Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Canadian History Class

     On Friday I shared what was going on in my World Issues class and now it is time to find out what has been happening in Canadian History. I didn't mean to take so long to make this post but I had many pictures that featured students and I wanted to be sure on our division's picture release policy before I posted anything.
fall of new france, governing quebec, the ohio valley, royal proclamation
This was the title screen of my PowerPoint I used as part of our learning!
     The entire unit that I started has been focusing on "British Colonial Rule" following the fall of New France.  Our very first section that we worked on had to do with the various challenges that Britain faced in regards to governing the French citizens following the fall of New France. As we worked through each of these challenges we looked at the situation from the point of view of the British, the French and the First Nations citizens of the area. Here are some photos of us hard at work!
Analyzing the First Nations perspective of what was occurring in the Ohio Valley.
Documenting how the French citizens felt after being pressured to adopt British policies.
Our British citizens were feeling pretty confident after gaining all the power!
     The main situations or challenges that we looked at were:
- Settling and managing the Ohio Valley
- Organizing and instating the Royal Proclamation 
- The effects of the Quebec Act
- Managing demographics of the Loyalists and the Constitutional Act
After looking at each of these situations from our three points of view, we created posters that highlighted each perspective.

     After finishing up this section we jumped right into the War of 1812! While our first section looked at challenges that Britain faced, this second section explores the relationship between British citizens and the United States. I was really excited about this part of the unit because this year is the 200th anniversary of the famous battle fought right here in North America.

     Our first step was to create a K-W-L chart (what we know, what we want to know, what we learned) so I could get a sense of their prior knowledge. As we went through this I also showed a video that I thought might trigger some of the information that I know they have learned before:

Of course, my students immediately wanted to create a video of their own! We quickly set up a plan that we would take the questions they had from their K-W-L charts and make a video of them interviewing the Grade 12 students and school staff since they are the ones who have had an opportunity to learn about the War of 1812 in the past. The video itself isn't quite ready to go yet but here is a picture of our interview in action! 
Thank goodness for iPhone panorama view! My cooperating teacher is being interviewed on the far right :)
     During our next class we then went through a mock War of 1812 battle. That would take an ENTIRE post to cover and I was being evaluated that day so I don't have any photos but if you would like a copy of the lesson plan let me know and I can send one your way!

     As of right now, we are working on creating graphic novels about the War of 1812 that we can use to teach about the history of the battle with the younger students in our school. If you aren't familiar with the graphic novel created by Canada 1812: Forged in Flame website (I posted about it here), this is where we got our inspiration. 
war of 1812, war of 1812 graphic novel, war of 1812 in the classroom, war of 1812 classroom resources, teaching about war of 1812, war of 1812 teaching resources

     That is it for right now but I will update again soon and let you know what we are working on!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Resources to Start Off Your Week 41

     This week I am featuring two great resources that I am using in the classroom during student teaching, plus one neat one that I found online and wanted to share! Not only have I used these resources myself, but I have been recommending them to other teachers as well so I hope you like them too :)

     As always, I will be adding these to my lists of resources under the Fav Websites heading.

1 ) Canada 1812 - Forged in Fire
- This website features film clips, informational articles, images, and an
   incredibly detailed (over 100 pages) graphic novel all about the War
   of 1812 and the inspiring people who took part in it.
- This website really pays attention to detail and I used to multiple times
   when I covered the War of 1812 with my Grade 11 students. We
   even used the graphic novel as inspiration to create our own to use to
   teach the younger grades about what we learned!

war of 1812, canada's role in the war of 1812, isaac brock, laura secord, tecumseh, john norton, battles of the war of 1812, war of 1812 comic

2 ) Raven Tales Episode Guide & DVDS
- Raven Tales is an award winning television program that centers on the Raven,
  who is seen as a mischievousness trouble-maker in First Nations folklore. The
  episodes themselves depict stories from various First Nations cultures across North
  America. While this website is only an episode guide, many of the full episodes are
  now available on YouTube to watch at your convenience.
- These funny videos could be the perfect addition to your class if you are teaching
  about First Nations people including customs, world view, spirituality, day-to-day
  life, etc.
* You can also buy DVD sets of the episodes, books and teacher guides from the
  official Raven Tales website: http://www.raventales.com/

raven tales tv show, raven tales episodes, first nations cartoons, first nations videos in the classroom, first nations classroom resources

3 ) One Hundred Free Books
- If you have a Kindle e-read for yourself or you use one in the classroom with
  your student then this website is perfect for you! This website is consistently
  compiling FREE Kindle books that you can download without breaking the bank!
  Users can search by title of by genre and easily see all of the books that they have
- Each day new books are added and some are taken off of the list so the best way
  to keep track of what is available is to subscribe so you don't miss anything that is
  coming out.
kindle books, free kindle books, free kindle book downloads, kindle in the classroom, kindle resources

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Mrs. D is Having a 100 Followers Giveaway!

Have you been following Reading with Mrs. D?
If you aren't you should be!

Right now she is celebrating one of her first blogging milestones and hosting a 
100 Followers Celebration!

The best part is that her celebration is all about featuring other bloggers, sharing their resources and then sharing some of her freebies!

Head over to her blog now to link up and be a part of the action :)

Saturday, 27 October 2012

What To Do When You Aren't The Right Person For The Job

     Yesterday I posted about how things have been progressing in my World Issues class (I will be posting about my Canadian History class on Monday). One thing I did not mention, however, is one of the difficulties I experienced.

     As you know, we have been learning about "Indigenous Peoples of The World" and have been comparing and contrasting the First Nations groups of Canada with Indigenous groups in Ethiopia, Kenya and New Zealand. On Friday I presented some information on First Nations people in regards to clothing, food, employment, and homes. I will note that most of this information was a repeat of information they had learned in the various Social Studies classes they have taken throughout school.

    I immediately noticed that two of my nine students became completely disengaged. They did not participate in our group discussions, write down important notes or attempt the assignment that we were working on. An important thing to know about these students is that they are the only two students in my class who have a First Nations background.

     As class was finishing up and I, admittedly, was feeling pretty confused, one of my disengaged students approached me and stated, "White girls have no right teaching about First Nations people" before walking out the door to her next class. It was an immediate blow to the heart and it hurt me to know that she was so upset by having me teach her this unit. On one hand, I am happy she walked away immediately because I honestly had no idea how to respond.

     Thankfully, I have a pretty good support team around me and have been able to talk this over with my cooperating teacher, fiance and my Aboriginal Studies professor at university. While I am still feeling pretty bad about the situation I am already thinking of ways to fix it:
- Reference the Integrating Aboriginal Perspectives into Curricula document to learn
  more about providing inclusive learning opportunities for Aboriginal students
- Try to build a relationship with my students outside of the classroom (visit
   their sports games, be present at student spirit events, etc)
- Focus on the inquiry-based learning opportunities in the classroom (move
  the teaching away from me and focus on the students interests)
- Plus, on Tuesday, I am having a member of the Speaker's Bureau  from the
  Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba come speak to our class

     Hopefully this can help provide learning opportunities that are more comfortable for all of my students. What are your thoughts? I would really like your opinions!

Friday, 26 October 2012

World Issues Class

     I can't believe it is Friday already! Student teaching has been ALL consuming and I am trying so hard to make a good impression and provide meaningful learning opportunities for my students. I want to share all of the things I have been doing with my two main classes so I am dividing this into two separate posts...

     First, World Issues! My Grade 11 World Issues class only has 9 students so I really wanted to try my hand at working in options that were inquiry-based that allowed the students to have more control of their own learning. They had just finished up an "Environmental Issues" unit with my cooperating teacher and I officially started our unit on "Indigenous Peoples of the World" on Monday.
This was the title screen of my PowerPoint I used as part of our learning!
     I know that my students come from very diverse backgrounds so our first step was to get an idea of what  image came into their head when they heard the phrase, Indigenous Peoples. Here were some of our responses:
Different from the majority of society
Specific religion/beliefs
Traditional clothing
Different languages
As we went through each of their suggestions we discussed why they happened to pick the responses that they did which I feel lead to some really good discussion. My next step was to show FIVE different short film clips that represented various aspects that could relate to indigenous peoples (culture, traditions, language, issues, rights, etc). I asked my students to watch the clips and think of how someone may define what constitutes an Indigenous person. Here is what we watched:

     I found that most students in the class used similar ideas and terms that they first mentioned when they were describing their "vision" of an Indigenous Person. To help redirect their learning away from everyday characteristics (clothing, religion, homes, etc) we referenced Article 33 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to help think of some important issues that may be common among Indigenous groups from various parts of the world.

     We quickly realized that this unit could quickly become overwhelming if we were to try to cover as many as Indigenous groups as possible. There is SO much diversity among Indigenous groups... how do we even start? I thought that if, as a class, they could determine four main indigenous groups that really interested them then we could center our learning just around those specific groups. So here is where I really wanted to try and bring in some inquiry-based learning. I introduced our class to the Intercontinental Cry website (I featured it in this post) and had them explore the almost 500 indigenous groups featured in their Indigenous Peoples Directory!

After having a class period to explore the directory I had each student submit their top three choices (we all agreed that the First Nations groups of Canada had to be one of our choices). After tallying all of the responses, here were our choices:
1 ) The First Nations groups of Canada
2 ) The Maori of New Zealand
3 ) The Suri of Ethiopia
4 ) The Ariaal/Rendille of Kenya

We also decided that we are going to center our course on:
1 ) Ethno-diversity
2 ) World View
3 ) The Effects of Assimilation
4 ) Indigenous Rights

     As we stand right now, our students are working on research projects that will help cover various topics that contribute to our section on Ethno-diversity.
- Food
- Clothing
- Homes
- Employment
- Celebrations/Traditions
- Social Structure
- etc
The students are responsible for teaching their section to the class and will be presenting their information next week. I am pretty excited to learn more about all of these groups and see what kind of presentations they come up with!

     What I am most excited about, however, is that our class will be hosting a guest speaker from the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba on Tuesday! I am very excited that our students have an opportunity to learn directly from a prominent member of the First Nations community. I am hoping that next week I can update you all and let you know how it played out :)

speakers bureau
Would you like to have a representative from Treaty Relations come speak to your students? Contact the Speaker's Bureau at http://www.trcm.ca/speakers.php

Monday, 22 October 2012

Resources to Start Off Your Week 40

     Student teaching is in full swing and I have officially been teaching all of my classes now except ICT. Unfortunately we have had so many extracurricular activities (cross country meet, picture day, admin day, etc) that we had to push back my start time. I don't mind though because it makes it a smoother transition if I get to start each of my classes spaced out!

     I also have exciting news! I have officially joined the "cool kid club" as it is being called on Twitter and bought my very own iPhone! I've already been using it in my classes and it is incredibly helpful, especially since I am trying to document my student teaching for both my blog and for my teaching portfolio.

     My screen is already dirty from how much I have been using it but don't you love the case! I knew that I would never survive without an Otter Box as I've dropped my old phone so many times I've lost count (plus it is pretty and the students love it!) Although my iPhone is a wonderful resource on it's own, here are some other resources to start off your week. As always, I will be adding these to my lists of resources under the Fav Websites heading.

1 ) Intercontinental Cry
- Intercontinental Cry features important information about the many
  Indigenous groups around the world including current news, biographies,
  videos, maps, and more.
- This website is very comprehensive and features information on over 470
  groups from every part of the world! I am impressed with the variety of
  information they have on SO many Indigenous groups and am using this 
  website as a starting point for an inquiry project in our Grade 11 World
  Issues class.

Intercontinental Cry, indigenous groups of the world, indigenous, indigenous people, indigenous issues

2 ) Science Netlinks
- This website features science lesson plans, tools, resources and news
  updates for every class from K-12. Science Netlinks has a very user-
  friendly search option that allows you to select the grade, subject, type
  or research and put in any keywords you need.
- I really like how much information is included in the resources! Some lesson
  plan search engines can have material uploaded by anyone but the standards
  put in place by the website's teams really shows through in the material they
  have available.

Science lesson plans, science resources, science search engine, science in the classroom

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, 19 October 2012

And it Begins... with Canadian History

     Yesterday I had my first day of actual teaching in the Grade 11 Canadian History class. The start of the class was a little hectic as we got called down for picture day as soon as class began. I tried to roll with it, however, and had students fill out short questionnaires on que-cards as they came back. I asked them to include their:
- Name
- Favourite Subject
- Least Favourite Subject
- One thing I love about history is...
- One thing I hate about history is...

     I explained that this would help me learn more about them so I could plan my coursework to fit around their needs and interests. Here are some of my replies:

     I also took a quick survey to learn more about how easily they could access resources, how busy they were and what kind of learning styles they related to. Again, we discussed how this information would help me plan the course appropriately. Here are my results:



          Not everyone was present (I was missing about 4 students) but I think this information gives me a pretty good idea about what is going on in my students lives and how I can best set up homework assignments and various project options. After I collected all of this information from them, I thought that it was only fair that I shared some information about myself! Here is a Prezi I created and showed the class. Obviously I had stories about each of the photos I included but I think you can get an idea of what I was trying to share:

     Next step was to pass out the course outline (which is really actually a "unit" outline since they already have a course outline from their full-time teacher, Mr. O). We went over most it together as a class but I specifically wanted to focus on how to sign up for Remind 101 and how to use the QR codes as an option if they had a Smart Phone (on the last page of the outline).
Canadian history manitoba curriculum, grade 11 canadian history, manitoba curriculum
Available on Google Docs: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0Bwf6KR9URrBaZzI2RnNkelBUaWs
One glitch that I was not prepared for, however, is that our classroom is in the very middle of a building made of cinder blocks and tin.... meaning our room has no cell phone service! I never even thought to check this because I never have my phone on me in class and our students don't usually use their phones in class anyways. Fortunately some of them were able to "find" cell service in the room and showed the others how it worked. I am thinking that if I still don't have everyone signed up for Remind 101 by Monday that we will just go into the hallway as a group, get signed up, and then return to class.

     I would say that the day went really good! On Monday I will be getting into more of the content as well as starting teaching World Issues and Grade 4 Social Studies. :)

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Student Teaching: My Classrooms

     As of Monday my fiance and I are both back student teaching at "S-School" full time for the next five weeks. Although I haven't officially begun teaching yet as my cooperating teachers are finishing up their units  and having their final tests before I take over using my lesson plans and resources. If you remember, my schedule looks like this:

     Here is what my classrooms look like! (In order of how they appear on my schedule).

my classroom
 Grade 11/12 World Issues: I will be starting my unit on Indigenous Peoples on Monday.

Grade 9/10 ICT: I will be starting my unit on Publisher on Monday.

Grade 11 Canadian History: I will be starting my unit on British Colonial Rule tomorrow!
(Didn't have the iPhone for this pic obviously! No panorama view)

Grade 4 Social Studies: I will be starting my unit on Nunavut on Monday.

     Tomorrow I will be sharing my course outline (really a unit outline, since I am only here for 5 weeks) and some lesson plans! If you are wondering, the panorama photos are taken on my fiance's iPhone using the parnorama option available with the new iPhone update. Pretty cool, eh!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Remind 101

     As you may know, I started student teaching again this week but have only been observing my cooperating teachers so far (I start teaching Canadian History tomorrow). In these few short days I have heard the following:
"I forgot that at work."
"I was so busy last night by the time I got home I forgot."
"I can't remember that!"
 "That was due?!"
"Oh right, we're doing that today.... I don't have it."

     I get it, our students are very busy and most of them have afterschool jobs, work one (or more jobs), care for younger siblings while their parents work evening shifts, etc. I know, however, that when I start student teaching tomorrow that I want to be able to assist them without consistently nagging them or threatening lunch-hour detentions.  While as I was creating my course outline last night I was reminded of this awesome resource I had heard about a few months back, Remind101.

text your students, text parents, communicate with students after hours safely, remind 101
     Remind101 is an automated communication service that allows for teachers to text reminder messages to their students in the evening after school or in the morning before school. This site is SO EASY to use and in literally 5 minutes (probably less) I had set up an account for my class. Here is what I like best about Remind101.
1 ) Its FREE
I don't have the money to pay for lots of resources while I am student teaching

2 ) I NEVER see my students personal cell phone numbers
- They sign up by texting a pre-assigned code and all I see is the name they
  sign up with

3 ) I don't have to use MY personal cell phone number!

4 ) Sign up is SUPER EASY for myself and for students
- They provide a specific screen to show to your students when they are 
  getting setup
- I also included the signup screen image in our course outline itself

     Once students are signed up, I can see my list online of who is all using the service (remember, I don't see they cell phone numbers, just their names). I can then send out messages to be texted out (ex. Chapter 3 questions, #1-5, are due at the beginning of class tomorrow). I can even schedule messages beforehand so if I think of something while I am lesson planning, I can schedule an appropriate text to send out at the right time!

     I am pretty excited about this because I feel that cell phones are the easiest way to reach students at the high school level! I hope they think it is as cool as I do.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Resources to Start Off Your Week 39

     Today is our first day back student teaching at "S-School" but instead of only one week, we are now here teaching full time for 5 full weeks! (I am actually still at our school as my fiance is assisting with the volleyball tournament going on this evening.) I am very excited about being back in the school and will be posting about my classrooms later this week (including pictures) and sharing some of my lesson plans (yay for freebies). Until then, here are some resources that I found this week. As always, I will be adding them to my lists of resources under the Fav Websites heading.

1 ) The Why Files: The Science Behind the News
- This website features different stories each week that explore the science behind
   everyday news stories. In addition to these feature stories, the website also houses
   archives of science interactives and "cool science images" that are the perfect
   accompaniment to science lessons.
- I found that the best thing about this website is its ease of navigation. The archive
  is divided up by subject area and theme so if you would like an article on a specific
  subject it is right there at your fingertips. There is also a Classroom Activities Page
  that includes some interesting resources from a broad range of topics.
- http://whyfiles.org/
 the science behing the news, science case studies, everyday science, science in the news, science resources for the classroom, science resources for students, science resources for teachers

2 ) Harvey's Home Page: SMART Board Lessons
- Harvey's webpage features many great SMART Board lesson templates for
  teaching math and includes everything from numeracy and estimation to algebra
  and statistics. All of these lesson plans are free to download onto your computer
  and are really easy to use!
- There are also lots of fun and useful things to use under the "Utilities" heading
   including SMART Board calendars, game spinners, trivia games, character
   graphics, time clocks and more!
- This is a great website to explore if you want some more ideas or have just
   installed a SMART Board and want to see what you can create.
- http://harveyshomepage.com/Harveys_Homepage/Welcome.html

Smart Board resources, interactive white board resources, smart board lessons, smart boards

3 ) Ancient Egypt Review
- If you ever teach about Ancient Civilizations, this website is a good
  resource and you don't HAVE to use it as a review! It takes students
  through a list of questions that are more than just the basic recall questions
  that you often find on many webquests. In addition to questions, there is
  also a mapping activity and video clips from National Geographic.
* The website asks students to use "their textbook" as one of their resources
   but doesn't specifiy what textbook they used so you would have to read over
   the questions beforehand and make sure they are appropriate for the resources
   you have been using.
- http://ecplatz.wix.com/ancientegypt

ancient egypt, anceitn egypt webquest, egypt webquest, ancient egypt resources

4 ) Crash Course!
- If you haven't already subscribed to the Crash Course! YouTube Channel
  you should go do so right now! John and Hank Green have created short
  (14 minutes or less, approximately) videos to teach about World History
  (John's specialty) and Biology (Hank's specialty). So far there are 81 videos!
- These videos give a breakdown of all of the important information on a topic
  through easy-to-understand lecture, videos, images, maps, neat graphics, etc.
  I like the fact that these videos explain the how and why and not just "this is
  how it is" explanation that you often find on the internet.
- These videos are definitely something that I am going to use in my class as a
  review tool or even as an activating strategy!
- http://www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse?feature=watch
Crash Course youTube Channel, john green, hank green, biology crash course, world history crash course

Happy Monday everyone!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Fab Five 2012 Conference

MTS Fab 5 Conference, Fab Five
Winnipeg Conference Poster: Our conference dates were different!
This week I spent Thursday evening and all of Friday at The Fab 5 conference put on by the Manitoba Teachers' Society. This conference is designed for teachers in their first five years of teaching (including student teachers) and it is one that I attended last year as well! The sessions cover everything from general classroom management information and curriculum specifics to personal management and special area groups.

     By far one of the best parts about this conference is the attendants, presenters and organizers! I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to network with so many teachers who have just started teaching and can share their experiences with those of us who will be going through the interview process in a few short months. I choose 4 amazing sessions put the keynote and plenary sessions.

- Mitch Dorge 
Mitch Dorge motivational speaker
Myself, Mitch, & 2 other student teachers, Jen & Jasmine!
Have you ever been to a Professional Development session with an attendance of about 60 people and expected to have a Keynote address by someone who has travelled the world? The answer is probably, yes. Well what about someone who has travelled the world, hung out with Adam Sandler, won a Juno, had a platinum and double-platinum record, been nominated for two Grammy's and played Saturday Night Live? These are only some of the amazing accomplishments of our Keynote speaker, Mitch Dorge, who is the drummer of the Crash Test Dummies.

Mitch Dorge, motiviational speaker, professional development
Yes this would be me getting into my "sumo stance!"
Mitch spent the better part of an hour and a half getting us to step out of our comfort zones by getting us to engage in what I can only describe as a ninja warrior musical. (It is one of the those experiences where you definitely "had to be there" to accurately understand what it was like.) In admits our goofy antics and his personal stories, he shared his message about finding what your niche is and putting 100% of your energy into what makes you, you. It is important to reflect on what energy you are putting out into the world because everything you put out there affects someone else, even if its not the intended person. For example, if one of your students see you treating someone positively, they will pick up on that and it will affect them too, even if you weren't necessarily interacting with that student.

- Mark Essay
     Mark is a teacher of almost 20 years and as soon as he started his session I knew I immediately liked him. Why? He used strategies similar to WBT strategies to format his session and I was immediately engaged and enthusiastic (even though it was 8:30 in the morning)! He would speak for about a few minutes and then have us discuss the information with the person sitting beside us, he would then have us mirror his gestures and repeat the information verbally with him. This totally reminded me of the 5-step lesson plan, teach-ok, and mirror strategies of WBT so I felt very "in my element". 

     He spoke of the importance of having relevant teaching materials and strategies so that students can see the point in what they are doing. He also spoke about having an open mind all the time, but especially at conferences like this, because you may have days when you have used EVERY single strategy you know and they still don't work! If you have an open mind you may remember that teacher tip you heard at a conference and, even if it is nothing like what you are used to, you can pull it out and try something new. Sometimes the pure shock of you acting so different will put the class back on track! 
 - Kirsten Dozenko
     Kirsten is a very passionate individual and I really enjoyed her session. Mind you, I had met her the night before and we quickly find out that not only did we have the same name but we also had the same teachables! So that may have biased me :) Her session was an open discussion about how we can make our schools safe and inclusive for all students, regardless of the factors that may make up their identity. We started up with a good activating strategy where we brainstormed what society and school was like when we were 12, what it is like now and what it will be like in 12 years. We discussed what has changed and stayed the same which I found very interesting because there were teachers who were 12 years old in the 70s, 80s, 90s and in the 2000s. 
Kirsten introduced us to the "It Gets Better" project by Dan Savage and we all agreed that although we can understand the message that they were trying to get across it is a horrible message to tell students that they need to wait until AFTER school until it gets better. School should be a safe and supportive environment where students should feel that they are safe to be themselves. We also looked at some amazing resources, including children's books, and discussed how might school be different if students saw inclusive material like that represented all the way from K-12. If you are interested in learning more about the topic, Ally Week is actually next week (October 15-19) and here are some great resources that Kirsten shared with us.
- Glsen: Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
- Think Before You Speak. Don't say "That's so Gay."
- Rainbow Resource Centre
- Egale: Canada Human Rights Trust

 - Bill Rumley
     This was an extremely emotional session for everyone involved as we listened to the stories of an Attendance Officer who has worked over 30 years assisting teachers who are working with troubled youth. To be honest, I didn't even know that Manitoba had Attendance Officers (previously referred to as Truancy Officers) so I found the session even more eye-opening. Bill centred his entire presentation on stories of specific students he worked with and how, more often that not, the family and school had given up on the student and he was left to pick up the pieces. He shared the amazing story about how one specific young man was continually kicked out of school and as soon as Bill would bring him back, the school would kick him out again because they had given up on him and saw no potential in the student. After a number of years, Bill ended up being able to get the student into another school where, thanks to the help of a supportive teacher, he graduated from high school as the valedictorian!

     Now I am one of those people who when I see someone cry, I cry as well and Bill is extremely passionate about what he does. Needless to say, every time Bill got emotional, myself and many other people began to get emotional as well. He stressed that we don't have to be the one to solve every single problem that comes our way, but we do need to acknowledge that person as an individual and listen to their situation. We can not be that person who labels a student as a "problem" and  doesn't take the time to see them as a person: what they like, what their strengths are, what their home life is, etc. Every student has the potential to do amazing things and we have the opportunity to assist them in reaching that goal. Here is a poem that Bill shared with us before our session wrapped up, I thought it was pretty powerful.

 The Touch of a Master's Hand
Myra Brooks Welch
'Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bid, good people", he cried,
"Who starts the bidding for me?"
"One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?"
"Two dollars, who makes it three?"
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"
But, No,
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings. 
The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "What now am I bid for this old violin?"
As he held it aloft with its' bow.
"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?"
"Two thousand, Who makes it three?"
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone", said he.
The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
"We just don't understand."
"What changed its' worth?"
Swift came the reply.
"The Touch of the Masters Hand."
And many a man with life out of tune
All battered with bourbon and gin
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.
But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters' Hand.
 - Trish Griffin & Andrea Oversby
     Trish and Andrea are from the Teacher Action Cohert and I really wanted to take this session because although I have grown up having EAs in my classrooms and have even had EAs when I have student taught, I didn't really know what their exact role was. I think it is even more important to learn as much as I can because, with me being so young, it is very likely that most EAs will have been in the school much longer than I have and I wanted to be clear on the separate roles and responsibilities of teachers vs. EAs. If you are reading this and wondering the same thing, here is a quick breakdown:
educational assistants
Manitoba Teachers' Society. (2004). Teachers & Educational Assistants: Roles & Responsibilities. The Manitoba Teachers' Society: Winnipeg. pg 11-12.
      We were also able to go through many specific case studies that were pulled from actual Manitoba schools were there was conflict between teachers and the EAs they worked with. I found it really helpful to go over these because we were able to dissect the situation and determine what was the responsibility of the EA, what was the responsibility of the teacher, what was the responsibility of the resource teacher and what would be the responsibility of the administration. After going through all of this I feel much better about creating positive work relationships between myself and any EAs I may get to work with in the future. For more information check out the Educational Assistants in Manitoba Schools document.

- Wade Houle 
      This was perhaps one of the most practical sessions I visited and I am so thankful I made sure that I got it to work within my schedule! Wade is actually a teacher at the high school just 20 minutes away from our house so that was really neat! He shared over 30 lesson plans, assignments, projects and rubrics that he uses with his Native Studies, History and English classes. As a beginning teacher this package is like finding treasure! Wade included the actual assignments he gives out to students, his notes for them, questions for novel studies, the background information we might need.... EVERYTHING! The really helpful thing was that he also brought actual examples of completed assignments from his class so we could see how the finished project would turn out.

     I can't wait to use some of his ideas in my own classroom and, with him being right down the road, I know that I can easily ask him questions and get clarification if I need!

Overall I had a BLAST at Fab Five 2012. I am so glad I made time to attend and I can't wait to use some of the ideas during my student teaching placement that starts..... MONDAY! (It came up soooo fast!)

I'm sending out a BIG thanks to all of the presenters and organizers for this event, you all did an amazing job :)

using twitter in education
We stopped for a photo-op to showcase those of us who are using Twitter! So proud that we are all from the same university!! :)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday: Class Dojo Tutorial

     Have you been seeing posts around blog-land about the classroom management website, Class Dojo? While I didn't see an immediate need to check it out, the website's cute little characters drew me in and I knew I had to see what all the fuss was about. As I started exploring around some of the features I immediately began thinking of how this could be customized to create a super cute, interactive, WBT Scoreboard!!
using Class Dojo for whole brain teaching, whole brain teaching, WBT the scoreboard, the scoreboard

     If you're naturally drawn to tech stuff this might be perfect for your classroom or, as Coach B often mentions, this could be the perfect thing to have in your back pocket to bring out when things need to be refreshed! The following is step-by-step tutorial of how you might set it up:

whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard
 1 ) "Try it right now" / "Sign Up"
-Click on either one as it will
  take you to the same form


whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard

2 ) Fill in You Information
- This is a pretty standard form

- Make sure you select that you are
  a teacher.


whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard

3 ) Tour Time! 
- Take some time to explore the different features of the site
- Any changes you make to any behaviours will be under the "Demo Class"
  and will need to be redone when the tutorial is over and you make your own class

4 ) Create Your Own Class
- You can make as many classes as you want so it works perfect if see
   multiple sets of students every day!
* Explore through the icon options  to pick one that reflects your class

whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard

5 ) Begin Working on Your Class
- On your dashboard you should now see your "Demo Class" from the tour
   and the class you've just created
- Click on "Start" to begin working on the set-up for your specific class

whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard

6 ) Add Students
- The very first thing you'll be asked to do is to add students to your class.
- Put in students name and add them to your class by hitting enter. 
- You can modify their avatar by clicking the drop-down menu and dragging photos
  onto the students picture
- Hit "Save & Close" at the bottom of the screen when done

whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard

7 ) Edit Your Class Specifics
- After adding students you will be taken back to your dashboard
- This time, click on "Edit class" which will allow you to edit the specifics of your
   classroom like behaviours

whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard

8 ) Edit Behaviours
- Now that we have students we can now edit the behaviours.
- To really customize this for a WBT classroom I suggest deleting all
  of the suggested behaviours so we can add our own.
- You can delete a behaviour by clicking on it and selecting "Delete" 
   under the "Save" button.
- Once the behaviours are clear you can click on the box to "Add your
   own". Make sure to play around with the pictures too!
- Here are the ones I created:

whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard

- Once you have created the positive behaviours that you want you
  can then click on the "Negative" button to edit the negative behaviours.
- Repeat the same steps as before to create appropriate negative behaviours
  that fit in with your class. 
- Here are the ones I created:
whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard
- Hit "Save & Close" at the bottom of the screen when done 

whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard 
9 ) Begin Using Your New "Scoreboard" 
- When you start up your class you should now see all of your students
   and you can begin using Class Dojo as your "Scoreboard"!

whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard
 10 ) Award Points to Students
- To award a Scoreboard point to your students hit "Award Multiple Students" 
   at the top of the screen (see picture in Step 9)
- Select all of the students in your class (but NOT yourself) and then hit "Give 
  Award" at the top of the screen
whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard
- Select the award you want to give based on the positive behaviours you
   set up previously
whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard
- The GREAT thing is that when students are awarded a point a screen
  pops up on the screen briefly which is PERFECT for a 1-second party!
whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard
11 ) Award Points to the Teacher (Yourself) OPTION #1
- If you have made yourself part of the class (like I did as you can see in
  the photos in Step 10), you can award yourself a point simply by clicking on
  your character individually
- A BIG difference this time is that now you hit the negative behaviours that
  are appropriate for why you are getting a point. In this example, I am awarding
  myself a point on the Scoreboard because the students have "Continued to Talk
  After Class-Yes"
whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard
- You can see now that the students have 1 point and the teacher has 1 point and 
  you can continue to use the scoreboard in this fashion throughout the class

whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard
12 ) Award Points to the Teacher (Yourself) OPTION #2
- If you do not want to make yourself part of the class there is another way to
  award teacher points to yourself
- To award a negative Scoreboard point to your students hit "Award Multiple Students" 
   at the top of the screen (see picture in Step 9)
- Select all of the students in your class and then hit "Give 
  Award" at the top of the screen
whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard
 - Under "Negative" select the award you want to give based on the negative behaviours 
  you set up previously
whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard

- Again, the GREAT thing is that when students are awarded a point a screen
  pops up on the screen briefly which is PERFECT for a "Mighty-Groan!"
- You'll notice that the students now have no point bubbles next to their names
  where they previously had green 1 point bubbles. Their negative point has
  cancelled out the positive point that they previously earned. 

whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard
13 ) Determining a Scoreboard Winner
- If you used Option #1 and made yourself part of the classroom then it will be
  clearly displayed who won the Scoreboard game by who has more points next
  to their names. If you see above, the students have won with 3 points as I only
  have 2 points.
- If you used Option #2 you want to hit "End Class" at the top left of the screen
  when your class is done and/or when that specific Scoreboard round is done.

whole brain teaching, class dojo, classdojo, wbt, the scoreboard
- Once a class is done you will be able to see the results for the "Whole Class"
   as well as for each individual student
- Make sure you set your range for "Today" so your results don't include information
  from a previous day's class!
- If you see above, the students have won as they had (all together) 24 positive points
  and only 16 negative points

     If you play around with it, Class Dojo, has so many options that you can modify to make it fit your WBT classroom's needs! This tutorial shows the steps that I came up with while I was first looking at it but I'm sure once you are used to the options you could use it for even more WBT strategies! Perhaps you could use it to include Independents, if needed, or be used as part of the Super Improvers Wall for those students whose goals may fit in with the behaviours you have programmed in.

     What other ways can you think of to use Class Dojo with WBT?

To learn more about Whole Brain Teaching, visit their website
To learn more about the WBT strategy of the Scoreboard, see my previous post or visit this Whole Brain Teaching article.

** I wrote this tutorial out of personal interest and was not approached by Class Dojo to promote their website.