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Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades

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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. Her well-balanced text presents both the rationale for connecting students “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, six student-centered 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 to create digital portfolios that document their growth and achievement for parents, families and a worldwide audience.

Want to preview before you buy? Check out the table of contents and read an excerpt from Chapter 1. When you purchase Connected from the Start, you'll receive the eBook in both PDF and ePub formats.

Kathy CassidyAbout the author

Kathy Cassidy is a grade-one teacher for Prairie South Schools in Moose Jaw, SK, Canada. Since 2005, she has been integrating various technologies into her teaching practice to help “connect” her primary-grades students so they can become global learners. Kathy also does professional development presentations and workshops on technology integration and early literacy and is a recipient of the Kay L. Bitter Award from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) for outstanding technology leadership in the primary grades. Follow her on Twitter @kathycassidy

What they're saying

Dean Shareski”Kathy Cassidy has become 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 Education Canada

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Showing reviews 1-10 of 17 | Next

  1. eBook Review

    Posted by Melissa Lambo on 5th Dec 2014

    I would like to share my review of the eBook; Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades by Kathy Cassidy. This book was first published in 2013 and addresses the topic of using technology in the primary grade classrooms. Cassidy writes her argument for this very clearly and states, “If I can do it, so can you”! After reading the remainder of the introduction, you can’t help but want to know more about her “journey“to connect her first grade classroom with the world. In my opinion, this book is a must have for teachers of all grade levels. I was skeptical at first in purchasing the electronic version since I am keen to a good old fashion text book, however I was quickly impressed at what the eBook offers. One strength I noticed immediately was the working links Cassidy included throughout the pages. These links add a plethora of information and visuals to this already well written resource. Another clear strength this book offers is the personal and direct “voice” Cassidy has as an author. It reads clearly and explains her experience with technology in the classroom with ease and approachability. There is no need to dissect and analyze each paragraph because the information is direct and user friendly, for lack of a better term. In this book, Kathy Cassidy successfully provides her first hand experience with opening her classroom up to the world through the use of technology and leaves a reader ready and wanting to do the same.


  2. A must read for an elementary teacher!

    Posted by Special Education Teacher on 3rd Dec 2014

    This book is a must for an elementary teacher. I love that this e-book was created in such an interactive manner; the format of the book really lends itself to providing the reader with a window into Cassidy’s classroom and makes the learning inside visible. For example, you can watch videos of Grade One students working on numeracy concepts by stacking Oreos, talking about what they are doing and what they have learned, and then read comments left on their blog by others who watched. It really takes full advantage of the digital media format. The writing is authentic, engaging and very practical, explaining such things as how to share with parents what is possible, how to proceed with blogging with primary students in a way that is both safe and effective etc. Cassidy inspires us to do more as teachers with whatever type of technology in our classrooms. She alleviates a lot of the fears that teachers have about using technology showing us that even if you think you wouldn’t be able to use it in your classroom, you can! In exploring Kathy Cassidy further, I found this Doc, Kathy Cassidy, that provides more resources and links to her blogs and other professional sites. The nicest thing of all about this book is that she remains humble. She talks about many of the errors that she’s made along the way but stresses that it’s okay to make mistakes. This honesty makes it easy for the reader to connect to her writing.


  3. My Review

    Posted by Unknown on 3rd Dec 2014

    In the book Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades by Kathy Cassidy, the author discussed the use of technology and the benefits it has on education. This book provides user-friendly directions, suggestions on how to use the technology and tips to implement this great tool in your classroom.

    Typing an essay on Microsoft Word is no longer considered or thought of as “using technology in the classroom.” The author of this book does a wonderful job providing a how-to and real use of technology in the classroom for the reader. In chapter 2, she discusses the use of Skype with students. What an overwhelming thought!! Cassidy breaks it down step-by-step and presents realistic classroom situations and uses. She eases the fear and overwhelming feeling. The explanation and guidance provided make Skype a possibility and prepares you for what is to come.

    In Chapters 4 and 5, I feel the author gives a great explanation on how to introduce and implement blogging in the classroom and what a blog can be used for. Chapter 4 touches on the first thoughts many have, “How will the parents react? When will I ever find the time?” Cassidy explains how to go about the concerns and push back you may face. The sample waiver home and how she approaches provides a suggestion from someone who has done this. She also explains how this is not in addition to the curriculum, but done throughout the curriculum. Chapter 5 was the chapter I was most excited to read. How can I use a blog to benefit my students and me? How can blogging make what we already to more meaningful to everyone? Portfolios!! I can see student growth, families can see student work and growth and most importantly students can see their work and growth. How great!?

    Chapter 6 explains the use of Twitter. The piece of information I took from Chapter 6 and the blogging chapters is, audience. The use of technology provides students with an audience that is not just the teacher. Strangers, peers and family can all access student work. This gives more of a reason and a bigger push for students to do their best!

    Throughout all of this, the author mentioned, students will learn about how to safely use the Internet and all about their footprint on the Internet. Internet safety and smarts are key for technology success.

    Overall, I believe this book is a great resource for teachers! It’s a How-To to technology and a great guide for beginners. I love how the book is interactive and makes the information real world and applicable to classroom teachers. Kathy Cassidy’s writing is inspiring and motivating. She eliminates the fear and promotes desire to do all these great things! The book is written as if she is talking to us. It’s meaningful and not filled with the “know all” language/description.


  4. Ed 584

    Posted by Unknown on 3rd Dec 2014

    In the book Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades by Kathy Cassidy, the author discussed the use of technology and the benefits it has on education. This book provides user-friendly directions, suggestions on how to use the technology and tips to implement this great tool in your classroom.

    Typing an essay on Microsoft Word is no longer considered or thought of as “using technology in the classroom.” The author of this book does a wonderful job providing a how-to and real use of technology in the classroom for the reader. In chapter 2, she discusses the use of Skype with students. What an overwhelming thought!! Cassidy breaks it down step-by-step and presents realistic classroom situations and uses. She eases the fear and overwhelming feeling. The explanation and guidance provided make Skype a possibility and prepares you for what is to come.

    In Chapters 4 and 5, I feel the author gives a great explanation on how to introduce and implement blogging in the classroom and what a blog can be used for. Chapter 4 touches on the first thoughts many have, “How will the parents react? When will I ever find the time?” Cassidy explains how to go about the concerns and push back you may face. The sample waiver home and how she approaches provides a suggestion from someone who has done this. She also explains how this is not in addition to the curriculum, but done throughout the curriculum. Chapter 5 was the chapter I was most excited to read. How can I use a blog to benefit my students and me? How can blogging make what we already to more meaningful to everyone? Portfolios!! I can see student growth, families can see student work and growth and most importantly students can see their work and growth. How great!?

    Chapter 6 explains the use of Twitter. The piece of information I took from Chapter 6 and the blogging chapters is, audience. The use of technology provides students with an audience that is not just the teacher. Strangers, peers and family can all access student work. This gives more of a reason and a bigger push for students to do their best!

    Throughout all of this, the author mentioned, students will learn about how to safely use the Internet and all about their footprint on the Internet. Internet safety and smarts are key for technology success.

    Overall, I believe this book is a great resource for teachers! It’s a How-To to technology and a great guide for beginners. I love how the book is interactive and makes the information real world and applicable to classroom teachers. Kathy Cassidy’s writing is inspiring and motivating. She eliminates the fear and promotes desire to do all these great things! The book is written as if she is talking to us. It’s meaningful and not filled with the “know all” language/description.


  5. Connecting our Littlest Learners is Vital!

    Posted by Kate Peila, Purely Paperless on 15th Sep 2013

    I purchased and read this book on the recommendation of a friend this summer and I am so glad that I did. So many of my personal beliefs and values about technology integration in the primary classroom were validated.

    Kathy Cassidy has created some fantastic learning experiences for her students that are easily replicable in any classroom. It is amazing to watch the embedded videos and see the kinds of things that her students are doing at such a young age. Kathy is truly an inspiration.

    If you have an interest in providing your students with learning experiences that extend beyond the classroom walls, I would highly recommend this book. Learn to appropriately utilize tools like Skype, Twitter, and blogging in the classroom. You won't look back!


  6. want to take a step forward towards 21st century teaching? read this book!

    Posted by Sherell Stepp on 17th Jul 2013

    This was an amazing book with tons of authentic work done by primary children! The learning described in this book is inspiring!


  7. Tapping Technology for Global Learning!

    Posted by Pati Terry, Adjunct Professor, Education, Virginia Wesleyan College on 2nd May 2013

    "Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades," by Kathy Cassidy is an exemplary chronicle of one teacher’s journey into the use of social media to deliver multi-disciplinary experiences for her primary aged students. As stated in an old proverb, “experience is the best teacher,” primarily because it involves dynamic engagement in a specific activity. Ms. Cassidy recognizes the need for her students to develop the skills and attitudes that will serve them well in a global society, and as such has sought opportunities to expand their horizons by involving them in a variety of experiences with students from other parts of the world by using a variety of Web 2.0 tools. This book is not intended to teach how the technology itself works, but rather provides samples of the ways in which she and her students have used the tools to connect with others, and how they have shared learning activities with them.

    As educators, we strive to design activities for our students that will be both engaging and result in the achievement of our instructional goals. We often learn from each other, spending time chatting with the teacher In the next classroom, down the hall, across town, or somewhere around the world. When you read this book, you will feel as though you’re seated at a table with Kathy herself, two colleagues sharing stories. Her style is warm and supportive, and it is clear that her primary focus is on her students and their growth, rather than on the technology they might use.

    Kathy begins with a reflective look at her early days when she was just starting out, providing even the most tentative web user with simple activities that are easy to manage. She conveys a sense of excitement on the part of her students as she describes the questions they ask, and the wonderment they exhibit when learning about children in other cultures. One such example is how she set up a Google Doc and invited students in other classes to share what they eat for breakfast. As her students watched the words appear in real time on the white board in their classroom, they were amazed that not everyone eats the same foods. This led to a discussion on various foods, as might be expected, but also prompted many other questions. They wanted to get to know these other students. Their curiosity had been piqued.

    Throughout the book, Kathy has embedded links to various resources, images, sound recordings and video clips to illustrate how she engages her students in interactive sessions with others. Many of these links take the reader to online collections, so it is best to read this work in its electronic format. She provides examples of the videos which her students have created to illustrate how simple and short they can be. Kathy describes how her initial foray into video projection was rudimentary, but that because the tools that are now available have become both easier to use, and offer more options, both she and her students can easily create appropriate video material to share with others. She emphasizes the need for keeping her students safe, and provides strategies that may help other teachers to do the same. She takes the time to describe in detail how she encourages parents and other extended family members to read and respond to entries posted by students on their blogs.

    "Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades" illustrates how young children can use blogs and wikis to practice reading and writing skills by developing their own “digital portfolios.” By contributing to these over the course of the school year, it is possible to observe a child’s growth over time. Kathy shares how exciting a Skype session can be for students and describes several activities that can be done using this tool, but cautions that time zones can often be tricky to work around. She also mentions several ways to use Twitter to promote learning in the classroom, and offers some do’s and don’ts for the successful integration of this social media tool. Of course, there are many situations where limited or even no technology can impact what is possible. Kathy provides some strategies that can be used with classrooms that may not have specific technologies at their disposal, and illustrates these with examples to show how these experiences enhance her students’ learning. She points the reader to numerous resources within the appropriate sections of the book explaining how to make connections with others.

    Kathy Cassidy credits her mentors with having faith in her as she first dipped her toes into the unknown world of the internet, and now eagerly mentors others who come to her for assistance. She provides links to her own blog, her Twitter accounts and her YouTube accounts so that anyone can reach out to her. She explains that she has only described a few of the many tools available online, and notes that new ones are are always being developed that can make the use of computers, smartphones and tablets appropriate for very young children. She wonders what tools others have found useful and encourages everyone to share them with her. If you are thinking of tapping into the power of the internet for the first time, or extending what you already know to craft powerful learning experiences for your students, "Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades" would be a great place to begin your own journey!


  8. With this book, I can finally open up the world for my students

    Posted by Jane Ching Fung on 23rd Apr 2013

    I have always admired teachers who are able to utilize technology in their classrooms to open up the world of learning for students. I want to be one of those teachers. With the new book by Kathy Cassidy, “Connected From the Start,” I think I finally can.

    As a first grade teacher, my students’ use of technology has been limited to educational games and websites, with a little word processing thrown in. I often wondered how I could engage and involve young students in more meaningful uses of technology. Kathy’s book shows even the most novice techie how to get teachers and students connected and engaged in activities that promote communication, collaboration, sharing of information, and making learning public.

    Connected From the Start provides readers with step-by-step instructions on how to enter the world of Skype and Twitter, how to engage young students in blogging, and how to use student blogs to not only share learning, but to document the progress of their learning.

    I highly recommend the e-book with all its hyperlinks to Kathy’s own websites, videos, and suggested online resources. The hyperlinks lead to real artifacts and resources that help readers understand each topic and see how they work in action.

    Connected From the Start is a simple and engaging how-to manual written for teachers by a teacher, and the best part is that you won’t have to go it alone! Kathy provides her personal accounts and blogs so that readers may post questions and provide feedback. I cannot wait to get my primary kids connected!

    Jane Ching Fung
    NBCT, First Grade Teacher, Los Angeles
    Board of Directors - National Commission on Teaching and America's Future


  9. Should Be Required Reading for All New & Pre-Service Teachers

    Posted by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano (via Powerful Learning Press) on 23rd Apr 2013

    [Here's an excerpt from a new review of Kathy's book, posted at the Langwitches blog. See: http://bit.ly/17NSXOW]

    "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."


  10. Amazing, revelatory, magical, beautiful book

    Posted by Lisa Noble (via Powerful Learning Press) on 19th Apr 2013

    [Excerpts from a review by teacher Lisa Noble - see http://bit.ly/11Lwy0Y]

    ...This book, this amazing, revelatory, magical, beautiful book – this is the example I would have used. It’s an e-book from PLP Press (one hopes the first of many), and reading it, as an educator interested in trying to take my technology practice up a notch, is like being handed a detailed game plan. Need to see what she means by a particular idea? Click on the video that shows her class demonstrating it (and experience their joy in what they’re doing). Want to see the background on digital footprint that she references? Click the link – you’re there.

    The book is not only a great experience for a teacher, it’s terrific for a learner. The information is chunked, so you can take it one gentle, hand-held step at a time. And the “how-tos” are just that – there is no previous knowledge assumed (I am really beginning to think this is a key piece in convincing people to try this sort of teaching and learning). It is a true step-by-step approach, and you can determine how many steps you’re ready to take.

    Throughout the book, Cassidy manages a great balance between the why and the how. It’s that balance we’re always looking for – where good pedagogy is driving the use of the technology. So, she explains why she uses Skype in her classroom, and what it brings to her students (with concrete, curriculum-linked examples), and then she takes you through exactly how to set it up for your classroom.

    If this was a hard-copy book, it would already be dog-eared and highlighted into oblivion (and I would suggest reading it in a .pdf program that will let you highlight and annotate) This is a keeper, one to have in your digital backpack all the time, but, most of all, it’s one to share. Give it to your admin, your colleagues, your student teacher. Their students will thank you.


Showing reviews 1-10 of 17 | Next



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