This week, I had the good fortune of visiting Bassano school to help out with some Halloween Radio Plays. It was great to hear the scary stories that students put together for their plays. I found it very interesting that we used a high tech format to put together a very old form of entertainment.
The students spent time before I arrived writing and rehearsing their radio plays. We then recorded the plays. For our purposes, we used Garage Band on a MacBook as that is what was available. However, the recording of the plays could be done using Audacity. The next step was to save the projects as MP3 files so they can be shared.
I will visit Bassano again as the students finish recording their plays. The final step will be to post the recordings online for parents to be able to access. This is a great way to share both student writing and student creativity. In addition, it is a great way to let parents hear what you are doing in your classroom.
Sharing the Stories
Earlier this week, I was able to visit a part of Alberta I had never seen before. I made a trip out to Gem to help the teachers there share the stories of the community. As I drove out to Gem from Brooks, I thought about how the landscape had changed over time and how it remained the same. I wondered if the landscape looks very similar to what it looked like 80 years ago. This is the story the teachers in Gem would like to tell. They want to use photography with their students to enable the telling of local stories. They are going to use Google Drive and Google Docs to have students take pictures of their area and begin writing and sharing their story. Using the technology available will enable the teachers and the students to collaborate and begin to create both a written and pictorial narrative of the area.
We all have a story to tell, whether it is one of rural farming or city life. Using the tools we have available to us, we can help our students and families within Grasslands schools share their stories.
On Tuesday I attended a meeting with Terry Chapman, Dean of Arts and Education at Medicine Hat College. At this meeting we discussed the concept of accessing expert knowledge at Medicine Hat College for classrooms at Grasslands Schools. In an earlier post, I wrote about VROC (Virtual Researchers on Call). This organization connects K-12 teachers with experts in science, technology, engineering, and math. To my knowledge, nothing like this exists for humanities teachers. Therefore, collaborating with Medicine Hat College to establish a database of experts in the social sciences and business fields may be very helpful to Grasslands teachers. In the meeting, Dr. Chapman asked me what topics I thought might be important to our teachers. So, I pose this out to all of you. If you had the ability to ask experts in history, business, literature, political science, or geography questions, what would they be? Are there topics that you would like experts to speak with your students about?
Our discussions with Medicine Hat College are in the preliminary stages but it would be very helpful to have the thoughts of Grasslands teachers. If you have a minute, I would really appreciate hearing from you.
This is a project that is about to begin with 10 teachers in the division. They are going to pilot 1:1 teaching and learning using Chromebooks in their classrooms. The cohort of teachers will participate in professional development related to 1:1 pedagogy. The aim of the project is twofold. First, teachers who participate in the project will improve their own understanding of emerging technologies and innovative teaching. learning and assessment practices. Second, the teachers participating in the project will act as innovation leaders within their own schools, providing learning opportunities and sharing with their colleagues. This is an ambitious project for the division. We are looking forward to working with the cohort of teachers in moving this project forward.