Category Archives: Learning

A Poem of Remembrance

Lest We Forget

Today, November 11th, Canada recognizes the courage of men and women who have served our country in the Air Force, Army, and Navy of the past, and those who serve today.  Abbey shared this beautiful poem on her blog. I have included the questions that she added following her post because I know they’ll get you thinking.

We Will Always Remember Them

For those who fought,
for those who died,
for those who lived,
for those who tried,
and for those who saved our Canadian lives,
we will always remember them.  

For those who risked their courageous lives,
who left their daughters and their wives,
who fought at war and gave us peace,
we will always remember them.

I hoped you liked my poem as much as I liked writing it!  Please tell me in the comments if you have any favorite poems about Remembrance Day, if you made up any poems, or comment on what Remembrance Day means to you! (Just some suggestions on what to comment )   ; )

Goodbye and have a nice day!

Sincerely, Abbey

You can comment directly on Abbey’s blog post here

Grant is a Grant via Compfight

 

Posts are Popping Up!

The students of Smartlandia (long story, that) are new bloggers here at Huzzah! Well, except for four of them who are veterans. To get a taste of their writing, click on the Flipboard below, scroll down, and click again to read some fresh writing that includes poetry, narrative, and humour. Please leave a comment to encourage these young writers.

View my Flipboard Magazine.

Texas: What We *Think* We Know…

One of the coolest things about blogging is that you meet people from all over the world. Mrs. Kriese’s class in Austin, Texas has really set the bar high on getting to know their global neighbours. They have been learning about bloggers in New Zealand, Serbia, and us in British Columbia, with whom they had exchanged comments. First they brainstormed what they thought they knew about us, and then did some first-class research to find out more.

Well, we think that is a great formula. Below are the notes from our brainstorming session. Mrs. Kriese and Grade 7s of West Ridge Middle School–how did we do?

Created with Padlet
We look forward to your comments. Please leave your blog address!

On the Dalai Lama, Shane Koyczan, and Back Channels

The Dalai Lama waved at us!

The Dalai Lama, sitting with his interpreter.

The Dalai Lama, sitting with his interpreter.

And then he bowed to welcome us!

The Dalai Lama acknowledging the participants.

The Dalai Lama acknowledging the participants.

Well, you may have figured out that His Holiness the Dalai Lama was not in our classroom–though somehow his gentle smile and warm laugh made him feel very near. He was in Vancouver to meet with students and educators at the Youth Heart-Mind Summit. The theme was Be the Village. Through the wonders of technology, we joined classes from many locations to watch and listen to a conversation he had with high school students. The topic was about cultivating kindness, empathy, and compassion in all people.  I have to say, I was very impressed with the poise of the grade 12 MCs and panelists. How very thrilling that day must have been. 

Can you imagine being on that stage?

As well, Shane Koyczan, a fabulous spoken word artist (I think “poet” works for me) performed. More about that in another post.  And more about Heart-Mind learning later.

Back Channel

Using Netbooks and Backchannel Chat during the presentation

Using Netbooks and Backchannel Chat during the presentation

We tried something new while watching. We had our first Backchannel Chat, an online private virtual conversation room which each student accessed via our Netbook laptops. The chat gave us an opportunity to discuss our thoughts, observations, and questions among ourselves. I purchased a year-long access to the features of Backchannel Chat for about $16.00 to give me access to all the features of the program. 

I learned a lot from this experience. So did the students, as you’ll see. Not everything was positive, but it was not a complete failure either. If other teachers have tried or are considering using a back channel, I’d appreciate your feedback.

Here are a few screenshots of the archived chat (click thumbnails to enlarge). I sprayed out the names as I promised the students this analysis was not about embarrassing anyone, it was about finding solutions.

We broke into groups of four and wrote Plus – Minus – Solutions posters. Students talked about and recorded their thoughts, then shared with classmates.

Plus-Minus-Solutions

Plus-Minus-Solutions

I’ve summarized their feedback:

Pluses:

  • It’s a great way to show what you’re thinking and see what others are thinking.
  • You can see what others think of your ideas–they can respond to you.
  • You can respond to the entire class more easily.
  • It stays quiet while a presentation is on.
  • Someone is able to moderate the chat.
  • As the chat went on, people were more serious and on topic.
  • We become more tech savvy.

Minuses:

  • Because the sound quality of the webcast was poor and because we are not used to the Dalai Lama’s accent, we couldn’t hear very well and comment meaningfully.
  • Some people didn’t know what they could write about.
  • Some students got off topic fast and began talking about battery life, naming favourite actors, injecting hashtags, and making other random, pointless comments.
  • A conversation about the Dalai Lama’s nationality, appearance, and ethnicity lead to misunderstanding and maybe some hurt feelings. (We processed this after the fact.)
  • Some students used texting language.
  • Too many one word comments reduced the usefulness of the chat and made information flow too quickly.
  • Some students logged in and out to change their name and their avatar, wasting time.

Solutions:

  • Create criteria for comments that everyone follows.  (Yes, that came from the students!)
  • Think before you type!
  • Run two different chats so people can read and respond to the comments. This would slow the chat down.
  • We need to work on writing complete, thoughtful, on-topic sentences.
  • Have more than one person monitoring the chat.
  • People who are disrespectful or off topic would be warned and then would be kicked out of the chat.

Final Thoughts
I learned so much from the experience of this back channel about my student’s strengths and needs. I had no illusions that it would be a flawless event, but I sense that taking a risk with this technology will be rewarding for us.

The next time we use Backchannel Chat as a learning tool, we will share our results here.

Do you have suggestions? Are there other tools that can help encourage dialogue about big ideas? Does communicating in virtual space improve or inhibit dialogue when we are  face to face? Please share your thoughts in a comment.

 

 

Remembrance Day, 2013

lest we forgetDo you have relatives who now serve in the armed forces? No doubt someone in your family was affected by World War 1 or World War 2–or another conflict since.  Your ancestors may have been soldiers, sailors, air crew–or men, women, and children who lived with war “on the home front”.  Remembrance Day is held at the same time as Veterans Day in the US, but is more like Memorial Day

In Canada, the United Kingdom, and through out the Commonwealth countries, poppies are worn during the days leading up to November 11th as a symbol of our remembrance and respect for those who fought and died in war. It’s also a reminder of how valuable peace is and how we are all responsible for creating a peaceful world.

We got together with our buddies at Climb High and shared our ideas about creating peace. We created this slideshow and presented it as part of our school Remembrance Day assembly.

Making a Peaceful World from Brooklyn Elementary School on Vimeo.

As well, Ryan and Tiana laid a wreath, and Luke, Heather, and Faith read their poems. Other students in our class were part of the choir.  

What do you, your family, and school community do to remember those who have fought in wars? Do you have other advice for ways that children and adults can create a peaceful world?

Photo Credit: hobvias sudoneighm via Compfight