Over the past 2 years, I have had the chance to visit many other classrooms and during these visits I have also had many conversations about digital citizenship with various students throughout grades K-12. Whenever I go into a classroom and I need to introduce a new digital tool to students it is important that we start with a conversation about digital citizenship. I like to find out what students already know on the topic and if they have talked about it with their parents and families. I often ask questions like: how many students have access to devices or computers at home, who chats or communicates with people online, who communicates with people that they do not know, and who talks to their parents or families about what they do when they are online. The answers to these questions are usually surprising for me. Most of the students I ask have access to an internet enabled device. Usually over half of those students say they communicate with people they do not know. Meanwhile a very small percentage of students tell me they talk about these online activities with their parents or families. These answers have me wondering. Why are people not having these conversations with their kids at home? I am also pretty sure that many teachers are not discussing digital citizenship in their classrooms either. Many times the conversations I do see happening tend to be based largely on fear and focussing on the negative things that can happen online.
Technology is not going away. Kids are using the technology at home and in school. They are using it to communicate with people they know as well as people they do not know. Some may argue kids just shouldn’t be talking to people they do not know online. Is that a good message to send to our kids though? I remember hearing these do not talk to strangers messages as a kid. Unfortunately most times the people that kids really need to be worried about are people they know. Not only is it misleading to have kids focus on not communicating with strangers but irresponsible to not prepare kids for the world that they are living in. We need to have the conversations with our kids and give them some tools and strategies to deal with the things they encounter online.
Filtering, blocking and banning technology out of fear of the worse possible things that can happen does not work. When we filter, block or ban we are actually missing out on opportunities to help our students learn how to navigate their digitally filled worlds in safe and productive ways. Yes talking about some of those negative examples are good to bring up but it worries me when this is all that is focused on. What about the positive examples of how people are using technology? These examples also need to be shared and modelled for our students.
You may be wondering how you could teach your students about digital citizenship. I have weaved these discussions in when I introduced new tech tools and then continued the conversations as they come up. In my class I started a class Twitter account to share our learning and connect with other classrooms learning about the same things we were. As a class we created our profile. Naturally this led to conversations about so many aspects of digital citizenship just by setting up a profile.
We explored questions like:
There are many examples of students that are leveraging technology to do some amazing things. Here are a few examples you might want to share with your students:
#CHHSLetsTalk Campaign- social media campaign started by Calgary high school student Brett Rothery to raise awareness and funds for mental health.
@westhighbros- Twitter account started by Jeremiah a high school junior. Started as a way to fight cyber bullying, students tweet compliments to friends and classmates.
http://neverseconds.blogspot.ca/- Martha Payne blogged about her horrible school lunches and people paid attention.
@LeydenPride- High School Twitter account passed on to different students each week to tweet from a student perspective.
What ways are you teaching your students about digital citizenship? I would love to hear your ideas? Let’s get the conversation started!
By Tammy Tkachuk
Balanced Numeracy (Daily 5 Math)
Over the past few years as a classroom teacher, I have become more and more frustrated with the way Mathematics and Numeracy are often taught. As teachers of Mathematics we are always faced with the struggle to meet the diverse needs of our learners while still moving ahead with all those curriculum outcomes that we are expected to teach at each grade level. I’ve often wondered why our approach to Mathematics and Numeracy is so significantly different from our approach to Language Arts and Literacy. Look at all the supports we have for Literacy instruction, We have Balanced Literacy, Guided Reading, Levelled Readers, Benchmark Assessments, Daily 5, ERI (Early Reading Intervention), LLI (Levelled Literacy Intervention), and so much more. We work with students at their individual ability levels, and we support them as they progress from level to level. Why don’t we use a similar approach for Numeracy instruction in our school?
That is the questions that has been percolating in my mind for the past few months and it has driven my investigation into the concepts of Balanced Numeracy, Guided Math, Daily 5 Math, Diagnostic Assessments in Math, and Math Intervention. Below is a list of links to websites I have visited in my search for a better approach to numeracy instruction. I am so excited by the ideas of Guided Math and the Daily 5 in Math. I see these as wonderful ways to bring a greater focus on numeracy into our classroom. This seems especially important to me as we shift from Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) which focused on measuring student achievement of specific outcomes in “math class” to Students Learning Assessments (SLAs) with focus on measuring students’ numeracy skills. That is a HUGE difference! The SLAs will not be checking to see that your students can perform each outcome listed in the Program of Studies. Rather, students will be assess to see where they are in terms of Numeracy Benchmarks. The SLA’s will be testing to see how numerate students are. Do they have the ability and habits of mind to engage with quantitative and spatial information to make informed decisions in all aspects of life?
I am excited that I have several teachers who have agreed to be a part of this exploration with me. We have teachers at Pembina North Community School and Westlock Elementary School who are jumping right in to the Daily 5 in Math. I also have a number of other teachers in our division who have expressed a desire to learn more. Please let me know if you would like to join our team! Let’s build a Balanced Numeracy strategy for PHRD!
Websites to Explore
SLA’s: Literacy and Numeracy
Guided Math with Dr. Nicki Newton
Daily 5 Math - Shannon Pasma's Blog
Balanced Math - Simcoe County School Division, Ontario
Numeracy for all - Numeracy Intervention Project
Daily 3 Math - The 2 Sisters
PHRD teachers are starting to see the potential of Google Classroom. Some things that are being done within PHRD using Google Classroom:
For more ideas about how Google Classroom can help you engage your students, here are some resources:
The Fort Assiniboine 7-9 LA class with Charlene Assenheimer is hooking up with the 7/8 LA class with Janelle Peister in Swan Hills to share small group novel studies. We are using close reading strategies based on the jr/sr high English collaborative group read last year, Notice and Note by Kathlene Beers. Janelle and I are alternating the teaching of specific lessons and students will be looking for signposts such as memory moments and words of the wiser to lead their discussions. Using sticky notes and annotating as they read allow students to read closely and think deeply as they are reading so they have something to discuss with their group. All of the novels have a common supernatural theme and the groups are made up of students from each school. Communication will be through texting and video conferencing with vc units and google hangout. Summaries of their discussions will be on our jr high blog post. Have a look, make a comment and follow along if you like. We look forward to hearing from you!
It all started with me noticing a lack of gratitude amongst my students- complaining about lunches their parents made for them, the clothes that they resorted to wear because no one had time to do laundry, the goodies that were specially made for them that they carelessly left behind in my classroom... Being a big believer of expressing gratitude, I did some research about gratitude projects being implemented in other settings like workplaces and the like and found a Youtube channel called SoulPancake. This channel promotes positive thinking and shows the science behind it; how positive thinking and showing gratitude can actually put you in a better mood. So, I decided that I would create a project that allowed the kids to not only explore gratitude, but learn to express it as well.
When we first started, we made lists of things we were thankful for and explored the really basic things that we take for granted and created a visual representation of that list. I remember one of my students say “Is this, like, health class or something?”. Then we thought about those around us who we are grateful for and wrote a paragraph about that person exploring why we are grateful for them. Inspired by SoulPancake and with the help from Tammy Tkachuk, we learned how to create a video reel that would allow us to document the conversation reading those paragraphs out loud to the recipients. They recorded their video on all types of media, like our chromebooks here at the school, their home webcams, cameras and iphones. They learned how to upload the videos to their Google Drive and then shared the file with me. I then compiled all of their videos and created our class video using WeVideo. In retrospect, I think I would try to use a different video editing system because I found it to be a bit glitchy, but it worked fine for our simple purposes.
We finished the project by creating a school-wide incentive, where we made “Thank You” cards and wrote notes on the back, giving them to people who help us throughout the day. From start to finish, it took us 5 weeks and I really enjoyed seeing their personalities evolve into highly empathetic and understanding ones. Even though we assume we all have this trait innately, I truly feel that gratitude is something that we must be taught and I am happy that I got the chance to show my class how to express themselves using gratitude!
This blog and resources website has been developed through the work of various AISI coaches in PHRD. The lead collaborative teachers for the 2015/2016 school year, Cheryl Frose, Christine Quong and Tammy Tkachuk will continue to update this site. If you have resources you would like to share or would like to contribute to the blog, please contact us.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License.