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. ( . 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.


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.


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?
• What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in – or omitted from – this
• 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.


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?


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)

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?

Privacy or Popularity?

Reading different articles about privacy and the safety of our presence online, I found an interesting pool of articles collected and published in the “The Privacy Project”(The Privacy Project (NYTimes).

It is a good question on how to handle the balance between your privacy and safety of your own and family and between being active and visible doing your work, having a good purpose with social media.

This is a very goo matching song about being so “Popular” by Kristin Chenoweth. She sang it in “Wicked” as an original cast member in this musical on Broadway.

Popular (From “Wicked” Original Broadway Cast Recording/2003)


As an artist, I experience often, this struggle on Facebook and other media channels. It was good to have a lot of exhibitions and become more and more visible and connected with the art scene around the world, but sometimes I was lost spending to much time in entertaining the public instead of focusing on creating my own artworks and the time in the studio, or to reasearch and to reflect.

The same question I was handling when I made my Tweeter account as a teacher to become more connected with teachers around the world. It was important to have a look at what is out there and share my experiences, results, and get inspired, but preparing my direct teaching lessons plans and the contact with my students and my community was even more important. I think sometimes we lose track of the time that we are spending and then we loose the balance. So I decided once or twice a week should be enough for keeping in contact with Tweeter.

With Facebook, I have really a big struggle, I think it became an addiction, like a computer game or youtube gaming for my kids. Then, I decided only during the weekend to check a bit.

But I am happy now that I am busy with COETAIL And I can discover interesting material to read. Another interesting article was about the young people in America and their access and development according to the access to the media and technological tools.

Nowadays, being a disadvantage because of your social status of having access to the internet is not fair. Of course, it is hard to develop know-how and technology and media skills if you don’t have resources and tools to work with.

In the book, ” Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation), on page 13 we can read about that.

Castells writes about youth who are excluded from these experiences: “Increasingly, as computer use is ever less a lifestyle option, evermore an everyday necessity, inability to use computers or find information on the web is a matter of stigma, of social exclusion; revealing not only changing social norms but also the growing centrality of computers to work, education and politics” (Castells, 2002, in Livingstone, 2003, p. 6).

In the same article on page 15, we learn about how children used their conceptual and strategic thinking about solving problems, from “game theory” skills.

Answering some of the essential questions of our theme “Creating the balance between privacy and publicity” applied in our school, I came up with those thoughts.

What actions have you taken to maintain your privacy and the privacy of your students?

Don’t mention their names. Pick if possible pictures without their face for public view. Sometimes if the children are in pajama, don’t share at all the pictures with other people.

 What policies does your school/country have in place to protect student privacy? 

1)Ask the parents if they would like to have their pictures and names of the students shared with the public for our advertising materials or not.

2)The parents and students’ emails are not shared without permission within our school with anyone.

How do you contribute authentically while protecting privacy?

Create online exhibitions and present evidence of student’s artworks. Introduce student’s results and artworks for the weekly newsletter or twitter.

Post students’ artworks, erasing the name digitally before posting on social media.

Participating in common sense workshops together with my colleagues. Contributing to evidences and resources together with our curriculum planner manager for these theme.

How about you, which are your genuine ways to contribute to protect the privacy of your students from your school?

#COETAIL#Course 2 Unit 2# Social network/Communicating

I have to start this post with a great motto “You are what you share” from Are You Literally What You Post? (Video, PBS Idea Channel). I think it has a big truth behind and talking to my children and reflecting on myself, I found a sincere testimony of what we are experiencing right now.

  • How is the way your students communicate with their friends similar to the way you connected with your friends when you were a child/teenager? And as an adult?

When I was young,  l liked to have lots of friends and be popular. Being cool was very important. Even though I like to study a lot I always tried to keep a step with the music trend, fashion trend, etc. Nowadays, the way how students communicate is in a way similar. They want to connect with their peers and be popular. I love dancing and to know the moves for each music style. In a way TIK TOK nowadays is similar. It’s a way of communicating through dancing with each other. As an adult, I think dancing is an essential social skill as well. They are many social gatherings and parties where you can join with friends and peers and suddenly the smile, the steps, and the moves are the new language between people. And like this, suddenly I make easy friends with people from Venezuela, Colombia, Italy, Africa, Taiwan, S. Korea, and other people around the world.

Free download on Clip Art Library for Dance section.

I like very much this theme of communication in between generation as well as generally between people. It is also a very good time to reflect on our social network. For this report, I was talking to my children who are also my students and with some of their peers, who are my students as well(4th and 5th Graders). It was more a chat with them than a formal survey.

My daughter uses Google Hangouts, to chat with her peers at school, during the break time, or after-school. She often connects with her peers at Birthdays’ Party, Christmas Class Party, or playdates. The children like to play outside at the school playground. They love playing “Tag”, or to create a home for an animal in the bushes outside, “Hide and Seak”(is less popular). Whenever they go on a School Field Trip it’s always fun to know better their peers and connect with some classmates who were not so close before.

This reminds me of when I was in Elementary School back in Romania and I loved so much traveling and going into summer camps with my schoolmates. It was still during the communism times in Romania and the children were “Pionierii patriei”, ( “Pioneers of the motherland”) starting with 2nd Grade. But because I was too young in my first grade, I lied that I am a pioneer and I borrow the pioneer suit from my neighbor, one year older(but it was still definitely too big) in order to be able to attend the summer camp and suddenly all the parades. I looked a bit ridiculous in that bigger pioneer suit. But hey, I was with so many children from different classes and different cities and it was so cool. I really enjoyed a lot to meet new people and make new friends. But that was a time when we didn’t have any electronic devices.

Nowadays, another way of communicating between the new generation is to send text messaging or emails, a link to a video of a song, or chat about Rubik’s cubes and time world records. Tik Tok(you can follow the artist, dance, follow someone on social media) is a big hit, especially in between teenage girls. You could please have a look at the clip “What is Tik Tok”, from the previous link attached. We used to love to record some of the radio music hits and exchange them with friends as well.

 Anton,(11years) my son, says when it is not school time if he is online on brawl stars he can communicate via chat there. “Meeting for a playdate or sleepover with a friend, to play lego or battle cats- another video game- is great fun. Playing battle cats is a game where you have three options:

1. Invade the Earth-using cats.

2. Invade a different planet that looks like Earth.

3. Invade a third planet with cats and machines or a big machine that has a lot of cats.”

But still another game, Brawl Stars is his favorite. He and his peers even collect the cards with characters that have different powers and they exchange cards. Same with Pokemon cards. That reminds me when we had some chewing gums with some special surprises inside, like different car brands, or other collections and we used to exchange with our peers, the doubles that we had. Another big hobby was to collect postmarks and to trade with our friends.

  • What did you used to think about students and social media? What do you think now?

I think social media became more and more vulnerable, using pictures, videos, and more private information. It became from something private to meet a friend and hang out,(on Facebook, messenger to reconnect with relatives, family from far away, old friends, classmates) to something public to have as many “friends” on Facebook as possible. The people don’t have time to meet privately with friends, instead, they chat shortly, sometimes only on a superficial layer with many friends. I think nowadays social media is an even more dangerous opening to such wide public access. But it is more dangerous for people who would open a brand account, a youtube account, or a blog. It is important to have as many followers as possible and even when someone would like to create a youtube channel or Tik Tok account it is so important how many followers they have and be careful with private information.

Social media is changing the trend so quickly. My son and his peers said, three years ago was the trend to play Minecraft and nowadays is playing other video games. (Plants versus Zombie 2, Brawlstars, Plants versus Zombie Heros, and then back to Brawl Stars- Brawl Talk- Danny,  Ryan, and Frank are the newest community for brawl stars for the latest/ newest updates. Three years ago they used to watch Dan TDM, but now he is not that trendy anymore.

  • How and why are social interactions and communication changing?
  • Nowadays is changing more because of the phone, screenshots, food favorite, instead of meeting and talking directly to the people they just text them.

People would go more often outside in the old days and now they are spending time inside with their phones, hanging out with their friends. Everyone wants to get a phone in order to communicate better or just to take a better picture resolution. People communicate more with photos, emojis than using proper sentences. Probably because we are living the “speed age”, and we don’t have enough time, as my mom always says. 

  • How do you use social media in your classroom? How do students learn to communicate in digital spaces in your class?

One of the units of inquiry that we tough for 4th and 5th Graders was about “How to be an online citizen”. The children learned about media, accounts, how to set passwords, emails,  google hangouts, Seesaw, Google docs, google meet, and recently Zoom. But for lower elementary, they used Seesaw to post their artworks and reflection and to show to their family and in their classroom digital platform, shared with specialist teachers, homeroom teachers, and the school management.

  • How have the recent school closures (because of the global pandemic) changed the way that you and your students are using social media?

Since the recent school closures, we use it way more the social media channels. We always post our tasks online on Seesaw. We are so long time in virtual meetings, zoom, or video that we post and we received even video recordings from our students.

The children use a lot especially google hangouts, to chat and text with each other. The chatting during the school break time in the school courtyard was replaced with messaging on google hangouts or facetime.

I was surprised to see how via face time, even more friends meet after school to chat about their favorite music, or best records at Rubik’s cubes, etc. It is new to me to call more friends at the same time.

They like to talk about their favorite bloggers as collins key and his brother devan key and their challenges. They do a lot of food challenges and sometimes I am watching with my kids together, especially the pancakes challenges. Then my children had even the ideas to create a healthy food channel and they were filming shooting cooking recipes for guacamole and smoothies.

My son and his friends enjoy watching Video Game you tube, Dan TDM, Preston, Sundee, Game theory, Gt live.

My daughter has a big idol, you tuber, Sky Brown, who is surfing and skating so beautifully and courageous her skateboard.

Other you tubers that she and her friends’ likes are The Norris Nuts- surfing, skating with a skateboard, and dancing.

How about you? Do you have any favorite bloggers or you tubers that you like? I am a bit behind this, but I must say I like it from YouTube, like my daughter, Sky(from Sky&Ocean). I think she is a very cool and inspiring girl. Then I enjoy listening to music very much and I discovered talking to my friends, about the Pentatonix, an acapella music group. I like also the Holderness Family. It is great fun youtube channel music for families which I like very much as well.

Please enjoy some songs about quarantine time, (one of it is “All by myself”-parody), because I think sometimes we got a bit tired from online teaching and learning and we need to get some fun and smile.

# COETAIL#Course2, Unit1#Respecting the Remix

“Respect the Remix”

Luckily, in my first post that I wrote in my Coetail first course, I observed with great happiness that I respected the intellectual property and I cited correctly, putting the names of all the authors, and respecting the copyright etiquette properly. However in this blog, I didn’t use any pictures or videos, so I might need to extend my observation to other posts as well when I use other digital information if the copyright is correct and if I mention the source. 

I must be sincere, sometimes when I use an image of famous artwork to teach my children some knowledge about art history, I consider that for educational purposes I am entitled to use this image. Often I look at sources that are shared and they don’t have strict copyright rules. But I should consider and revise very carefully those rules. 

In my opinion, I think it depends on the purpose of how you use an image. If you would like to reproduce and print 100 times for a commercial purpose, of course, it is illegal. If it is for an educational purpose, to inform people and teach some artistic skills or to refer to it in a context as art history, I think it is different. If I would print or open the information to a public view, it would be not permitted.

How to use digital information in the correct way?

Rosenthal Tolisano, who is an expert in Copyright topic,  said:

“The following infographic chart was developed with an introduction of a New Era of Copyright Consciousness and a suggested simplified flow to follow:

  • create your own media (then you don’t have to worry about infringing on someone else’s copyright) 
  • search for public domain media (then you don’t have to worry about copyright, since it has been voluntarily released or has expired. No worries about giving proper attribution or citing the source either) 
  • search within the Creative Commons domain (make sure you double check requirements under the license: attribution? non-derivative? non-commercial? etc.)
  • determine if your use of the copyrighted material can fall under Fair Use?

His fantastic chart is a perfect guide for the people who are unsure and even for myself gave me so many answers. Please explore it and apply it to your teaching practice.

 Copyright Flowchart (Rosenthal Tolisano).

I am very grateful to my COETAIL instructor, Joel Bevans, who brought this knowledge to our attention.

What is our role, as educators, in respecting the intellectual property of others

Our duty as educators is to teach the students to respect first the ideas of the others and their intellectual property. Always to mention the resources and to try our best to be original, creative and bring something new(new ideas, knowledge). Otherwise, it is stealing and it is not right. 

It is true that in order to create something new you need to inform yourself, get inspired by and create a new reaction in response to what you know. Did you experience that by yourself? Because at least myself, as an artist I always feel so.

But as ISTE Standards for Educators, says

3.c “Educators mentor students in safe, legal and ethical practices with digital tools and the protection of intellectual rights and property.”

How can you inform your students and peers about the importance of respecting the intellectual property of others? 

During my art classes, I encourage them to be original, to respect others’ ideas. I can inform my students about the importance of being original and that if we need to use an image, we must always put the” © “ symbol or mention the resource.

 Do you see this as an issue in your school? 

No, at our school this is not an issue. All the teachers are respecting intellectual property. My students are quite small, elementary students and I have never seen an act of plagiarism in their artworks.  

How do we teach copyright in countries where international copyright law is not clearly defined or followed? 

We try to appeal and refer to common sense and moral values of the people. We teach digital etiquette and how we should be respectful. We give an example and try to imagine how someone would feel to experience such a situation and we appeal to ethics.

What is our obligation as educators?

I think, that our obligation as educators is to teach the students, and people about intellectual property and about their copyrights to be respected. We should “model digital citizenship”(as Rosenthal Tolisano said). And very important is to encourage them to be creative, authentic and remix different knowledge.

What tools do the young children /people need nowadays to be integrated in the media culture?

I have to answer this question citing John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in their article “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture

Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from one of individual expression to community involvement. The new literacies almost all involve social skills developed through collaboration and networking. These skills build on the foundation of traditional literacy, research skills, technical skills, and critical analysis skills taught in the classroom. 

The new skills include: 

Play — the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem-solving Performance — the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery 

Simulation — the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes Appropriation — the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content Multitasking — the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details.

Distributed Cognition — the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities 

Collective Intelligence — the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal Judgment — the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources 

Transmedia Navigation — the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities 

Networking — the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information Negotiation — the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms.”

I think those tools and skills should be used by the children in order to mingle and integrate into the media culture.

And now, that we know how to use information and copyright respectfully, and which skills do we need in order to be original and to address our ideas us to the public, we can go and feel free to explore and get inspired by other’s ideas, then mix it with our vision and create our own ideas. As my instructor, Joel Bevans said:

“Remixing leads to innovation.”

#COETAIL # Final Project Course1 #Virtual Art Show ”Self-Portrait”

#COETAIL # Final_Project_Course1_Virtual_Art_Show ” Self-Portrait”

By Simona Schultz

First of all, I hope that everyone is safe around the world. I know that for everyone this terrible coronavirus disrupted our lives and we had so many challenges lately. So keep yourself healthy and safe. This is a wonderful artwork, the self-portrait of a student of mine who is matching so well at this time.

  Artwork from a student in the 4-th Grade, ISB, South Korea,

© Simona Schultz

I enrolled just in time for the COETAIL learning journey and I have been learning so much in the past 6 weeks. Because we definitely use technology every day in our teaching practice.

I created a good plan and even the time, in the end, was very short I could wrap the project with all the elements together. Here is the UbD Project Plan.

After I transformed myself in the last 5 weeks, from “lurker to connector”, create a twitter account to connect with genuine teachers around the world, evolve in a researcher, studying about “connected learning”, about last innovative pedagogical concepts, and how can we effectively and practically combine authentically the technology in our curricular area, my final project was creating a Virtual Art Show with the theme “Self- Portrait” for all 8 classes that I am teaching, from Preschool up to 5th Grade. The exact name was ”Virtual PYP Creative Art Show/ “Self-Portrait”, maybe next time I will choose a simpler name to have more impact and keep it simple to remember for the little ones.

 I tried different formats, like Google Slides, Google Webpages, but I decided to choose the Padlet as a presentation platform because it gives the chance to interact and comment. Also to see at the same time all the artworks but also if you click to have a detailed view of each self-portrait. Another reason was that it was quite easy this system when I tried it out.

 Two other colleagues with whom I collaborate used it before. They gave me a few tips and the IT people were there to help with any questions.  So I could use it confidently.

Sample of the padlet for the “Virtual PYP Creative Art Show- Self-Portrait”

 © Simona Schultz

Samples of the padlet for the “Virtual PYP Creative Art Show- Self-Portrait”

© Simona Schultz

Sample of the padlet for the “Virtual PYP Creative Art Show- Self-Portrait”

© Simona Schultz

Sample of the padlet for the “Virtual PYP Creative Art Show- Self-Portrait”

© Simona Schultz

Another format was a video slideshow, that I made with the help of the Spark Adobe Video program. This was very suitable to show in 3min 15 sec a brief view of the artworks for the Virtual Talent Show.

Why did you choose this topic? These standards?

I chose the topic of Self-Portrait because it was a good theme to apply to all the levels from Preschool to 5th Grade and to reflect on themselves.  I thought if I could include in a big picture the expression of each of us, it would have been also a good idea, of communicating our school community together in those hard times, connected in a common picture with all the diverse student’s self- portraits.

Another reason was that it was a way of assessment for the children after they studied some of them in various contexts about the theme “Portrait” in the different art movements like Renaissance, Abstract Art, Cubism, Expressionism, etc.

The standards for students that I choose are the collaborator and the communicator. Communicator to send the message about who we are and to receive feedback via the padlet platform. Students as “collaborators” to work together with me are a good system to communicate and learn together.

Those are my learning goals from the beginning of the course:

“My learning goal is to become a collaborator, (from ISTE Standards) and learning/ exchanging experiences from other inspiring teachers around. I would like to develop authentic collaborations with different colleagues and students.

Another goal is to be a designer. I wish I could develop a unique style of teaching. I would like to combine my solid founded classical skills with the newly achieved digital/media skills.  I hope I could use technology more easily, to create unique authentic learning experiences.”

I think I have achieved both.

If you revamped a previously created learning experience, what have you changed and why? What’s been added and/or removed? Why?

It was a virtual learning experience. I used short instructions via seesaw and video. Links to the inspiring materials. The children could use a mirror to observe themself, a self-portrait picture from home or take more time to reflect on themselves, what they would like to express about themself.

Sample of my Virtual Art Lesson via Seesaw assign activity by Simona Schultz.

How was this learning experience (unit plan) different from or similar to other learning experiences (unit plans) you have designed?

It was a totally different experience because I had to plan to keep in mind that we are in the virtual learning experience situation and how it could be something personal and simple for the little ones but also increasing with the age, the theme of self-portrait could become more complex.

How does this learning experience (unit plan) relate to what you learned in Course 1?

I used new technological tools, as zoom conferences, seesaw and how to create a video clip from spark video. I culminated with the new tool that I learned with this occasion, how to create and use a padlet as a concept for a virtual exhibition.

 It relates to the concept of being learner-exploring and learning new media tools to express myself and embedded in my teaching practice.

 Applying the pedagogical method of constructivism- building with little steps, from how to access materials in an online course, “messing around” and “geeking around” with tech how to link and use different tools, to easy my research work and how to present myself(to reinvent myself with a new interface-updated to the last century not only using the last pedagogical concepts, deep insights, and understanding about the learning process, how to apply effectively in my class, but also as an image, how to present myself, how to connect.

“Connectivism”- creating a network among the interesting teachers around the world, using the internet and social platform to research, to communicate to work independently, to reach a new generation in their way. Did I manage to reach that? How did you manage to do that?

Sample from my lesson post it via seesaw by Simona Schultz

What has influenced you the most in Course one and how is that reflected in your learning experience/unit plan?

How to communicate with a big public. How I could learn from my colleagues and collaborate in an effective way. I collaborated with different classroom teachers, with the IT people with my students more actively.

There are so many new things that I learned, I don’t know where to start with. It was a very intense experience. I read all the materials mostly during the weekend and I tried to link and apply directly in my teaching practice everything that I have learned. Anyway, I am so happy that my computer doesn’t crash anymore and it is not that big wall between me and technology.

Even with my computer and all the technology systems, I build a good relationship!:)

That is a very good start. I am not afraid of computers anymore. I can try out different things.

What outcomes do you hope to see when students complete this learning experience/unit?

For each class, there were some special artists introduced, like Picasso for 1st Grade, Frida Kahlo for 2nd Grade, Van Gogh for 3rd Grade,  Andy Warhol for 5th Grade, etc. I expected that the students are inspired by a certain art style and reflect some influences from certain artists. For the upper elementary students, I created even a wider library pool of artists who created their self-portrait and they could choose which style they preferring to get inspired by. So they had more freedom to express themself.

I hope that the students take their time and do their best, and are proud to do good work to share with the others.

We aim to present the Virtual Art Show in a short slideshow video for Virtual Talent Show and also to send it during that day as a celebration of our learning and as a closing event before the Spring Break to our school community. There were lots of students and parents attending the Virtual Talent Show.

If you facilitated this experience, how did the learners respond to it? What feedback did you collect to inform future experiences?

They had a great response. The feedback from my peers, colleagues, teachers, parents, and students was very positive. I will plan in the future to release the padlet earlier to have the chance to get even more feedback and to have more time to participate in this interactive platform among the students as well.

Starting the Spring Break was for the students a reason to celebrate the show but afterward not to reflect enough, thinking back about it.

   Self-Portrait from a student in the 4-th Grade, ISB, South Korea

I would like to finish with one of the best artworks that I received from a student from grade 4th. She truly amazed me with her self-portrait. I am sure if you will meet her one day you will recognize her. But the way she blended the colors and she observed herself is unbelievable. In the background is the Gwangalli Bridge famous in Busan, South Korea, an element from her home. She is also an exceptional student but this time she really exceeded my expectations.


#COETAIL/ Course1/Week5/# From Theory into Practice

How do you use the learning theories in your everyday practice to support student learning?

I am studying every weekend the COETAIL informational materials and I learned a lot. Recently I applied the concept of  “Connectivism” -asking the students to research more about a theme or an artist that I introduced in the art class. They used the tools of search via the internet and then they posted their new information and their own reflections about that via seesaw.

I live very much the motto of the “connectivism theory” as stated in the article “Connectivism. A theory for the Digital Age”, which said: “Our ability to learn what we need for tomorrow is more important than what we know today”.(George Siemens).

I am applying the same principle myself, learning every day and I am trying to set a good example for my students.

Another interesting theory is  Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. This theory was revised and updated by his students and published again in this form. 

Common Sense Media created this wonderful video to explain better, Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy.

Remember/ Understand/ Apply/ Analyse/ Evaluate/ Create.

At the beginning of my art classes, I usually revise what we did last time(REMEMBER) and try to connect and build the next knowledge on the previews one and to apply in our new work. In this way, we can create a new idea and evaluate it.

Are you starting to notice different things in your classroom/school?

Yes, the children are very engaged and are understanding the task, because I was able to structure it better and clearer. They are proactive, curious and ask me even more questions. I even got to be appreciated by my managers and the school team, school community-parents, which was so encouraging.

Have you begun modifying what you do in your classroom/school?

Yes, I was implementing more media and planning better ahead, having so many new resources.  Also, the new situation of VLE(Virtual Learning Experience) forced me to jump in the cold water and gave me the chance to explore more media tools, like the seesaw, Quicktime Player, Seesaw, Zoom Meetings, Adobe Spark, Padlet.