integration of technology

Flipping a Grade 1 Would Make it Right Side Up

I woke up this morning at around 2:00 and came to a not-so-stunning revelation that a grade 1 classroom is already flipped. Although the trending definition of flipping a classroom has a large element of learning at home via video or online learning objects, the crux of the flip is really about how the teacher spends time in class with their students. Is the teacher standing and lecturing or is the teacher moving around to the students engaging in conversation about what they have learned, how they have learned and how they can apply that new knowledge? I think the answer is pretty straight forward. Most, if not all Kindergarten to grade 1 classrooms are already flipped – already hands on, already having the teacher as a facilitator and motivator not a lecturer. The goal for the grade 1 class will then become the seamless integration of technology in the classroom and bringing parents on board with resources at home.


I will now begin planning for a unit about Slope for grade 9 mathematics as well as Heat for grade 7 Science.  The teachers are starting to eat this up!

Let’s Talk Shop – My First Meetings

It was a long day but after two inspiring meetings with two absolutely incredible teachers we are poised to begin this new journey into the flipped elementary classroom.

Makrina – Grade 7 Teacher

My first meeting today was with Makrina, a grade 7 teacher who was part of a board-wide tech rollout last year.  Each grade 7 class in our district received 10 netbooks for the class, a mobile cart, a projector and a teacher laptop. Teachers also received an incredible five days of PD to go with their new toys.  Needless to say it was well received and for the most part, the technology is still being used.

I know that you may think this is an ideal situation to attempt a flipped approach… and you’re right.

Makrina’s touches with technology are far beyond beginner and she displays a wonderful child-like curiosity when it comes to 21st century learning. I remember sitting across from her thinking that I would be learning more from her than the other way around. 

Ryan – Grade 1 Teacher

My second visit was with Ryan, a grade one teacher who had been teaching grade 7 last year… need I say more?  Ryan and I hummed and hawed about how a grade 1 classroom could be flipped effectively and I will admit that I was less than optimistic.  As we sat down to discuss the idea, thoughts surrounding the grade 1 flip became clearer and we decided on a two-pronged approach that would include the parents as much as possible. I have to admit that by meeting’s end the energy in the room had increased ten-fold.

After much discussion we both determined that for a flipped approach to work in a grade one classroom, the parents had to be onboard. Embracing this approach, we decided to begin the communication to the parents and involve them in the approach… we both knew that this had never been done quite like this before.

After sharing the ‘blue sky’ scenario with each teacher I wanted to make it clear that failure was indeed an option – but not a deterrent. 


Tomorrow, I launch my newest workshop: The Art of Google; Friday, I continue my flipped classroom journey into the secondary panel with a big meeting at Blessed Mother Teresa C.S.S.

Lesson plans to follow.


Social Evolution

Make no mistake about it – socialization as we know it has already changed. Some say for the better and some say for the worse… so which is it? Youth are engaged more deeply in networking and sharing information than ever before through a medium that they are native to. Texting, blogging, video scrapbooking, tweeting and facebooking are all new ways to interact and though they may seem to be counterproductive – this is simply not the case.

With the rapid development of communication tools, society has yet to establish proper protocol for appropriate social practice using technology. Even though we stay connected like never before, we have neglected the rules of social engagement within the technological medium. Many of these pitfalls can be avoided by establishing and practicing rules and expectations.

Facebook and Twitter are certainly the most popular social media networks, but if not used moderately, they can become more of a hindrance than tools for communication. Twitter is an excellent tool which can be likened to a river flowing past. Trying to catch all of the water as it rushes by is futile – but dipping a cup into the river of information every once in a while, will allow you to partake in smaller, more digestible morsels of information.

Don’t assume that the answers to these questions are obvious:
1. Would you consider it rude to chat on your cell phone while checking out at the grocery store?
2. Is it appropriate to text a friend when you are at home eating dinner?
3. How much time should a family spend separated while in the same space?
4. When is it appropriate to text instead of calling?
5. Why do people text more than talk or vice versa?