For the sake of my class, EC&I 831, I need to stop working on my Final Project. This does not mean however that I will be done with my project, French Immersion Resources for Parents. I have decided that I will continue to add websites when I find them and I will try to keep the blog up to date. I have found this resource to be valuable for myself, as well as for parents and other teachers.
I have blogged about my experiences in the past few months a few times, and if you would like to read up on those posts please feel free. The first time I mentioned the project I was just starting out and I talked about what I thought the project would look like as well as how I would go about reflecting on my learning while working on the project. The second time this project was mentioned was a quick update in regards to what I had done to date and how I felt I was progressing. The final time this project was mentioned in my blog was when I mentioned that I would finally be Tweeting the project and sharing it with anyone who cared to look.
I am also including the Google Docs that I created as a reflection of the process that I went through while working on my Final Project. It is composed of dated entries explaining how I felt about different portions of the assignment and how I felt I had been doing. I hope you enjoy my Final Project and please feel free to pass it along to anyone who you might think can benefit from it.
I had quite a bit of fun doing my Summary of Learning. I ended up doing quite a few versions of it. I tried out a number of different tools and ended up choosing Xtranormal. I would have to agree with Lindsay in regards to the pros and cons of this tool. I do love that I didn’t have to record my own voice. I tried that a couple of times and I didn’t like how I sounded. It took me a while to get the final tweaks done on my project (and I am still not happy with some of the camera angles but I couldn’t seem to change them) but I think I can confidently say that I am happy with my final product. I hope you enjoy.
Summary of Learning
Thanks to my wonderful classmates, I have spent a large amount of time today playing around with different tools on-line. I have often seen different posters where there are a number of different words all centered around one theme but I have never known how to create one myself. Thanks to Judy, I have now discovered Wordle and I love what you can do.
While discovering this tool, I have also figured out how to take a snapshot of my screen. This took me quite a while to do, but after lots of playing around I was able to figure it out. It was remarkably easy to do. On my computer I had to use a tool called “Snipping tool”, but once I figured that out, I can now “snip” anything I want. I don’t know for sure if this is how it is supposed to be done, but that was the only way I could get it to work.
Thanks to Katy, I have discovered a tool called Picnik. This tool is amazingly simple to use and so much fun. I think I might just use it to make our family Christmas picture this year a little more interesting. I can’t wait to play around with it. For all of you who were wondering what my daughter might look like, I used this tool on one of her many pics that I have taken.
Thanks to Chelsi’s wonderful work with Xtranormal, I thought that I would give that a try also. It was really easy to use. I could have done more tweaking on my video, but I really was just playing around. The only downside that I could find with this tool is that there are Xtranormal Points needed to publish your video. Once you purchase a character you can use them over and over again, but at a certain point, if you continued to use this tool, you would need to put some money into it. Anyway, here is the video that I did.
EC&I 831 – trial
Well, I think that is all the time I have for today to play. I have enjoyed myself. Let me know what you think of my different attempts with some really cool new tools.
This class has been quite an eye-opener for me. I first enrolled in this class because of the fact that I was pregnant and needed a class that would allow me to not have to go to the university once a week for the entire semester. The idea of technology and social media in a classroom interested me, but I wasn’t sure how much I would actually get out of it because I taught/teach Kindergarten or Grade 1 (yes, that was how I thought a few short weeks ago). I did use technology on a regular basis in my classroom but I never really expected this class to show me how much more I could be doing. Boy, was I wrong!
Now that this class is almost done, I can see the “error of my ways” and I can’t wait to try to implement these new found (for me at least) ideas into my classroom. I had slowly started integrating some of the ideas into my classroom, but I would love to do it on a larger scale. The following is few of the ways that I would love to incorporate what I have learned this semester into my classroom:
- Classroom blog – This was something that I had begun (thanks to this class) but I would like to develop it a little more. I would like to have parent permission to put up student’s working and copies of their work, along with everything that I had already been posting.
- Twitter project – Kindergarten Around the World – Allow the students to connect with other children in a Kindergarten classroom in a different country to compare and contrast our lives.
- Digital Storytelling – After seeing how easy this was with my own children, I would love to do this with my students and then post it for parents to read.
- Incorporate more technology – Hopefully, use the SmartBoards in the school for interactive lessons with the children. My school division was also accepting applications for a “Mobile Device Project”, and if this happens in the future, I would love to submit an application.
Now, when it comes to my own personal use of Social Media, I will definitely be continuing with my blog. I find that by blogging, I have somewhat found a voice. I am able to write about things that interest me in my chosen career and there are people that will read and respond. Therefore, enabling me to hash out different ideas, or develop new projects, or create new themes, etc. Blogging has enabled me to find more like-minded individuals who have helped to encourage and support me in the new things that I have been trying.
I realize that there are still many things that I have to learn in regards to Social Media and the classroom. I would love to give VoiceThread a try. I have heard so much about it through everyone but that is one tool that I still haven’t wrapped my head around. I also haven’t quite figured out how I would use it in the classroom. There are still many of the Digital Storytelling tools that I would like to explore also.
I also would like to continue to explore Twitter. I know there are a lot of great chats that I could follow (and I do follow some really great ones already) but I find that I still don’t share as much as I could. I understand that it is all about learning and jumping in once you feel comfortable but something keeps holding me back. I don’t know if it is because I don’t think what I have to share is important enough or if I am uncertain how people will respond to what I say. I don’t know why I let something like that hold me back, because really if it is something you aren’t interested in, you can simply ignore it. I find that I have been taking some baby steps recently by asking for help with different things so maybe I am taking some of the all important first steps now. We will have to see.
This would be my second attempt at playing around with the digital storytelling tools that we learned about last night in EC&I 831. I have little to no experience creating videos online so I thought that I would give Animoto a chance. One of the main reasons for trying this tool was because it was free. It took me a bit of playing around to get the right length for the video because the free option only allows you a 30 second clip, but after a few attempts I got it to work. I typically shy away from putting pictures of my kids online, but I could resist with this. I am not to sure about the music choice, but it was fun to play with.
Make a video of your own at Animoto.
I had a few minutes of free time so I thought that I would try out one of the digital storytelling links that Alan Levine shared with us last night in my EC&I 831 class. My first attempt was a Five Card Flickr Story. It was amazing simple to use and quite fun. I enjoyed picking through the random photos that came up and creating my story. As I picked the photos, it was amazing to see how a story formulated itself in my mind with little effort on my behalf. I simply looked at the pictures and the story seemed to be obvious. I didn’t know for sure if I was supposed to write my story down or not but I decided that in the section entitled “About this story” that I would write my story out.
Here is the link to the story that I created: My Great Success.
a Five Card Flickr story created by HLizee
flickr photo by bionicteaching
flickr photo by Serenae
flickr photo by bionicteaching
flickr photo by katerha
flickr photo by cogdogblog
As I sit here contemplating my lastest work of literacy, I decided that it might be best to take a break. Of course there is no better way to take a relaxing break than to go out and have a piece of cake. So I make my way to the dessert shop, which just happens to be in a red caboose. A few weeks later, as I go to get the mail, to my surprise there is a cheque from my editor for one of my books. I couldn’t help but run out to the local bridge and shout for joy.
This week’s EC&I 831 class was a very thought provoking class. Our presenter was Stephen Downes and the discussion was about the role of the Educator. Throughout the class, Stephen must have mentioned about twenty different roles that a teacher can play. At the beginning of the discussion he brought up two very interesting comments that I had never thought about before. He stated that the teacher is no longer “the sage on the stage” or the “guide by the side”. Through out my education, I have had instructors or teachers that played both of these roles and I find it interesting looking back at my educational career and thinking about the different roles my instructors have played. I find that when I am in the classroom, there are times when I am “the sage on the stage” and other times when I sit back and am the “guide by the side”. I find that with the little ones, it is important that one bounces back and forth between these two traditional roles often.
As class went on, Stephen delved into some more in-depth roles that a teach/instructor portrays in the classroom. When I look at my classroom, I find that one of the roles that I like to play is the role of the learner. There are many times where I will try a new project or theme with my students and I tell them that I am learning along with them. Often to keep life interesting at work, I will pick projects that I have never done before because this allows me to learn at the same time as the children. While the children are working, I am constantly adapting the project so that it is either easier or more challenging for the students. Another role that I play in the classroom is the role of the moderator. When you work with children between the ages four to six, I find that I am constantly trying to make sure that everyone has a turn, that all the students have a chance to participate, that the child who answers every question allow time for the others to answer also. This role however seems more dominant when we are working in a large group setting. I also agree with Chelsi that the role of the peacekeeper is important also in a classroom. As she describes this role in her blog, it is one that educates while maintaining law and order. This role is obvious in a Kindergarten classroom because there are times when I spend most of the day talking about behaviours and how we need to treat others in the classroom. Another key role that I find a Kindergarten teacher plays is that of caregiver. Often the teacher spends more time with the child during the day than the parent is able to due to many different circumstances and it is the teacher that is there to comfort the child when something bad happens, to celebrate when they do something well, to encourage when they are trying something new and to push them when they think that they can’t do something.
This picture sums up for me what it is like to be a teacher right now in a classroom. When you look at this picture, you can see one man being many different things all at once. The only thing that is missing in this picture for me is the students. If you were able to insert the students in this image, I imagine that you would see this man working individually with some students, helping other students with something that is bothering them emotionally, encouraging yet another group to try something new, talking to the whole group about a new concept, evaluating how the students are interacting, etc. I feel as if I could go on and on about what this one man is doing in the classroom and probably never mention everything that he does on a daily basis. When it is written out like this, it certainly feels like we do a lot during the day, but I don’t know if I really want to change that aspect of my job. I enjoy the fact that I am able to be many things to many people at once. I find that is what makes us unique as teachers because we can do this. I often here from parents that they can not imagine doing my job and they seem to always end that conversation with a heart felt thank you. That is just one of the many reasons that I love my job.