Tag Archives: education

Using Technology to Enhance Learning

Hey everyone. So I completed an interview with my ECMP 355 Mentor this morning. We used a google hangout. I have to admit we did have some difficulty, but we figured it out and had a great chat. Thank goodness my mentor is so good with technology and has such a good attitude. She uses technology in some pretty cool ways in her classroom. One thing she said that stood out to me was that technology is a tool, not an end product. It needs to be used to enhance student learning rather than just as a substitute for traditional tools. Check out our conversation and her classroom blog at http://churchill209.blogspot.ca/

How Do You View Disability?

Today was a great day! It was actually a great week. ALthough I am still taking classes to finish up my degree, I have the opportunity to work as a substitute Educational assistance in Regina Public Schools two days a week. This week I got to go Grant Road and work in the Development Centre. It was wonderful. First I love Grant Road School. I did my internship in grade 5 there last fall so it will always hold a special place in my heart. The staff and students are amazing, but more importantly is the relationships that are formed.

The children in the DC (Development Centre) all have a form of disability. Some having multiple disabilities. They range from Autism to Visual Impairment to Physical disabilities. I want to share with you a story that one of the EA’s in the DC at Grant Road shared with me. She explained that one afternoon the DC students and staff were swimming as part of their weekly programming. She said that as they were leaving there was a young girl and her mom in the lobby. As all the kids from the DC were waiting to load the bus this little girl was starring and looked scared and uncomfortable. When her mother saw this reaction she put her arm around her daughter and simply stated ” You know what sweetie, some people just need more help than others.” As soon as her mom said that, the little girl relaxed. She didn’t need a big explanation. That was all she needed to hear. She was scared because she had never been around a group of kids with disabilities before, but all she needed to hear was that they needed a little extra help. They are still kids with personalities just like her, but they just need a little extra help.

I think this is a common reaction for children, and sometimes adults, but why do we just state it simply like the mother did the day at the swimming pool. It is ok to feel uncomfortable and it is ok not to know how to react, but remember they are kids and the more you work with students with disabilities the more you will realize it.

I thought I would share a video with everyone. I hope it makes you think about how you view disability and how you can help others to understand children with disabilities. Enjoy. Feel free to leave a comment or two as well about your thoughts.

Kelly

Let’s Take a Stand

Tonight I was moved by a conversation that took place in my 400 level Educational Psychology class. The central theme in this class is inclusive education. Tonight  some of my classmates did a presentation on relationship building in the classroom. The topic of Bullying came up and a discussion was formed around cyber bullying. Everyone knows that cyber bullying is a huge issue. It is becoming more of an issue with the amount of technology available and easily accessible for kids and youth. Now we know that cyber bullying is going on,  but the big question is how do we stop it? Although I do not have a definite answer to this difficult question I would like to share what I took away from our class discussion and where I stand on this issue. 

Let’s look at who is involved and ask some big questions. 

1) The bully- Why is the child bullying? Why do they feel they need to make fun of someone else? Are they insecure themselves? Do they have friends? Does putting someone else down make them feel better about themselves? 

2) The victim- Why are they being bullied? Does anyone know they are being bullied? Do they have any friends? Are they different from everyone else? Are they afraid?

3) The bystanders – Why do they not stand up to the bully? Are they afraid? Are they friends with the bully? Are they friends with the victim? 

These are all big questions that I believe are important to ask when trying to find a solution to cyber bullying. Now you may have noticed that in each category a question revolving around friendship or relationship with others was mentioned. Why is this brought up for all three parties involved? Because relationships matter. Our professor, Carrie Dutkiwca, raised the idea of rather than trying to “stop the bully” why don’t we focus on building relationships within the classroom. Everyone needs friends, everyone needs healthy relationships. If you have good relationships then you know you are important.  You know your valued. You know someone cares about you. 

Let’s Take a Stand and end bullying by building relationships. As a future teacher I am learning the value of relationship building and how it can have an incredible impact on the dynamics of a classroom. Teach your students to see the good in each other. Not everyone has to be best friends, but in my classroom everyone needs to respect one another. That is non-negotiable.

Everyone check out this video about cyber bullying. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmQ8nM7b6XQ

Also thank you to my classmates for their great presentation tonight. Good job Laura Shepard, Derek, and Lacey! 

Kelly

Hands On Learning

During my internship I tried to do lots of lessons that included hands activities. Students loved this. Often students would say to me, ” Miss K. you always make Inquiry so much fun.” I am not trying to make it sound like all my lessons were the best lessons ever planned, but most of my Inquiry lessons were hands on and had kids learning through experimentation. Our Inquiry learning times were broken into three week blocks were we would focus on one or two outcomes from one of the following subject areas: Science, Social, Health. I am going to share with you a couple of hands on activities I did during my internship that the students really enjoyed and a great deal of learning occurred.

1) The Human Body. Science has lots of opportunities to do hands on activities. The link to the Science 5  curriculum is below.

http://www.progetudes.gov.sk.ca/index.jsp?view=outcomes&lang=en&subj=science&level=5

To start off the unit we (my cooperating teacher and I collaborated to create the unit) decided to do some formative assessment to see what students knew about the human body. We placed students in groups and had them make a body poster by tracing a group members body onto a large piece of paper and then labelling parts of the body. Students really enjoyed this activity. They knew the body parts such as stomach, heart, lungs, and small and large intestine. They had some difficulty identifying the diaphragm and the trachea. Here are a few pictures we took during the activity.

Human Body Poster #1

 

 

Human Body Poster #7

 

 

Human Body Posters together

Later on in the unit I thought it would be fun to learn about the human body by looking at and playing around with some real organs. No I did not bring in human organs into my grade 5 classroom, but I did however bring in pig organs. I did this because pig organs are very similar to human organs. It was a blast and the kids got to pump up the lungs with air and see the air sacks fill up when filled with air. I would advise anyone who is teaching about the human body to try it out. Here are some pictures from our day with the pig organs.

Screen shot 2014-03-09 at 2.52.00 PM

Pig Organs #1

 

Pig Organs #3

2) Health. In our first Health Inquiry block we learned about healthy eating. It was a good transition from our science unit about the human body and learning how to keep the human body healthy. In this unit we learned how to read food labels. We started by reading a food label as a large class. Then to practice students worked in groups where they rotated through stations of the four different food groups and they would read a variety of food labels to learn what they were eating. The students had lots of fun. Here are some pictures from our afternoon of learning.

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Milk #1

 

Sugar #1

 

Sugar #2

 

If you have any questions about the activities I did let me know. Leave a comment about how you have used hands on learning in your classroom.

Kelly

Cool Coding

This week our tech task was to practice some coding. To be honest coding is a foreign language to me. I did however try a few things out on the Computer Science Education Week website. The first thing I tried was Write your first computer program. It is a basic coding program where you have to create a series of steps for the angry bird to get to the pig. I can see this having a variety of purposes in the classroom. First off Angry Birds is a huge buy-in for middle years students. Secondly it is a simple way to learn about coding in a fun way. It gives them a chance to play around and learn about coding in a hands on way. Finally it forces students to follow steps to accomplish a goal. They need to work on developing a sequence of steps that will ultimately help them reach their desired destination. Here is level five.

Screen shot 2014-03-08 at 11.38.43 PM

 

The next program I tried out was Create a Holiday Card. This could be used in the classroom  around holiday seasons or just for the sake of creating a card for someone else to make their day. It gives students the chance to be creative and expressive by creating their own card using a computer program rather than traditional marker and paper. Here is what I did today when playing around with making a card. It doesn’t look very pretty, but the program gives you potential to make it appealing to the eyes.

Screen shot 2014-03-09 at 1.44.08 AM

 

Check out the website to learn more ways to use coding to experiment in your classroom.

Kelly

School Uniforms

Have you ever thought about why we do not have school uniforms in public schools in North America? In May I travelled to Nicaragua and all the children wore uniforms to school. Last week I was in Cuba and again all the children wore uniforms. My mom was a nurse and lived in Africa when she was younger and she said they also all wore uniforms to school. So why do kids in Canada not wear school uniforms? Do you think they should? Or do you agree with students being allowed to wear their own clothing? I have heard people argue both sides. Personally I like school uniforms. When everyone is wearing a school uniform then everyone is equal. No one is wearing expensive jeans and a brand name sweater. Everyone is dressed the same. No one would be told they need to wear more appropriate clothing to school. Everyone fits in. If kids in the classroom cannot afford the popular clothing at the time other student’s don’t know about it. No kid looks like they just rolled out of bed because they are wearing pyjama pants to school. To me these are all great reasons for school uniforms. You don’t have to agree with me. Leave your thoughts. I like to hear what other people think.

Creating My Digital Footprint

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This past week George Couros encouraged us to develop our digital footprint. Personally I have always tried to avoid putting information about myself online. I like to keep things private and prefer to tell people about myself face to face rather than online. As much as I still like to do this I am starting to see the benefits of connecting with people online, learning through social networking sites, and having information about yourself online. I think it is important that if someone searches you they will find information that would be beneficial to them or shed a positive light on yourself.

This being said our tech task this week was to create an About Me Page. Therefore I did just that. I would encourage you to take a look at the page I created. My About Me profile shares some basic information about myself and it also has links to my blog, twitter, and pinterest accounts. I use my blog to share my ideas mostly about education and learning through different experiences. I use pinterest to gather and share ideas about health, food, fitness, and education. These are all things I value and like to learn more about. Finally I am starting to use twitter as a tool for learning and connecting with organizations and people around the world who have great ideas that should be shared.

The second part of our tech task was to google ourselves. I am going to be totally honest and say that I have done this many times. So I was not surprised to see what showed up when I did search my name. I was however surprised about what did not show up and the order things did show up in. The first things things were facebook, twitter, and pinterest. I knew those would show up, but I was hoping they would come after some of my educational links. On the second page the blog that my cooperating teacher and I used during internship showed up as well as a voices of ECMP 355 pages that had posts from my blog. I am happy those two sites showed up after my google search. I was slightly disappointed however that my blog did not show up and neither did my About Me page. Can anyone tell my why that is? I thought those two links would be near the top. I decided to search Kelly Koshinsky education. After I did this then my blog appeared. I would now like my About Me page to appear. Did anyone else encounter this problem?

Kelly

Expanding My PLN

Last week we had Shelly Terrell talk to us about using Social Networks to expand our resources and community of people we can learn from. It was interesting to hear her talk about how social networks can be used as a form of communication to learn from and collaborate with others.

At the beginning of her presentation she had a picture of a teacher in a cage. She explained that sometimes as teacher you feel like you are stuck in a cage when you are planning and preparing to teach your students. It is at this point where you have to call on other people to help you. This is where online networking comes into play. During my internship I often felt that I was trying to be super woman and create new and exciting lessons. I soon realized that if I was going to do this for my entire career than I would die from exhaustion at a very young age. It is important to use resources that other people use and try things in the classroom that other people have had success with. This mentality has lead me to expand how I am going to use my facebook, twitter, Pinterest, etc. In the past I have always used these different networks for personal communication and as a way to stay connected with friends. Today I decided expand my PLN by following and adding people, places, and organizations that will help me with my professional development.

First I decided to “like” the Royal Saskatchewan Museum These are two locations in Regina that I could easily plan an educational field trip to. They are both places where students could learn through exploration about topics we are discussing in the classroom. Secondly I decided to follow multiple people and organizations on Twitter. The three I will explain are We Are Teachers, Sue Waters, and Churchill209. First We Are Teachers is a source of educations resources and ideas that will help me deliver lessons in the classroom. As I stated above I need to reach out to others and use what is out there rather than creating all my own stuff. I am hoping We Are Teachers will help me not reinvent the wheel. I decided to follow Sue Waters because as most of you know she is the person to learn from about blogging. She has been a huge help to me towards setting up my blog. I hope to use a blog in the future and I would like to continue to turn to her for guidance and as someone I can learn from when using this piece of technology in the classroom. Finally Churchill209 is the mentorship classroom that I have been paired up with. They use lots of technology in their classroom and I would like to connect with them a variety of different ways, one being Twitter.

These are only 5 of the 10 people/places/organizations I decided to connect with. I am going to try to visit some other people’s blogs this week to see what changes they made so that I can connect with more people in the field of education.

Till Next Time.

 

Is Paper Still Important?

The other day I was looking at different people’s blogs and I was inspired to write a post about something I saw on a classmates blog. Chelsea Lyons created a survey using a google form about using technology in the classroom. One of her questions stated “How do you feel about schools going paperless?” At first I thought there is no way that schools could go paperless, but then I began to think about how technology has taken paper out of some many different areas. Some examples are online applications rather than paper applications for jobs and email rather than paper letters. I then thought of how Grade Book and Parent Portal. I am not sure if you are aware of Grade Book, but it is a system that Regina Public and other school divisions are using to enter assessment marks and comments into. Parents can then log in to Parent Portal and see what the classroom teacher has entered into Grade Book for their child. Parents can know exactly how their child is doing at all times. This system is new, but it seems to have the potential to be really successful. Because parents have access to this information there should be no surprises when it comes to repost card time.

Now the questions is, do you think that this system will eventual result in paperless report cards? If that does happen do you think it would be a positive or negative change? Any thoughts? I see how going paperless can be a good change for various reasons, but at the same time my main concern is whether or not we can expect everyone to have access to technology – specifically a computer. Is it the school’s responsibility to provide families this information regardless of what they have for resources at home? Or do you think it is the families responsibility to access this information because the school has worked hard to communicate information about their child on Grade Book or any other program.  What do you think? Leave a comment or two.

Kelly