Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Professional Assessment

This advisory effects educators in the field as well as, teacher candidates due to the complexity of technology in todays tech savvy society. Due to our responsibility to abide the professional and ethical standards according to the Ontario College of Teachers, we need to be especially careful with what we share with our students and what our students share within the school community. It is important to understand where to draw the line when sharing personal information before you get yourself in a world of trouble. Thus, this video reinforces the message that teachers should use social media to foster student learning and development but always keep in mind the sensor and safety aspects. 

The pros of this advisory is that it emphasizes the need for technology and social media within the classroom as students thrive on it. It is beneficial to have social media experts and teachers speak to this topic/issue as they bring educated evidence and practical experiences to the forefront. However, the con is that never once is the child's voice shown or used to demonstrate how social media effects them. 

Self Assessment-
Professional Knowledge

Members strive to be current in their professional knowledge and recognize its relationship to practice. They understand and reflect on student development, learning theory, pedagogy, curriculum, ethics, educational research and related policies and legislation to inform professional judgment in practice.

-> With much success, I am using current tools and research pedagogy's in order to stay current. This includes asking questions of others both in-person and online.

Professional Practice

Members apply professional knowledge and experience to promote student learning. They use appropriate pedagogy, assessment and evaluation, resources and technology in planning for and responding to the needs of individual students and learning communities. Members refine their professional practice through ongoing inquiry, dialogue and reflection.

-> With much success, I am applying my newly learned knowledge to other courses, to unit plans, and to my growing educational philosophy - including using strategies for other assignments, using new tools to collaborate and share.

Leadership in Learning Communities

Members promote and participate in the creation of collaborative, safe and supportive learning communities. They recognize their shared responsibilities and their leadership roles in order to facilitate student success. Members maintain and uphold the principles of the ethical standards in these learning communities.

->With much success, I am becoming more involved in online communities. I have used Twitter or Google+ as well as many blog's to share learning, to participate in discussions and to ask questions.

Ongoing Professional Learning

Members recognize that a commitment to ongoing professional learning is integral to effective practice and to student learning. Professional practice and self-directed learning are informed by experience, research, collaboration and knowledge.

-> With much success, I have becoming part of an ongoing professional learning community. I am willing to be open to changing educational perspectives. I am self directing in my learning and I am willing to ask questions of others.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Learning Objective

Web 2.0 Tools -ABCYA.COM

Word Clouds for Kids

Similar to Wordle and Tagxedo, I found a child-friendly website that allows children to create their very own word clouds. Hence, the title word clouds for kids! The word cloud on the right is one I created myself for my Literacy unit, which focused on building community within the classroom. Instead of pasting text into the text box they provide, I typed the words I wanted. The process of creating a world cloud is great because you can explore with different styles based on which direction and colours you want.

Word Clouds, if used properly can be very dynamic as they can be applied to every subject within the Ontario curriculum. For example, a primary grade during a literacy unit can create a word cloud about the main events or characteristics of the main characters revolving around the teachers read aloud, self selected or guided reading picture books and novels. Students can creatively produce a product which, could be placed on the teachers blog to share with parents. As well, students will have the opportunity to present either in groups or to the whole class sharing their word clouds and explaining their text choices. Their peers are then encouraged to ask a series of questions based on their word cloud such as, "Why did you choose those specific characteristics?"
Grade 3 -> Language Oral Communication
Overall Expectations
1. listen in order to understand and respond appropriately in a variety of situations for a variety of purposes
2. use speaking skills and strategies appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes

I provide the link below for you to check it out and use with your students in the future. 
Link ->>> ABCYA

PLN - Tribes

On Thursday 26th, 2012, my fellow cohort F'ers and myself became certified in Tribes. Pat on the shoulder!!! I am thrilled to have had this experience so early in my career as this is incredibly important to have entering the education field today. My wonderful and inspiring trainer was Gail Phillips who is a cohort leader/faculty advisor of no other than the best cohort at Brock University, cohort F. Gail asked our cohort very early in the year if we as a student body were interested in this opportunity and of course we didn't need a second to think about it and we jumped on the Tribes train and what a ride it has been! For 3 non-consecutive days, our cohort grew into a strong community with deep respect for our individual talents. It was a time to form special relationships, ones that will probably last a life time. 

The topic highlighted was that the Tribe agreements and the tribe strategies that we had learned in the duration of the 3 days were in fact something that we could feel confident implementing into the classroom. These agreements are known as Appreciation/no put downs, Mutual Respect, Right to Pass-Right to participate and Attentive Listening. As well as, an extensive list of strategies and energizers. For example, Community Circle, Do After Me, Shuffle Your Buns and Creative Storytelling. These can be found in Jeanne Gibbs book entitled, "Reaching All by Creating Tribes Learning Communities", which the course is based on. 

In our individual tribe groups, as a closing activity we created keychains with beads that represented every person in our group. While handing out your beads to your group members, you exchanged positive and caring words about that individual. For my group, this process was a very emotional one as we are very close friends and Tribes made us that much closer. We were allowed to keep them as a reminder of the special bond we have and the sense of community we will forever cherish. 

Based on what Tribes has taught me, I can use the ability to form community through inclusion in my teaching instruction. In one way or another, I can use a Tribe strategy or energizer in almost EVERY lesson I teach. An example of a Tribe strategy you could use during instruction would be a Gallery Walk. This strategy requires students to write positive comments on their peers work while walking around the classroom. From the beginning of the year, it is the responsibility of the educator to create a warm, caring, open, positive and inclusive environment for students to feel safe. Integrating Tribe strategy's and energizers in lessons allows children to reconnect with their friends and create new friendships. It also gets children up and moving, engaged and excited. If a hostile learning environment surrounds children then students are not comfortable to learn and grow to their potential. 

I chose this professional development presentation due to the profound impact it has on education systems today. More and more schools in Ontario are recognized as Tribe schools and educators are expected to become certified. Tribes not only affects the students but it also affects the sense of community within the school and within the community. Teachers, educational assistants, early child educators, secretary staff and principles are all apart of the positive and inclusive environment. I will most definitely adapt Tribes in my classroom in the future as I want students to respect and abide by the four agreements. In my first block experience, I had the pleasure of seeing how a Tribes school operated. Specifically, my teacher associate placed students according to where there tribe was in the class as this was their seating plan. As a result, when it came to group activities students were already prepared to work as a team in their tribes. The feeling of inclusion and community I felt was overwhelming and inspiring. My teacher associate examplififed how Tribes can be successful. On my last day, I was able to use a few Tribe strategies with my students during a goodbye party and this was incredibly rewarding. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

E-Book Reflection

During my time on Twitter every Wednesday night, I participate in #ntchats. This past Wednesday I clicked on a link that sounded very intriguing. An educator posted a classroom scrapbook that she had made using a wonderful device called "Mixbook". Discovering "Mixbook" was a blessing for a technology junkie such as, myself. From this artifact I learned that you could create an online scrapbook, which you could share with the world. "Mixbook" allows you to integrate pictures, stickers, clipart, borders and text to create a master piece. A unique aspect to "Mixbook" is that a group of users can individually log in to work collaboratively on a project, easily sharing pictures and creative ideas.

This aspect alone is a perfect example of how "Mixbook" would be an excellent instructional tool for the classroom. Not only can educators use this artifact to share with their students and parents but students themselves can engage in a collaborative project online. Integrating technology into any lesson using "Mixbook" would be appropriate.  For language, students could create a photo timeline based on the events in a story that the class is reading. "Mixbook" not only creates scrapbooks but you can also make calendars, cook books, photo albums and year books. Having students create a yearbook would be a great end of the year collaborative project.

"Mixbook" can be shared publicly by posting the link on Twitter and embedding the link on a website or blog. Other disciplines could easily integrate this artifact into their projects, presentations and on their professional websites.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

TPACK Reflection


Experiencing Sliderocket and TPACK has been very informative in terms of exploring a whole new world of creativity. As an artifact, Sliderocket has taught me that there are a lot more tools in the realm of technology then just Powerpoint.

From this artifact, I was able to learn how to share my presentation globally by linking or embedding the video in a web site or blog. Learning how to stream and record audio throughout the presentation was also pretty nifty. From TPACK, I now understand how important it is to see the connecting relationship between content, pedagogy and technology. The pedagogy used in this artifact taught me how important it is for educators today to effectively use technology such as, Sliderocket and integrate it with other different mediums. Within one presentation, it could include a variety of different videos, songs and written text.

Technology can engage learners in a variety of different ways by emphasizing many intelligences that students have. For example, auditory and visuals learners. This framework is excellent to capture students interests living in the 21st century who are thriving for that one on one technology interaction. Thus, my future students will be given this as my teaching instruction will provide students with what they crave in todays society and that is a chance to use and explore what technology has to offer. From my block experience and this course, I know that I am a future educator who understands how to successfully use technology within a classroom.

Sliderocket can be used in multiple disciplines due to its ability to be shared on the internet and on peoples blogs. The Ministry and school boards can use this for their monthly and/or weekly presentations. By using Sliderocket, people are using TPACK in all disciplines.

EDUBlog Reflection

Personally, creating an education classroom blog was very exciting! I wanted to make my blog as interactive as possible. Meaning that I wanted to engage not only the students but also the parents in their involvement with their child's education and learning process. This experience of working with this type of artifact was very rewarding as I felt that I had an audience to speak to and a very important one at that. It was fun to think that I was providing parents a safe and comfortable space for parents to engage in material and discuss what was important to them but also their children. I also learned the importance of breaking down and decoding the curriculum. Not only does this help the parents but it also helps students better understand the purpose of their learning. Decoding the Ministry's language breaks the barrier of any confusion it may entail.

Blogging is incredibly applicable to our future careers in education and teaching. I will use this technology in my future classroom as a tool to communicate with parents to create a strong parent teacher bond/relationship. I will also use it as a teaching tool for students in terms of providing fun and educational websites that can foster their learning and growth in a particular unit. This tool is a great way to post assignments and remind students of any quiz's and/or tests. Also, if students have any questions they are able to post them on the blog. It is a 24/7 teaching resource! What could be better?!

This technology could be used for any subject and any grade throughout the education system. It could be integrated with Twitter, GooglePlus, Google Doc and Facebook.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Engage Me!!!

I found this gem while scrolling through one of my favourite websites, YouTube. I was so excited that I instantly tweeted about it and discussed my findings to my technology class. This video is of primary students who attend Robin Hood elementary school in Birmingham. The header alone entitled, "Engage Me" says it all as students are desperate to be enthralled while they attend school and sit in a desk for countless hours. As promised in my last post, I  said that I would try and provide authentic accounts of children and youth and this next video delivers just that. While you watch the video, you understand that the children are using posters instead of their voices to get their message across. Personally, I think this is a very intriguing way of filming as it portrays a much more powerful message. I think it speaks to the level of frustration that children feel when they can not access technology at school while growing up in the 21st century. This is made clear at the very beginning of the video as one students poster says, "I am a 21st century learner". This two minute video speaks volumes as countless children express their need to use technology in the classroom as a learning device.

Through the use of computers, iPods, iPads, Facebook, Twitter, podcasts and blogging students voices are becoming very public but more importantly they are becoming stronger. Students want their voice heard and technology can give them that power. Throughout the video, you will read excellent questions that the students are asking their audience. But the critical point of this video is when students are asking to be involved and to actively participate in their own learning. I think this is incredibly important to highlight as we want students to be excited about their learning thus, why not engage them in a learning task that involves some form of technology? As future educators, we need to understand that if we want the respect of our students then we have to provide them with respect in terms of how they want to be engaged within the classroom and with the world.