What is a Chrome Squad?
Just to give you the big idea here, in my building, you will see random students called “Chromies” proudly wearing a colorful Chrome Squad name badge with sparkling gems showing their “Acts of Chromie Kindness” that are earned when helping others to increase their tech skills in any capacity.
So, what if each of us had a trained “Chromie” in our classrooms to support us using our new Chromebooks? In this post, I am excited to share with you, my new ebook resource coming out in June 2017, Training Your Elementary Chrome Squad that may help you get started with your own “Elementary Chrome Squad” and provide content that is appropriate when introducing Google to our younger students. I feel very strongly that our primary students need to see early on that tech can be a fun learning tool before they can only see it as a toy.
Among all of the wonderful Google resources out there, it has been a challenge to find primary material that is relevant and scaffolded correctly so that our elementary kids have a solid foundation to build on. We cannot teach kids to use Google Docs to write a story when they do not know what a paragraph is and are still learning to write a sentence. In my own journey, I have tried to not only learn how to use G Suite for myself but to have my “Primary Teacher Lenses” out in the process so I can transpose what I learn for myself into relevant material for my students.
Selecting My First Elementary Chrome Squad Team
For me, selecting our 3rd-grade team this first year was fairly easy. I hand-picked them myself and began with a small group of 10 kids from my own 2nd-grade classroom from our previous school year. I already knew these students very well and had developed a trusting rapport with their parents. My Chromies needed to show certain traits that I later wove into our goals listed below: Respectful, Trustworthy, a reasonable amount of Self-Control (Remember, these are 6-9-year-olds) and a higher level of technological prowess than typical peers. Next year, we will go through a more formal process with more classroom teacher input through a nomination process.
I believe that when beginning a program that has the potential to benefit and affect so many others, it is important to begin with your “Why?”. I felt that spending 25 years with K-3 children in a public school setting gave me a unique perspective for my “Why?”. With my experience, I understood what we were expecting our 21st Century students to learn and seeing that gap widen between expectations and what the kids were actually learning, I had to ask myself, “Why is this happening and what can I do about it?” “What if I skipped over the training of our beloved, overwhelmed teachers and focused on training a small group of kids to support classrooms instead?” If we wait until all of our teachers are trained to use our Edtech resources, we will be wasting so much time and besides, are any of us truly experts when technology is always changing and evolving? Our time is better spent learning alongside our students, modeling our growth mindset.
So, why am I doing this?
The answer was three-fold:
1. To help expedite the Edtech learning process for my fellow teachers and our students.
2. To give students an opportunity to work hard as a team to develop life-long Edtech skills.
3. To teach students to have an “Outreach Mindset” by reaching out to others with the valuable skills they learn.
With these three leading goals in mind, I needed to put together specific goals that were clear and kid-friendly. Together, we recited these 6 goals every time we met those first few weeks together.
Goals and Focus:
- Have a growth mindset.
- Help others to learn more about using technology in meaningful ways.
- Be respectful and respected. We are all learners!
- Be diligent but understand when others have trouble
- Be problem solvers and creators
- Be awesome! 🙂
*Any printables you see in my posts like badges, suggested emails, or templates will be available in my upcoming ebook in June. 🙂
In my next post, I will share how we got started, soliciting administrator’s support, informing classroom teachers about our purpose so they knew how to help me with upcoming referrals and communicating with parents. Hint- Learning Management System!