Saturday, January 24, 2015

PIE Grade 3: Pause for Poetry




An essential skill for our students is the ability to effectively communicate with multimedia.  JIS iPads and a multitude of apps and resources empower our students with a variety options to meet this expectation.

One of those resources is DragonTales, our onsite multimedia and sharing database, which now includes a QR Code Generator option. This new tool allows easy sharing of and access to media resources developed by all members of our JIS community.

Mark Murnane, PIE grade three team facilitator, recently shared a wonderful example of students using multimedia tools to interact, collaborate, and publish with their peers for an audience that extends beyond the classroom walls:

“To celebrate the end of their Writing Unit focusing on Poetry, the Grade 3 students at PIE recently had a 'Pause for Poetry' morning. All grade 3 students selected one of their favorite poems and 'published' their work using the iPad app Book Creator. These published pieces of writing were then converted into video format in which each young author was able to add a voice recording of them personally narrating their poem, displaying the written words, and graphic. Each video was then uploaded to DragonTales. QR codes were then generated for each student video file, downloaded, printed and displayed throughout the school. Once the QR codes are displayed, any community member with a QR code reader can access student work examples while on campus.


Mark Murnane
Russell Downs (@RussDowns)


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Building Organizational Capacity with Tech

In mid September, the Middle School faculty were asked to fill out a survey indicating some of their technology needs. The following statment was presented to them:

Under Dream 5 in the MS Destiny Plans "Expanding organizational capacity" please think of one tool or area with regards to technology that you would like to learn or improve upon that will benefit your teaching and/or your student's learning.

The data collected clearly indicated the "what" and "how" the 68 MS faculty  like to learn.



Next steps include individual, PLC or department follow up to provide the PD needed to build said capacity.  When we understand and meet the needs of our learners, everyone wins.

English 9LE Authentic Authors - A Transformational Experience


"During the writing process I felt I am a professional author."
                                                                                                    - English 9LE Student


The tradition in Mrs. M’s class, aka Beata’s, continues with her English 9 LE students becoming authors and illustrators of their own short stories and sharing these with an authentic audience. This year Emily’s Grade 3 class at PIE participated in the story share.

The journey begins with the writing process, let us take you through some highlights.

First a bullet point plan...

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Which is then expanded to a plot, a list of events, and shared via Google docs...

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Then the first draft is written and shared via Google docs with the teacher for feedback...


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When the story is re-drafted, it is read and commented on by classmates. Using Google forms, students write reflections on how the peer editing session has helped them move forward.  


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Subsequent to more drafting, the stories are made ready for publication. Original illustrations are drawn, scanned with an App such as CamScanner using iPhones, iPads or iPods. Students copy and paste their text in iBooks Author, insert their scanned illustrations, prepare a cover page for the digital book, and include an "About the Author" section. The short stories are previewed in iBooks either on MacBook Airs or an iPad.
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Back-up PDFs are uploaded to www.flipsnack.com to be viewed as interactive “flippy books” just in case of technical glitches. Here are some of these books (you might need to set up an account to view these): Hayoon’s heart-gripping “May I go inside your heart?” , Riwa’s comical “Tee hee” , and Kunqi’s competitive “Who’s worth it?”.


You can see Susan read her story " Dream to the Sky" in this 45 second video:


The magical moment this year came towards the end of the hour when we were watching the interaction between the students that were done, as they relaxed and Grade 9 and Grade 3 students started talking to each other, asking each other questions. The younger students proudly took out their work to share with the older students, they started reading their poems to them, they took out their research posters to show off. It was truly touching.

Before leaving the G3 students were asked what they liked about the short stories they had just read. They highlighted the interesting vocabulary words used to describe “thunder”, they referred to a metaphor presented in a story,  they were impressed with the “About the Author” page as well as the artistic illustrations that were included. See here what they had to offer:

After a few high fives and goodbyes and promises to visit each other’s classes again, the English 9 LE students left feeling a wonderful sense of accomplishment and excitement. There was a buzz in the air on the long walk back to class.


Upon arriving to class, the students wrote reflections about their experience and their learning:

* What did you learn?

A / I learnt how to use literary devices to make the story more interesting and I learnt how to apply variable verbs and adjectives to the sentences.

B / I learnt the technique of layout and how to preview iBook on iPad.

C / I learnt that children’s understanding skills are impressive and they can learn from the story 
quickly. If I have more illustrations, that would be better.

* The most important thing I learned was …

A / If I am writing my essay or story, I need to revise a lot of times to make a perfect draft.

B / The world is changing with new technology and I have the right to use it wisely.

C / Grade 3 children respected my story and listened carefully, even if it was boring.

* What got in the way of your learning? ( What I found difficult was … )

What I found difficult was to write an interesting but simple story, I am still not satisfied with my story. I tried to make a sad and touching story, but the conversation and descriptions could not send messages to the readers, not very well.

* I might have learned better if … I need more help with...

I might have learned better if I had more help with revising the draft a lot of times, and tried to read more books to get inspired on descriptions to touch the readers’ feeling.

* How did you feel?  ( During the writing process I felt… After the visit I felt….)

A / During the writing process I felt I am a professional author.

B /  During the publishing process, I felt proud of myself that I made the story and published it with the lovely pictures in iBook.

C / After the visit I regretted - what if I made the story more interesting for Grade 3 kids?




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Through the students thoughtful reflections of their journey as authors it is clear that this experience was transformational on many levels.

A big thank you to Emily Dixon-Ryan's Grade 3 Class!

Beata Mirecka-Jakubowska and Pia Druggan