NEW! Please DM @HeatherMMcKay your information to participate in our #LookingClosely Blog.  DM your name for login i.e. Mrs. Mckay, your preferred password (I will keep this secret), and your school name, city, provice/state for category purposes.

In order to make sure we are all on the same page let’s tweet with the hashtag #LookingClosely.  Our collaborative blog will be

Please post (or cross-post from your own blog) here so we can share! Please make sure you add categories/tags to your posts because I have a feeling it’s going to get busy with all our wonderings.  For example, on your Introduction post make sure to look right and check the box beside the “Who are We” and “Your School Name” categories.

I can’t wait to see how this all unfolds with our different contexts! Any questions please let me know! Heather ( or @HeatherMMcKay

Looking Closely Collaboration Discussion

The awesomeness of our #kinderchat PLN and Twitter continue to amaze me!  If you are new here - WELCOME!  This collaborative document will be used to plan our “Looking Closely” project for the 2013/14 school year.  Please join in and we will see what happens!

Step One:  Add your email or twitter handle to this list please

Participating Teachers : Choose a font colour to invite conversations!

@HeatherMMckay K teacher, Calgary, AB, Canada

@techieang. Angie Harrison K teacher, York Region, Ontario, Canada

@KinderFynes Laure Fynes K teacher Mississauga, ON

@TADeroche Taryn Deroche K Teacher Winnipeg, MB, Canada

@Franniemorrisse Frannie Morrissey K teacher Friends School of Baltimore Maryland USA

@bookgirlkpr. Sandy Gavard, SK teacher, Ontario, Canada

@klirenman Karen Lirenman , Gr 1 Surrey BC Canada

@slfirstgrade Leka DeGroot 1st grade Spirit Lake Iowa USA

@avivaloca Aviva Dunsiger, Gr. ⅚, but also for K-2 Media Literacy & 3-4 Health, Ancaster, ON, Canada

@rjchabbert Roberta Chabbert K teacher Sioux Lookout ON

@llhopeso SK French Immersion at Ecole Gron Morgan, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

@shelleywalker13 Shelley Walker K Teacher, York Region, Ontario, Canada.

@mkurashige  Melvina Kurashige, Grade 6/8 Japanese language, Honolulu, Hawaii

@swise_bc   Sasha Wise, Grade 1-2  Richmond, BC, Canada

@mollydog71.  Janet Wilson Teacher Limestone DSB Sk/ grade 1 kingston ontario

@playing_in_k Helen, K Teacher, PDSB, Ontario, Canada

@jennsenez  JK/SK teacher Stratford Ontario Canada

@MissJules1010 Julie Metcalfe FDK Teacher, PDSB, Mississauga, ON

@MsSchmidt_YR Jocelyn Schmidt FDK Teacher, Woodbridge, Ontario

@HopiMartin FDK, Toronto, ON

@ms_kellilyn, prek teacher, Phoenix Arizona

@b_j_anderson, Chestermere AB, Canada

@jnovakowskisd38, Primary Teacher/Teacher Consultant (math/science), Richmond, BC

@lawaite, Chestermere AB, Canada (Grade 4 French Immersion)

@kellib12, kindergarten teacher, Delta BC

@flittergirl, Betsy Tyson, Grade 1 teacher, Richmond, Virginia USA

@gillyblee, Gillian Lee, FDK, PDSB, Ontario, Canada

@HulseAnnMarie, FDK, YRDSB (Markham), ON

@AllisonHoganESD Primary Teacher, Dallas TX

Step Two: Check out author, Frank Serafini. He created a series of picture books to inspire us to look closely at the things surrounding us.  To view his books, author bio, and teaching ideas from the publisher, go here.


Step Three: Add your voice and vision.  Think about how could we build on the idea of wonder, looking closely, and connecting our classrooms?  

Step Four: How will we share?

I have set up a collaborative blog space to post your contributions. Each listed teacher will have their own log in and password. If you would like a specific password please DM @HeatherMMckay, otherwise I will use your last name. We will also share via Twitter. Please cross-post so we can make sure we are all part of each other's learning.


Hashtag: #LookingClosely

Ways we could participate:

Create own book versions to be shared via Itunes -  Last year my class published our own hard cover “What do we wonder?” book. This year I would like to delve into digital publishing. I am thinking of using our adjacent naturalized area, called our Learning Grounds, as our muse.  Each season a group of students could create a version of Looking Closely to publish using the Ipad.  I am thinking of using Book Creator but am open to suggestions for those of you who have already lived this. Not a Book Creator book, but here is a Picaboo link to my class I Wonder book from 2011-12: 

I think having Ss use binoculars or tp rolls/paper towel rolls around our classroom, school grounds, and community, to inspire the idea of looking closely. Great idea!  We have also used string to take outside and define a space to look closer at.  You can create a closed shape or a line to follow to really zoom in observations.GREAT IDEA. WE HAVE ALSO USED BINOCULARS TO DO WALKS AND WONDER SO WILL USE THEM TO LOOK CLOSELY I really like the idea of defining the space and really honing in on what they can use as their subject. Could really connect to science and Ss explorations (sci for us changes/growth in trees/plant; colours; paper) Could capture same subjects in different seasons, different weather, light conditions.

ANDY GOLDSWORTHY. . lots of images under environmental art

An interesting project connection I just made while reading "A Place for Wonder" by Georgia Heard and Jennifer McDonough is their One Small Square project--inspired by Donald Silver's "One Small Square" series, which uses illustrations as opposed to photographs looking a one small square in the backyard, beach, etc. Uses the books as a mini lesson to introduce the idea of becoming more aware of what is around them. Use a small black cardboard square, flip top notebooks (3x5), and pencils to record observations when you go outside. The Ss job is to look closely. The teacher models using his/her own notebook and their small square. Emphasize observations, questions, and using your senses. Interesting point to note from the book...

"If their observations of the world around them (oral)--and recordings of their observations--were general and vague, how could we expect details in their writing pieces during writing workshop?"

You could then reference a project at looking closely during conferring/writing to encourage them to write with more detail. Perfect activity for front loading writing. Giving them the support they need orally and with recording for them to wonder more about the world around them. Such an authentic way, too.

I really like the app My Story @mystoryapp for young learners. They can take photos or illustrate their drawings. I think iMovie might work best for then looking Closely versions of the books. We might do class books in k instead of individual books, in that case it might be iMovie. Do you use iMovie on the Ipad or computer?  I agree with doing a whole class book; it would be more manageable, A screencast app, like Explain Everything or Draw and Tell, would do the trick. Students could take photo(s) and record themself on their specific page.

Maintain an open-ended year-long “post” or category, on our Kindergarten Wonder blog (public site), that invites students to share examples and ideas students extend from the classroom into their home and family life. Last year I saw parent and student ownership increase by opening up our blog space to include home connections. 

Explore photography & famous artist through the micro/macro lens? (Ooh, I like this idea - perspective, point of view etc.. - Karen L) Anyone have particular artists you think would work well to inpspire this?  Frank Serafini (obviously), but who else? I have only seen snippets of the boos, but Georgia O’Keefe came to my mind from the glimpses. i am eagerly awaiting their delivery. We could also use the app Instagram as a way to capture their images quickly and caption in the moment. Set up class accounts and follow one another. You could view for inspiration, since they have a macro lens dedicated category! It would be cool to collaborate/publish a book with the photos taken over a year from different geographical locations.

Thinking during centres have collaborative photo books as one choice (colours, numbers, abc, friends, seasons) Ss could take photos & drop into best fit categories. After enough photos collected gather group to write text. Do you have this Ss do this on an ipad (sort photos and drop in filles)?

Start a class twitter account to tweet our kindergarten discoveries.  Could we create a shared hashtag so we could follow this? Will finally have regular access to smart board this year and would like to use twitter with my class. This would be a great way to connect to other classrooms.  Great idea to use Twitter to share and be connected! I like the hashtag/twitter idea.

I am setting up a classroom blog for the first time...and will also set up a seperate twitter account for my K class as well.

I’m a huge fan of Book Creator because it allows you to share and combined books. I’ve used dropbox to easily share content between classes and schools.  Book Creator is a paid iPad app though which I know can be an issue. Dropbox is web-based and a multi platform app. It’s a great way to share images between classes. (Karen L) I purchased Book Creator last year but didn’t get around to trying it.  I am thinking of trying Book Creator for at least one class book.  I have Book Creator too, but I also have not used it yet.  I also want to try Explain Everything and Aurasma; thinking of putting up photos students took (as a trigger for Augmented Reality) and linking to an Explain Everything video where students explain what they noticed and wondered when they looked closer. Love the idea of using Aurasma! Love the idea of linking it to a video they created about their observations!

Yes, would love to explore Aurasma! Students could take close up photo (used as trigger) and overlay could be photo of whole object/video of few facts about object/Skitch with facts... Remember if you are using Aurasma sign up for the Studio account. Here is a link for more AR ideas from Drew Minock and Brad Waid -

I am looking at doing this with many different classes and in many different ways. I’m looking at an inquiry project for my 5’s and 6’s related to our first units in Science (matter for Gr. 5 and biodiversity for Gr. 6). This book would be the finished product where they share what they learned as part of their inquiry. I can see a real overlap with The Arts. I’d love to have options for the tools and apps that we use, as some of my students are at the Centre for Success, and having the opportunity to orally record their book would be useful. Sharing via Dropbox or on a blog would allow all of us to use the tool(s) that work best. I certainly don’t have a 1:1 classroom, but have enough tools available, especially considering that this would be a group work project.

I also do K-2 Media Literacy and 3-4 Health Prep Coverage, and I’d love to create books with all of the classes. I can see making a group one for Kindergarten, but small group ones for the other grades. I’d love to integrate what the students are learning in social studies or science at the time. If the classroom teachers would work with me, we could share the time that we spend on planning for the books as well as creating them. We can also share the assessment/evaluation component.

I am also up to using Twitter with my classes to share learning as well as using Skype (if people want). I’m hoping that some other older grade classes might get involved in this project too, and then we can share the learning between these classes as well. Having students write and share for a younger audience though could help as they address the “audience” media literacy expectations. I would like media literacy to be a part of my assessment/evaluation even for my 5’s and 6’s. What do others think? Aviva, as you may know i’m a big fan of collaboration with older students:) Definitely count me in! I was thinking about the units in science also. we will do insects and plant unit in fall. Sharing students’ learning through inquiry process in this format would be great. the books will have images and audio done by students since first graders are not very sufficient in typing at that point. What apps to use? Pic Collage lets us crop a photo, type and save to camera roll. my students last year then recorded audio & published using 30hands app. Dropbox would work to share the books or we can post them on the blog. I love PicCollage. I’ve never used the 30hands app before, but I’ll have to give it a try. :) Having various options for publishing would be great, and Dropbox or blogs definitely work for sharing. I used both! 

I teach Japanese language and would love to have my students take photos and possibly do recordings and use some Japanese language in their books. Thinking of haiku and other creative writing/art activities for a book project that we can share with the younger students.

I’ve done close up pictures of objects in our classroom and then had children try to identify where in the room the photo was taken - sort of similar to a close up look at the classroom.  Last year, one student also took on a photography project and she used the ipod to take photos from interesting perspectives. We displayed her work on our documentation panel. Her work inspired other children to try.  I really like the idea of having children use the camera or ipod to take photos of things/areas/experiences/playground  they like/connect to at school - photovoice research. Excited to research the work of Frank Serafini (and others) and learn more.

There is a cute consumption app called Hi Guess the Pic.  Maybe it could be done whole class using a SmartBoard or choice in a center. I got it for free in the App Store. It shows a close up of an object and it has blanks to fill in to spell the word.  When you fill in the correct answer, it shows the whole object.  



Could the hashtag be #LookClosely  for those of us that don’t teach K but work with early years learners? Good point! I was looking for a hashtag that was new.  #LookClosely is already being used.  Can we brainstorm something more open but still new?  Or the K could more stand for a shortened invitation i.e. “Look closer okay?”  So K stands for okay, not kindergarten? Or what about #lookcloselyk8 for Look Closely from K-8. It’s only one extra character and would definitely help for those of us that don’t teach K. Another thought: #LookingClosely I like this one too. Then it’s not grade dependent.  

I like the #LookingClosely hashtag.  

Thanks for sharing the great ideas!  Excited about this collaborative project!

WOW!  I continue to be inspired by everyone!!  I am late to this because it took me a while to figure out how to access this through my laptop instead of my iPhone....*sigh*  Passionate about technology, and new to it last year with my smart board.  Has the # been selectd?

I notice a lot of really good ideas for sharing and starting places for "looking closely". I am wondering if we could develop an open-ended question that we are all interested in? If it is simple enough, the same question that guides our teacher collaborative can guide our collaboration with our students. Perhaps "How does looking closely inspire wonder?" If we can find a shared purpose then how we work together and what we produce will come into focus…

Janice others have mentioned, Book Creator seems a natural fit. I have also used for a few years now and like it for class projects for many reasons: very easy to use, multiple photobook sizes and formats available, can order hard or softcover books (greats sales and groupons) but the best feature for school is you can set up a share site that is private so that if parents provide their emails to you, they can access the site and see the digital books by flipping through the pages and then if they want to order their own copy, they can. I always order a copy of the photobook for the class and one for the school library. The students love seeing these “real” books.

I am an Instagram fanatic myself but have yet to use it for professional purposes. As mentioned above, it seems like a good fit for this project and I am going to look into setting up an account that I can use for multiple sites/classes as I am going to be working in lots of different early primary rooms this year.

Specific tools I have used over the years for zooming in and looking more closely at things outside: magnifying glasses of different strengths, binoculars, olloclip attachment for my iPhone, bug viewers (magnified containers), looking through drops of water, using small frames to outline a specific area (buy at dollar store, etc) and help students focus their observations.

Frank Serafini’s books have been favourites of mine for years (as a photography and science fan) so I am excited to see them used more broadly...can’t wait to see how this project takes off!

Looking forward to collaborating with all of you!