Saturday, June 30, 2012

My Adventures Tweeting with Grade 1's

This June I tried something new ... inspired by @happycampergirl I decided I would open a Twitter account for my class and try twitter with my students. What an amazing experience!  It was an eye opener for me and for my students.

Every morning I would log on to Twitter before my students arrived at school to see what we would be reading today. Everyday I was surprised at the amazing learning that flowed out of those 140 character sentences. When my students came to carpet we would log on to Twitter and read the days tweets. Even my most reluctant readers were excited ... after all it was only a little sentence.

What follows are a few of my favorite Twitter moments:

One of my favorite twitter moments was when we were reading tweeter poems from @CE1_Fenez77. They were creating tweets with the format "Je ____, tu _____, il _________.Nous ____________.

I laugh, you laugh, he laughs, we die of laughter.
One of my bright stars said... "Mme did you notice that there is no s on the Je and Il words but there are s on the Tu words?"   This simple discovery led the class to a discussion on verb endings and suddenly many of my students were using proper conjugation for ER verbs in their writings.

After reading the poems above my kids wanted to try it to so we decided we would write rhyming word poems.

Here is a little rabbit that is hungry for a tree with an elf. :)
The students brainstormed rhyming words and created little one line poems. Everyone had fun we laughed a lot at the silly ideas that people came up with.

Good day, it is night here.
The students are not at school again till  Thursday.
One morning we logged on to Twitter to discover that there was nothing for us to read except a private message from M. Masson.
That little tweet led us to talk about international time zones. We found France on a map.  We talked about oceans and continents. We talked about how someone would get to France. We even discussed how we would order dinner when we got there.

M. Acou's class like posting challenging math questions.
Some days we would take a kick at them and see if we could use our problem solving strategies to figure them out. A great opportunity for my bright math stars to show us their stuff.

On more then one occasion classes posted pictures of their field trips.This allowed my students to see Paris through the eyes of students who were visiting. My kids were always excited when they saw a picture online and it was probably their favorite part of Twitter time. 
                                    Guess where we are!

These are only a handful of examples and all of them happened in the last month.  I can only imagine what adventures we would have had if we had been on Twitter all year. I learned that this is a tool that can lead to great lessons if you let it. You have to be willing to go with the moment and follow your children where they lead you but if you do - I promise this tool will WOW you.

Want to learn more? Check out the blog posts bellow.

50 ways to use Twitter:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When you don't know everything.

As the school year progresses my grade 1 french immersion students are getting more and more adventurous in their writing and some days I am beginning to think they are playing a game of stump the teacher. Comment dit-on "wakeboard"  madame? Comment dit-on "platypus" madame?  Thank goodness we live in the digital age - a little search and Mme has all the answers. At least that is what I use to do, but no anymore.

One of the biggest gifts we can give our students is the knowledge that they don't need to know EVERYTHING but that they can find out ANYTHING.  Instead of coming back with the answer I have started to have my students join me when I search for the answer. Often I do have the answer but I still look it up with students. It doesn't take any more time and it exposes students to one more resource for getting the information they need.

So how do you say platypus in french?  My current favorite translation tools is Reverso however the website is full of ads and not ideal for children.

With my students I use Google Translate instead:

I often imagine what I would have done without a computer... "Wouldn't you rather be writing about a cat? How about you say swimming instead?"  Thank goodness for Google.

I remember a university professor once telling us "When you don't know the answer - tell students "that is a good question - you should ask your mom or dad about that tonight and tell us about it tomorrow."  In today's age - even with primary students- I think teachers have a responsibility to say "That is a good question - lets Google that." or "That is a good question - I'll look that up and get back to you."    I think that in this day and age being able to find information is much more important than knowing information and students need to know that.

That is what I learned at school today.  How do you encourage students to get the information they need? How do you search with primary students?