As a fourth year student, I took this class because I needed an  elective that I figured would be fairly easy, interesting, and fit my  schedule.  However, what I ended up getting was so much more…

To be honest, I was a bit scared of blogging when this class started. I didn’t want to have to put my thoughts and work on the internet for everyone to see.  But now, I feel a lot more comfortable with the whole idea of blogging.  While sometimes I struggled to think of a topic to write about, I still generally enjoyed blogging.  I hope to continue blogging in the future…maybe not very often, but hopefully still once in awhile.

This class, ECMP 355, has inspired me and taught me how to bring technology into the classroom.  Additionally, it also taught me to get excited about creating new things- like videos, audio works, and other types of presentations!  This class has sparked an interest in me to attempt bringing technology into my classroom in the future as much as possible.  It has also shown me how to bring technology into the classroom.  I feel confident that I can set up a class blog for my students.  I now feel as though I can provide them with the tools,  resources, and knowledge about how to use technology in fun and creative ways! 

Thanks Alec for teaching me so many new and interesting things- I will actually be able to bring what I learned from you into my classroom!

The Dangers of Bullying

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/nimil/4476645306/sizes/s/in/photostream/)

The following is a video titled, The Dangers of Bullying, which is a video that discusses the story of a teen suicide due to being bullied in school. 

This video places some responsibility for bullying onto the schools.  Barbara Coloroso mentions in this video that the policies are in place, but the procedures need to follow through.  My question here is, what should schools do to prevent bullying?  One possible solution that I can see here is to be proactive and not reactive.  By this I mean that we should educate our students about bullying- how they can prevent it.  As I learned in my Health class this semester (EHE 258- Personal and Community Health), bullying happens the most when teachers aren’t looking.  Also to go along with this fact, I learned in that class that an incident of bullying happens much faster when it is another student who stands up against it, compared to a teacher intervening, with less of a chance of the incident being repeated.  Therefore, I think that it is necessary that we educate the students about what to do and how to stand up for each other.  We need to teach them how to take responsibility for their own actions, but also for their taking care of one another. 

I like that Barbara Coloroso says that we have to model appropriate behaviours for our children or students.  We need to show them how to treat others with respect and take responsibility for their own actions. 

Are there any suggestions or opinions on how to deal with bullying in schools?

A Role Model in Education- Barbara Coloroso

(Barbara Coloroso)

I first heard of Barbara Coloroso in my third year of university in ESST 390AA class- Teaching Engaged Citizenship: Social Studies and Social/Environmental Activism.  During this class, we watched Barabara Coloroso’s video presentation called, How to Win at Teaching Without Beating Your Kids (scrolling to the bottom will allow you to click on a short clip of this presentation).  Barbara Coloroso is an educator and public speaker that I absolutely loved listening to.  She offers so many wise suggestions and extremely valid points in regards to teaching.

The biggest and most important thing that I learned from watching the full video is to help students to think for themselves.  I think that this is an extremely important thing to do in teaching- it will help students to think critically, problem solve, and hopefully be their own person. 

Encouraging students to think for themselves is an important skill for them to develop.  Even though it may solve our problems or make things a bit easier at times for us as teachers to simply tell a child what to do or how to fix a problem, it may not actually teach them anything.  However, doing this in a positive, supportive, and safe environment is completely necessary.  As Barbara says in the clip, you have to intervene if a situation is life threatening. 

I think that teaching children to think for themselves, is a great overall summary of the goal of education.  While it is still essential to teach the curriculum, I think that it is equally important to help children develop skills that they can transfer into their lives- life skills.  Having children that are able to think critically is a major thing that needs to happen so that when they grow up, they will be able to make their own decisions and not take everything at face value.  It will encourage them to consider alternatives and look for other perspectives.   Problem is a key life skill for getting through life.  Children need to learn to be resourceful, to compromise, and consider as many different solutions to a problem as possible.  This will also help them to understand that sometimes there is more than one right answer and more than one way to do something, which is important to understand in many different situations in life.  Finally, teaching a student to think for themselves will enable them to be their own person because they will know how to think critically and problem solve, so they will be able to make good decisions and stand up for themself.  As a result, hopefully children will be leaders instead of followers. 

My favourite line that Barbara says in the short clip is, “Allow them to experience the consequences for the choices they’ve made.”  She stresses the importance of offering choices, so that children can take ownership of their actions.  I completely agree with Barbara on this point.  Going along with the idea of teaching children to think for themselves- thinking critically, problem solving, and being their own person- will encourage them to take responsibility for themselves in society.  My question is, what are appropriate consequences that can be done in school?

Overall, I really enjoy Barbara Coloroso’s presentation- she makes sense, uses common sense, and puts things in a way that I can relate to.  I very highly recommend that all teachers watch or listen to this presentation in full- it offers many ideas that are definitely worth thinking about!

Technology vs. Teachers

I read an article called The computer ate my teacher!  Technology and the new face of today’s classroom, and I found it very interesting.  There were a couple points that I found particulary interesting…

The first thing I found interesting relates strongly to this class; that students and teachers are communicating with each other through online chat boards and discussion threads, for an online Science club.  My first thought is that this is a great way to open up the lines of communication for all students- student to student conversations and student to teacher (and vice versa) conversations.  I think that it’s an alternative form of communication that will really benefit all students, especially those that are quiet and reserved in the classroom, but still have a lot to say and might feel more comfortable speaking up in an online environment.  One possible issue here is, is this really helping the quiet student who may have a fear of speaking up in class or possibly lack confidence?  Is this the right thing to do or is it offering an easy way out?  As a future educator, I initially think that creating the opportunity for that student (as well as every other student) to communicate and share their thoughts is the most important thing.  However, those other questions still linger in the back of my mind…

The question, “will technology eventually replace teachers?”, really grabbed my attention.  First of all, school still needs to exist in some form.  Second of all, if schools turn into technology-based, then who would be running the educational programs that students would still have to use to learn?  My guess is that it would be teachers.  Would this mean that teachers would have to start having online classroom environments?  What other implications would this have?  And, what about those students who need to have interaction with real people and not just a computer screen?  Surely there would be benefits and drawbacks from any position. 

This article goes on to discuss some of these points, as well as many other valid ideas…

Professional Development Reading

(Me as a student teacher, my three-week pre-internship.  We were playing Jeopardy as a review!)

I decided to purchase and start reading the book, The First Days of School by Harry Wong in anticipation of having my very first classroom next year.  I thought that this book would be a beneficial and appropriate read for me because two superintendents and a classmate of mine referred it to me, and also because I will be entering my very first day of school as a teacher in August.  Therefore, I decided that I should read up on this as much as possible!

I bought the book just this afternoon and am only on page 14.  So far it’s a really great book and I’m finding MANY useful tips about starting my teaching career.  While I was reading this book, I started wondering if it was worth my $40, in comparison to the amount of professional development reading materials, articles, and suggestions that I could probably find online.  Out of curiosity, I started Googling “first year teacher tips,” just to see what it would come up with.

Right away I found some of the following articles:

Ten Tips for First Year Teachers

Education World (which also includes Lesson Planning, Professional Development, Technology Integration, and a variety of other topics)

New Teacher, First Year Teacher, and Student Teacher Resources GALORE

How to Succeed as a New Teacher: Tips for the First Year Teacher

These are just four of the pages that came up right away!  Clearly, there are many, many more pages that I could have looked at as well.  Therefore, I go back to my original question, was it worth my $40 to buy the book, or should I have just surfed the web for advice?

I think that this book WAS worth the money!  I think that it all comes down to credability and focus.  While I’m sure that many of the websites that I came across do offer valuable advice, they are not coming from sources that I know or have been referred to me.  Secondly, in comparison to a book, the websites that I found lacked a bit of focus.  They definitely did show pages that offered tips and hints for being a first year teacher, but it is up to the reader to narrow it down and focus only on what is relevant to them.

Could it just come down to personal preference?  Books or websites?

Technology vs. Skill Development

Will you have your students spend time organizing their references to fit some style guide when a piece of software can do that for them? What tasks are “safe” to hand off to software (or other technologies) and what tasks should be processed by the learner for the benefit of skill development or understanding?

     The above question is from our ECMP 355 Blogging Prompts, and I thought that it fits with an earlier blog post of mine, Technology and Gadgets.  This question connects to my earlier thoughts about a growing reliance on technology.  It also makes me consider the limitations and usefulness of technology vs. skill development.  For example, some people believe that students need to learn typing skills and they also need to learn to handwrite.  In contrast, other people would say that it is a waste of time to teach a student how to handwrite because the world is becoming so computer and technology based that handwriting will soon become outdated.  During my internship, my cooperating teacher and I placed emphasis on teaching our students typing skills as well as handwriting skills- we both believed that having the ability to do both is extremely valuable.  We scheduled blocks of time in our days to practice each of these activities.

This also makes me think of calculators in schools… We spend great amounts of time teaching students how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide.  Sometimes there is frustration in this learning process, and it can be very time consuming.  I have had students ask me why they need to be able to do the Math when their calculator can do it for them much faster.  Similar to the handwriting, I think that the ability to do the Math is a valuable skill.

Are there any thoughts on technology vs. skill development and any boundaries or balances that should be in place?  Any examples of related controversial issues?

Here are some websites that consider these questions:

Longhand vs typewritten

Calculators in the Classroom

Youth and Online Privacy

Check out this video that I saw on CBC.ca/news.  I found it very relevant to this class.  This video talks about young people needing to protect themselves online because anyone can find anything.

Also, take a look at the video below- connects really well to the above video!

This video is a great reminder to us all to be careful about what we post online!