Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Google Slides, Learning Stories & The Revised Kindergarten Curriculum

Over the summer, I spent a lot of time familiarizing myself with the newly revised Ontario Kindergarten Curriculum and digging deeper into my own understandings around the big ideas, conceptual understandings and how they fit into the newly designed Four Frames model: 
Self Regulation and Well-Being
Belonging and Contributing
Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviours
Problem Solving and Innovating. 

After working closely with a few inspiring friends and colleagues since last year and over the summer who always seem to push my thinking, I didn't waste any time diving into the new document and begin reflecting around how I could develop a system that would help capture student thinking and learning in an authentic, purposeful and meaningful way for myself, my students and their families. 

Building off of those conversations and my own personal reflections, I took time to debrief and brainstorm ways to extend on our ideas and my own thinking. As a result, and rather than scrapping all of the previous hard work I had done last year, I came up with building upon my latest idea of using Google Slides as a "digital portfolio" (please see my previous post below that elaborates more on where this idea originated: "Google Drive: An Innovative and Collaborative Tool in our Classroom"). To challenge myself and take my own learning one step further, I wanted to integrate the Four Frames into an easy-to-use, reflective template that could be accessed and used by both myself and with my teaching partner in the classroom, while at the same time, acting as a medium of transparency for parents that showcases their child's learning journey throughout the year in our classroom! 

In doing so, I landed on creating an individual "Learning Story" design for each of my students. The purpose is to capture, document and celebrate the many learning moments that occur for them as a learner and connect their play experience(s) directly to the curriculum and within the most dominant frame. I need to stress that this is just one way we document learning in our classroom. It is complimentary to other formative assessment approaches we conduct on a daily basis to support our program planning and responsive instruction.   

Each child's Learning Story can be "Shared" with families over Google Drive and the slides themselves can be downloaded as .pdf files and printed to be placed in their physical binder portfolios for easy tracking and celebration. Work smart not hard right?

Below are blank samples that I have created to showcase how I set up each Learning Story. Each "Frame" has been designed and designated with it's corresponding colour (as seen in the revised document) and outlines the Overall Expectations found under that frame. This is to allow for easy accessibility and tracking to ensure that there is enough collected evidence for each student under each frame. My hope is that this way of documentation can help support authentic, organic, meaningful and personalized comments when it's time for reporting on student learning using the new "Learning Templates" (previously known as Report Cards). 

Below, you will see that there is also a space available for me to add any photo(s) and/or video(s) that support that student's play experience. My teaching partner and I can track who documented the learning by using the space "Documented by:" to include either of our names as well as the date:

Self Regulation and Well-Being
Belonging and Contributing
Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviours
Problem Solving and Innovating
The next set of examples showcase how the slides themselves are used to document student learning. Photo(s)/Video(s) are captured in the moment and then I can narrow down the Overall Expectations that support that particular learning experience. The "Demonstration of Learning" title sets the context for the learning and is filled in with either a student quote, explanation of student work and/or describing a particular observed behaviour or experience. Lastly, we consolidate the learning by connecting it to the specific expectations to support what the student is saying, doing and/or representing during that captured experience. This is the most valuable part since, as a team, we can use this information to plan purposeful next steps for each learner.   
Self Regulation and Well-Being: This example shows how I've embedded both a photo and a video to celebrate this particular learning experience. I've narrowed down the Overall Expectations that this student demonstrated and explained in more specific detail what makes this learning moment special as it relates to those overalls. 
Belonging and Contributing: This example shows how a student quote was used to title this particular experience. 
Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviours: This example shows how this particular learning experience was significant under the "Mathematics Connections" lens and thus, the "Literacy Connections" box has been deleted. Similarly, the image below showcases a literacy experience and thus, the mathematics box has been deleted.  
Problem Solving and Innovating: Lastly, this final example shows how multiple pictures can be used and resized to fit the one space.

I kindly ask that my intellectual property be respected and act as a mode of inspiration for you and not a recipe to be copied. An extensive amount of thought, reflection and time went in to making this documentation format, changing it and finding something that worked for myself and my partner. I strongly encourage you to engage in dialogue with your educator teams and partners because the conversation itself is incredibly powerful and impactful on your practice; especially as you gain familiarity and confidence when using the revised curriculum document.