Tag Archives: collaboration

So proud of my students … Course 5 Final Project

For a while already I’m so proud of my Grade 4 students (and about myself) and finally I can tell you about it. The two Grade 4 German classes advanced level published their eBook about interesting facts about the brain.

iTunes

Screenshot from the iTunes Store

The classes created, collaborated and contributed and it’s my hope that this publishing experience was something where learning started and future learning will happen.

Who can’t wait, here is the Link to the ebook on iTunes: Interessantes über das Gehirn.

Achievements

Here a quick overview of what was happening in the classroom:

The students …

  • read nonfiction as learning about the brain
  • watched videos as learning about the brain
  • inquired into features of a nonfiction page
  • inquired into a chosen topic
  • applied the reading strategy “determine importance”
  • summarized nonfiction information
  • organized and created a nonfiction page with Book Creator
  • practiced and improved their German by using the language

=>  experienced the publishing process of a book
=> created a resource that will be available for download across the world

Here again the link to the iTunes Store: “Interessantes über das Gehirn“. The students will be more than happy to see that people are actually download the ebook and maybe even write a review. Thx.

Planning

The whole planning started in mid december with an empty “Understanding by Design” unit template which was very helpful in terms of thinking through the entire project. I had done the unit before therefore I knew the content and could focus more on redefining and recreating the unit. If you want to have a closer look on the planning, feel free to do this here:

Reflection

The whole project ended with a video which describes it and reflects on it.

YouTube Preview Image

The students, my colleagues who were involved and I indeed had great learning experiences – we were all risk takers and learners in order to go a step further in terms of teaching and learning. Many things like learning through a flipped classroom, creating and publishing an eBook as well as working with a limited amount of iPads or own iPads students brought to school happened for the first time.

My colleague and I were amazed by the high level of motivation of the students. The fact that they watched movies to acquirer knowledge about the brain; the fact that they could chose their own topic to inquire into; the fact that the eBook will be published to a real audience; the fact that they got the chance to work with an iPad motivated them immensely. The students were learning and improving the German language through using the same.

One challenge I didn’t expect: the parents. The majority agreed to publish it on iTunes and also to mention the whole or only the first name. One student in my class didn’t even want create a nonfiction page with the iPad. “And my parents don’t want this either.”, he said. He couldn’t explain why and the parents never approached me and until today I don’t know what the reasons are. The student create then the page on paper.
Another parent couldn’t understand why it has to be published on iTunes. Unfortunately it seemed to be difficult for them to articulate their concerns. I have an idea of their concerns and maybe I still will get a chance to talk to them.

Obviously I took it for granted that parents agree to authentic and meaningful learning, partly also because they chose a PYP school for their child. I see now the need to let parents now even more and in detail what our ideas of teaching and learning these days are. Creation yes, (internal) collaboration yes, but I wonder now how important is contribution to a real audience for the parents (and for teachers)?!

Thank you COETAIL for a wonderful and exciting learning experience!

What comes next? Well, luckily the Coetail experience won’t end here! I’m excited to read and watch about the other final projects as well as to follow other educators within Coetail and around the world. Contribution will be a bigger part of my online life and I hope that once in a while I’ll inspire other people like so many great teachers and educators inspire my life.

So let’s keep in contact through Twitter (@blaho_blaho), through Google+, and email (blahoblaho at gmail.com) or whatever will be invented. It became so easy! Btw. I was the only one at our school who did the Coetail Course so I wouldn’t mind a Google Hangout to celebrate a little bit. Who is in?

 

The flow got me … Creating a revised AUP for Primary School

To be honest – at the beginning of course 2 I had no idea what an AUP (Acceptable User Policy) is. During the four years at a German School I never got in contact with something similar. Probably I signed an AUP for teachers when I started teaching at an international school. I thought the reason for not knowing about it might me the fact that I’m new in this international environment and struggle with all those acronyms anyways. Another reason might be the fact that I’m a single subject teacher. Homeroom teachers might have given it to the students at the beginning of the school year. And six weeks later with the help and collaboration of Vivian Chow, Donovan Hall, Mark Villaflor and Carlene Hamley  and all the wonderful resources out there on the Internet I revised and wrote remixed an AUP for the Primary School. How awesome is this! I even felt a flow of creating …

We were asked to collaborate with other cohort members. It reminded me of a blog post of Edna Sackson – What does collaboration look like? and what is the difference to working together? The main outcome for me is: If you collaborate you share a vision. She created a nice visualisation:

CollaborationBy whatedsaid | View this Toon at ToonDoo | Create your own Toon

My vision in this context is to make sure that the students get knowledgeable to be safe on the Internet and with the use of technology.

One person commented on the above mentioned post and asked: What about goals? Do we need to share goals as well? Do the individual goals of collaboration lead to more effect collaborating?
During the course collaboration took place in many different ways. Quite at the beginning of course 2 somebody created a hashtag called #CoetailAUP. I was lucky to find a great group quite easy. We had the chance to get to know each other through a Google Hangout. We shared existing AUPs on Google Drive, experiences and ideas. Giving a feedback and commenting on each other’s work was the easiest job with Google Docs. Vivian took the time and effort to summarize our Hangouts and she also wrote the first draft of an AUP, which I’m still very thankful for because my part of the AUP is based on her thinking and putting it in words. I also collaborated with colleagues at our school. From the beginning it was my goal to create something, which is meaningful for our Primary School. I had a lot of support of my ICT colleague and also a reception teacher. I believe that we are all sharing a similar vision but I realized that our personal goals were different. Nothing wrong with that I realized, because it enriched our collaboration. You get different knowledge, a lot of experiences, a huge a variety of skills, great motivation, backgrounds, different learning types, … thinking – what do I want to ask for more?

The experience let me think about group work/collaboration in my classroom as well and especially about grouping my students. I always have been torn how to group them. Is it more important that they choose the partner(s) they want to work with or do I as a teacher make up the groups with the knowledge of their prior knowledge, abilities, learning types, types of learning, etc. and why do I want them to collaborate? I feel like I have to think about it more in depth. Later.

The following AUP is created/remixed with the help of the resources on the Internet and through the collaboration with great educators. Thanks again for that.

I really liked the idea of the 4RsResources, Right, Respect, Responsibility. Hopefully it is a good way to promote the AUP within the whole school community as well as to develop a common language at school.

Three stakeholders will sign the AUP: the student – the parent – the teacher. We all share the responsibility to make sure we are safe on the Internet and when using technology for learning.

It is still a draft regarding the detailed layout (logo, pictures, etc). For me the wording was more important in a first row. The layout will come next with the heIp of my students (great idea Donovan & Carlene).

I have to admit that citing was a challenge. You work on something for weeks, you read about it on so many different websites, you speak to others and get the ideas – honestly, I lost track.

My goal is to get this AUP for the Primary School implemented. My colleague wants to create a Digital Citizenship Program combined with it. I’m excited to see what will happen in the next few weeks and after the summer vacation.

Link:
AUP for Primary School