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The SAMR Model

1 min read

I want to speak to the SAMR Model that Jane introduced to me a while back. This has redefined the way I think about technology in the classroom. For those unfamiliar with it, the SAMR model is a way to evaluate your use of technology within the classroom. It addresses the issue that computers should never be $300 pencils and worksheets. If you are only using computers or other types of digital technology to substitute for a worksheet, you aren't utilizing the digital tools in ways that are authentic or meaningful. 

Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything

This article provides a good explanation of each piece of the SAMR model. I honestly believe that this is an excellent place to start when considering how to integrate digital tools into your classroom curriculum. But I would also caution that there are a couple of aspects of the SAMR model that could cause hang-ups for educators. This article addresses those concerns and how to move past them! The SAMR model is more of a mindset for me, don't get hung up on the specifics. Just make sure that you're teaching intentionally and reflecting on your work with digital tools! 


Losing Vine

1 min read

Though this article is six months old, this is the last I'd heard of the fate of Vine. I could have missed something, but as far as I know Vine is in the process of being shut down (or already was)! This is truly heartbreaking when taking into account this week's articles about black culture online. Vine is the platform that was an outlet of creative expression for black culture. This article is a great read about the impact of shutting down Vine in the midst of such a turbulent time in this country for black Americans. 


Using Technology in Elementary Classrooms

1 min read

I've had some people asking me how I integrate blogging with such young students. I wanted to share a link to the author (and book) that helped guide me through the process of integration. Kathy Cassidy is a first grade teacher who has every student in her class blogging and tweeting. Yes, in first grade. She published a book called Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades. It's a quick read that talks about tools like blogging, Twitter, and Skype along with other ways to utilize technology for all age levels. 

I wanted to share a link I found to a post on her blog from when her book was first being released. This blog post has a link to the book itself if you want to read it, but it also shares her journey that brought her to writing and publishing the book. I thought it was great to read her perspective on technology in the classroom. She has even tweeted my students when we've had questions for her! I definitely think it's worth a read and I would absolutely recommend the book.



Positive Feedback to Students

1 min read

This week I want to share a post I saw on one of the blogs that I follow. The blog is called "The Tempered Radical" by Bill Ferriter. Bill Ferriter is a 6th grade teacher that posts about educational policy, teaching, professional development, etc. He's a really useful resource for general education information and tips.

One of his recent posts was about giving feedback to students daily. He says he has started giving positive notes to students as they walk in the door. The post talks about the positive impact for himself as a teacher, too. I feel that with all the curriculum requirements and everything else that bogs us down, it's easy to forget to appreciate the people that are in the classroom every day. I love my students and I worry that they don't hear enough that I care about them as individuals. I worry they focus too much on their academic achievements. This is a really interesting idea and I would like to see if I can find a way to fit purposeful feedback into my daily routine. 



Fifth Grade Students Blogging

1 min read

Today I wanted to post about my fifth graders' journeys through blogging. I've spent the last year working on how to integrate technology and blogging into the classroom to build on the students' media literacy skills as well as their ability to interact in an online community. We've been focusing on thoughtful commenting as well as answering deeper questions about the world around them. Recently, the students and I read City of Ember and then watched the film adaptation of it. The students wrote a compare/contrast essay. However, their blog was the platform where they tried to answer the "why" questions. Why did they replace a lead female character with a male? Why did they introduce action sequences that weren't in the book at all? I'm aiming to have the blogs be an area for students to reflect on the world around them and engage in critical discussions with peers. We're still working on getting deeper than the surface level though! Here is a link to my classroom blogs so you can see what fifth grade blogging looks like! 


Scare Tactics in Technology Education

1 min read

After the discussion we had in class this week, I wanted to share a link to a blog post I wrote about six months ago. It seems strange to share a link to my own blog, and I feel overly self-important doing it. But I thought it could really sum up what my thoughts have been surrounding the avoidance of teaching digital citizenship and proper use of technology to students in school. 

The blog post references an article that I've attached here if you want to read into this further! The issues at hand here surround children's privacy, but also children's preparedness. At what point are we moving beyond keeping them safe and into the realm of leaving them ill-equipped to be a member of the digital world we now live in? 


Digital Citizenship Scope and Sequence

1 min read

For the past two years, I've focused on integrating technology into my classroom through blogging. When blogging with students, it's really important to make sure they have a strong understanding of what it means to be a digital citizen. We work hard on learning how to be safe, responsible, and respectful within an online community. For the first year of using blogging, I pulled together resources I found to create lessons that I thought would guide my students. However, in one of my previous classes with Jane, we looked at CommonSense Media. They have already designed a scope and sequence for digital citizenship lessons! Not one to reinvent the wheel, I switched to these resources with this year's group of fifth graders. The lessons were very successful and I found many resources within them. If you plan to use these lessons with your students, I would recommend beginning small. It's a lot of information to sort through. I started by focusing mostly on personal vs private information, cyberbullying, and relating citizenship to digital citizenship. With this foundation, you can then move on to focusing on how to engage and collaborate within a digital community.