Connecting/ The Power of PLN

As we come to the end of the COETAIL course, I can see the benefits and the big development that I took within the last 13 months. It was a very intense time, full of learning but also lots of fun.

Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

 

Connecting

One of the most exciting parts was to connect with other amazing educators around the world.  We had the chance to know our COETAIL peers better collaborating for some of the final projects for the other courses. Reading their blogs and commenting was a very deep way to know each other, how are they thinking, which is their way of working, and their insights about life.

I was very happy to collaborate with Julija, Cindy, Luis, and many other friends. I could learn to collaborate and be open-minded for some final projects of the courses, which were specially designed to overcome time difference barriers, different fields to connect, and different school cultures. I realized we were global educators, connectors who can shape the new generations and educations around the world. The power of education is in our hands.

We were also encouraged to create a Twitter account and be active participants sharing our experience as educators and exchanging knowledge with people around the world.

TWITTER

Even from the first weeks of the course, I opened an account on Twitter to enlarge my PLN and connect to the teacher’s community. I could be an active communicator to participate in discussions and post my COETAIL’s blog posts and other important learning experiences. “From a lurker, I became a connector” as one of the units of my first course was named. I was not only absorbing knowledge from my network but also sharing from my experience as a teacher, my “aha moments” in my teaching practice.

Twit your highlights in your work. Ask a question.  Follow someone who inspires you. Get information from other teachers related to a theme. This was the way how I was communicating with Twitter.

 

Reactivate our COETAIL  cohort#12 group

Another personal way was using the messages. Thus I reactivated our COETAIL  cohort#12 group and connect for communicating with Twitter.

Luis push even one step further and set up an online meeting. Imagine people from Panama, Vietnam, Brussel, Lituania, China, and Korea met to talk and exchange themselves.

Participating in a video call with COETAILers.

I participated also in group discussions there with my COHORT 12 group or in a smaller group for a certain project.  During Course 5, I reactivated the Cohort 12 group chat that was set by Cindy, after a long time of not communicating with each other.  Then Luis took it a step further and set up a zoom video call. Isn’t that amazing how a spark of communication, spreads further and keeps on going to see the dynamic and the motivation of our peers.

Sharing information from COETAIL and supporting the community to grow with more students in this course. Sharing my Coetail posts on Twitter. Ask a question to help a COETALer.

Thanking to my friends who twitted about me.

SEESAW

Since I started COETAIL, I became more ambitious and I wished to become a Seesaw Ambassador. I realized that Seesaw is an important tool for educators and I wanted to have all the skills that I could achieve as soon as possible. Due to the covid crisis and the online learning, I could explore more the Seesaw as a tool to assign to my students the tasks, to create interesting activities, to share with my community in the school library. I  could develop digital literate skills and understand better all the tools and features that Seesaw had.  I created announcements for parents and students. I created templates for children to respond more organized to the tasks assigned. I connected with the Seesaw community in their Facebook group and on Twitter as well.  Unfortunately, I missed documenting all my Facebook messages and answers to various questions, so it was so hard to find in the Seesaw group on Facebook older conversations. And finally after a few months, of being first a Seesaw Pioneer, finishing 10 sessions,  that attending a Specialist Teachers’ workshop, and participating in a long 3 h final test, I became a Seesaw Ambassador. Yeah!

Seesaw

 

Simona Schultz – 2020-11-07

Here are some useful tips on how you could use Seesaw. Maybe you could use it later on.

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Comment and support to the blogs of our peers from COETAIL

Because I was so curious about what are our peers writing, I follow Cindy’s post. Cindy’s COETAIL blog. She is always so well organized and structured, very clear in her content, and a very experienced educator.  Then Shalene’s (shuth.coetail.com)-where I also commented(https://shuth.coetail.com/2021/03/04/c5-choice-3-my-2nd-and-3rd-training-sessions/#comment-298)  and Andrea’s(agoodrich.coetail.com). I loved the warm tone and the rich information from Andrea and Shalene were writing. The last post of Andrea was totally astonishing. Please check it out. I was very inspired by this one.

Collaborating & Connecting

Then I was curious about how is the new COETAIL generation is thinking, I kept on reading different blogs.  I particularly liked very much the blog of Justin Ouellette.

I befriended them on Twitter and I even comment on some of them.

 

Practicing how to communicate with video media.

One month ago, I was creating some videos as a test to practice how to record myself for the final presentation video. This was one of the first tests:

Later on, I tried with the support of my coach from our school Dale Plotzki, to record myself with a green screen. And here I am editing videos and trying to have the basic bits of knowledge, how to clear the sound with a magic wand, how to enhance the voice of a speaker, how to reduce the background noise, how to add special sounds effects, and how to add music to a video.

Enlarge your PLN inside your community

Actually one of the big achievements lately, was to connect and know better the people from our community school, whom I see often but I have fewer chances to collaborate. I was quite ambitious about the ISB Museum, so I thought I might need some more support to get all the things on the level how I imagined. Thus I contacted:

  • our IT specialist, Dale Potzki( @dale_rickardo- Technology and Learning Innovation Coordinator) to be my coach for the final project for COETAIL. He took notes of our coach sessions every time and I didn’t miss any chance every time when I saw him ask questions that were important to me, for the project.
  •  Laura McLuckie (@LauraMcLucki)-  Head of Community Relations. We met first to discuss details about how can we release the ISB Museum with an opening reception which has all the covid restrictions in place. Then we made a recorded launch of the museum and we released it during our weekly assembly a few days later. She documented and created a video of the ISB Museum Vernissage. We shared her video and another video that I created based on the interviews with the students during assembly time.
  • My colleagues, PYP Teachers: Deanna Ruppert, Tina Gahagan, Sofia, and Carol (EY2-Teacher), I invited to collaborate over an extended period of time in our plan for the founding of the ISB Museum. It was a great experience to work with them. We had a word document at the beginning and then I set up meetings on a regular basis and I invited them once a week or every two weeks whenever they would have time to come and have some conversations around the museum or try to set up some things together. I was available two days during the week after school to let the people be flexible whenever they might have time to join me. Some people could come on Wednesdays and some on Thursdays.

Then we celebrated and visited the museum. Now from the inside community, we could share it with the rest of the world, per seesaw with the parents, or per Twitter. I could reflect our results with the COETAIL community- in the blog form. More details to come later.

And because I  imagine that the journey continues to keep in touch as educators, in local communities or global communities, our COETAIL Community, and around the world in the international pedagogy community, I hope to spread kindness, empathy, knowledge, and support each other and grow every day. I will say “hello”, instead of “goodbye” and “see you again”. Let’s keep in touch and shape the world with our COETAIL visions!

 

 

Mindfulness. Global School Play Day

Take a break

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

-Plato

Breath. Walk into woods

Take a break. Walk into the woods. Breath. Keep calm and keep on working.

There is always so much work to do and we continuously demand from ourselves or ask our students to be active, to do things.

But a very important moment for our mind is also to take a break. To stop for a moment, to let your mind wander, to take a deep breath before even more challenges come to your life.

During this year, which was so challenging due to the corona crisis, we couldn’t see our parents or friends from far away from our home country, we couldn’t travel and enjoy the world as we used to do before. But I discovered a very good therapy, which is going to the woods once a week and enjoy nature, breath and take a break. Hugging the trees, trying to feel their energy, and hear the sound of nature was also a good therapy for me to get good energy, strength and keep on going with my work and my life. Be there ready for my family and my work.

Cherry Blossom in Busan. Copyright by Simona

Finally is Spring Break and I appreciate the Cherry Blossom here in Busan. The Dalmaji Woods are fully bloomed and we could feel the joy and the bursting energy of nature. A bud growing from the hard peel of a tree is a symbol of hope.

Other mindfulness practice tips, you could find out here.

5 Simple Mindfulness Practices for Daily Life

How do we teach our children to be mindful?

When some children have a conflict, how do you talk to them? When they are totally anxious, how do you calm them down? How could you make them feel safe? How do we inspire them? How can we teach them to have empathy, a good attitude, and a good character?

Talk and listen -communicate. Rub a stone, touch a tree, take a deep breath. Do a refreshing exercise, a stretch for a break, when you feel your students are a bit tired. We have also an afterschool activity, which is Yoga and Mindfulness for children with Laura an expert in mindfulness. Those activities help our children to be happy at our school.

Mindfulness with Laura at ISB

 

Talking about inspiration and how can we found it, I was very happy to read the blog of our kind and knowledgeable COETAIL instructor, Joel Bevans’s “Inspiration is Everywhere, Say Something”. That gave me the courage to share what is important to me, to continue writing on my blog, and sharing my thoughts, experiences as a teacher and human being.

The Importance of Play.

It was proved from many studies that “play” for children makes the children more creative, develops social and emotional skills, the opposite impacts them negatively.  Peter Gray was describing this, in his TED talk.

 

Global School PLAY DAY (GSPD)

This year on February 3rd we celebrated again the Global School Play Day (GSPD).

Because the last year was a huge success we decided to organize again in ISB school the Global Play Day and participate along with others schools. Last year, in 2020 were 563,283 participants,  from 75 Nations. 

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

-Plato

“Play is self-controlled and self-directed. Play is where they learn to feel joy and they experience that the world is not so depressing”,  Peter Gray

Play is by definition from Oxford Languages:

  1. 1.
    activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation, especially by children.
    “a child at play may use a stick as an airplane”
  2. 2.
    the conducting of an athletic match or contest.
    “rain interrupted the second day’s play”

 

We have also every year, Spirit Week, one of the favorite school events for our children and teachers as well.  Recently we had a tug of war contest with teachers and children. What great fun that was. Those are different ways of playing and building good relationships, connecting with our students.

Once a week, our sports teachers Helen and Gearoid, have been organizing for the teachers a fun game “Turbo Touch”. We play together one day after school and practice some sports. That bought us lots of joy and made us know each other better, from a different perspective.

Play sparks creativity makes people happy, develops social and emotional skills.

How do you support “play” at your school? Did you participate in Global School Play Day as well? Do you plan that in the future?

How about mindfulness? Do you have any activities that introduce mindfulness at your school? Do you think that the students could benefit from that? Some interesting articles about mindfulness that I read, are:

“Mindfulness for Students- Benefit and Practice” by Jennifer Okafor,

and

Research on Mindfulness.