Video- Powtoon

For my video, I decided to keep the theme of using a social story. I would eventually like to create a series of digital social stories that can be shared throughout the entire school, and can be accessed on either a computer or iPad.

For this video, I used Powtoon.

What I like about Powtoon:

  • Very engaging- students would love this!
  • Lots of choices in terms of characters and background

What I didn’t like:

  • It took me a long time to get the hang of using it- not very user friendly
  • Although there are basic characters/backgrounds, you need to pay in order to upgrade to the full version
  • I originally wanted to do a voice over, but once I tried I could not line up the audio to the words. Super frustrating!

Overall, I don’t think I will be using Powtoon in the future to make digital social stories. Although students would be engaged, the site isn’t really user friendly and very time consuming. In the future, I will explore digital platforms such as Animoto or iMovie.

Here is the link to my Powtoon video:

https://www.powtoon.com/show/dptuK14BRpM/social-story/#/

Digital Story- Social Story

For my digital story, I decided to take a different approach. With the other digital stories that I have seen so far, they mostly seem to be created by students. However, because I work with children who have severe mental disabilities I felt that creating a digital social story would be a wonderful tool for these students to have on hand.

For example, I work with a girl who has trouble with transitions in the classroom and hallway. She also will become physical with me, or another teacher (or sometimes even a student) when she doesn’t want to complete an academic task. She carries around an iPad to help with her speech impediment. I thought that by creating this social story, it can eventually be uploaded to her iPad so that she has a resource to use when she is feeling frustrated or upset.

Creating a digital social story is highly beneficial because it is right at your fingertips. I used Storybird as my platform, and I really enjoyed how user friendly it was. However, I felt like some of the artwork on the site wasn’t appropriate for what I needed, and I had trouble finding images that depicted what I was trying to say.

Overall, I can’t wait to share this idea with my colleagues and students. Using this technology platform opens up a whole new window of possibilities!

Link to the story:

https://storybird.com/books/when-i-feel-upset/?token=dmvmm4ekzv

Questions

This TED talk is one of my favorites! Dedicated to the questions students ask throughout the day, the speaker emphasizes the fact that learning should circle around a student’s curiosity.

Three rules that he recommends for teaching students include

1. Embrace curiosity

2. Trust the process

3. Gather information

I really love this TED talk for both old and new educators. Sometimes, educators need to be reminded that teaching can be more than just following a scripted lesson plan, and allow for their students to be curious learners every day.

21st Century Teachers

As this is a course dedicated to integrating technology into the classroom, I thought this week I would talk a bit about the project some of my second graders are starting this week which I am very excited about!

As part of writers workshop, they had to create a story based on a snowman they had created in their Art class. For example, one of the boys I work with titled his story “Icy the Silly Snowman” and created a fictional story about how his snowman came to life and used descriptive details to tell the reader what Icy looks like.

However, the cool part of this project is that this week as part of their Library/Media time, they will individually go on to an iPad and use an app (I don’t know the name of it yet, I will keep you guys posted!) that will record them reading their story, which they will then be able to show kindergarten students later on. This is SUCH a cool way to promote and incorporate digital literacy.

I completely believe that in order to promote the use of technology in the classroom, it really takes a team effort. By working together with the Librarian at my school, she was able to provide me with this resource which will allow some struggling writers to be proud of their work in the end!

Inclusion

I have been hearing about inclusion for a few months now, as I have just gotten into the education field both as a future teacher and current employee at an elementary school. However, I had never really paid attention to how teachers include all students in their classroom, regardless if they have a disability or not.

Starting this new job as a special education tutor has really opened my eyes to how both teachers and students accept and include students with disabilities in to the classroom. For example, I work with a girl in the morning who has multiple disabilities. Because she has poor social skills and a speech impairment, she can sometimes rely on me to facilitate a conversation with another one of her classmates. Though most students in her classroom are very welcoming and happy to talk with her, there are also some students who are intimidated or afraid of talking with her. This has certainly given me some insight in how I will include students in my future classroom.

Strategies for inclusion are highly important for teachers to know. The article I have posted gives some really great tips for incorporating students into the classroom.

What are some inclusion strategies you have seen or practice in your classroom?

http://www.theinclusiveclass.com/2013/01/10-easy-changes-teachers-can-make-to.html

Community

This week, I thought I would post a little self-reflection. Growing up in Newington, I had always known that our school district was always striving to help each and every child to succeed. Now that I have been recently hired at one of the elementary schools in Newington, this notion could not be more true. Although I have only been at my new job a month, they have welcomed me into the community with open arms and I never thought I would be so lucky to work in such a caring environment. The video I have posted truly shows just how tight knit the Newington school district is! I am so lucky!

Every Kid Needs a Champion

This TED talk, “Every Kid NeedsĀ a Champion” will forever be one of my favorite videos.

Rita Pierson talks about the importance of forming relationships with students. I wholeheartedly agree with the message she is trying to get across.

By forming a relationship with each and every student, not only does it help them learn better, but it allows for the educator to take a peek into their lives. In nine short months, an educator has the opportunity to really get to know their students, their backgrounds, their learning styles, their likes and dislikes, etc. These are the aspects of education that no one really talks about. Amongst all the efforts to reach higher test scores, standards that need to be met, and countless hours preparing for future lessons, teachers need to be aware of the students they have in their classroom.

Teaching is very much an empathetic process. In order to teach, you need to CARE about the students you are teaching. Otherwise, it’s just going to be a painstaking process for everyone involved.

In my career as an educator, I am constantly striving to form relationships with my students. Asking questions like “How are you feeling today?” or “Can you tell me one exciting thing you did this weekend?” helps me really get to know the student on a personal level.

Although I have only been working at my current job a month, I have already established a great relationship with each student I work with. This truly allows me to see what type of learner a student is, based on the activities the student likes to do outside of school. For example, I work with a student who is an amazing artist at just 7 years old! While working with him on certain math lessons, we often draw pictures or diagrams in order to figure out a problem. This really helps him to see a problem in a way that makes sense to him, all because I took the time to figure out what his interests are.

Overall, this TED talk has been my inspiration throughout the years as I have begun my journey as an educator.

Every kid truly is a champion in my eyes, and I will always be there to cheer them on.