Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Digital Storytelling in grade 8 Social Studies

In eighth grade social studies, we have studied 4 major units: Multicultural America, Formation of a Nation, Civil War to Civil Rights, and Conflict and Change. As part of our study of the Civil Rights movement, we started by analyzing the institution of slavery in America and the modern world, moving on to the American Civil War and ending with an individual research project on prominent Civil Rights leaders. In order to capture and communicate the deeper meanings of the movement to a general audience, we combined our 21st century research skills with the technology of iMovie to create a digital story on our selected Civil Rights leader. In addition to exercising our creativity, we simultaneously learned how to captivate the audience by presenting the movement in an informative and engaging way. See below for a selection of videos from all of grade 8. We hope you enjoy our efforts!

Thank you,
SAS 8th grader, Natasha O. (A Side) and 8th grade social studies teachers

If you can't view the embedded playlist above, click here to view.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

SAS iPD - Individualized Professional Development

Reason for iPD

Our Ed Tech Team is always exploring ways to offer meaningful professional development for faculty and staff, and to facilitate our institutional commitment of the integration of technology. We received excellent feedback after hosting our last two Google Summits, so we successfully negotiated the use one of our calendared ‘late starts’ for our own mini summit. Our mini summit was an opportunity to acknowledge the wealth of talent within our school, and provide a forum to share what is going on within each division.

It was harder to find a good name for our mini summit than it was to find willing presenters! We recognized that one type of PD did not suit everyone’s needs - people want individualized professional development - so we had a name… iPD: Individualized Professional Development.

We ended up organizing an event that was the size of a conference. There were 60 sessions on offer, involving 54 presenters from all divisions, including Central Administration, and over five hundred participants. With such a wide variety of sessions we could provide participants with choice. It was a true team effort and its success was due to the wonderful team of faculty and staff that contributed.

Involvement of our Community

The organization of iPD was a community effort. The entire K-12 SAS Educational Technology team initially started the idea of this professional development within their regular meetings. Taking the idea to all division administrators and getting their support for using the late start time was an easy task. Vanessa Spiers and Amos Ong, from the Communications office helped to market and communicate out the event. To promote iPD, Amos designed a poster to show the variety of the iPD offerings.

Seeking out presenters was effortless. Staff and faculty, from all divisions stepped forward to lead workshops on things they do in the classroom and with students to support learning through the use of technology. These presenters helped to make iPD a huge success. Their preparation in designing and delivering the workshop experiences inspired the attendees to improve their own practices. From participant feedback, 93% of the faculty and staff responded that they learned something with 90% saying that they will apply what they learned. Faculty and staff members are recognizing the expertise within our own school and iPD has helped to build a community of learners. The success of this event could not have been possible without the involvement of numerous community members.


iPD is about learning. And learn we did. The biggest piece of consistent feedback we received after the iPD event was that people want more of this type of professional development. iPD was a two hour event, but people are asking for two days next time. Teachers and staff would like more time built into the iPD schedule to allow for play and reflection on how this new learning will change teaching. Many people used time during PLC meetings after iPD to share what they learned with their colleagues.

Comments from iPD participants include:
It was BY FAR the BEST PD I think we have had. I was able to take what I had learned and use it that very morning. I am able to share it with my colleagues, and they are benefiting from it as well. THANK YOU for all of the hard work and preparation that went in to it. The presenters were well informed, passionate, and we were able to play and experiment and, therefore, to learn. AWESOME!  

iPD highlighted our own talented and amazing teachers, plus it was a great community building event. One suggestion - let's do it for a full day and celebrate with some wine and cheese at the end!

One per year. Most useful PD I've had at SAS in 9 years outside of doing my Masters in Education. Many thanks to the Tech Team.

It was a great use of time. The choice was amazing and speaks to the talent and professionalism of our faculty.

Excellent. Time well spent. Excellent learning experience. Please have more.

I'm already looking forward to the next iPD!

The learning did not just happen for the participants. In preparing for iPD, presenters learned through reflection on their practice. Presenters and participants alike appreciated getting to know about things happening outside their divisions. This comment from a presenter summarizes it best.

Presenting "blog commenting" really helped me be self reflective about what we are doing, which will feed back into better teaching of these skills. Also, it was great to be able to talk to the teachers who attended our session and get a better sense of what other teachers are doing school wide in this area. This was a great experience. 
As an Educational Technology Team, we learned by helping each other organize iPD and developing solutions for signing up and sending reminders. We also learned a lot about the teaching and learning happening across divisions. If you would like a peek into that teaching and learning, look at our complete list of sessions including links to resources.

Google+ HashTag Winners

Google+ is a new communication medium this year at SAS. The Google+ competition gave faculty and staff a reason to get posting on Google+ and also added an element of fun.

Here are our winners…

Best Selfie goes to Laura Schuster for this little gem. She got bonus Geek Points and quite a few +1s as well.

Winning the Most +1s and Interactions Prize  was Nancy Von Wahlde! This post got people talking. Not only did it have some great comments and +1s but it was also reshared by other people. Technology allows us to Communicate and Collaborate and this was a perfect post for that! Great job, Nancy and the entire crew in the pic!

Winning the Most Inspired Post was Kelly Mcfadzen! We loved that she was motivated by the learning from Jill Carpenter's session, even though she didn't attend.

Authors: Robyn Lynch, Dianna Pratt, and Heather Dowd

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Green Screen Weather Reports

Grade 2 level II mandarin students have been applying their new vocabulary and speaking skills to record weather reports for other countries.  Teachers used the app Green Screen by Do Ink to accomplish this learning 'apptivity' using an iPad.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Connecting with Shekou International School

Kindergarten students in Sun Laoshi's class had a Google Hangout with 2nd grade students at Shekou International School in China.  They were very excited to be able to share a song and stories with each other.  The children are making connections and practicing their mandarin at the same time!  

Monday, February 3, 2014

Take a Tour of SAS in Mandarin

Ms. Yang's 2nd grade classes have been busy making iMovies of SAS.  Check out their wonderful work!

Mai Laoshi's (Lan Ying McQueen) 2nd graders explored the new clip-n-clip feature on the iMovie iOS.  They have done an excellent job giving a tour of SAS in mandarin!

Zhang Laoshi's (Pauli Haakenson) 2nd graders used iMovie to give a guided tour of SAS. What a great application of their mandarin speaking skills! 

QR Code Book Reviews

Last week, grade 1 students finished their Writer's Workshop Unit on Opinion Writing and recorded a video persuading readers to check out their favorite book.  Then, students created QR code posters for their book review video. A sample can be seen below. Ultimately, the QR codes of books that can be found in our PS library will be taped directly onto the library book.  This way, students can use iPads in the library to watch a review of the book to help them decide if they want to check it out to read or not.