Seeing Scientists at Work in Jee Young’s Classroom

For those of you who follow us, you know that Two Apples A Day consists of two elementary teachers, collaborating on one blog. We started this adventure in the same country, at the same school, with the same vision (haha, okay reeling it back). Since then, Jee Young has left Korea and moved to Singapore. Melody (me!) has stayed in Korea, but worked for several international schools. Jee Young was able to come back to South Korea and visit my classroom a couple of years ago and shared her experience here.

This past fall, I was able to visit Jee  Young’s fifth grade classroom in Singapore during one of my holidays. I observed one of her science lessons and took mental notes of things that I thought were so on point.

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Here are the top 3 ideas I took away from Jee Young’s lesson:

1. Wear a Lab coat. Jee Young instantly turned scientist when she slipped on her white lab coat. Such a simple thing to do that made a big difference. As an additional bonus to this look could be protective goggles, yes?

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2. Call your students “Scientists”. Every time she spoke to them as a whole, or to an individual, Jee Young used the term “scientist(s)” and you could tell it made the students take themselves more seriously… they felt like scientists, they were scientists.

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3. Use lesson/learning time wisely by setting up routines.  In the course of 45 minutes, Jee Young gave the students their task, had the students observe their experiments and discuss their observations with their small groups, create a post on their blog using their iPads (pictures included!), and then had a couple of students share a few posts with the class as a whole. While this was happening she moved around to answer questions, mentally made notes of students’ work, and gave instant feedback. It was amazing. Yes, it takes time to set these routines up at the beginning of the year or at the beginning of a unit. But the effort is well worth it.

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Observing colleagues is a great way to share ideas and grow as a teacher. I know we all get busy, but take the time to do it and you will not regret it.

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Thank you for welcoming me into your classroom Jee Young, I hope I can come back soon.

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Author Visit: Rosemary Wells

One of the cool things about being at a big school is that we get some amazing authors visiting! This past week, we had Rosemary Wells, who wrote many well-loved children’s books including Noisy Nora, Max & Ruby, and Yoko.  Not only does she write these books, but she illustrates them as well.

Even though she was not working with my division, I got to attend a special session with her afterschool for parents and teachers. There is something so magical about meeting the authors of books that you love. I’m always so amazed and in awe of them. For me, as an avid reader,  they feel like celebrities.

Rosemary shared with us a bit about herself and journey to becoming a an author. She was actually an artist first and went to school for art. She said the writer inside her came out later on when she was an adult, after she had some life experiences and stories to write. I definitely agree with that. The writer in me keeps coming out more, the older I get!

Rosemary also shared that a lot of the stories she writes are nonfiction in the sense that she gets her ideas from her every day life. She continued to share with us the importance of fostering in kids a love for reading. She adamantly shared her concerns about how many people are focused on students reading level and labeling readers. She continued to emphasize the importance of instilling a love for reading in our kids.

We also found out that it was her birthday and celebrated with this wonderfully made cake from a parent. It was an amazing afternoon of getting to meet Rosemary and she even signed my book! I bought her new book, Time-Out Sophie, which was just published. I highly recommend this book! I know many young kids will be able to relate to getting  a “time-out”. Now, I can add this to our “two apples a day” collection of signed books. Thank you Rosemary!

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Google Summit in Singapore

This weekend, I attended a google apps for education summit held by my school here in Singapore. It was pretty nice to have it hosted at my school campus! There were people from various schools in Asia here for the conference, plus a lot of amazing google presenters. Here are a few fun videos shown at our first keynote by Suan Yeo and some important nuggets of information from the workshops.




Two funny follow ups to that…

One of the workshops I attended was called Harnessing the Power of Youtube by Patrick Green, who is our middle school technology coordinator. Here is his link for the presentation:

Harnessing the Power of Youtube

He goes through the steps of how to create your own youtube channel and making your own youtube playlist! It was a really helpful and useful session. I really liked that he gave us time in the workshop to actually do some of the things he said.  So I updated my youtube channel profile and started subscribing to a few different educational youtube sites! Take a look:

Ms Kim’s Youtube Channel

One of the best ideas I heard today was using google forms as a way of assessing students. You can use them for short start-up/do now questions, and get the instant feedback. You can also use them for quizes and exit slips! I’m definitely going to try that with my students.

Learn with us by following the twitter #gafesummit and/or checking out the google summit’s resources pages. I have a few more technology related blog posts in my head to write this week! Stay tuned for more from the summit.

What are some ways you use google apps in your classroom?