Power in Performance – Week #2

 FNU Powwow – Photo by Jeanelle Mandes

This week’s reading was awesome and reminded me of the incredible power of performance.  We can say SO much by sharing our experiences in this medium and am grateful to read about these powerful people spreading their message of perseverance, reconciliation and finding belonging among one another.   As I mentioned in class, I am intrigued by Boal’s idea of spec-actors rather than spectators to theatre that is intended to ignite change.  In the reading, “DECLARATION: When Indians Act” by Andy Moro they share that each work day they offer a “Declare” session where the artist works and talks with the audience.  Afterward they are invited into an open jam space where they create pieces for the evening performance.  “The excellence comes in trusting the process and each other.” (p. 80).  By including the audience I think it removes the “easy out” that some proscenium shows offer because the audience is so disconnected being in that space.  Space is such an incredibly important part of theatre and situating ourselves in a space is crucial if we want to ensure theatre is safe for everyone.  We must remember all of the important questions such as, who’s story is this?  Who is telling it?  And why?  “Ever conscious of space, we honour the innumerable unnamed artists whose works appear in this and in other museums across the country…” (p.80).  We can honour those around us but being cognizant of whom has come before, and who will come after.  Theatre, such as the performance diorama’s from Deceleration can be used a strong voice to ignite change and start important discussions.  At the end of the article it spoke about the heartbreaking story of Chief Mi’sel Joe trying to get the remains of his people back to a sacred resting place and it made me think of the complete disconnect settlers have with the fact that Indigenous people are STILL LIVING!  Indigenous people and their varied culture are not extinct, are not just museums staples, but living, breathing, practicing communities and need to be respected and treated as such.  This inexcusable disconnect is what causes settlers to feel as though “artifacts” and “remains” and “findings” are there own.  I made the connection to the Residential School Cemetery here in Regina.  Image result for regina industrial school cemeteryYears ago, the city was going to run a large pipeline directly through the sacred burial ground but Indigenous people and ally’s fought back and in 2017 it was finally designated an official heritage site and therefore could not be torn down or disrupted.  If the application for a pipeline would have been made to disrupt ANY other Regina cemetery the public outcry would not have been ignored.  Why this double standard?  Work like Declaration is imperative in keeping hard, but crucial conversations going.  We need to heal together…through settlers listening and giving a voice to those who have had it taken.

          I drew some connections between the article “We can write it better’:  Theatre has a role to play in reconciliation” by Shannon Boklaschuk and “Native from the core”: Enoch students perform decolonial holiday hip hopera by Moira Wyton.  The first, was the conversation regarding the story, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, of an Indigenous woman, told by a white man.  What privilege to be able to profit off the troubled history of Canada and it’s Indigenous people.  When the production was re-staged 40 years later, there was more thought given to the fact that “nothing has changed for so many First Nations people” (Nolan, p.2) however, my main question is why?  Why has nothing changed?  Nolan recounts seeing her and her Mother’s experience on stage for the first time, but they were forced to relive their trauma told by a white person.  Image result for the ecstasy of rita joeAlthough theatre does offer Indigenous and non-Indigenous people a platform to work through and discuss issues, we must be so cautious that although there could be pure, good intent harm and un-safety can still be caused.  We must allow the oppressed to take the lead.  My connection to the Wyton articled lied in thinking about what could have been if the “Dr. Sioux’s How the Neech Stole Christmas” had been taken on by a slough of white teachers.  Although the intent of decolonization could have potentially been there, the oppressed would not have been taking the lead in their own stories.

My final takeaway is one that will resonate with me everyday as I teach – REPRESENTATION MATTERS!!!  Say it louder for the people in the back!  “We felt like nothing really represented the kids as native youth.” RedCloud, p.3).  If you can’t see yourself there, where ever there is, how do you know you can do it?  We need our kids to be able to celebrate themselves and part of that is seeing themselves in a positive light in the media and in the literature we use in schools.  “The set also depicts Oilers-themed tipi buildings, the nation’s Shell gas station, and the River Cree Resort and Casino, which RedCloud says were important for students to see represented”. (p. 4).  This ties back to how important place is – to feel truly seen and represented we must respect the spaces in which our students come from and understand that they too are an important part of representation.

Overall, “we really believe that through theatre, music, art – it helps break that wall down”. (p. 3).  I am grateful to work in a profession where I can use art in all capacities to reach my students and encourage them to proud of themselves and where they come from.

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❤ Dani

“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,

is no education at all.” – Aristotle

The Beauty of the in Between – Week 1

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“It is the look of someone who is the process of losing something of who she thought she was.  Upon encountering something outside herself and her own ways of thinking, she is giving up thoughts she previously held as known, and as a consequence she is parting with a bit of her known self.” (Ellsworth, p.16).

Hello everyone,

I feel super lucky to be a part of this course – I value the arts so much and see the importance of letting children express themselves not only through the arts for arts sake, but through a different approach to other subjects too.  The reading this week, although challenging, was rewarding and validated many of the practices I hold dear.  I think this reading asked us a class to think outside the box and consider that what we say to kids is not the only thing that affects their learning – the space in which they learn, our actions and often what we do not say is just as important.   I loved the image below by Juliahna Taggart because to me, it shows that for some kids, there world is grey until they are able to open their mind to art and expression and then it floods with colour.  What a beautiful idea.

After reading through Ellsworth’s Places of Learning: Media, architecture, pedagogy chapter’s 1 and 2, I realized that academic writing around pedagogy CAN be poetic and artistic its delivery.  Below my plan is to highlight pieces of this work that stood out to me and why they did so…come along for the ride!

  • “Each of these other looks hinges on comprehension of a particular kind of knowledge – a knowledge already gotten by someone else.  For  various social, political, economic, or pragmatic reasons, someone has deemed this knowledge to be in need of being grasped, passed on, and repeated yet again and in ways that are clearly mapped and understood” (p. 16).  My thoughts were, who’s knowledge is this that we value and deem important and “true” enough to pass on and teach?  This could be an example of colonialism sneaking into our classroom through privileged knowledge.
  • “D.W Winnicott’s notion of ‘transitional space’ as the time and place out of which experiences of learning emerge.” (Winnicott, 1989).  This tells me that all the pieces need to fit together to satisfy the journey of learning.
  • “Herbert Muschamp, architectural critic for The New York Times, also agrees that pre-and non-linguistic experiences of a place of learning are crucial to what is learned there.” (p. 20).  We must, must, must situate ourselves and remember how important place is to learning.  Our EAL students and students who struggle with language depend on us to understand this because that is how they see, hear and feel the learning we offer when language isn’t an accessible option. 
  • On page 22 in Ellsworth’s piece there are many nods to inspiring a sense of wonder in our students –  “wonder is deeply interfused with the experience of learning.”  Allow kids to wonder about the world around them inspires creativity and infuses art into everything we do.
  • “Some use theories of ideology and discourse to understand how social, cultural, and sexual differences mark bodies and position them differentially within relations of power.  These approaches have shown how some social dynamics make some bodies matter more than others, and that they make social and cultural differences figure in the human interests that shape the social constructions of knowledge” (p. 23).  This sounds like the beginnings of systemic racism in our schools and divisions.  Some bodies and cultures are valued and some are not.  Students shape their feeling of school on these social constructs and we MUST make changes so every child can see their value in our learning spaces.  It is crucial to feel our learning and every child should have the opportunity to feel it in a positive way.  Arts Education allows for celebration at working and looking at things differently. 
  • “Regarding pedagogy as experimentation in thought rather than representation of knowledge as a thing already made, creates a profound shift in how we think of pedagogical intent or violation – the will to teach.” (p. 27).  This idea would help break down colonial thinking and systemic racism in our schools.  We can view all knowledge as equal it is an experiment and not just some thought that already exists.  We can slow down and learn from what one another has to offer in the classroom and understand the importance without negative intent or violation as mentioned above.
  • “Winnicott’s transitional space is what makes possible the difficult transition from a state of habitual (‘natural’ feeling) compliance with the outside world, with its expectations, traditions, structures, and knowledge, to a state of creatively putting those expectations, traditions, and structures to new uses.” (p. 30).  This for whatever reason got me thinking about the fact that this could be the basis of mindfulness in the classroom.  We are asking students to take outside world and it’s expectations, suspend them and use them for new.  
  • “A field of emergence (of newness and self change) takes shape when our minds/brains and bodies pass through time, space, and events – and do so with undetermined directions and outcomes”.  This is what allows us to be who we are!  Arts Education is a field of self exploration from many aspects.  We form our worldview through not only our brains but our bodies and our spaces and the time in which we spend there.  They are interconnected and help us form all aspects of ourselves when given the chance. 
  • “Change website, gestures towards the pedagogical potential of Wodiczko’s work when he says that Wodiczko’s ‘ephemeral projection pieces only last a night or two, but they reclaim the city streets as places for discussion and heated debate.” (p. 41).  This is a pedagogy for slow, steady change as mentioned in the Villanueva and Sullivan article.  This is art for social change, it’s art to give people without a voice, a voice.  Art can move us regardless of whether the physical piece sticks around or not.  We can use this as a lesson to teach kids that art can be fleeting and it’s ok.  People will remember.

Essentially what I got from my initial reading of this article was that arts education engages all of our senses and that kids need more art.  It asks us to look at the world in a different way and celebrate how beautiful our world can be through everyday art like architecture, poetry, etc.  It encourages us to consider pedagogy in a new that we  hope can reach and benefit more and more of our diverse classrooms.

There were many take away’s from “Analyzing the Degree of Consensus in Current Academic Literature on Critical Pedagogy” by Catalina Villanueva and Carmel O’Sullivan.  Although this article was written in a dramatically different way than the first, there was value in it as well.  Please find my ideas below:

  • “They saw schools as places where dominant views and beliefs can be legitimized and normalized, while marginalized knowledge is silenced.” (p. 70).  This is very similar to how schools are here in Saskatchewan.  We still battle systemic racism, divisions based on dominant view and although marginalizing voices intentionally is getting better, by not recognizing knowledge and minimizing the effects of poverty and colonialism we are silencing our doing just that. 
  • “Through TO, Boal (2002: 15) promoted an active stance in spectators, who influence theatrical action directly, becoming ‘spect-actors’ rather than spectators.” (p. 71). Theatre for change!  Freire showed people that you could empowered through education.  Boal said that theatre can transcend demographic and language – what a powerful thing in diverse classrooms!  
  • “The literature seems united in that, in its current form, Critical Pedagogy aims to combat oppression of all kinds, including that based on race and ethnicity, gender, age, ecological factors, special needs, social class and also classroom roles.” (p. 75). Oppression doesn’t just come in a “one size fits all” model, many factors play into members of our society feeling oppressed.  Theatre is a wonderful outlet for evolution – be it slow or quick as suggested in this piece, the fact that theatre is a path towards it is amazing.  I just think we need to be cautious of that fact that Critical Pedagogy is not “invariably liberating” and that although we are exploring and evolving through this way of knowing, we want to be respectful and not have people relive their trauma to satisfy our want to evolve. 
  • “…transforming the traditional teacher monologue into a dialogue exchange of ideas, students become empowered to critically question knowledge.” (p. 76).  Our students must be given reason to question the world around them and they must be empowered by the dialogue to incite change. 
  • “Hence, a more encompassing concept of conscientization as it is available in the sample literature implies a notion of questioning and becoming “aware of the various levels of power and privilege operating on, in and through different aspects of [our] lives” (King-White, 2012: 390) This reminds me of the article  “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack” by Peggy McIntosh.  “White privilege is like an invisible
    weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks.” (p. 1).   We must be aware of this and then decide what we’re going to do to lessen it.
  • “Evidently, underlying this view is the conviction that students ‘will take the critical path or will at least adopt some measure of criticality into their daily lives even after they have left the educator'” (Neumann 2011: pg. 602). (p. 80).  My hope and  goal as an educator is that some of knowledge students gain with me, stays with them as they move forward in their lives.  I would love to have an impact that transcends the classroom into the world.  I work tirelessly on kindness, patience and understanding in my class because I think those are skills that will make good people out of my littles and will be something that they will remember because it made them feel a certain way!

art satisfying GIFRemember – art is messy, the results might be messy but the feeling of freedom and belonging that it can give is our kiddos worth every second!

Thanks for reading,

Dani ❤

“Educating the mind without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”   -Aristotle

A New Chapter

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Hi everyone,

Long time no see!  Welcome back to The Hackel Hub! I am so excited to be entering my final semester of my Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Regina.  I have been through many changes this school year and it has dramatically impacted how I will be approaching this course. In this post you’ll learn my story and my goals for this semester as I work towards using research and action to explore assistive technology, universal design for learning and worthwhile apps and online programming at Ecole Connaught School.

Image result for tangled brainA Change in Brain: For the past seven years I had been at Lakeview Elementary School, located in the old Lakeview area of the city, teaching grade 2/3.  This school year I was moved to Ecole Connaught Community School teaching grade 5/6.  Although these 2 schools are only a few blocks from one another geographically, they are worlds apart as far demographic and family engagement. As if moving from primary to middle years wasn’t enough, the immense shock of going from engaged and involved families, to essentially no family engagement was hard to handle.  My kids this year are often going without food, warm clothing, and struggle to even make it to school as there is often times no one at home encouraging them to do so.  It was and still is a  HUGE mind shift. Daily, I am reminded how completely crucial it is to meet basic needs before any learning can happen.  Not to mention, many of my students are coming from significant trauma.  They are trying to unpack what they have been through and work through it with their limited life experience and a brain capacity not meant to handle these often grown up issues.  This greatly affects how much learning takes place and how my students interact with each other and me, as their teacher.

book page turning GIFMy next mind flip happened when I realized what kind of academic struggles I was facing – not only do my kiddos this year have very little school stamina, my classroom is VERY diverse in academic/emotional need.  I have students reading at a grade 1 level all the way through grade 8, I have students with ADHD, depression, intellectual disorders, dyslexia and autism to name a few.  Many of the resources I am pulling from are well below grade level and 11 of 25 students are assigned assistive technology from division office.  Diverse doesn’t even begin to explain what I have going on!

The trouble:

So here’s the trouble – I have 11 students with computers assigned to them for a variety of reasons.   Realistically, all my kids should probably have them.  I have received no guidance on what do with these computers, little guidance as to why the child has the computer in the first place (the needs of each child vary SO greatly a computer doesn’t seem to address it all) and little guidance as to how to utilize the technology so it benefits the student to its full capability.  I have App and programming suggestions with what I feel is little reasoning behind them and very minimal training to assist me in ensuring I am using the technology appropriately.  All of that being said…

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My goals:

I have many goals for this course all that should conclude with me assessing my practice and deciding what is actually going to work with my kiddos!  Below are questions I hope to explore through research and action in my classroom over the course of the semester:

  1.  Is there benefit to students having individual technology in a class where everyone doesn’t have access to it as readily?
  2. Do students feel uncomfortable being singled out with assistive tech (wiggle seats, sounds cancelling headphones, alternative seating, computers, etc)?
  3. What is the most effective way to integrate technology into the classroom (if at all)?
  4. Should students have an opinion in assessing apps and technology programs they use in school?  If so, what would they actually say?
  5. Does social media have a place in the classroom?
  6. If technology in the classroom doesn’t improve learning, what is it doing?  Are there still positives?

In conclusion:

I am thrilled with the opportunity to explore some of these questions and bring my students along for the ride.  The only time most of them seem engaged is when we bring out the computers…however, I would venture a guess that most of them only like it when they get “free time”! Image result for winky face  I am looking forward to assessing some of my current teaching practices and seeing where I can improve with this unique and varied group of students!

Dani ❤

“Educating the mind without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

 

That’s ALLLLL FOLKS!

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Hello for the last time ECI834er’s,

Check out my “Summary of Learning” for this class!

It’s been an absolute pleasure working with everyone this semester.  Thank you for taking the time to comment on my posts, interact with me on Twitter and Slack and share your expertise and ideas in class.  I hope our paths cross again in the future!

❤ Dani

“Educating the mind without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

 

Welcome to the Wrap Up Show!

Hello ECI834’ers,

Well, I wish I could say that blended learning, preparing for blended learning and ensuring that students are getting the most out of  blended learning could be packaged up neat and tidy like the present in the featured image… but let’s be real…NOT! I have enjoyed this course so much as it’s opened my eyes to not only the trials and tribulations of online learning and content, but the immense success that you can have too! I’ve had both personally even in the short span of this class. Throughout last class we spoke in small groups about some of the issues that could potentially come when up teaching and learning online, the first we spoke about accessibility. internet hard of hearing GIF by Ryan SeslowFor me, I would argue that this would be the biggest hold up when making a pro technology and blended learning case. It appears that there will always be a digital divide, there will always be communities that are held back on account of connectivity and there will always be countries in the world that will continue to be developing and not have access to the same resources. I don’t think the goal of this course is to come up with and solve these problems necessarily, but to have discussions around inequality and adapting for it.  I think it’s important to make sure we remember that there is absolutely a digital divide in our own city and in our schools and it’s part of our responsibility as educators to do as much for kids while we have them.  For Joe and I’s online science content, even though I am in what would be considered an affluent school in a fairly affluent area of our city, I still have kids that cannot, or don’t have access online from home.  Joe and I decided that if we were going to try this unit in my room, we would have to offer another opportunity for kids to access the content and try the assignments from school.  It’s not fair to make assumptions about what families can and cannot do from home or almost more importantly at the age of the kids I teach, what families are and are not willing to do from home.  Instead of deciding not even to try on account of these challenges, we have provided time for kids to try all of the assignments, even those labelled, “try at home”, at school.  This way no one is missing out and if children had tried it at home, there was always something else for them to work on, or I have had them play around with Google Read & Write or our slideshow assignments for extra practice.

Image result for opposing technologyAnother topic we discussed was how we can adapt in the classroom to accommodate for families who for religious, cultural or other reasons do not want their children to participate in technology.  We sort of decided that at a higher level education it would be unlikely that a student whose religion or culture opposed technology I would also be confident to say that in adult education, if you were not comfortable putting yourself out there in the digital world, you would also steer clear of classes that would put you in a position to do so – therefore, you wouldn’t require accommodation.  HOWEVER, I think this is an issue in many elementary and high schools as classrooms continue to become more and more diverse, cultural needs require considerations and some families are more conscious of their child’s digital footprint and therefore are not interested in the use of social media or technology in the classroom.  I think it’s important to recognize these issues and have alternative methods to adapt for those children the same way we would adapt for reading level.  You could simply have the assignment that the rest of the kids are completing online, available in a paper copy for students who can’t use the computers – for example, students are replying to a forum prompt?  Have the prompt available on the board and the student replying in a journal.  Need peer input?  Partner the kids up and have them respond to a partner including your student writing in the journal, or just ensure that if you are not specifically partnering kids, that your student with the journal is included by putting their work forward and perhaps having printed copies of other students work available.

Image result for take awayI had many “take-aways” from this course overall as I had never dabbled in creating content online, regardless of how tech-savy I felt. My first take away was JUST TRY IT! My biggest hold up is always the initial step into something new because it takes time and I always seem to be short on it. I never considered online content because I didn’t know anything about platforms that would be conducive to creating content that would be relevant to the grade level I teach.

The next take away would be, be mindful of instruction and assessment.  When Joe and I did our module, some of the thoughtful feedback that Kristina gave us, had to do with our assessments and it really got us thinking about how we could incorporate not only a sufficient amount of opportunities, but also a variety of assessments to suit different students needs.  We went back through and revamped this section of our course and I found it really meaningful.  We finished our course content feeling great about the experiences that we were giving our class and we felt confident that those experiences and the way we chose to assess them would give us a good snap shot of where that child is at in turns of their “matter” knowledge.   If you’re interested in learning more about the types of assessment we’re using, please check out our course walk through.

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My favourite physical take away this term is learning Ed Puzzle!  It is an online video editor that allows you to crop, edit, manipulate and watch videos.  It’s simple: find a video in their database,  or find one yourself, select it and save it to your content!  From that point you can crop it to the length and add either voice-over options, a “check this out/did you notice ” voice note or, my personal favourite, you can add trivia questions that will pop up as the kids watch the video.  This makes them accountable and engaged in the content they’re watching not to mention,  it saves the data for me so I can see each child’s answers!  Can you say simple, clean assessment?  Ed Puzzle is also perfect for students in the Regina Public School Division because all you need is a gmail account which all RPS students already have and then just the class code.  Easy, peasy!

thank you GIFOverall, I have had a wonderful semester full of ups and downs in creating and learning about online course content.  I would like to thank everyone for interacting with me online by commenting on my posts, messaging me or chatting with me in class.  I appreciate your expertise and thank you for teaching me throughout the semester.  To Alec, thank you from the  bottom of my heart for your patient, kind nature and your incredible expertise.  I look forward to hopefully one more class with you throughout my program.  Stay tuned for my “Summary of Learning”, coming soon to this blog near you! 😉

Thanks for reading,

❤ Dani

“Educating the mind without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

 

 

What’s the MATTER?

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Hello ECI834er’s,

It’s so hard to believe that we are reaching the end of the semester already!  I’ve had successes and less than successes in the creation of my online course content, but overall I am so excited with how it turned out.  We learned lessons (often the hard way) and I am so appreciative of the feedback I received throughout.  I have actually used one of them in particular, Edpuzzle.com and I LOVE it!  I never would have explored this cool option had it not been for this unique assignment of analyzing each other’s work.   It has changed the path of Joe and I’s unit for the best.  Joe and I have carefully curated modules to suit the needs of my grade 2/3 class and they are having a blast working through the course!  happy very funny GIF by Disney Zootopia

Sloooowly but surely we are plugging away on all the assignments and the feedback I have received has been wonderful!  The kids are loving the independence and the exciting new way to learn.  So, what are they learning you might be wondering?  If you haven’t been following along on my blog you can check out the whole course profile HERE but I’m also going to include a Cole’s Notes version below!  If you would like to check out the course in it’s full form and have a Regina Public School email address, have at it HERE by using the code in the photo to the left! If you do not have an RPS email, please email me at danielle.hackel@rbe.sk.ca and I can set you up with the information you would need to peek it.

Science Unit – Matter – Grade 2/3

  • Students begin by learning the fundamentals of Google Classroom, the platform we chose.  Students learned about Google Read & Write, Google slides and how to take a photo and copy it into a slide.  They practiced typing and even learned how to take a photo and paste in into a slideshow.

 

 

Students then move into our first module that focuses on building basic knowledge of Matter – what it is, the states, and some properties of each.  This module also allows students to try some parts from home with their families, work with partner in the class as well as work independently.  We used many different kinds of learning platforms in this module including Kahoot, Edpuzzle, Youtube and Google Slides.

Next up is our most hands on module – the experiment section!  In this unit children will view and complete matter experiments with the help of Joe’s grade 5 students.  Students will work at home on the projects and then get the chance to respond on the classroom Facebook.  We will also do a couple of these at school for students who cannot complete them at home.  We will do a more formal lab write up for these at school so we can practice that as well.  They finish this section with a super fun assignment to make their own textbook and practice the properties of matter as well as using the copy and paste function they used in an earlier unit.  Again, we tried to make each unit unique, therefore allowing for each student to have a chance to shine!

To finish the unit we are exploring both properties, changing states of matter as well as doing a review to gain knowledge before our unit ends.  Kids will take part in an egg drop challenge that spans both home and school testing how to keep a solid a solid and what properties a liquid has that we would see if the egg’s solid shell cracks open.  To conclude, students will watch a short video and then participate in a final quiz using google forms to ask and store answers.  Again, we are utilizing many different platforms to try and give each student an opportunity to feel successful.

This course was a blast to make and it has been so cool to watch the kids work through it!  Joe and I were talking about how interesting it is that kids have been trying assignments from home that we hadn’t formally introduced because they are logging in from home and working through it.  I know this wouldn’t or couldn’t happen at every school, but it’s been amazing to see here.  Now, don’ t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows either…there were some trials and tribulations as well as these successes that I outline in my blog post, “Google Classroom…in my classroom” if you want to check it out!  I wrote this post and then Kristina reviewed our modules and made some suggestions that changed the profile for me!  I was introduced to tools that I had never worked with and really appreciated the feedback.  A fresh set of eyes is truly a gift!  If you want to check out the response to the feedback and see any changes I made, just click HERE! 

Thank you so much for taking the time to follow along with me on this journey, if you’re interested in a quick spin through this course, please take a few minutes and watch the link below – it will give you a look at the main features of this course and some of my favourite parts!  Joe and I are really proud of it and hope you enjoy it too!

❤ Dani

“Educating the mind without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

The BA/AA Period

 

Hello everyone,

So I am going to organize this blog post into 2 eras, the B.A period (before Alec) and A.A period (after Alec)!  I will say that my technological life has changed since taking Alec’s digital literacy courses and my mind has been opened to the possibilities of integrating technology into a classroom of kids at any age. Image result for brain thinking

You just have to get a little creative to make sure you’re using the right things, at the right time and most importantly, for the right reasons.  As we have spoken about many times before, using technology for the sake of using technology isn’t effective! It can’t just be a surface level replacement for other programming in your class. Technology has to deepen learning and meaning for children and enhance their experience in some way. I also see value in using technology to connect families in the classroom and bridge the gap between learning at school and learning at home!  There were many points I considered from this weeks reading, but the list of qualities that make an online discussion or forum successful really stuck as it made me consider whether my interactions and lessons with my students online were effective and the best they can be.  I pulled my three favourite from section 4.4.5 Developing meaningful online discussion from the Tony Bates text this week,

  • clear guidelines on student online behaviour, such as written codes of conduct for participating in discussions, and ensuring that they are enforced; More or less, have I provided my class (regardless of age) a list of rules for online behaviour, and do they understand that if they are broken, their privilege is taken away. 
  • regular, ongoing instructor ‘presence’,such as monitoring the discussions to prevent them getting off topic or too personal, and providing encouragement for those that are making real contributions to the discussion, heading off those that are trying to hog or dominate the discussions, and tracking those not participating, and helping them to participate; This one is very important to me – I think the role of the teacher, even in an online setting is invaluable.  The teacher, although we are no longer the keeper of knowledge, we are the facilitators to make sure that there is as much equality and support online as there might be off.
  • defining clearly learner roles and expectations, such as ‘you should log in at least once a week to each discussion topic and make at least one substantive contribution to each topic each week’; Expectations are crucial no matter how old or young the kids or adults you’re working with are.  Everyone wants to know when something is due, what is being assessed, what is being looked for, etc.  We owe it to the people learning from us to provide support in these areas…in particular if you want the work that’s turned in, to be turned in properly!

I’ll include the SAMR model image again because I think it’s incredibly important to understand how the choices we make impact our children and their learning. I will admit, as I dive into the BA period, I was using technology, because I understood, at the root that technology was beneficial and the way the world was moving, but I think I was at the substitution stage. I would grab a computer cart and have the kids practice typing or play a math – good practice? Yes. Fun? Probably. Groundbreaking or change making? No. I think the thing I’m most proud of that I was integrating before it was widely used, my classroom Facebook page. I think this was the first time I ventured into the next two phases of the SAMR model. I was giving children an opportunity to share their ideas and feelings on a more public stage, it allowed all children to feel successful because they could type rather than write, they feel empowered and heard and it was something engaging and different for students that were harder to motivate.

Image result for golden ageNow into the AA period – the golden age of my technological use! As you know by now if you’ve been following along, myself and Joe are creating a grade 2/3 science unit using Google Classroom as our main LMS. Within this learning system we are/will dabble into many different student interactions using a variety of tools that we’ve learned about in this course! To start, we tackled the simple student interactions that our LMS has to offer such as Google read & write! This isn’t a piece that can be evaluated or assessed, but I think it’s so important for students to feel comfortable and successful and tools such as this allow for the program to speak to you, or write what you say, allowing for students of all abilities to complete tasks throughout our unit.  For me, the justification behind using these functions is clear, Google Read & Write allows for inclusion and adaptation for students that need it.  It’s meaningful and extremely relevant because of the changing needs in mainstream classrooms.  Funding is constantly being cut and placements for students with significant need just don’t seem to be available.  The easier we can normalize abilities the easier it will be for our students to find their strengths and have the tools to navigate areas they need help.  Google Classroom has lots to offer in this area as a LMS.

Another great tool that Joe and I are using that offers more in the way of assessment and evaluation is Google forms.  We have already used this tool twice in our unit and it worked great!  The first time our students practiced this skill it was answering simple questions about themselves, the second time was answering questions about a short matter video they watched!  This proved to be a wonderful opportunity to see what children can remember of the material all while allowing them to try something new and build important skills that they can use in the future.

Finally, on suggestion from a classmate through the process of our feedback last week, I chose to change an assignment in my first module to include the program, EdPuzzle.  I am obsessed with this student-instructor interaction because it allows for kids to have their independence doing an activity while still receiving special information and guidance plus, allowing the teacher to check in and see how they are doing on any particular assignment.  I think giving students these opportunities are relevant because we are not only meeting outcomes as we are supposed to, we are encouraging children to watch content with meaning and to engage with what they are watching.  We are also still being supportive and selective with content.  Thanks for the suggestion and thoughtful feedback  Kristina!

I read my classmate Anne’s blog this week and she said, “Padlet, or comparable programs, seem like a good way to get your students discussing, even on days where they are feeling shy or quiet” and this inspired me to try one too! 🙂  I think I am going to use a Padlet or Flipgrid as a cullmination for our Matter Unit.  I would like to get the kids to share the main thing they learned in a way that they feel most comfortable.  Padlet would allow for students that don’t want to speak outloud and the thought is terrible, and Flipgrid for students that love having their face and voice recorded.  I think both will be wonderful!  Stay tuned.

 

Thanks;

Dani ❤

“Educating the mind without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

 

 

The results are in…

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Hello ECI834er’s,

The results are in and I was so excited for the feedback about Joe and I’s online class so far!  sassy i don't know GIF by Cartoon HangoverWe did run into some snags with Regina Public School’s user agreements not allowing for email addresses outside the RPS domain to access our content, but we did get creative and found a way around it.  It’s complicated – but it can’t ever be easy is what I’m finding out!  It’s a neat experience to have someone evaluate your work as if they were a student…but be able to articulate what they did and didn’t like in an adult way! 🙂  I am grateful for the opportunity to make this unit better, easier to use and to learn more about the tools that were suggested to us to enhance the functionality and ease for our kiddos!  I think for simplicity sake, I will go through our feedback section by section and lend a comment to each piece.   I have linked our course shell HERE if you would like to look at it again for a refresher on our course content.  In order to navigate this response to our feedback, please know that the section under the microscope will be bolded and all in CAPITALS, the comment or question from our reviewer will be bolded and italicized and my responses will be directly underneath in regular print.

COURSE SHELL: 

Something to consider is about how your students can show what they learned by “creating” something instead of the “input/output” of the facts, you did show them how to cut & paste on your Screencastify and maybe that is enough at this grade level.. Could you include the “design an experiment” using ice cubes, water or ?? to show a liquid or solid?? Just an idea of how to make it more hands on.
This is absolutely something we considered and have already started putting into practice!  One of the next modules will be an “experiment” based module where the kids are getting down and dirty with the content hands on!  We are still ironing out details with regards to how this will look…but it’s in the works!  I was also considering, based solely on the school I am at this year, that it might be fun to have them try a very simple experiment at home, have their family videotape it, and upload it to the classroom!  Or, send it to me and I can upload it!  I’m not 100% sure how many would participate as only 5 of 26 did the Matter Chatter survey at home as it was assigned, but it would be a fun assignment for those families that wanted to give it a shot!  Such a great idea, thanks for the feedback.

I like how you chunked it into very simple steps and very small portions as to not overwhelm your students (although I’m sure those small lessons took at least 30 mins each, haha!).

Let me tell ya…everything is taking FOREVER!  We do have everything broken down into step by step activities and small instructions at a time, but each step does take at least 30 minutes to do.  By the time we get the computers out, remember how to login, help the students that can’t login independently, find the correct activity, run over how to complete said activity and then finally do the darn thing, we are looking at the almost the entirety on the hour that I have the computers booked for.  We were commended for trying this with such a young age…and although I am so thankful we did, it’s not the most practical thing YET because I can’t have the computer carts an hour everyday and to move through the modules smoothly, you would kind of have to.

CONTENT MODULES:

In the module you had students fill out a Google Form but IF you want
to know the individual results of this to use as assessment then you need to add a question with their name as a response. IF this would only be used to judge if the class as a whole mastered the material and you can move on or need to review “assessment for instruction” purposes then you would not need individual results.

jim carrey oops GIF

DUH!

So I actually laughed out loud reading this feedback because unfortunately I got it too little too late for 5 of the kiddos!  My intention was to collect the data from each child and use it for assessment purposes…didn’t even consider the name question as I wasn’t fully sure how Google Classroom recorded the answers.  So after I was frantically trying to find the answers that my 5 who did it at home submitted, I text Joe and found out that you have to create the document to store the answers!  Joe to the rescue – he did it for me and then that’s when I realized I didn’t put the name line in!  Thankfully, I was able to go back in and edit the document to add the name before my other 21 kids did the assignment! All is well that ends well.  I am excited to try out “EdPuzzle” as you suggested and potentially create a little assignment for the Bill Nye Video.  Thanks for being so thorough and noticing this…ugh…the learning curve.

I am guessing your feedback would be given directly
through google classroom??

Our feedback would likely be given in both in person and through google classroom!  I think verbal feedback for some of my kids this year would be much easier than online, however, that being said, I like challenge of trying something new with them and seeing how it goes.  They do have some limited knowledge of Google Read & Write from the tutorial at the beginning but I think it would take a refresher to have them use it on their own!  I also LOVE the idea of doing a Google Classroom “how to” at  the beginning of the year, what a great suggestion.

COURSE PROFILE:

Because this is a “Science” topic I do not see the need to include cultural considerations but you could include how you would address the needs of students with EAL.

I do agree with not needing cultural considerations, however, I think the need for understanding how to address students with EAL needs is an important one.  I think I bypassed this topic because I actually do not have any EAL students in my class this year and therefore, when I was planning to actually do this unit with my class, I knew it wouldn’t be a required adaptation.  However, in thinking about it now, I think Google Read & Write will be a great resource if utilized properly so passages can be read aloud, I think watching experiments and videos done online will help too!  I would also consider “buddying” students up rather than giving them each a computer and therefore students with more understanding or skills in technology could be “teacher helpers”.

ANYTHING ELSE:

To take your next module “to the next level” I would suggest instead of finding the song and/or video, you would create the content. Kids look up to “Youtubers” nowadays and would LOVE to see you on the screen-think about it!!

beavis and butthead oscars 1997 GIFThis is a brilliant idea!  My class loves hammin’ it up and I’m sure they would be obsessed with seeing themselves “on the big screen”.  My wheels are turning on how I could potentially use this idea as a final type project where they could show what they learned using video as an outlet.  Thank you so much for the idea.

Movie Star GIF

OVERALL:

Thank you for the thoughtful feedback!  It was a treat to dig through and gain more insight into our unit.  I am grateful for the feedback on our organization and the fact  that we have adapted the LMS for a younger audience.  I feel really great moving forward with it and am excited to see where it goes!  Thank you again SO much for taking the time to offer up the feedback and look through the content of our course.

 

Thanks for reading,

❤ Dani

“Educating the mind without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

Google Classroom…in my classroom.

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Hello ECI834’ers,

Our prompt this week seemed open ended so I have taken advantage of it and wanted to give you an update on my use of a blended learning system in my classroom…so here it is, whether you like it or not! 😉  I have successfully surpassed the first stage of this process – the immense amounts of confusion…and I’m on to phase two, slight confusion.  Although I’m certain my project partner Joe, based on the number of texts I have sent him, that I am still the gentleman in the GIF below.

confused math GIF by CBC

When Alec introduced our project for this class and told us that we would be designing online curriculum, I went the same route I have in each of his classes – I racked my brain to see how I could make this the most usable and practical in my day to day teaching life.  We decided on using Google Classroom for our platform  as our target audience is grade 2/3 students and the other platforms seemed more suited to older learners.  This is my first observation – it seems like many of the blended learning platforms are set up to accommodate older learners.  This is perfectly fine on account of the fact that, as it stands, most students who are participating in blended learning or flipped classrooms are older however, in my opinion, we are going to start seeing a shift.  Younger and younger students are exploring the online world and soon I think we are going to see that these same students will get huge benefit in learning online as that’s where the majority of their other interactions will be.  Joe joined me for the first lesson of our online curriculum where we introduced Google Classroom, had the kids practice typing, add photos to a slideshow and trying out Google Read and Write.  Overall, I was floored by how quickly the kids caught on to the basic functionality of the site, and more so, how much they enjoyed the freedom playing around with the program gave them!   I have students with varying learning disabilities and they saw success because they had experience with technology and the aid of programs like Read and Write allow them to be more independent.  However, like everything else, we learned quickly that there are needs of 7 and 8 year old children that are far different than those of adults and older age learners.  Enough to drive a gal crazy in fact! (gif source) madness GIF  First – they will absolutely go ahead of your instructions and try things on their own regardless of what you say.  This is a blessing and a curse because often, they know more than we give them credit for but, they miss instructions and click on things that then affect everyone else in a live document.  Secondly, once they get going – they don’t stop!  Joe created a slide show project where they practice taking a picture and inserting it into a slide where they type their name into a pre-made sentence.  WELL…first, they didn’t really understand that the Google Classroom is live and that everyone can see what they’re doing, while they’re doing it!  It’s a tough concept to grasp.  Then my little monkey’s starting compulsively trying to steal each other’s slides which turned into one or a couple kiddos deleting the entire slideshow, because why not! This was a learning experience for us and gave us some ideas as to how we could better our work.  When we tried this again, I had put each child’s name in a slide before hand so they just had to locate their frame rather than choosing one – this solved that problem and they were very successful.  I suppose in the long run we were grateful for the mistakes because they gave us better feedback than we could have gotten anywhere else.  The kids have also completed a google form, accessed a Youtube video through an assignment, accessed a PLIKER’s to complete as a show what you know and finally, some students even completed home work after watching a video they watched at home with their families!  The capabilities of this blended learning are style are endless!  Endlessly challenging but amazing to see!

I stumbled across a site when I was searching for a topic for this post that highlighted 30 high quality learning platforms and I was impressed so figured I would share to finish this post! I loved how this list gave not only the name, but a short description of the program as well.  Although I haven’t had a chance to dig through all 30, I was surprised to stumble across many blended learning options for the grade I teach.  Perhaps this shift is already taking place and hasn’t made it to my circle yet?   I was reading Brad’s post this week and he mentioned having to step off his high horse to really consider his own teaching practices and I couldn’t agree more.  Sometimes I’m so caught up in what I am doing that I forget that there are other ways to do it that are as effective and definitely more effective than what I’m up to.  This list of available blended learning sites is the perfect example not to rest on your laurels – take a step out of our comfort zone and try something new.  I have a couple emails into sites listed to check pricing, one is called Edmentum and it boasts, “Adaptive assessments paired with powerful learning paths for K-8 reading, language arts, and math”.  I was drawn to this one because it seemed to focus on core subject matter and it was a good grade range.  The next site is FuelEducation which advertises, “Innovative digital curriculum, technology, instruction, and support enabling you to create a learning environment that is just right for your students” which caught my eye because it sounded very customizable which makes offering your students a personal learning experience much easier.  I don’t have pricing information yet, but I am curious to see what comes back!  Usually price is a deterrent for me – not an excuse necessarily, but something that makes the blended learning model more challenging.

What holds up do you have with the blended learning model?  Have a success story or an epic fail you want to share?  I would love to hear it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Dani ❤

“Educating the mind, without educating the heart

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

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