Building our community

These are unprecedented times. Over 70 countries, around the world, have announced or implemented the closure of educational institutions in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Of course this is not a new thing. Some schools in Asia have been closed for nearly 8 weeks, already. For others they may have closed in the past week. And some of us are getting prepared to move to continuous learning.

Whatever stage you are at with distance learning, please understand that we are all in this together. We can support each other with resources, tools and ideas. The #COETAIL community and your growing PLN are great sources of inspiration, who believe in the power of connections. So please reach out if you have a question or a challenge in our “new normal” of continuous learning. We are all in this together!

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Catching Up…

This week I have felt like I have constantly been catching up!

  • Monday- Day planning our new Inquiry Based Units with ES Social Studies and Science leaders
  • Tuesday – Travel with Grade 5 team to Chiriqui,Panama, over 500 km away from school – for a 4 day “without walls” experience. Then our school was told to close because of the pandemic.

Since then it has been a roller coaster of emotions. Supporting a school community to distance learning, suddenly, when you are not there in person has been interesting! It was certainly a way of using tools, authentically, using distance learning tools such as , G-Suite, Zoom, Padlet etc.. We are in day 3 now of distance learning and we are slowly catching up!

As we move into the final week of this course I am sure you are probably feeling like this too. After catching up with your posts yesterday, I hope you can look back on your posts and feel a sense of accomplishment in the work that you have produced and shared so far.  

Simona reflected that with online learning and “This week was quite successful because I could learn from my experience. Based on my results of the previous experience, how much information should I give, and reduce the vocabulary and examples for the little ones, and encourage them enough to be motivated to create and give their best? I learned to mention they’re good results in our shout outs and virtual assemblies and virtual talent shows at the end of the week. To post on the weekly newsletter some of their artworks to feel proud by themself and gain more confidence, that they have an “authentic audience”.

Holly shared that she is really thinking about how she is using technology because of the readings and prompts in Course 1. “We’re thinking about how to appropriately use technology with our students by first thinking of the learning objectives and what we want our students to learn. In the past, I have explored new technology with my students by trying them out. It was more of a technology for technology’s sake.”

Erika is getting prepared for distance learning with a variety of G-suite tools. ” I plan to utilize the following Google tools during distance learning: Google Classroom to share lessons and photos of anchor charts; the daily lessons will be put into a Google Slides deck which will be uploaded to Google Classroom; to track students’ work and which students I meet with virtually I will use a Google Sheets spreadsheet that the ES tech integrationist has made a template for; the teachers will be using Google Meet to have face-to-face interactions with the students daily. “

This week is intended to give you time to catch up on any work you have missed and to complete your final project (the UBD unit planner and reflective blog post).

March 22nd is the final day to ensure you have completed all Course 1 requirements:

  • 6 blog posts (including your final project/blog post)
  • 5 comments on other participant blogs
  • Links to blog posts and comments added to your gradesheet

Your blog post this week is slightly different as you don’t have to reflect or comment on any readings, but you should write something to introduce your unit plan and explain why you chose this as your final project. Some questions to consider:

  • If you have built on an existing unit, what have you changed and why?
  • If you started from scratch, how did you decide on this unit? 
  • How does this relate to the learning in Course 1? 
  • What outcomes do you hope to see when students complete this learning experience/unit?
  • If you facilitated this experience, how did the learners respond to it? What feedback did you collect to inform future experiences?

Two important reminders for those of you pursuing GET certification:

  • Your final project should make use of Google tools that support learning.
  • You may choose to create a unit of inquiry from the perspective of a trainer of teachers. You can use the technology standards for teachers that you use at your school or the ISTE Standards for Educators.

We have provided you with a UbD unit template, but if you are more comfortable with a different unit planner template please feel free to use it. We really want you to be able to use this time to put together (or enhance) a unit that you will actually use with your students. So do what you can to make this unit usable! Here’s a link to the project rubric that will be used to assess your final project.

Embedding the Google Doc into your blog post can be a little tricky so please take some time to review this helpful blog post on how to embed a Google Doc into your post.

Categorizing

As we reach the end of course 1, one of the things that can help in keeping a check on our posts is by using categories on our blogs. Think of it a little like cleaning and organizing your house, as you prepare for some new furniture (Course 2)!

This tutorial shows how to make pages show posts from certain categories and assign them to top menu in WordPress. Happy Categorizing!

Virtual Elbow Bump!

J slick / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

I want to thank everyone for doing such a wonderful job during Course 1. I have been inspired and excited to see the enthusiasm and hard work put into each and every one of your blog posts.

You are clearly a caring group of educators looking to grow with one another and I loved seeing the connections you have made throughout the last 6 weeks. As we finish up course 1, please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns about the final project. I look forward to seeing them!