Thursday, 21 March 2013

Learn, Create, Share in a New Entrants Classroom

UntitledI was very fortunate to spend an hour in a year 0, or New Entrants, classroom this morning. Their teacher - Katrin Rapold, is encouraging the children to record their learning using the camera app.

Each child knows how to access the video camera, hold the ipad and most can keep their subject in frame. They are not undertaking any ground breaking activities but they are making them rewindable. 

UntitledTwo boys worked together to complete a statistics exercise where they were counting the numbers of coloured teddies. They have been practicing statistical vocabulary alongside counting to ten. After Zafar had counted all the teddies and recorded the results, Jacob took over to try and explain their findings.

UntitledAt the conclusion of the boys' activity they straight away switched the camera to "view mode" and excitedly sat together to watch their learning. Jacob even held the ipad aloft to let his classmates see. They quickly discovered that they had filmed a lot of activity from a distance so they couldn't hear each other speaking. Other reflections included praising each other for their role in the task, discussing who else could watch it, as well as a lot of laughing.

I took the chance to ask the boys about what they enjoyed about iPads and filming. They absolutely loved sharing their lesson with others.

 I then spent 5 minutes showing a small group how to use I Can Animate. It is such a simple program that I knew it would work well. The class had (laboriously) completed a couple of stop motions earlier in the year, so the concept wasn't completely foreign. We made a 2sec clip with a teddy bear. I then left the group to establish a story using animals while I left to get a stand.

Untitled Upon retuning, the kids were all set up to tell the story of two tigers chasing a lion. Levonah straight away was able to remind the others to keep the ipad very very still and to only move the animals a little bit at a time. All the technical skills were easily remembered by Jacob and Levonah, even keeping hands and legs out of each picture.

My favourite comment from Levonah was about how she wanted this movie to be on her blog - so her family could see.

 I was very lucky to get to "play" with a cool class of five year olds who seemed in touch with what they were learning, desperate to share and were developing the ability to reflect.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Celebrating Happiness

From the first day of school I have been attempting to instill in the students the understanding that their actions, (large, small, positive, negative), impact upon others. We discuss daily, different ways that we can create positive experiences for others as well as brand ourselves in a positive way.
By walking in others shoes, showing empathy or genuinely thinking of their impact on friends, family and strangers, my learners are becoming more aware of the role that they play in our learning community.
It has all been a bit of a hippy experience for us all, but I am confident that a classroom culture built on empathy and self awareness is one that fosters learning and achievement.

About 10 days ago the class watched this movie by SoulPancake. They loved the idea of building an "olden days TV" and finding Happy Stories from their school mates. They wanted to keep it simple, yet make an impact. Some students were keen to make a weekly series, whereas others wanted a one off major event of Happiness!

Today we began the journey of HappyTV.

We knew as a class that we didn't want our efforts to only be in the form of a movie. We wanted our school to benefit from our understandings of what it means to share happiness.

While working on our plan for HappyTV, we were sharing ideas around about the design of the TV and how we might attract kids to come and share their stories. Logan said that he wanted to do something nice, create a happy moment for the children willing to be involved. We discussed rewards, games etc... but eventually came up with the idea of a Happiness Flashmob. Take the Happiness to the kids. Share our joy and laughter with others and see what happens.

What an amazing morning - discussing our plan of attack, inflating balloons, decorating faces, finalising props and then....

The answers to our question "What made you happy this week?" were brilliant. In most cases the children had experienced simple events that had resonated so loudly with them. From sharing icecreams, visiting the pools to playing on the park.
My favourite story was of the young lad whose happiness came from an afternoon spent with his dad - I wonder if his dad realises the impression that afternoon left?

I hope we do this again ... a wee twist, something new...who knows?
But these kids have ideas and these kids have bucketloads of Happiness, love and empathy.  These kid are outstanding!