Wednesday, 29 February 2012

OCT Blog

I have just finished an article in the OCT Professional Speaking magazine entitled "Using Social Media in the Classroom" and have lots to say!  I often find that many teachers shy away from using social media in the classroom because of the fear that something could go wrong, the material could end up in the wrong hands, copyright problems, and SOOOO much more.  I understand these fears as I had them only a few months again but not moving forward I believe that I am better prepared to handle the challenges of social media and teach my students to be critical digital learners.  I think that if I do not allow my students to explore with social media then I am holding back their education and chance to learn and explore with learners around the world.  I believe that so much more learning can happen beyond the four walls in my classroom and although I would like to think I "know" everything...I don't and in no way want my students to think that either...there is a whole world out there for my students to learn from and with and I cannot wait for them to explore! :) 

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

My Classroom Blog Reflection

My Blog Reflection!

As a part of my introduction to technology course at Brock University I was required to complete a "classroom blog".  I was to act as a teacher and post different links for my students and information for parents.  In my last block placement my teacher did have a blog and I made sure to utilize it as students and parents used it as a communication tool and resource!  I saw first hand how amazing a blog can be and how it can take the learning in the classroom to new levels because students take what they have learned in class and link it to the outside world - the learning never ends!

I found the process of creating the blog to be really fun and a great learning opportunity!  This experience forced me to critically reflect on what I was posting on my blog and how to present my information.  As a result of creating this blog I have gained a new appreciation for online learning and the amazing tools that are out there!  No longer does homework need to be a paper and pencil task, homework can be fun and engaging activities!

ABSOLUTELY will have a classroom blog when I become a teacher and I will encourage my students to create their own blog - regardless of their age!  As I saw in my last placement, the blog allowed for collaborative learning amongst the students, constant communication between the parents, students, and teacher, and a resource centre for everyone!  The opportunities with a blog are endless and I could not imagine teaching in the 21st century without one!  I can imagine using this blog for many things such as: student feedback on learning, teacher reflections, group work, online assignments, questions and concerns, review sessions...the list is endless! 

I look forward to not only having my own classroom but my own REAL classroom blog!

Miss Clarke aka Jackie :) 

Saturday, 4 February 2012

"Be who you want your students to become" Jim Giles.

Today I attended a professional development day at Brock University entitled "Kids in the Hall".  I at first wondered what this day would be all about with a title like this - would we be learning about the students who are physically in the hall more than in the classroom?  Would we be talking about students who minds are out in the hall? I was unsure...but as I looked more into the day I realized that we would be exploring the issues of mental health and the disruptive kid (the session I choose to attend).  

The opening presentation was about the prevalence of children and youth with a mental illness and how this affects their lives, both in school and out.  Some of the statistics SHOCKED me!  The findings can be found on the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health .  This made me realize that as a future educator I need to be better informed and educated on mental health and addiction so I can ensure I can be there for my students and have an understanding of the problems they are facing.  What really stuck out to me was that many of these behaviours begin early in the elementary years...we think are students are "innocent" and "unaware" but in fact I believe they are better educated on alcohol and drugs than we as educators are.  I plan to take this on as something I become more educated on because I believe it is the early years in students' lives that can make a difference down the road.

The second presentation that I sat in on was by Jim Giles from ETFO  and was entitled "The Disruptive Kid" in which Jim changed to be "Classroom Management".  Jim stated from the beginning of the session that it is imperative we understand that it is our classroom management skills that can often limit the disruptive behaviours and if we are proactive in our classroom management instead of begin reactive we will have better results as teachers.  I wondered how we were going to cover the HUGE topic of Classroom Management in just over 2 hours, but Jim is a master teacher and he did it - although there is lots more to learn, Jim did an amazing job!  Every time that Jim had us engaged in a discussion or activity he would also ask us afterwards, what classroom management skill did I just use?  Why would I do that?  What would that look like in the classroom?  This really brought to life the quote he always went back to,
"Be who you want your students to become"
If Jim wanted us to be better educators, he had to model for us what this looked like and he made sense in everything he said - if we want our students to love reading, we need to model this.  If we want our students to be happy to come to school, we need to model this.  If we ask our students to be quiet during a work period, we need to model this.  It seems like such a simple concept but it is really profound and can have a huge impact on our students and classroom environment.  This session was one that I walked away with more tricks in my bag than I ever thought was possible and I hope to be a part of Jim's future sessions as he is an inspiration and someone we could all learn from.  

Overall, Kids in the Hall was an amazing day and I would encourage all future teacher candidates to make sure to mark this PD down and attend - it will change your perspective on so much! 

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Technology Showcase @ Brock

Teaching and Technology @ Brock!

On Friday, January 27 I attended the Brock Teaching and Technology Showcase at the Brock Hamilton Campus!  It was an amazing day as it brought together teacher candidates, teachers, administrators, and the educational community at large.  There were several options as to the sessions we could attend and I decided on: Play happens: Learning Happens: Using technology to capture learning in the early years classrooms, iPads in the elementary classroom, and assistive technologies.  All of the sessions I attended were amazing and very informative.  As a future teacher I cannot imagine a classroom without technology - even if it is a camera or a classroom computer, technology should be a part of our everyday lessons. Technology is at the heart of learning and is the future for our students - teachers are responsible to teach students to be digital learners.  

My Story - As a digital learner and future digital teacher it is embarrassing to say that only two years ago in my 3rd year class I was "afraid" to make a PowerPoint presentation in fear that technology would not work and I would be unable to cope with it....and now I am on Twitter, I blog, I participate in online PLN's, and so much more!  I feel that I have come so far but still have so much more to learn.  I have learned to embrace technology and just go with it - although the unknown is scary, it is worth it in the end!  In my last teaching placement I used a Smart Board everyday to facilitate my lessons and engage my learners.  What I learned the most during that placement is that the students often know more than me and are always interested in helping me out and showing me new things - students are amazing!  My days of being fearful of technology are long gone...and I am now moving into a new place where I embrace technology and welcome it into my classroom!
teaching and tech
Check out the Brock Showcase!