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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Cris West & Marissa Clark LS Launch Grant: Pre-K Digital Portfolios

Marissa and I applied for a Launch Grant to spend the year determining the best platform to help us create digital portfolios for each of our students. Our goal was to pilot something that could easily be used by all classroom teachers and Specialists in the Lower School.

Portfolio entries are currently kept in binders in the classroom and the children can access them anytime. We wanted to keep this same format with the digital portfolio, putting greater emphasis than before on making the student work come alive. We wanted to focus on the "child as documenter" and find appropriate technology for them to capture their own work and reflect on it.

One of our successes is finding much ease in using the Pages app and it's templates. Moving away from using MS Word, Pages affords us easier ways to format and layout portfolio entries in a functional and aesthetically pleasing way. One challenge that we are still faced with is the use of Haiku as the platform to digitalize our portfolios. We decided on using and exploring Haiku as a way to digitalize our portfolios because it is already an existing app that parents log into weekly and our Lower School faculty is using it as well. We think it will have the best chances at getting the most "foot traffic." Specialists will also be able to easily access each child's page and include content as well. In the process, we found loading portfolio entries into Haiku cumbersome to do. Uploading each file in each child's digital folder in was a multi-step process that required a lot of teacher time. Moreover, we continue to question whether children will want to look at their portfolios if they are digitalized vs. if they are hard copies on binder.

As we continue to work on this, we hope to continue working with children in reflecting on their work through their own documentations using the Seesaw app and/or Blogger Jr.. As this becomes a practice we hope to devise a system or a flow that children can easily engage in and become fully independent.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Daisy Pellant: Inner Balance Project Launch Grant 2015-2016


This year, 35 faculty members, PK-12, embarked upon a project to use technology to support mindfulness practice. Using a generous Launch Grant, Inner Balance iOS sensors were purchased to provide biofeedback in the form of heart-rate variability (HRV) when using the Inner Balance iPhone app. Two-hours of training focused on the goals of the year and the benefits of mindfulness practice, and the completion of a standardized, externally-validated survey kicked off the year. Throughout the year, participants were expected to be active in an online Haiku classroom both to respond to a bi-weekly prompt and respond to a colleague in the group. Mid-year, we had a face-to-face check-in and mindful practice session. The year ended with the completion of a post-survey. 

Compliance with training and initial survey completion was 100%. Compliance with participation in the Haiku site was only 25% and I would recommend a better accountability system for a future endeavor. Compliance with the post-survey reflects Haiku site compliance. Anecdotally, members who participated regularly reported benefits from the training, technology, and Haiku community. Additionally, most participants reported enjoying the training and the chance to support mindfulness practice using this accessible technology.              

GoPro in Kindergarten Launch Grant 2015-2016


Ben Goldhaber – Launch Project 2015-2016

This school year, I was lucky enough to receive a Launch grant to explore the use of a GoPro Camera in our Kindergarten classroom.  I consider the grant a huge success.  I created more videos than I ever had before as the GoPro allowed me to enhance both the level and quality of my documentation.  What was most exciting to me about this grant was implementing the GoPro using the same approach that the B-2 BB&N teachers have been learning through the Cadwell Collaborative. Part of the Cadwell philosophy is that children need high-quality tools in order to produce beautiful and exceptional work.  I believe in this concept and have seen it come to life in our classroom as we have taught the students how to use and value colored pencils, pens, paper, and paints that are intended to be marketed towards adult artists.  Keeping this approach in mind, the first thing that I did with the GoPro was to introduce it and its accessories to the students. We used the Responsive Classroom model of Guided Discovery to explore the camera and the various ways to mount it. We held discussions, watched GoPro videos available online, and brainstormed ways that we could use it during the school year. The first project that I used the GoPro for came along when we were studying our passions. We decided to create a class video depicting the students’ passions at school. In true Cadwell fashion, the children had to be the creators (come up with an idea for a passion they would like to depict), directors (choose a way to mount the GoPro based on the passion they chose), and camera operators.  I even got their thoughts on how to edit their clips and about what type of music they would like the film to be set to.  Giving the students the power to be the first ones (even before their teachers) to operate the GoPro was a special way to introduce the camera to our classroom environment, help them understand its possibilities, and show them that they are capable of amazing work.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Upper School Launch Grant- Website for Community Service

The primary goal of the launch grant was to work on the US Community Service website. I discovered rather quickly that I am not a web designer and had a lot of trouble figuring out what I wanted the website to look like and what it should accomplish. As I explored ways to improve it, an idea struck me that I would like a better way to show students where they could do local service. Students often ask me for ideas and the conversation leads to finding places that are near their homes or near the school. I thought a map would be really helpful. Then I thought that a map that had pins at different service sites would be even better. After some intense research and exploring multiple possibilities, Google Maps turned out to be the best option. I played around with the program, did multiple trial runs, and eventually figured out how to make it work. Now, students can click on a pin and the site name and type of work will pop up. Students can select whether they wish to work with youth, at a food pantry, at a shelter, etc. This has proven helpful in recent conversations as student see that they can explore their interests on their own time.




-Meena Kaur

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Beginners Blogging

In our Beginners (preK) classroom the students are blogging! Here is an excerpt from a recent post:

(click to enlarge)



And here is some information about how and why 4 year olds blog:

Check out this PDF to read more about it...