Friday, May 31, 2013

Graduation Day!

brandon university graduation 2013, BU grad 2013Today my fiance and I graduated with our Bachelor of Education (After Degree)s in the 102nd Convocation at Brandon University (B.U)! We, along with approximately 150 other students, participated in the afternoon graduation ceremony that included students from all different faculties. 
     This is our second degree for both my fiance and I, and we couldn't be more proud of the goals we have achieved over our last six years at B.U. It was a very overwhelming feeling to know that this chapter of our lives was now done and we will be starting our new chapter, as classroom teachers, in just a few short months.

     My fiance graduated with Great Distinction which means he held an average of 3.80 or better (on the 4.30 scale). I graduated with Greatest Distinction which means I held an average of 3.90 or better (on the 4.30 scale). I was also awarded the Brandon University Silver Medal which is awarded to students "deemed by the Departments to have the best academic performance, and who obtain a 3.50 grade point average or better in their area of study."           

     It was so nice to be able to catch up with our class, see who has jobs lined up for next year, and organize plans to meet up in the future. I couldn't ask for a better group of people to spend the last 2-6 years with and graduate together. I want to thank all of the professors who helped us along the way, the teachers who hosted us in their classrooms as student teachers, our families for all of their unwavering support, and everyone else who has been a part of our lives as we made our way through this journey. Best of luck to the graduating class of 2013!
Brandon university faculty of education, brandon university faculty of ed graduation 2013, brandon university faculty of ed senior years
The Faculty of Education Senior Years Grad Class of 2013!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

ManACE Journal

     I am very honoured to have one of my articles featured in the Spring 2013 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. This is the second time I have been published in their journal and am very excited to share my thoughts with other educators in our province. (The first time I was published was in the Spring 2012 edition.)

     My article, Teaching in A Fishbowl - What Can Happen When Teachers Are Online, was first featured on my blog in March of this year.The ManACE Journal is now available online and the Spring 2013 edition can be viewed in its entirerty at: https://www.evernote.com/shard/s143/sh/a5c3288b-bdbb-4e3c-b790-029addf37cd2/70257a62b8c9f9acfcc59efefabd57ca

teaching in a fishbowl, teachers and social media, how to be safe online

Monday, May 27, 2013

Resources To Start Off Your Week 65: Video Edition

     As I prepare for my first year in the classroom I have been thinking seriously about my personal philosophy of education and what my role is as a teacher. As part of this, I have been conferencing with my school principal and colleagues at "S-School", reflecting on my development since I entered the Faculty of Education, exploring various edu-blogs, and reading through education news articles from around the world.

     This week, instead of posting my regular annotated selection of classroom resources, I want to share some of my favourite online videos that get me thinking about education and the role of classroom teachers. Rather than provide my thoughts on each one, I'd like to leave you with just the videos themselves. Please leave your response(s) to the videos in the comments below and I'll reply with my thoughts! Here are some of my favourite videos that are related to education and the role of classroom teachers (in no particular order):
Lamont Carey (I Can't Read) HBO Def Jam Poetry. (2007). Uploaded by Andre Paulson. 
RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms. (2010). Uploaded by The RSA. 

What Teachers Make Final Moviebk2 001. (2009). Uploaded by Kelly Gleason. 

I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate||Spoken Word. (2013). Uploaded by sulibreezy. 

     What are your thoughts on these videos?
What videos have you found that make you think about the education system and/or your role as an educator?

Roller Coaster Week Update

     At the start of the month I posted about what a crazy week I was having due to coming down with a major stomach bug, going through my first teaching interview, crashing my car during a May snowstorm, and being offered my first teaching position! If you missed the craziness, you can see my post here.

Well what seems like an incredibly short amount of time later, I am happy to announce that the excitement is still running high! This weekend my fiance and I purchased our first vehicle together, a 2004 Buick Rendezvous! Since my accident we have been arranging carpooling options and sharing our one truck between the two of us. On most days this worked out fine, as we were both substitute teaching at "S-School", but it was a big pain on the days where we had to drive in opposite directions to substitute teach. I love our new "grown up" vehicle and am so happy that we now both have a reliable vehicle for our Manitoba winters.

On Thursday, my fiance was called by the superintendent of "T-Division" (the same division that I just got hired by) and was asked to come in this morning for an interview! We were both also scheduled to substitute teach at "S-School" so he made accommodations for his morning classes, dropped me off first, and headed another 20 minutes south for his interview. He officially interviewed for a High School Phys-Ed position (with additional classes to be determined) at "M-School" which is a 20 minute drive from "S-School".

He must have blown them out of the water because he was offered the position on the spot and officially accepted it this afternoon!! He will be teaching the High School Phys-Ed classes, one class of Grade 5 English, and one class of High School math. We are so excited to both be working in "T-Division" together and he can even drive me to work each morning :) While it still needs to be determined, we are hoping that his math class is either Grade 9 or Grade 10 so we can prep together as I am teaching both of those classes at "S-School". I am so proud and excited of him as his background is in Phys-Ed and he always looked forward to having his own gym to coach in.

     This is a very exciting time for us and I can't wait for the upcoming year. Our official university graduation is this Friday and I can't wait to touch base with my peers and professors and see how everyone else is making out with their new classrooms and/or job search.

     Good luck to all the teachers out there who are undertaking their job search right now, my fingers are crossed for you!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Exploring Interests... Planning for the End of the School Year

     On average, I try to blog at least twice a week, but this can reach up to four or five times a week depending on what is going on in my life. I also spend time each morning reading through various edu-blogs (my version of the morning paper) and try to keep up with Twitter throughout the day. This has become my routine and I feel like I have benefited ten-fold from the networking opportunities that my PLN has granted me.

     Last week, however, I found myself completely pull away from my computer and my iPhone was actually only being used as a phone instead of another internet source (imagine that). In fact, I've been online less and less as the month of May has progressed. I, alternatively, have turned to our personal library and immersed myself in some of my favourite books. I've always loved reading for pleasure and my fiance and I maintain a rather large personal library housing everything from historical fiction and fantasy to science fiction and celebrity biographies. Now I'm just not talking about starting a new book...
- I'm talking about spending up to 8 hours an evening reading
- I'm talking about finishing four 300+ page novels in five days
- I'm talking about ignoring my computer, ignoring my phone, ignoring
  my television, ignoring everything and just reading

books, reading

     Does this mean that I will no longer be online? Of course not. Will I go back to my regular schedule? Yes. It is simply that time of year where I wanted needed a change of routine. While I still enjoyed my schedule I needed a break in order to clear my mind and allow myself to actually get the most out of my actions.

     Is any of this beginning to sound vaguely familiar? Have our students been acting differently lately? Are regular routines, that have been working great all year, now not cutting it? Perhaps our students are no longer finishing their assignments as quickly (or at all). Perhaps our students are getting distracted more easily and are displaying behaviours that you never saw a few months ago. The end of the year can be one of the most challenging times for students and teachers. We are required to finish up our curriculum, prepare students for final exams (if applicable), get all student work in, assess student learning, squeeze in time for field trips and extracurriculars.... and manage 20+ students who are beginning to tune out.

day dreaming student, planning for the last month of school, planning for the last weeks of school, engagement in the last month of school

     It can be easy to remain on a "default setting" and attempt to carry on like you have been all year but, as you may know, the students (and most likely yourself) need something new. In the same way I needed to move away from my routine to explore something I have always been interested in, students also need to use this time to revisit material from throughout the year and explore their interests. In Manitoba, teachers are required to assess student's most recent learning so this can also be a great opportunity for students to showcase their most recent understanding and be reassessed.

     In these last few weeks of school students need to be provided with an opportunity to work on something that genuinely interests them. Allow your students to revisit their favourite lesson to explore further or perhaps research something completely new that wasn't able to be covered in class. The opportunities are truly endless and should be individualized for each student, but here are some activity suggestions to try:

- Allow students to revisit their favourite unit and create projects to 
  solve new/interesting questions. (ex) If you taught about the solar
  system, introduce the Mars One project and have students debate
  if sending four people to live alone until their death is ethical?

- Allow students to be the teacher and create a lesson for one of their
  favourite topics/subjects. This can be presented to the class for review
  opportunities or even to a younger grade as a mentoring activity.

- Create portfolios highlighting various work samples throughout the year.
  Have students reflect on their growth, where they struggled, where they
  excelled, etc. This can be hardcopy or digital.

- Have students create their own review options for their peers. Students
  can usually tell you what they find most interesting so by allowing them to
  create their own review options you can ensure that they will be engaged
  and it can give you great ideas for further use!

- Allow students to anonymously critique the course. What did they like, what
  did they not like, and (most importantly) why. By asking students "why" you are
  not only asking them to critique your teaching but encouraging metacognition;
  why did they like/not like that aspect?

- Plan some type of field trip (real or virtual). Sometimes during the year it can
  be hard to implement field trips due to time constraints, funds, weather, etc. At
  the end of the year you have a stronger sense of what budget is remaining and it
  can be easier to plan cross-curricular field trips. (ex) Maybe you couldn't justify
  visiting the art gallery in October just to showcase contrast in colours but by the
  end of the year you can discuss contrast in colours (art), uses of geometry (math),
  perspective of the artist (social studies), etc.

- Revisit favourite activities. Maybe there was an awesome hands-on activity
  that you created for your unit on ecosystems that students loved. Bring back that
  activity for review purposes or challenge students to create it so it is applicable
  to a different subject/topic.

- Allow students to create "Coles Notes" for a specific unit or the class
  as a whole. Students can put the information in their own words, including
  video clips and images that they found the most helpful/interesting. This can be
  a great review opportunity and some students will be really interested in knowing
  they are helping out future students. (Think of the resources you'd have over a few
  years!)

     The important thing to remember is that you want to end the school year on a positive note. Your students want to know that you enjoyed being a part of their lives and that you are wishing them the best in the future (even if you will be seeing them again in a few short months). If you realize that what you are currently doing will not allow this, then it is time to change it up. Make it relevant to their personal lives... make it meaningful for them.... allow them to explore their interests.

     What type of activities/projects do you introduce at the end of the year? I'd love to add new suggestions to this list!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Resources To Start Off Your Week 64

     Okay so I realize that it is technically Tuesday... not Monday... but I got swept up with the busy schedule of the long weekend and forgot to post yesterday! The good news is that we have finally started seeding our fields so my fiance, father-in-law and our extended family had a busy weekend cultivating and beginning to seed. They also had to move our cattle from the yard out to the various pastures as well so they were working VERY hard over the long weekend.

     For me, the weekend consisted of getting caught up on housework, moving vehicles around for the guys in the field, and attempting to do some prep work for school. Part of that included finding some neat resources that I thought fit in perfect with my science and math classes that I am going to have in September! As always, I will be adding these to my list of resources under the Fav Websites heading.

1 ) Wonderopolis
- Have you ever wondered.....? This website is a great resource to explore
  all of those random and thought-provoking questions that the innocence of
  childhood brings up. Why do stink bugs, stink? Is the 5 second rule really
  true? Can you tickle yourself?
- Wonderopolis allows users to search through various "wonders" that can
  be narrowed down by subject area and grade level. Each "wonder" includes
  text, videos, and images to help explain the question.
- The website also features a "Wonder of the Day" that could be built into a
  morning routine or used as an activating strategy for science classes. I think
  this website could be really neat for drawing students into science classes and
  encouraging creativity and, well, wonder. 
http://wonderopolis.org/

wonderopolis

2 ) PBS: Design Squad Nation
- This website, which is part of the PBS website, features some great hands-on
  activities and ideas to get students engaged in engineering. Users can pick from
  a variety of topics such as structures, simple machines, electricity, etc and find
  a plethora of lesson plans, animations, and videos!
- Teachers can use the lesson plan/activity ideas or use the animations and videos
  as supplementary materials for their own lessons. I am definitely going to be using
  this with my students in the upcoming year as components of this are included in
  both our Grade 7 and Grade 8 curriculum.
http://pbskids.org/designsquad/parentseducators/

engineering in the classroom, engineering activities for students, engineering for kids

3 ) Scholastic: Study Jams
- One of the fun things I try to include in my classes is a music lesson to meet the
  needs of my musical learners and provide a new, engaging opportunity for my
  students. More often than not, this is provided in the form of various YouTube
  videos put out by other teachers/students, but Study Jams has now provided
  a new platform for this!
- Put out by Scholastic, Study Jams features math and science songs to help
  students learn and understand various vocabulary and concepts. Students
  can watch videos, test their knowledge, and sing along with songs created for
  educational purposes.
- While it states that it is created for elementary students I would use certain
  videos with middle years and it would be a great website for differentiating
  instruction.
http://studyjams.scholastic.com/studyjams

learning through music, bringing music into the classroom, study jams, science songs, math songs

Happy Monday Tuesday everyone!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Do Your Students See Aboriginal People/Culture in the Classroom?

     During the fall semester of this past year of university I took the course, Teaching of Aboriginal Studies. For my followers who are from outside of Manitoba, this course is a provincially-mandated requirement for all educators in Manitoba as of 2008. Throughout this course I posted periodically about guest speakers we had, projects we completed, and curriculum documents that we worked with. (These posts can be found under the Aboriginal Perspective label). I really enjoyed this course and felt like it opened up my eyes and made me realize how important it is, as an educator, to ensure that perspectives of all Canadian people are represented in the classroom. There are many students at "S-School" and members of our community who come from an Aboriginal background which has influenced me even further and convinced me of how important it is to represent this in the classroom.

     While there are a lot of instructional methods and strategies that I will be consciously incorporating into my curriculum planning, an additional aspect that stood out for me was the question, "Do your students see Aboriginal people and culture represented in the classroom?" In my experiences, the answer has often been no. 


     In November, Mrs. D from Reading with Mrs. D shared the educational resource company, Native Reflections, with me. It features aboriginal perspective educational resources and has literally EVERYTHING a teacher could ever want from pencils and decorations to textbooks and supplementary materials. I ordered myself a copy of their catalogue and am happy to say that I was able to order some really neat things this week to add to my future classroom. Here is a sneak peek!

aboriginal perspective in the classroom,
School Borders SB-39. Native Reflections. Available online at: http://www.nativereflections.com/products.php?view=446&sr=borders
     The classroom I am going to be in has one full wall of bulletin boards and I can't wait to decorate them and set them up for my different classes. I ordered this set of Bulletin Board Borders featuring the four traditional colours, hand-prints and dream catcher designs. 

aboriginal perspective in the classroom
Working With Math Posters. Native Reflections. Page 176. Available online at:  http://www.nativereflections.com/catalog.pdf
     My schedule for next year includes three different math courses and I decided to order these basic mathematics posters to refer back to during lessons. They also feature the four traditional colours and aboriginal imagery.
aboriginal perspective in the classroom
Seven Teachings Kids Carpet. Native Reflections. Available online at:  http://www.nativereflections.com/products.php?view=4343&sr=seven%20teaching
     I've shared this area rug a few times on my blog and I keep coming back to it again and again. The  Seven Teachings play a big role in my classroom climate and I would love to have something vibrant like this as part of our classroom decor! Due to it's cost I haven't been able to order it yet, but have added it to my "wish list". 

     I also ordered a large dream catcher-style poster about the Seven Teachings to hang up in the classroom but don't have an available picture for it. I know that it will be a few years before I can have something like the area rug (above) so I wanted to still have the Seven Teachings represented in some other visual format.
_______________________________________________________

     Overall I definitely recommend you check out Native Reflections! What would you order for your classroom? To read more about Aboriginal perspective in the classroom, visit the Manitoba Education Curriculum Document:
Manitoba Education & Youth. (2003) Integrating Aboriginal perspectives into the curricula: A resource for curriculum developers, teachers, and administratorsWinnipeg, MB: School Programs Division

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Let The Prepping Begin!

     Last week I shared some of the awesome resources that I had found for one of the classes I was prepping for: Grade 7 Science. As of last week, this was the only class that I had started my prep work for as I was still waiting for my final teaching schedule to be solidified. Well the wait is now over, as I picked up my official schedule yesterday after school!
prepping for the classroom
Just a few of the many resources I have available to start prepping! 
     I am happy to announce that I will be the Grade 8 homeroom teacher at "S-School"! Altogether I have six classes ranging from Grade 7 to Grade 10! Here is a peak at what my schedule looks like:

teaching schedule

     This week I have been fortunate enough to sit down with the current teacher and go over teaching resources, discuss instructional strategies, share classroom materials and even order classroom supplies! (Thanks so much "Ms. K"!!) I was also able to order school clothing for next year including "S-School" t-shirts and hoodies. It is so exciting to finally be able to order clothing with staff embroidered on the sleeve! I can't wait to really dive into my planning now that I know exactly what my schedule looks like. As I always do, I will be sharing my progress along the way and providing you with links and info on the neat things I find  :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Resources To Start Off Your Week 63

     It is Monday and a kick-off to my busy weeks of substitute teaching! I am officially finished my student teaching placement but have been very lucky to have been booked EVERY DAY for the next three weeks for substitute teaching at various schools in "T-Division" and "M-Division". I have also started prepping for my first classroom(s) which will start in the fall. As part of that, I've been finding some great resources that I feel go towards creating a culture of respect and safe learning environment. As always, I will be adding these to my lists of resources under the Fav Websites heading.

1 ) "Buy A Dictionary" Posters
- In my classroom I strive to provide a risk-free environment where all
  students are free to be themselves without fear of discrimination based on
  disability, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or any other means.
- One aspect of this includes using positive language and staying away from
  phrases that have negative connotations associated with them. These two
  posters, created by Alison Rowan Designs, do a great job of showcasing
  all of the other options that are available in place of sayings that can be
  hurtful.
http://alisonrowan.bigcartel.com/product/reduced-shipping-folded-11x17-buy-a-dictionary-poster
http://alisonrowan.bigcartel.com/product/11x17-buy-a-dictionary-poster-that-s-so-retarded



2 ) Need Help Now
- Social media plays a BIG role in our student's lives and, unfortunately, they
  sometimes find that there is too much information about them available online.
  Whether they have purposefully shared this information, or they find themselves
  the victims of  having someone else share information/pictures/videos/etc without
  their permission, this website is a great support.
- This website gives students practical information and support in regards to getting
  pictures/videos of themselves removed from online sources, dealing with peers who
  are distributing these pictures/videos, providing counselling support and much
  more!
* Download your own copy of the poster below at
  http://needhelpnow.ca/app/en/resources-video#the_video
http://needhelpnow.ca/app/en/

need help now, canadian center for child protection, youth are not alone, you(th) are not alone

Happy Monday everyone!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Don't Take Credit For Teaching Me

     There has been a specific video popping up everywhere online this week: Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, etc. You probably know the one I am talking about: Jeff Bliss, from Texas, telling his teacher how she should be doing her job. If you haven't seen it yet, take a look:



     When I watched this video I couldn't help but think of my experiences in the classroom and some things definitely jumped out at me. The first thing was how the teacher handled the situation. The video, unfortunately, doesn't show the lead up to this conversation but the student is obviously completely frustrated with the situation and the teacher doesn't even get up from her desk. When I am teaching I am never actually sitting at the desk, I am usually wandering about the classroom, interacting with students, answering questions, monitoring work, etc. If I had a student who was frustrated to this point I would either pull them out to talk through the situation privately or have a large-group discussion if I felt the situation needed it (I wouldn't remain sitting at my desk). The other thing that really bothered me was that the teacher didn't even respond to the student's comments and questions. In fact, you can repeatedly hear her in the background saying, "Goodbye", "Get out", and "You are wasting my time". As a teacher, I strongly believe we should be encouraging our students to learn and develop as individuals while providing a safe environment for them to do so. Personally, comments like that do not seem to fit in with this mindset.

     The other thing that stood out for me was the student's comments about differentiated instruction, or lack thereof. The comment from the video states, "Just get up and teach em' instead of handing them a freakin' packet... there are kids in here that don't learn like that. They need to learn face-to-face." It is so important for teachers to not only work on making learning relevant and meaningful for their students, but also work on providing various learning opportunities based on their student's needs, abilities, and interests. If a situation is to the point where the students are calling teachers out on not differentiating instruction, then something is definitely wrong. 99% of the time if you ask your students what they like/dislike about school they can tell you right away that they "hate writing notes", "need the classroom to be quiet in order to focus", "love activities where they can move around the room", etc. All teachers, regardless of subject, need to be willing to provide various learning opportunities to help ensure that all of their students can be successful. The teacher in the video, apparently, uses a booklet/packet method that students work through interdependently or at their own pace.

     I think the main thing that teachers should take out of this video is that it is so important to be a life-long learner. Maybe the teacher finds it easier to be organized by making packets that are distributed to the students and maybe she has years where her students flourish under this method. The student(s) in the video, however, obviously do not feel that this method is benefiting them in any way. As a teacher, it is our job to understand our students, be cognizant of new and different teaching ideas, and be willing to change our methods to best meet our student's needs. It is my hopes that the teacher takes this opportunity to reevaluate her philosophy of teaching and maybe take some PD opportunities to differentiate instruction in the classroom.

     While videos like this can be negative or disappointing, I want to leave you with a video that I always find inspirational. Think about why you got into teaching and what you want for your students.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Interactions with Ecosystems Resources

     I have officially started planning for my first classroom which will start in September! I don't have my full teaching schedule yet, as a few things need to still be worked out, but I know that I will for sure have Grade 7 Science. As such, I've started my year planning and hope to have everything planned out for the full Grade 7 course by May 18th. Of course, things will change around once I meet my students and get to understand their needs and interests, but I want to prepare as much as possible.
ecosystem resources, ecosystem classroom resources, ecosystems for kids
I Spy an Ecosystem. (Accessed 2013). Uploaded by ASU Ask a Biologist. Available online at: http://askabiologist.asu.edu/explore/i-spy-ecosystem

     Not having any experience with this curriculum before, I started with square one: unit one, which is Interaction with Ecosystems. I went through and organized the curriculum outcomes into four general themes which I hope to cover over the course of 4-5 weeks. Here is how I organized them:


Introduction to Ecosystems
Enduring Understanding: Ecosystems contain complex interactions between organisms and their environment.
7-1-01     Use appropriate vocabulary related to their investigations of interactions
                within ecosystems. Include: ecosystem, biosphere, abiotic, biotic, 
                organisms, ecological succession, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, 
                ecological pyramid, bioaccumulation, scavengers, decomposers, 
                micro-organisms.
7-1-02     Define ecosystem, and describe various examples that range from the 
                microscopic to the entire biosphere. Include: a place on Earth where living 
                things interact with other living things as well as non-living things.
7-1-03     Identify abiotic and biotic components of ecosystems that allow particular
                organisms to  survive.
7-1-04     Define ecological succession & identify signs of succession in a variety of
                ecosystems. Include: the natural process whereby some specific are 
                replaced by other species in a predictable pattern.

Ecosystem Protection & Preservation
Enduring Understanding: Environmental, social, and economic factors influence human relationships with ecosystems, including management and preservation.
7-1-05     Identify & describe positive and negative examples of human interventions 
                that have an impact on ecological succession or the makeup of ecosystems.
7-1-06     Identify environmental, social, & economic factors that should be considered 
                in management & preservation of ecosystems
7-1-07    Propose a course of action to protect the habitat of particular organism within 
              an ecosystem.

Matter Cycling, Food Webs & Ecological Pyramids
Enduring Understanding: Matter and energy are cycled naturally within an ecosystem through the relationship between producers and consumers.
7-1-08     Compare photosynthesis to cellular respiration, and explain how both are
                part of the cycling of matter and the transfer of energy in ecosystems.
                Include: photosynthesis, cellular respiration
7-1-09     Analyze food webs, using ecological pyramids, to show energy gained or
                lost at various consumer levels.
7-1-10     Analyze, using ecological pyramids, the implications of the loss of producers 
                and consumers to the transfer of energy within an ecosystem.
7-1-11     Explain, using ecological pyramids, the potential or bioaccumulation within
                an ecosystem.
7-1-12     Provide examples of scavengers & decomposers, and describe their role in
                cycling matter in an ecosystem.

Micro-Organisms & Humans
Enduring Understanding: Knowledge and understanding of micro-organisms have improved food production and preservation techniques, as well as ease of human consumption.
7-1-14     Identify beneficial & harmful roles played by micro-organisms
7-1-15     Research & describe human food production or preservation techniques that
                apply a knowledge of micro-organisms.
______________________________________________________________

     In addition to hard-copy resources I have available in the school and from colleagues, I also started to organize some online resources to supplement our classroom activities. If you happen to be following along with me on Twitter you have probably noticed how excited I've been about some of the neat things I've been finding! Not wanting to keep all the fun to myself, I wanted to share them with all of you! Here are the resources I found, organized by the themes I stated above. For each one I've included the title, a very brief point about what it includes, and the link. 

Introduction to Ecosystems
 National Geographic - Ecosystems Education
- Articles, activities, colouring pages, etc

University of Alberta Biology Department - Ecosystem Labeling Interactive
- Biotic, abiotic, mimicry, producer, consumer, parasitism, mutualism, commensalism

Ecosystem Sampling Outdoor Activity
- Biotic and abiotic components

Ecosystems Rap Song
- Abiotic, biotic, niche, limiting factors, adaptation, mutualism, commensalism, 
  parasitism
- Review activity
- Good copy Music Video available at:
- Lyrics available at:

Web of Life Interactive Game
- Abiotic, biotic, human interference, preservation/protection
- Good lead up to next section

Preservation/Protection
Manitoba Conservation Wildlife Management Branch
- Wildlife management, special conservation areas
- Provincially relevant

“Partner Interview” Review Activity
- Negative effects, positive effects, protected habitats, management, endangered 
  species

Matter Cycling
Sheppard Software - Food Chain Game
- Simple, large, marine, mixed, full, human intervention

Sheppard Software - Matter Cycling Info
- Producers/Consumers, food chain, bigger chains, photosynthesis, decomposers

BrainPop - Food Fight Game
- Make food pyramids
- Educators Support Document

“Candle in a Jar” Photosynthesis Candle/Plant in Jar
- Photosynthesis and cellular respiration

Micro-Organisms
Food Safety Music - “Microbes They Might Kill You” - “We Are The Microbes”
- Queen Song Parody

Micro-organisms - Environmental Literacy Council
- Environment, humans, negatives

Love Your Gut Activity Book
- Bacteria, fungi, viruses, good effects, bad effects
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I hope you find these resources as awesome as I do! If there is something you think I should add to my list let me know, I'd love to hear about the awesome things you are using with your class :)


Tuesday, May 07, 2013

What To Order/Create/Find?

     Even though I don't have my confirmed teaching schedule quite yet (I should have it within a few weeks) I can't help but begin to plan out my classroom for the fall. So even though I can't really begin planning curriculum aspects, I've started planning some of the organizational aspects for my classroom. Right now, the teachers at "S-School" have started making their orders for next year's classes and I've been fortunate enough to be included in the ordering! Here are some of the pictures that have been inspiring me so far.
classroom supply organization, classroom supplies
Classroom Supply Organization. Pinterest. http://media-cache-ec3.pinimg.com/originals/71/dc/3a/71dc3acb6d29f17eb4e6ed91896a0e7d.jpg
Lets face it, more often than not students do not have all of their supplies with them. I would love to have a organization system like the one in the picture that holds every-day school supplies like pencils, pens, scissors, glue, markers and loose-leaf. 
It is my hopes that an organization station like this would prevent me from having students wandering back-and-forth to their lockers in order to track down supplies.

Organizing Bulletin Board Letters. Teaching Blog Addict. http://www.teachingblogaddict.com/2012/06/organizing-bulletin-board-letters.html
I can't wait to go through the catalogues to purchase various bulletin board frames, letters, and supplementary posters. The room that I am going to be in has one full wall of bulletin boards and I can't wait to have them organized for my specific classes.
Using a CD case has the be one of the BEST ideas I've ever heard of for organizing bulletin board letters.

No Name Board. 3rd Grade Thoughts. http://www.3rdgradethoughts.com/2012/07/monday-made-it-no-name-clip-board.html#.UBnt0qBdQT0
Even during my short time student teaching, I found that I often had one or two assignments without names EVERY time I took something in for assessment. I LOVE this cute display where work can be stuck quickly and, if a student doesn't get something back, they know to check the "No Name" board! 

I know that I will have at least five classes in my schedule so a homework board like this could be a great way to organize homework expectations. I love having a consistent space to document homework expectations while maintaining a clear classroom theme.


Science World. http://www.scienceworld.ca/ads
I already know that I am going to have some Science classes (probably Grade 7 & 8 science) and I would love to have some posters or displays in my room that can catch student's attention and lead to some great inquiry projects. Science World has some amazing ads that they use for their attractions that would be my inspiration for this. Just Google "Science World Ads" to see some of the awesome options out there!

The Scientific Method. The Science Life. http://thesciencelife.blogspot.ca/2012/07/bulletin-boards-galore.html
I LOVE this bulletin board by Emily at The Science Life! If I am going to have more than one Science class I would love to turn one of my bulletin boards into something like this.

Coolest Social Studies Classroom. Joe Baron Design. http://joebarondesign.blogspot.ca/2011/04/coolest-social-studies-classroom-by.html
I can't imagine how awesome it would be to have such an artistic classroom. I know that eventually I am going to have some Social Studies classes (whether that is this year or in the future) and think the idea of a full-wall map is so neat! This classroom, painted by Higher Level Art, is in Kentucky and has definitely become an inspiration for me. 
How neat would it be to have student artists involved in a project like this (either in a classroom or school hallway). 
seven teachings carpet
Seven Teachings Kids Carpet. Native Reflections. http://nativereflections.com/products.php?view=4343&np=1
I would love to have this carpet in my classroom! I'd like to have a corner of my room set up as a quiet work space for students to work independently or in small groups and I would like a carpet like this to be a part of that setup. Not only does it contribute to the physical setup of the room but it highlights the Traditional Seven Teachings which I try to incorporate into all of my classes, regardless of subject-area.
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As I am getting organized I turned to my Twitter PLN to ask their opinion on ordering classroom supplies to see what experienced teachers wished for. Here are some of the responses I received.

What are you ordering, finding, creating for your classroom?

Monday, May 06, 2013

When One Door Closes...

Friday officially marked my LAST day of formal schooling before graduation! I can't believe that after eighteen years of education I am now completed my Bachelor of Education (A.D) and am getting organized for my first teaching position at "S-School"!

My 1st Day of School, 1995
High School Graduation, 2007
Bachelor of Arts Graduation, 2011
Last Week of Bachelor of Ed, 2013
I am very excited to be starting this next journey in my life. Thank you to everyone in my life who has helped me and supported me to this point. 

Resources To Start Off Your Week 62

     Today is my first Resources To Start Off Your Week post as an official teacher! Ok, well I don't officially start until the fall but I am still very excited so I think it still counts :) This week I've found three general resources that can be used for a variety of subjects and topics. As always, I will be adding these to my lists of resources under the Fav Websites heading.

1 ) How To Create An Awesome Infographic
- Infographics are sprouting up everywhere online and they can be a
  great addition to any lesson. With infographics on pretty much
  anything, it can be easy to add in these informational visuals as a way
  to meet the needs of your visual learners.
- This website has a created a great infographic on how to create
  infographics. I've had my students create their own infographics once
  but never sat down and formally went through anything like this. I am
  definitely saving this to use in my classroom next year!
* To read more about how infographics can be used in the classroom,
  check out my post: Infographics in the Classroom
http://www.graphs.net/201303/how-to-create-an-awesome-infographic.html

infographic, infographics, how to create infographics, infographic instructions

2 ) CBC Digital Archives
- The CBC archives houses film clips, audio tracks and images that have
  been featured in CBC over the years. These digital archives can be
  easily accessed and allow a great "window to the past".
- This website is great for any Social Studies class and is perfect for
  revisiting newscasts about historical events, but these resources can
  also be used in any classroom as they cover a wide variety of topics.
- There is also a great "For Teachers" section that features lesson plans,
  support documents and activity suggestions.
http://www.cbc.ca/archives/

CBC archives

3 ) Sound Gator
- Have you ever had your students work on a video project and had them
  wandering around the school trying to recreate sound effects for their
  project? Sound Gator is an online collection of free sound effects that can
  be easily downloaded and inserted into various projects.
- Organized by genres like "Sports Sounds" and "Human Sounds", audio
  clips can be easily searched and downloaded as MP3 files. Perfect for
  any digital storytelling and/or video project!
http://www.soundgator.com/

sound gator, soundgator, sound effects,

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, May 02, 2013

May Currently

     So I've been told by quite a few people that it is officially May! A lot of my blog friends in the United States have been sharing that they are entering their last few weeks of classes before they head into their summer breaks. I find this absolutely mind boggling because this is what May looks like if you live in central Manitoba, Canada.
     Yes, I took that picture YESTERDAY! For us, May has looked very snowy and has definitely not made me think about summertime yet. If anyone is keeping track.... we are now on our 195th day of snow since our first snowstorm on October 19th of 2012.  Not that I want to play into stereotypes or anything... but we are definitely filling in that Canadian winter stereotype really well this year.

     If you haven't encountered a "Currently" post before, it is just a fun post at the beginning of each month that serves as a way to share what is Currently going on in your life! You can link up and share your own "Currently" post by visiting the wonderful Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Roller Coaster Week

Trying my best to look like I'm NOT sick!
It may only be Wednesday but this week has been a crazy roller coaster for me so far. On Monday I was set to interview at "S-School" and, of course, I woke up with a fever of 101 and sick to my stomach!

Even though I wasn't feeling good there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity so I went into school and interviewed. I was very happy to be interviewing right at "S-School" which made me feel more comfortable since I've been student teaching at the school on and off since September of 2012. In the interview itself was the principal of "S-School" (who is also one of my cooperating teachers), the superintendent of "T-Division", and a trustee from the school board.

I feel like the interview went really well and there wasn't any questions that I wasn't prepared for. I want to send out big thanks to everyone in my PLN who helped me find great practice questions (especially Mary!). After an hour we were all finished up and I quickly had to find a substitute for my afternoon classes because I couldn't stay at school to student teach, I was too sick!

     On Tuesday, despite being the last day in April, our area woke up to Christmas time all over again! We were hit with over a foot of heavy, wet snow which lead to some pretty treacherous conditions on the road. Despite being cautious and only travelling about 40 kilometers an hour, I hit an icy patch on the road and ended up hitting the guardrail of a bridge only a kilometer away from our house :(
I am very thankful that I walked away with just some bruising and stiffness. Luckily my fiance, father-in-law, and several close family friends are part of our community's fire department so I was in good hands when they arrived. I was taken by ambulance to a hospital nearby and received x-rays and CT scans to make sure everything with my neck and head was okay, which they were. Unfortunately, I am now without a vehicle, but in the grand scheme of things that seems like a small issue. I want to thank everyone who helped me out and made sure I was safe, especially the wonderful women who stopped to take care of me until the fire department arrived. I never even got her name, but her kindness made a world of difference!

     This morning our division was still experiencing a snow day but I ended up going in at lunch time because I was just too bored sitting at home with nothing to focus on except being sick! There was only about 50 students all together (K-12) but it was nice to be out of the house and back at the school after missing Monday and Tuesday. Even though it was a slow day, and I couldn't actually teach with so few students, I am happy I went in because I received a very good phone call!

     I am very happy to announce that today I found out that my interview was successful and I've been offered a position at "S-School"! My official contract does not go through until the board approves it on May 14th but I am feeling confident and very excited :) Once that goes through, I should get my official teaching schedule with my grades and classes later in May or early June!

     I want to send a HUGE thank you to all of the amazing faculty at Brandon University that prepared me for this career and supported me through this journey, my family and friends for supporting me every step of the way, and everyone in my PLN who has helped me grow and develop as an educator. So even though this week has had some pretty extreme ups and downs I am very excited for this next step of my journey.