Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Today Was THE Day

Today was THE day - the day where things seem to come together in such a way that gives me joy and hope for the future. Let me try and provide you with a window into what was happening in our classroom today. In Writing, the students are working on generating and ordering ideas about a chosen topic in order to communicate their knowledge/interest in a written form. Through modeled, shared, and guided writing, they are experiencing the writing process in order to create great pieces to share with their classmates and families.

Throughout the writing process, many of the students asked if they could type their work out - one of the ways to polish their work and make it look suitable for publication. I introduced them to Google Docs and the cool things they could do to their writing in order to quench their creativity and allow them to collaborate and share in ways that are different than pencil and paper activities.

The students were working feverishly to complete their work - as if they had a major deadline to meet. Every few minutes I would hear, "Mr. Chidiac, I just shared my work with you!" and someone would come over to me and show me their progress and patiently await for my praise and feedback.

Here are some examples of the work that was shared with me:

One student, who proclaimed that he hated writing, completed this activity the other day. In fact, he was the first to reach the word processing phase and set the tone for the other students. As they were meeting with me and revising and editing, he was on a Chromebook smiling and talking about what he was doing as he was typing out his work, searching for images to include in his writing, and sharing his work with me and his mom. I found a moment to make a comment on his work and soon after, his mother, at work doing her job, got an email notification that he had shared his work with her which led her to make a comment on his work (which put him over the moon!).

Today, this same boy spent the first and middle recess writing out a short story about Sonic the Hedgehog. During writers workshop today he said the following to me, "Mr. C, since I am finished my paragraph writing, can I type out the short story I wrote today?". I responded by showing him a digital "Choose your own adventure" story that one of my grade 2 students created last year using Google Slides. I asked him if he wanted to create a digital story by transferring what he had already done - from his paper and pencil story book into a digital format. He said yes before I could even finish trying to sell it to him. Today was THE day that things would change for him.

Here he is, working on the digital version of his story:

Another student, one that has special needs when it comes to writing and not much confidence, learned how to use Google Read and Write today. I have been working one-on-one with this student, building his capacity by chunking his work and scribing for him to keep him interested and feeling good about his progress. Today was THE day that he would discover and use assistive software to get his idea on the screen and have the computer read his work back to him. Today was THE day that he said that HE completed an assignment on his own. Today was THE day that he asked if we could print a copy of his work to take home to his mother. Here is the work that he shared with me today:

There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a student feel success and satisfaction while they are in the process of learning. It gives them the boost they need to excel and allows them to build up their resiliency to help them deal with failure. They have so much to offer and need to believe in themselves. They are learning what it means to be 21st century learners - to leverage technology for their benefit, to be creative and share their learning, to work with others to improve their learning and that of their classmates, and to be responsible life long learners who can do whatever they put their mind and time towards. Today was THE day.  

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