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.

Image

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C4,W3: Learning Deeply, Digitally

Reading about deep learning from Monica Martinez, I found it very good defined those 6 strategies.

6 Powerful Strategies For Deeper Learning In Your Classroom

 

  • How might the classroom/school environment impact learning partnerships?

Parents, teachers, and children are creating a partnership. They are all contributing to the learning experience.

  • Design deep learning tasks that are made possible by technology.

We created Winter Themed postcards and we advertise per Seesaw to the parents creating online shopping opportunities for the parents before Christmas. The funds were donated to the Angel Tree. This project was a planned collaboration for a fundraising activity between the homeroom teacher and the art department.

 

This project gave to the students was embraced by the students with great creativity and big learning leadership, to advertise their idea as they wished for their purpose.

Another deep learning tasks that I tried to design was to combine printmaking with animation. However, we are still in process of creating the linocut prints, it took us longer, (carving is a hard process at this age), and later on,  we will print and we will apply the digital tools to try to create an animation.

Thinking about other deep learning tasks: recognizing images, motion, voices, I found some great examples from our everyday life. Did you know that deep learning is used for new cars that are driving on autopilot?

https://www.mathworks.com/discovery/deep-learning.html

  • How might human connections make deep learning possible?

The success of a learning experience is often based on a great relationship between student and teacher. If first is nurtured a good relationship of trust, mutual respect, and empathy, afterward the student gets confident and takes serious his learning goals, becomes empowered and gives his best.

Another example is from my PLN.

Recently I could reach one of my goals to become a seesaw Ambassador. It was very inspiring to get connected to the community of educators around the world who are using seesaw for learning.

Especially during online learning, the strong connections between parents and teachers made it possible for the little ones to use the media to participate in the learning experience. Also due to Twitter, the seesaw community of teachers, COETAIL, and other platforms we were able to communicate more easily with other educators around the world and to exchange ideas, and improve our practice as educators.

  • Reflect on how invisible bias impacts the learning environment.

In Romania, the children are learning through the online system because the schools are closed due to coronavirus. Talking to my peers in Romania, I realized how difficult it is for many children, who don’t have a computer at home and therefore cannot participate in the learning process online.

It is quite paradoxical, but many Romanian people are very talented and good at computer skills. I think along the years the lack of some equipment made the people become more creative on how to use the minimum of technology tools and they are very eager and curious to learn about technology. Many found it very important to have a mobile phone but they are limited to afford in many places a computer, especially in rural zones.

However, it is impressive how many young people chose IT for their career and they immigrate abroad for better opportunities for working.

I am sure that this situation could be even acuter in other countries, and people at first glance misjudge what a person from a non developed country would be capable of.

The Economist:  In poor countries technology makes a difference for education.

How could we educate our students to think objectively?

There is a great exercise with an example/form about how can we teach the students how to recognize the invisible bias.  This is great training for critical thinking.

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-09-04-everyone-has-invisible-bias-this-lesson-shows-students-how-to-recognize-it

 

  • “It is imperative that we make deep learning tasks accessible to all learners.”(Enduring understanding)

I know that lots of deep learning examples are happening in international schools(especially the IB systems, as far as I know), but how can the regular students from the state education system reach those new methods of learning? Would be possible in the future that state institutions to collaborate with private schools to get inspired by those concepts and practice of deep learning? I know that in South Korea, we have guests teacher from the Korean Education Program who are observing us and collaborating with us to understand those new approaches. How about other countries in the world? Are they also opened to this model?

 

Researching about “Knowledge Construction”, I found out from some Finnish authors that:

“Knowledge construction is a collaborative process which aims to produce new understanding or knowledge which exceeds something that anyone alone could not achieve. It is also essential that knowledge construction is based on each others’ ideas and thoughts.” ( Learning from Social Collaboration: A Paradigm Shift in Evaluating Game-Based Learning)

 

  • Re-structure students’ learning of curricular content in more challenging and engaging ways made possible by digital tools and resources?

Use digital media (like Stop Motion or  Movie Maker)  to animate a drawing or a print with the help of digital tools. For this task, I will definitely partner with the students in designing the structure or process of the task. Some of them have already great experience using animation programs.

I am thinking even about creating an afterschool activity club where they could use the digital tools directly in their projects.

Another important idea for me of using the digital tools was to create a self-assessment method and peer assessment technique.  A reflection at the end of their project, that they could fill in, write their thoughts, and evaluate themself and their peers. We could collect, analyze, and speak about their growth, their classmates’ growth, and their needs within the art class program.

So, the ISTE for students that I chose, was the Empowered Learner.

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.

See the Empowered Learner standards in action.  Empowered Learner Playlist

What kind of digital tools and resources did you use in your practice? Could you please share with me some examples from your experience? What are the simple digital platforms/ apps, programs that children from elementary students could use? Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Alone or Together for a Better Education?

“Helping Humanity with Deep Learning” was a sentence that stuck with me since I was exploring this material about Deep Learning by Michael Fullan and his partners.

Image abstract from the video of the lecture of Michael Fullan.

Thinking about the aspect “Life and learning merge” from “Deep learning”, I could give a clear example from my classroom teaching practice.

One example of entrepreneurship and taking action in the real-life was:

Greeting cards to create and to sell as a fundraising plan.

This is a great example of creativity the way how the 3rd Graders explored based on the star structure, to create a snowflake or a winter celebration ornament, for their cards.

I often support student agencies, and lately, the children took an initiative to create greeting cards, crafts, and other artworks for sale to make a fundraising event at our school for “The Angel Tree”. This is a direct example of how the children think beyond the classroom and apply in real life the skills that they achieved to take action.

 

Traffic signs for our biking paths at our school

Another collaborative plan is for the next unit of G1 about “How the world works?” and particularly transportation.  Because the children at our school love to ride a bike and they have restricted areas, they made a petition to the school principal where they would like to ride the bike in a wider area and it was approved. We decided together for our safety we need to create “Traffic Signs” where we should stop, park, bike, turn left or right, forbidden, etc.  We would like to create those signs during the Art Class. The signs will be in real size and we hope to integrate them at the playground at our school in the near future after we will finish the project.

 

Planning a Museum at our school.

Another idea was to create a museum at our school.  The children and we were frustrated that we cannot go on field trips and we thought why not create a museum at our school where different classes could visit and explore the different collections and the travel idea to a museum.

This would be a bigger collaboration project with different classes (EY2, KG, G1, G3) which takes more time and preparation for making a successful project. We thought about how can we integrate technology at this young age with the interactive idea of museum exploration.  We came with the idea of how to use a special app where they can choose the picture of a highlighted piece and they could receive a voice message about what is that object about. This would be a good challenge for “Communication”  and “Critical thinking” as a concept as well.

Talking about communication, we might like to create some emojis cards to help to express our feeling and communicate better with each other. Especially for the lower elementary students that might help very much in the future.

Thinking about character education, we revised the profile learners two years ago and we created new banners based on our original artworks from different students across the elementary school during the art class. This was a school-wide collaboration project and the original ideas of our little citizens are printed on the big banners and seen by everyone around the school.

 

A wonderful example of creativity

Last week we created with students from Kindergarten racing tracks and racing cars. First, they learn the letter “R” in their classroom, and afterward, they drew with oil pastels the racing car tour and other details around.

We were applying the scientific approach of an explorer, thinker and tried to explain to us how the forces work and how could we express that speed and motion on a racing track.

 

To resume from Michael Fullan some of his main concepts are the:

Impressive 6C

 

Deep Learning

“The goals of deep learning are that students will gain the competencies and dispositions that will prepare them to be creative, connected, and collaborative life-long problem solvers and to be healthy, holistic human beings who not only contribute to but also create the common good in today’s knowledge-based, creative, interdependent world.”

 

What are the New Pedagogies?

“New pedagogies are a new model of learning partnerships between and among students and teachers, aiming towards deep learning goals and enabled by pervasive digital access. Most instructional elements of the new pedagogies are not ‘new’ teaching strategies, although we would say that active learning partnerships with students are new.”

 

Old pedagogies style-based only on the ability to deliver content in a subject.

“New Pedagogies”

“The foundation of teacher quality is pedagogical capacity – teachers’ repertoire of teaching strategies and the ability to form partnerships with students”

“The explicit aim is deep learning that goes beyond the mastery of existing content knowledge. Here, deep learning is defined as ‘creating and using new knowledge in the world.’

  • * Technology has unleashed learning, and the potential for students to apply knowledge in the world outside of school; new pedagogies leverage all of this in the formal learning process. •Teaching shifts from focusing on covering all required content to focusing on the learning process, developing students’ ability to lead their own learning and to do things with their learning.
  • *Teachers are partners with students in deep learning tasks characterised by exploration, connectedness and broader, real-world purposes.
  • Learning outcomes are measured in terms of students’
  • * 1) capacities to build new knowledge and to lead their own learning effectively,
  • * 2) proactive dispositions and their abilities to persevere through challenges, and
  • * 3) the development of citizens who are life-long learners”

 

Why?/ New models

“Today, our economies are shifting.”

The new models are ones of

  • learning and innovation
  • entrepreneurship
  • creativity 
  • global collaboration.

A wonderful experience of global collaboration was our final project inspired by Halloween created with Cindy(Vietnam) and Melanie(Jeju Island) my COETAIL colleagues, when we planned our unit together we taught and we exchange opinions and got reflections from each other. Please see the final project of Course3.

“These factors are combining to establish groundbreaking conditions for deep learning to take off on a massive scale”. Michael Fullman

 

In New Pedagogies “New Change Leadership” is very important.

New Change Leadership

“They cultivate social capital and leadership,

not only among other leaders but also

* among students,

* teachers,

 *parents

*and the broader community of stakeholders, making everyone a participant in the new learning.

They use ubiquitous access to technology to enable and accelerate all these things, and they keep learning at the forefront of all digital strategies. “

“Many current curriculum standards, alongside standardized assessments that primarily measure content reproduction, are the greatest barriers to the widespread adoption of new pedagogies”

 

New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (long video)

 

 

Essential Question(s)

  • How might human connections make deep learning possible?

“Everyone becomes a teacher in the new pedagogies, and everyone becomes a learner.”

Sometimes when I teach origami classes, some students amazed me with higher skills in folding origami of new creations. Then I tried to take the place in the classroom as a student and to give the agency to that person to teach their peers new skills in origami. Like this children feel more empowered and share knowledge with confidence with their community. Then I become a learner and my student become a teacher.

Why?

Goal- “Ultimately, these pedagogies foster a new kind of learning that is more engaging and more connected to real life and that better prepares young people for life and work in today’s world.”

  • How might the classroom/school environment impact learn partnerships?

Learning in Partnership

“Effective partnering is built on principles of equity, transparency, reciprocal accountability and mutual benefit”

Learning to learn and Peer Tutoring

“Learning to learn, where students become meta-cognitive observers of their own and others’ learning processes, is a fundamental goal in the new pedagogies. ”

Learning to learn requires that

  • students begin to define their own learning goals and success criteria;
  • monitor their own learning;
  • critically examine their own work;
  • incorporate feedback from peers, teachers, parents, or simply other people in general;
  • and use all of this to deepen their awareness of how they function in the learning process.

Peer Tutoring

  • students teach their peers and their teachers are, in our view, a powerful vehicle to assist students in developing awareness and mastery of the learning process.
  • peer tutoring requires that students become involved in the process of defining learning goals, providing assessment criteria, and so forth.

 

The repertoire of new pedagogical strategies in new pedagogy from teachers.

“Project-based learning through direct instruction to an inquiry-based model.

But the key is that the teacher takes a highly proactive role in driving the learning process forward, using whichever strategy works for a specific student or task (and analyzing which strategy works best). In the new pedagogies, this means interacting with students to make the students’ thinking and questions about learning more visible.”

 

The New Pedagogies – Learning Partnerships

How new pedagogies work in practice?

“1. New learning partnerships between and among students and teachers.

2. Deep learning tasks that re-structure the learning process towards knowledge creation and purposeful use.

3. Digital tools and resources that enable and accelerate the process of deep learning.”

“Students today want to be actively engaged, they want to determine the path of their own learning, chart their own learning journeys. Technology tools have exploded the way they interact with the world around them, and it’s changed how they want to be in the classroom. ” Pauline Roberts, 5th and 6th Grade Teacher, Michigan, USA

Strategies of Learning in New Pedagogy- The Teacher as an Activator

New Pedagogy Teachers are those teachers who play dynamic, interactive roles with students.

How?

  • pushing students to clearly define their own learning goals,
  • helping them gain the learning muscle to effectively pursue those goals
  • supporting them in monitoring how they are doing in achieving those goals
  • helping them gain the learning muscle to effectively pursue those goals, and supporting them in monitoring how they are doing in achieving those goals
  • help them master the difficult and demanding process of learning.

New System Economics

“We share a body of evidence that suggests how the new pedagogies model, when implemented effectively, can lead to dramatic breakthroughs in learning outcomes. We outline the economic and policy realignments needed to achieve this. Ultimately, the new pedagogies deliver because they provide greater overall value for societies’ investment in education.

They develop the

* learning capacities,

*creative experiences, and,

*‘know-how’

our young people need to gain a solid foothold in the onward trek through life and work in today’s world.”

Here is an important take on, a summary of tips for your teaching for the emerging roles of teachers and learners.

How do you apply the new pedagogies concepts in your teaching practice?

Course 3, Final Project-Halloween!

 

Are you ready for Halloween? Because we were just in time to decorate for the Open House and soon we will have a Halloween Party at school. Let’s warm-up and see some of the students’ works.

.

Poster- Shaun’s artwork.

Ylin_Slideshow_Halloween

After a strong collaboration with Melanie and Cindy, here comes our final project:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1M43T9OJlpTr1wygtWXHYZ5KJM7UJpeOmVs69stinU44/edit?ts=5f8bbe73#slide=id.g9cffd0b9d1_0_2618

 

Halloween_COETAIL_Final_Course3_Project

  • Why did you choose the option you chose?

I look at the list of the shared groups and I thought that there was a small group also in Asia(Korea, Vietnam) and I thought that I could communicate easily because of the time zone, with them. I also often read their blogs and I found them, interesting educators, where we could find some things in common.  I love collaborations and I found it very exciting coming from different fields to find a common ground to work for all of us. I wrote them straight away an email and I was accepted into the group.

The combination of an analytical mindset(Melanie- the science teacher), a wonderful designer, and teacher Cindy (a true designer guru- I always admired her fantastic designs) and me -the art teacher and artist (a creative spirit), I thought would work nicely.  Also working with so experienced educators, like my colleagues, is always a great challenge to learn together, exchange experience, and get things from other perspectives.

  • Why did you choose this topic? These standards?
  • We were discussing in a video call various topics and standards. We were thinking about Ocean Pollution, Ceramics, and different states of matters,  but the time to realize this project would have been a very long one. We wanted to be something that could connect us all and to exchange as soon as possible opinions and results.
  • Because now it is the time of Halloween and the children would love this theme and it is an international celebration, we had the feeling that all the children would feel connected and happy about that. We set that the public would be the students from Vietnam.
  • We set up the lesson plan together, did the researches, and I  conducted a few lessons. One was online and two others at school. We sent samples of the student’s works to the school in Vietnam. The age of our students was also similar, 4th Grade(Cindy’s Class) with 5th Grade (my students) and 6th Grade( Melanie’s students). So they could definitely share many things in common at this age.
  • We choose ISTE Standard 6 and 7, Creative Communicator, and Global Collaborator
  • 6 B. Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
  • 7 B. Students use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts, or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.
  • 7 C. Students contribute constructively to project teams, assuming various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a common goal.
  • How did you grow as a collaborator and facilitator during Course 3?
  • We designed together lesson plans, based on our skills achieved during this 3 rd course. We created a platform for students to exchange and get motivated, that their work reaches a wider public and it is valued.
  • How was this final project different from or similar to other learning experiences you have designed/facilitated?
  • I found it very useful that we had two video calls and we communicate via email and google docs comments very intensively. I found that all my peers worked very hard and then our work was smooth as the sea. A good structure was put in place from the beginning. We shared our work and responsibilities. So everyone knew what to do.
  • How does this final project relate to what you learned in Course 3?
  • We tried to design all our lessons based on all the units that we studied in this course. I explain to my students about visual literacy, visual hierarchy, infographics, memes, slideshows, the principle of design, CARP.  Even my students mess up their Infographic, it was interesting for me to see what I could facilitate and I was clear about it and what was maybe too difficult or too unclear explained. It is good to change the roles, and suddenly I found myself from the shoes of a student into the shoes of a teacher again.
  • What has influenced you the most in Course 3 and how is that reflected in your final project?
  • I like very much the idea of a story behind every design(Design Zen). I found it very important how the information and the design go hand in hand together.  Even I thought it would the job of a graphic designer, and sometimes I need lots of time for creating something with the computer,  I think it is necessary to have a basic of tools and I found myself, enjoying canva and trying to create lesson plans with visuals for my students.
  • What outcomes do you hope to see when students (or educators) complete this unit? How will you know that students (or educators) have learned the concepts?

Some of the samples of the work of my students from 5th Grade.

Ylin_Slideshow_Halloween

Halloween art ,

Anna_Halloween_History

 

Some of the students responded very well but some I have the feeling they didn’t understand the task and they needed more time to finish their work.

  • If you facilitated this experience, how did the learners respond to it? What feedback did you collect to inform future experiences?
  • Based on the Halloween theme and our lesson plans, I conducted two classes with 5th Graders, (creating, slideshows inspired by the history of Halloween, infographics, and posters).
  • I even created for the Lower Elementary students, some lessons because they loved our displayed artworks and they wanted to create something inspired by Halloween Theme as well. I taught one class for Kindy -exploring line and how to create a spider net and cut-outs of a Ghost House(one student created a beautiful drawing and cut out of our haunted school) and one lesson for the 1st Grade with Halloween Pumpkins-with line patterns and cut-outs. Our Halloween week is still ongoing and I hope the kids are full of imagination to enfold even more their spooky ideas about Halloween.
  • Feedback:
  • I gave too much information. I should structure more simple for elementary students.
  • I still have to work on my skills in slideshows. I would like to create a better presentation myself and prepare less material with clear tasks.
  • I wish I could have compiled all the pdfs data presentation in a slideshow, but I didn’t have time to figure that out. I am happy at the moment that I can use canva, the gallery in the menu for the blog, and some other tools. And, last but not least, I am very proud that in Seesaw I made huge progress. I am very comfortable with lots of functions and tools. I finished 10 webinars as Seesaw Pioneer and I was invited to attend the Ambassador training program and hopefully, soon I could become a Seesaw Ambassador.

Happy Halloween everyone!

 

Course 3/ Week 4/ The Art of Communication

 

Today I will try a different perspective and I will start backward with the last question from my assignment:

“How might the concepts from this week change how you see the world?”

  •  audience-message

Considering better the audience you clarify your message, what you would like to communicate with the others. Then you can structure your ideas in simple keywords.

  • right visuals-support your message

The visuals are very important. The right visuals which support your message are the key to reinforced communication. Please check this info.

Garr Raynolds gives some wonderful examples and says that “Good” or “Bad” presentation design does not exist. It is “appropriate” or “inappropriate”, depending on the context.

Implementing the message as a storyteller, it is also a brilliant idea. I love his statement “Storytelling makes us humans”. Watch this ted talk, please.

 

..and I applied his 11th lesson from storytelling “Be authentic”, take risks, and let yourself be vulnerable and I try to create a better presentation.

 

Before
The Elements of Arts in Comparison_01,

The_Elements_of_Art_Inquiry

In this slide, I wanted to provoke students to think and observe more using some of my personal artworks to make them more curious. I chose to search and identify some of the elements of arts. Let’s see if that could be easier for my elementary students with this inquiry strategy.

Usually, in my classroom, I am not using PowerPoint presentations in my teaching practice. I sometimes use Google Slides to structure a lesson and show my students visual aids and a collection of some inspiring pictures.

But this year, I became a great fun of Seesaw. Because I need it every day in my online teaching practice. I am creating mostly there my lessons with all the tools to create templates to answer, to record voice instructions, to add multiple visual aids,  links, and so many other features. I like it because it is simple and even the students have some basic tools easy and fun to use. It is a great tool for collaborative learning.

Luckily this week we started all back to school and we are enjoying now different methods of communicating and expressing our ideas.

Probably now would be the right point to gather feedback. I should send a survey to the students and parents, to ask their opinion about how I communicate my assignments.  Were the visual aids clear enough? Were the lessons easy to understand and to follow? Or, I could use the Harkness discussion protocols method to invite my students to voice their opinion.

Often I used to ask my students in our zoom meetings about their opinion and what was working well and what should I stop using. I got very constructive feedback and I could adjust and improve my lessons.

Probably I would even ask my colleagues their feedback. Often we use to advise each other and collaborate closely. Especially with lower elementary and ELC was very important to communicate early enough what is efficient and easy for students and parents to follow.

“Context matters
However, as far as design is concerned, it is useful not to think (judge) in terms of right or wrong, but rather in terms of what is appropriate or inappropriate. That is, is it appropriate or inappropriate for a particular context? “Good” and “Bad” are indeed terms we use when talking about design — including PowerPoint/Keynote slides — but I’m personally cautious of this kind of thinking, especially when judging a design without its full context available.”

I totally agree with him, because they are many different audiences and presentation from different fields and design it should serve its purpose of delivering the right information to the right people.

The task sounded like that:” The assignment is to choose a visual aid (slide, poster, anchor chart, etc.) that you would like to update.”

How did this process differ from other times you have created/updated other visual aids?

I remembered that I am an artist at the base and I wish to use my skills as a personal strength and originality. I would like to combine the visuals which are handmade with the digital text which is clear, informative, and compact.

Were you surprised by any of the design principles?

Actually not. Because I am an art teacher actually, I knew all the design principles but applied in a different context more in the artistic (and less informational) message through artworks.

Were there any design principles that you already consistently implement in your work? 

CARP

  • Contrast– for the maximum contrast between the text/ images and the background.
  • Alignment -left, right up, down, symmetry
  • Repetition- repeating the same box format.
  • Proximity

What is your opinion about my first slide presentation and the second one? Did I reach my goal?

  by Garr Raynolds

I think I could still practice those digital presentation skills. I feel that it is hard for me, from an artist and educator, to turn so fast into a graphic designer. I believe that only time and exercise make people skillful.

 

 

 

Course 3/ Week3/ The Power of Infographics

“It always seems impossible until it’s done!”  said Nelson Mandela.

I feel just like that when I was waiting for the download for my first Infographic from Canva that I have just finished. And voilá!

I had to visualize lots of data to select which has the strongest visual impact and it’s clear to understand and also which is copyright free to use. I added one slide extra(Abstract versus Figurative) because I had to balance my visual expression in this gallery.

Please check here the slideshow Infographic: The Elements of Art in Comparision.

  • What is the purpose of my infographic?  The purpose of my infographic is to enhance understanding of the elements of art for my students when applying the skills built on the elements of arts. I tried to do also an animated version but the size was too big to upload.
  • Who is the intended audience? The students from Elementary School at ISB (PYP Art) or other children around the world. I am happy to share via Seesaw Community sometimes. (only if is something really good).

But what are Infographics per definition?

According to Kathy Schrock, (Infographic Resources (Kathy Schrock))

Information graphics or infographics are visual representations of information, data, or knowledge. These graphics are used where complex information needs to be explained quickly and clearly, such as in signs, maps, journalism, technical writing, and education. ”

  • How might a focus on visual communication impact student learning?

I think especially for the art class the visual perception is very powerful for children. When I can give some clear examples with images, their understanding is beyond expectations. The colors, the simplicity, and the clarity of our message are very important.

I was very fascinated to search for interesting infographics that might be suitable to introduce in the art class to my students. To my surprise, I found some very nice ones. I am sure that my kids would love it.

Who is who by the color?

Heroes versus Villains represented by colors in comics books. DC and Marvel By Dailyinfographics and color designers.

 

The Color Psychology of Disney Characters

 

Some of the valuable examples of analyzing data in infographics you could find here.

My Favorite Data Analytics & Data Visualization Blogs

 

  • How might educators support students in expressing themselves creatively in all subject areas?

I hope with this lesson, the children could be more creative combining information and visual expression. The children will have a better idea of how to create visual graphics or a poster that helps them in other research-based learning to summarize and communicate their ideas in a very direct and simple presentation form.

How did this creation process differ from others?

I have never created an Infographic. I had to have a look at the resources which tools, programs I would like to use. I was still thinking that it will take me so long, that I would better create a  note-taking instead. This concept I like very much and I am sure I will try this out one day.

How did the purpose and intended audience impact the final product?

I will test it on Monday and then I can give you my feedback.

If you used this infographic in a lesson, a presentation, or on your blog, how did others react to it?

I didn’t get yet their feedback. Next week we will teach again. I am looking forward to hearing about my colleague’s opinion as well.   

What impact had my infographic for you? Which message did you take? Would you improve something? What would be that? What did you like it and what would you change? How?

Constructive criticism is always welcome! Thank you!

 

 

#Course 3/ Week1/ “Our Role as Designers!”

“Our Role as Designers!”

Intro

Coming back to writing my blog after the summer was not easy to start.

But like a “light in the shadows of an antarctic meteorite slice”, I could find my way analyzing piece by piece and following one step after the other.

An Antarctic meteorite slice, thinner than a human hair, is lit up by polarized light for analysis. Smithsonian image.


An Antarctic meteorite 
slice, thinner than a 
human hair,
is lit up by polarized 
light for analysis. 
Smithsonian image.

 

Our school has a hybrid way of teaching part still virtual and partially with the children teaching on the campus. We had also 3 typhoons here in Busan, South Korea and we are working hard to prepare all the documents, analysis for the evaluation, and reaccreditation of our school. So much work on the computer!!

It’s all about design!

Luckily because I am a visual artist, I love this theme “We are all designers”.

It was impressive to hear in this TED Talk from John Hockenberry: We are all designers, his personal stories, about the importance of design.

I enjoyed reading the materials provided by my instructor, Joel Bevans, about visual hierarchy, visual literacy, and design principles with great interest. I even applied that knowledge in a way how I design some templates for my art lessons.

Art_Design_Template_KG_
Storytelling.

 

 

Guide to visual hierarchy:

  • Size and Scale
  • Color and Contrast
  • Typographic Hierarchy
  • Spacing and Proximity
  • Negative Space
  • Alignment

What is “visual literacy” to me?

Visual literacy is a way of communicating meaning, an idea with words/language, and powerful images. It is a way to structure the language, the thinking, and the communication to be read in a visual way.

If you look at a text to scan the content and be easily supported by a picture aside to understand better. Scan at a glance in a text the content. How is organized? How is expressed visually simple to facilitate the message behind? Is it balanced? Is the message emphasized? Is it having a good contrast to attract your attention? Is it aesthetically interesting, with special text font and colors, appealing to your eyes?

I am thinking about web journalists who are using conceive language and strong images to deliver a message. I am thinking about some of the slide shows/ power points presentations of my peers. The font, the structure, the dynamic with images aside. Or generally how we are navigating so many websites and reading resources online. Without a good visual literacy behind, would be so hard to digest the content in a timely manner.

Have you ever wonder how people read online?

This was interesting information about how people read online.

 

All beautiful in theory but let me see myself taking action. Let me try to play with them and use all those principles in redesigning my blog.

My goals are:

  •  to emphasis the “Focal Point” with color headlines, images/videos which sustain the content
  • to restructure visually after the “Visual  Hierarchy“-  and apply the design principle: emphasize and unity.

Visual hierarchy:

  • Reading patterns
  • Size matters

  • Texture overall arrangements or pattern of the space⊗⊕
  • Typeface weight and pairing
  • Color and Tint
  • Color

To give you a clear example my blog at the beginning and now. I change the color of some text parts. I took the big image in the background down and I insert more images and video in my post, to let the focus on the actual information. I insert the COETAIL cohort logo to highlight the identity picture with our group of learning. I tried to insert a small portrait picture aside from myself, but unfortunately, it doesn’t appear on the website. I could only have it in the background which I didn’t find suitable so big. I just wanted to put aside the COETAIL logo, as big as the logo. I even cut it that size, but probably I need to choose one or the other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Epilog

And not, at last,  keep in mind the advice from Kery Lee.

Remember about the CARP!

(CONTRAST/ ALIGNMENT/ REPETITION/ PROXIMITY)

 

 

 

 

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?
59
• 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.