Always A Surprise …

I love the fact that even now, nine months into the school year, my students can surprise me with just what they are capable of doing. Friday was a great day full of surprises, and definitely one worthy of a blog post. We began the day with “writing buddies,” and 11 groups of students blogged on our Grade 1 Litcircuits Blog. I told the students that they could blog on any topic that they wanted, but that the Grade 1 students had to do the writing. The Grade 6 students were just there to offer some additional ideas and help the students with spelling if they wanted it. I was amazed at just how much my students were writing, and just how engaged the Grade 1 and Grade 6 students were during this activity. Neither group wanted the writing to end. When I hear students tell me that they want to continue to write, I get excited: students should have that internal drive to learn, and blogging has helped with this.

Following this activity, my students started working on our VoiceThread for our contribution to the Elementary VoiceThread Wikispace. The students had to select the pictures, upload them into the VoiceThread, and get into groups to plan what they were going to say. We watched one of the completed VoiceThreads to provide a good example of what to do. My goodness: I was so impressed with how well the small groups worked together, and how well-prepared the students were when uploading their comments. The biggest surprise came once the VoiceThread was complete, as it was then that I walked my students through the steps of grabbing the HTML code and pasting it into the Wikispace. As this was happening, one child raised her hand and said, “I have a connection, Miss Dunsiger. This is just like when we take the Wordle HTML code and put it into our Kidblog. We should be able to put VoiceThreads into our blogs the same way then.” Wow! This child really understood technology, and as the other children in my class are nodded their heads in agreement, it was clear that they really understood it too.

The best surprise came at the end of the day though. When we went up to the computer lab, I gave my students the choice to use any of the programs in our Grade 1 folder. I was interested in seeing what they would do. I was thrilled with what I saw. A large number of students logged into Storybird to continue working on their stories. Some students created Wordles and uploaded them onto their blogs. Many of the students went into the Notebook 10 software and created a wide variety of files: some wrote morning messages, others created sorting activities using familiar words and names of students in the class, some created their own calendars, and one child created a community map. This child then exported the map as a jpeg file and uploaded it onto his blog. I was thrilled! Sometimes one’s best work comes with the least amount of direction.

Giving Grade 1 students the freedom to create led to some incredible work and some of the best surprises of the day. Please share your “great surprises” here too. We all need a chance to celebrate in the successes of our students.


7 thoughts on “Always A Surprise …

  1. Fantastic!
    Your kids are so lucky to have you as a teacher! Sounds like it’s great to work with them as well! Well done!
    Best Regards,

    • Thank you! That’s so nice of you to say. My students are the amazing ones though. They’re a great group of children, and every day is always fun and exciting!


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  3. I just have to say that your posts are totally inspiring. I didn’t begin my tech journey with my 1/2/3’s until the end of January when we got our Smartboard and computers in our lab that actually worked.

    Reading your posts fills me with even more ideas I want to try! I am excited about a summer full of learning and all of the possibilities for next year.


    • Thank you so much for your comment! I’m so glad that my posts can inspire you. I didn’t begin using any social media tools in my classroom until this year, and now I’m constantly learning something new. It was all of the wonderful people in my PLN that inspired me to try something new too.

      Hope you enjoy learning about some new tools this summer too!

  4. OK — If 1st graders can do it, so can my third graders! How do you begin to teach uploading, posting, etc. to the children? You are inspiring!

    • Thank you so much for your nice comment! It was a process to explain how to do it all, but the children can definitely do it. It just takes time. I started modelling the process as a class, then I got the children to come up and take turns following through with the steps using the SMART Board, then I had the children explain the steps and get other children to follow through with the steps, then I had them work with a partner to do this, and then I had them work on their own. Screenshots work well too. I’m glad that you e-mailed me about this today too, and I will write you back with some more information as well. Feel free to e-mail me anytime with questions.

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