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Duh…the wondering idea connects with non-fiction reading! My lightbulb moment!

Okay, this pro d I went to see Adrienne Gear’s Non-Fiction Reading Power workshop. I have been to many of her workshops,but as an intermediate teacher. Yesterday I went in with different eyes. I do a lot of the reading power activities, however I do not tend to teach the strategies a month at a time. I allow the students to take the lead on what strategies we work on. Adrienne has reminded me of all the things I have not tried yet, I am looking forward to next week!

Thinking of my field study I can see how I can take these amazing non-fiction reading strategies and have the students dive into their own wonderings. We focussed a lot on connections and questioning at the workshop, and we have also done that in class, but my students love to infer! They love the idea that they can wonder more and they do no need to be right! They like being book detectives and thinking of what they read after they read. And of course they all love to discuss what they have read and what they already know with each other. All of this has come from our hard work and determination since the fall! 

Now I have all these amazing activities I want to try with the students and some pretty amazing book titles too! It was also confirmed to me that all my intermediate picture books I have can be used with the little ones. So I am bringing out the poop books….wish me luck!

Here are a couple activities I am planning on doing next  few weeks;

What (Facts from the text)         So What? (Thoughts from my head)

Venn diagram on fiction and non fiction features – this connects with what we have already been doing in class, however I am going to make an interactive activity for the students to do….hmmmm maybe I could put that on the virtual classroom and they could work in pairs…..

Brain Pockets- I  love this! I hope the kids do too!  I love the idea of asking them what pocket did you just visit?

With Valentine’s Day coming I am planning on having them diagram a heart of their love! So cute!

Re-visit New and Knew activity….how can I make this happen in a primary classroom?

A whole class discussion on imagination vs information.

Okay, I am off to make an interactive diagram of brain pockets!

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My Wonder of Technology in the Classroom

I have just spoken to my mentor in my school about my field study proposal.We discussed how can technology be seen as a tool in the classroom. Looking at the smart board, the technology provides a way for students with LD or have troubles reading to see things visually. The smart board provides pictures and big words to aid the students with their understanding of the lesson. However, the board is not the only tool of the lesson! I am going to give this a try with a math lesson today. I am going to watch to see how the grade twos do when I demonstrate a lesson on the board, on the carpet, and one on one.  Some of my twos are not at reading level, so this may be a great chance to see what they can achieve.

Observations;

The kids loved the storyboard on the SB. They liked how we could all see it and manipulate it to solve the questions. Afterwards I sent them off in pairs to collaborate solving the remaining questions with a BLM of the same picture cut into smaller segments.

I went around and observed and talked to the kids. I paid a lot of attention to a pair who are not at reading grade level and they were on task. They were talking and discussing plus using manipulatives to help each other show what they were trying to do.

Afterwards I gathered all the students to the carpet and showed them ways to solve the equations using some of our manipulatives around the classroom. All the students enjoyed that, and the pair that started it were quite proud.

I asked the students how they liked the lesson and if they understood the concept. The students told me they liked how we started at the SB but were able to figure things out with each other. They all expecially enjoyed coming to the carpet to see other ways to solve the equation.

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The Wonder Idea!

Okay, I finished my baseline portfolio and then I had a learning team the very next day! Wow, I think I am starting to see my next field study! Reading over my portfolio I have discovered I am interested in seeing how technology affects the students learning.  I want to see I how integrate technology into each lesson to enhance my teaching in some core areas.  At the same time I want to provide the students with skills to use and understand the new technology I introduce.

I have already ordered the book! I can’t wait to see what else we can do!

 Our learning team is based on non-fiction reading comprehension. I was shown a book that got my wheels a turning. It is called “A Place to Wonder; Reading and Writing nonfiction in the Primary Grades,” written by Georgia Heard and Jennifer McDonough.  I was given a chance to flip through it and I was hooked. It is all about how can we get students more engaged in their learning…to wonder about the world around them. However, to get the kids to wonder they need to be pulled away from the “technology” that surrounds them! I see what they mean, but how can we combine them?

So this morning I created a Wonder Wall! I introduced the idea of questioning and wondering to the students. I asked them to think of a place in the class where they find themselves wondering more than other places. They went on a wonder hunt and what they come back with was truly amazing and inspiring! Not one wondered about the technology in the room! Here are a few examples; the classroom library with all the books, the writing centre (what sentence will I create today), the science centre (shells and scales), the plants and flowers growing in the room, they wondered about outside and looking out the window, the teacher’s bookshelf! They pretty much said everything in the book I was looking at with zero prompts! Afterwards I read a few questions from the book “Why?” it has a million questions about everything.

I read one question, how does cold water and hot water come out of the same faucet? I had the students ponder it (we have thinking poses already established in Sept.) next they turned to someone and shared what they thought. Most times when I do a discussion activity like this we share with the class, but I didn’t want to this time they were so engaged and having deep discussions! Afterwards I shared the answer and we discussed if it was important to be right if it was an idea or theory why.  * We do a lot of collaboration in the class, the students have been doing a wonderful job at creating a safe learning environment for each other.

We did a few more questions, and then I brought out the sticky notes! We only had ten minutes left until recess, but the students were so engaged! I asked them to think of a wonder they have and put it on the sticky note to put on our wonder wall! Well ,about five minutes later we all sat back and looked at that big wall, covered in yellow sticky notes, the kids counted, 56! We were all amazed at all our wonderings, the kids asked if they could add more during the day and of course I agreed and told them that during Explorations (our centre time) they could explore and add to the wall.

Afterwards, I thought about all this and wondered how I could add some technology to the lesson. I decided to try a blog of wonderings. With another student today, we created our very first classroom blog. We told the other students and they are all excited for it! And they are all wondering what a blog is! Days like this I know whyI love my job!

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Now What?

So I have just completed putting my baseline portfolio together, and I am kicking myself!  I know I am someone who likes to think about things long before I actually put things together, especially when it comes to my own learning.  I have been collecting data; field notes, tape recordings, videos, course notes, notes on readings, ideas from my peers, and new articles I have found.  I have realized that  I do not have a good system in place! Yet, I have so many resources available to me.

I literally had a pile on my dining room table, staring at me everyday to put it together.  I knew I had taken and applied a lot of what I have been learning this term, but I had no idea how much until I finally sat down and looked through it all.  I had always known how my portfolio would look, I wanted it to represent my growth using the technology that was available to me but at the same time I wanted it to represent me as a learner. (Me as a learner is a little scattered!)

Looking back over it, I know I am a visual, hands on, and collaborative learner.  Looking back over my notes, I see so much I would love to add, however it seems that it just might be too much for my brain to handle.  I loved the fact that I was able to go back over and see what I was thinking and why.  It also reminded me to go back and think about things more, to try more things, and to stick with it.

A constant theme for me has always been collaboration.  In my notes, in the articles that grabbed my attention, in discussions with colleagues,and in my lesson planning.  Looking at myself I have come to see that I need to discuss what I am thinking to make something happen.  I am lucky enough to have a mentor in my school.  With the work done this term, she has helped me realize something that she has told me over and over again; I do know what I am talking about, I do have a philosophy, it is not just my gut.  I have never seen myself as someone who knows what they are doing and why, but if you asked me why I do this or do that, I could tell you. 

Looking back over our learning statements I have decided to write some for where I am now;

I have learned that I do have theory behind my practice.

I have learned to see myself as a teacher and a learner.

I have learned about the importance of recording my reflections.

Now What?

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