- Return library books to the bin on Monday so we can exchange them.
- There will be a substitute teacher on Tuesday, Jan. 17 as I will be away at a training workshop. It will be Team Awesome's first experience with a sub.
- Friday, Jan. 20 is an NI Day so Team Awesome will spend the day at home.
- Due to the extremely cold weather FAF was cancelled for this week and Friday, Jan. 27 is a possible Fresh Air Friday if the weather cooperates. We would like to take the children sledding so our fingers are crossed we will still have enough snow.
- January Family Projects are due when they are finished.
- January 21-28 is Family Literacy Week in conjunction with Unplug & Play. We will have activities ongoing throughout the school that week and a brochure so you can participate in Unplug & Play will come home next week. There are free activities in support of both events happening around town so keep an eye/ ear out for a schedule.
- We have used our last box of tissues. If you could send a box we would very much appreciate it.
- The children are getting very good at zipping coats and putting on snowpants/ boots/gloves/mittens too. Thanks for practicing at home.
- We introduced January sight words this week. They are: us, on, big, it, with, can, be, little, me, we. If a word comes up repeatedly in our studies we will sometimes add it to our words for the month. Please feel free to practice them at home.
- Thanks for all your help with our skating trip. We can't do it without parent support. Our next trips are Jan. 26 and Feb. 9. Look forward to seeing you!
We have been counting down the sleeps until we go skating since last week and most of the kids are excited but some are a bit anxious because they don't know how to skate. We discussed all the things we couldn't do when we started kindergarten and how well we do them now because of all the practicing we do and how its the same with skating. I reminded the kids to bring their helmets and skates (but not hockey sticks) and that there are a few pairs available if they don't have any. I will have the kids put their skates into their backpacks to travel on the bus because they must be in a bag. We should be at the MacArthur Park arena about 10ish if you are coming to join us (yay!). Our ice time starts at 10:15. The children will be encouraged to stay on the ice as long as possible as there is nothing for them to do once they are finished. They may sit on the bench and wait for us (11:15ish) but they may not run around or go on the bleachers. I will not be on skates as it is difficult to help the children with them on but please, if you are a skater, by all means bring your skates. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!
As you are aware, BEST has a technology focus and we are extremely lucky to have access to technology that other schools in the district might not have. And one of our mandates is to increase the availability of such technology within our classrooms. But for technology to fulfill its promise as a powerful contributor to learning, it must be used to deepen children’s engagement in meaningful and intellectually authentic curriculum. After all, technology is a tool, and as such it should be selected because it is the best tool for the job not because it is there or fun. Technology should be used to give students a voice, give students choice, sometimes to give students a global audience and to make thinking visible.
Mrs. Farber and I are aware of the many sides to the controversy of technology in primary and kindergarten classrooms and believe technology applications should be among the many tools at teachers’ disposal to offer children meaningful learning opportunities. At the same time, children need to learn to use technology in the same way they learn everything else- in their own time and at their own pace. They need time and access to develop the comfort, knowledge, and skills for using a variety of technology applications before they can use them independently or for a prescribed purpose.
Apps and technology alone, without teacher direction and curriculum goals, will not magically improve test scores or students' writing levels. There is a lot of thought in the way that technology is incorporated into our classrooms. Our favourite apps aren't button pushing apps that help students memorize math facts or sight words. They are apps that if used properly show student thinking. They are apps that allow our students freedom and creativity to show what they know. Does that mean we never play games? No, but we use those educational thinking games to introduce the children to basic computer skills such as navigating a page, using a cursor or turning off an application.
In our classrooms the technology stations are often content creation stations, which means students use their creativity and knowledge to produce something that shows their learning. We try to select apps or online sites that can be used for different purposes, such as a whiteboard app or Book Creator. Some students choose to use paper and pencil instead of technology to show their learning. The Chrome Books and iPads are just tools, the same as paper and pencil.
Educational technology is here to stay. Over a decade of research has documented the effect of appropriate use of technology in educational settings. These studies provide compelling evidence that computer use can have a major, positive impact on children’s social, emotional, language, and cognitive development (Shade 1996; Haugland 2000; Van Scoter, Ellis, & Railsback 2001). The full potential of technology’s tools is only realized, however, when they are used effectively and in ways that connect meaningfully to the ongoing curriculum of the classroom and support creativity and critical thinking (Bergen 2000). Mrs. Farber and I strive to expose children to developmentally appropriate, challenging, creative, and collaborative uses of technology in ways that promote learning and social interaction so that our students will become confident and skilled users of technology as they progress in their schooling and throughout life.
Happy New Year! Never did I ever seriously think about living in the year 2017. I mean, it (and middle age) always seemed so impossibly far in the future and yet here we are. Is it too personal to ask if you made a resolution for this year? Not only did we learn that the earth rotates and then also revolves around the sun (minds are blown!) but we also discussed resolutions (all the R words!) and why people make them this week. And a Team Awesome member resolved to eat more cookies this year. At first I dismissed the idea as just a 5 year old getting carried away but then I began to think about when the last time I honestly ate a cookie and enjoyed every little crumb of it without that voice in my head (you know the one- it kinda sounds like your mother) nattering away at me. And I watched the children at lunch taking pleasure in their favourite treats and expounding on them to their friends. And rather than the usual resolution to eat less or watch what I eat or don't eat X this year (which is inevitably something I love and think I need to eat less of), I resolved to eat more cookies too. Because life is too short to not eat and savour all the cookies.
How does cooking benefit children’s learning? There are so many opportunities to teach when you cook with your children. They learn…
Mrs. Bowden &