Course 5. Dun, Dun, Dun! At the beginning of Course 4, I had ZERO clue as to what I wanted to work on in Course 5. As always, COETAIL didn’t let me down, and by the time we were halfway into Course 4, I started to receive inspiration from our readings and other COETAIL blogs.

I’ve mentioned previously that I will be moving back into the classroom next school year to teach grade four. I’m excited for many reasons, one of them being that I’ll really be able to implement a large portion of my learnings from COETAIL, without having to run things by the homeroom teacher first, or worrying that they wouldn’t connect with what was happening in the classroom.

Idea #1: I’d like to try my hand at flipped instruction- maybe not in the purest sense of the word, but a variation of it.

1. Describe the project: What will your students do?

My students will receive some sort of flipped instruction. I’m a huge fan of the workshop model in the classroom (not just in reading and writing) and I’ve found that this model works in most subject areas. All students will receive a mini-lesson and then break into small groups to work at different stations. Each station would would reflect back to the mini-lesson or instruction that happened earlier. I was thinking that at these stations, the flipped instruction would come into play.

2. How does this project reflect your learning from COETAIL?

This project is literally what COETAIL is all about. How can we use technology in meaningful ways to push our students to become critical thinkers and competent users of said technology? Hello? Anybody home? My students will be engaging in screencasts and tutorials either made by me, or if I’m able to find something someone else created (Why reinvent the wheel? Am I right?)

3. What goals do you hope to achieve with this project?

I would like to have screen-casting become second nature, just like a regular part of planning. I know there are educators out there who are pros at this. I don’t necessarily want to reach pro status, but right now, a lot of planning goes into creating the screencasts. I know with more practice, it’ll be less challenging to plan and create.

4. Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?

I think this is a good possibility for my Course 5 project because it is directly related to everything that COETAIL has taught us and I’ve always wanted to have part of my instructions flipped. Next year and Course 5 is the perfect opportunity to try it out, enough for all of my students. Previously, I was creating screencasts for a very small group of students and it’s exciting to be able to do this for students whom I am responsible for every day, rather than 55 minutes, once, every other day.

5. What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?

It wouldn’t necessarily require a redesigning of the unit, because technically all of the units will be new for me. However, I am concerned with my lack of content knowledge. We are restructuring the way we teach, attempting to create transdisciplinary units, making sure everything aligns vertically and horizontally. It’s been quite the undertaking, but necessary. We’re in a good place because there will be quite a number of new items and unknowns, so it’s the perfect time to try my hand at flipped instruction.

6. What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?

This isn’t necessarily a shift, but more a reminder that students are responsible for learning. The teacher is merely there to facilitate and guide students on their journey. Through the flipped instruction that will take place at stations, students will definitely be responsible for how much or how little they accomplish. They have all the tools they need– they just need to do it!

7. What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?

My students will definitely have to be responsible users of their time. I will not be around to watch over and/or redirect learners to make sure they are staying on task. Students will also have to be responsible with their devices– bringing them to school everyday, making sure they are charged, putting them away when not in use.

Idea #2: A few colleagues put together a boot camp for our 1:1 program in grades 3-5. Another colleague and I would like to possibly update the boot camp to reflect some of the ideas we were inspired by in COETAIL.

1. Describe the project: What will your students do?

My students, and all students in grades 3-5, will work through each module of the boot camp to help set up as smooth of a year using technology as possible. They’ll set up blogs and any and all accounts they’ll use throughout the year. The boot camp covers a lot of what we’ve learned about in COETAIL, but with room for improvement. We hope to make revisions and add digital literacy as well as something to do with Flipboard.

2. How does this project reflect your learning from COETAIL?

Similar to my Idea #1, this project reflects my learning from COETAIL because we’re going to add components to the boot camp that are a direct result from our readings in COETAIL. Everything that I learned in the previous courses, I tried to teach to my students. Through the boot camp, we’ll be able to reach all of the students, whether their teacher was/is a COETAILer or not.

3. What goals do you hope to achieve with this project?

I hope to make sure that the modules in the boot camp are more horizontally aligned, so that students aren’t going through the exact same modules in grades 3, 4, and 5. What students work on in grade 3 would be different from grade 4 and grade 5, but each year would build on the previous year’s modules.

4. Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?

This is a good possibility for my Course 5 project because we’re taking modules that are already in place, and trying to make them more applicable and represent the kind of teaching and learning we want to see in classrooms. Not only that, but we are acting as sort of ambassadors of COETAIL. Other educators will see how meaningful and practical COETAIL is, and will hopefully be interested in being COETAILers, too! Also, moving towards our new units we’re planning, we don’t have a lot of resources in the here and now, but hope to begin collecting them and using Flipboard as our textbooks.

5. What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?

Some concerns that I have about redesigning and revising the boot camp are that teachers may not find me credible since it will be my first year in a new grade level and that the vision that we have for all teachers being vertically aligned and spiraling component of the boot camp won’t come to fruition. I know not everyone is as excited and passionate as I am about educational technology and I can’t make someone do something. I can only give them the information and hope they do what’s best for their students.

6. What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?

Two words that I’ve found myself reflecting a lot this school year are global and citizens– global citizens. Previously, I had the mindset of “Well, I’ll just go to my room and be safe in the four walls of my classroom with my students, and we’ll do our thing.” Yikes! What a dangerous place I put myself in. 1:1 classrooms are great for cultivating global citizens, not just for my students, but for me as well. The modules that students will go through as part of their boot camp will help them become better global citizens.

7. What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?

Speaking of global citizenship, students must understand what this means. When we use technology, we don’t just use iPads or laptops for research, or watching Jimmy Fallon on Youtube- that last part was directed towards me. Guilty! We use these devices to create content and connect with others who are doing the same. Students must understand that they are leaving evidence of themselves (digital footprints) when they interact globally, and our mindsets have to change with these devices that we use. It’s not just for Minecraft, although that’s great. But, it’s for so much more!