Student Engagement

TED Talks for Kids in B.C.

As an elementary educator who encourages student involvement in many aspects of the education system, not just in the classroom, I am incredibly excited about the  independent TED event coming to Vancouver in September of this year.  TEDxKids BC is scheduled for Saturday September 17th, 2011 in Vancouver and will showcase student achievement and celebrate empowerment of students in our education system.  In a similar fashion to the larger and more prestigious TED Talks, TEDxKids BC showcases ordinary students and allows them a platform to share their experiences and inspire others to follow their dreams.

The organizers of TEDxKids BC are still looking for awe-inspiring kids who meet some of the following requirements:

  • Someone who has created a project that has made other people take notice and say: “Wow — what an amazing thing to do!”
  • Perhaps a kid who has helped others without thinking of him or herself — someone who just jumped in to lend a helping hand — and then perhaps the project grew and others liked the idea so much, that they too wanted to get involved.
  • Or maybe a speaker has a talent that they would like to share. They could tell the audience about how they developed this talent — or the effect they see in others when they perform.
If you can have a student in your class already, or know of a student that would fit well into some of the categories above, and would like to nominate himher then please fill out the this form.
You can also follow and promote TEDxKids BC through the following social media sites:

Tech Integration Post # 6 of 10: Skype an Author On The, Before-During-After, Writing Process.

Skype is a service which allows the registered user to make free phone calls and video calls over the Internet.  This is a free service but both users need to have Skype software downloaded on their computers before the technology will work.  In order to make a phone call you’ll need a microphone to speak into and a pair of speakers to listen to the responses of the person you’re talking to.  If you would like to engaging in video calls both parties will needed a webcam in order to be able to see each other.

Using Skype in the classroom is not limited to author workshops, when using Skype you can bring a variety of professionals/experts into your classroom at their convenience.  The following link takes you to a list of professionals/experts from around the world willing to Skype in your classroom.

Also, please take the time to check out this excellent video resource from Silvia Tolisano

Example: Use an author to help teach your learner’s about the before, during, and after writing process.  I’ve found that whenever you connect your learner’s to experts outside the classroom it enhances the validity of the task/assignment ten fold, and you’re students become more engaged.

Learning Outcomes: B.C. Grade 6 Language Arts
A3 – listen purposefully to understand and analyse ideas and information
A5 – select and use strategies when expressing and presenting ideas, information, and feelings
B5 – select and use strategies before reading and viewing to develop understanding of text
C5 – select and use strategies before writing and representing
C6 – select and use strategies during writing and representing to express and refine thoughts
C7 – select and use strategies after writing and representing to improve their work

Here’s a link to all my Skype related bookmarks on Diigo

Let me know what you think.  If you’re reading this and have used these techniques please feel free to comment or question.

100% Engagement Using Wallwisher

After watching the Olympics on CTV I was thoroughly impressed with their segments on athlete’s ‘Difference Makers.’ These segments delved into the lives of Canadian athletes to discover the people behind the scenes who drive them to success and help athletes reach their lofty goals.

I mirrored CTV’s  ‘Difference Makers’ but tailored it to my learners.  I lead them to think about significant people in their lives who have help them become the wonderful people they are today.

This post talks about just one of the stages in this lesson.  Most of my learners hadn’t seen any of the ‘Difference Makers’ clips so I decided to write the statement ‘Difference Makers’ on the board and asked student to discuss its meaning in partners.  Normally I ask my learners to write their thoughts, ideas, or comments to the topic on sheets of large paper.  Often with mixed results.  However on this occasion I thought I’d try  I created a wallwisher page free of charge, named it difference makers, and created the conditions for students to post virtual sticky notes on a virtual classroom-board.  During the time my learners were posting I observed 100% engagement in the activity.  Had this been with pen and paper I doubt I would have experience the same kind of results.  You could argue that perhaps they were all engaged because it was new to them.  I guess only time will tell.

What I like most about wallwisher is that it is customizable and allows the creator of the page to approve stickies before they appear on the wall.  This

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