The Hour of Code

Apparently the new language to teach in schools is not Chinese, but it’s coding. In England, students will be required to learn coding in primary and secondary schools  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10410036/Teaching-our-children-to-code-a-quiet-revolution.html). They will be the first country to mandate this for their students. It seems like they are taking the steps needed to get the students prepared for a future where knowing how to code will be a valuable skill to have.

Well, even if your school or state is not quite ready to embrace coding as another language taught in school, there is a great opportunity to expose your students to coding. Our technology coach has our students participating in the Hour of Code 2013 this week! Students will get an opportunity to participate for an hour on computer science this week. It’s not too late to get signed up. Go to the website: Teach the Hour of Code for further instructions and lesson plans. My students will be participating on Thursday!

signature

Dream BIG!


I was really moved and inspired by this TED talk video I watched a few days ago on this blog called Inquiry Within. I showed my students this video and they clapped at the end! After watching it, I asked my students what their dreams are. I heard various things from, making a change in the world, helping shy kids become more outgoing, starting my own duct tape wallet business, saving the oceans, coming up with a new type of clean energy and more. It was so exciting to hear their dreams. I don’t know why I haven’t asked them earlier. I challenged them to think of ways to take action on their dreams now and not wait until they are “older”.

Often I wonder if what I say to them sticks inside. My students have been blogging for the slice of life challenge this month. I suggested that they write about their dreams for their blog post today. When I came home, I was checking their blogs, and quite a few of them wrote about this TED talk. It was so encouraging to read their positive responses to the talk and hear them talk more about their dreams. Here is some of their writing!

“What I learned is that nobody can tell you that your dream is stupid. Just believe you can make a difference!!!”

“This is a poem I wrote about my Dream.

Dream even when you don’t have to,
Remember all the things you dream about,
Everyone has to dream of something,
Anyone can can believe in their dreams,
My dream is DUCT TAPE, BUSINESS.”

“I really liked this film because I thought  it expressed very good details about how to always try your best. I think it really motivated us to dream big, work hard, and to stay humble, I know what you are thinking, why stay humble? But as it said in the video “no one likes a big jerk”. I mean think about it, do you think you are a big jerk. But it also said that only you could dream big and only you can make your own history. Think about it!?

“Just now My teacher wanted me to think of a bigger dream. At first I couldn’t think of anything but then as other people started sharing their big dream I got an idea. My big dream was to open a dog rescuing business because in China there are lots of dogs that doesn’t have a home, and I want to give them a home.”

“DREAM BIG. WORK HARD. STAY HUMBLE. These words have been stuck in my head as if they had been super-glued. Today after school, I immediately turned on the computer to watch a TED video. It was called:  Write Your Story, Change History. By just one short video, I never knew I could learn that much. The wisdom of words spread into my ears. I learned that by just one helping hand, you can make a big difference. A girl born with cancer has made a big difference all around the states raising millions of money to help people with cancer. One girl. One dream. One lemonade stand. Seems normal right? But look at how much she’s done. Even us ordinary people can make a big difference in our world right now.  Now it’s your turn to start taking action to changing history.”

Another idea I have swirling in my head is to have the kids write and perform their own “TED talk” that will inspire others!

How do you inspire your students to dream big? 

signature

Putting My IPAD to Use

At the beginning of the school year, I was thrown all types of technology, which was definitely amazing. I feel so privileged to have such access to technology. At the same time it was a bit overwhelming. Well now that I survived my first semester at my new school, I’m feeling a bit more settled and ready to try some new things. I am finally putting my IPAD to good use.

For professional development a few weeks ago, we had an IPAD slam, where numerous teachers presented on their favorite IPAD apps. It was a great opportunity to get to know about various education related IPAD apps. One of the apps I was introduced was called Show Me. It is a great app to use in math class. The students talk and it records what they say, while they use their finger to draw and write on the ipad. Afterwards, they have this neat little video clip that can be uploaded to your online account. Students can embed their video onto the student blog.

So I tested this out with my students last week. I gave them very little instructions and they were able to complete it independently during class. I only have 1 IPAD, so I had them pass it around. They recorded their video during our class time. The task I gave them was to come up with a “difficult” order of operations problem and explain how to solve it.

You can look at one of my student’s video here: Order of Operations

Here is another video by my other student: Order of Operations

After watching their videos, here are a few reflections I made:

1. Have a partner check their video afterwards for any mathematical errors.

2. Give more specific guidelines on how to “show” their work.

3. Have them introduce themselves and the task in the beginning.

What are some IPAD apps that you use/recommend in the classroom?

signature

Summer Technology Opportunity for Teachers

Last summer, I had a chance to go to the ISTE 2011 conference in Philadelphia. This was amazing as I heard great keynote speakers including John Medina, the author of Brain Rules, and Chris Lehman, the principal of Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. Plus, it was a great opportunity for networking and hearing about the latest trends and updates in technology.

This conference happens every year, and this year it takes place in sunny San Diego from June 24-27th, 2012.

ISTE 2012

Here’s a brief description from it’s website:

“Now in its 33rd year, ISTE’s annual conference and exposition features an amazing array of professional learning and collaborative networking opportunities. As part of your conference registration, you can choose from three inspirational keynotes and more than 700 concurrent sessions including: lecture, panel, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), model lesson, research paper, poster, student showcase, and Birds of a Feather discussion formats. Also be sure to check out our special focus playgrounds and networking lounges for even more hands-on exploration and one-to-one connecting.”

Even if you are not officially an I.T. teacher, it is beneficial for all. I do wish I could go again this year,  but things are going to be a bit busy for me this summer. Hopefully, I can go in 2013!

Connecting Classrooms through Skype

It all started with a simple comment on a blog. Recently, I started reading a blog of another international school teacher’s blog in Saudi Arabia through the two writing teachers slice of life challenge on Tuesdays. I found out that she was also a fifth grade teacher. I left her a comment, asking if she would be interested in collaborating with our class. After a few e-mails, we decided to create a google document where we would write questions for each other. So we had our first Skype session this afternoon (morning for them).

It was great as my students learned about their life, culture and school in Saudi Arabia. We also shared about our lives in Korea and our school. I think one of the funniest parts was when we taught them some words in Korean (hello, teacher & student) and when they repeated it, my students did the Korean “oooooooh” in unison. They were so impressed by their good pronunciation! Towards the end of our Skype session, one of my students asked me if we could ask them what book they are doing for their read aloud. We didn’t have a chance to ask them, but it seems like it could be a good topic to discuss the next time we Skype with them!

Here are some more resources for finding global collaboration opportunities!

Skype in the classroom

Epals global community

ilearn

The Global Read Aloud

Global Collaboration Project

Earth, as Seen by Astronauts Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Harrison Schmitt from Apollo 17

Connecting to the world through Skype!

Tips for Successful Reading Buddies

This is our second year working together as reading buddies. It works out pretty well since I teach 5th grade and Melody teaches 2nd grade. Last year, for the first reading buddy activity, we had our students fill out Venn diagrams of their similarities and differences.

This year, we we wanted to try something different and incorporate our new IPADs. We had the students use the photo booth on the IPADs to take photos with their reading buddy. They had to take different photos, using each of the photo settings. We told them that both of them had to be in the photo. The students had a great time taking photos with each other.  The second activity we had our students do was create a list of their similarities using the notepad on the IPAD.

Students have fun using the photo booth options on the IPAD.

Students taking photos together.

Tips on Successful Reading Buddies:

1. Match up students carefully.

Take into account students’ personalities, behavior, and reading levels so that partnerships are successful.

2. Explicitly teach the older students how to read aloud.

 I will usually do a mini-lesson or demonstration with my students on strategies for reading aloud picture books before we read with our reading buddies.

3. Mix it up every week.

Sometimes we encourage the fifth graders to pick their favorite books in advance to bring to read. Other times, we go to the library together and students pick out books together and read. Some weeks, we do a hands-on activity together which helps deepen their relationships and allows them to get to know each other in another way. This is particular good for those students that are struggling readers, but excel in other areas like art.

4. Invite your reading buddy class to your class events.

Last year, we invited our reading buddies to come watch our poetry cafe. This year, we went into their class to share what we learned during our nonfiction unit in reading workshop.

5. Do a long term project together.

Last year, we had students create picture books for each other. It did take about 1-2 months to plan, draft, revise and publish their books. It was nice though because at the end, they gave their buddy the book they made. This year, they are creating a math picture book together.

6. Integrate the activity to your curriculum.

When our students were working on their poetry unit, we had them work on writing poetry together with their reading buddy. The fifth graders were good at teaching the second graders about poetry and they did a great job working together to create poems. Poetry is a great and easy unit to incorporate into your reading buddies and it’s part of the curriculum.