Mentorship in ECMP355

In my ECMP355 class, we the students, have been paired up with incredible knowledgable teachers from across the world who use technology in their classrooms in new and innovative ways. The teacher I got paired up with name is Zoe Bettes and she teaches grade 3 in Thompson, Manitoba.

We meet at last!

I had the opportunity to meet her and her sweet class via Skype last week and it was a blast! I got a window into each student and their personalities, learnt about their class and school, and had an opportunity to introduce myself and answer a few questions.

What now?

Through this mentorship, Zoe and I have a few activities planned for me to interact with the students through. I will be interacting with them via their class twitter, as well as on their individual blogs, on kidblog! In addition to this I am going to have the opportunity to read to the students over Skype and teach a mini lesson on a reading strategy.

Snowboarding Lesson?

When I mentioned one of my interests is snowboarding, the students and Zoe expressed interest in that, therefore, I am going to try and teach a lesson on snowboarding! I think I am going to use a GoPro camera and try and tape some things. However, I’m not very great at snowboarding yet..so it could be interesting! I am not entirely sure what I am going to teach, or how I am going to conduct this lesson.. but I am super stoked to do it!

If anybody has any advice, or ideas feel free to share them!

I am super excited for this part of the course because I get to interact with actual students and learn a lot from my mentor Zoe! 🙂

Fidgets In My Opinion

In my epsy217 class we are focussing a lot on sensory regulation and learning the benefit of Fidgets. Every week we get to pick from the bag, one fidget to play with for the 3 hours class. I have always been someone who struggles with sitting still for long periods of time. I often find myself bouncing my leg, biting my nails, chewing on a pen, “fidgeting” in some sort or form. There are many different types of fidgets available.

From pull apart bracelets to squishy stress balls there are lots to choose from. What worked best for me were things that were malleable that I could use both hands to mild and move. These included the sticky tac, and glitter play dough. I also enjoyed the elastic band with square blocks on it that you could use to make different shapes. However, this fidget took up more of my attention than the malleable substances.

I see the many benefits of fidgets. “They help keep restless fingers busy, bodies relaxed, and minds focused.” Some students just cannot focus without something in their hands. I definitely plan on introducing fidgets into my classroom to students who need them.  However, I have many further questions, such as:  how to introduce them to a class, do you give them only to students you decide need them,  and how to know when a student is fidgeting and paying attention, or fidgeting because they are bored or off task.

If you are interested in the use of fidgets in the classroom, check out this website:

http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2011/10/31/fidgets-what-are-they-and-how-can-they-help/

Throughout this class I hope to learn more about the use of fidgets. Now I ask you, what do you do to keep concentration when sitting in class, and what is your opinion on fidgets?

Comment below! 🙂

Classroom Library App

I’m not sure if anyone reading this shares my “obsession” as my boyfriend would call it, with children’s literature. After four years of working towards the goal of being an elementary school teacher, I have acquired quite the collection of children’s books- an over flowing rubbermaid tub is presently taking up space in my parents basement, as well as the ones I have in my place, hehe! Buying them makes me happy, and incorporating them into lessons is fun and engaging. Inspiring a love for literacy is something I hope to do, no matter what grade I end up with.

Sitting around the table last night my dad looked at me and said, “Do all teachers create a classroom library? I don’t think mine did.” So my question is to you elementary people, do you plan on creating a classroom library, or just having your students check out books at the school library? 

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So now we know, I have a huge collection of books, and no shelves to display them yet, how do I keep it organized and know which books I have, what grade level there for?  And once I am teaching how do I know if books have been borrowed by my students, have gone missing, etc?

Well I wanted to share with you an app I just downloaded on the weekend. It is called Book Retriever, is fantastic and  only costs 99 cents! I don’t normally pay for apps, but the dollar you spend on this is totally worth it! Now, I downloaded it for iPhone from the app store, and as far as I know it is not available for android just yet. Wit this app, you can add the books you have by scanning the barcode and it compiles a classroom library list. You can create a class of students, check books out and back in, look at “hot” books, make an ISBN barcode for your books and print them off, as well as find out what grade level the book is categorized as. If you are developing a classroom library I highly recommend it!

If you chose to get it, let me know what you think!
Also feel free to answer my question! 🙂

 

Wealth of New Knowledge

Something I have noticed in this last semester of university is how my classes are all somewhat related. Sam noted in one of her posts how the central theme of our classes happens to be how to meet all students’ needs. 

Sam also mentioned how the more she learns the more she begins to wonder. I am with her on this. These classes challenge us to think about things differently, and leave me wondering all of the time.

Photo Credit: Marco Bellucci via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Marco Bellucci via Compfight cc

Projects for a purpose

My projects this semester have been very relevant to me as a future teacher. Whether they are researching ways to teach all students’ reading in a diverse classroom, how to integrate autistic children into the inclusive classroom, how to help students’ at risk, etc! I am glad that with the experience of internship and real life experience in the classroom, these classes really make an impact on me. However, while sitting in EPSY217 learning about differentiated instruction, inquiry based projects, sensory regulation, fidgets and other knowledge that fits into the topic of Teaching as a Helping Profession, I can’t help but think “Why couldn’t I have learnt this in my second or third year?” I feel that if I had this knowledge earlier, I could have put it to play during internship! Through this class I have gained an opportunity to volunteer in a classroom that presently incorporates many of these strategies.

Photo Credit: Ken Whytock via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Ken Whytock via Compfight cc

In addition, I also am currently in a Educational Foundations class where we are learning about sexuality and many LGBTQI issues. The majority of the 4th year students in this class say that this information has not been addressed previously. WHY ARE WE JUST LEARNING THIS NOW?” Is a question that is running through many of our minds.

5 Education Classes + Applications +Final Semester = 

The more I learn the more I begin to question and want to learn more! Many of my colleagues question my choice to take ALL 5 of my remaining classes as education classes. However, at this point in my life I find that when I am interested and inspired I want to learn!-this is the same for our students! Although they can be much more work, I am glad I picked the classes I did, as they help me learn and discover ways of being a more effective teacher!

I am very grateful for all the eye opening information I am learning this semester, and cannot wait to put it to use in my own classroom.

Response to “Avoiding the Burn” by Rebecca

This past week I have spent hours reading other classmates and other professional’s blogs and have been inspired with many things to write about! When asked by Dean to respond to a blog post we liked or that resinated with us I had a hard time picking just one!

The post I chose to respond to was one written by Rebecca, entitled Avoid the Burn. Rebecca talks about the dreaded “burnout” that many teachers experience. She goes on to share the ways in which she plans to avoid that burning out feeling in her future career. Some things she mention include: taking time for the things she loves, taking days off, and asking for help. 

I think all three of these points are fantastic ideas of how to avoid that burning out feeling. As a teacher I think that the majority of us are passionate, driven and concerned about doing the very best that we can do for our students. This often causes us to spend a large majority or all of our time working on things for school, or worrying about it! In my internship I definitely experienced this, I felt that I was always doing school work, and if I wasn’t I felt that I should be! 

One way to avoid this is to take one hour a day, and/or one day each weekend to yourself, to do the things you love, and to not worry about school. Now to me in internship this seemed impossible! I always had something to do! I was finishing things up the night before I was going to do them. I had a hard time walking away when there was things to be done. I think that if you are planned and prepared ahead of time, you will be less stressed and be able to spend more time re-energizing. 

Family and friends are a huge part of my life, and through internship I hardly saw them at all. Weekends that I came home I spent working on lesson plans, pinning things on Pinterest, and marking assignments rather than enjoying the company of my family. It seemed like I couldn’t get ahead. I think it may be this ways sometimes for the first year or so, until we get more settled in but we need to be able to find a balance.  

I think the best advice my co-op teacher gave me in internship was to not let it become your life. Teaching to me is a passion, and a career choice. I love finding new resources, improving lesson plans, buying books and connecting with other educators. I find it way to easy to devote every waking moment to teaching for this reason. It is way to easy for it to become your whole life, and it is important to stay balanced. Your health, your family, your friends and the things you love, are very important and in order to be a well rounded teacher it is important that you give yourself that time to relax.

Furthermore, the third point was about asking for help. I think this is vital as first year teachers. We are often stubborn, and/or afraid to ask for help. We want to do it all on our own, and feel like we are successful and not requiring anyone’s help. I never wanted to admit that I needed help, because it made me feel as if I had failed, or didn’t know what I should know! However, our colleagues, administration and educators around the world are there to help support us. Chances are they have gone through what you are dealing with, and would gladly help. Seeking help does not make you weak, it helps you become better. Good educators always want to improve, and seeking help can be the best way to do this. YOU ARE NOT EXPECTED TO KNOW IT ALL, only to try your best! 

As we have learned in this class there is a vast amount of educators and other professionals around the world sharing their ideas, resources and advice. Seek out help and advice! You are helping yourself and your students by doing this!

Personally, as a teacher I plan to take time to exercise and stay healthy, spend time with my boyfriend and family, take an assigned amount of time per day or week to put the school stuff and thoughts away and relax. I plan to always seek help when I need it, lean on people for support, and continue to do things I love. I also plan to laugh. ALOT! I think the best way to enjoy your time in the classroom is to have a sense of humour. Things will go wrong, messes will happen, your lesson might blow up in your face, and you have to be able to laugh it off! 

What do you do to, as Rebecca says, “avoid the burn?” 
Share your ideas! 🙂

What to Share and What Not to Share

During ecmp355 this week our guest speaker George spoke to us about digital identity and how we should create a positive digital footprint, so we can be searched and found online, and possibly even be hired based on positive things we have shared! Although the focus was on sharing positive things online, one part that stuck out to me was when he discussed about being careful about what you share in an email or what you post online.

In my EHE class we had been speaking about dealing with parents and my professor Greg had said don’t write anything you wouldn’t say out loud” As teachers we are always under the public eye, and often text in email or online can be taken wrong. He told us that if a parent sends an email regarding something serious to make plans to discuss on the phone or in person, because email can cause problems. In addition, he spoke to us about how in some situations a parent can request to see every written document about their child, including emails shared on school computers. So word to the wise, do not complain about your rotten day or how a certain child acted over email!

Also, sorry for the lack of links, categories, etc. I’m posting this from my phone today and haven’t quite figured out all the features of the wordpress app. However if you have a smartphone I highly suggest downloading it, as well as google+ and feedly! Having everything on my phone has helped me keep up with this class much easier!

Well that’s what is on my mind this Sunday afternoon.. Feel free to add comments! 🙂 I hope everyone’s weekend is going well!

Digital Footprint

Today I finally  got around to watching the February 4th session of ECMP355 and have definitely learnt a lot! All through university, we have more or less being warned not to have anything inappropriate online because our employers may Google us! However, George Couros provided us with a new outlook on this. Rather than making sure you have nothing online, you should fill the internet with good things! We should be creating a positive digital footprint that we would want our future employers to see! This may include lesson plans, collaborating with other educators, etc. 
To start this process of creating a positive digital  footprint the first thing I did was Googled myself to see what a future employer may find. Image

When searching just my name (Chelsea Lyons) nothing that comes up is relevant to me! When I enter my name + Saskatchewan the only thing that comes up is my Google+ page. This shows me that my future employers definitely won’t find anything negative, however, they won’t find anything great as well! 

My number 1 step in starting to create a positive digital footprint is to create an about.me profile. Here is the link to it if you would like to check it out!

http://about.me/ChelseaLyons

 

A recent session of ECMP355 has left me feeling very inspired and excited to expand my PLN (Professional Learning Network)

There are thousands of teachers and other experts sharing their experiences, knowledge, lesson plans and ideas all over the web. We can share like never before. Whether you use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Skype, etc. There are hundreds of people you can follow to expand your PLN.Teachers are always learning, and it has never been easier to connect and learn from others.

We were asked as a Tech Task for this course to start following 10 new people to expand our PLN. Below you will find a few of the people I have been inspired by and began to follow.

1.  Zoe Bettes is a third grade teacher from Thompson, Manitoba whom I got paired up with for our mentorship. She posts on her class twitter and instagram often with tons of neat ideas and I am excited to learn more about how she incorporates technology into her classroom.  You can follow her on twitter @3BBees and instagram at 3BBees.

2. Darleen Dufour is a third grade teacher from Louisiana who has been teaching for 18 years and incorporates technology including QR codes into her teaching. Her blog is full of lesson ideas and freebies. Follow her blog at http://thirdgradelove.blogspot.ca/

3. Kira Fladager is a literacy coordinator in Regina SK. She posts articles and ideas on promoting literacy. Follow her on twitter @kfladager

4. Miss Freel’s Grade 3s is a grade 3 teacher in Alberta who posts many pictures of her class in action. Follow her on twitter @MissFreel

5.  Julie Marciniak is a first grade teacher in  Ohio who posts many freebies (lesson plans, worksheets, labels, classroom management ideas) Follow her blog at http://firstgradecrittercafe.blogspot.ca/p/about-me.html

I also followed Carly Fleischmann the subject and coauthor of Carly’s Voice: breaking through autism @CarlysVoice, @edutopia, and many teachers on instagram! As a visual learner I love to see the lessons put into action and the products on instagram.

I am excited to expand my PLN so if you have any suggestions of who I should follow, let me know!

Blogging Like a Boss

Sue Waters spoke to my ECMP 355 class about “blogging like a boss.” 

She gave us many pointers and tips to help us make our blogs look more appealing to our readers.

A few of these tips included:

1. Use shorter paragraphs

2. Use headers to break up the writing

3. Include categories and tags

-> Categories are more broad, like the table of contents in a book

-> Tags are more specific, like the index of a book

4. Make sure your blog template is mobile friendly- so that readers are able to easily view it on their mobile devices

5. Add links to peoples names, websites, resources, or new terms

I have made some of these changes already, and hope to continue to improve my blog as I go.

I’m back! :)

Excuses, excuses, excuses

Hey everyone! It seems I have been neglecting my blog in the past few weeks, but I assure you I’m still here! The last two weeks have been a blur of doctors appointments, the flu, throat/ear infections, and lots and lots of sleep all while trying to apply for jobs and keep up with assignments! Eek! It has been busy. Now that I’m feeling somewhat better I hope to keep up with my blog much more regularly!

What’s new?

While I have been MIA I have been watching our ECMP 355 sessions and have been learning a lot. We have learnt about all things Google from Michael Wacker, how to blog like a boss with the help of Sue Waters, and how important it is to create a PLN and how to get started from Shelley Terrell. They were all very insightful about the use of technology in the classroom and inspired me and  gave me many ideas and tips to begin my journey incorporating technology into the classroom.

Now what?

So throughout my next few blog posts I hope to share with you some of the knowledge that I have learnt. Check back soon!