Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Digital Citizenship

We have been discussing how important it is to be a responsible user of technology - especially when online. I decided to show a video created by Common Sense Media. I asked students to specifically watch the different images featured in the video.

Afterwards, we discussed how the "fingerprint" image makes us realize that everyone is unique and leaves a mark when online. The "football stadium" image is a great reminder that the Internet is a massive public space. The "permanent marker" image shows that you need to be careful what you post online because it is very hard to take something down. Finally, the "lighthouse" image reveals how easy it is for someone to search for information about you!

That's exactly what I wanted students to think about. What online information did they want connected to their names 10 - 15 years from now? Students created a list of ideas at school and they also talked to their parents about it at home. 

We used Tagxedo to put our key words into a fancy footprint picture. Here is one example:

Students will be posting their Tagxedo creations in their own blogs. We also typed up our ideas and created a footprint using fancy lettering and pencil crayons. You can see that I told my students to dream big!

This is an example of one student's list.
This is the complete piece.
Finally, we discussed the entire experience together and created a shared piece of writing for our bulletin board outside of our classroom.

This is one of our bulletin boards. We have another one on the opposite side of the hallway.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Creating a Character Trait Study

Studying the work of various authors is an important component to my writing program. As a young girl, I loved reading these little books written by Roger Hargreaves. Students in my classroom enjoy them too! At first glance, the Mr. Men and Little Miss Series of books appear to be geared toward primary students. However, they are perfect for studying character traits with Grades Four and Five!

I decided to pass out a basket of these books to each table group in my room. I wanted students to browse, read through and enjoy sharing some of the stories with one another. I needed to give them the time to discuss and familiarize themselves with these stories before digging deeper. Next, I asked students to revisit the texts and to think about the key features that make up a Mr. Men or Little Miss book. Here is our class created anchor chart:

Students were required to show how they would portray a specific character trait in a story. I decided to give each table group a character trait and they had to create a web of possibilities. The group below is sharing all the ways they could make a character look, act and feel “miserable” in a story. They also shared a possible problem that may arise and a solution to it. 

This group experience helped students understand how a character trait can be the focal point of a story. We created a special chart in our Book Lover’s Books after each group shared their web. I wanted students to be able to reflect back to this large group experience and the chart would be a great reference tool. 

Currently, students are working on their individual stories. They are also sharing their stories with each other to receive advice and feedback. Students will be reminded to look back to our anchor chart to make sure they have included the criteria needed to make a Mr. Men or Little Miss story. Revision is an important part of the writing process. Slowing down to rethink, rearrange and reflect helps lift the quality of writing.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

What Do You Need?

How can I create a caring, nurturing environment for all of my students while meeting their individual needs? Through art and writing of course!

Each student received four individual squares of paper to represent their needs of fun, belonging, freedom and power. Newspaper clippings, pictures from magazines, photographs and clipart were assembled on each square using a collage technique.
All four squares were then grouped together to make one solid piece. Students enjoyed sharing their artwork with each other, noting similarities and differences. 

I decided to give each student a survey to determine which was his or her most dominant need. We placed our results on a central chart and noticed our classroom needs were quite balanced.

The survey results also helped generate a topic for writing. Students expressed why this need was so important to them and shared how they displayed this on their collage.

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