Stronger Together

EDTC 300, Uncategorized

 

Hi friends!

This is my personal learning network post where I will map out and demonstrate the means in which I connected to other educators through different technology platforms. Using Google Community, Twitter, and WordPress blogs, I was able tointeract with my peers and other educators throughout the world to create a community of growth through technology.

Google Community:

Through this platform I was able to have all of my peers within my edtc300 class right at my finger tips. We all utilized this tool to ask any questions dealing with assignments and technology we may have needed assistance with. Take a look at an example of a problem I presented to the community and a few responses I received very quickly:

Having this tool was extremely useful and quite a stress relief. This could be really useful within a classroom when it comes to any assignments for students. No matter the subject or topic, students would be able to turn to their peers for resources and help. As teachers, we have too many different things to worry about, and if the students can figure out a solution before coming to me, it is not only productive but helpful. It also gives the chance for student who might have the same question to not even have to ask it!

Twitter:

Oh Twitter! How I have grown to both love and not enjoy you! Twitter was my biggest challenge this semester in creating a developing my personal learning network. I have never been the biggest fan of this platform as I talk too much and the characters it allows me is simply not enough to get my point across. However, it has been a wild ride and has allowed me to understand the importance in not only being clear and concise when making a point, but has allowed me to connect with educators locally and around the world.

My following and followers elevated in numbers with those whom I have class with, those whom I am motivated and inspired by, and those that care about the same goals in education that I do:

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I made sure to tweet out every blog post I made. This connection between my blog and twitter definitely increased my reader count and produced a lot more replies left on my posts:

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I retweeted and replied to my classmates posts throughout the week, hopefully letting them know that I not only agreed with what they were saying, but I supported their intent behind the tweet:

I even got to be a fan girl when I followed Mr. Alfie Kohn! I retweeted his tweets one to many times as I couldn’t help showing my devoted support of his theories and strategies:

Although he never replied, I will continue to keep retweeting and replying to him, haha!

I also used twitter as a means to showcase some articles about personal matters, but matters that my colleagues and even students could relate to. Things such as anxiety, what I was learning in other classes, as well as procrastination were some of the different topics I shared:

Finally, I was able to contribute to an #edchat earlier on in the semester. This was a phenomenal experience. Although hard to follow because it goes so darn quickly, I found I got the hang of it about half way through and began having conversations with educators from around the world. The conversations I was having were both meaningful and motivating as I realized so many educators hold the same beliefs I do. I wrote a blog post about this, but Ill post some photos down below as well! I interacted with many educators, but my most memorable was with Tamara Excell, whom is an educator located in Seattle! Isn’t that amazing! Mark E. Weston, who was facilitating the #edchat also joined our conversation. His twitter is the infamous Shift Paradigm. I felt oh so special! Our conversation was based around grades being detrimental to students learning (inspired to Alfie Kohn). Take a peak:

Although I have had the challenge of keeping up with posting on twitter, this was still a great experience overall. I was able to connect with people that confirmed why I wanted to become a teacher. I also just felt really cool when people retweeted or replied to me lol!

My Blog:

As part of themy edtc300 course we were to create two blog posts a week, as well as comment on three of our classmates posts each week. I actually really enjoyed this task each week as it allowed me to stay connected with my classmates, learn more about each, and it gave me some ideas on how to organize my blog and posts.

I kept a comments log throughout the semester on a simple word document in order to make sure I was on track each week. I contributed to a variety of my classmates blogs and posted comments of both support and some that had some extra resources within.

Daniel’s blog is one I followed consistently. I really enjoyed his learning project and class posts. His “Privilege” and “Burnt Out” posts really motivated me to share some resources:

 

Loved following some of my peers on their learning projects as well. I commented on many of my peers blogs, some more in depth, and many supportive comments in general. Olivia Jensen presented some great blog posts on her fetching skills with her Frisbee and her dog that were hilarious to read so I made a few comments on her posts:

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Carol Todd’s visit was extremely powerful and many of my peers blog posts for that week were empowering to read. Laura Bieber had one post that really stuck out to me regarding Carol’s visit:

 

 

If you would like to take a peak at my comments log from all of the posts I left a comment on, click this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1J81AwGcV6_QAxFR6_8ydiYXpr-04c1vm-QuGAQ9EUbQ/edit

I also responded to the comments left on my own blog. I was amazed by all the amazing resources my peers  had left me; not to mention the support and encouragement I received :

 

 

So there it is my friends! This is my summary of how my personal learning network came to develop throughout this semester. Through all of the platforms listed above I had both successes and struggles, but I made it through and feel much more knowledgeable on how to connect with others through technology, how to create a digital citizenship and how to feel comfortable with doing so.

Check out my summary of learning this semester with Jessi Gaja. In this video we go through our experience with building our personal learning network on top of gaining knowledge about different platforms through technology:

 

That’s a wrap!

 

 

 

 

 

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A Long Reflection Finally Surfaced

EDTC 300, Uncategorized

Hi friends.

This post has taken me awhile to build up the courage to post as I have been reflecting.

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of listening to Carol Todd speak about digital citizenship, the importance of teaching our students the safety measures along with utilizing technology, and her daughter Amanda.

Check out Amanda’s story here:

After hearing Carol speak about her daughter’s story and the struggles she went through, my mind opened to new possibilities and the importance of technology in the classroom. Not only is it important for technology to be used within the classroom for an interactive and progressive experience for the students, but teaching the safety behind using these platforms (specifically social media).

My very close friend has been negatively effected by social media platforms and the misuse of them. She now has trouble finding a job because of a “promiscuous” photo once posted. A truly great human is now affected by depression and social anxiety because of a horrific experience that she now reflects upon. She once said to me: “I wish someone would have told me how negatively the internet can effect someone. If I had been warned, this would not have happened.”

Carol spoke about the platforms often used within the classroom such as social media tools like Twitter and Instagram. Students these days, use these as well as Snapchat to gain acceptance and connect with new faces and stay in contact with old. Although extremely useful and progressive, these application can become a tool to essentially create a negative image upon someone. Digital citizenship and identity is something that we need to be speaking to with students so they understand that even their actions and decisions with these platforms at a young age can affect their futures.

This makes me think to back when I digitally sleuthed my colleague Jessi Gaja. I was not able to find anything that could reflect negatively upon her digital identity, however that is because we have has the training to practice creating a safe and positive digital citizenship for many years. Students in elementary, high school and even other faculties of post secondary are not exposed to the importance of safety on the internet.

In classrooms, not only exposing the safety precautions needed to take place, but showing the consequences or using examples of the negative effects that can happen is so crucial. To get you started, I did some research on finding some lesson plans on internet safety. Although catered towards younger grades, these plans could easily be manipulated to benefit older students in coherence with social media apps. Check this out:

https://educators.brainpop.com/bp-jr-topic/internet-safety/

Carol Todd’s visit was extremely heart felt and educational. I truly appreciate her taking the time to speak to us about the importance of technology as well as the needed training of why digital identity and the safety measures needed, has to be taught within the classroom.

To Carol Todd:

Thank you Carol, so very much, for all that you do and being fearless in sharing your own story along with Amanda’s. The work that you do to make educators and everyone around the world more knowledgeable about digital citizenship, internet safety and the importance behind each is truly inspiring. Not only are you so very appreciated, but creating an environment around the world that will truly help others.

Alyssa

Dipping My Toes Into an #Edchat

EDTC 300, Uncategorized

Yesterday evening I experienced my first #edchat on twitter. All types of emotions were running through me. I was excited, nervous and confused. I was unsure of how this chat would take place, if I could keep up, how to follow the chat and if I would have anything valuable to add. It was run by @ShiftParadigm and his guidance and responses to the chat were impeccable (I immediately followed him).

My favorite part about the chat was sending out a response I thought was valuable and having it be confirmed by not only my classmates, but people form around the world. Specifically when we got onto the topic of grading, I became really excited. I am a very big fan of Alfie Kohn and his theories towards grades and intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. I recently wrote an essay about the detriment of grading to students, and I used a point of mine from that paper and responded to a participant of the #edchat. Responding to @TamraExcell made me all types of nervous inside as all of her contributions to the night’s chat were impeccable inspiring. However, I did it. To my surprise there was so much response and support from people liking my tweet, to retweeting, to responding to me and creating a chat of our own from it! It was such a success and made me feel like I was talking to people who cared about the same things I do in education. Ill insert some pictures below of the tweet I posted!

The only thing I found  challenging with my first #edchat, was that I could not keep up! There was no real order in which it went on (perhaps its the beauty of this chaos that makes it so successful). There were so many conversations at once, I did not know who to respond to and at what appropriate time. Also, when people link articles, are we supposed to read them immediately and then respond, I certainly do not read fast enough to do that. The pace is quick, and perhaps it is because I am new at technology that I just need to practice to catch up. Did anyone else seem like they were jogging behind all the sprinters?

 

Common Sense May Not Be So Common

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Before reading this introduction of “The Problem of Common Sense” I honestly was always an advocate for common sense. However, after reading Kumashira I realize that I was a consumer sucked into the idea of common sense being a positive things. Now I still believe in some aspects that it is healthy to use common sense, such as when it comes to the difference between right and wrong, but in saying that Common sense is so counterproductive I am beginning to realize! I am so taken aback by how this one section of a book completely changed my views on common sense. It mainly outlines how common sense is like stationary thinking. For example, as a teacher we teach our students to not use racism (common sense), but when you think about it, although it seems like once you say it, it’s common sense, it’s not. It takes practise and developing ideas on how to remove racism from the situation and classroom. We use common sense as a method to verbally state not to do something, but when does just saying something actually take action…. Rarely. It takes learning about racism and cooperatively coming up with ways to counteract it in order for an change to be taking place. Therefore, common sense is summed up as old fashioned thinking that needs to be updated because the world in constantly changing and so should our ideas of what common sense really is.

The oppression that takes place in and outside of school is often ignored, even though educators use their “common sense” in dictating students to not oppress. However, no action is taking place to do so. There for saying to use common sense is counterproductive as there is no action plan to back up this so called ‘” common sense”. Being commonsensical is so narrowed down to the tradtions of what we have learned is right and wrong that their is not room to develop new common sense ideas. Sticking to the same traditions put us in a stationary world of learning. Everything in this world continuously changes such as morals, education, views upon different social and political issues, however if we stick to the same thinking of what common sense is, there is no room for our development and ideas to grow. This would keep everything stationary. Which means there will be no hope for oppression to be diminished.

Relating back to the intro on teaching in Nepal in comparison in teaching in the United States and the differentiation between how education is viewed and delivered proves that common sense gives no room for development. As described in the reading, the United States have advanced in education much compared to Nepal. However if you closely read the differences, it is the common sense that differentiates. The United States, have upgraded in education and began to realize that common sense is not a way to teach by, however Nepal is stuck in that situation. And it is the lack of resources they have, as well as people’s attitudes towards their education system that keep them stuck in their own views of common sense and what teaching really is. Therefore common sense changes in each social context, which means different actions need to be taken in different environments in order to develop ideas to creat new common sense and allow it to continue to grow!

Overall, this sample reading was very educational and completely changed my views on common sense and how terribly counterproductive it is. it is this traditional way of thinking that everyone has experienced that does not allow us to grow morally and educationally. Instead of teaching common sense to students, we need to explore other ideas of what individuals believe needs to change and an action plan of how it will change, and of course it needs to be acted upon! Common sense is a static thinking that is a potential starting point for change, it will just take educators realizing that it needs to be avoided in order for our world to become a better place with less oppression, hopefully one day oppression free.

“The Problem of Common Sense” by Kumashiro:

http://ecs210.uregina.wikispaces.net/file/view/The%20Problem%20of%20Common%20Sense.pdf/559012353/The%20Problem%20of%20Common%20Sense.pdf

All Good Things Come to an End – Overall Fieldwork Experience

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As you can tell by my title, my field experience was amazing, life changing to be more accurate.

But, first I will tell you about my last day “on the job”. I walked into the classroom and all of my students were waiting for me, as usual, to give me a hug. I did my daily round of bear hugs and got ready to give my lesson. However, my co op said thatmy lessonw ould have to wait until after recess as the kids were finishing making Ukrainian Easter eggs. So for the first hour my partner and helped the kids create designs on their eggs and dye them. My partner then taught, recess occured, and then it was my turn! So I decided to do an Easter themed French lesson. I put french words inside numbered easter eggs and gave each table an egg. They opened the eggs and had to try and guess how to say the word in French. It was such a funny experience and the kids loved trying to guess how to pronounce the words. After we went through my lesson, which went so well, me and my partner decided to play a game with the students. We lined them up in four groups and gave the person at the front of each line a mini whiteboard and marker. We decided on a symbol (my partner and I) and then went to the back of each line and drew it on that person back. They had to draw on the next person back the same symbol, or as close as they could remember.  We were focusing on teaching them how to communicate throughother ways rather than speaking, so we made sure if we heard a peep we told them to be quiet! They loved it an thought it was hilarious when one groups symbol came out completley different from the original. At the end of the day we said our goodbyes and gave the students eggs filled with candy (sorry to the parents). Our co op and some of the students presented my partner and I with our own card the students made and signed! They wanted to put something funny on each of them and on mine they put how my lipstick was blinding because I wore such a bright colour one day, how cute is that. They also said I made vegetables fun, I hope they were telling the truth. After our hugs goodbye, our co op sat us down and thanked us for the past seven weeks, gave us some feedback about our lessons that way and then we were done.

I was so nervous begginging this semesters fieldwork because not only was it in an elementary school, but I acutally had to teach and create lesson plans. I really love kids , but i was scared being placed in an elemnatary school would change my mind, and of course it didn’t. This was the first time I acutally felt like a teacher.

My co-op teacher was amazing, brilliant to say the least. It is only his third year of teaching and I swear he knows EVERYTHING. I could tell just teaching alongside of him that he is a better teacher than most of the teachers I have experienced myself. I have learned an immense amount of strategies, tips, etc., from him.

The feedback I recieved for my target sheets are the main things that stick out as the most crucial part of my experience. He always explained where I strived, where I needed improvment, and suggestions on how I could improve.

His use of technology in the class has opened my mind a whole lot more compared to how I used to be. The way he intergrates technology that is so useful today and will dveleop into our future gets the kids excited and ready to learn, i want my classroom to mimic the environment of his.

One principle I have stuck to throughout the years in my own philosophy is emphasizing the positives within the classroom and outside of it too. In my grade 5/6 i noticed that the students resonded to positive feedback and appreciation much quicker and better than negative reinforcment. If someone was being good and recieved a class dojo point for it, everyone would respond in the same way that student did. It seems as though positive reinforcment sparks youths mind a little bit quicker, making them less likley to rebel. I am glad that this experience reinforced my own beliefs within making a classroom a positive environment.

During my seven weeks, I was only able to teach 4 times when I was at the school. This is because of all the adventures and field trips and activities my class got to participate in. I am very glad i got to experience alot of excursions with them as it made for a real teaching experience. Its not always just baout lesso planning, its about excursions and interuptions and taking management startegies outside of the classroom but, also having fun and getting to bond with the students. So whenever one of my classmates asks me if I feel like i got cheated because i didnt get to teach as much as everyone else, I always say I feel like I got the best possible experience out of my field work because I experienced what it was like to teach inside and outside of the classroom, I got the real experience.

I feel as if i was able to more clearly develop who I am as a teacher through this fieldwork. I was tested by the students many times, and felt I stayed true to who I am and want to be as a teacher. My style of lesson planning has improved and I feel as if i have a better grasp on managment strategies whether that be eye contact, mobility around the room, and prjection of my voice.

Out of all the technical strategies and tools I have learned, it doesnt amount to the love that I have for the students I my class. The bonds we created, the laughs we shared, the simplistic interactions we made, the safe and positive environment we formed; these are the things I will remember most. Without these connections, I would feel like this experience would be a waste of time. It is the experiences gone through together on top of the learning that create a real teacher, and I feel as though my co op and classroom made me feel like an accomplished teacher. My overall goal was to reassure my beliefs were on the right track and to make sure I made connections with the students in order to gain their attention, respect and love. This experince reinfoced everything I have believed in about teaching and created an unbreakable bond with me and my students. I am so thankful for this oppurtunity and will miss my time there greatly.

Can’t wait to see what next year brings,

Alyssa

The Tables Have Turned…

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In my 7th week at my placment, I got to judge the grade five to eight science fair! I remember when I was in grade seven and I had to compete in a heritage fair. Oh boy, was I ever nervous and the judges scared me to death (look whose the judge now). So when I got my clipboard to begin judging, all of the emotions of nerve came flodding into my mind and I began to wonder if the students were feeling the same way I did when I competed. Every table I judged, I made sure to ensure the students that I am just another person here to listen to them talk about their projects and that their is no pressure. I wanted them to feel more comfortable and I think being relaxed myself, really helped them to feel at ease as well. I judge twelve projects, including some of my students, but also other grades. It was awesome to see how creative these students were in their topics and how they executed it. Grading each project I found to be tough. The regualr person in me wanted to be bias towards my class and give them amazing grades, but the teacher in me knew I had to create an equal playing field for everyone to have a fair chance at a good grade. I met a lot of new students and teachers that afternoon and enjoyed every minute of it. Again, it was another week where I felt like I could have a ton of fun without a ton of pressure. In my week five reflection I metioned a boy with disablitlies that I sat with on th ebus and tried to get to know. He was competing in the science fair and created a project about volcanoes. I was not judging him, but decided to stop by and say hi. We talked for ten minutes about his project and how he has visited real volcanoes. And while I was reading, he came up and put his head on my arm and just stood there for a bit. I felt so honoured for him to open up to me as my students had previously let me know he is very shy. When I told him I had to move on he gave me a big hug. It was an awesome afternoon where I not only got to learn more about the students, but bond with the school as a whole.

Thanks,

Alyssa

The Vegetables Return

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My 6th week of teaching was my chance to finish up my French vegetable lesson with my 20 minute powerpoint on how to pronounce each word properly. On each slide I used a picture of the vegetable, the word in French and then little sounds or words to sound out each word. During the powerpoint, I asked each student to write down the word in English, the word in French, and how to sound it out. I would ask the students by a nod of the head of they had finished writing the word, in between each slide. This worked for most of the students except for a few towards the back of the class who i didnt notice had their heads down the whole time. After my lesson was over, which most of the children responded and participated to very well, I sat down with my co -op and he gave me some pointers on how to make sure those kids who werent, would participate. He said between each slide I should have walked around the room while each student was writing in their notes, just to make sure everyone was doing as told. That was an extremley helpful tip. He told me to start roaming the class more rather than just station myself at the front. This is something I have been stuggling with, but I am slowly mproving my my movement. We went curling immeidatley after my lesson, I helped out the same group again, and it was a lot of fun. We had a lot of laughs and cheers and success with the curling games. The children were sad when it was over as that was their last curling experience of the year with the school. My partner did not even get a chance to teach when we returned as the bus driver got lost and when we got back it was five minutes until hometime. Even though we have been rushed for the past few weeks, I don’t mind. It is nice to experience what really goes on inside of a school. We have gotten a very fuffilling experience with all these activites we get to take part in and also our lesson plans we get to teach. The variety of lengths our lesson plans have been, have been an awesoe learning experience and have helped in my ability to adapt to a certain time frame, and narrow down a lesson to what is most important for the students to learn. This week was crazy bsuy again, but very educational and fun, I am glad I got to experience it!

Thanks,

Alyssa

I’m Back and More Ready Than Ever!!

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After three weeks of not being at my field experience because of spring break, skiing, and my grandpa passing away, it felt absolutley amazing to be back! I felt like I was doing my first week all over again. The excitement and nerves set in quickly, but as soon as I walked into the door, I had the warmest welcome from the students. I was greeted with hugs upon hugs! That was one of the best feelings I have ever had. As soon as lunch recess had ended the students quickly made their way to their desks as they knew they were leaving soon for curling. My partner taught her music lesson in 15 minutes, however the students had no time to do the assignment because the bus was early and we had to get going. It was a very rushed day, however a lot of fun! When we all loaded up on the bus, I sat with one of the FIAP students who was very quiet. I was able to get him to say a little bit about his excitment towards curling, however the students let me know when I got off the bus, that he rarely talks to anyone. I took charge of one of the curling lanes. I really got to test out managment startegies to keep the kids on task. I really had a good chance to bond with these students though. They were very hard working and very supportive of eachother, so it was a great time. I found a lot of students complaining that they already knew how to curl and they didnt need practise, they just wanted to start. The phys ed teacher let them know that everyone should feel on an equal level so that when playing time comes everyone feels they have a fair shot. I really liked how he calmly explained this to the students. When we returned from curling, I had fourteen minutes to do my lesson. I taught french once again this week, but this time it was on vegetables. I knew I would not have enough time to go through all of th vegetables and how to pronounce them and give them my handout sheet to work on. So i decided that for this class I would immediatley give the students my hand out so they could practise the words on their own first, that way they would become more farmiliar with them. Then the next week I would go through the vegetables and the proper pronunciation. The handout they recieved was a list of English vegetables with the French translation directly across from it, these were under the title of ingredients. Across form the French words were blank spaces underneath a “recipe” column. The assignment was to use the french words in order to create a salad! They also had an empty bowl on the bottom of the page to draw their own salad! The kids loved this. I did have a few that said they didn’t eat salad, and my co-op interupted them by saying, “don’t think of it as a salad then, think of it as an icecream sundae with a ton of topping”, that is such a cool idea that could be used for any lesson where students are questioning things. The kids were ver well behaved during my mini lesson, mainly because they were tired from a long day of skating and curling, so I found my delivery to be made with ease. It was a very nice first week back. Although it was hectic, it was more fun than anything else!

Thanks,

Alyssa

 

These Things Take Priority

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I was unable to make it to my fourth week of teaching on March 3rd, 2014. My Grandfather had passed away that weekend from ALS and his funeral was on the same day as my field experience. Even time like this are an exception to many rules, I still get very nervous about missing things. I emailed my co-op teacher explaining why I could not be in and he completley understood and said “things like this take priority, and I completley support you in your decision to not come to school today”. That took a huge amount of weight off of my shoulders. He told me he was going to saya prayer with the students for my family which made me feel rather humbled. I have only known my co op and his students for a few weeks, but because their hearts are so big they had already begun to feel like family. My Grandfather was diagnosed with ALS six months ago. The doctors reassured us he had two to five years to live. However, on top of the ALS he also had Alzheimers disease. The combination of these two gruesome monsters deterioarted my grandpa physically, spirtually and emotionally very quickly and he passed away. It was a shock and took a huge tole on my ability to stay focused and on track. After the funeral i felt closure and began to make my way back to normal routine, however he is always in the back of my mind. I just wanted to let you guys know that things like these do take priority, and it is a time to be with your family. Dont worry about other things for those moments of loss, just take the time you need, it will be easier and better in the long run.

Thanks,

Alyssa

No Teaching this Week!

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This week, my students went on a skiing trip to Mission Ridge Ski Lodge. Therefore,me and my partner were unable to go to the school this week for our third week of field work. It was nice to have a week off as all  of the lesson planning along side of five classes is getting pretty tough. I have been finding myself staying up very late the night before each field work in order to get it done, and sometimes I am even waking up early to put last minute touches on the plan. Next week, the students have skiing in the morning, and then curling in the afternoon, so my parnter and I each only have 15-20 minutes to fit in a mini lesson…. we will see how that goes!

Wish me luck,

Alyssa