Monday, July 27, 2015

Twitter in the Classroom

Twitter has opened the door of possibilities for my 1st grade classroom over the past year and a half. My students have had the chance to learn from students all over the United States and Canada. We have shared our passion for learning by tweeting and sharing pictures about what we are doing in our classroom. Others have commented on our tweets and asked deeper questions which has given my students the opportunity to share even more. Having an authentic audience has inspired my students to work harder and to continually ask if they can share out what they are learning and creating. The possibilities for using Twitter in the classroom are only limited by your imagination. This year, my class took part in International Dot Day, a collaborative book chat (#1bc15), weekly math challenges (#1mtgr), a Lucky Charms graphing project (read about it here), and even a pumpkin seed counting activity via Twitter with a class in Oshawa, Canada. You can read about that experience in this post

Although Twitter was the starting point for all of these collaborations so much more came out of these experiences. In many cases, my class also met the other classes face to face through Skype or a Google Hangout. We even participated in a collaborative Kahoot quiz at the end of the year with 3 other classes all from different states. 

As technology brings the world closer together, we as teachers also need to get on board and bring our classes together. We have so much to learn from each other! I work in a small, somewhat rural area with very little diversity. Many of my students are not fortunate enough to travel and realize the diversity that lies outside of our area. By giving my students these opportunities they are are beginning to realize that the world is a much bigger place and that kids around the world are really not any different than they are. They are learning similar things in school, they love to play on the playground, they have brothers, sisters, and pets, and they all seem to love eating pizza.  I feel that by providing my students these opportunities, I am also in some small way helping to break down stereotypes and fears and helping them to become accepting of all people no matter their background, location, etc.

We live in a time that if you're not connected, you're missing out on so much the world has to offer you. If you haven't used Twitter with your class, I highly encourage you to take the leap of faith and give it a try this year with your students. 

If you're ready to take the leap, please add your class Twitter information to this shared document,  The document is broken down by grade level so you can better find classes to collaborate with.

If you're still on the fence and want some more information, feel free to reach out to me via Twitter, @smalchow, or send me an email (my contact info is in the sidebar)-  I'd be happy to chat with you.  I'm also doing a presentation on Twitter in the Classroom next week and will be posting my presentation here if you're interested.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

ISTE 2015, I mean, #notatISTE2015

ISTE2015 is going on right now in Philadelphia and as much as I wish I could be there, I just couldn't swing it- financially or time-wise, so I am participating virtually from the comfort of my own home through the #notatiste15 Google+ community that Jen Wagner has started. This has been a great way to collaborate and have a little fun at the same time. Jen has put together an ISTE challenge which includes things such as creating your own #NotatISTE badge complete with ribbons, ISTE bingo, Photobombing the keynote, participating via Twitter and so much more... there are even door prizes. 
I learned about a new app called Periscope which has allowed me to watch, either live or after the fact, the various Ignite sessions from ISTE. I'm already starting to ponder how this app can be useful in my own classroom- maybe live broadcasts of student presentations? I also now have a Voxer account. Still trying to figure that out. One night there was even a Karoke event via Voxer for those of us not able to attend ISTE. Who says the Philadelphia nightlife can't still be a part of virtual PD? Needless to say, I chickened out on the Karoke. Love to sing, but not sure if others would love to hear me sing.
With a busy schedule, 2 little boys wrestling on my living room floor and all things mom related that need to take place despite the fact that it is ISTE time, I am doing my best to read tweets, watch presentations and participate in some of the challenges. To my benefit though- I can continue to benefit from all of the learning via the Google+ community long after the conference draws to a close.
Thanks Jen for all of the hard work you have put into making the #notatISTE community such a great place for PD and Fun!!!!