Friday, August 31, 2012

Last Day of Work :(

     Today was my last day of work at my summer job with Children's disABILITY Services. It seems literally last week that I first posted about STARTING work and now it is already over. I have been with this job for four summers now and love every minute of it.

     This summer I ended up working with eight children ranging in age from 9 to 17 years old that I saw twice a week for two-three hour visits. I grow very attached to the children I work with and by the end of the summer they feel like family! Some I have even had the privilege of working with for three or four summers, which is very special for me.

     Every summer I am saddened to have to leave my job as school starts up again and our program shuts down for the year. I would be lying if I said I hadn't shed a few tears in my car as I drive away. I am excited though for the upcoming school year and my LAST year of university before I become a certified teacher. Thanks to all my families who made this summer so much fun!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New Ways to Keep up with WBT!

     If you are using Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) in your classroom or interested in learning more, they now have a great network of various social media resources that you can follow!

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Their website, as always, is the best place to learn more! Make sure you take advantage of the FREE e-book downloads and the amazing support in their online discussion forum.
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Their Facebook page has important information in regards to new programs, webinars and WBT certification.

whole brain teaching twitter, whole brain teaching on twitter, wbt twitter presence
Chris Biffle's Twitter account has important information in regards to new programs, webinars and WBT certification.

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They now have TWO YouTube channels that you can access: Chris Biffle's personal account with videos from him and other teachers as well as the WBT Webcast account with videos of  their online webcasts.
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They have also joined the Pinterest world, yay! They've made boards about different WBT techniques, classroom examples, videos and WBT blogs.


     Even with school being as busy as it is, I can pretty much guarantee that most teachers use at least one of the websites regularly so take some time to check out the Whole Brain Teaching accounts! I'm also adding these links to the permanent Whole Brain Teaching tab at the top of my blog so they can be easily accessed anytime.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Level 4! WBT Advanced Intermediate

     I was debating about whether to wait until tomorrow to post this for my Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday post but I couldn't wait! I've written my online tests and am officially at Level 4 in my Whole Brain Teaching Certification process!!

whole brain teaching, whole brain teaching certification levels
Image Credit: WBT Certification Information at www.wholebrainteaching.com

     The text in the image is a bit small so in case you can't make it out, to reach Level 4 you must:
- earn at least 500 Certification Points
- score 90% (or higher) on the online Certification Tests
I'm happy to announce that I was able to score a 96% on my tests (there are 10 tests which increase in difficulty as you advance).

     Although I have enough Certification Points (CP) and I've written my test, I still have to create a video to be considered for Certification as a WBT Instructor. I'm hoping that I will be able to do this during my student teaching placement when I am teaching in the fall!

     Here are my updated CP standings and you can see my WBT Certification progress here.
1480CP [as of August 28th]
Medallions: Industrial Strength Posts (18), Webcast (3), Instant Bonus (11), Conference (1), Artistic Blog (1), Blog followers (191), Quia Online Tests (239)

  A big thank you is going out to Coach B, Nancy Stoltenberg and all the teachers who have been helping me along the way so far :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Resources to Start Off Your Week 32

     It is exciting to write this post and see that I have been consciously compiling these resources for 32 weeks now! I know that once I start student teaching and get more direction from my cooperating teacher I will probably be posting a lot of social studies specific resources as that is what class I will be in. In the meantime, however, here are some resources from all different subject areas.

     As always, I will be adding these to my lists of resources under the Fav Websites heading.

1 ) 50 Indispensable Edtech Tools for 2012
- Online Degrees has put together a very clear list of 50 edtech tools that they believe
  will be the perfect addition to your classroom this year! Most of these I have heard
  of or used myself but there are a few new ones that I will definitely be checking out
  as well!
- Resources are divided into categories such as "social learning", "lesson planning",
   and more.
- http://www.onlinedegrees.org/50-indispensable-edtech-tools-for-2012/

tech resources for the classroom, incorporating technology into the classroom, the best websites to use in the classroom, edtech
 
2 ) Science Niblets: The Science Behind Everyday Topics
- This blog features short easy-to-understand articles about the science
   that influences our everyday lives. With an educational focus in mind this
   blog has some great ideas about how to incorporate science into your
   classroom more often and make it enjoyable for students.
- You can use their short articles as activation strategies or use them as a
   main focus for your lesson! They also have several great links for further
   learning.
- http://www.science-niblets.org/

The science behind everyday topics, everyday science, incorporating science in the classroom, using science to teach english, using science to teach math, science activation strategies

3 ) Inside Jobs
- Inside jobs is a great student-friendly website to teach your students about
  different careers. Students can look up information such as average wage scales,
  what education they need, job demand, best schools for this career, and so
  much more!
- Students can search specific jobs, take quizzes to determine what kind of job
   might suit them or search jobs by their personality traits such as "Best jobs for
   science fans".
- This website has SO much information in one place for students and is quick
   and easy to access.
- http://www.insidejobs.com/

teaching students about careers, career opportunities, what job is best for me

4 ) All Sides
- I am very excited about this website that shares news stories from three
  different perspectives: the left, the center and the right. It is so interesting to read
   the different opinions on the same story!
- In Social Studies we always talk about the danger of the "hidden curriculum"
  where we may only be teaching one side of the story. This could be a great
  website to share in the classroom to discuss how different people interpret events
  differently!
- http://www.allsides.com/

news stories from different perspectives, hidden curriculum, teaching different perspectives

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

More on Student Teaching

     Before I even start I am apologizing for the randomness of this post. With school starting in a few short weeks my brain is already all over the place with a million ideas and questions! With it being my last year AND student teaching in schools where I may be interviewing in within 8-10 months I really want to make sure that I doing everything I can to make a good impression.

INFO ON STUDENT TEACHING
     I've had a few emails asking questions about the specifics of my student teaching placement so here is some more info:
SCHEDULE
- September 4th - 7th: Classroom Observation at S-School
  (how a classroom is set up, introducing yourself to students, setting
   expectations, etc)
- September 8th - October 12th: University Classes
- October 15th - November 23rd: Student Teaching at S-School
  (teach classes full-time using my own lesson plans and own
    management techniques)
SPECIFICS
- Grade 9-12 classroom
- My cooperating teacher teaches History and French
- I will be teaching History when I return in the fall and may be going to
  another classroom to observe Social Studies as I do not speak French
  but we are still figuring this out
- My fiance will also be in the same school teaching Gym! :)

CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT
     Yesterday I asked about when to introduce classroom management and I received some responses on the blog but a lot on Facebook and Twitter as well. Here is what people were saying:




      With everyone's suggestions in mind, I think I am going to discuss everything with my cooperating teacher (CT) next week when I see him in his classroom before school begins. Until then, I really have no idea what his plans for the first week will be. It could be that I will be strictly observing or it could be that I am an active part of the classroom. Either way, I will get his opinion on what he thinks is appropriate in regards to setting my expectations of students during that first, SHORT, week.

FILMING MY TEACHING
     Another thing that I am wondering about it is regarding my Whole Brain Teaching Certification. I have been working through the summer towards becoming an official Whole Brain Teaching Certified Instructor and am currently at 1,240 certification points as of August 20th! As such, I only have two more requirements to complete before I can be considered for certification: write an online exam and prepare a video of myself using WBT in my classroom. My question is, will I be allowed to use my CT's classroom in October to film my teaching video?
whole brain teaching, whole brain teaching certification, WBT

     So far, I haven't been able to find any information on the school's media release policy (is that the right term?) on the school or division website so it is definitely something I need to bring up with my CT and then with the principal. [I would be comfortable editing the film to protect student's privacy (blurring faces, not having names, etc) as well as having it viewed by administration for approval before I submitted it.] I think that filming myself teaching would not only help me fill the requirements of my WBT Certification but it would be great for myself to view and reflect on what I did well and where I need to improve. It could also be an interesting thing to include in an electronic portfolio for when I am applying for jobs!


     So I warned you that this post was going to be pretty random! I am solid when it comes to planning lesson plans, but it is all the other details that are always on my mind. If you have any suggestions, ideas, thoughts or concerns let me know; I would love to know what other teachers think! :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Student Teaching at "S-School"

     I'm almost done, five years done, ONE to go! In a short two weeks I am going to be starting my second year of my Bachelor of Education degree which will be the LAST year before I am officially graduated and certified as a teacher in Manitoba!

     In my first year of my Bachelor of Education I took part in two student teaching placements. My first one was five weeks long running from October through November and my second one, at "C-School", was seven weeks long (eight if you count spring break) running from March through May.

     In my second year, however, our first student teaching placement is broken up between one week at the very start of September and five weeks in the fall running from October through November again. This way, we are given an opportunity to see how a teacher sets up their classroom, first introduces themselves to their students and begins the school year (which starts in September in Manitoba). So we will spend the first week of school student teaching, return to the university for classes and then return back to that same school for our student teaching placements in the fall.

     I am so excited to learn that my fiance and I will both be placed with teachers at "S-School" which is only a ten minute drive from our home!! (You may remember that I was able to substitute teach here this past spring as well) This is so perfect because this is an area where we would love to get teaching positions one day. I am hoping that having an opportunity to be in the school as a student teacher will provide us with an opportunity to showcase our skills and meet both teachers and administration.

     One thing I am wondering about is how do I effectively introduce my expectations and routines to the students? I understand that the first week at the beginning of September will very much be observation and learning how my cooperating teacher interacts with his students but I can imagine there will be times where he will need to be out of the classroom or may have me distribute an assignment. If this happens, do I introduce some preliminary WBT strategies like "Class-Yes" or do I follow what my cooperating teacher has introduced?

     I know that the first week is very important for students in regards to setting up a classroom's expectations and culture. As such, it may be detrimental to introduce different strategies as I will be leaving for five weeks and they won't use them again until I return for the second portion of the placement. What are your thoughts? I will be using WBT when I am teaching later in the fall so do I introduce it early if I have the opportunity or should I wait and start fresh when I return?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Resources to Start Off Your Week 31

     Here are two great resources that can make your classroom life a lot easier for you, your students and their parents!

1 ) BringIt Sign Up Sheets
- BringIt is an online resource that teachers can use to make Sign Up Sheets
  that can be shared with the students and parents in their classroom(s). This
  can eliminate the need for parents to come in or call you personally to sign
  up for all of those things that come up throughout the year.
- BringIt allows users to automatically remind participants, allows participants
   to add ideas independently, can be public or private depending on your
   needs and much more!
- http://signup.pleasebringit.com/

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2 ) Lifehacker Pack for Students
- Are you a fan of lifehacker? If you haven't been following them, this website has
  lists of interesting tips and tricks for making your life SO much easier. In
  celebration of the new school year beginning, lifehacker has put out the ultimate
  pack of lifehacks for students.
- Students can browse by their operating system (Windows, Mac, Android, or
  iPhone) and then browse by categories such as productivity, communication, etc.
  This could be a great resource to bookmark on your classroom computers for
  student's to reference!
- http://lifehacker.com/5933059/the-lifehacker-pack-for-students

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Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fabulous Blog Award!

     I'm so happy and excited because I have been awarded a new blog award! Usually I see awards floating around on blogs but I haven't seen this one before so that makes it extra exciting :)

     I want to send out a BIG thank you to Rachel over at The End of the Bottle for passing this award onto me. Rachel is a wife, mom, and saloon manager who blogs about her family, her household and life in general. Lately she has been posting about household organization so you should definitely check it out!

blog award, whole brain teaching blog, whole brain teaching

Here are the rules:
- Thank the blogger who gave it to you and share the link back to the awarding blog.
- Name five (5) fabulous moments in your life.
- Name five (5) things that you love.
- Name five (5) thinks that you hate.
- Pass the award onto five (5) deserving blogs/bloggers.

FIVE FABULOUS MOMENTS (in no particular order)
- Graduating high school early at age 16 and moving away to begin university.
- Moving in with my then boyfriend, who is now my fiance.
- Graduating from my undergraduate degree.
- Getting engaged to the love of my life!
- Finishing my first day of my student teaching placement and thinking, yes I LOVE
  what I'm doing

FIVE THINGS I LOVE
- Family, (mine, my fiances, our future family) this is the most important thing in 
  my life.
- Teaching!
- Anything sweet (candy, chocolate, desert... I'll eat it all)
- Planning out our future with my fiance :)
- Being outside at and around our farm.

FIVE THINGS I HATE
- Being late! I get so upset and panicky. 
- A messy house.
- Migraine headaches. I get one about every week and without medication they can
  usually result in me in the hospital.
- Not being in control of a situation that directly influences me.
- Bologna (the deli meat). My fiance loves it but the smell and the texture seem awful
   to me!

FIVE DESERVING BLOGS
Picking blogs to pass awards onto is always hard because I find all my blogs fabulous, that's why I follow them! The blogs I'm highlighting are getting this award because I have really connected to their personal story or a post(s) that they have written.
- Dandelions and Dragonflies
- Shepherd's Shining Stars
- Having Fun in the Classroom
- My Whole Brain Teaching Blog
- Southern Teacher WBT

Thank you again Rachel!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday! Using "Mirror" In ASL

     For the past four summers I have been employed as a Child Development Worker with the Manitoba Government's Children's disABILITY Services department. (If you would like to read more about it you can check out a post I wrote at the beginning of the summer).

     One of my little guys has been with me on and off for 3 summers now and our main goal over the years has been communication. Larry* is currently still waiting for a full assessment of his specific disability but the doctors that he has seen have mentioned both Cerebral Palsy and Autism as a potential diagnosis. The nature of his disability has significantly affected his speech development such that he can vocalize sounds but has difficulty forming words. As a result, Larry's communication usually consists of grunts and a series of pointing. As you can imagine, it can sometimes be quite difficulty to understand Larry's needs, wants and ideas which is a consistent source of frustration for him.

     To assist in communication the school has been incorporating American Sign Language (ASL) but it has been a slow process so far. I personally don't feel as though enough time is spent working on Larry's ASL program and he sometimes can have difficulty manipulating his fingers to form the signs (which may be connected to a possible Cerebral Palsy diagnosis). None-the-less, Larry and I have been working on ASL over the summers with some success. One thing I have noticed, however, is that Larry is often unable to understand that there is a connection between a specific sign and it's meaning. Often times Larry may not even see that I am making a sign to communicate and instead may be staring at my face or in a different direction completely!

ASL, whole brain teaching, WBT
Well the other day we were visiting the school playground and I decided to set us down right next to the school to escape in the shade. As I tried to review signs with Larry I was frustrated because I noticed that he was again staring off in the opposite direction and not noticing what I was trying to communicate. Immediately after that, however, he turned around and signed to me the exact sign I had been trying to teach him! As I sat there completely surprised I noticed that Larry had been looking in the reflection of the window and watching me that way!

WBT, whole brain teaching strategy of mirror, using wbt mirror to learn
Of course I immediately thought of the WBT strategy of "Mirror". Larry hadn't been able to mirror my gestures regularly which perhaps has something to do with a possible diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum but since he seemed to LOVE watching our reflections in the windows he could now mirror my gestures perfectly! By using the window to highlight the signs I was forming, Larry and I were able to successfully review the signs for:
- Dog (puppy)
- Cat (kitty)
- No
- Flower
- Sun
- Green
- Boat
- Fish
- Water
- Practice
- Read

     When teaching ASL I was already trying to get Larry to mirror my gestures but I hadn't thought of it in terms of a conscious learning strategy. When Larry began using my actual reflection, however, I was pleasantly surprised how a physical mirror could assist us in learning.

* Names have been changed for privacy.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Resources to Start Off Your Week 30: Math!

     I was recently updating my Fav Websites page and I noticed that I have yet to add a list of math resources! I have never been strong in math and I think this is why I am never drawn to checking out math resources when I see them pop up on different blogs or websites. That is over now though as I am officially adding some great math resources!

     I will be creating a BRAND NEW heading on my Fav Websites page to include these resources (coming soon)!

1 ) Math Landing
- This website is one of those websites that has it all! It is the go-to resource
   for math teachers, especially teachers who may not be strong at math (like me)!
- Teachers can search through different Professional Development articles regarding
   math-related topics like understanding how learning disabilities affect math and
   classroom culture.
- There are also seven sets of Classroom Collections that feature learning tools,
   videos, games and much more to assist in developing different math skills.
- http://www.mathlanding.org/

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2 ) Sumdog
- Sumdog is a host of countless math-based online games that cover over 120
   numeracy skills; everything from adding and number order to variables and
   expressions.
- Teachers can sign up their students as a class and they can then work towards
   collective goals or compete against one another! Games can also be played
   against other schools in a safe online environment.
- This was the FAVOURITE website of my Grade 5 students during my student
   teaching placement at "C-School", they couldn't wait to get on it during free time.
- http://www.sumdog.com/
math resources for teachers, math resources for students, math in the classroom, math PD sessions, math professional development websites

3 ) Mudd Math Fun Facts!
- Created by the Havey Mudd College Math Department, this website features
  fun and creative puzzles, riddles and images that highlight a specific math skill.
- Students can work their way through different math concepts through poker
  games, sports scores, music and much more! This website could be a great
  activating strategy and a good way to show students how math is important in
  their daily lives.
- http://www.math.hmc.edu/funfacts/

math resources for teachers, math resources for students, math in the classroom, math PD sessions, math professional development websites

4 ) Illustrative Mathematics
-  Illustrative Mathematics features lesson activities for every grade from Kindergarten
   through High School. Lesson activities may include illustrations, diagrams and
   written expressions.
- Teachers could pull material for their own lessons or use the website as an
   enrichment activity for students to work through independently (depending on their age).
- http://illustrativemathematics.org/

math resources for teachers, math resources for students, math in the classroom, math PD sessions, math professional development websites

5 ) Math Mistakes
- This GREAT website features a different incorrectly-solved math problem
   each day. Teachers and students can go over the problem together to determine
   what the student may have been thinking. Why did they solve it that way? Where
   did they go wrong? What should they have done differently?
- Seeing what went wrong is a great way to teach different math concepts and this
   could be a great activating strategy to do at the beginning of each class!
- Teachers can also search by concept or grade if you would like to find a specific
   mistake for your class.
- http://mathmistakes.org/

math resources for teachers, math resources for students, math in the classroom, math PD sessions, math professional development websites

6 ) Geometry Daily
- Geometry Daily is a Tumblr account, operated by a graphic designer from
  Germany that features a new geometric shape each day.
- Teachers could use these images when teaching angles, symmetry, perimeter,
   area, rotation, reflection, translations... the options are endless!
- http://geometrydaily.tumblr.com/

math resources for teachers, math resources for students, math in the classroom, math PD sessions, math professional development websites

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, August 10, 2012

WBT Blog Bug Highlight: New WBT Blogs!

     With the school year beginning for many of my American Whole Brain Teachers I've been happy to see a number of brand new WBT blogs popping up! As I think back to when I first discovered WBT last fall, one of the things that definitely helped me was that I received so much support and encouragement from other WBT users.

     With that in mind, I wanted to highlight some of the new blogs that have popped up in the last few weeks! The beginning of the school year can be hectic enough without starting something that is brand new to them so please visit and send them your wishes!

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Barb at Teach the Whole Brain

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Mrs. Ross at 1st Grade Adventures in Whole Brain Teaching

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Kathy at Blizzard's Whole Brain Teaching Blog

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Sharon at Traveling 2 WBT

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Cassie at The Whole Brain Teaching Adventure

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Elizabeth at Seventh Grade WBT Language Arts


Make sure you check out all the wonderful WBT Blogs on the WBT Blogger Master List via Google Docs!

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Thursday, August 09, 2012

WBT High School Facebook Page

Are you on Facebook?
Are you part of the WBT High School Facebook page??
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Jill Armstrong over at History Teacher WBT
started our very own High School Facebook page but so far we only have 18 members!!

I know that WBT elementary teachers far outnumber us high school teachers so I am going on a recruiting mission! Are you wondering if WBT can work effectively in the high school setting the answer is, of course, YES! You can read my WBT in High School post for more info.

Please request to join our Facebook page :)

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

WBT TV! Week 1 Goals

     Are you back in the classroom yet? (I know some of my American followers are already back in the classroom and ready to go!) Here in Manitoba, school is still a little under a month away but it doesn't matter if you are still planning, just starting or well under way (like some of my Australian followers)!

     TONIGHT Coach B is hosting a live webcast video to assist teachers during their first week of using Whole Brain Teaching.


Tune in TONIGHT on the WBT Website!
5 PM    Western
6 PM   Mountain
7 PM     Central
8 PM    Eastern

Monday, August 06, 2012

Resources to Start Off Your Week 29

     I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend! I spent an amazing weekend at my grandparent's cabin in Northern Manitoba about 4 hours from our house or about 9-10 hours from the Canada-US border. We are now back at home much more relaxed and ready for the last month of work before summer begins.

Justin & I in front of one of the teepees set up in the town's main park.
     Here are some of the great resources I found this past week! As always, I will be adding them to my lists of resources under the Fav Websites tab.

1 ) JPL Infographics
- Jet Propulsion Laboratory from the NASA website has put together a
  great collection of infographics on planets, parts of our solar system and
  different NASA projects like different missions and rovers.
- Users can also create their OWN infographics using different information
   and designs from the NASA website. This could be a great way to put
   together information for your students.
- http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/infographics/

jet propulsion laboratory infographics, nasa infographics, create your own inforgraphics, infographics on space

2 ) Spelling City
- This is a great website for spelling and vocabulary practice. Users can search
   through spelling lists, take practice tests, play online games and activities and
   much more!
- Not only can this be a great resource for in the classroom but it
  could also work perfect for parents who are helping their students with their
  spelling at home. It could also be one of those go-to websites that students
  can access during free time.
- http://www.spellingcity.com/

spelling and vocabulary websites, spelling websites for kids


3 )10 TED Talks from Inspiring Teachers
- This article from the TED blog highlights 10 TED Talks from inspiring teachers
   from all around the globe.
- Definitely a list to check out if you are looking for a new perspective or some
   added inspiration this year!
- http://blog.ted.com/2012/07/31/10-talks-from-inspiring-teachers/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TEDBlog+%28TEDBlog%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

TED blog, TED talks from teachers


Happy Monday everyone!

Pinterest Linky Party!

rainbows within reach, pinterest for teachers, using pinterest in the classroom, pinterest

     Debbie over at Rainbows Within Reach has come up with an AMAZING blog hop/linky party (is there a specific name we are supposed to use for these things?) Anyways, its all for teachers who blog and use Pinterest!! Are there teachers who are not using Pinterest these days?

     Make sure you head over and link up to find some great teaching bloggers and pinners!


Thursday, August 02, 2012

Connected Educator Month

     Did you know that August is Connected Educator Month?? To be honest I had not heard of Connected Educator Month until I stumbled across it yesterday on one of my favourite admin blogs, A Principal's Reflections written by Eric Sheninger.
connected educator month, becoming a connected educator,
Original Image Credit: http://mswaughsclass.blogspot.com/2011/04/21st-century-classroom.html Shared by Eric Sheninger at: http://esheninger.blogspot.ca/2012/08/connectedness-as-standard.html

     To celebrate I thought I would share an article I wrote for the Spring 2012 edition of the ManACE Journal. ManACE (the Manitoba Association for Computing Educators) is a Special Area Group of the Manitoba Teachers' Society as well as a member of the International Society for Technology in Education. The article I wrote shared my experience becoming a connected teacher as I discovered the many options available for teachers today.
*This edition of the journal is not available online yet but I am providing my original article below since I have it saved in a word document.

ManAce, Manitoba Association for Computing Educators
A snapshot of my article: Landen, Kirsten. (2012) "Becoming A Connected Teacher", Manitoba Association for Computing Educators. 30.2, pg 14-15.

     As I sat in my, “ICT in Education”, class during my first term of my first year as an education student I found myself thinking more than once that, “…this is something I will never use.” Google Reader? I don’t read nor follow any blogs anyways. Twitter? I already use Facebook. PLN? I’m not even a teacher yet. Now here I am, four months later, writing this article as I update Twitter, check Google Reader, update my We Teach and EduPLN profiles, add pins to my collaborative and individual Pinterest boards and brainstorm topics for my blog. Its funny how that worked out isn’t it?

     When I started my first student teaching placement last fall I found myself spending hours and hours researching classroom management techniques. It was through this, that I began finding different education blogs. Some were written by theorists, some were written by organizations, but most were written by teachers themselves. I quickly became obsessed; there was so much to learn! I was immediately drawn to the idea that there were other teachers and people in the education field sharing their ideas and collaborating to create fun, educational and fulfilling experiences for their students. I began to follow more and more blogs, checking back each day to see what new learning adventure I could be a part of. The next natural step? Why Google Reader of course! What had previously been an unnecessary tool was now a wonderfully ingenious organizational resource. Imagine that, a tool to organize all of my blogs and notify me of new posts! Well that was only the beginning.

     As Christmas break began I found myself immersed in education blogs and thinking that perhaps I could be a part of this. Almost all of my education classes had me complete reflection assignments on what I was learning and, in my mind, a blog could be the perfect place to organize my thoughts and even get some feedback. My first foray into the blogging world began on Weebly; a wonderfully simple and free website that I had been introduced to in my ICT class. As I began writing and slowly getting some feedback I realized that I wanted a more recognized format and decided to switch to Blogger. Being that many… ok all, of my followers were family and friends it was easy to notify everyone of my blog’s new location. What happened after that can only really be described as “the snowball effect”. For example, I wrote a post regarding the importance of engaging all areas of our student’s brains and comments on that lead me to the Brain Based Teaching group on EduPLN. I signed right up and now maintain a profile where I am able to connect with some amazing educators from all over the world. The networking opportunities on EduPLN lead me to the We Teach group; an incredibly supportive and interactive PLN that I have become an active member of. Between these two PLNs and my blog I also discovered the educational potential of Pinterest and began sending out my very first tweets, gasp!

     Are you dizzy yet? I would be lying if I said I wasn’t! This adventure is often a whirlwind for me but in admits the chaos I have been able to access countless resources, received constructive and supportive feedback on my thoughts and ideas and been able to network with some of the most wonderful educators from all over the world. Entering the education field is something different from anything else that I have ever experienced and I am drawn in by the collaboration and support that teachers offer one another. That’s the wonderful thing about teachers, isn’t it? We all love teaching so much that it doesn’t matter if it is our students we are teaching, our colleagues or people on the other side of the world. Technology has truly opened up our opportunities and I am now embracing it with open arms!


     Want to read more about Connected Educator Month? Here are 33 Tips regarding PLNs and becoming "connected".

How are you becoming a connected educator?

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday! My Classroom

     I follow many blogs from American teachers and have been enviously viewing all your posts as you set up your new classrooms. Unfortunately, not only does school not start here in Manitoba, Canada for over a month yet but I still have one year left in my Bachelor of Education so I don't even have my own classroom yet! :( So I've decided to show you what my dream classroom would be like through some of my favourite pins from Pinterest.

CLASSROOM DESIGN

Pinned from: http://sohouse2home.blogspot.ca/2010/09/all-over-globes.html
I love the idea of globes from the ceiling, especially for a social studies/geography/history classroom!

Pinned from: http://www.schoolgirlstyle.com/2011/09/bird-theme/
I hope to have a classroom design/theme that is consistent throughout the entire room. Not only does it look amazing but it shows how organized and prepared you are!
Melanie at Schoolgirl Style has some great ideas and is hosting a giveaway right now.

Pinned from: http://booky4first.blogspot.ca/2011/05/desks-desks-desks.html?showComment=1305084722184
Even at the High School level I like the idea of having shelves for each group of desks as it eliminates wandering around the room for supplies!

Pinned from: http://dandelionsdragonflies.blogspot.ca/2011/08/finally-my-classroom-reveal.html
I've shown this picture before as it is one of my favourites! My ideal classroom would be super organized and this one has shelving for each group of desks as well.

CLASSROOM ORGANIZATION

Pinned from: http://secondgradestyle.blogspot.ca/2012/07/back-to-school.html
I like the idea of keeping track of where your students are when they are out of the room, especially in High School where student's sometimes tend to "wander" around for quite some time! If it was a white board students could write in the time they left as well.

Pinned from: http://www.teachingblogaddict.com/2012/06/organizing-bulletin-board-letters.html
Using a CD case has to be the BEST idea I've ever heard of for organizing classroom bulletin board letters!

Pinned from: http://www.3rdgradethoughts.com/2012/07/monday-made-it-no-name-clip-board.html#.UBnt0qBdQT0
I do not look forward to chasing students down when assignments have no names! I hope something like this near the front door of the classroom can eliminate some of that.

Pinned from:http://dandelionsdragonflies.blogspot.ca/2012/07/answered-questions-and-pinterest.html
Having homework clearly displayed in a consistent space allows students to know exactly what is expected of them. Plus these DIY boards are so cute and can fit into any theme you choose!

WBT ELEMENTS

Pinned from: http://mrs-smithsroom.blogspot.ca/2012/07/my-super-improvers-wall-is-up.html
A Super Improvers Wall like Mrs. Smith's, which I've highlighted before, definitely exemplifies having a consistent classroom theme and being super organized!

Pinned from: http://nstoltenbergwbt.blogspot.ca/2012/07/power-pix-and-core-standards.html
I know wall space always seems to be at a premium in classrooms so having a clearly defined spot for my Power Pix wall is important, especially if I end up teaching multiple classes in a High School.

Pinned from: http://misslwholebrainteaching.blogspot.ca/2012/02/whole-brain-teaching-wednesday.html
The Scoreboard is obviously a very important part of a WBT classroom! I mentioned previously I wanted to get away from the "Teacher vs. Students" label as it didn't seem to be a good fit for me. Since then I've decided that I like the idea of having the scoreboard actually display the reward for the day/class.
Example: "5 questions of homework vs. 3 questions of homework" or "Class ends at regular time vs. Class is out 5 mins early"


Thanks to all the wonderful teachers out there who are willing to blog and pin their ideas, you've provided so much inspiration for so many people. I can't wait until I have my own classroom one day and I can incorporate all of these ideas :)