Happy New Year Followers! I’m excited about 2017! For many reasons and lots having to do with the happenings in Room 129!
But first, a little pep talk to welcome you back to the blog and remind you to BE MORE AWESOME and let’s explore 2017 together!
I have to apologize for my lack of blogging. There are a number of reasons for my absence and it’s not because I haven’t been thinking our this blog. I think about this blog a lot. If you look at my picture stream in my phone – I take a lot of pictures of the cuties in Room 129. I have ideas for blogs, I just haven’t made time to sit down and write them. Some of that has to do with the busy time that is the month of December (and November…). Some of that has to do with Winnipeg School Division wanting me to transfer this blog over to a WSDedublog, which I will do in 2017. Some of it has to do with being bombarded with Seasaw (http://web.seesaw.me/seesaw-for-schools/) and other forms of Digital Portfolios for students. I’m trying to figure out what is the best and most efficient and practical way to communicate and share learning digitally online for 6 and 7 year olds.
I love this blog. I love blogging. The purpose of starting this blog was to communicate with and inspire parents, grandparents, family near and far, friends and even my family (perhaps my most loyal followers, my mom, dad and grandparents!). So often these 6 and 7 year old students go home after a busy day of learning and forget to share what they have learned with their parents. I thought if parents had talking points or pictures that they could talk about or ask deeper questions about, it would ignite lively dinner time conversations, encourage interesting bedtime discussions and just connect student’s home and family with their learning. I also thought it may extend student’s learning by allowing opportunities for families to find their own connections through books at home and there own opportunities to investigate inquiries together as a family. Last year when my class was learning about Winnipeg, families really took it upon themselves to get out and explore Winnipeg! They visited many different places In Winnipeg and shared stories of experiences in Winnipeg that may have gone unshared. We looked at the history of Winnipeg and each student wrote amazing books about A Winnipeg Day. I was fulfilled as a teacher to hear about all of these vast experiences that families were having together that were prompted by learning done in school. I would see grandparents in Superstore and they would tell me the difference the blog was making in discussions with their grandchildren. They were sharing and making history together.
So, in 2017 we will continue our blogging. The blog will remain OhthisclassroomGlows and hopefully I can copy my blog history to our new url with Winnipeg School Divisions Edublog (I’m sure we can).
2017 will also have us reveal two new opportunities to share our learning. We will start our OhthisclassroomGlows twitter account. Twitter is different than blogging and the way Room 129 will be using to twitter will be to help us connect with authors of books we love, people around Canada (maybe even our Prime Minister). In the past we were using my laura_thomas_99 twitter handle. We connected on twitter with the Mayor Brian Bowman’s office last year and have followed Barbara Reid and a few other authors connecting with them. I think moving forward it is best if we have a classroom twitter handle and my own professional twitter handle separate (although feel free to follow me on both!). In the year 2017 I know it is hard to believe. but twitter is a way, possibly the best way, for people and students to connect with many interesting people around Canada and the World. It is quick and easy and opens up opportunities to exchange knowledge and information. And don’t worry President Elect Donald Trump will not be followed by OhthisclassroomGlows. There are things that I don’t like about twitter and I’m sure we can/will have a discussion about those. Room 129 will be using twitter to connect with people that they are interested in or that link to our classroom learning. I monitor all of our social media regularly. Twitter can be a really positive way to extend our classroom discussions and a very exciting way for classrooms to participate with others in meaningful, relevant and very currant ways. The link below shows some of the benefits.
Something that I am very excited about starting is our brand new OhthisclassroomGlows instagram account! Personally I love Instagram. I love it for many reasons and use it often with my own family. It is like an online digital portfolio of the past few years. Our family trips, funny moments, embarrassing moments, life experiences and all the monumental, memorable moments in between. They are documented. For me. For my family. For my friends near and far. But a lot of my Instagram is just for me. One of my favourite things is how easy it is to look back on our previous years. See how my kids have grown. I have hashtags in place that connect their birthdays all together (some of you may have no idea what I am talking about when I say hashtag to connect all of their birthdays 🙂 and that’s okay! ).
I created an OhthisclassroomGlows Instagram account over the Christmas break https://www.instagram.com/?hl=en . I encourage you to follow us, as I will be using Instagram often in 2017. I am going to challenge myself to try and Instagram a picture each school day. I will be showing our followers through pictures; our good moments, funny moments, interesting moments, our learning, our art, our math, and it may be through an amazing Instagram filter, but I promise you it will be real life in Room 129! My hope is that through our Room 129 picture of the day you will see a glimpse or moment that you can talk with your child about. Two of our students have parents that live outside of Canada (Shout out to Keito’s dad who follows our blog regularly and Jenna’s dad from the Philippines). Grandparents and family that live far away will be able to see what we are up to. It’s an exciting World where we are all able to connect together in such meaningful and fairly easy ways! I can’t wait for you to follow our journey. (side note: Our account is private and I will be monitoring and adding only followers I myself or student’s in Room 129 know). If my 61 year old mom and 72 year old father in law and my 86 year old grandma can figure out how to use Instagram (although they had a fair bit of help with start up – but now they follow along fairly easily!) I know that you all can do it! Perhaps you will be inspired by our Instagram account and will create one for yourself!
So why all of this technology? Why all this social media in 2017?
Because….it’s nice to have options. Because…it’s nice to have balance. Because… it’s nice to share. Because… it’s great to inspire others. Because… learning is meaningful when it is connected to real life. Because… it’s 2017 and I am teaching to the future. Because…. I want you to be a part of our learning. Because… students will learn that their learning matters to themselves and others. Because…so many conversations will be started and continued thanks to these interactions on social media.
There is a balance to technology and social media. I am well aware of the stats and the research into too much. I read articles about putting your phone down more, being more present. I am NOT the mom in the park so interested in getting a good Instagram photo I forget why I am at the park 🙂 . Balance is important. So let’s try. See what happens. Take a chance. Share more of ourselves. I am so excited to have more conversations with you about this.
I’m going to link a few articles that I have read. Maybe I will write an article one day about our Grade 1/2 experiences with social media. In my research into this I did not find many articles talking specifically about early years, so there is a bit of a gap when I was looking at articles related to all of education (K-Gr. 12). Not all of the information in these articles is pertinent to Room 129’s inquiry with social media. But they are interesting.
~ We were made to be awesome! Let’s get out there! Let’s do this 2017!! ~