Thursday, March 24, 2016

#SOL16 Day 24 AMPLIFY!


Kristin signed my copy of Amplify! 


On Tuesday, March 22, I braved the Cross Island Parkway during the morning rush to get to Bayside to hear Kristin Ziemke speak about Amplify: Digital Teaching and Learning in the K-6 Classroom. It was worth every second in traffic to be inspired by this remarkable, accessible, approachable, energizing teacher, author, and innovator!

I'm a girl who loves resources, and Kristin provided plenty. Here is the link to some amazing resources she shared and invited us to share: https://goo.gl/n44EPW  Honestly, it is a treasure trove of materials to explore! 

Kristin opened by sharing two books she recently finished (Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys and My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem). She invited us to talk about what we've been reading with the people at our table. It was so nice to have a workshop grounded in literacy and conversation and that paved the way for our discussions about keeping literacy at the heart of what we do in the classroom.  The technology tools AMPLIFY (there's that word again) what is possible and deepen the literacy learning, but it's not about "doing tech" or even "integrating technology". It's about the technology being one tool at students' disposal to show their thinking and understanding, and it's about technology's ability to give students a broader learning community. The learning does not end when the bell rings when you have access to digital tools. 

At one point, Kristin invited us to make a video reflection of what we are learning so far, just as her students often do. (Think "Real Housewives"- but kid appropriate, academic-focused). I was involved in a great conversation with a colleague I met at my table, so I didn't get to do the video there, but I tried it at home using the SeeSaw app that my students also use. Disclaimer: I hate myself on video and posting this is brave for me, but all in the name of learning! Click the link to see my video reflection: 
https://goo.gl/WZYvln

Kristin spoke about the shifts in literacy. Images and videos make up so much of what we see when we click on any link today. Students need to be able to navigate their way through images and also critically "read" images. Kristin lead us through this experience of thinking aloud as we "close read" images around a topic. We did this for images related to the Flint water crisis. She also shared how infographics are important for students to read and understand. 

One idea I am looking forward to implementing is the "It's Monday What Are You Reading" Padlet. Students can take a picture of themselves with the book they are reading and add that to a Padlet, created by the teacher for "It's Monday What Are You Reading?"  It can be shared on social media with #IMWAYR. Students can get instant book recommendations from other kids in this way. It's simple and an easy way to grow a reading community! 



One really moving story Kristin told was about a first grader who's dad left for a business trip. The first grader was sad and worried about his dad. Kristin's class had blogs, so she encouraged her student to write a blog post to his dad. Within ten minutes, the dad commented on the blog and reassured the student he was doing fine. It made the little boy so happy and he was able to have a productive rest of the school day. This one story illustrates how digital tools help connect our students in unique ways while they are at school and give families new insights and connections into learning as well.

I'm from Kristin's generation- we are about the same age- and our experiences with tech as kids was the chance to play "Oregon Trail" in the computer lab. While technology has evolved in amazing ways as I've grown as a teacher, it is still something I'm grappling to learn and figure out. At the same time, it has been so energizing to me as a teacher to try new digital tools because I see how it enhances and, well, AMPLIFIES, learning for all of us! Thank you, Kristin, for such a valuable and inspiring day. I can't wait to put my new learning into action!