What a wonderful surprise I had in my Gmail yesterday! I have been sick and many of my students have been out as well. So one of my innovative parents decided to create and connect Kindergarten at home with her child who was not well.

The reason I am posting about this is because as a teacher, I am able to model explicitly how I use digital tools, but also more importantly how they can offer an opportunity to connect and engage when you are not able to come to school.

Parents working alongside teachers

In my classroom parents understand that the blogs I use are ways for them to connect, reflect with their child and engage in the learning. So because this parent looked at our class blog, she was able to connect the learning happening in Kindergarten with her own child. I love this because it reflects and displays so beautifully the seamlessness that blogging can offer. As an educator I want my students and their families to be a part of our daily learning. When this is encouraged, parents feel welcomed to engage. Through our ability to model this and offer invitations to extend learning outside of our classrooms parents begin to work alongside us, the teachers who are working hard each day to make a difference for all of our students.

We have been reading a variety of texts and creating our own persuasive writing pieces. One of the things I love about Kindergarten is how excited my students are when we read together. Through reading a story out loud and making it interactive I am able to model and make connections. My students pick up on this right away! During our turn and talks everyone is excited to share,participate, reflect and engage in their own writing to share their point of view!

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I share the writing that one of my students did while home sick because I think that this was not only amazing, but also that this child, my student, was excited to do this! The parent knew how to use Skitch because this is an App we have used many times in Kindergarten. I love the initiative that was taken and shared. I also received 2 voice recordings as well! Quick Voice Mail! Wow! This was new to me. So I am learning from a parent who is experiencing the value of how digital tools can be used to connect and enhance learning opportunities.

It’s not about more screen time

Using digital tools and technology is not about increased screen time, but it is about how can we, as educators use a variety of synchronous and asynchronous tools alongside each other, our students, the families we teach, etc. to build connections and strengthen relationships so we can be engaged together with the learning that is happening. Through opportunities like this, authentic learning appears and yes, I learn too!

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I am sharing this parents comments because it is important to find ways to engage the families that we teach. Parents want to be involved. Invitations need to be present, fluid, ongoing.

“Consider me officially inspired by your use of technology in the writing process. I can’t believe how long [my child] stuck with this and how proud she was when she was finished!!! We read Click Clack, Moo…talked about the “see,” “think” “write” strategy and then I had her record her ideas on Quickvoice. (so she could remember what she wanted to say as she wrote.) Then she wrote her ideas on “fundations-esque” paper and read her writing again on Quickvoice. Skitch to label her coverpages. Holy moly, I don’t know how you do this stuff for all of your students. It’s amazing but totally EXHAUSTING!!!

“Thank you for everything!!”

So in between naps, look at what can happen! Inspired and grateful!

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Sharon Davison

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