Final Project Course2/ COETAIL/ Reflection/# HI 5! Resources

Here are my reflections after 6 weeks of work and research in different ways about #Kindness and #Hope. Some ideas were becoming more clear on the way and now I could finally wrap all the work together with our team. The members of the team “Hi 5 ! Resources” Project are Julija, Christel, Luis Carlos, Mooney, and me(Simona).

  • How did you find your group for this project?

Reading the blogs of my peers in COETAIL, I was thinking about who would be suitable for this project, and who would create materials/ themes that they would like to share for free with other people around the world. Then I made a list with a few of the people from the COETAIL Course and I tried to connect with them.

  •  How did the collaboration aspect of this project go? What challenges did you face?

The collaboration with 5 different international people around the world in different time zones of the globe, proved to be quite challenging. Our team was Christel from Brussel, Julija from Vilnius, Mooney from Moskow, and Luis from Panama. Luckily, Julija from Vilnius was more active from the beginning and later Mooney and we could keep the group alive, sharing tasks and thoughts about how we would like to create together this project. Christel was also more active in the last week and we could clarify some of the details together. Then Luis caught up with us as well and we could connect all of us.

  • How did you overcome them? How was this collaborative planning experience different from or similar to other planning experiences?

I tried to keep on writing to them and have a positive tone to encourage them. I tried to share what I was doing and some resources to help them to become more active.

This experience was different from other experiences, in the way that I didn’t know very well the people and it was harder to connect. People were from different fields, like IT, High School, Library, etc, it was hard to design a teaching experience together. I think the actual situation of our reality, with some people having the school still on virtual learning and others like me, restarting the school,(and ending the school year in two weeks), was quite different. Everybody was so busy at their schools. Being the end of the school year, contributed even more on our busy schedule.

It was similar to other projects, in the aspect that we needed to set a common title, space/form how we promote our ideas. Then we were setting a group email/ later a chat group on Twitter, to communicate directly more quickly and easier.

It was very exciting to collaborate internationally with different people and cultural backgrounds around the world. It was interesting to try to overcome the age, experience, different fields barriers, and other obstacles of time and schedule with patience and positivism.

  • Why did you choose this option? These standards?

I chose this option because I thought it is broader and easier to approach for different levels and directions. It is open to more fields, levels of classes, etc. I chose these standards as the creative communicator and the empowered learner, because I thought it is about communicating their ideas, feeling to the others around the world. Feeling empowered by a good aim to spread # Kindness and #Hope around us.

Creative Communicator

“Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.”

Empowered Learner

“Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving, and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences.”

  • How was this learning experience different from or similar to other learning experiences you have designed?

This learning experience was different from the other experiences because I was aiming very high. I had the vision to contribute to a wider public to go on Seesaw community or at least to exchange and be directly more involved with other schools around the world. But it turned out, that I was a bit lost in the big picture and vision what do I want to do and reach realistically in this limited time and which is the right way. I tried different paths to research and connect with people from time to plan different types of lessons around # Kindness. It was good for me to realize that I have to focus first on my school community and build step by step, what is the concept of kindness, how can I promote kindness, how can I make the children behave kindly and understand that with their work they have a voice and feel empowered to change the things. It turned out to be very beneficial for our school, which made me very happy.

This is the Unit Plan “Spread #Hope and #Kindness” that I created for the UbD Project Final Project 2 COETAIL.

  • How does this experience relate to what you learned in Course 2?

I related to the things learned in Unit 1Course 2, Respect the Remix being inspired by different teaching resources and citing all the names or websites of the resources information. Then I created my own lesson plans modeling, adapting, and restructuring them on my own vision and the need for our children.
“Respecting the intellectual property of others supports a culture of innovation and remixing.”-the big idea from Unit 1. I applied one of the skills”Cite sources on your blog”.

For example I cited in my lesson plan:

“This art lesson was inspired by Cathy Barbro and Art Projects for Kids Blog. (ArtProjectsforKids.org) . I created videos based on some of the lesson plans from Cathy Barbro. Then I realize that I would like to let the children express themselves more themself, and not to give them a recipe. And I tried different art lesson plans. “Remixing leads to innovation” as my instructor, Joel Beavens said.

Then I totally identified myself with this ISTE for Educators from Unit2/ Course 2

“3.a. Create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that builds relationships and community.

Social interactions change as technology evolves.”

Lastly, one of the most important at the core of my concept/vision of this unit was to develop empathy feelings and positive actions in students and the community around us.

Those were the important guiding lines from my instructor, Joel Beavans from Unit 5/ Course 2:

  • “Empathize with local and global communities
  • Support students in developing empathy
  • How do we teach (and learn) empathy?
  • Small, deliberate actions can have a positive impact.”
  • If you facilitated this experience, how did the learners respond to it? What feedback did you collect to inform future experiences?

I assigned the tasks via seesaw as activities/VLE art lessons. Here are a few examples of what they achieved. They amazed me with their ideas and big hearts. It would be wonderful to create an exhibition in the future with this theme.

  1. Spreading hope and empathy #Chase the Rainbow, project.

Here, with 4th Graders, we combined the optical illusion skills/knowledge with #the rainbow theme.

# Spread Kindness

We created flowers and we gave the artwork to our parents as a sign of gratitude. To my surprise, luckily I received one from a student too. How kind are our students.

Grade 2 students
Grade 1 Student

#Kindness. Create an artwork to express what is kindness for you.

  • If you created a policy/agreement for your school, how did you tailor it to meet the unique needs of your community?

Our policy agreement for the use of media was already in work by our IT and Educational Team. They were about to update their new version in one or two weeks. I am sorry that I couldn’t refer now to it. I will wait for the new version when it will be available.

Project

This project we named it # “Hi 5! Resources” because we were 5 people who were contributing to share teaching resources and lesson plans for free with other people around the world, a symbolic way to help, be caring, and say “Hi 5!”.

The team of “Hi 5! Resources” consist of Julija, (Ed Tech), Christel (Teacher-Librarian, Middle and High School) Luis Carlos (Ed Tech), Mooney (High School Teacher), and me(Simona)-Art Teacher Elementary and ELC.

  • Why did you choose the option you chose?

I like to have high hopes and spread /plan an idea at a global level. I was hoping to reach more people around the world and bring a meaningful contribution. 

  • Why did you choose this topic? These standards?

I chose the topic of # Hope and #Kindness. I found it very inspiring and emotional connection that all people need around the world. A positive attitude: to have hope to spread kindness and to be emphatic.

  • How was this final project different from or similar to other learning experiences you have designed?

It was similar in the way that it was across the classes. It was different in a way that I was collaborating and depending on other’s people input as well.

  • How does this final project relate to what you learned in Course 2?

It’s about how do you contribute to the media community and how you inspired empathy.

It is about sharing resources that are for free so they don’t need copyright. Another connection is to foster empathy, be inspiring and influence in a positive way the other people around you, bringing hope and spreading #kindness.

  • What has influenced you the most in Course 2 and how is that reflected in your final project?

The inspiring projects of other people from Unit 5. It is reflected in a hybrid project “Hi 5 ! Resources”, which we started and hopefully could grow furthermore.

  • What outcomes do you hope to see when students (or educators) complete this unit?

I hope that the students and educators will have an active positive contribution to a better world. 

  •  What outcomes do you hope to see when this policy is implemented? A better world:)
  • If you facilitated this experience, how did the learners respond to it? What feedback did you collect to inform future experiences?

A fantastic response. Amazing artworks and ideas. The children were very happy and very connected to their family, their friends, to me, to the school community. They felt even connected to other children, people around the world who were in lockdown at home, due to the pandemic of coronavirus on the globe.

And now I would like to end my post, with the same question that I asked my students a few days ago, ” What is kindness for you?”. I would like to invite you as well to watch this beautiful video from Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Thought Bubble: Kindness and reflect on it. I found it very inspiring and I shared it with my students in my lessons. I created a lesson plan on the “Hi 5! Resources” related to this theme, please check this out.

I

Course 2/ Unit 5 / #Becoming Contributors with… Hope and Kindness

This unit was very inspiring. I read so many interesting projects of awesome innovative educators around the world, from Joel Beavens and his Travelling Tales project. Even I thought it felt so simple one week ago when I first read the material related to this unit/topic-becoming contributors, it seems more and more complicated when I have to write about it.

The time is flying and even I was thinking so much and felt empowered to take action in my practice as teacher and COETEL-er, planning with enthusiasm the final project, the reality of our life is different. It feels hard to transit back to the “real school”, to finish the end of the school year with the reports, and to fulfill my dreams and vision with COETAL Final Project 2. The pressure feels higher and higher to get all the things done.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find so easily, the document, related to “Responsible/Acceptable Use Agreement/Policy or Social Media Agreement/Policy.” in our school. On our internal website we usually share all those policies and documents for the whole school. I contacted in the meantime the administration to get more information and maybe I could relate later again about this.

However I could gladly respond from the perspective of the action that I have seen in our school taken, about how our school empowered stakeholders to contribute to the global communities.

  • How do your school’s policies/agreements empower stakeholders to make positive contributions to local and global communities?
  • Our school joined last year, the “Friday for Future” Movement, and made a strike in front of the City Hall in Busan, South Korea. (5th Grade students supported by their teachers). This movement was inspired by Greta Thunberg. She is an environmental activist young girl who inspired, empowered, and changed the whole world.
  • This year, two of our students made their PYP Project related to protecting the Earth. They were responsible and took action going to the beach for 10 th times every weekend to collect garbage and clean the beaches around Busan. Other students had chosen endangered animals as a topic and they created drawings, paintings inspired by those animals. Later those were printed as postcards and sold at our school shoop. The money was donated to an animal foundation.
  • My son and other 3 students were working for a project, “Health and Diet” and they were empowered to teach the children about healthy food. They were encouraging the children to post their healthy meals in our school community.
  • How do you/your school share these documents with the school communities? How do you/your school’s actions show that you fully believe in and live these documents?
  • To be honest, I don’t know yet. I am still searching for the document but I think throughout the action that the students and the teachers at our school are doing those documents are alive.
  • What actions will you take to continually improve your own media literacy? Your students and colleagues’?
  • I am researching carefully. I try to get informed as much as possible about this theme. Common Sense website about digital citizenship is one of our good advisers. The teachers in our school had a one-week workshop and PD related to that. The parents were invited also in a workshop one month later and we could be informed about this. I am checking out podcasts and on the internet, on twitter information about that as well. I am sharing with my students and my colleague’s free resources. I am making them aware about the copyrights and the way how they should use the resources/information.
  • Students need to be though to think critically about media use and their role in participatory culture. A very good discussion was brought into my attention in this article (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation). People should think about these essential questions:

“Consider, for example, the framework for media literacy proposed by Thoman and Jolls (2005):
• Who created the message?
• What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
• How may different people understand this message differently than me?
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• What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in – or omitted from – this
message?
• Why is this message being sent?
There is much to praise in these questions: they understand media as operating within a social and cultural context; they recognize that what we take from a message is different from what the author intended; they focus on interpretation and context as well as motivation; they are not tied up with a language of victimization.”

If they understand this questions then they can contribute in a positive way to the participatory culture.

How do you thrive in our participatory culture?

I think being active lately on Twitter is a way of sharing and exchanging “know-how”. Another big achievement is that recently I become a Seesaw Pioneer and I joined on Facebook in their group community and I tried to be active and supportive with comments there. On the other side at my school, I am so happy to contribute and I shared some files with shortcuts for seesaw for the symbols of some tools, and other information about all the webinars that are on the Seesaw Pioneer learning platform.

  • Writing in my COETAIL blog is a way to feel empowered, responsible, and show my action in participatory culture as well.
  • Some other ways to show my action in participatory culture were to spread kindness and hope in the community from our school.

We created a group of teachers who made activities with children inspired by the movement “# Chase a Rainbow” project and we prepare for virtual learning lessons that encourage the children to be positive and express their hope with a rainbow. I created myself a flag with a rainbow which I hang on the window near my Art Class Studio.

I also designed for few weeks art lessons and activities to create a rainbow and inspired the children with hope. The response was fantastic. The children amazed us with creative ideas about rainbows. The little ones they created even one of the biggest rainbows. Please see the pictures below.

Flag with rainbow made by myself.
Artworks by my students/ Preschool(up)
3rd Grade Student
Artwork from a 5th Grade student
Artwork from a Kindergarten student
  • How did you learn to be empathetic?

During my life I had many ups and downs. I survived the communism system in Romania in my childhood. I emigrated later(when I was 22) from Romania to Germany for my study. I had to have mini-jobs to support myself in Berlin because life was expensive for a student. Then later I moved from Germany to South Korea, different realities and struggles for people around the world. I think the life experience made me understand better the people around me and to appreciate more what I have. Then I could support the others around me when they need my help and be empathetic.

  • How have you supported your students and peers in becoming more empathetic?

I think one of the few good examples is from this week when, I tried to spread Kindness in Lower Elementary School. I designed a few art lessons which had a kindness message.

I invited the children to draw flowers ( a rose, a tulip) and to write a message for their parents, like “Thank you for your help”(during VLE), or “You are so kind” and afterward to offer to their parents, as a sign of gratitude.

When someone had a birthday, I invited the peers to write on a card some birthday wishes and to celebrate them.

Usually if a teacher has a birthday or a trainee is leaving, we organized with their class a huge card in which the students glue their own card to express their feelings.

We had also a Kindness calendar in our staff room and share good thoughts. Last year we had “a secret buddy” and we made us surprises for a week. Everybody was in good spirits and we cheered up.

How about yourself? Is it easy for you to share empathy?

I will end in the tone how I ended my lessons for my students this week: “Remember always to be kind:)”

This is an impressive artwork from one of my student in 2nd Grade, from this week.

#COETAIL# THINK

I was happy to see that the first text related to this theme was already known to me. This was published by Butler University. This Acrostatic poem :

T= Is it True?

H = Is it Helpful?

I= IS IT INSPIRING?

N= Is it Necessary?

K= Is it Kind?

This poster hangs also on my walls in the classroom and I saw it on a colleague of mine, De, who used it every year with her classrooms and I found it a great educational strategy.

Now I could learn also about the original source, which is Butler University, “Let’s Think Before You Post.”

I think that everybody should keep in mind this before posting something on their social media.

Another challenge for me and probably for many of you, is when you read different news or information online, how do you know if is it true or false? If the news has accurate information or is manipulating yourself in a certain way to believe what they want.

Of course in this stage, our research skills should be developed well and our rational thinking could decide if this is a reliable source or not, if this is a well-researched article or sensational news, etc.

It was very helpful for me to read this article Browse Authenticating Information (Media Smarts)

https://mediasmarts.ca/digital-media-literacy/digital-issues/authenticating-information/verifying-online-news.

and Media Literacy 101 (Media Smarts), telling us how to evaluate and reflect on true news, and fiction from real facts in digital media.

Today I learned also two new words bot- from twitter bots, and social currency.

What is a bot?

“A bot is a software application that is programmed to do certain tasks. Bots are automated, which means they run according to their instructions without a human user needing to start them up. Bots often imitate or replace a human user’s behavior. Typically they do repetitive tasks, and they can do them much faster than human users could.”(What is a bot? from Cloudflare). I also found out that one of the most successful IT people, Daniel Dines, in Romania, is the “Boss of the Bots”, according to Forbes magazine. He was one of the cofounders of the UiPath CEO.

Related to social currency, I found out that pictures and videos are part of social currency and the people who are taking pictures and recording videos by themself are the creators, while the others who are reposting other’s people pictures and videos are the curators. This was an interesting article about that. Photos and Videos as Social Currency Online (Pew Research Center)

I think I like to be the creator. I like to try to create as much as I can by myself. Only if it is a field which I am not so knowledgeable, I research first, filter and try to pick the most relevant information. So I think I could become more knowledgeable in media literacy. My children and the new generation is far ahead of exploring media literacy.

But what is it “Media Literacy”?

Media literacy is”being able to access media on a basic level, to analyze it in a critical way based on certain key concepts, to evaluate it based on that analysis and, finally, to produce media oneself.” 

Talking to my children if they felt ever experienced misinformation, my son told me that he recently read on a platform Reddit that “Brawlstars”, one of his favorite games will not be available anymore for free to play. But because he knows where to check for reliable news, he went to check with a youtube blogger, KairosTime Gaming, who is famous for posting news about the big championships in brawl stars and he found out, that the Pass Brawlstar with money was fake news.

Luckily, I didn’t experience misinformation and I relayed on my close friends’ network, whom I know personally and I am connected with. Related to big political and social news, sometimes I am tired of so many negative news. I prefer to listen to the journal, The Economist because they are having good journalists who research more before they write something.

How about you, how have you experienced misinformation? How can you decide which are the reliable information sources?