Saturday, September 26, 2015

My Curriculum Situation in 150 Words

     This semester I am participating in an Introduction to Curriculum class through Brandon University as part of my Masters program requirements. While there is a traditional class held in-person on campus I am one of 15+ students who tunes in via teleconference and online modules due to distance. Our course assignment is a large project that is slowly created piece-by-piece through the semester and is a collaborative work between two or three people. I am very fortunate to have a good friend in the course who lives only 20mins away and is also on Mat leave right now as well! So... of course, I asked to work with her and one of her colleagues who is also taking the course with us. 

     Our first assignment asks us to analyze our own Curriculum Situations in no more than 150 words. After looking at the examples provided by the professor I feel that this analysis should include:

- What I am teaching (or would be teaching if I wasn't on leave right now)
- What type of interaction I have with my students
- What type of learning opportunities I provide for my students
- Where I am teaching
- What demographic(s) I am teaching

     With that being said, my Curriculum Situation is as follows:

     My curriculum situation is working in a small rural farming community teaching middle- and high-school level science and humanities courses. This community has a strong Catholic influence and is situated in close proximity to an Anishinaabe/Ojibwe First Nations Reserve. While both of these cultural situations present themselves among the students in our school, with an approximate 50-50 split in all classes, there is often a noticeable cultural tension between students of different backgrounds. My interaction with my students occurs in a face-to-face classroom situation 90% of the time while the remaining 10% is maintained through individualized mail-out programs created for students with attendance concerns. I try to provide both experiential and inquiry-based learning opportunities that see "teacher as mentor". I strongly believe in the incorporation of technology that expands learning beyond the classroom walls, opens up opportunities that aren't possible with traditional tools, and allows students to curate and create.

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Remember, all assignments are collaborative so I am now uploading this to Google Docs to share with my two partners. Our next step will be to take all three of our Curriculum Situations and create one paragraph that appropriately represents all three of us at the same time.
Wish us luck!

Friday, September 25, 2015

My Former Classroom - Reflective Blogging Part 5

   This post is part of the Reflective Teaching Blogging Challenghosted by Terry at Te@ch Thought. While the original challenge is a year-old already I thought it would be the perfect thing to keep me on track over the next little while.

DAY 5 - Post a picture of your classroom and describe what you see -- and what you don't see that you'd like to.

     When I initially started this post I went back to my previous classroom reveal posts from 2014 and 2013; thinking that I would critique the classrooms that I helped create for my students in the past. I realized, however, that that specific classroom doesn't look anything like those pictures anymore. Before I went on mat leave the bulletin boards and posters came down, the stations were disassembled, and all of my personal items were packed up (which included a significant amount of furniture and decor). 

     While I could have left everything in my room as is (I know that our elementary teachers do this) my mat leave coverage wanted to have the room as a fresh slate, I was somewhat territorial of the items I purchased and brought in myself, and my course-load was changing significantly (so many of the posters, stations, etc didn't have a purpose anymore). While I have been at our school twice now to supervise student council, I haven't visited "my" classroom. I want my mat leave coverage to feel like the space is his (since it is) and I am hesitant to see the room so empty after I worked so hard the past two years to really make it reflect our school, our students, and myself. 

     So..... since I don't have a classroom to post about, I thought that I would post some general thoughts about my classroom set-up beliefs/expectations. These are ideas that I tried to incorporate in my two previous years... and that I will be incorporating when I return in the fall of 2016.

In my classroom, you should see (in no particular order):

- bulletin boards that reflect current learning and showcase student work

- posters/anchor charts that assist students in independent problem solving

- organized school supplies that students can borrow as needed

- areas that assist students in their organization (reminder area, missing work area, hand-in box, etc)

- areas that allow students to work, learn, relax besides from traditional desks, tables (couches, bean-bag chair, carpet, etc)

- areas that allow students to work collaboratively

- areas that allow students to work independently and free from distractions

- personal touches that reduce the sterility of many classroom environments (curtains, non-fluorescent lighting, picture frames, etc)

- technology to aid in student learning (computers, devices, SMART board, etc)

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This list is a work-in-progress; what would you add?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Student Council Is On "Insta" and Other Successes

     I am still co-supervising our school's student council with one of my colleagues and, while it is hard not being at the school for all of the day-to-day interactions and activities, I am able to make it to our weekly meetings at noon hour and some of our larger school events.

     I couldn't be more proud of our student council this year. We have an amazing group of students who take charge and work well together. Despite being in school for only 11 days they have already:

- cleaned out and organized the student council room (a big feat)
- set up two interactive bulletin boards showcasing upcoming events and school spirit
- held a back-to-school assembly and BBQ
- presented at our parent-council committee meeting
- set-up intramurals during noon-hour
- held a full-class dodge-ball tournament
- presented at our Meet The Teacher night
- completed class representative elections
- and set up their own instagram account!

     I am loving the instagram account since we are a school that doesn't necessarily have a strong online presence to connect with our students. If you want to keep up-to-date with all of the neat things our group is doing, follow them at sr_student_council!

Ste Rose School, Ste Rose MB, Ste Rose Student Council, student council manitoba, manitoba student leadership, student council instagram

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What Teachers Make - Reflective Blogging Part 4

   This post is part of the Reflective Teaching Blogging Challenghosted by Terry at Te@ch Thought. While the original challenge is a year-old already I thought it would be the perfect thing to keep me on track over the next little while.

DAY 4 - Respond: What do you love the most about teaching?

     This is something that is hard for me to accurately put into words because there isn't just one singular aspect of teaching that I love the most. In fact, there isn't even a handful of aspects that I love the most. Teaching is one of those professions that triggers every single one of your emotions (sometimes all in the matter of a single class); the good, the bad, the amazing, and the absolutely heartbreaking...

     Teaching is something that you put your entire heart into and, for me, it isn't something that you can narrow down into a set of "likes" and "dislikes". I do know that I have been away from my job for six working days and I have been in to visit and support my students twice: last week at our football home opener and today to co-supervise our student council. So while I can't effectively put my feelings about teaching into words, I wanted to share one of my favourite videos about teaching that I think does a pretty good job...

What Teachers Make Final Moviebk2 001. (2009). Uploaded to YouTube by Kelly Gleason. Available online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuBmSbiVXo0      

Introducing Baby Jaxson

On September 3rd Baby Jaxson entered the world at 6:41am.
Everyone is happy and healthy!