Oh the Possibilities

After hearing our visitors in ECMP 355 tell us about many awesome tools and apps I explored a few of them. Most of them I had never heard before and am now excited to spend time learning how to use, and finding uses for them in my future classroom.

The site that instantly caught my attention was Padlet. This site is essentially a blank piece of paper on the web, as quoted on their homepage. You can add text, videos, links, pictures, etc to this blank page. It is available from anywhere with internet access and you can change the privacy settings so that only you can see it, or so that others can add to it and it can be a collaborative project.

I read on one of my classmates blogs that they would use Padlet for a space to have all of their brain breaks avaliable and ready to use when they are needed. Another classmate suggested that they should have this page open so that other teachers can add their brain breaks! I think this is an awesome idea.

The one idea I had to use Padlet for was as a brainstorming activity, or as an exit slip/assessment activity.

Students could all post up what they have learnt/ what they know about a topic along with their name, and then it is all saved in one place. As well, if students do not finish they can save what they have and theres not the risk of them losing the paper they were writing on, as it is saved online. Here is a screenshot of a general idea of how I would use Padlet.Image

P.S Throughout this class I had been wondering which apps to use for screenshots and had never gotten around to downloading an app or something to do that for me. Today, in my research I learnt how to do a screen shot on a mac, without an app. Now, I might just be way behind the times and everybody might already know how to do this.. but I was amazed that I could do it almost as simply as I can on my Iphone. All this time I thought it was much more complicated. So Mac users if you don’t know how to take a screen shot..

Press command and shift, then the number 3. It will take a screenshot and save to your desktop.

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You Want Me To Do What???

You want me to code? 

In ECMP 355 we recently learnt about coding. Now when I think about coding I think about the work that the Software Developing Engineers I know do. When I heard I was expected to code I was terrified! I was thinking that I am not tech savvy, I am never going to be able to do this, and how in the world will this be useful in the classroom?!?

However, throughout the session and my further research, I have learnt that there are many practical ways to engage students with the use of coding.

Espresso

For my tech task I explored the EspressoCoding site that Dean had told us about. I was nervous as I logged on but I really enjoyed how user-friendly, even kid-friendly that it was! It was simple to figure out and even fun to play around with! I found myself making up stories in my head as I used codes to make the characters move around.

Here is a screen shot of what I was working on:

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I could see students using this program in the classroom to tell or re-tell stories! I was very pleasantly surprised with this program and would definitely use it in my classroom!

What did you think of Espresso?

This is a Story of a Girl

After having a very interesting ECMP 355 session, learning about storytelling as teaching from Alan Levine I thought long and hard about the use of story telling in the classroom. I definitely think stories are a very effective way to teach. I know that I learn best and am most engaged in university classes when we are taught using personal stories.

For this tech task I chose to complete two assignments from the DS106 Assignment Bank. I found this site very cool! By reading other students’ blogs, as well as exploring the site I have seen many awesome options of assignments that would be fun and engaging to use in the classroom!

The first assignment that I chose to do was called My Favourite Lyric. The assignment asked the individual completing it, to find a photograph that represented one of their favourite lyrics. The lyric that I chose was from one of my favourite bands Switchfoot’s song This is Your Life. I found a photograph that I had taken just before a storm. Now, Switchfoot has many other songs that speak more to the storms than this particular song, but for some reason the lyrics and this photo seemed to go together.

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This assignment can be done using all sorts of photo editing/photoshop apps. However, I just used the photo editing option on my iphone to add the text! There are many free apps/programs you could download for students to be able to do this assignment. I think this would be a very engaging/exciting activity for students to do. I think that you could adapt it all different ways. You could use it to create images that fit with a certain quote from their reading, or a line from a poem. You could even use it for science, finding images that fit with the topic the are researching and adding text to the photograph to explain. This is definitely something I could see myself using in the classroom.

The next assignment I chose to do was another visual assignment. It was called Focus on One Color. For this assignment, I looked through previous photographs of mine wondering which may look neat if only one color was focused on and the rest were left black and white. I think in the future if I was to do this assignment, I would take a specific picture with this activity in mind. However, the photograph I chose turned out quite neat! It was a photo I had taken during the holidays of a gingerbread house I had made. By focussing on the color red I think it made the photo look quite cool.

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To create this photo I downloaded an app called One Color Focus. It was quick and simple to use. There are many other apps, as well as photo shop that you could use to create a photograph like this.

I think in elementary school, which I plan on teaching, there aren’t a whole lot of uses for this kind of assignment other than in art/design type classes. Let me know if you all have any suggestions of how I could use this with elementary students!

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! ūüôā

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! ūüôā

 

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.

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.

Random Thoughts About Technology in the Classroom

After reading many other blog posts, and watching the latest session I have lots on my mind! Technology is fascinating and terrifying all at the same time. I am incredibly excited and inspired to use the things I have learnt with students! I am beyond excited about the mentorship project, I am thrilled to have heard about all the incredible teachers and have expanded my network. However, after all the excitement I have a few concerns about incorporating technology into my future classroom.

In my internship, it took longer for the students to get logged on to the computers than the time they ended up getting to actually use them! We almost always had issues with passwords not working, or computers not working. In our school we also had to share the laptops with the other classrooms, and often we could not get them when we wanted them. Furthermore, how often do you have a whole lesson planned out and ready, that incorporates technology, and then technology fails you? Our session on Monday night is a good example of this! The session was still very informative and interesting, but when those sort of malfunctions happen in an elementary school classroom, your lesson is lost. This happened to me at least twice during my internship!

Another concept that doesn’t worry me so much, but that I have been thinking a lot about is: ¬†B.Y.O.D! Although I hope to be teaching younger students and they do not (usually) have cell phones, most of my grade 3’s had their own iPods! I think that if students have these technologies in their pockets, its an engaging and practical way for them to learn. However, I think this may cause issues, such as.. what if the teacher asks everyone to pull out their devices, and a student does not have one? Now, I realize there are many alternatives such as sharing with a partner, etc. I just feel that a student without, may feel inferior or insecure when everyone else pulls theres out. Also, I feel that it would be hard to monitor what students are actually doing on these devices. We hope and assume they are doing what is asked of them, but how many of us (even as future teachers) spend class time on Facebook, Pinterest, or online shopping during class because with our laptops in front of us, the prof does not know the difference? How can we expect students to not be tempted to do the same?

Feel free to add your own thoughts and comments!

Have a happy Monday.