Blog Archives

Join Kid President’s Cabinet (video)

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Click the picture to view a short video featuring kids from three different states.

What if kids were empowered to change the world? Let’s make it happen!  Your classroom can join Kid President’s “Unofficial” Cabinet.  Classrooms across the country will be discussing citizenship together on Thursday, March 10th at 9:30am CST using the #StuConnect hashtag on Twitter.

This short (3 minute) video was created by kids from Minnesota, New York, and New Jersey.  Their collaborative project sets the stage for the conversation that will occur on the #StuConnect hashtag.  Our focus will be on learning about positive character, digital citizenship, and making a difference for others.  All classrooms are welcome to participate (K-12 and beyond)!

If your classroom would like to preview the questions that we will be sharing on March 10th please see below.  The chat will start at 9:30am CST and last 20-30 minutes.  We will spend about five minutes discussing each question.  Feel free to reach out to the #StuConnect moderators if you need help facilitating this Twitter-based conversation with your students. 

#StuConnect Twitter Chat Topic: Citizenship* 

Q1: If you were on Kid President’s cabinet, what citizenship project would you recommend? How could you involve others? #StuConnect

Q2: What are some ways that students, teachers, and leaders display positive character and citizenship? #StuConnect

Q3: How do you demonstrate digital citizenship? #StuConnect

Q4: How does your classroom show citizenship outside the walls of your school? #StuConnect

*On the day of our Twitter chat, you can reply to each question by starting your classroom Tweets with the letter “A” and number of the corresponding question.  This will help others understand that you are answering a particular question.  Be sure to add the #StuConnect hashtag to all of your responses.  Example: “A4 We show citizenship by….. #stuconnect”

#STUCONNECT

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Social Media at its Best

Much like a crayon or magic marker, Social Media mirrors the thinking and creativity of the user.  Some people can take a few simple crayons and create astonishing works of art! There are others that may choose to use the crayons in less appropriate ways. For example, I’ve seen crayons used in creative ways on playground equipment. As an elementary principal, I’m pleased to share that the overwhelming majority of time our students are using tools like crayons and markers to do really inspiring work.

The take-away for this story is that more often than not, crayons are used to spread joy and beauty. They inspire creativity and sometimes their messages even touch the soul.  I think the same can be true of Social Media.  If we begin to cultivate digital citizenship in our students at a very young age, there will be no limit to the positive impact they can have on the world.

One way to cultivate digital citizenship is via conversation. Talk early and often with children about online tools and communication. Help kids learn to leverage Social Media to make a positive mark on the world through modeling.  A great example of Social Media at its best is the Ice Bucket Challenge.  The challenge has gone viral…and for good reasons:

1.) The Ice Bucket Challenge gives us the ability to connect to a cause bigger than ourselves (ALS).

2.) Social Media is being used to connect people to each other’s “story.” The resulting communication I’ve observed has been fun-loving and authentic.

3.) The Ice Bucket Challenge and its inherent link to Social Media has helped us collectively create, communicate, and make a difference. The possibilities for self-expression and citizenship/service are very powerful.

4.) Most importantly, the Ice Bucket Challenge and sharing via Social Media have served as a catalyst for deeper conversations about ALS, service and real people that are hurting.

My wife’s uncle has been battling ALS for years. We’re hopeful that the awareness, energy, and funds being generated by the Ice Bucket Challenge leave a positive and lasting mark on a dreaded disease.

As an educator I’m also committed to teaching students responsible use and digital citizenship so that they can change the world and leave a positive mark. I don’t see this as optional anymore, and our kids are counting on us to learn, engage, and model for them so they have the capacity to thrive in a digital age.

Power-up Digital Learning

Amplify Icon

One of my passions is finding ways to amplify student voice.  Our staff has embraced the goal to meaningfully integrate technology into the student learning experience.  This has translated into deep and dynamic learning for our school.

Students are collaborating with each other and reflecting on their learning using online forums, shared documents in Google Drive, and more.  They’re extending their learning through hands-on projects requiring critical thinking and creativity.  The combination of digital learning and face-to-face collaboration has been nothing short of inspiring.

We continue to have conversations about how to enhance students’ communication and achievement in this new learning paradigm.  Our goal is to move our kids from basic responses to more in-depth analysis.  We understand this is a process involving many variables.  The tool below is intended to scaffold this process.  The tool could help power-up students who are responding to a text, replying in a forum, or providing a partner feedback about his/her writing.

Providing students additional “choice and voice” in their learning will empower them to reach levels that were previously unimaginable.  It’s amazing what our kids can do when we give them the opportunity and support them when they fall!

Digital Response Power-ups

Digital Response Power-ups

About this Document:

  • The tool is based on Bloom’s Taxonomy.  The icons get progressively more involved as a student works his way towards the bottom of the document.
  • The tool is based on basic tenets of gamification.  Students’ natural inclination for achievement, self-expression, and closure have been packaged into several digital badges.
  • It is suggested that teachers allow students choice in what badges they will select to respond to a classmate/text.
  • The recommended number of badges per assignment is 2-4 for initial responses to a text, and 1-3 for online forum feedback to classmates.
  • Students should be asked to conclude each posting with the code letters indicating what badges they selected to their teacher.  (E.g. “?H+”)

What did I miss? How might we improve this tool to facilitate high levels of learning for each and every student? I look forward to your comments and sharing.

 

Image Credits: FotoSearch.com

Fostering Digital Leadership in Kids


Digital Leadership Poster

Our students are counting on us to invest in their overall development.  Historically, this has involved teaching social, emotional and academic skills.  The changing way our students are communicating in this digitally-connected age requires a new kind of investment.  We are now responsible for supporting students as they learn how to connect and learn using technology.

I strongly believe that the best time to begin having conversations about digital leadership and safe/responsible use is now.  The new and emerging tools that are available to kids present such powerful and positive opportunities.  We also know that there are some pitfalls to avoid…and learn from.  By modeling discernment and purposefully leveraging “teachable moments” in our schools we can build our students’ digital leadership capacity.

Somebody in my Professional Learning Network (PLN) shared the original version of this poster and we modified it to fit our school’s needs. The original contained some social media apps that our students do not encounter as frequently as the icons we included.  Please feel free to use, modify and share this PDF as you see fit: Digital Leadership Poster

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