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The Planting of a Seed … How Our Journey Began!

Posted by on January 5, 2012

Photo by TIm Kitchen

It began innocently enough.  Tannis, our Technology Learning Leader at the time, spotted an e-mail from Natalie, a Specialist with Innovation and Learning Technology, in early November last year:

Nov 16th and 17th – Tim K., who is on a 1 year
leave from Learning Innovation, with his family, will be hosting video
conferences from Peru. Attached is the documentation for information on the
conferences and also the registration information.

She immediately thought of the Grade Three team and how this might enrich our Social Studies curriculum.  Thinking this would be a “nice little experience” to enhance our students’ understanding of customs and culture in Peru, we all agreed to pursue this opportunity.  Before we knew it, the Video Conferencing equipment was booked and we had a date with Tim in Peru!   In Tannis’ words, “I love it when a plan comes together so quickly!”   Little did we know exactly WHERE this one 45 minute Video Conference with Tim would take us!  Thinking back on it, now, we are both just so GRATEFUL that everyone was in agreement to participate, and completely taken aback by the serendipitous nature of where this journey has taken us.

So, where did the journey BEGIN, and where are we HEADED?  To read a little background information about where LAST year began, and how flexibility, engagement, meaningful inquiry and passion helped to GERMINATE this amazing little “seed”, click here!

As Tannis prepared to take a PIF, (Professional Improvement Fellowship), at the end of last year, to pursue her Master’s Degree in Educational Technology and Design, I truly believed our journey would continue but knew that it could not look the same.  After all, I was losing my “partner in crime”!  Imagine my DELIGHT when she reaffirmed our journey had been as moving to her, as authentic and “real world”, as it had for me … her Master’s would focus on  “flattening the walls” of the classroom, meaningful learner engagement, authentic learning and connections through technology.  Her final project would reflect on our Peruvian experiences, connections and continued journey as a focus.  Ya HOO!!!

I’ve been BLESSED to lurk in some of her on-line courses since September and have been truly inspired by the openness, expertise and willingness to share within this on-line PLN, (Professional/Personal Learning Network), and … throughout this learning process, my Google Reader has grown from one to TWENTY-THREE incredible blogs I follow!  That’s when it hit BOTH of us … a blog would be the PERFECT way for us to continue our Peruvian connection … authentically connected and connecting with others interested in Global Citizenship!

This year, Christmas came EARLY for us!!!  HOW, you ask?  Well … THIS is the FIRST elementary classroom blog EVER in our system!  This will allow us to continue making meaningful and authentic learning connections … in a 21st century way!  ALL of this thanks to Tannis’ love for learning, her Master’s program … and her PASSION for piloting new opportunities!

Where will this blog take us?  There are SO many avenues now open to us.  Continued connections with Mosqoy and their work in Peru will be at the forefront for us.  Providing our students with authentic learning tools, meaningful reasons to teach online etiquette and responsible digital citizenship are just SOME of the benefits we anticipate.

We wonder:

  • What made you decide to create a classroom blog?
  • What were some of the blogging pitfalls of working with Division 1 students and, if so, how did you overcome them?
  • What were some of the highlights of blogging with young children?
  • As we begin this journey, is there any advice you wished you’d been given right at the start?

31 Responses to The Planting of a Seed … How Our Journey Began!

  1. Kathy

    Alexia and I had fun finding this blog!

    Great idea!

    Kathy and Alexia

  2. Laurie Renton

    Hi Kathy and Alexia! Thank you SO much for taking the time to check our classroom blog out! Tannis and I are both so excited about exploring this with our students – it has such amazing potential for learning and connecting with others globally. Please keep checking back – we plan on doing a big post with the students next week to inform our readers all about Calgary and the amazing city we live in! Laurie/Mrs. Renton 🙂

  3. Rod and Sue

    This looks very interesting. Sophie showed us the blog and is really excited about it. Great work!

    • Tannis Emann

      Thank you so much for stopping by our blog and taking the time to comment! We share Sophie’s excitement and we cannot wait to create our first class blog post this week. We look forward to having you check back to see our blog’s progress as the journey continues! 🙂

  4. mya and grandpa

    Hi Mrs.Renton. This is me and grandpa and he really LOVES the blog. I found an INCREDEBLE video of Peru’s culture and other stuff about Peru too.

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Mya and Grandpa! We are SO glad that you were able to check out our classroom blog! This is an exciting adventure for ALL of us! Make sure you check back tonight … we will be doing our very FIRST blog post with the student this afternoon. It is SURE to be an entertaining read! Mya, thank you very much of including a link to more Peruvian information. This is a FANTASTIC way to SHARE our learning and discoveries with others. I can’t wait to check your link out! Mrs. Renton/Laurie 🙂

  5. Martin and mum

    We really like that your class has your own blog – fantastic!! Hopefully there will be some visitors from Norway soon 😉 Martin and mum

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Martin and Mum! We are thrilled to know that you are as excited about our classroom blog as WE are! We hope you share this link with ALL your friends and relatives in Norway! That way, they can also help us to answer some of the questions that we have! What an EXCITING time for everyone! Here’s to seeing a FLAG from NORWAY on our flag counter! Mrs. Renton/Laurie 🙂

  6. Rod and Sue

    This is so cool. We LOVE the blog!!! I can’t wait to blog some more.It sure is a good time to be blogging – it’s WAAAAAAAYYYY too cold to go outside!!

    Sophie G

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Sophie! I am so glad to hear that you are enjoying our blog experiences! When the weather is as COLD as it has been in Calgary this week, you are right, it is FUN to be checking the blog out. I hope that you and your family get the chance to post a comment on our latest post about Calgary! They may have some NEAT ideas to add to our thoughts on Calgary! Mrs. Renton 🙂

  7. Kathy Skipper

    This blog is really looking awesome! Alexia loves to show me all the updates as we enjoy snuggle time each night.

    Kathy

    • Tannis Emann

      Thank you so much for your comment, Kathy! We are thrilled that you and Alexia are looking through the details of our blog together. We have many ideas for upcoming posts so stay tuned. Thank you for your support!

  8. Cris & Jenny

    Elijah just showed me their ‘Global Grade 3’ blog and it looks awesome! He was so excited to tell me whose hands are in the pictures 🙂 Congratulations on putting up this blog. Elijah for one, will learn a lot on this.
    I even subscribed to keep me posted on your activities.

    Thanks for your time and patience.

    Warm regards,
    Cris & Jenny

    • Tannis Emann

      Thank you so very much for your comments, Cris and Jenny! We really value your interest in and support for our Grade 3 blogging adventures. We share Elijah’s excitement for all that is happening on our blog and the potential that it holds for student learning. We have many more posts planned so we are thrilled you subscribed to our blog as you will be one of the first to know when we have published new entries. Thanks again! 🙂

      • Carolyn Kingsford

        Laurie
        What a wonderful experience for your grade 3 kids—kids do learn from kids. I hope this will become part of every classroom because flattening those walls allows all kids to partcipate..

        • Laurie Renton

          Hi Carolyn! Thank you so much for your awesome feedback! Tannis and I are absolutely thrilled to be piloting the first classroom blog for our system. Already, the response has been unbelievable! You are SO right – we learn so much from others, and flattening the walls to learn BEYOND the classroom, beyond the books in our room, and beyond a simple goggle search TRULY makes the learning process come alive. They are writing for a greater audience, learning from people around the world, discovering, meaningfully, how to use technology safely and responsibly … so much incredible learning! Keep checking back – I know that you and Pat have been to some AMAZING places around the globe and your FIRST HAND EXPERIENCES might help to answer some of our questions as we move through this journey with our students! I know you used to live in Calgary … did we miss any incredible places, in the latest blog post, that YOU love to visit when you come back to see family? Laurie 🙂

  9. Natasha and her mom

    Hi readers!

    Me and my mom would just like to say that we really like the blog! It is exciting and fun to read! 🙂 Can you believe the amount of comments and visits we’ve had? 🙂

  10. cindy

    What a surprising blog we have found. It is very special.
    Also it is a really good way to learn, not only for the student,but also for us, because we have never tried to make a mask before.
    Looking forward to see your updated journey.
    Best wished from Shanghai China.
    Cindy and Amanda

  11. Nigel,Jayden and Dad Eric

    Hello Grade 3 class,

    My name is Eric from Kenya. Am glad to visit your blog together with my sons names Nigel and Jayden both schooling at their young age. We come to knowing this through Ben G. from Canada and he is our good friend.

    First, my son Nigel and I would like to thank you a lot for your caring to many live out there in Peru. The Grade 3 class and other, really you are connected to caring mum who knows all about your needs and to you Tannis (Ben Wife) is that God will keep opening new doors for those children and you also. Your nature love those children will be that God love upon you.

    We have viewed the blog for 2 days and life in Kenya I can say not like in Peru but sounds similar. When our parents don’t have any access to better paying job, its very difficult for survival because our country is hot most time of the year that makes crops dry and few grown been expensive with rising cooking flour prices. We have some neighbors who don’t attend school due to lack of fees or due to hunger but our dad Eric is hardworking to pay fees at his best.

    Some children aged 3-8 don’t know who to write their names because most of time they spend out grazing cattle’s or in farms to get their daily bread. So to you Grade 3 class while you find a little chance of schooling, make your best steps for that opportunity, many don’t have a chance or unable to educate their children. Grade 3 class never to forget that is a blessing near you that your lifes won’t be the same again if you obey and listen to Tannis and her friends.

    I like you children, Greetings from Kenya.
    Nigel, Jayden and dad Eric

  12. Nigel,Jayden and Dad Eric

    Dear Children again,

    This is Nigel and am schooling in Nairobi. Am asking if children Grade3 class home are in hills? and can they live in flat areas?

    Where do they get water from wells,pipes or rivers? Kenya we don’t have clean rivers.

    Which crops grow there?

    When teachers don’t attend to schooling you,why don’t you be charged ?

    Thanks Nigel

  13. Reva

    Hi Grade Three Bloggers,
    My name is Reva and I live with my husband Scott in Qualicum Beach, BC. Yesterday at Book Club I learned about your exciting Peru blog from Caroline. I am very interested because we have a son who lives with his wife and children in Lima, Peru. We have visited them there several times and have enjoyed seeing some of the country. Perhaps we can share with you what we saw or answer some questions.
    Maybe your teacher will tell you what people do in a book club. We too love books and think your library project is fabulous.

  14. Laurie Renton

    Hi Reva! Thank you SO much for leaving a comment on our blog! It means SO much to us when people leave their thoughts – we learn SO much from connecting with others around the globe! Have you ever been to Q’enqo, or any of the other rural villages in Peru? We would LOVE to hear more about your experiences! Please feel free to write about your insights while in Peru, or anything else that fits with our posts ANY time you’d like! We are so excited about our Library Project – it is so hard for us to believe that there are communities out there that DON’T have the kinds of resources that we have. It is good for us to learn about the rest of the world, and to do our part to help, and to educate others. Laurie 🙂

  15. Kaitlyn

    What a great thing to be doing for those in a totally different place in the world. Hard to imagine Grade 3s can make such a difference! Can’t wait to keep reading for more updates 🙂

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Kaitlyn! Thank you for taking the time to comment on our classroom blog! You are right – these students are pretty amazing! The work they are doing is VERY important work. They are becoming such AMAZING Global Citizens … sometimes it it hard to believe that they are only eight and nine years old! Keep watching … we have a couple more posts to write about our LATEST Skype with Ashli, the library clean up, and a fund-raising event the Grade Threes were in charge of organizing for the school! Laurie Renton 🙂

  16. Josh

    Wow that’s pretty awesome! It’s amazing that it’s only grade 3s that are contributing like that. When I was in grade 3 I could have never imagined doing something like that. Keep up the great work!

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Josh! You are sure right about THAT! I don’t remember ever doing anything quite this powerful in Grade Three, either … it was, of course, a VERY long time ago for ME!!! These Grade Threes are sure amazing – and they are absolutely THRILLED to be making a difference for the Q’enqo community. No body should have to live without the power of books or a library! Keep checking back … more posts are coming in the next few days! Thanks for checking our blog out! Laurie Renton 🙂

  17. Alexandra

    I really like this passage because it is intresting

  18. Reva

    Hola Laurie and Grade Three Bloggers,

    I am so happy to hear that the library has opened. Like you, I feel sad that the children are fearful of using the books. However, I am sure that with encouragement from the Mosqoy students they will overcome their hesitation. I, too, love the BLUE DOORS!

    When we were in Cusco we visited the nearby ruins and I think we must have seen Q’ENKO. It is only four km. from Cusco. When we arrived early in the morning, alitude sickness was a bit of a problem for me in Cusco because the city is 3400 m high. I felt quite nauseated . But after a rest, and some mate de coca or coca leaf tea, I began to feel much better and by evening was ready to explore that wonderful city.

    Keep blogging and good luck. Reva

    • The Grade Three Bloggers

      Hola, Reva! Thank you for commenting on our blog, again! We are glad that Mosqoy is helping with Capacity Building in Q’enqo, to make sure that the children and adults aren’t afraid to use the library … and we are going to help them TOO! Our library doesn’t use pockets and sign out cards anymore … because we sign our books out on the computer system now. So … we are going to donate all our left-over cards and pockets to the Q’enqo library. We are also going take some pictures and video footage of US picking books off the shelf … the good old FASHIONED way … pictures of us SIGNING the old-school cards, and pictures of the “LIBRARIAN” date-stamping the cards. We have never signed books out this way, but Mrs. Renton and Ms. Emann were telling us ALL about how THEY used to sign books out this way! When Mrs. Renton told us about the pockets and the sign out sheets, she even found an OLD book about Monarch Butterflies … it was discarded from another library … and it STILL had the old sign out system in it! Our very first guest speaker this year told us ALL about altitude sickness … it sounds awful! Even Geneva and Ashli, from Mosqoy and Q’ente, still talk about how the altitude bothers them … and they’ve been going to Peru for a few years now! We are curious what the cocoa leaf tea tastes like? How long did it take you to get over altitude sickness … even though you explored that evening … did it bother you the whole time you were there? We look forward to your next comment! The Grade Three Bloggers 🙂

      • Reva

        Hola,
        Coca tea is a folk remedy used in the Andes to help overcome the effects of altitude sickness. It is a weak infusion made from the leaves of the coca plant and water. This plant is not related to cocoa. The coca plant is used to produce a drug, but the tea is harmless. When we arrived at our hotel in Cusco, we were ushered into the dining room where we were given a cup of pale brown liquid with a slightly bitter taste. This was the tea. I really can’t say how effective the tea is. It is hard to tell with folk remedies. The other two members of our party felt fine, and by late afternoon I was feeling well. We spent two days in Cusco and then went on to Machu Picchu. The altitude sickness did not come back.

        Do you know what ceviche (say vee chay) is? Are you interested in the foods of Peru or have you aready discussed them?

        Cusco is the centre of many Peruvian handicrafts. We can talk about them some day if you like handicrafts.

        Hasta luego, Reva

        • The Grade Three Bloggers

          Hola, Reva!

          Thank you for your magnificent response to our comment! Altitude sickness sounds awful … we are glad that you were able to recover from it quickly! Coca tea must be popular with the tourists in Cusco if they escort their visitors right into the dining room as soon as they arrive … it must mean that MOST people experience altitude sickness when they get to this part of Peru! We wonder what you thought of Machu Picchu and whether you have some cool information about it to share with us. Most of us are REALLY intrigued by Machu Picchu … and even learned about the Spanish Conquest because of it!

          We have learned a little about the food … and even heard about ceviche from one of our guest speakers … but we would love to hear more about it if you have some great experiences. We wonder … have YOU ever tasted guinea pig?

          We had some guest speakers who shared some of the beautiful Peruvian handicrafts they bought on their trip with us when they came to speak in December. When the Kitchens came in to talk to us about their visit, they showed us a hand woven Mercedes Benz, (the special boats made from reeds). Of course, the boat was just a TOY version! 🙂 We also got to see some Peruvian weaving tapestries and hats made from Alpaca wool. We know that there are FAMOUS Peruvian artist there … and we have drawn some sketches … we tried to attach one to this comment for you, but the comment section won’t let us do that. We would LOVE to hear more about the handicrafts from your perspective. Did you see any ancient Incan Masks? What about the Nazca Lines?

          Talk to you soon, Reva!

          The Grade Three Bloggers 🙂

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