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Digital Citizenship and the Learner Profile

I have always used the resources from Common Sense Media to help me cover Digital Citizenship with the students at Rockrimmon. Their Digital Passport game is engaging and fun for third through fifth graders and with guided discussions before and after game time, I feel you can really make sure students understand the importance of Digital Literacy. With kindergarten through second grade I use their iBooks and work on whole group lessons by projecting the student workbook onto the whiteboard. I have connected the lessons by mentioning the IB Learner Profile attributes that relate to the topic, or by asking kids to name them but I realize now that I am approaching this the wrong way. I need to start with the IB Learner Profile Attributes, and structure lessons around that. A lesson building on students’ prior knowledge and personal insights into creating and consuming as described by this blog post from What Ed Said could help me make sure I am respecting the viewpoint of my students, instead of assuming I have all the answers. I made an  Animoto to help me think through the activities I work on with students in the Learning Commons, both ones that are obviously involved with technology and those that aren’t. While the pictures I take aren’t necessarily going to reflect a balanced view of everything that goes on during the year, it is a start. When I tried to organize the photos into IB categories, I felt that I had only a few pictures that went with the trait of “principled.” That is where I will begin my focus, and I also need to keep the new ISTE standards for students and Digital Citizenship in mind. As I plan for students and Digital Citizenship, I also need to organize activities for the staff at my school and for myself, as it is a topic that affects us all and requires knowledge and vigilance from students of all ages.

This week (the last week before winter break, talk about crazy!) I will try using flipgrid to connect our first graders with students in this and other countries to ask questions and share stories about traditions that take place during holidays. Their unit of inquiry right now meshes perfectly with the project and I think the students will have some great ideas to share. First grade will also spend some time Google “chatting” with some fourth graders in Iowa, again sharing about traditions. Our fifth grade team is working on Exhibition and we plan to connect with some students from an IB school in Japan to share projects. All of my fourth and fifth grade teachers would also like to have a Mystery Skype so that is in the works as well. Today my exhibition group made a great connection with some service dogs! Talk about a great, engaging interview. Thanks Mountain High Service Dogs!


Benefits and Challenges of Being a Connected Educator

Working in an IB PYP school is both a privilege and a challenge. There is no choice about whether or not an effective IB teacher is a connected educator, we have to be in order to ensure our students become internationally minded citizens. Rockrimmon Elementary’s mission ends with the phrase “empowering responsible, caring citizens involved in our local and global community.” If their teachers are not involved with other educators, schools, communities, administrators, cultures, and perspectives, how can the students see outside their own immediate world? The clear benefit of being a connected educator is that it is the only true path to teaching the IB philosophy with fidelity. We might not be able to constantly touch on the global aspects of everything we do with our students, everyday, but everyday we must be striving to look for those connections, learn about those connections, and spend time researching and sharing those connections with our students, colleagues and communities. The challenge of connecting globally can seem overwhelming and insurmountable some days. Time is precious and the amount of teaching that must be accomplished each day is vast. However, when you find a global project that fits with your Unit of Inquiry just from spending some time in a twitter chat or that perfect website to compliment Exhibition from just a quick glance at an educator’s blog, time has been more than well spent. Watch the excitement and engagement of students when participating in a Mystery Skype with other students or interviewing someone overseas about a project. Their world expands. Your world expands. You are helping to expand the world of those you contact with your classroom environment. The more we share, the more we understand and accept each other. Understanding and acceptance leads our students to truly implement the IB Learner Profile attributes.5th-2

The kids had fun playing with Sphero this morning! #SpheroEdu

Sphero Video



I will be working with an Exhibition group investigating therapy animals and how they help people. So excited to work with this group! My yellow lab is a certified therapy dog, although we have done very little volunteering. I found this  pictures using an advanced search on Google Images, a strategy I am constantly telling my students about. Always make sure your pictures are free to use and share!

IB at Rockrimmon

The tech club decided to make an iMovie trailer about IB at Rockrimmon. They spent one session walking around the school and taking pictures of what they thought represented IB at their school. The fifth graders in tech club kept iPads for the rest of the day so they could continue taking pictures and short videos. Next tech club meeting we decided on a theme for the iMovie and then began to insert pictures and videos. We realized some elements we wanted to share were missing, so one student quickly captured images to be uploaded later. Because of time constraints, tech club students weren’t able to watch the trailer all together until the end of the day. They did a great job communicating and cooperating and made a wonderful video!

In order to be a connected educator, one must be willing not only to be a lifelong learner, but be ready to fail and try again.Not only do educators need to find the time and flexibility to read blogs, follow twitter, watch videos, attend online seminars and to daily shift through the incredible amount of digital information coming at us, we have to use the information. To truly be connected, educators have to give back, with comments, opinions, ideas. We have to be ready to try that great new idea, and be prepared to reflect and reconfigure if that lesson flops. Since connected educators are first and foremost educators, our connections need to benefit our students as well as our own professional development.

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