Friday, March 23, 2012

A Day in the Life

Last Friday two IT teachers from another international school in Switzerland came to spend the day with me at my school.  This allowed me to put myself into someone else's shoes and view what I was doing as an outsider. For me I am a bookable resource, just the same way the labs, laptops, cameras and so on are bookable resources.  I share my calendar with the teachers who can see what I'm already doing and book me to help them when it's convenient for them.  Every day for me is different, so it was impossible to predict much ahead of time what these teachers would actually see. This is what they saw:

Skype session with students in India
Grade 2 students have been investigating weather and climate in different places around the world and how this influences daily life as part of their How the World Works unit.  They have already Skyped with students in Romania, Tanzania, South Africa and Thailand - the first session this morning was taken up with another Skype call with students in India.  I went to the Grade 2 classroom and set up my laptop so that it would work with the SMARTboard.  Students were able to come up and ask their questions while other students scribed the answers they received.

Meeting with a Learning Support teacher
After the Skype session with our Grade 2 students, I went to a meeting with one of our Learning Support teachers.  We were looking at different tools that she could use with some of her students.  We discussed using Kidspiration for brainstorming and then turning this into a written outline that could be expanded upon.  We talked about different audio tools that we could use to record students talking and a couple of Web 2.0 tools such as Prezi and Spicy Nodes that could be used for presenting.  I showed her Fotobabble, which she might the able to use with a student who felt anxious when speaking aloud to the class. (Update - this teacher has already taught others in her department how best they can use Kidspiration to support student learning).

Grade 2 investigate food webs
Grade 2 students are starting a new unit of inquiry, Sharing the Planet.  The central idea is:  life within an ecosystem is interdependent and we share a responsibility to preserve its balance.  As we tuned in to this unit we discussed the idea of food webs which involved students explaining the link between producers and consumers,  and between herbivores and carnivores.  We also investigated what happened to plants and animals when they died, and so added decomposers into the food web.  Students were then given the opportunity to use an online tool to create a food web for 1 of 4 different biomes.

Skype session with a teacher in Mozambique
Earlier I had a request from a teacher in Mozambique to Skype to her iPad.  She was running PD for teachers at her school and wanted to show them how to use Skype.  We were going to be the people who Skyped with her teachers to show them the various functions.  Unfortunately although we got a connection, it wasn't possible for the other side to hear us, so we abandoned this session.

Meeting with our Curriculum Coordinator about blogging
After the Skype session, I had a meeting with our curriculum coordinator as she is writing a blog and wanted to add authors and limit who could view it.  We had a short session where we went through how to do these things.

Drop in Lab
On Friday afternoons I always run a session in the IT lab where Grade 4 and Grade 5 students can drop in for extra help, or if they have missed a lesson during the week and want to catch up.  There are often 20 students in this session all doing different things.

Quad Blogging with Grade 4
Students in one class of Grade 4 have been quad blogging with 3 other schools (in the USA, Czech Republic and Thailand).  Last week they booked a session with me where they were writing responses to the comments they had received on their blog posts that week.  I've been using these sessions to reflect on my role as a coach and how I can best support teachers who are blogging with students as a way of improving their reading and writing skills.

Making book trailers with Grade 5
Students in Grade 5 have been making book trailers in collaborative groups using WeVideo.  They were finishing off their book trailers and exporting them to Vimeo.

Making rap music with Grade 4
Finally, at the end of the day, I had a group of Grade 4 students who had composed music on GarageBand and they wanted to add their voices to make a rap song.  We went somewhere quiet where they learned how to do this, and eventually they turned their song into an MP3 to add onto their blogs.

After school we had a TGIF to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, then it was off to ZIS for Learning 2030 - another great PD opportunity.

So, that was my day.  My personal goal this year has been to investigate how I can best support teachers through coaching.  There's certainly a lot to think about after this day!

Photo Credit:  10 by Emi Yañez Attribution 


  1. OK, totally overwhelmed by your day but also inspired about what I will be involved in next year. Also, realized there is a bunch of learning I need to do on certain apps. I knew most of what you talked about but made a list of the ones that I don't just to add to my arsenal. :)

    I love the term a "bookable" resource. I am going to think about that and approach my new job that way.


  2. How long is your school day, Maggie?!
    Although looking at it I understand that a lot of those times with students are maybe only 15-20 minutes. Still it gives a good overview of the flexibility that is needed for education technology roles.

  3. Maggie, I am the Technology Integration Specialist at the American School of Milan. I just came across your blog in recent days and am enjoying your posts! They are full of great resources and ideas. Looking forward to reading more!

    Carrie Zimmer