The Best Kind of Mess!

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Courtesy of Amy Mileham

I’m not the biggest fan of clutter but I do like to see a little mess!  When I was a little girl I was a neat freak!  I hated being messy.  I would change my clothes if one speck of dirt was on my shirt.  My sister was the opposite.  She was a BIG mess!  Coming in the door with a clean spot on her clothing or body would have shocked us all!  So, what did my mom tell us?  To one child she would say, “Ena, I want you to go out and get as dirty as you can and play hard.”  To the other child she would say, “Rachel, you better not get a speck on you!”  And sure enough I would come home a little dirty and Rachel would come home a little dirty.  My mom knew that balance was important.

A Balance of Mess is the Best

Give a child a device, keep them “busy” on a worksheet or use technology as a babysitter, you will find a cleaner, quietly managed classroom.  But engaged classrooms are louder, messier, and more learning is going on within those walls.

Here are ways to successfully keep your classroom engaged and not just, “busy”.

Ideas on Utilizing Technology

Creation and Presentation Tools:  Educreations, Animoto, Prezi, Sway, Photo Peach, Mysimpleshow, iMovie, WeVideo, EdPuzzle, Smule Auto Rap, Adobe Voice, Chatter Pix.

Collaboration Tools:  Lino, Padlet, VoiceThread, TodaysMeet, EverNote

Learning Management: Edmodo, Remind, Seesaw, Moodle, Flipgrid, Schoology.

Interactive Tools:  Poll Everywhere, Explain Everything,  Nearpod, readwritethink, Discovery Education, AnswerGarden, Aurasma

Organizing Tools:  Popplet, Wufoo, Flowchart Maker

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Fun Way to Meet the Teacher!

This year I thought I would introduce myself to new students by using the QR feature on the Seesaw Learning Journal’s App and Google Chrome’s Screencastify.  Having two boys myself who love youtube videos, I knew this idea could be loved by my students.  My co-worker did the same and a parent let her know that the child watched her video 5 times since receiving it.  I will include my postcard template and a link to my video below.  If you haven’t tried these new creative apps, try them, they are great!  Hopefully this will set the tone for the year, that we will use technology, have fun, and learn so much! Welcome to Mrs. Reaves’ Class       Meet me, your 2nd Grade Teacher!

Welcome Picture

 

 

Research Walls

research-wall-2-e1496973512809.pngSooner than later it will be that time of year again for the hustle and bustle of creating that fabulous learning environment.  Being grounded in the Daily Five and The Sisters’ beautiful strategies for creating learning environments, I keep in my mind that that less is often more.  The biggest management tool as a classroom teacher is a blank canvas! Classroom walls are like a blank notebook that we add on to throughout the year. Having a visual memory myself, I retain the information by visualizing where the information is on the wall.  However, the memory is more profound because I was the one who created it.  Is what we place on our walls, student generated or teacher generated?  It does make a difference.  Thinking back to word walls research, the walls are useless if the students are not interacting with them.  Students have to have input and stake in what goes on the wall.  So skip the hustle and bustle and get those blank canvases ready!

SO WHAT ARE RESEARCH WALLS?

A research wall is our ONE major space to start our project, it is interactive, it is what drives the classroom learning.  I usually start by using the walkabout picture strategy (which is a quick pre-assessment).  I print off pictures that relate but that are not “give aways” to the learning.  The students walk about the room with their learning partners writing what they think they might learn based off of the picture.  Once I had a picture of a legally blind child skateboarding using a stick with a wheel.  They had amazing ideas for what we might learn, but didn’t quite understand the intentions of the picture until the end of the activity.  I think of this activity as the “K” in a KWL chart.  I place the pictures and student writing on the Research Wall.  The wrap up discussion is the “W,” what I want to learn… it is there that the students and I generate the DRIVING QUESTION.  The “W”  and “L” are continuous as the students place their questions and learning to the wall.  The wall tends to generate links to research using QR’s.  The data and findings are posted to the wall.  I get really excited when a student can post a discovery to the wall.  They stand up in front of the wall and post their findings.  EVERYTHING I facilitate and everything WE learn is purposeful to help us answer the questions on the research wall!

Try this Blindness Project to get your wall started…

blindness PBL KWL Walk AboutClose_Reading_of_Helen_Keller using the videoDE_Helen_Keller_LS_K5Driving Questions Essential Questions for BlindnessHelen_Keller__Excerpt_from_The_Story_of_My_Life oo wordsmath stationsPerson Puzzle – Domain and Range – Helen KellerRank_&_Reason (1) Helen Keller

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We even had our Career Specialist add to our Research Wall!

 

GROWTH

As I reflect on the most cherishable and rewarding moments in life, I find that they all have ONE simple thing in common, GROWTH.  I love seeing my students show growth, academically, socially, behaviorally, physically, and mentally.  The same goes for my proud mom moments.  It is important to celebrate teachers that grow as well.  In these transitional years, as a PBL coach, it’s not always easy to support “growth”.  Not everyone values everything in the same ways that I value things.  I find myself dwelling more so on those I can not influence instead of those whom I CAN connect with and who have listening ears. But these moments should not consume us, we are missing out on something far more valuable… CELEBRATING the successes.  I want to lift my heart more by looking at the positives and celebrating with those who grow and try new innovative moments with their students.  Accentuate the positive!

It started with ONE

It started with the one step, “ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND.” And as we move into the world of 21st century learning with ALL its glorious but overwhelming accessible technology, it is important to know that it starts with ONE. One small step evolves into so many more beautiful moments. I want to share my “ONES” and how they evolve. This blog will be my JOURNEY through technology and education. @ReavesEna

Connect ONE

A lot of people ask me about “the journey”.  I started my journey long ago on a dairy farm in Lawrenceburg, Tn.  I can still remember being full of wonder, gazing up at the starlit nights where the atmosphere was clear and you could see so many stars that even the colorful clouds of dust would mesmerize the gazer.  I still gaze, but now I gaze upon little lights in my classroom at Marvin Wright Elementary.  Each of them have so much potential.  Each ONE will connect to their world and shine… ♥  My spark is for them and my spark is for my family.  It is my hope that I can stir a fire in them that will make a beautiful and hopeful mark on the World. 

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