Sunday, March 20, 2011

I'm curious....

Tomorrow we'll all head back from a week off on various March Break activities. I'm asking myself what the kids are going to tell me about first; something they saw? A new experience they got to try? I'm going to be looking to see whether authentic learning situations took the front seat this week over any other more mundane activities like going to the movies, dining out, or shopping. (Note to reader: I value all of those activities for various reasons; I'm thinking specifically of how one's holiday may quietly contribute to learning through moments of authenticity.) Ben went to California like I did; I wonder what he's going to tell me about first? When Hailey comes back from the Dominican, will she tell me about an enriching experience first? I think what I'd tell the kids about first is walking through the tiny steel corridors on the USS Midway in San Diego, and how I learned so much about military aviation and its connection to that area. (I don't know if they'll really care that I shot 89 on a fairly challenging Palm Springs golf course....) I'm going to wait and observe what comes up first. If it's all about cool learning experiences, I'll be sure to post and share what came up first. If not, it was a worthy experiment in observation.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Power of Respect

I am so proud of my students for how they practise good digital citizenship. We were lucky enough to have Susan Watt (@susanwatt) come to our classroom in the fall to teach us about the respectful use of other people's intellectual materials, and how important it is to give credit where due. My students in grades 4/5 are now compiling images for an art/Keynote assignment and are automatically seeking out "labeled for reuse" images and recording the URLs in their slideshows to give attribution. Even if the idea of plagiarism is incomprehensible at this age, it still makes me proud to see that the kids realize that someone else prepared this material for them, so simply learning how to give credit teaches them respect for other users and contributors on the net. To other elementary teachers out there: please know that students in grades 4 and up (in my personal experience) can truly comprehend the value and importance of being honest, and of giving attribution to their sources when required. I hope that when these same students arrive in college or university courses this will be as automatic as blinking. I can proudly say, Lesson Learned.