The French Ladies

Last week I was lucky to have been able to once again host some teachers from a school in Lyon, France. Cité Scolaire Internationale is a school that is interested in developing their iPad program to help make it as effective as it can be. My relationship with the teachers at this school started three years ago when Emily sent a message to the International School Teachers group on Facebook.

Emily very casually sent a message out, asking if anyone in Europe with a 1 to 1 iPad program would be willing to have some teachers come for a visit. I responded, and that was three years ago.

This year I hosted three different teachers. Sarah came on Monday and Tuesday, Chloe on Wednesday and Julie on Friday. Because of the nature of the their school these three “french ladies” as I kept introducing them, teach several different grade levels. Luckily for them my week is very spread out so they were able to see a variety of classes. Also it was a great time to come as it was the beginning of a unit which is generally a time that I introduce new things. This week I introduced the grade four and five blogs.

Sarah, Chloe and Julie were also able to see around the school and talk to other teachers about language and how it is taught in our school. As their focus is on English language learning with their students, I hope it was helpful for them to be able to see some of how language is embedded into our curriculum.

What I love about these visits is that it gives me the opportunity to share ideas with teachers. I was put on the spot at least once when I was asked, “What would you do for …”. I love that! I love having to think of a way to help a teacher embed technology into a lesson in a way that they may not have thought about before. All three of the teachers asked me about Book Creator, which is one of my favorite apps, it is so versatile. I was able to give them a new way to consider it as a resource and well as show them some of it’s new features.

Through talking to them I can see that they are on the cusp of being ready to implement the Google Apps. They were able to see how we have implemented it and how ingrained it has become as both a word processing system as well as file storage.

Since I began using Google Classroom this year it has made such a difference in the way we manage the documents that the students are using. For me it has improved how I manage the work that is turned in to me. It gives me one place to go to find documents from a class, not just from everyone who has shared it with me. I also like the fact that I can write out the directions so that the students aren’t responsible for remembering it from only listening to it. I think as well it has helped me plan lessons better by allowing me to share the resources that I used both in the lesson and during the lesson.

I think that the next visit needs to be me going to Lyon! Hope to see you soon, ladies!

Visit to Dar

On Tuesday, I was able to visit the International School of Tanganyika.  I was a guest of my friend who teaches in the fourth grade.  I was glad to see that she has a set of 6 laptops in her room full time. She had been ill the week before so I offered to show her kids Timetoast, as she is doing a unit of inquiry on Ancient Civilizations.

So we borrowed some laptops from a neighbouring teacher and I quickly showed her students the website.  They were excited to give it a go.  They looked for dates in books that they had related for their unit and worked on putting them into their timeline.

And of course as always with tech, issues started immediately!  Even though I have had at least 16 signed into one account before it started saying too many people were on.  No worries, sorted that by using my school’s log in.  We also ran into the issue that the students were finding lots of BC dates which Timetoast doesn’t accept.  When we explained that they would just have a to read their timelines backwards, they were like “Okay!”.  The students just rolled with the punches!

One thing that I did notice this time was that Timetoast has added a collaboration feature which I am excited to give a shot when I get home!