Wednesday, April 20, 2016

2016-2017 DREAM Schedule!!

     When I first received my position at "S-School" in 2013 I was over-the-moon excited to get a permanent position in a small rural school that was only a ten minute drive from our home. Although my schedule didn't exactly match my teachable background I was told that my schedule would eventually included those classes as the years went on.  Here we are three years later and I am THRILLED to share that my principal has definitely spoiled me and I will be going back to work in the fall to my dream teaching schedule :)

     I will continue to remain as the Grade 8 homeroom teacher and my teaching assignment will range from Grade 8-12. If you have been following my blog for a while then you know that Social Studies is my main teachable and my passion. So needless to say, I am so pumped to have four classes in that area! I will also continue to have PLC (professional learning community) time once per week where I have the opportunity to meet up with two of my colleagues.

     Here is a peek at my schedule for term 1 and then term 2:

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ste rose school, manitoba teacher, teaching in manitoba, high school manitoba teaching schedule, turtle river school division
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What does your teaching schedule look like this year?

SAMR - Tech Integration Series

     This post is Part ONE of a four-part series titled Model Mayhem where I am exploring and critiquing different models of tech integration. For each model I will provide a general overview of the model, what it might look like in a classroom setting, and attempt to critique the pedagogical theory and foundations behind the model's development.

     The first model of the series is the SAMR model, a four-step model of tech integration designed to improve student outcomes, developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura .

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GENERAL OVERVIEW

SAMR Model, SAMR in the classroom, SAMR, how to implement SAMR, pros and cons of SAMR, what does SAMR look like in the classroom
The SAMR Model. (2015). Uploaded by St. Patricks College. Available online at: http://www.stpatricks.tas.edu.au/school-life/elearning/21st-century-learning-copy/the-samar-model/
SAMR Model, SAMR in the classroom, SAMR, how to implement SAMR, pros and cons of SAMR, what does SAMR look like in the classroom
Questions to Ask. (2015). Uploaded by Patricia Brown. Available online at: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-02-06-a-guide-for-bringing-the-samr-model-to-ipads
Ruben Puentedura on Applying the SAMR Model. (2014). Uploaded to YouTube by Common Sense Education. Available online at: https://youtu.be/W6j8soDYoaw 

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APPEARANCE IN THE CLASSROOM SETTING

SAMR Model, SAMR in the classroom, SAMR, how to implement SAMR, pros and cons of SAMR, what does SAMR look like in the classroom
SAMR Flow Chart. (2015). Uploaded by Erin P. Available online at: http://mrspsclass.blogspot.ca/2015/01/thoughts-on-samr-model.html

SAMR Model, SAMR in the classroom, SAMR, how to implement SAMR, pros and cons of SAMR, what does SAMR look like in the classroom
SAMR Model Thinglink. (2016). Uploaded Kathy Shrock. Available online at: http://www.schrockguide.net/samr.html


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PEDAGOGICAL THEORY & FOUNDATIONS

     I found it difficult to accurately critique the pedagogical theory and foundations behind the SAMR model due to a lack of direct information from the author (see paragraph 1 of the next section). The little information I could find is gathered from online videos and slides from Dr. Puentedura's blog (which are mostly diagrams and are out of context without his accompanying presentation).

Influences
- Vannevar Bush
- Douglas Englebert
- Alan Kay
- Seymour Papert (specifically his work with Logo)
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PERSONAL THOUGHTS

     I have a few issues with Dr. Puentedura's legitimacy in regards to his work in education:
- I was unable to find any peer-reviewed publications in which he has published the research that went into the development of his model
- His educational background, including his PhD, is in chemistry not pedagogy or didactics
- He does not have any experience teaching in the public school setting (although his model is most-commonly promoted amongst K-12 schools)*

     I have seen conflicting information on whether this model is meant to be interpreted as a hierarchy or as a heterarchy. Personally, I am in favour of the latter. Education is very subjective in the sense that different things are going to work for different students, different teachers, different environments, different times of the day; implying that teachers should ALWAYS be striving for the top tier of the model is impractical and not in the best interest of students or educators.

     I think the SAMR model does a good job of starting a dialogue between educators regarding how they are using technology with their students. It is also a good starting point for administrators to look at how the technology in their building is being used; if a lot of money is being allocated for new technology that only ever gets used for substitution purposes then maybe staff needs additional support to use the technology in different ways.

     Without any published papers regarding his research I am hesitant to comment on Dr. Puentedura's claims regarding student performance and cognitive shifts.

*Dr. Puentedura does have experience teaching at the post-secondary level

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Magnetic Border - Classroom Decor

OMG I just discovered the coolest thing!

If you have followed my blog for a while you know that I LOVE decorating and organizing my classroom. I really enjoy creating a space that feels inviting and comfortable while providing chances to showcase student work and my own personality. 
(You can revisit my classroom set-ups from 2013 & 2014).

Personally, I've always felt proud of my classroom because I feel like it differs greatly from some of the more traditional classrooms in the high school setting.

One thing that I completed both years was decorating my whiteboards that ran the length of one side of my classroom; including a notice/homework area.

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Whiteboard area with blue border, SMART Board in the middle, and homework/notice area on the far right side.

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Close-up view of our homework/notice area with teacher-copy of our Interactive Math Notebooks.
After a few failed attempts of attaching the border to the trim of the whiteboard with stickytack (the border was too heavy) and duct tape (left a residue and damaged the border) I ultimately went out and bought two-sided adhesive command strips.
This worked for a while but they eventually failed too and I was continually putting up sections of falling border. This wall is an exterior wall facing the north so it is extremely cold in the winter and I feel that that contributed to a lot of the issues I was having with adhesives.

All of this leads to why I was SO excited when I discovered that there is such thing as magnetic borders!!! 

I'm not sure why it didn't dawn on me earlier; this is a great invention!
They are available from a variety of different stores (just do a quick Google search) but one of my favourite classroom design blogs/stores is Schoolgirl Style.
(If you haven't checked out her classrooms before head over their right now and be prepared to be sucked down the rabbit hole!)

magnetic boards

I can't wait to purchase some sets for my classroom and decorate this summer!

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How do you decorate/organize your whiteboard or chalkboard (does anyone still have a chalkboard?)?

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Model Mayhem - Tech Integration Series

     Lets face it, technology is not something that is going away. As technological advances adapt at an increasingly fast rate and the world becomes more interconnected it is our role as educators to provide our students with the necessary skills to be successful in a society that we can really only begin to imagine.

     We can look amongst our colleagues and, like most aspects of education, we see people at various ends of the spectrum. This discrepancy can be attributed to any number of factors: age, education background, personal interests, comfort level, work experience, and the list can go on and on. Regardless of where they are on the continuum we can usually group educators into two very general categories: those who are asking "Where do I start?" and those who are asking "How can I do it better?"

technology integration, tech integration, technology in education, SAMR, TPACK, LOTI, TIM
Protesting Against Technology - The Early Days. (2011). Uploaded to Tech Integration by Mary Fish. Available online at: http://www.coetail.com/marypkfish/2011/12/15/technology-integration-what-does-it-really-mean/ 

     In either position, educators need to ensure that they don't fall into the trap of incorporating technology into their lessons blindly. Whatever we do with our students it is our professional responsibility to ensure that our actions are driven by purpose and backed by strong pedagogical theory. This can feel like added pressure for some educators because while we feel confident in our content area it can be more difficult to feel confident when it comes to technology; especially when things are changing so quickly!
technology integration, tech integration, technology in education, SAMR, TPACK, LOTI, TIM
Teacher Tech Cartoon. (2014). Uploaded by Joanne Jacobs. Available online at: http://www.joannejacobs.com/2014/03/teachers-get-tech-but-not-training/

     It can be easy to become fixated on specific tech tools (SMART Boards, iPads, Chromebooks, etc); especially if the school or division has invested a lot of money in that area. An educator's responsibility is to focus on the skills and values the students need to use various types of tech tools to meet and extend their understanding of curricular objectives and deepen their overall comprehension.

     Over the next month I will be releasing a Tech Integration Series where in which I will examine four different models of tech integration within the education setting:
- TPACK
- SAMR
- Levels of Teaching Innovation (LOTI)
- Technology Integration Matrix (TIM)
I will review each model by providing a general summary of the model, what it might look like in a classroom setting and attempt to critique the pedagogical theory and foundations behind the model's development.

     It is my hopes that by the end of this series we are left with a resource to assist educators in making informed decisions that are backed by strong professional theory.