Do you have #Sketchnotefever?

Love at first sight

I fell in love with Sketchnoting before I even knew what it was. I had seen others share images on Twitter as a way of making their thinking visible and was blown away by the technique and creativity. When the  #Sketchnotefever  challenge from Sylvia Duckworth came up on Twitter, I jumped at the chance to join in with my pln and follow along with the lessons Sylvia shared each day.

I got so excited that I even bought the copy of Sylvia’s book . It’s safe to say that I got a little bit ahead of myself and did not complete the challenge. Luckily for me, Week 3 of Coetail is the motivation that I needed to try again and develop my skill of Sketchnoting throughout this course!

Signs, Signs

A few weeks ago I saw Sylvia Duckworth post on Twitter that she was going on a world tour. I commented on the status that she should come to Beijing, then not thinking anything of it as it did not seem like a possibility at the time. To my surprise she replied letting me know that she would be running a workshop in Beijing in just a few months time. I took this as a sign and registered immediately.

Making a plan

Below is my goal, steps and timeframe for becoming a Sketchnoter. I see it as not only a way to develop my own creativity, but also a literacy that I want to bring into my classroom. There are benefits of visual note taking at any age and I think that my early years students, many of whom speak multiple languages would find it to be a useful tool for us to explore.

I would love to hear your thoughts about my Sketchnote plan. How can it be improved to better support me in achieving my goal?

Ice Cream for Everyone!

Since moving into my an early years educator, teacher as researcher has been my role and now feels like the only natural way to approach my students. What I love so much about the PYP and inquiry learning, within the focus of a unit of inquiry student questions are used to drive the inquiry. When we begin our unit with a provocation(s) that is designed to spark the students interests, I then put on my researcher hat and observe how they interact with the new materials in the environment and record what interests are emerging.

Teacher as Researcher

One example of a student inquiry that emerged was in a unit about the systems within a community. Three girls in my class were fascinated by  ice cream shops and wanted to create their own, which they were doing each day by making ice cream out of loose parts and paper. As a teacher researcher, their play got to a certain point where it needed to be extended. So together we visited the librarian in search of some books related to their inquiry. This was a decision I thought about, what type of source is best to teach the students about finding a reliable source?

With the early years I have found that concrete examples, such as books are a great starting point to build an understanding before moving to the more abstract (online). We collected our books and then used the information we found to evaluate a video about an ice cream shop. By researching together and developing our prior knowledge we were better equipped to evaluate the online source. The video was the perfect addition because it brought the inquiry to life for the girls and gave them the excitement to further their inquiry by creating prices, signs and different containers to sell their product in.

A Daunting Task

The task of preparing kindergarten age students to be responsible digital citizens can feel  quite daunting at times. What is age appropriate? Where do I begin? Resources like Common Sense Media are invaluable at these times because they provide a bank of resources that I can go to that is age appropriate and focused on a specific topic.

Being a lifelong learner is something that I try my best to model for my students each and every day and will continue to do so as I grow my knowledge in the area of digital citizenship.

What do you think makes a responsible digital citizen?


The 1%

To lurk or not to lurk?

“Let’s stay at a resort in Thailand where there is no wifi or TVs” I suggested to my husband while we planned our holiday last year. His response was a look of horror and, “Are you crazy?” Maybe I was, but in the moment the idea of completing unplugging was a challenge I wanted to try. It seemed like a good idea at the time but he was probably right, two weeks without any social media might have been a bit much.  Upon reflecting this week and thinking about Utecht’s insights in regards to unplugging, why did I feel the need to completely cut myself off from social media? The readings showed me that at the time, I was a lurker. Apart from posting some photos on Facebook and Instagram, I was…lurking, looking at the content of others and being a passive recipient of social media.

Creating makes us vulnerable

Flash forward a year, and I am now taking the Coetail step of further growing as a creator and contributing to the 1% of those that create content online. My return to the classroom goes hand in hand with my transformation from lurker to creator. In my role as coordinator, I have the amazing opportunity to “lurk” in teachers’ classrooms each day and was left wanting to try all of these amazing ideas myself, at the classroom level. While administration creates on a big picture level I was missing that connection with my students and the day to day creation in our own classroom community. Joining Coetail took this a step further because I am making the choice to be vulnerable and share my journey with others on my blog and through Twitter.

Peer-Based Learning

Twitter is what motivated me to become a creator. First lurking, then retweeting others before moving onto my own tweets. What I love about Twitter is that it optimizes peer-based learning, and everything that I love about Twitter is what drew me to Coetail. I never would have heard of Coetail if it weren’t for Twitter. It has given me the push from being a lurker to a creator. If your new to Twitter check out the video from Common Sense Education below for some tips about developing your PLN.

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It’s the real me!

My big takeaway this week was looking at Kim Cofino’s blog and reading, “ I argued that the person I am online is the real me, perhaps even more so that the person they were sitting with in the room at that moment. Maybe other people don’t think like this, but :all of my social media profiles are tied to my name”. Cofino then goes on to take full ownership of all of her social media and link them in her post. Following in her footsteps, here is the real me: Twitter Instagram Facebook Linkedin.

While there is a vulnerability in sharing who we are, there is also the advantage of being able to mindfully post and share. My eyes were first opened to this during a workshop at my school given my Tosca Killoran (check her out she is amazing). The workshop was about digital citizenship and Tosca shared her views that who we are online is who we are. After that experience I made my accounts private and became much more mindful about what I was sharing, because every post revealed something about myself. I definitely use different forms of social media to share different parts of who I am, Twitter and Linkedin are professional while Instagram and Facebook is for my personal use.  But I would definitely say that who I am on social media is a culmination of the REAL me.




Having a clear vision- What are my Coetail Learning Goals?

I cannot begin to describe how excited I am for my Coetail journey! I have been in touch with the University of Kentucky, who Coetail partners with because eventually I would like to pursue my doctorate degree. After seeing Coetail all over Twitter and hearing about the impact it has had on other educators’ practice, I decided that it was right for me and to take the plunge! The fact that it can also count towards my doctorate degree was an added bonus.

The 3 ISTE Standards below encompass my learning goals. Being a PYP coordinator has been an amazing experience but part of my reason for going back into the classroom is to refine my pedagogy and practice, especially in regards to technology.

5b: Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.Upon reflection, I realised that my use of technology was not nearly as effective at enhancing learning experiences as it could have been.

1b: Pursue professional interests by creating and actively participating in local and global learning networks. Creating and maintaining a strong network is on way that I will continue to grow as an educator and also be in the loop about what is at the forefront of education.

1a:Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness. Coetail and reflecting on my experience through this blog will challenge me to continue to check-in  with my goals, holding me accountable throughout this journey.

I am really looking forward to sharing with all of you!

Professional Learning Communities

My learning communities are such a large part of my day to day experiences as an educator, I don’t know where I would be without them. Within my school collaboration is something I am a part of regularly as the PYP coordinator, both with the leadership tam as well as with the grade levels I work with. Being an IB school we are also a part of the North China Network and get to meet often, sharing our successes and wonderings.

Most recently, social media has been the strongest learning community that I am a part of. Twitter especially, has transformed my teaching and made the world that much smaller, allowing me to connect with educators globally.