Twelve Days of Christmas

On the Twelfth (and final) Day of Christmas my Tungsten E2 gave to me a Merry Christmas!! By the time you all read this, most of you will have eaten too much turkey, indulged in way too many sweets and hopefully spent a beautiful Christmas holiday with your family and friends! Wishing you many blessings in 2007... Always, Lucy Dalgarno. Here’s hoping you will stay posted to our blog and share your comments with us!

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas my Tungsten E2 gave to me a processed piece of “friendship” cheese!

The purpose of this project is to see if student writing will improve if students have a new tool to write with. However, there are so many other amazing things happening in our classroom since the palm pilots have become a part of our learning. The most important lesson that I have noticed is how the students treat each other. In a world of stereo-types and social standings, our classroom is also affected with labels such as “jocks”, “brains”, “computer geeks” etc. We have been dealing with these issues, trying to teach students to respect each other and make a difference in their world. Since the palms have been here, students who typically wouldn’t “talk” to each other, began talking, sharing knowledge about their hand-held devices, beaming and sharing equipment, working together without rolling their eyes because they chose to work together rather than being told to work with someone outside their “social group”. You are probably wondering what does cheese have to do with any of this. Well, it’s all in the transfer part of learning. It’s one thing to be respectful when you are working with the Tungsten, but when you have Student A offer Student B a piece of cheese during snack time, when Student A rarely has anything to do with Student B, well that piece of cheese moved me to tears! Will Student A become “buddies” with Student B? Probably not, but kindness was shown, respect was given and acceptance is slowing making it’s way into our classroom. Is this all due to the palm pilots? Well, I hope that my constant ” mini-lectures” have had a little to do with it, but I do believe that this little device has made us all step out of our comfort zones, in more ways than one!! Let the growing begin!

On the Tenth Day of Christmas my Tungsten E2 gave to me resources and more resources!
Mr. Mc and I spent the last week before Christmas holidays working on our literature review. I have not written a review like this before and if I did in University, I do not remember! I received many resources from my support team( Tim, Dean and Angus), read many different articles and gained a great deal of knowledge. I must say that learning is much more relevant and easier to grasp when you “want” to understand and learn more about the topic you are studying. This is not some new realization for me, however, a confirmation that whenever we are teaching our students anything, we must make it real and meaningful to their lives in order for them to truly understand. One reason why this project is starting out as well as it has is because students are surrounded with technology in their lives outside of school; to come to school and learn about a new piece of technology was exciting for them and they were motivated to learn and teach me about the things they had learned. I am definitely in the “facilitator” role and together we are exploring, teaching each other and learning from one another. I read my review to them, after a few paragraphs, a few of them became bored, others seemed to be listening and others were actively listening as they sat beside my desk and made comments about what they liked, agreed with or thought I should change. Together we discussed, edited and agreed to ” send”. All in all, it really turned out to be a beautiful lesson!!

On the Ninth Day of Christmas my Tungsten E2 gave to me a surprise, pop quiz!

The students had two quizzes to write. We decided to do one with the hand-held computers and the other with pencil and paper. The first one was completed on the Tungstens. The students needed to share their keyboards, as soon as one would finished he/she would quietly and quickly pass on the keyboard and then play games on the Tungsten. The second test was done on paper. Here are some of things I noticed. With the hand-held computers the students were much more focused and started working immediately. The only talking that occurred was when they handed off the keyboard and even then it was minor in comparison to the talking that occurred during the pencil and paper test. With this test they spoke while they were writing the test, asked more questions out loud rather than putting their hands up. It was just a very different setting. Once they had completed the quizzes they were all busy on their palms. Some were reading from e-books, some were playing games which is better than distracting others that were still writing the tests, but the most surprising part was that I noticed that three boys were typing madly on their keyboards. As I walked past their desks, I asked each of them what they were doing. Two of them were writing stories and one was writing poetry! I must say, this is the first time in a long time, that I have had any student work on writing after a quiz or during free time. These boys could have played games yet chose to write! I was impressed! Wish the palm pilots would have improved their test scores!!

On the Eighth Day of Christmas my Tungsten E2 gave to me, Dean Shareski, our curriculum and instruction consultant for Prairie South School Division #2.

Dean has been a consultant for that last 5 years and he was the one that approached me with the palm pilot project. Without Dean, the students and I would not have had this awesome opportunity! We are very grateful for his support. He visits our classroom, talks to the students about their feelings and experiences with the hand-held computers, shares resources with Mr. Mc. and myself, deals with budget issues and meets with us regularly to discuss progress and build on the project. He is very willing to experiment and try new things, open to challenges and very knowledgeable about technology and education. We met with Mr. Shareski just before the Christmas break. He ordered more keyboards, as we are seeing how the students need them to be more effective with their use of the Tungsten’s. We will meet again in the new year. Thanks for your support and encouragement, Mr. Shareski!!!

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