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Webspiration Wednesday

Last week, I instituted Webspiration Wednesday at CHC.  To find out what exactly Webspiration Wednesday is, check out my original post here. Today we gathered over a TED Talk by Tim Brown on Creativity and Play. Tim reminded me of something very important, there comes a point in schooling where we begin discouraging play.  We ask students to sit in their seats, to fill in the circles completely with a number two pencil, and to stay on task.  There is very little time in schools for play.  I think that by making schools void of play, we harm our students.  There is a lot of important learning that happens during play and discovery. In the video, Tim shows some pictures inside some major design firms (Pixar and Google).  At the beginning of the year, I asked students to describe what their dream school would look like.  I was very sad to learn that most of them couldn’t conceive of a school that looked different.  In our first brainstorming session, most of them talked about having more recess or a longer lunch and that was the extent of their wishes.  I really tried to impress on them that their school could look and be structured any way they wanted.  I was met with blank stares and confused looks.  The problem in the first brainstorming session was that students were doing what they do all day long in school.  They were trying to guess what I was thinking.  They wanted to give me the right answer.  But in this instance, there wasn’t a right answer, every answer was right.  I showed my students pictures of Googleplex and Pixar and explained that there was a lot of work and creativity that came out of both companies.  What they saw was a playland.  Nearly all of my students declared that they would work at Google or Pixar when they got out of school.  One of my students asked if I would help her write a resume so that Google would have it on file when she was ready to work there (she is 9).  We brainstormed a dream school again.  This time the students understood that there wasn’t a right answer, that the sky was the limit.  Few of them included desks in their dream school, nearly all of them included animals of some kind, and most of them wanted slides and piano stairs to get from one floor to another.  We collaborated on Wallwisher and dreamed together.  At the beginning of the project, I told the kids the school could look like, and operate, any way that they wanted, but there were two restrictions: 1. it had to be a place of learning, and 2. they had to justify why they included everything in their school.  Most of them cited an increase in creativity and innovation (we learned that word as we looked at pictures of Googleplex).   One of my students wanted  a huge cylinder tropical fish tank in the lobby with clear pipes branching out and winding around the school and through the classroom.  She thought the fish would be interesting to study and an inspiration for learning.  Another student wished for swing chairs hanging from the ceiling so that they could move while they learned.  Several kids wanted dogs in the school that they could read to because, “dogs won’t make fun of you when you make a mistake reading out loud.”  Once the students felt comfortable with not having one right answer, they let their imaginations run wild and came up with excellent ideas and suggestions. We need to help kids understand that there usually isn’t only one right answer.  They have been so primed to believe that every problem has one correct answer because we overload them with tests and worksheets that tell them that it is so.  We squash creativity.  Pretty soon they become adults who don’t know how to play and as a result, aren’t creative.  How do you encourage creativity and outside the box thinking in your classroom?

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Flowgram

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, Foreign Language, Geography, History, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Video Tutorials, Virtual Field Trips, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 18-09-2008

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What it is: Flowgram is a website that makes it easier to teach your students online.  Flowgram has a simple platform that makes is easy for anyone to package and share anything on the web.  Flowgram can combine slideshows, documents, pictures, screencasts, websites, audio, video etc. with your voice narration.  This makes it simple to teach any concept using the web.  Flowgram requires no download, it runs directly from your Internet browser.  Recipients of the Flowgram can fully interact with anything that is on the Flowgram (webpage links, video, etc.).  Flowgrams can be sent via email, linked to, or embedded in a blog or website for viewing.   

 

How to integrate Flowgram into the classroom:  Flowgram is a wonderful way to create interactive tutorials for students learning any technology concept.  Beyond that, Flowgram makes it easy for you to take your students on virtual field trips on any subject.  What I love about Flowgram, is that it meets individual student needs.  Students can work at their own pace and interact with any part of the Flowgram as many times as they need.  It would also be a great place to create reviews for tests, and perfect for students who have missed school.  Teach your students to make Flowgrams and start your own library of student created tutorials on any subject.  Students teaching students is powerful!  Because you can narrate Flowgrams, they are wonderful to use with students who struggle with reading and navigating the Internet on their own…it is like having you sit right next to them, leading with your undivided attention.  

 

Tips:  I have started creating a weekly Flowgram for teachers at my school called Tenkely’s Tips.  I will be creating a new page with a collection of the weekly Flowgrams.  Feel free to check them out! :)

 

Leave a comment and share how you are using Flowgram in your classroom.

 

 

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