 6 on their inquiry journey as a Digital Coach was an absolute joy! It was wonderful to see the creative ideas from students and mentors for using technology in their Exhibition. When students wanted ideas for presentation inspiration, we worked together to find ways for technology to engage and captivate their audience. Below are some examples of how we used tech in different ways across the Exhibition groups. Click on the circles to view images and captions.

 

 

Google Certified Innovator, Uncategorized

Action in the PYP

As a London 2017 Google Certified Innovator I wanted to find a way to encourage students to collaborate and take Action in the IB PYP inquiry cycle.  PYP Action – Making Connections is a site which encourages students to:

SHARE the Action they want to take

EXPLORE the Action others are taking

CONNECT to take Action

Over the past 12 months I have collected data, created prototypes and trialled this site in my own school. Whilst we are in the early stages of implementation, already we can see a boost in student initiated Action.

Nic Rehman Action Site

Digital Leaders, Good Practice, Online Safety

Green Screen for Safer Internet Day

Looking for a different way to celebrate Safer Internet Day (SID), I decided to set up a green screen for some videoing fun. With a SID focus of creating, connecting and sharing respect online; I was inspired to give our students the opportunity to share how this can be done.SID2018 logoWith the aid of my Digital Leaders, we set up a green screen and invited students to record their online safety tips during a series of lunchtimes. Students were asked to select one of the scenario cards below and think about how they might respond to that situation. The scenario they chose would determine the background of their video.

 

To reinforce the notion of respecting each other’s right to privacy, each student was asked by a Digital Leader if they give permission for their video to be put on our school website. Alongside checking parental permission, I thought giving students some agency would reinforce the message of the day. Once permission was given, students stepped onto the coloured dots and recorded their video. IMG_8140

The end result of our green screen endeavours was a lovely collection of online safety videos from across the school. With 4 and 5 year olds sharing what they do when they feel upset using the iPad to photo loving Year 6 students sharing their online tips and tricks; discussions about online safety were all the buzz. Using the green screen was a great way to engage students in conversation and encourage them to make good choices online.

 

Good Practice, Uncategorized

The Power of Writers’ Workshop

After being inspired by a fellow colleague, I decided to give Writers’ Workshop a try in our Year 4 classroom. Without a doubt, it has been my best decision yet! Within a matter of weeks we saw a transformation in our students. Those that had struggled with punctuation were now rereading and editing their writing; one student even took it upon herself to use paragraphs to organise her writing. Another took action and continued writing at home. Those that were struggling with handwriting, were now CHOOSING to hand write rather than use the computer. I simply couldn’t believe the dramatic change in our students. Their perceptions towards writing had changed.

So you might be wondering what exactly is Writers’ Workshop. It’s involves creating a inviting environment where students respect each others’ writing and offers us the opportunity to demonstrate the power that writing can have on our lives. By inviting students to write daily, we can help them discover how it can enrich our lives. As Charles Whitaker Ph.D. mentions it is basically a studio approach in which student writers are engaged in developing their craft and are guided by a mature writer—the teacher. In the writing workshop, students are involved frequently in the writing process, though in some cases  not all students necessarily are at the same place in that process. To find out more, read Best Practices in Teaching Writing.

To set up the Writers’ Workshop routine, I gave each student a new ring binder folder with the following divider sections inside:

  1. Current piece
  2. Previous writing
  3. Published pieces (sometimes we actually did the current piece and published all in one go on the Chromebook)
  4. Mini-lessons (any sheets/ activities/ examples you use in the mini-lesson)
  5. Resources (anything to help the children write more independently- word banks for EALs, etc.)
Our students were very excited to have this new binder. Once the routine was established, they took great pride in organising their writing and going back to improve previous pieces. The use of a ring binder also gave me the flexibility to differentiate even more for the students, giving shaded handwriting lines to those students who wanted to improve their handwriting.

Following the approach of my colleague, I often structured my Writers’ Workshop lessons in the following way:

  • 5 mins – Read (Texts that suit your writing genre)
  • 10 mins – Mini-Lesson (Craft- e.g. How to write a good recount, Skills- grammar, spelling and punctuation)
  • 15-20 mins – Writing
  • 5-10 mins – Share Session

Whilst the structure of the lesson doesn’t allow for a lot of writing time, it adds up over the week if you are doing Writers’ Workshop everyday. I found very quickly that it is important to allow students the opportunity to share their writing. We created a routine of having an ‘Author’s Chair’; we put a chair at the front of the class and invited our aspiring authors to sit and share their favourite writing. After reading their writing aloud, peers gave them positive and constructive feedback. It was wonderful to see the respect they gave to each other. Sharing their work was really essential for helping the students to value their own writing.

 

Google Certified Innovator, Uncategorized

Throwback to Google Certified Innovator Academy #LON17

Shockingly I found this GIF of a rather good looking bunch of educators in my draft blog post section and realised that I had not shared the wonderful experience of attending the Google Certified Innovator Academy!

Back in April 2017, I joined 35 other passionate educators from around the world to attend the Google for Education Certified Innovator Academy in London. What a buzz it was to be in a room with so many innovative and dedicated educators. IMG_6645.JPGWe spent three days at the Google offices learning about Design Thinking and working on our own innovation projects. The days were broken up into workshops to build capacity and develop ideas, and project time to delve deep into your innovative idea.IMG_2354.JPGAfter the academy we have a year to develop and submit our innovative projects. Whilst my project has changed direction slightly from the beginning, I look forward to sharing my progress in April 2018. Watch this space!

 

Publication

My first published article

Very excited to share my first published article on pages 20-21 of Focus magazine May-June 2017. This magazine is aimed at expat professionals and families in London. My article is called ‘Technology helps children find their voice’.

To find out more about the Focus community for expats and professionals living in the UK please click here.

To read full article, please click here.