Archive for January, 2010

Fisching for Knowledge

Posted on January 27, 2010. Filed under: edublog, educational, reflection | Tags: , , |

Karl Fisch’s Elluminate session was very interesting.  It moved quickly and I was trying to write down my thoughts about what he was saying, but there were just so many things that interested me! 

First, Karl asked the question “What do kids need to be successful?”  This is a loaded question with a million answers.  As we all know, children are unique; there will never be one strategy or formula for success in school.  But I feel like saying that is a cop-out.  So I have come up with 3 things that I believe are needed for children to be successful in today’s schools.  #1- Support.  Nobody goes through life by themselves.  Our human lives are made up of complex inter-woven relationships.  Though sometimes we think we are totally independent, we are not.  We need other people.  Even though some children may not have the most supportive home environments, children NEED support.  Support from teachers, family, principals, friends, mentors etc.  This is where I think social networking is a must.  Not always in a virtual sense, but through many ways; reading buddies, blogging buddies, mentorship programs, twitter, and extra curricular programs are all great ways to be connected with other people who can offer support.  How that ties into a classroom situation is something else to think about.  #2) Critical Thinking Skills.  I was laughing while planning a Science lesson a couple of days ago.  In the Grade 2 Weather curriculum, there are objectives that have to do with cloud formations and how they affect the weather.  Well, I’m not going to lie, I am re-learning all the names of these clouds (cirrus, nimbus etc.) just so I can teach the kids these names.  Is this teaching the kids critical thinking skills?  Not really.  This part of the curriculum is kind of a memorize and learn part of the curriculum.  Will they forget the names of the clouds by next year? Probably.  So, I ask myself, how do we teach critical thinking?  Well, we need to give them something to think critically about… and I don’t think it’s clouds.  How weather affects Regina versus Haiti is somewhere I am heading in this unit.  But should I ditch curriculum to teach other things I think are more important?  #3) Goals/Dreams-  Be reflective with me for a moment.  Look back on your life.  What was a dream or a goal of yours when you were 10?  (No, don’t keep reading.  Actually try and think for a moment.  I know it was a long time ago for some of you, but really try this!)  One of mine was to make the best Disney Jeopardy there ever was.  I had visions of myself and the other kids on my bay playing Disney Jeopardy in my backyard with podiums, and categories, and Alex Trebek cue cards and everything.  It was awesome.  I even found one or two boxes in my basement that we started to build a podium with.  The dream ended pretty quickly as the reality started to set in that making Disney Jeopardy was a huge job.  (It probably didn’t help that I was a little bit bossy and had assumed that I was going to be the permanent host of the show).  Either way, what a HUGE dream!  It was a dream that motivated me to great lengths of preperation, time and work.  I was 10!  Think of what could have been accomplished if I had the support of an educator who knew how to chanel my dream!  Think of the curriculum connections.  Math- adding and wagering points.  Language Arts- Coming up with questions- or should I say answers?  Research skills- Finding information for the categories  Art- Designing practical podiums for 10 year olds.  Critical Thinking- What kinds of problems one might come across, how to solve those problems.  The possibilities are endless!  But is it worth it?  As an educator, what would I have to sacrifice to make this type of a scenario happen?

Wow, I didn’t expect my first thought to take up that much room!  I guess I will only talk about one other specific thing that struck a chord with me in Karl Fisch’s presentation.  I loved his Did You Know presentation, but- for the sake of conversation I am going to challenge a couple things he says.  So, if I understood the presentation correctly, his point of giving all those statistics was to say that change is inevitable, and as educators, we need to be changing because we are preparing students for jobs and careers that don’t even exist yet.  I understood from the video that we need to be re-thinking “school design” because we are the one social institution that changes the slowest.  This makes sense considering we have all been socialized (for at least 13 years of our life) into the career that we are now in .  Not many other careers can say that.  BUT my question here is- what is wrong with the system we have in place?  Obviously the people who are now in jobs that never used to exist were brought up with traditional schooling.  The computer engineers who are designing these super computers that are incredibly fast, were not familiar with fast computers when they were growing up.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe we are always changing and we need to embrace change…   but only as long as we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.  Do you think the way we do school needs to completely change?

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Elluminate did Resonate

Posted on January 19, 2010. Filed under: Blog on Blogging, edublog, reflection | Tags: , , |

I just listened to an Elluminate session that Alec Couros and Sue Waters moderated.  There were quite a few things that struck a chord with me, and I want to share them without being scattered and all over the place.  Therefore, I have decided, I am going to use good old fashioned bullets.

  • First, I was uncomfortable with the chat going on while Sue was presenting.  I understand that Elluminate is not meant to be a newer power point where one person presents and everyone else sits there like bricks.  BUT I still sometimes feel like it’s disrespectful.  Call me old fashioned, but how is having your own separate chat any different then texting in the middle of a University class?  I think chat is great when you can ask questions to the presenter- but when you start your own little side conversations that the presenter can’t keep up with anyway BECAUSE THEY”RE PRESENTING, I feel like this takes away from the entire presentation.  In fact, sometimes I missed what Sue or Alec said because I was trying to scroll and read what was being written in the chat section.  I think this problem could be solved with removing the “chat” portion and only having the mics available so that if there was a question, someone could raise a virtual hand, speak into the mic and have their question answered when the presenter had a second to breathe, not mid sentence.  The only problem that this could cause would be that people couldn’t type links into the chat section.  Thoughts or ideas?
  • Second, I have to give Sue credit for all the work she has done with edublogs.  Before the fall 09 semester started, Sue held a competition where she gave away free blogs for a year to people who were willing to share their tips about blogging and win.  I knew I couldn’t afford my own edublogger supporter blog (without ads)  for my student’s class blog so I entered.  I wrote a post about my 5 most important tips for people starting out blogging.  I had an emphasis on early childhood class blogs because that’s what I knew best, and in October, Sue announced the winners of her competition and I won a free blog for a year!  Abbey R, the student who Sue mentions in the Elluminate session, also won a free blog at the same time I did.
  • Third, I would like to comment on some of the questions that came up during the Elluminate session.  I felt an underlying theme of “time” arose during the conversation.  I felt some people were uncomfortable with the amount of time blogging takes.  Sue also eluded to the fact that she spends a lot of time commenting on blogs, and commenting on comments.  It was actually after my ECE class last night that I started thinking about how teachers battle time.   Most of us already feel pressured to fit in all of the curriculum in our September to June school year, so I’m sure some people think “how on earth can I add blogging on top of that?”  As I was mulling this over, it occured to me that we can’t add blogging ONTO the curriculum.  It has to become part of the curriculum; a tool to support the rest of the curriculum, if you will.  I think we need to get away from having “computer class” and realize that technology needs to be a way of learning, or a tool for learning.  Did you know that in the “Better beginnings” sask education document (about early childhood), it is suggested that in Pre-K there should be a 60-90 min block of time designated for uninterrupted play?  My original thought was- then when will I teach?  And there… that’s the problem! We think we need to teach curriculum instead of viewing curriculum as somethig we “unravel”.  Some think we need to “teach blogging” where we really should be using blogging to teach.  Let me know if you disagree, I’d like to hear your suggestions! 🙂
  • My last thought related to the Elluminate session is on bletiquette- (blog etiquette?)  I had an  interesting experience with comments last year.  I was blogging about my thoughts on “scientific truth.”  It was a discussion on using creationism in schools, and apparently I stepped on a few people’s toes because I got some VERY interesting and rude comments.  Here are two snippets for an example: “If you honestly can’t see why you should not be poisoning the young minds placed in your care with such nonsense, I urge you to find another discipline to teach – science is clearly beyond you”  and “Do you actually believe that Kindergarten to grade 3 students can make a reasonable distinction between actual science and creation ’science’?
    The idea of you being anywhere near children, let alone filling their heads with claptrap, is frightening
    .”  Ouch hey?  I’m not going to lie, I was little bit upset at first, but then thought… really?  Am I really going to listen to some random blogger tell me how to teach children?  It started to make me think- what was their purpose behind writing the comment?  They clearly weren’t wanting to join my educational network, or inform my teaching practice, so I left it.  Too bad they didn’t realize that their “evil” was used for good :)- Their comments inspired me to write a whole post related to the issue.  Thanks people.  Any idea of what we can call these mean people who leave comments?  I was thinking “Crommenters”  which is crappy commenters.
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A True Blogger

Posted on January 15, 2010. Filed under: Blog on Blogging, edublog |

As I was looking over my class blog that I used/am using for internship, I came across one of our grade 2’s blogs and realized that it is a blog on blogging! For all of you who need a little bit of encouragement to blog, read Abby P’s post:

I love bloging im bloging right now. Have you ever bloged before well if you havent take some edvice from someone who has bloged before IT IS FUN FUN FUN .Tell your techer about blogs SUIRESLE (seriously) tell your techer .do not read this if you are over the age of 13 please and thank you.

IM A GHOST.whhhhhhhhooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

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Introducing…. Danielle Maley

Posted on January 13, 2010. Filed under: about me, educational |

Here is a little video I made telling my ECMP 455 class about myself.

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Back to School

Posted on January 13, 2010. Filed under: educational, personal, reflection |

I am back in school! I guess I never left school- but it sure is different being a student as opposed to a teacher.  I had a blast in internship.  My students were great and I can’t believe it went so fast!  As I am getting back into school mode, I have 3 goals I would like to accomplish this semester.

1) Make friendships count- I have met some amazing people in University thus far, but looking back, it feels like I haven’t done everything I could to make some genuine lasting friendships.  A goal for me this semester is to really get to know some of the people in my section before I have to say goodbye for a long time.

2) Learn as much practical knowledge as I can for teaching.  My ECMP 455 class will definitely help with this on the technology level, but even in some of my other classes, I want to use that time to develop skills and attitudes I can take into the teaching profession when I am done here.

3) End strong-  I had a summer class this past summer with a girl who was just finishing up her education degree.  The summer class was the last one she needed to take, and she sure let us know.  I am sure she was just excited about being done, but I got the impression that she was just doing enough work to finish the course.  I really want to try and not just “get by” this semester, but really end strong.  I mean, I have paid a lot of cash over the years to go to University, and I want my last semester to be excellent; not good or ok, but excellent.  I guess we will how things pan out!

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