Connected From The Start: Global Learning in Primary Grades

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Kathy Cassidy was so kind to extend a copy of her new book Connect from the Start: Global Learning in Primary Grades to me. Globally connected learning is a passion of mine, as regular readers of Langwitches can attest to. I was eager to read Kathy’s book, which is grounded in authentic experiences from her 1st grade classroom.

From the first chapter on, the voice of “having been there herself”, guides the reader through the worries of “How am I going to have the time?” and “I don’t know anything about technology” to the reassuring “I can do this!”. I have met Kathy in person, as both of us presented at Alan November’s Building Learning Communities Conference in Boston. The same quiet, reassuring, “speaking from experience” voice comes through in her book. You will not find her ranting and raving to teachers about how they are not doing this, nor doing that, but instead shares:

  • Why Connect
  • Connecting with Skype
  • Why we Use Blogs to Connect
  • How to Blog with Primary Students
  • Using Blogs as Digital Portfolios
  • Connecting with Twitter
  • Other Ways to Connect
  • Open Your Classroom to the World

Each chapter will not only give you the pedagogical reasoning behind using the selected tools, building of skills and literacies, but includes short tech explanations, embedded video examples and links to more in depth blog posts and articles.

The first person, I thought of immediately who NEEDED to read this book was my daughter, who recently graduated with a degree in elementary education. Connected from the Start should be required reading for all new teachers, better yet, for all pre-service teachers. The book inspires, guides and gives practical how to get started advice. Although Kathy is a first grade teacher, I believe the book is relevant for all grade levels. Yes… including middle and high school. Teachers who have imagination and the desire to perfect their teaching craft will be able to tweak lessons learned to connect to their own curriculum, subject area and grade level.

I also wholeheartedly agree with Dean Shareski, who in the foreword points out the best part of the book is yet to come:

After you finish reading it, unlike many authors, you’ll not be finished learning with Kathy. As I mentioned before, she’s very gracious and willing to help. Yes, she’s a full time classroom teacher, but it doesn’t stop her from reaching out and sharing with whomever reaches out to her.  She continues to blog, tweet and post questions and ideas that engage her and other in her learning network.

This book is not just talking about WHAT teachers could be doing with their students (even the younger ones), but Kathy models every day how to work, learn and expand her own learning network, which in return will benefit and connect her students.

Press Release:

Help Primary Students Connect with the World and Share Their Learning Using Blogs, Twitter, Skype and More!

April 10, 2013

“Kathy Cassidy (is) a shining example of what one teacher with some grit, curiosity and passion can do to realize the powerful potential of computing and technology in the classroom. And she does it with 6 and 7 year olds.” –Dean Shareski, Community Manager, Discovery Educa- tion Canada

In her new book Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades, primary teacher Kathy Cassidy makes a compelling case for connecting our youngest students to
the world, using the transformative power of Internet tools and technologies.

The 120-page eBook is the first in a series of solo-author works published by Powerful Learning Press to support teachers and school leaders as they make the shift to digitally infused, inquiry-driven teaching and learning, fueled by students’ own passions and creative interests.

Cassidy’s well-balanced text presents both the rationale for connecting stu- dents “from the start” and the how-to details and examples teachers need to involve children in grades K-3 in using blogs, Twitter, Skype and other social media to become true global learners.

This highly interactive digital book – featuring dozens of color photos, 10
short videos, and hundreds of live links to helpful downloads and outside resources – invites the reader right into Kathy’s cozy and connected classroom, where kids are talking live with students “down under,” swapping video with peers in Greece, and using personal blogs, apps and iPads to create digital portfoli- os that document their growth and achievement for parents, families and a worldwide audience.

Connected from the Start is available from the PLPress bookstore for $16.95 in a PDF format suitable for desktop, laptop and tablet computers.

To celebrate the release of our first fully interactive professional book for educators, Powerful Learning Press is offering a $2 discount thru April 17. Use our coupon code CONNECTEDKIDS to purchase Kathy Cassidy’s helpful book for $14.95. One week only, beginning April 10! Go to shop.plpnetwork.com/ connectedkids

Tweet about Connected From the Start! Join Kathy and Powerful Learning Practice CEO Sheryl Nuss- baum-Beach for a one-hour Twitter chat on Sunday, April 14 at 7pm EDT. Use the hashtag #plpnetwork to follow along and participate!