Session notes

Room 2: "But My Kids are Only Five!" Creative Ways to Use Technology with Kindergarten Children
Lecturer: Molly Clauss
http://efs.pvt.k12.ny.us/~mclauss@elmwoodfranklin.org/

Project 1: 2010 Olympics
  • Plenty of content developed, but there was "something missing"
  • Created a website on Weebly, with a request for someone who was going to the Olympics
    • Consider obscuring your email address to prevent spam
  • Cross-posted on Facebook
  • Was contacted almost immediately by 4 families of Olympic athletes
  • The students connected with the athletes through the videos he posted to Youtube (training) and live streams of coverage on TV. Later scheduled a school visit, as these were local personalities.
  • Great lessons on "trying your best", success is measured in different ways, students made a strong connection because of the personal element. Kids would write to athlete and their family via email.

Acted out the sports in the gym:
  • Biathalon - laid on ground and shoot rubber bands.
  • Mogul skiing with half-balls in the gym to the beat of the music
Math - count the medals, graph the winners
Social Studies - Personal stories from around the world
Geography - Where are athletes from?
Science - Why does the bobsled go so fast
Character Development - Modesty, winning, sportsmanship

Children kept daily journals with Q&A, and then they wrote letters to athletes.

One of the athlete's moms bought a puppet and that was the voice of the olympics for the class. The students saw the olympics through "his" eyes. Puppet "Bobby" gave a child's-eye-view of the games, and in a child's voice.

The performance didn't go well - how to deal with the emotions of 5 year olds? Mom wrote about the experience on her blog at http://ontheedgeofskating.blogspot.com/, so Molly took the call to action and "Make Lemonade" with her class. And then it was picked up by the Buffalo News, and then by US Figure Skating Magazine.

Bobby Puppet then got a sister, Annie. She became the eyes and ears of the classroom. Sent to Prague... didn't work out so well. Lost for 1/2 year! Next year, tried China.

Don't use ePals. All the people that want to connect are in the US! Had trouble finding a school to work with in China, so she tried another approach - look for US speaking schools. Found a school willing to work, and "make it up as we go along".

"We're all looking at the same moon"

Annie went to China! The kids were hooked when they saw their classroom mascot in China, with their Chinese pals. Kids made their own descriptions and took pictures of themselves with bears that the Chinese students sent back to EFS. Teachers sent lessons back and forth. Did some music in MagicMusic. Used VoiceThread to teach them English words, especially colloquialisms. Used ZenBoard to learn calligraphy. Kindergarten and pen pals didn't quite work.

2 Skype sessions - bedtime vs morning time.