Month: February 2014

Draw it!

Happy kids

Happy kids

Well everyone! This is my first project from the DS 106 site. I have to say that I was quite unsure of how I was going to do this with so little knowledge in this field, but the internet is amazing and there are so many different ways to figure out your problems. (I had quite a few of them). This project was called Draw It! under the visual assignments section of the web page. I downloaded the Gimp program which is a photo editing type program, and followed along with the help section. Of course there was plenty of trial and error, but I think it turned out pretty good. If I were to do this again, I’d probably pick a picture with less going on and maybe just one item to focus on.

I’m really amazed all the different types of projects that are on the DS 106 site. There are so many that I never even thought were do-able by someone without professional training.

The ease of the program Gimp is amazing. There are a lot of different tools to use to make the picture the way you want it, and it will take some practice. But as with anything new, practice makes better right? I think that this type of a project would be really neat for upper year students to learn. It’s a guided learning practice. Students, like myself, need to figure it out, but not by themselves. There are many resources to help them, they just need to look.

On a side note, this photo is taken of my two children on their first day of school this year. We always go outside and get a picture in one of the trees. (Actually, it’s more like a billion pictures, it must be a mom thing)

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Fidgets!

What? Fidgets? … This was my initial reaction to a post by one of my class mates in ECMP355, Chelsea Lyons. I had honestly never heard the term fidgets, and I don’t know why. I’d have to say that I have heard of the exercise ball rather than a chair, or the use of cushions to sit on, but I haven’t seen fidgets implemented into a classroom.  I can see how they would be distracting to other students or could be used as a means of keeping occupied rather than paying attention, but I can also see the benefits of these fidgets. For the student that needs something to manipulate, they would be life changing.

Here is a link to Chelsea’s blog. Feel free to check it out.

How would you implement fidgets into your classroom and what kind of rules would have to go along with them?

The Olympic Spirit

My children and I had the most wonderful day today out at the Wapiti Valley Ski Resort. Not only was the weather great but the Saskatchewan Winter Games were going on so we got to see a few races and the medal presentations in the afternoon. There was a great turn out for the events and the presentations and to see the expressions on the faces of these young athletes was wonderful. You could tell that they truly enjoy the sport and are great advocates of it. The younger children in attendance were inspired by these young people. They all cheered and applauded after each winner was announced and were all quite happy when it was all said and done. Some of the athletes even had the opportunity to carry the Olympic Torch from the 2014 Olympics. How cool is that?
I’d have to say that I’m quite proud of my younger cousin who competed in these events over the past 3 days and I am thrilled that she got to experience the excitement of it all. New frienships, the sport you love, and a chance to achieve your personal best. What better way to spend your February break?
I’d like to send out a great big CONGRATULATIONS to the athletes! Keep shooting for the stars.
Winter games

What if Education was different?

I wonder how many people wish that they could make a difference in the lives of children? I would have to guess that there would be a lot. Now, how many people would like to make a difference in the lives of children by changing themselves? I would have to presume that there would be more people leery about this one. As an educator, would you think that you should change or that the students just need to learn the material that is presented to them, in the method that you choose?

Tonight I had the opportunity to attend a presentation at my local elementary school that was put on by Don Rempel, the superintendent of the North East School Division. This presentation really made me think about the way we educate. Don had the opportunity to go to New Zealand to learn about the initiatives that were being pursued there in regards to education and the Maori people.

maorivillage2

The Maori people are native to New Zealand and have a similar history to those of First Nations students in Saskatchewan. Our First Nations students have low graduation rates and high drop out rates which results in low employment rates and poverty, which is very similar to those of the Maori people in New Zealand. In New Zealand, the initiative is to change the way teachers teach students with the focus being on the Maori students. This was a 5 year plan and it has just come a close this year. The results are amazing. Not only for Maori students, but for all students regardless of race or ethnicity. By focusing on the Maori students, New Zealand schools have changed the way teachers react and interact with students by focusing first on the student and his/her needs, and secondly on the curriculum. Don’t get me wrong, these teachers still expect students to perform and achieve standards, but rather than striving for the final goal of mastering a subject or concept, there are frequent check points, allowing the student to develop a proper knowledge base before continuing to the next item. Rather than having the teacher focus on the class as a whole for the majority of the time, the concepts are given to the class and then the students are divided into groups or given individual instruction to achieve understanding. There is constant feedback and support given to students to give them the extra assurance. I have included a link below to some information regarding the Maori initiative.

http://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/EducationPolicies/MaoriEducation.aspx

Something that really stuck out to me was “Don’t just think that all students can learn. Believe it.” By focusing on the minority students and making them feel accepted, culture and all, we can make a difference in the lives of these children. These children see teachers as the main support in educational accomplishment; not family or community support; not the educational structures; but the teachers. So give yourself a pat on the shoulder and make a difference in the life of a child by focusing on them as children, rather than the “unfortunate” ones who have been born and raised in hardship. They are all children with the same wonder and curiosity. They need us, let’s make a difference.

Where am I?

I recently attended a class regarding digital footprints and the importance of ensuring that these footprints accurately portray who you are and what you believe in. During this technological age, privacy has become a big issue. Without proper instruction on how technology can shape your life, young people are susceptible to post messages, photos, and pictures on social media sites that can negatively effect the rest of their lives. I took it upon myself to do a google search on myself to see what came up. Here are some of the results:

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This is the first thing that came up for my name. (Hint: this is not me….)

I then added decided to add my home town to the search and this is what I found:

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At least this search found me.

By taking the “bull by the horns”, and creating a page on about.me, I have started to expand my positive digital footprint that will work for me in the future. Feel free to check it out at http://about.me/ashleygrandfield/#.

I’d love to hear your opinions on digital footprints and whether people should be embracing or avoiding the digital realm.

Would you pay?

During this past week I’ve been busily searching out some great people to follow using Twitter, blogs, Facebook, and Pinterest. I have noticed that there are many educators in this big ‘ole world who currently have a store on Teachers Pay Teachers. Now if you don’t know what Teachers Pay Teachers is, it’s a kind of networking/store site where teachers create their own accounts(stores) and create additional educational resources to sell as downloads on this site.

Teachers Pay Teachers

There seems to be quite a bit of controversy over whether this should be allowed or not, and I would like your input. Should teachers be allowed to sell educational resources to other teachers? Remember… quite often teachers have to pay for these types of things out of their own pocket. Is it worth it?

Connectivity…(part 2)

This post is a continuation of my last post were I listed 5 new connections that I have made through Twitter or blogs. All week I have been searching out the wonderful web and have found 5 more blogs that I have chosen to follow.

1. Room 308 is great!

This blog belongs to the class that I’ve been paired up with in Surrey, B.C. By adding this site to my Feedly account and on my Dashboard of my blog, I will be easily able to keep up with what is going on in their classroom.

2. Science Fix

This site is a must for anybody who is interested in teaching science to middle school children.  There are great video examples of experiments that look like fun.  What better way to teach than through visual and hands on experience.

3. Addie Education – Teacher Talk

This blog site really intrigued me because of all the free stuff. That’s right. I said “FREE”. It is geared towards elementary education.

4. Corkboard Connections

This blog has all sorts of interesting activities and ideas for lessons, but what really got my attention were the activities and lessons ideas for the Olympics as the class I have been partnered with is following the athletes and the event quite closely.

5. Composition Classroom

This blog has some really interesting posts regarding education but the posts that stuck out to me the most were based on what makes a person smarter than someone else (Find the Numbers Object Lesson), and her post on cellphone usage in the classroom. Definitely gave me some things mull over.

Thanks for checking out this post and I hope these blogs are of interest to you as well.

Connectivity… (part 1)

Well what a goal this turned out to be… That’s right, I said goal because I still haven’t added 10 new followings which was our tech task for this last weeks ECMP 355 class.  I find that I am getting distracted with all the great blogs and feel the need to read everything that seems relevant to me. Of course this might be because I really have no idea what grade level I’m most interested in teaching yet, and therefore want to check out all the neat things that everybody is doing with every level possible… and that’s a lot of stuff. Oh well. At least it’s fun.

So here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

1. Word of the Day on Twitter @wordoftheday

I thought that this Tweeter might give me a broader vocabulary. Of course that will only work if I can actually remember the word and what it means when I come into contact with it again. But hey, who knows, it could be possible. Thanks to Laura for the great lead on this one.

2. Ashleigh’s Education Journey

This blog really got my attention with the great layout and easy manoeuvring that it offered. She has amazing information that she uses in her classroom as well as some resources and lesson plans.

3, Clouducation

This blog is all about how technology is changing education and how to integrate it into your classroom.  He gives detailed explanations on how to use various techy type stuff in your lessons.

4. FaveCrafts

The main reason I added this blog was because I’m a craft nerd. I love making crafts and could spend hours browsing what others have made. I’m hoping this will be an inspirational blog and keep me motivated to show my creative side.

5. Shelly S Terrell on Twitter @ShellTerrell

Shelly gave a presentation to our ECMP355 class this last week that was focused around building our PLN. Hence, the weekly tech task of finding and following people for our own Learning Networks. She gave a great presentation and made me realize how important it is to get and stay connected.

That’s it for now. Hopefully I can come up with some more to follow without being distracted too often. I’ll keep you all posted.