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Nathan Kraai

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    I was teaching a writing lesson the other day on character development. I was using a character who was literally good at everything as an example. I went on to explain that this character was the best […]

    • Hi Nathan,

      As a parent of two ES students and teacher, I completely understand your frustration and point of view. ES teachers are asked to do too much and, as you said, always have more added to their plates without having anything taken away.
      You guide the first steps of our children in the learning path, developing their curiosity and creativity in a safe environment. What a responsibility! As a subject teacher I can’t understand how you do it teaching Math, Science, Social Studies and Language all together.
      My kid’s teachers also have their passions and I can clearly see which ones they are because of the love engrained to certain areas of knowledge. Myself, I have a hard time teaching certain content that I’m not passionate about and it’s clear by my students’ reactions.
      Education needs more flexibility, time and freedom! Maybe we should move to a different model of education like the Finish one that everybody praises: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/dec/05/finland-schools-curriculum-teaching

      I hope you can find the balance!

      Valdir

  • Nathan Kraai posted a new activity comment 3 years, 8 months ago

    Thanks! It was a great experience and I’m going to try and do it again in the new year. I completely understand the time constraints, but, it is worthy of considering. It empowers your students in ways your own teaching could never do.

  • Nathan Kraai posted a new activity comment 3 years, 10 months ago

    I too am an elementary teacher. I too struggle with the balance of technology and what seems like the “passive” learning that my students exhibit. I think some of it stems from being children of Google. What I mean by this is that they have grown accustomed to finding answers in a millisecond. Type it into Google and you have an answer. Search…[Read more]

    • Truth be told, it drives me crazy when students type the inquiry questions into the search bar and find answers that way. It really takes a lot of educating and several reminders that that is not the best way to search for answers. Teaching students to be critical researchers is a great challenge for me and I have yet to find the best method.

  • Nathan Kraai posted a new activity comment 3 years, 10 months ago

    I love your thoughts on technology in the classroom. I think it’s sad when teachers are forced to utilize technology for the sake of checking it off on their lesson/unit plan. By doing this, teachers miss the entire point of utilizing technology to enhance the learning and make it deeper.

  • Nathan Kraai posted a new activity comment 3 years, 10 months ago

    I too am excited to hear how the global collaboration goes. I have a vested interest as well, since my class will be starting a similar “project” as well that involves blogging with those within the school and across the world. It’s a strong reminder that a framework is necessary to have successful outcomes in regards to both tech integrated…[Read more]

    • Thanks Nathan, I’ll be sure to post more about the project as it develops. As you say, a framework is vital for planning any collaborative project.

  • Nathan Kraai posted a new activity comment 3 years, 10 months ago

    It’s great that the teacher you were working with was open to new ideas and new technology. The cool thing about tech integration is that when you open the floodgates a little bit, (doing old things in new ways) others get it and embrace it even more.

  • Nathan Kraai posted a new activity comment 3 years, 11 months ago

    I guarantee we all work more than this, but I dialed it down to make sure it was realistic for both newbies and veteran teachers.

  • Teachers are constantly criticized. Whether it’s in regards to our pay, how little we work, or having summers off, public perception stigmatizes our profession as full of lazy, under-worked, and over-payed […]

  • Nathan Kraai posted a new activity comment 3 years, 11 months ago

    My kids really weren’t at all embarrassed. It was almost a natural reaction for them. It’s sad, but at the same time, our world is so inter-connected, why shouldn’t our students have authentic audiences all the time. It’s not that hard!

  • Nathan Kraai wrote a new post, The Digital Fridge, on the site Tech It UP 4 years ago

    ThumbnailIf you were like me growing up, you knew you had a significant academic achievement on your hands or a Picasso-worthy piece of artwork when it found it’s place on the holiest of shrines in your home: the […]

    • Hi Nathan

      I can imagine the furor your announcement created. Did the kids seem at all embarrassed that they had “let it out of the bag” that they hadn’t done their best work before your “youtube” announcement?

      The “world is their oyster” and it’s great when we can leverage that to fire up motivation and to “level up” the quality of what they do.

      Thanks for sharing…

      Vivian

      • My kids really weren’t at all embarrassed. It was almost a natural reaction for them. It’s sad, but at the same time, our world is so inter-connected, why shouldn’t our students have authentic audiences all the time. It’s not that hard!

  • Last night, I was putting my son to bed. As he has been waking up the past few months sporadically with scary dreams, I suggested he dream about becoming a construction man. (He loves construction equipment, […]

  • Nathan Kraai posted a new activity comment 4 years, 3 months ago

    I enjoyed participating in this. A fantastic idea. Kudos Stephanie!

  • Nathan Kraai posted a new activity comment 4 years, 3 months ago

    Thanks for the kind words. The goal of my video was two-fold. I definitely wanted to demonstrate what students were doing, but I also hoped people would see the process. Genius Hour seems ambiguous, but laying it out in terms of steps makes it much more manageable. I am happy to share anything I used with you. What is it your are looking for…[Read more]

  • Nathan Kraai posted a new activity comment 4 years, 3 months ago

    Diana,

    Thanks for the comment. I think a first step for me is to take some time and reflect upon the process. I want to see what truly worked and what I would like to change. I definitely want to implement this into my classroom next year. My hope is that other teachers will see the success of what I was able to accomplish with my students and…[Read more]

  • Nathan Kraai posted a new activity comment 4 years, 3 months ago

    Joe,

    I think a collaboration aspect would be a fantastic idea. For me, having other classes doing similar projects could be a beginning point. If two students are interested in learning about the same thing, why shouldn’t they be able to collaborate on their own learning? I actually had a group of 3 students all interested in 3-D printing, so…[Read more]

  • Nathan Kraai posted a new activity comment 4 years, 3 months ago

    Kristi,

    If I held true to the idea of Genius “Hour”, I would not have been able to complete this on time. Had I started this much earlier in the school year, it would definitely be feasible to spend 1 hour a week and accomplish what needs to be done. Probably somewhere around 20 class hours were spent on this in the past 2 months. I definitely…[Read more]

  • Nathan Kraai changed their profile picture 4 years, 3 months ago

  • Before the rising sun we fly,
    So many roads to choose
    We start out walking and learn to run.
    And yes, We’ve just begun.
    -The Carpenters

     

    It’s the end of my COETAIL journey.

    Yet, I have a […]

    • It isn’t the beginning, but another beginning. You have made a huge journey and neither you, nor your student will ever be the same because of it. You will now think differently about your classroom – both the learning and the teaching and whose role(s) it is for each. Welcome to ‘the other side’ of COETAIL!

      For your Genius Hour I am wondering how many ‘hours’ the students ended up spending, from first thought through to reflection. Will you do it again? What would you change? What would you keep the same?

      • Kristi,

        If I held true to the idea of Genius “Hour”, I would not have been able to complete this on time. Had I started this much earlier in the school year, it would definitely be feasible to spend 1 hour a week and accomplish what needs to be done. Probably somewhere around 20 class hours were spent on this in the past 2 months. I definitely want to do this again next year. I would like to get other teachers on board as well so students can help each other through the process. I think an area of growth for me will surround the specific standards I want students to meet as well as how to structure this self-directed learning time enough for my students to be successful who struggle with time-management and motivation.

    • I just went to a conference where a google presenter talked a lot about Genius Hour.

      I wonder how we can put genius hour and personalised learning into a more collaborative effort. Do you think project based learning could do this, did you think of making in mandatorily collaborative? We asked this and wonder how our projects would change.

      Thanks

      • Joe,

        I think a collaboration aspect would be a fantastic idea. For me, having other classes doing similar projects could be a beginning point. If two students are interested in learning about the same thing, why shouldn’t they be able to collaborate on their own learning? I actually had a group of 3 students all interested in 3-D printing, so they are completing their presentation together. I don’t think this must be an individual pursuit at all. I think the learning could be even more powerful if their were others sharing the same passion about a topic.

    • Diana,

      Thanks for the comment. I think a first step for me is to take some time and reflect upon the process. I want to see what truly worked and what I would like to change. I definitely want to implement this into my classroom next year. My hope is that other teachers will see the success of what I was able to accomplish with my students and begin Genius Hour as well. Then we can collaborate, and hopefully make it a stronger learning experience for all of our students.

    • Can I just say how inspired I am by your project? I just came from a conference this weekend and got pretty pumped up about Genius Hour. What I find really valuable about your video is the process you documented for others to reiterate.

      I hope you don’t mind me stealing some of the letters you drafted for your students and parents? Would you mind sharing these so I can adapt them to fit our needs?

      Thank you!

      • Thanks for the kind words. The goal of my video was two-fold. I definitely wanted to demonstrate what students were doing, but I also hoped people would see the process. Genius Hour seems ambiguous, but laying it out in terms of steps makes it much more manageable. I am happy to share anything I used with you. What is it your are looking for specifically?

    • Some great ideas for me to take away. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Nathan,

      I really enjoyed your video and had never heard of Genius Hour before seeing it. It makes me very jealous, on two levels: 1.) I wish I had been your 4th grade class, and 2.) I wish I could do something like that in my class. Unfortunately, our curriculum is very tightly controlled and there’s not just time for it. But well done!

      • Thanks! It was a great experience and I’m going to try and do it again in the new year. I completely understand the time constraints, but, it is worthy of considering. It empowers your students in ways your own teaching could never do.

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