Jac Rocks

Hows that for an egotistical blog post title?

I’ve struggled for a long time to make this blog post. A few weeks ago I got a SMART Notebook file from a grade 6 teacher I worked closely with this year. We worked together on a project called Learning Math Together (LMT). We found ways to connect this grade 6 class to a grade 4/5 class on the other side of the board to do math collaboratively. They used polycom video conference equipment, adobe connect, TIGed, Aviary Education and a few other technologies.

This SMART Notebook file from the teacher was an image they left written comments on with each letter of “Jac Rocks” linked to an audio file of a song. The audio files were all songs created by students to thank me. Normally I would listen to the songs (tear up) and share with a few close friends and family members. I would not post this online to share. BUT… after thinking pretty long about it. I need to share it.

I need to share it because these songs are not a reflection of my work. They are a reflection of their teachers work. I believe their gratitude has been transferred to me, but is truly for their teacher. The world needs to hear more stories of what happened in this grade 6 math class this year (a few posts I’ve written about this class include Plan B’s, day of SMART Boards, music math) .

I was in their class between 6-10 times this year. I helped co-teach lessons with their teacher when she was using a million different tools to connect students. The students loved me because their teacher and I had an excellent collaborative relationship. We got along wonderfully, laughed tons and took lots of risk trying new things. Students pick up on this.

I just played the audio file for my parents. They asked “how did the students know those were the things you were trying to do? That those were your goals?”. They verbalize all the things we hoped they would get out of the math program. The things the students mention in their songs that really make me happy are:

  • increased confidence
  • math is fun
  • many different ways to do things
  • taking risk to solve problems and learn is necessary
  • have to work hard to solve problems
  • try different tools
  • they feel smart

All of these things are reflective of the learning environment the teacher set up in her class (not my participation). I got all the thanks from the students because every time I showed up we did something insane, chaotic and fun (hence I was there to help). Realistically, it was the teacher who set up the environment, relationships and learning activities that helped develop these values in her students.

I’ve converted the file to an audio file and roughly removed all the student names. I’ve also taken out the image where the students write me comments. There is fourteen minutes of audio, but listening to even a few minutes is a great way to hear how these students have put value on collaboration, fun, doing things many different ways, taking risk and creativity.

 

I love when students verbalize the result of reflective practice and ongoing teacher learning. Who better to help us gauge what works and what needs improvement?

Marci (@marciduncan), thank you for a wonderful year and letting me into your class to experience all the great things going on. Congrats on playing a large role in the development and success of 27 amazing children all with different learning needs. You have empowered them to continue their learning in ways that works for them.

I now have to plan my response in song to these amazing students. Any ideas?

 

2 Replies to “Jac Rocks”

  1. Wow! Jac this is amazing. I want to know more. It seems what that teacher did was empower her students because she/he felt empowered to do so.
    Thanks so much for sharing those files!

    Zoe

    1. Thanks Zoe;
      I agree that we all need to hear a little bit more about some of the neat things that went on here. 🙂 The project set the stage for collaboration and risk-taking from the beginning. Teachers who were willing to take some risks were invited. They were called “the trailblazers”, very fitting. They were encouraged to try all sorts of new things and knew that they had us (ict, numeracy and instructional strategy consultants) there to support them as new things were introduced. My favorite part was how the learning really lead the technology choices. I would get skype calls in the evening saying “ok, so, we want to do ____, what tools are available that would let our kids connect that way or collaborate on that?”. It took everything I had to keep up with them. I was stretched beyond my expectations and had to learn all sorts of new ways to connect kids to keep up with the teachers limitless imagination. It makes me all giddy reflecting back, such a high. In the coming years, our goals are to bring more teachers in and build more partnerships for collaboration, hopefully beyond our school board. This project worked so well because teachers partnered up to co-plan and then co-teach (at a distance) their lessons. The relationships developed were strong. The teachers were supported in what they thought they needed to learn to reach the goals they set. I’m so grateful for being able to participate in a project like this. The numeracy consultant in our board Trish Steele really did a great job with the vision and creation of this project. As an FYI, we’re presenting this project by video conferencing in a class or two that participated (the kids and teachers) to ECOO during a session. There may also be a quick video clip on edugains about it soon I think (with some of these teachers).
      One more thing (sorry, I’m rambly today), I spent an hour or so on Adobe Connect last week with some teachers from your board and my board (@3kidzmum). Two teachers (one from each board) partnered up as part of a aq course to run a session walking teachers through using adobe connect and talking about ways they could connect classes for mathematics. 🙂 Kinda neat ‘eh?

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