Discovering Possibilities of an Online Platform

In my in-person classroom I try to create as many inquiry learning experiences for my students as I can. I find that allowing my students to discover and explore creates more engagement, excitement and learning. In science we are always doing exploration stations, in writing I allow them to go off and do their own research on topics they are interested in, in math I create hands on experiences with less paper and pencil practice. What I have noticed is that my students love coming to school and they love getting the opportunity to explore and find answers on their own. When we talk about learning we always talk about that there is not just one right and wrong answer, rather a plethora of different ideas and solutions.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Opening up learning as a journey of discovery and exploration has given my students confidence and skills of critical thinking and problem solving. I started to think about how you can create this type of learning environment online. I stumbled upon two concepts, Discovery Learning and Guided Discovery Learning.

Discovery Learning

  • Method of instruction where learners find solutions to various problems through asking questions, incorporating past experience and existing knowledge on a topic into a discovery process.
  • Teachers provide discovery learning experiences without the direct teacher instruction.

Guided Discovery Learning

  • Starts first with direct teacher instruction and then moves to the discovery learning.
  • The teachers first provides purpose, prior information and supports students in their learning along the way.

After reading about the two approaches I prefer Guided Discovery Learning because of my context in a primary classroom, students need more direction.  Maybe some of you reading would prefer diving right into Discovery Learning with your students. Let me know your thoughts!

Whenever I read I always look for ideas of how I can implement this type of learning into my practice. Through searching the web I found two great resources that explain the foundational keys to setting up successful Discovery and Guided Discovery Learning in an online context.

  1. Open ended questions- If students are able to figure questions out for themselves, they are more likely to remember what they are learning.

Online Teaching Ideas:

  • In “live sessions” have open ended questions ready for students.
  • Assign open ended questions with written or videoed responses.
  • Post daily open ended questions to start a lesson.

2. Flow from known to unknown– activate students’ schema in lessons (what they already know) students will then feel more comfortable flowing into more unknown content when starting with a familiar ground.

Online Teaching Ideas:

  • Give students some direct instruction then plan/create learning content that branches into new concepts for students to explore.
  • Before learning tasks have students brainstorm what they already know about topic using a jamboard or padlet.

3. Encourage Self- Reflection- Students can reflect on their own learning and make meaning of their learning in their individual context.

Online Teaching Ideas:

  • Blogs- what Alec has been having us do for this course.
  • For a primary classroom like myself you could have students create video diaries.
  • Observe and Comment Activities. (What does it mean to you? What would you do in that situation?)

5. Set up Study Groups- Allow students to reflect themselves, but to also have conversations with their peers about their learning.

Online Teaching Ideas:

  • Collaborative tasks.
  •  Projects over social media or communal text.
  •  Chat rooms. (Google Classroom class chat)
  •  Online discussions over a video format like zoom. (breakout rooms)

6. Give Feedback- Give students feedback with their learning often, set up peer feedback as well.

Online Teaching Ideas:

  • Schedule meetings often with students for check-ins.
  • Create breakout rooms on zoom for peer feedback.

7. Create Context- Give students purpose of where they may use what they are learning, often students are told to learn concepts when they are not really sure when they will use them or what they will be used for.

Online Context Teaching Ideas:

  • Case Studies.
  • Virtual Field Trips.

If you have any other online teaching ideas that support the foundations of successful Discovery and Guided Discovery Learning please comment, I would love to hear your ideas!

Tess

Bullying and Friendship Unit

Wrinkled Heart

I had this quote right by the door so the students would see it every morning when they came into class.

This unit is designed for the grade 1 health curriculum. The unit is interactive and very hands on. Students learn the importance of standing up for each other and creating friendships by filling hearts rather than wrinkling hearts. I used this in a grade 1 classroom of 30 students. The message of this unit resonated with the students and I found it very successful!

Bullying and Friendship

Here are some additional worksheets that go with this unit

Do Unto Otters Activity

Friendship soup

Class Heart

This was our class heart. We had it hung up and every time a student did something to hurt their classmate we would rip a piece of the heart off. Our class goal was to be nice to one another and to keep the whole heart!

Autism Awareness

I was fortunate enough to do a presentation on students with Autism with Breanne Hack. For our presentation we were able to use varying forms of technology such as Kahoot, Smore, and YouTube. The enhancements of technology in our presentation made it much more engaging and now all of our information is able to be accessed by anyone wishing to know more about Autism. As future educators we know that we will have students with Autism in our classrooms. We designed our Smore to be a resource for teachers with students in their classroom with Autism. We give suggestions of teaching strategies and identifications of the exceptionality.

To have a look at the Autism Awareness smore click here

Smore

On the smore we have a description of characteristics of Autism and identification of Autism.

instructional stratigies

We also included key instructional strategies to implement in your classroom for a student with Autism. These strategies will further the success of your student in the classroom!

what do you know about autism

At the end we used Kahoot to do a quiz on how well you understand Autism after reading the smore! Kahoot is so much fun and can be easily implemented in your classroom to gauge how well your students are understanding content. The great part is that students love to play it. We used this game in our university class and everyone was so into it!

Autism Awareness day

Finally it is so important to recognize that April 2nd is Autism Awareness Day. It is important to advocate for people with Autism to get them the support they need to lead independent successful lives!

Loop Cut and Complete… Final Thoughts!

I have been working hard to knit my very own scarf. Throughout my journey of knitting I have watched a lot of YouTube knitting tutorials along the way. The useful videos I have found on knitting are all posted on my blog for those of you that are learning to knit. I was also able to seek out the help of my mom who is an experienced knitter. This project has shown me how easy it is to teach yourself a new skill using the help of technology. Before the use of computers it was a lot harder to pick up new skills and to teach yourself. Now you can learn anything you want just by watching tutorial videos and reading other peoples blogs. Because of technology we have access to learn about anything and learn how to do anything. I decided that I really wanted to learn how to knit. Instead of having to take a expensive class I could simply just go on the internet and all of the information I needed would be there. I was glad I got to learn how to knit, it was a project that I enjoyed doing throughout the semester. I want to continue to knit and add on to my blog the progress of my other projects that I hope to do this summer!

One of my favorite parts of knitting was that I was able to take it anywhere I went. It is a great hobby for long car rides… I took it with me to Calgary and knitted most of the trip!

Knitting on the Road Coming Along for the Trip!

The final step to the project is the loop and cut. Here is a video I got my mom to help me with. She taught me this final step to complete my project!

NOW ITS COMPLETE!!! 

It turned out pretty good for my first project!

My Scarf! More Scarf!

Dropped Stitch

You can’t always be perfect… I dropped one stitch during my project which made a tiny hole in my scarf. O well!

Now I get to finally wear my scarf! I love it!

Loving My Scarf

Technology for Social Justice

Social Justice is…”promoting a just society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity.” It exists when “all people share a common humanity and therefore have a right to equitable treatment, support for their human rights, and a fair allocation of community resources.” In conditions of social justice, people are “not be discriminated against, nor their welfare and well-being constrained or prejudiced on the basis of gender, sexuality, religion, political affiliations, age, race, belief, disability, location, social class, socioeconomic circumstances, or other characteristic of background or group membership” (Toowoomba Catholic Education, 2006).

The question is how to implement social justice using technology. Upon my search I found this “Open Thinking Wiki” created by my own prof Dr. Alec Couros.

Open Thinking Wiki

This is such a great resource for teachers to implement social justice teaching into their classrooms using technology. This Wiki is such a great find! There are so many great easy to use resources for teachers of all grades and the wiki is really nicely organized. For example there is just one page for Software and Online Tools to use for education.

Softeware and Online Tools

One of the resources that caught my eye that I could use in my classroom was Ning. This site allows you to create an online social networking site with your classroom. The online community of Ning allows you to connect with other classrooms and teachers around the world. Your classroom can connect to these other schools and join social justice projects that are happening around the world.

Ning

It is important that students know what is happening in the world that we live in. It is also important to instill in children that they can make a difference and stand up for what they believe is right. That is why social justice is so powerful even for children.

What I did to fix adding stitches…

I noticed that I was adding stitches on my work. Instead of finding a video on how to fix it I automatically decided to just knit two stitches together. This did work, however I realized that I did not fix my mistake properly. Here is a video of how I fixed my mistake.

This is how I fixed my mistake, but  I learned that this was not the proper way. Here is a tutorial on the proper way to fix an added stitch.

Sometimes I do not have the patience to sit down and watch how to do something properly. I learned my lesson because my scarf doesn’t look as good as it would have if I did it the proper way.