edublog

Digital Citizenship in Grade One

Posted on November 29, 2015. Filed under: behaviour, collaboration, digital citizenship, Eci832, edublog, educational, Grade 1 & 2, Masters, online safety, parents, reflection, Social Media, Social Networking, teaching and learning, Technology |

There are a few ways that I try and teach digital citizenship in the primary classroom, and after my #eci832 class, there are some new things I am going to try now. In this post, I will share what I am doing, and what I want to try to incorporate into Health later this year. I will bold each tool or instruction method I am discussing.

Twitter– For the past 3 years, I have been using Twitter in the primary classroom. (@mrsmaleysclass)  I use it to teach sentence structure, grammar, and conciseness.  BUT, Twitter is good for more than that! In fact, Twitter is a perfect tool to talk about online safety. Every time someone follows our class, we look at their profile and decide if they are a) safe b) someone we can learn from c) a company.  We have decided as a class that we are only going to follow other classes or people that will be posting stuff applicable to grade one.  We don’t follow individual teachers, and we don’t follow every class that follows us. We look at their profile, their profile picture, their bio and their tweets, and we vote on if we should follow them.  You wouldn’t believe how many times kids choose not to vote on a class because their profile isn’t interesting enough, they don’t have a profile picture, or they haven’t tweeted consistently or often enough.  This in itself has shown students what a creative/positive online identity can look like.

The students have also learned about hashtags through Twitter. This is a year long learning curve as they don’t always understand the contextual underpinnings or language play that happens with hashtags, but they have learned some hashtags that are safe to use, and some that aren’t as good. For example, one day one of my students wanted to wish another student a happy birthday in his tweet. He wanted to use the hashtag #happybirthday.  We decided against it after checking out the hashtag and realizing that there was some inappropriate content there.  We decided we didn’t want to promote that content to other classes that might be following us.

Twitter is also an excellent avenue to look at advertising.  Since 2013, Twitter has used targeting advertising towards its users. This has been a great opportunity to show kids the difference between our regular home feed tweets, and those used as promotional tools. Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 7.07.13 PM The children can easily recognize the little yellow “promoted by” arrow and we often talk about what they are trying to sell us.  My goal is that students (even in grade one) should be taught critical thinking. They should be questioning what they see and who they follow. They can’t assume that everything is safe or trustworthy because we have a class account.

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An example of a tweet we got last year where students were encouraged to think critically.

That being said, I do have MULTIPLE students who have joined Twitter since being in my class. I haven’t encouraged any children to get their own Twitter account, but once they have used it in the classroom, they like it so much they ask their parents if they can get Twitter. At that point, it’s out of my hands, and all I can do is be a good online example for them.  I must say, it is neat to watch them interact with each other online though!

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Here’s a few examples of kids who have joined Twitter since being in my class. You make your own judgment. Do you think I exposed them to it too early?  Or perhaps are these the type of kids who would have joined anyways? I think we have moved beyond the question, “SHOULD students this young be on social media?”  The fact of the matter is, THEY ARE. Payton, Bayan, Greyson, Rayka, Minwoo, Justin, Maguire, Brody, Jed,

Research– Even though the students are young, I still think one of the best skills I can teach six year olds is how to research.  Gone are the days where the teacher is the giver of all knowledge.  Children need to be good at finding the information they want to know at the click of a button. A useful skill for student of all ages is Googling information and finding research that is safe, informative, and appropriate.  Why wouldn’t we start teaching this skill as young as possible?  We do Genius Hour in my classroom, and the kids get to learn about any topic they would like.  This involves gathering information, and researching their topic. I have tried different kid friendly search engines, (Safe Search Kids, KidRex etc.)  and I have come to the conclusion that Google is actually easiest and has the best results.  A lot of the time the kid safe search engines have pre-set filters that try and sway results to things that have to do with kids, but that aren’t always helpful.  For example, if a kid is interested in cars, these are the top results the child would get if he/she typed “cars” into KidRex’s search engine:

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The top results have to do with car seats, and buying and selling cars.  If a child typed “cars” into Google, these are the top results:

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Google’s results are already more appropriate and easier to navigate than the kid friendly search engine.  Google’s results bring up the movie Cars, which many children are familiar with, and it provides the Wikipedia entry that would have lots of information about the history and the make up of cars.  This is just one tiny example of how Google outdoes the other kid friendly engines, but there are many.

What I have learned is that for the students to be great researchers, they need to know how to type key words like +kids/ for kids when necessary.  Depending on their reading level, usually the BEST option for them is to click right on the Videos tabs so they don’t have to read at all.

 

 

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One thing I haven’t ventured into yet is copyright.  It was hard enough to teach grade one students how to find a Google image, save it to camera roll, and then use it in their Genius Hour presentation.  If anyone has any great ideas or kid friendly tools on how to find creative commons images that would be easy for grade one, I am all ears!

Blogging– Another way I try and promote a positive online digital identity is through our class blog.  I use the student blogging platform, Edublogs. (Mrs. Maley’s Class Blog) Every couple of weeks the students blog.  We talk about not sharing personal information in their posts like address, phone number etc. Sometimes the students are prompted with writing tasks, but a lot of the time they are allowed to blog about whatever they want.  I have found that this type of writing becomes much more authentic than students only printing in a journal for me to see.  The kids know their audience is global, and their writing improves drastically over the year.

Last year I also started a blogging buddy program with grade 11 students from Campbell Collegiate.  The grade 11’s would comment on my student’s blogs and in turn, my students would grade/rate their narrative essay assignment where they wrote a children’s book. The collaboration between both classes was neat, and through specific feedback, my students were able to improve their writing and digital identity.

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Things I want to do: After watching Sext Up Kids a couple weeks ago,

http://www.cbc.ca/i/caffeine/syndicate/?mediaId=2200745858
I decided that I wanted to address some of the gender, body image, and sexual content issues mentioned in this documentary with my grade one class this year.  Obviously I can’t address a ton of the sexual content that Sext Up Kids talks about, but my eyes were opened to the fact that kids in grade one are definitely not immune from this type of exposure even at an early age.  In the documentary, Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter, suggests that it’s not a big jump to make between girls wanting to be “the prettiest little girl” to “the hottest little girl.” And THAT is something that we can talk about.

In the Saskatchewan Grade One Health Curriculum, one of the outcomes is based solely on Pedestrian Safety.

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Though I will definitely cover this during my Health class, it already seems a little out of date to me. How much time do kids really spend outside crossing streets/dealing with traffic without an adult?  My guess would be not as much time as a child might spend unsupervised on a device/computer inside the home. I have decided that I am going to devote a large chunk of time during my Health block to explicit digital citizenship/sexualization/gender lessons.  We know that digital citizenship must be taught all throughout the year in different ways/contexts, but I also think this might be something I need to add into the curriculum on my own.  I plan on using puppets to help create dialogue on this sensitive issue.

I plan to look at different children’s books and movies as a starting point.  The students will look for different gender/sexualization themes.  I want the students to have discussions and think critically about what it means to “be a boy,” or “be a girl.” I want them to start unpacking their own identities and discuss how this might affect online behaviour. Today’s Meet is a great tool I have used in the past to create a back channel for students to share their ideas while watching a movie. They can be recording what types of stereotypes they see as they watch.

I have a colleague who teaches older grades who has shared with me that she doesn’t talk about sexting much during her digital citizenship lessons because she is worried about what the parents of her students will say.  This is a very real concern at our school because we have high parent involvement.  Often times parents at our school have very strong opinions about what happens in classrooms, and sometimes what they say or want goes.  Obviously I will have to be very careful about how I address these issues.  In the past, my daily class blog post has been a great place to debrief parents on certain conversations we have had throughout the day. Sometimes grade one students ask questions about death, war, or school shootings and we have to gently address those issues without scaring them or giving them more information than they need to know.

As a public school teacher, this might be dangerous to say, but overall, I think the best thing I can teach students is how to look at/listen to their heart. As Jen Stewart Mitchell discusses in her blog post, citizenship is citizenship.  It doesn’t matter if it’s online or offline. Children and students young AND old need to listen to their conscience, and make choices based on what they know to be right and wrong; and that, I believe, is what makes you a good citizen. Sure we are all going to screw up and make mistakes, but our job as teachers isn’t to make or limit the student’s choices for them, but rather give them opportunities to reflect on, and learn from their mistakes.  And if we as teachers don’t give students an opportunity to peel back the layers of their heart and critically look at the reasons they struggle or desire certain things in life, how can we expect them to do this on their own? Are they supposed to “just know better?” It’s something to think about…

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How can teacher’s make learning math and reading EASIER?

Posted on November 12, 2014. Filed under: edublog, educational, Grade 1 & 2 |

I asked my class this very question this afternoon. For our school division’s Learning Improvement Plan, we have some major goals around reading and math. As teachers, we sometimes spin our wheels trying to think of new and different ways to help kids learn how to read or “get” math better.

I took notes during a talking circle where THE KIDS told me what they think!

1) Teachers need to be more serious. (Ha! I’m putting my grumpy eyebrows on tomorrow FOR SURE.)

2) For reading, we should sound it out.

3) Teachers should test us more. (Ick. I hate tests.)

4) We should be reading harder books.

5) The grade ones could be paired with the grade 2’s so that the grade 2’s can help us read words we don’t know.

6) We should keep trying and don’t give up. (Two students said this.)

7) We could use the iPads and practice with RazKids (reading program) and math games. (Check out my class blog to see some of the math games we use in grade 1 and 2.)

8) Have our parents help us read the word.

9) The teacher reads the book first, then we can read it back to them.

10) To help us with math, we should play dice games where we practice adding the two dice together.

Well there you have it! The students have some ideas on how to improve reading and math in the classroom. This might be a neat activity for every teacher to do. You ever know what your students want to see happen for their learning improvement!

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My reflection of Iste 2012

Posted on June 27, 2012. Filed under: edublog, Grade 1 & 2, reflection, Social Networking, teaching and learning, Technology | Tags: |

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I have had a pretty good time at the educational technology conference ISTE 2012, although I have learned a lot of what NOT to do. The first day was not a good day for me. The very first session we tried to go to, the presenter did not show up. In fact I wouldn’t even call it a session… It was a “poster session.” I have learned the difference between a session and a poster session here at Iste. A poster session is a couple people at a booth telling you what they have done that is neat and interesting. These little booths are set up in the foyer and are totally worth checking out! They are very personal and it is expected that you interact with the presenter. But I will talk about that later… Back to Monday.
After the presenter didn’t show up (I am assuming it was a guy, because no woman would have been that late or disorganized lol…kidding), we went to another session about digital media literacy. My colleague and I were expecting that this would be a pedagogical/philosophical session about digital literacy. Instead, it was two presenters who vaguely explained what they were doing in the schools that they are in, and 80% of their time was spent using audience participants to act out 2 individual lessons. The first lesson was for kindergarten which was great for me, but they spent a lot of time getting the 8 audience members to pretend they were 5. The main point of this lesson which I wish had been summed up in a two sentence overview as I am going to do was how we can explain digital content to young learners as stuff that is in the frame. Once scaffolded, the kids can start to guess and wonder about what things are not in the frame.
The second session we accidentally missed because we didn’t double check the schedule and so we were too late, and the session was closed. The third session was one we were really excited about. It was a smartboard session that was going to teach us about tools and ideas to use with our smartboards. Unfortunately my colleague and I didn’t learn anything as everything in the session was somewhat beginner level, and we were already using those tools in our class.
The last session we went to that day was a birds of a feather (no presenter, just sit around and talk) about Bring Your Own Device initiatives. It was good to hear others talk about pros and cons of BYOD. It was also great to hear some tech consultants give advice on how to get your school or school board to adopt the 1:1 device idea. My colleague and I are teachers who are totally on board with the 1:1 idea!
Tuesday I met up with some of my twitter friends @hechternacht @teach1tech and we went for breakfast. It was great to chat with people who are like mind educators who care about technology and play in the classroom! In the afternoon we went to a session about using iPads with English as additional learners. This one was kind of telling as it was a bring your own device session and there was absolutely no reason to have your own device there. Their session was with PowerPoint that we followed along on our devices, but there were no app links even embedded into the presentation! She was talking about apps that she uses, but did not provide any links to get there. Even if she had links, I wouldn’t have needed it any way as my colleague and I were using those apps in the classroom already. I am not trying to sound like a know-it-all but I really found that the tool sessions were not great because there are not a lot of new tools I was introduced to. I think ISTE could do a better job of stopping this from happening in years to come by giving a BETTER and LONGER description of what they will be presenting on. I am sure the presenter gets chosen by giving Iste a huge write up of what they will be presenting on. They need to take a larger portion of their write up and put it on the Iste app session descriptions.

Wednesday was a good day! I went to Mark Kuhn’s apps that work session. I loved it. He was a lot more pedagogy/broad focused. Every app he showed was not explaining why this was the best app, but how it fits into his three categories.

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I really liked this approach and he did a great job of going through at a fast pace, yet he still gave a few minutes here and there to try them out.

I attended Gail Lovely’s session in the afternoon about using iPads in early learning. She did a very good job again about being critical about what apps to use and why we use them in early childhood. For example, I liked that she compared ScreenChomp which is what I used to Explain Everything. I LOVE cheap but she was talking about how there is a disadvantage to using ScreenChomp as a recording tool for students because it only stores the videos on ScreenChomp’s website. I have really struggled with this as well, and have now realized that Explain Everything is the way to go for the very reason that you can export the videos to your classroom blog or website…even if it is $2.99!
That afternoon we stopped at some poster sessions. This is seriously the way to go at Iste. These people should be main presenters! They talk with you and explain what they are doing at their school or in their district. These little booths gave me AS MANY ideas on what to do in the classroom as the big sessions. It is a definite must for any one attending ISTE. On the other hand, I am wondering if I should have spent so much time filling out the raffle tickets and handing them out at the trade show as I won nothing! I even folded them crazy so they would pick me! I’m not sure if you can hear the disappointment in my voice, but I was/am really disappointed to leave empty handed. 😦
I have learned a lot at ISTE and have been very blessed that I have received this opportunity to come and learn! I hope to come back again next year!!

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Looking at the Heart

Posted on February 26, 2012. Filed under: behaviour, Christian, edublog, educational, Kindergarten, personal, reflection, teaching and learning |

You’ve heard of a bandaid.  But have you ever heard of a behavior band aid? This is a term describing what people do when they try to fix a behavior by telling a child to stop something that they shouldn’t be doing, or by threatening them with some type of consequence and then possibly not following through. As a teacher, I have been learning the value of getting to the root of my student’s behavior issues and trying to deal with the heart of the issue rather than slapping on a behavior bandaid.
It all started when my friend Janelle was reading this Christian book called Shepherding a Child’s Heart.

She has three kids and this book was really challenging her to be purposeful and consistent in her discipline. It was challenging her to actually spank her kids EVERY TIME they disobeyed. Sounds harsh, but hear me out; if she asked one of her sons to do something and they didn’t, she would have a talk with them, explain why it’s important to be obedient, pray with them and then spank them. At first, she felt like she was spanking them constantly, and then after about 2 weeks, she noticed that they would obey her without questioning her or putting up a fight. They were starting to become obedient and their household was getting more peaceful. She actually found herself disciplining in love rather than anger because she would correct their behavior before it got to the point where she was angry and fed up, and the children understood that she was discipling them because she loved them, not because she was angry and they had screwed up.
This inspired me to try and be consistent in my own classroom for the very reason that I too wanted to correct my student’s behaviour in love, looking out for what is best for them rather than giving consequences in anger. I was going to be teaching kindergarten at the time and I decided that at the beginning of the year, our class was going to make up rules that everyone was expected to follow, and WHENEVER someone broke a rule, I was going to try and be consistent with discipline. Now, I obviously can’t spank my students, THAT would be awkward! And I also decided that I couldn’t give timeouts every time one of my 39 students broke a rule, or I would have no instruction time and the whole classroom would be filled with kids in time outs. Instead, I decided to give three chances. First time they broke a rule was 1, 2nd time was 2, and when they reached 3, I walked them over to the time out chair (while still teaching the lesson) and set the visual timer for about 5 minutes; when the red was gone, they were allowed to come back and join the group on their own. Sometimes they had to draw a picture of what they did wrong and what they should have been doing, and I would try my best to talk to the child one on one afterwards to discuss what had happened. At first it was hard to be consistent, I would forget how many chances each kid had, but thankfully the other little tattle tales would usually help me out! Forcing myself to be consistent was one of the best things I could have ever done in my career. To this day, it is helping me so much with classroom management. I have never once had a kid question why they had to go into the time out. They know my expectations, and they know the consequences… Every time.


Now, that’s all fine and dandy, and I’m sure many other teachers have come to this conclusion long before me, but what I am excited about this year is how consistency in discipline is merging with the heart issues of my students behavior. Let me explain; it began when my husband Jon and I went to a marriage retreat this September. We watched a series of Paul Tripp videos, and one of the analogies he used really stuck with me. He says:
“If I shake a bottle of water, spilling some, and ask you, “Why did water spill on the floor?” you might say, “Because you shook the bottle.” In other words, the shaking is to blame for the water on the floor. If I ask you, “Why did water spill on the floor?” you might say, “Because there was no milk or pop in the bottle. Why does anger, hurtful actions, and vile language spill out of people? It is not because they are shaken or the fault lies with whatever did the shaking. No, the problem is that there is anger and vile language inside, waiting to be shaken and spilled.”

I explained the water bottle analogy to my students in language they could understand, and gave them a chance to find a spot by themselves in the classroom and look into their water bottles/hearts. I wanted to give them a chance to see if they could find any anger or “darkness” that was already hiding in their hearts; whether that was mean thoughts or actions towards a sibling or friend, parent or teacher. Before we came back to the carpet, I told the kids that if they needed to make anything right with another person in the classroom, they could do that before they sat down. About 3 kids took me up on that offer, and talked one on one with another student before sitting down. When we came back to the carpet, I asked the children if anyone wanted to share what they “saw” in their hearts. A few students told me about hateful thoughts toward others, or about a fight they got in earlier that day.


As the year has gone by, I have continued to give the students chances to look into their heart to find out WHY they acted they way they did. I am trying to not only train their behavior, but help them realize what is causing their behavior and what they can do to deal with it BEFORE it comes out in hurtful words or actions.
This is a difficult task to do for anyone, including adults, but I have learned that if I expect my students to be changing their behavior from the inside out, I need to be doing it myself also. Now, as a Christian I believe I can’t actually change my own heart, but that Jesus can work in me and change my evil heart into a loving, caring one that can show mercy and kindness, so I pray for help! 🙂

I have also found that recognizing my attitude and my heart has really helped me be transparent with my students. I have had to apologize to them on more than one occasion this year when I have acted in anger, or tried to discipline not in love. I don’t tell them that I am sorry for disciplining them; if they are not following the rules, and the kids are creating an environment where it is not easy to learn, they need to know that I have the right to discipline them for that, AND change that behavior… BUT, the problem is that my heart tends to do this in the wrong way… surprise surprise! What I do tell them is that I am sorry for getting angry and mad at them. I explain it to them by saying that my heart gets kind of black and hard towards them and I start getting mean and trying to control the situation through anger rather than love. They are always very forgiving, and they show me grace. Isn’t it funny how children are so quick to forgive, yet as adults we hold grudges and can carry bitterness with us for days, months and years?  I am so thankful that I work with children who are so young, so tender, and so willing to open their hearts.  I am definitely blessed.  And the plan is, from now on I will only be handing out REAL bandaids for paper cuts, scraped knees and microscopic owies that the child seems to need a bandaid for… No behaviour bandaids here!

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Dear parents…

Posted on July 27, 2011. Filed under: Blog on Blogging, edublog, educational, Kindergarten, parents, personal, reflection | Tags: , |

#Kinderblog

Imagine that a parent of one of your students, stumbling around the internet, happened to land on your blog. Not your class blog with your cute photos of all your munchkins and their amazing brilliant work. Your personal teacher-reflection blog, the one where your intended audience is mostly other teachers. Pretend that parent managed to figure out exactly who you were, and that you were their child’s teacher. What would you want that parent to know? What would you say to that parent? Write the letter that you would want that parent to read.

Dear Parents,
I want you to know more then anything that I love your kids. I really do! I try to tell them I love them at least every couple weeks so that they KNOW it and inadvertently, you know it as well. That said, you may have come across my blog, my Twitter account, or my Facebook statuses, and you may have seen that I sometimes write about your children.

I do in fact talk/blog/write about your kids often! They are important to me, and they are a huge part of my day, so of course I talk about my experiences with them.
I want you to know that I try to be very careful when I am talking about your kids. I try not to use their names, and I try not to write about anything that could be hurtful, embarassing, or confidential. That said, I have made mistakes in the past, and I have said and shared things that have later come back to bite me in the butt. I have learned my lesson, and thankfully, none of these things have been online. I am trying very hard to learn where discretion needs to be used, and who I can professionally talk to when I am struggling with a situation.  I will try to explain to you how and why I talk about your kids in the different outlets I use.


Speaking/talking in person: I sometimes have good days and I sometimes have bad days at work. You may or may not be surprised to hear this, but sometimes your 5 year old makes me go crazy! When I come home, I usually share with my husband why my day was crazy. He usually laughs with me at how crazy kids can be, and how I try to handle the tornado that is Kindergarten some days. Other days, something your child says really makes me think, or it makes me sad. Sometimes it has to do with what your home is like. Don’t worry, I’m not judging you as a parent or caregiver. I am just empathizing with your 5 year olds version of what is going on in their little world.  I’m trying to make sense of it in light of my own experience. On these days, I might share your child’s story with another trusted staff member or friend; it helps me gain perspective.  Sometimes, when your child’s story has really impacted my day, I pray for you and your family, and entrust you into God’s hands because we all know my reach can only go so far.


Blogging: Parent, you may have stumbled across my personal blog and read some articles that talked about our classroom, my own teaching, or maybe even your own child. This blog post was probably written when I was unsure about something, and struggling with what I should say or do. My blog is one of the outlets I use to talk things out. I quite often ask for other people reading the post to comment and tell me what they think I should do.  Usually, I hope another teacher reads my post and leaves a comment with their advice on the situation. Sometimes people comment, and other times no one comments, and the conversation ends there. Either way, I hope you can see that the topic I wrote about was important to me; whether that topic was your child, our classroom, or my own teaching pedagogy.  Whatever it was, it mattered enough to me to take the time out of my day to write out my thoughts. I’m not the most consistent blogger, so when I do blog about something, it matters! Please don’t feel strange that I shared about your child, or my classroom issues online. It should make you feel valued. I value your child and their peers enough to write about them and try and get a response that will help your child, his/her classroom, and the way I teach your child.  I promise you, I am blogging about the situation so that I can be a reflective teacher who has the best tools in hand to educate your child.


Facebook: If you are a parent of my student, chances are that I most likely don’t have you on Facebook. If you have added me as a friend, I probably accepted because I feel like I have nothing to hide from you, and you’re probably a really cool person.  That said, I am not the type of person that goes out looking for Facebook friends usually ever, so don’t feel bad if you are not my Facebook friend. However, if you are, you have probably seen that I put “kinderquotes” up quite frequently. These are little quotes that your child and his/her peers say throughout the day. I try and write them down because I think they are hilarious, but I have no one to share them with during the day. I hope you understand that when I write these quotes on Facebook, I am not making fun of your child, or laughing at your child.  Instead, I am enjoying them at this age and sharing that joy with others who don’t get to work with the wonderful age group that I do. I get so many Facebook friends telling me that they love it when I put up kinderquotes because it brightens their day. That’s how I feel. When your child says something funny or cute, it brightens my day as well!  And don’t all of us need a little sunshine in our day?
I hope this helps you understand why I talk about your children, and how I do want what’s best for them. However, if you ever have any issues with me putting information or stories about your child online, please don’t hesitate to let me know, and I will take them off immediately. Your best wishes for your child are most important to me.
Sincerely,
Mrs. Maley

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Faculty of Education at the University of Regina

Posted on July 18, 2011. Filed under: edublog, educational, personal, reflection, teaching and learning | Tags: , , , |

The question for #kinderblog this week is about our teacher training program. I went to the university of Regina in Regina Saskatchewan. This university is known for their education program. A lot of people (probably biased) say it’s one of the best programs in the country for education. I agree that they have a great internship program throughout the 4 year program, and fantastic professors, but I also have had a few issues with the u of r’s program as well.


It all started when I was trying to get into the education program. I had taken a year off after I graduated high school. I lived in Germany for a year and went to a Bible school called Bodenseehof. It was a great year and I really believe it changed my life. But the U of R didn’t see my year off as the great life experience I did. When I returned from Germany, I tried to get into the university’s Education program. I wrote my little essay and included all my experience with children (which was extensive). I paid the fee and waited. I got my rejection letter later that summer and was devastated.  After talking to some people, I heard that U of R chooses mostly high school grads because they believe that these kids are the real deal. They are the ones who have always known they want to be teachers, so they apply right out of high school. I don’t know, but in my opinion not every good teacher has always known they want to be a teacher!  Sometimes it takes life experience to realize that teaching is your calling.


Either way, I took regular transferable classes that year, and when it came time to apply for education the next year, my mom had a friend whose daughter had got into education the previous year, so do you want to know what I did? I borrowed her application essay!  I figured that if they didn’t like what I wrote last year, I better go with what works! So yes, kind of ironic, but I, the future teacher, pretty much plagiarized her entrance essay into the Faculty of Education. The other girl had talked about handicapped children being included into the regular classroom, so I wrote about that too. I hadn’t even heard of the word inclusion before, and suddenly I was passionate about it. I tweaked a couple of her other ideas and put them in my own words, and sure enough, I found out later that I was accepted.  Now, I don’t know if it was all because of my essay, but it’s pretty sad that I even felt like that was something I needed to do! Please don’t judge me!


My first year in the faculty of Education, we took an Ed class that put us into a classroom to observe a teacher. I think this was a good move on the university’s part because when some of the education students got into the classroom that first year, they realized education wasn’t for them.  It’s a good weeding out process.
My second year was where we learned all the theory behind teaching. We learned about all the big wigs in education, and what their teaching philosophy was.

Dewey

My third year was my pre-internship. I was put into a Pre-K class once a week for the first semester, and then for a solid 3 week block the next semester.  It was during this year that we learned how to make a full out lesson plan; which I honestly don’t think I’ve ever used since.  This was when we really learned how to teach a group of students.

My biggest issue with my third year of university was the trip that every third year education student goes on. It’s called P.L.A.C.E. Professional Learning… something or other. The idea behind it was that all of the third year education students go to an outdoor place and learn from nature, and each other, in a different environment. That’s great with me, and it would have been a fantastic time, except the faculty only told us about this outdoor ed experience 2-3 weeks before we were supposed to go. It was a mandatory trip, and everyone was expected to make it, regardless of previous plans or work schedules. Well it turns out that I was a bridesmaid for my good friend’s wedding that weekend, @kristenlknowles. I told some professors about it, and I wasn’t really given a decent answer of what I should do. I was told that I was expected to be at P.L.A.C.E. and in fact, one professor told me that sometimes teachers need to make sacrifices! I couldn’t believe that they were expecting me to tell my friend a couple weeks before her wedding that I couldn’t be in it anymore because I was going to be camping with the university! Frustrated, I decided to drive my own car up to the lake that they were going to, and then drive home that same night.  I told my friend that I had to miss her wedding rehearsal because of P.L.A.C.E., and thankfully even though she didn’t really understand, she was gracious towards me. The next morning I took part in my friends wedding, but it was kind of a gong show, because I was the first bridesmaid to walk down the aisle, and I had no idea where to stand or what to do because I missed rehearsal! To top that all off, I found out that because I missed P.L.A.C.E. I was “red flagged” and was told that I was not allowed to miss more then 2 classes for the rest of the year regardless of the circumstance. Thank goodness I stayed healthy that year!


My fourth year was my main learning year. From September to December, we were put into a cooperating teacher’s classroom, and we slowly started teaching. We began teaching 1 class a week, then went to 3 classes a week, then we moved to teaching the whole day. I really believe my internship was where I learned what it takes to be a succesful teacher. It gave us hands on experience, and helped us to play around with our teaching and management styles. I had a fantastic cooperating teacher and we got along really well. Her and I had different teaching styles, but I think we complimented each other nicely as a team.

After December, I went back to the university for my last semester, and took the last 5 classes of my degree. One of those was ECMP 455 with @shareski, who I owe a lot, if not all, of my twitter and “e-knowledge” to.  He was an inspiring professor who showed me how to take teaching to the next level and make it social, collaborative, and applicable to today’s students.  Now that I am officially done training to be a teacher, it’s time to move to unofficially training to be a teacher. I have been doing this online, through relationships, through everyday teaching, and through learning from everyone and everything I can!

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