Sunday, April 11, 2010

Letting Students Shine

Tomorrow is the first gathering of our new stop motion video club which has now been named Scotty Dog Productions.  I must say I am full of excitement and nerves as I have never actually made one myself but have seen plenty of examples, read blogs about and discussed them with others.  Word surfaced at school of a 5th grader who has developed a passion for stop motion videos and it was suggested to approach him as a support person for this journey. Tony (over at Learn Me Sumthin') and I agreed we would approach him with the idea of being a mentor to kids in the group.

The art teacher had shown me one of the movies this student had created and I was very impressed by it.  He had created a scene that could have taken place during an Indiana Jones movies.  He used a toy car, an Indiana Jones figure and then a "bad guy" figure.  The gist of the scene is that the "bad guy" is in the car and Indiana Jones throws him out and takes over the car.

I called this student's mother to run the idea by her and I could tell in her voice that the idea of her child taking on a mentoring role would mean a lot to this student.  He hasn't had much of a chance to come forward as a leader and this would be a wonderful opportunity to highlight one of his strengths.  When I pulled him out of class and asked him if he would be willing to share his videos with the group and help us guide them through the process of creating videos of their own you could actually see the excitement start radiating from him.  I feel like we have given this student a chance to shine in a leadership role that might not have occurred without this group being formed.  

Here's to hoping tomorrow's first gathering of Scotty Dog Productions goes well!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

If You Give A Teacher Technology

Have you ever had the chance to read books written by Laura Numeroff?  One of her bestsellers is If You Give A Mouse A Cookie and it follows a wonderful pattern.  If you give the mouse a cookie they are going to want milk.  If you give them the milk they are going to want a straw and so on.  Today I had the pleasure of sitting down with one of the teachers in my building and showing her our district's Wiki/Blog.  Our conversation reminded me of the pattern of this book!

We started off the conversation with clarifying the difference between the two web tools.  Wikis being a collaborative space for multiple users to have input and Blogs typically being an individual's work where others can comment.  As I showed her some examples of how these tools were being utilized in other classrooms I could see the wheels turning and her thoughts running wild.

So I had her back up and tell me what she was thinking about doing before we had started chatting and exploring and she had shared that she was going to have kids post a sentence or two about what they had learned that day.  But she shared that with seeing all the possibilities of what other students had produced using these tools, and through our discussion, she felt like there were so many different directions she could go and she needed to rethink how to use Wikis and Blogs.

So we are scheduled to sit down again on Friday and continue our conversation.  I am so excited to see how her thinking has evolved and where she is going to take her students (and me!) on this journey in using Web 2.0 tools!