Looking back…

Welcome to Week 5! So far, Course two has proven to be extremely thought-provoking. I find your blog posts allow me to make connections, ponder new ideas and think of questions to consider every week. Here is just a sample of a few quotes I found particularly interesting about the importance of; modelling, understanding our students, age appropriate “social media” and the importance of sharing with others.

Obviously, we also need to be role-model for young people: giving a few classes on the importance of providing citations in their projects and essays but failing to apply it ourselves in school would be detrimental to the message.

Christel Toiler with Respect and Remix, hand in hand!

Now I realize how important it is to understand the generation we are teaching: Generation Z. We need to be able to support them in their learning journeys in a way that is relevant to their attitudes, dispositions, and passions with a system that feels authentic and meaningful to them. Ultimately, we need to be held accountable and responsible for the world each generation builds for the next. If we do so, maybe in a few years, they won’t be flabbergasted by the way the world sees them.

Luis Moreno with Gens X, Y, Z… not as easy as 1, 2, 3

During Distance Learning, Seesaw was where the students posted their completed school work. I gave feedback about their work as comments on their posts. The students wrote messages to each other on their work too, especially those who really missed the in-person social interactions we would have in the classroom. For my students, Seesaw is the most age-appropriate way they can socially interact with their classmates.

Erika Tabor with Course 2, Week 2: Social Connections Then and Now

As I was scrolling (a.k.a. lurking) through the Teachers College Writing Workshop Facebook Group, I came across a post from a teacher looking for a second-grade Poetry Unit. Perfect! I had just finished teaching mine and I was proud of the unit I had put together (It was the one I used for my Course 1 Final Project). I quickly linked my unit in the comments and was excited to see how many teachers wanted to use it.

Andrea Goodrich with A lesson learned

Positively Contributing 

This weeks topic is about “Becoming Contributors.” It’s all about making positive connections in our local and global communities. Students today have access to so many wonderful platforms to share and connect. It makes sense that we as educators model what it means to have a positive and contributory digital footprint by having our students take part in some kind of global learning initiatives online. 

Image by Joel Bevans

This concept is something that I am very passionate about. When I was a classroom teacher I was constantly looking for authentic ways to connect with other classes around the world. Now when I am working with teams of teachers I encourage, guide and share some ways in which we can do this. These could be projects that I have taken in before or new projects that emerge.

These big ideas were also part of the catalyst for my COETAIL (Course 5) Final Project, Travelling Tales. The premise of Travelling Tales is simple. 5 classrooms sign up and then take turns adding to a shared story through Adobe Spark Video. Each Tale is unique and based around The UN sustainable development goals.

The stories have a wonderful narrative where we get to hear students voices, see their pictures and make connections about what they are learning. Tales have been created by students as young as 4 years old to 18 years old and they have been created in Russian, Spanish, French & English.Check out some of the Travelling Tales on it’s YouTube channel. The big picture for Travelling Tales is promoting creativity, collaboration, and global connectedness.

Image by Joel Bevans

Global Projects

To get your juices flowing this week I want to highlight some of the amazing educators (and some former COETAIL-ers!) around the world that are leveraging the power of social media to get their students participating in building positive connections. These projects not only help students see the value in using social media for good but also build empathy by connecting them with people in other parts of the world.

World Read Alouds is an awesome project started by Sean Forde in Incheon, Korea. He started World Read Alouds so kids all over the world could use the power of Flipgrid to read stories together.  It’s an initiative that promotes global connectedness and the value of literacy.

Pana Asavavatana is a former COETAIL-er and early childhood educator who was looking “to find authentic ways to connect her class to the world.” She began The Travelling Teddy Bear Project in 2014 with the intention of combining the connections we make in the digital world with tangible objects that kids could see and touch (Teddy Bears). Every year, teachers sign up their classes all over the world. Teddy bears then travel the world visiting those classrooms. When they arrive at different schools, classrooms participate in various forms of digital communication like Twitter posts, blog posts, and creating videos to share their visit.

Pernille Ripp created The Global Read Aloud in 2010, with a simple goal in mind; one book to connect the world. From its humble beginnings, the GRA has grown to make a truly global connection with milllions of  students having participated.

Another resource...I created this Padlet for a workshop, at a Learning2 Conference, that I was running a while back. On it are links and projects that have been added by others.

These are just a few examples of some of the wonderful things you can find teachers and students doing in connecting beyond school or classrooms. You may have your own personal favourites too. Please feel free to add them to the Padlet.


Looking at these projects there is so much possibility! Do you see how you may be able to spark empathy through digital connections? How can we empower students and other stakeholders to use technology to positively impact the world?

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Some housekeeping items:

By now you should have 4 blog posts and 4 comments in your gradesheet for feedback. If you are running behind that is ok. As long as you have all your work completed by the deadline on May 31st. Keep in mind that late work will be subject to limited feedback. If you have any questions or concerns please let me know.