Sunday, May 8, 2011

Inspiring Elementary Learners

Our year is wrapping up, and as it does, I'd like to dedicate the next several posts to celebrating some fabulous educators and incredible learning, starting with the AJUSD elementary level. 

Celebrating Collaboration

As a reflective piece on our school year, the Elementary Collaboration Coaches worked together to create this "Coaching Chronicles" during our Microsoft Peer Coach Training:


Elementary Collaboration Coaches from Shauna Hamman on Vimeo.

This Vimeo was created by Shauna Hamman, Gina Fraher, Amber Moore, Mary Kate Robertson, and Erica Modzelewski.

Their video captured the essence of our focus to engage kids.

21st Century Research Report

Watching the 5th grade kids at Four Peaks Elementary School collaborate on 21st century state reports reminded me of Reflections of a Techie's post about the importance of digital research to survive in the post K-12 world.

Hamman's 5th grader discussed the quality of sites by looking at the URL to see if it was a .edu or .gov site and to look at the date it was published/updated. They collaborated throughout the writing process and created quality reports. It was inspiring to watch the enthusiasm in a 21st century learning-centered classroom.


Mrs. Fraher's Kenya Buddie
Kenya Buddies

There are some things that no matter how it's taught, it just won't have the same impact as it would if students connected with it first hand. It's valuable for students to connect with others around the globe, and they absolutely love it.

Gina Fraher's students learned so much this year from their Kenya Buddies. The kids realized how much they had in common, and experienced the impact of global connections.

    Applying Mathematics in Real Life to Better the Community

    One of the things I appreciate from Edutopia is their focus on real world connections as motivation for learners. Amber Moore's 3rd graders loved applying what they learned about perimeter, area, and money to create a flowerbed with a $100 budget, and donate it to someone in the community.

    They were so motivated by the challenge to plan the whole project from scratch, that they didn't even realize how much they were problem solving, thinking, and using their math skills... not to mention learning a valuable lesson about philanthropy!
       
      Student Blogging Challenge

      The benefits of classroom blogging are numerous, and students in Melissa Martinez's Language Arts classes learned all about blogging when they entered the Edublogs Student Blogging Challenge. They wrote for an authentic purpose and real audience.

      Their posts reflect real world connections to science, ecology, and learning through their Outdoor Classroom. Their Outdoor Classroom Habitat is the product of the vision, passion, and commitment of 4th grade teacher Julia Goucher.  

      Final Remarks

      Learning becomes relevant when it connects beyond the four walls of the classroom. Students thrive in authentic contexts, knowing their ideas, learning, and work are valued by others and add meaning to other lives.
      • What success stories can you share for creating 21st century learning-centered classrooms?
      • How do our learners feel when they connect to a real community?
      • What questions or thoughts can you add about inspiring learners?

      I want to thank educators for making a difference in the lives of our learners... and grateful for those who are inspired to learn. Happy Teacher's Week!

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