Kimberly in a classroom in Boston

Meet one of Celly’s most avid supporters, Oregon educator Kimberly Hoffman Kanof. An edtech pioneer, Kimberly has been an incredible help to us and we’re so excited to have her on our blog.

Contact Kim on Twitter @TeacherKimKanof

Tell us about yourself! 

I earned my teaching certification and training at American University  located in Washington, DC. My time working in the District of Columbia shaped me as an educator. Working under inspiring mentor teachers helped me cultivate curriculum that blends social justice, reading, writing, critical thinking, and technology into urban classrooms. My students in Anacostia, DC should be credited with inspiring me to start a career in education. They helped me see the need for equity reform in public education.

I continued my teaching career in Roxbury, MA working with at-risk youth at YouthBuild Boston. My students alternated time in the classroom and on a worksite developing technical green building skills and academic knowledge. While at this program, I helped develop a life skills program that blended financial literacy, reading, writing, technology, and career related education.

Most recently I have been working in Portland Public Schools as a High School Social Studies Teacher. I continue to be inspired by staff and students who keep me excited and challenged to stay in the field of education. Professional develop and online PLC’s have kept me energized as an educator. I’m currently attending Lewis and Clark to obtain a reading endorsement and am participating in the Oregon Writing Project this year. I am amazed by the methods teachers are using to inspire students to take their learning outside of the classroom to shape their communities.

Tell us about your classroom! 

My classroom is very diverse and is student-centered. Some of my students struggle with challenges outside of school. Many of my students are below the poverty line, are in the foster care system, are homeless, or are recent immigrants learning English as a second language. To engage all of my students, I try to bring their passions into the classroom which may include an interest in technology.  My curriculum is project-based. I focus on developing skills needed to succeed in career and college such as annotating text, writing persuasive arguments, and using technology in a professional manner.

Some of my students have cell phones and a few students bring their own devices including tablets and laptops to school.  If a lesson calls for it, I bring my personal electronic devices to class and pass them around to be shared. Since many of my students do not own an electronic device, I use cel.ly as an optional or extended learning tool. Cel.ly is just like any other learning tool in my class. It’s a tool to enhance student engagement and learning. Students only have cell phones out for a specific learning goal, such as recording and sharing evidence from text, brainstorming thesis statements, making connections while watching a documentary, or to poll the class.

Cell phones can be  powerful learning tools. As a social studies teacher, I believe it is my responsibility to prepare students to be critical thinkers while speaking and listening. The use of technology is now a life skill that will be required in most careers. To improve equity in my classroom, I think it is important that all of my students know how to use electronic devices. It can be difficult to navigate, but as a teacher in 2013, I think it is my responsibility to integrate digital citizenship lessons into my curriculum. By integrating cel.ly into the classroom, I am able to model how I use social networking and technology in a safe and professional manner.

How has Celly changed your classroom? Were there any unexpected benefits or fun surprises? 

Cel.ly has changed my classroom for the better! I have been pleased by how it has encouraged students who need more time to process to share their thinking with peers. I enjoy using cel.ly to have students post connections, questions, and reactions to our class discussions.  I have used cel.ly during fishbowl conversations, as a virtual thesis wall, to post questions and connections during video clips, and to provide immediate feedback to students in my classroom.

I find Cel.ly is most valuable when sharing classroom announcements and reminders with students and parents. Many parents in my community do not have cellular minutes, but have unlimited text messaging. When I offered parents the opportunity to communicate with me over text message, it opened new doors of communication.

Cells phones are only permitted to be used in my class with parent approval. When I sent home my permission slip to use technology in the classroom, I found that most parents reacted positively. They are often excited and eager to participate in our classroom cel.ly polls. Many share an appreciation to get an insight to student learning.

What other emerging methods or tools are you using that have made a big impact in your classroom?

I am passionate about infusing technology and 21st century learning into my classroom. My excitement for technology has resulted in some amazing student projects. My students have made stop animation videos, interactive presentations, electronic flyers, and social media advertisements reflecting a social justice approach to learning. I have found that integrating technology has helped students elaborate on textual evidence and make stronger connections to content.

This year I am starting a Tech Start Innovation Academy at Madison High School. For an hour after school each week, students will be working with software developers from the Portland, Oregon community to learn computer coding. I’m very excited to merge my two passions: technology and career related education.

I use Google scripts such as G-Class Folder, Doctopus, and Goobric to stay organized and provide meaningful feedback to students. G-Class Folders, has saved me hours of time by setting up shared classroom folders. Students are able to send me assignments and also collaborate with just a group or the entire classroom on a document.

Currently, i have one iPad in my classroom. I have been using Reflector and AirServer to wirelessly project my ipad and model skills such as annotating text using the app Notability. This is a great app for the classroom when teaching close reading skills.

A few of my favorite sources for inspiring curriculum are Beyond the Bubble,

Rethinking Schools, Zinn Education Project, Teaching For Change, Twitter, and SSchatNing. Other than the tools mentioned above, I use Google Voice, Google Drive, itunes U, Prezi, Smore Flyers, Popplet, DocsTeach, and iMovie throughout the year. Common Sense Media is a great resource when looking for digital responsibility lessons.

The most important technology tool I have brought into the classroom is maintaining a classroom website. My classroom website allows me to share daily learning targets, agendas, and handouts with students, parents, and the community.

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In Closing

I have found that my passion for integrating technology into the classroom has inspired staff members at our school. With the help of Cel.ly staff, I facilitated a summer tech training for teachers in my building. Many of our teachers want to show our students how to use technology in safe and productive manner. Integrating technology inspires student creativity, collaboration, engagement, literacy skills, and helps bridge the gaps of equity present in our community. I try to teach my students to be responsible digital citizens, who instead of just instagraming or facebooking use their devices to extend their learning and understanding of our world.

Kimberly Hoffman Kanof
kimberlyhoffmankanof (at) gmail.com
Professional Blog: http://www.socialstudiesrewired.com/

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