Tuesday, 29 January 2013

David Roberston Author Study

     This week we are creating author studies in my English Language Arts Methods class and I chose David Roberston. I had previously used David's work in the Aboriginal Resources Curriculum Portfolio I created with my fiance, so it was nice to revisit his work and learn more!

     David is an Aboriginal author living and working in Winnipeg, Manitoba so it is awesome to be able to feature material that is locally relevant. His graphic novels feature intense plot lines and provide an engaging platform for students (especially those who struggle or dislike reading traditional forms of text). David's work includes:
- The Seven Generations Series
     - Stone
     - Scars
     - Ends/Begins
     - The Pact
- The Life of Helen Betty Osborne
- Sugar Falls

David Robertson, seven generations series, sugar falls, life of Helen Betty Osborne

     In addition to a written report I also created this display (see above). For this author study, I created two webs showcasing the curriculum connections (top of the board) as well as some of David's influences (bottom of the board). I also included an iPad to display the Teacher's Guide for his Seven Generations Series which is extremely detailed and provides a lot of great ideas for the classroom! I also have an example of a lesson plan that includes David's work that I will attach on the far right-hand side.

     If you have an opportunity to include David's work in your classroom I would definitely recommend it! If you would like to get your own copy of his work, it can be purchased through Portage and Main Press. To learn more about David Robertson and his work:
- Follow his blog, David Alexander Robertson
- Like his Facebook page, Seven Generations Fan Page
- Watch his book trailers on YouTube

Monday, 28 January 2013

Resources to Start Off Your Week 51

     I've officially broken the 50th edition mark and am excited to be posting my Resources To Start Off Your Week post for the 51st time! This past week has been very busy as I began #ETMOOC, tuned into EduCon2.5, and began #edcmooc. This means that I have some new followers to my blog, hooray! As always, I will be adding these resources to my ongoing lists under the Fav Websites heading.

1 ) Seriously Amazing
- This website, hosted by the Smithsonian, is an interactive and engaging way
  to explore various questions about interesting topics. For example, "Was Dr.
  Suess a wartime propagandist?" Depending on the question, the answers may
  include text, audio, video or images.
- Users can narrow their search by Art, History, Science, etc to find specific
- The colourful interface reminded me a little of Symbaloo and I can see how it
  would be engaging for students.
- http://seriouslyamazing.si.edu/#new

2 ) RSA Animate How-To
- Have you ever watched one of those RSA Animate videos and thought
  about how awesome it would be to make one of your own? I love the doodle
  style of these videos and have attempted to create my own and had some
  success using PowToon, when it was free, but now I've found a tutorial!
- If you aren't familiar with the style I've put a popular one below.
- Paul Bogush has actually created RSA Animate videos with his students (how
  awesome is that!?) and has put together an incredibly thorough tutorial of how
  they did it including what tools they used, possible glitches and lots of pictures!
- I'm sure if students can do it, then so can I! If I figure it all out I would love to
  create a similar project with my students one day.
* Special thanks to the #ETMOOC network for finding this for me!
- http://blogush.edublogs.org/2012/12/26/how-to-make-rsa-animate-style-videos-with-your-class/

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Connected Learning

educational technology and media

     This week's topic for #ETMOOC has been Connected Learning: Tools/Processes/Pedagogy, which I think is perfect because our Internet for Educators class has also been discussing Connected Learning as well! For me Connected Learning definitely included my PLN, so I've created a "Visualization of my PLN" below.

professional learning networks, PLNs, educators using PLNs, what makes a PLN

     Connected Learning doesn't just personally apply to me as a teacher, however, it also applies to my students and how we set up our classroom activities. I  can honestly say that our classroom wouldn't be the same if it wasn't for technology and the ability to network with other people around the world. (This is especially evident on those days when technology fails us!). I want to share some examples of how I have implemented various social media tools in order to provide a richer learning environment for my students.

Remind 101
Remind 101 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. Somethings I like about Remind 101 are that:
1 ) Its FREE
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!
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've had several students come into class in the morning saying, "I never would have remembered _____ if you hadn't texted me last night". I find that Remind 101 is such an easier way to assist my students rather than nagging them the next day. I mean, their phones very rarely leave their hands, why not take advantage of that?

Twitter in the classroom
While I haven't been able to set up a Twitter account for any of my classes yet, I have used my own account with students in my Grade 11 Global Issues class.
Right before I began my third student teaching placement I attended the MTS Fab 5 conference where I was able to sit in on a session with Wade Houle. In this session, Wade very generously shared a curriculum package he created in regards to Teaching Aboriginal Topics. When I began teaching "Indigenous Peoples" with my Grade 11 Global Issues class I drew on ideas from Wade's package and shared with my students that Wade had done a similar activity in his classroom. Coincidentally, Wade teaches at a nearby community that was known as our student's "rivals" and the fact that his students had also done the project quickly started a competition atmosphere in our classroom. I found that my students were incredibly motivated to learn more and complete their projects "better" than the students in Wade's classroom. Each day as they completed more of their activity, they would tweet his classroom and share their progress. The fact that Twitter could provide my students with an authentic audience that motivated them was very rewarding. I'm including the final tweet they sent out with their completed project! To see their full project, click here.

using twitter in the classroom

I don't have as much experience creating videos but thanks to a recent PD session I attended I am definitely excited about doing it more in the future! I think it is a great tool to provide students with an authentic audience and to let them use a platform that is relevant and meaningful to them!
This video was a project I created with my students during a 30-hour famine fundraising event they organized to raise money for their local food bank. This was the first year that the school had done an event like this so the students were excited to document their activities to be shown in future years.
*To maintain divisional policies, we only used images and audio tracks as opposed to video clips.

     While I am very proud of what I have accomplished so far, my student teaching placements are only seven weeks long or less! During these times I have usually had to work with the fact that most students are not familiar with sharing online unless it involves Facebook and some divisions do not allow classroom information to be shared online at all. This meant that I was either appealing my case to admin or spending valuable time getting students used to a routine they were not familiar with. Either of these situations resulted in not much sharing time in only a few short weeks! It is my hopes that when I have my own classroom that sharing will be a regular part of the routine, while still maintaining divisional guidelines of course. I would love to maintain a classroom blog and Twitter account with my students where we can showcase our classroom activities through written posts, videos, audio clips and images.

     How are you using social media and various tech tools in your classroom? Is there a specific project or activity that has really benefited your students?

Thursday, 24 January 2013


etmooc, educational technology and media mooc

     One of the projects the participants of #ETMOOC are completing is a collaborative "Lip Dub" of a well known song! If you aren't familiar with this type of project, here is an example that I LOVED!

     I can't imagine how much work would have had to go into creating a live presentation like that! Since the participants of #ETMOOC are located all around the world, however, we will be creating a video comprised of several individual clips. The example that was shared with us was:

This is actually a Lip Dub project organized by Dean Shareski to celebrate Alec Couros' Birthday!

This will allow different #ETMOOC members to show off their classrooms, locations, uniqueness, etc in their video clip! I am very excited about this idea and think it is such a neat way to use technology in a fun way and build a really strong sense of community. After a polling process, it was determined that the #ETMOOC community will be creating a lip dub of..... "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen! It is fun to think that you are part of creating something so neat!

     There are three people at our university participating in this part of #ETMOOC:
- Myself
- Tyler (a fellow student)
- Mr. Nantais (our Internet for Educators professor)
We thought it would be a really fun idea if the three of us did our Lip Dub clip as a group to showcase our university group! Even though the completed project won't be done for a while, I wanted to share a still shot from our portion of the project. It was about -35C today, plus a windchill, so we bundled up and rocked out our clip in the snow by our university's main sign!
Our clip:
"I'm a shooting star leaping through the sky..."

(Left to Right) Mr. Nantais, myself, Tyler
     I think this would be such a fun project to do with students as well, simply because of the community building process (not to mention the ICT and English curriculum ties)! Here are some project ideas that came to mind:
1 ) Full School Project
- Think of how neat it would be to have an entire school participate in a Lip Dub
   project like this (especially a K-12 school!)

2 ) Grade 12 Project
- Having the Grade 12 graduating class create a project like this could be a great
  keepsake for the students and it could even be shown at the grad ceremony!

3 ) Time Lapse Project
- This one would require a lot more planning on teachers but how neat would it
  be to start a project like this with students in Kindergarten and then complete
  it once the students are in Grade 12! Half of the clips would be from when 
  they were in Kindergarten and the other half would be completed when they
  reach Grade 12.
- I would think this would work best in a K-12 setting but it could be done over
  the course of K-Grade 6 in an elementary setting too.

What ideas do you have?

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Piercey vs. Lunenberg County District School Board

     The following is a presentation put together by myself and another education student from our, Educators & The Law course. It is not intended to be a stand-alone presentation and will be shared with our class during a lecture/discussion by the two of us. It includes:
- Introduction of the Case
- Terms of Reference (applicable to our case)
- Legal Summary (what happened, court's ruling)
- Assessment of the Ruling (our opinion)
- Implications (what this means for teacher's in the field)

* Slideshare changed the font so some of the formatting is a little wonky and the embed YouTube clip doesn't show (I will share it below)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


etmooc, educational technology and media mooc
     It took some peer pressure but I have decided to take the plunge and participate in #ETMOOC, a massive open online course on Educational Technology & Media. Here is the description provided on the course webpage,

     #etmooc is a 'Connectivist' MOOC ('cMOOC) this is designed around a
     few key principles:
     - The course is developed with a weak 'centre'. While etmooc-org will provide
     a level of aggregation, detail, and dirction, the majority of interactions are likely
     to occur within groups & networks, facilitated through various online spaces &
     - Participants are strongly encouraged to develop their own reflective, learning
     spaces. We're hoping that every learner in #etmooc creates and maintains their
     own blog for continuous reflection, creativity, and resource sharing.
     - Sharing and networking participation are essential for the success of all learners
     in #etmooc. Thus, we'll be needing you to share your knowledge, to support and
     encourage others, and to participate in meaningful conversations.

     When participating in #ETMOOC activities I will tag my posts "#ETMOOC" as well as include the screenshot above to make the posts more visible to readers who may be visiting from the #ETMOOC community.

     Our first project is to share an intro of ourselves, so here it goes! I've created a SlideShare presentation based off of ones I learned how to create during a recent PD session with Darren Kuropatwa & Andy McKiel.

EduCon 2.5 Prep

     At the start of January I posted about this years upcoming EduCon professional development conference, held in Philadelphia. Well now the countdown is on and with only a few days until it begins, I wanted to share some of my tips and tricks for attending EduCon virtually!

educon philadelphia, educon conference, online professional development
First off, if you want to learn more about EduCon you can:
- Visit their website
- Follow them on Twitter
- Read some of my previous posts!
     - EduCon 2.5
     - EduCon 2.4
     - My Thoughts on EduCon 2.4

     Now I have only participated in EduCon once, so I am by no means an expert, but here are some tips and tricks I learned after going through the process last year.

1 ) Clear Your Schedule!
- Let people know you are at a conference (it doesn't matter that you are in
  your PJs while doing it). Twitter conversations and live streams go so quickly
  and it can be easy to miss something if you are chatting on the phone, having
  people drop it, etc.
- Devote the same attention to it as you would an in-person conference, this will
  ensure you get the most out of the sessions you are participating in

2 ) Get Organized!
- I'm the kind of person that needs to take notes as I go in order to retain
  information so get you device/paper and pens/word document ready!
* If you are taking notes on your computer, save as you go! If your computer is
  anything like mine, once you have live stream, twitter and a word document open
  it may freeze.

3 ) Get Familiar With VOKLE Beforehand!
- Last year EduCon used VOKLE to stream their sessions and even though I
  set up an hour before my first session started, I still ran into technical issues and
  was scrambling up until the last minute.
- Get yourself set up with an account
- View some other events to ensure everything works correctly
- Links to the live sessions will be available on the specific session pages once
  they've started

4 ) Get on Twitter/Get Your Tweets Organized
- If you are not on Twitter, make yourself an account and get familiar with hashtags!
   Here is a prep guide if you are a beginner
- Figure out the hashtags for your specific sessions (if they have one). The EduCon
   hashtag is #EduCon but I've also seen people using #EduCon2.5 and #EduCon2013
- Determine if you will be using tools like TweetDeck or not, which is an organizational
   tool (personal preference).
* Twitter is not mandatory to participate in EduCon but it definitely opens up more
   learning experiences for you :)

5 ) Give Yourself Time! Have Fun
- There is so much information available during this time and it can get chaotic if you
  are trying to participate in Twitter conversations while taking notes, while eating an
  sandwich, etc. Give yourself a break in between sessions (if you can) so you can
  take time to reflect, take in the information, and prep for the next session.
- You know yourself best so only participate in as many sessions as you can handle.
  Give yourself enough time to participate in meaningful Twitter conversations so you
  can really get the most out of the experience.

Let me know if you will be participating in EduCon, I'm trying to set up conversations with those in my current PLN!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Resources To Start Off Your Week 50

     Week 50! I am excited to have two great Resources To Start Off Your Week that I have found through my great PLN on Twitter! As always, I will be adding these to my lists of resources under the Fav Websites heading.

1 ) Blogging Prompts for Teacher Candidates
- This collaborative Google Doc project features hundreds of writing
   prompts for teacher candidates (and any person in the education
- Topics include issues related to ethical use of technology, pedagogy,
  ed tech & cognition, personal tech habits, tech tools, issues with
  access, future of education and more!
- I will definitely be using the ideas in this document in the future!

educational blogging, blogging for teachers, blog ideas for teachers, writing prompts of educators

2 ) HipHughes History 
- If you haven't already subscribed to the HipHughes YouTube Channel
  you should go do so right now! Keith Hughes, a YouTube Next EDU Guru,
  has created hundreds of videos (approximately 30 minutes or less) to 
  teach about World History, US History, Politics and more!
- Keith seems like an awesome teacher and his videos are very engaging!
  He uses a lot of different music, backgrounds and eye-catching intro clips
  to catch your attention quickly. I really like that Keith's explanations really
  seem like he is talking to a class, not a robotic scripted speech like some
  edu-videos I've watched.
- I like that he has created playlists so that videos are easily searchable by

HipHughes History YouTube Channel, history podcasts, educational youtube videos, youtube next edu guru

Happy Monday everyone!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Digital Storytelling in the Classroom

     On Wednesday I had an opportunity to attend a presentation by Darren Kuropatwa and Andy McKiel on Digital Storytelling. Both of these guys are doing some amazing things in regards to ed tech and I was happy to finally meet both of them after following their work online.

     The entire session focused on digital storytelling as a way for our students to document and reflect on their learning. Not only were we introduced to some great ideas but we also were able to try them out for ourselves. This was the very first PD session I have been to that had us out of the room and actually using the tools we were discussing; I was very impressed! In this post I'd like to summarize some of the tools I learned about as well as some of the project ideas we discussed. If you would like to see the actual presentation, however, it is available on Darren's slideshare!

italk, recording apps
This app allows you to easily record and export audio clips via email. It is very user-friendly, has an aesthetic interface, and provides good quality recordings. By selecting the "good" quality recording method, users can record 90 second sound clips that can be quickly emailed away. (Clips longer than 90 seconds cannot be exported via email).
If you had access to iPads or iPhones in the classroom, you could have students record their discussions during group work and quickly email away for you to use as formative assessment! Think of how long it might take to assess 20 journal reflections versus how long it might take to listen to 20 ninety second clips (only about 18 minutes!).

While 90 seconds may seem like a short amount of time, it really gets students to evaluate what the most important information is and summarize their learning. We also discussed how a recording can motivate student's to provide their best work. While writing can seem anonymous  without ownership, it is harder to hide behind a recording of your own voice.
I really liked this app and find it really easy to use! I actually used it with my students this weekend to create our own "digital story", see below.

What Do You See In Your World Today?
One of the project ideas we discussed had to do with, "What do you see in your world today?" Using any number of topic ideas, students can create video projects relating their learning to the world around them. For example, we talking about finding beauty in the world around us and were given 5 minutes to shoot a 5 second clip of something beautiful in our world (which at that time was in the Faculty of Ed building). Here was our resulting project:
This could be done with our students to start off a new unit and activate prior knowledge. For example, what role does agriculture play in our daily lives? Students could film clips of food, clothing, various technologies, employment options, etc. 

It could also be done to apply classroom learning to the real world. For example, find an element on the periodic table. Darren shared the story of a teacher who assigned their students different elements and they filmed an object that used that element in real life (at home, in the community, etc). In the end, they had a video showing real-world examples of various elements; way cooler than studying the chart on the wall! 
Here are some other videos we watched as examples/inspiration:

Watch this one to the end, I think the end is the most powerful!

Who Are You? / What Did You Learn Today?
We discussed this project idea in the context of having only 4 slides and recording your story over top. In the most simple sense, this project could be done at the start of the year as an introduction activity to become more familiar with everyone. For example, we created our own stories about how we became educators:
You could have your students create this type of project for ANY topic in your class. For example, in what way does an Indigenous group's worldview affect their relationship with the environment? (A question we explored when I taught Global Issues). Students could chose 4 pictures that illustrate their learning about that topic and record their answers over top! Think of how neat it would be to do this for every unit and then have one 30 minute video at the end of the semester summarizing that student's learning!
Pictures could be physical work samples from class (which could also allow the video to serve as a portfolio) or they could be personal photos or online images. If taken from online, it could also be an opportunity to practice using creative commons to find appropriate work online!

This type of project could also be done on a daily or weekly basis as a class as a way of documenting classroom learning. If your class has a website or blog, your students could create a short audio clip each day, or at the end of the week, summarizing what they learned during that time period. (This could either be done in a large group setting, or by appointing a "scribe" each time on an alternating basis). What results, at the end of semester, is a detailed account of student learning, created by students! It could serve as a digital "textbook" archive of information that students could reference before assessment activities. This type of activity also allows each student to be an active participant in the classroom learning process and become an "expert" on a certain topic.


     If you ever get a chance to take a PD session with either of these gentlemen I highly recommend it! In fact, Darren will be presenting at this year's BYTE conference, where Tyler and I are also presenting. I was so excited about what I learned during this presentation that I immediately wanted to try it out!

    This weekend, my fiance and I were asked to chaperon a fundraising event held by our student's from our last student teaching placement. In order to raise money for their local food bank they decided to participate in a 30 hour famine event that they titled, Starving for Change. Each student found sponsors and starting Friday morning at 12am they began fasting! We all camped out in the school gym Friday night and ended the event with a big buffet breakfast this morning. It was a lot of fun and I couldn't be more proud of the students for organizing and taking part in such a great cause. All together they were able to raise $1000 for their local food bank!

     Using the tips I learned from this PD session I worked with the students last night to create this digital story to document their event:

Dean Shareski: The "Best Part" of the Internet

      This Tuesday we had an opportunity to Skype with Dean Shareski from Discovery Education Canada to discuss technology in education. There are so many technological tools out there that can be utilized in the classroom like interactive whiteboards, personal devices, and apps. While these tools can offer differentiated learning opportunities for our students, I believe that they are often under-utilized. By this I mean they are either used as a novelty project simply because they are available, they are not utilized in a regular basis and/or they are not used to their full potential. Why use your iPad to complete math worksheets using an app when you can easily do that on the board or with pen and paper? Technology should bring in new learning opportunities for our students. We should be saying, "How can our students use iPads to learn math in ways that they can't learn by using pen and paper?"

If you generally think of the Internet as a place to "look up stuff" you're missing the best partFor me, I am most excited about using technology as a sharing tool. I would love for my students to be able to publish their work to an authentic audience, to converse with a classroom in another country, to find networks for community projects and to learn from experts in specific fields. I believe technology can move the learning away from the classroom and into a global environment. Using the quote on the left as my inspiration, I though that I would brainstorm some ways I could incorporate technology in the classroom that meets the goals I listed above. (I thought that I would use the Grade 11/12 Agriculture curriculum as my basis as I will be teaching this course during my next student teaching placement in March.)

1 ) Twitter
- During brainstorming, KWL & discussion activities, tweet questions & ideas to
  local and national twitter accounts
     - Ste Rose Auction Mart               @srauction
     - Pioneer Coop Ag Team              @PioneerCoopAg
     - Cargill                                         @Cargill
     - Farming First                               @farmingfirst
     - Urban Farming Guys                   @UrbanFarmingGuy
     - Farm Start                                   @FarmStart
- My hope is that my students will not only have an authentic audience for their
  ideas but that they will hopefully get some good responses from people in the
  agriculture community (as opposed to me providing all of the answers)

2 ) Skype
- I am hoping to bring in people via Skype to discuss various aspects of the
  agriculture community. While we have many local people who I plan to
  bring in as well, there are many great people who are simply too far away
- I haven't began networking yet to set this up, but some ideas I have are to
  network with representatives from:
     - Brandon Research & Development Center
     - U of M Faculty of Ag
     - Viterra Quality Assurance

3 ) YouTube
- Create and post a video response to one of the "Peterson Bros" YouTube
  videos that share the importance of agriculture while creating musical parodies.
- This could be a fun final project idea that would have a large online audience!

4 ) United Classrooms
- I've posted about United Classrooms before. I hope to network with other
  classrooms across the world to share the differences and similarities between
  our local agriculture and theirs. Since most of the students in the class actually
  live on a farm or have friends/family who live on a farm I think they would be
  interested in seeing how their farm is different than, for example, a farm in

* I am also currently researching different online lab opportunities, research opportunities and high quality apps that we could use in the classroom.

     I am hoping that by incorporating projects, like the ones I listed, that I will be able to reach the "best part" of the internet and not just use it "as a place to look things up". There are so many opportunities out there for our students and I strongly believe that we as educators need to be actively learning how to use them in the most appropriate manner to benefit our students. I'd like to thank Dean again for taking time out of his busy schedule to Skype with our class and inspire me to think about new ways to use the internet with my class!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Quick Law 3

     The following are the case studies that will be reviewed in my Educator and the Law course this week:

Quick Law 3

Winans, Jay. (2004). "Broken leg in Football Game: School Supervision Adequate"
- Grade 4 student playing tackle football at recess with 15-20 students
- Rough sports like tackle football were banned at the school
- While participating, the student's leg was broken
- Parents charged the school, it was dismissed
- Playground supervisor was responsible for acting as a reasonable
  parent (in loco parentis) 
- Supervisor was present, aware and capable
- I am glad to see a case where the supervisor wasn't charged (we see
  so many of them)
- It can be so hard to be everywhere at once and it is impossible for a 
  supervisor to be within arms reach of every single student to prevent
  an accident from occurring
- I agree that the supervisor had done everything she could in the situation
- While in the field, it is important for us to realize what our standard of
  care is ensure that we are doing our jobs to the best of our ability at the 
- Is it reasonable to expect the supervisor to be monitoring the students
  carefully, watching alertly and circulating the area? Yes
- Is it reasonable to expect the supervisor to be able to be within arms
  reach of all students to intercept an accident? No

Tannahill, Julie. (2009). "Assistant Coach's Convictions of Sexual Touching Aside: No Evidence of Exploitative Relationship".
- A female university student serving as an assistant couch to an under
  14 girls soccer team was charged with touching a young person for
  sexual purpose and inciting the young person to touch her
- The young person was a family friend and had known the assistant
  coach prior to the soccer season starting
- The parents explored suspicious emails, nothing sexual was found, but
   an email did "cross the line"
- It was determined that sexual touching occurred on multiple occasions
  over a 6 month+ timeline at both parties request
- The events in question occurred after the coaching season ended, so the
   assistant coach was no longer is a position of authority
- There was no strong evidence of the assistant coach exerting power over
   the young person
- The assistant coach was acquitted of all charges
- This case had a lot of points (more than I could list here) but I agree with
   the fact that the assistant coach was not seen as a person of authority
   over the young person
- I still believe that a 21 year old having sexual relations with a person under
  the age of 14 is not appropriate what so ever, I still feel like she should have
  been charged
- As teachers, it is important we know exactly who we are having volunteer
  with us (as coaches, in the classroom, field trips, etc).

Tannahill, Julie. (2008). "Teacher Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Students".
- Female students (8, 13 & 14/15) complained of sexual assault by their art
  teacher (touching between the legs and breasts)
- The teacher denied any accusations
- The teacher was charged
- The reliability of the witnesses was credible and there was no evidence that
   the girls made up or exaggerated their stories
- This is just awful. I find it disgusting that anyone, but especially someone in
   a position to help others, would take advantage of their young students this 

Monday, 14 January 2013

Resources To Start Off Your Week 49

     Term 2 is well underway and I am excited to be sharing some new Resource To Start Off Your Week! As always, I will be adding these to my lists of favourite resources under the Fav Websites heading.

1 ) Easy Moza
- Easy Moza is an easy-to-use online tool that allows you to make photo
  mosaics using hundreds of your own photographs. I think this is so neat
  and you could use it to create interesting mosaics for any number of
  projects or subjects!
- Thank you to a fellow blogger, Mr. L, for introducing me to this
* Here is one I created of my blog button using pictures from my student
  teaching, blog and clipart!
photo mosaics, photography

2 ) Out of Eden
- "About 60,000 years ago, our ancestors took the first steps out of their
  prehistoric African "Eden" to begin exploring the Earth. In early 2013,
  reporter Paul Salopek will follow in their footsteps during an epic on-foot
  journey that will take seven years."
- Sponsored by National Geographic, this project will explore several 
  different countries, languages, ethnic groups and landscapes as Paul makes
  his way up through Africa, across Asia, up to Russia, across to North 
  America and down through to the tip of South America.
- I can't imagine undertaking a journey of this magnitude! There are so many
  different learning experiences that could come of a project like this. Students
  could follow his walk and do case study projects based on his location.

3 ) Social Studies Writing Prompts
- I think the traditional essay is so overused in History classrooms so this
   resource got me really excited! Through images and text, these writing
   prompts provide interesting and creative ways for students to begin
   writing. They are actually entertaining which makes it easy and fun for
   your students to begin writing from a historical perspective.
- Even if the specific prompt doesn't match what your class is doing at
   a certain time, they provide a great example for you to make your own!
- I came across this Tumblr account through one of my favourite Social
  Studies blogs, World History Teachers Blog, I definitely recommend
  you check them out too.

social studies writing prompts, engaging writing activities, social studies writing activities

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Quick Law 2

     The following are the case studies that will be reviewed in my Educator and the Law course this week:

Quick Law 2

Tannahill, Julie. (2008). "Sniffer Dog Violates Student's Privacy".
- The school had a zero tolerance policy for drugs & alcohol, as such, the
   principal invited the local police to search the school with use of "sniffer dogs"
- While police searched the school, students & teachers were informed via the
   PA system and were instructed in remain in the classroom during the search
- A backpack in the gym was found to have bags of marijuana, other drugs and
   other drug paraphernalia
- The student was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking & possession
   of a psilocybin
- The charges were dropped on the basis that there was not "reasonable suspicion"
   for the search and seizure (unreasonable search & seizure)
- Since the search was unlawful, the drugs that were found were inadmissible in
- I don't agree that the police should have been invited into search the school
  without a specific reason
- On the other hand, I think it is a shame that a student who was carrying enough
   for a trafficking violation had the charges dropped
- I think that cases like this are even more prominent today
- Schools (principals and teachers) have to be very careful that they are going
  through the proper channels before they involve outside agencies with students

Tannahill, Julie. (2008). "Convicted Teacher Not Exempt From Requirement to Register as a Sex Offender". Students/Parents and the Law.

- The teacher was convicted of sexually touching a person under the age of 14
  and was required to register as a sex offender
- The teacher appealed the requirement and the appeal was dismissed
- I think it is absolutely appropriate that the teacher had to register as a sex offender
- It did not say anywhere in the case if the teacher was actually still employed as a
  teacher, I don't see how he could be after the charge
- Student safety is of the utmost importance and requiring the teacher to register is
   completely appropriate
- Teachers are held to an extremely high standard in the community and may not
   have opportunities to be exempt from situations that other people may be exempt
   from (although I don't think anyone should be exempt from registering)

Tannahill, Julie. (2009). "No Search Warrant Needed To Seize Teacher's School Laptop". Teacher/Employees and the Law.
- A teacher at the school had photographs of a nude student on his school computer
- The photos had allegedly been sent from the student to another student in the school
   and when the teacher found them he copied them onto his drive
- While the laptop was the property of the school, the teacher could expect to keep
   personal items private as it was for his exclusive use
- The seizure of the photographs was found to be against Section 8 of the Charter
   and the evidence could not be used in court
- The decision was appealed by the Crown and it was granted that the evidence
   could be used against the teacher
- It was determined that the school's Computer Use Agreement stated that files
   could be monitored on the network and were not private
- I think it a good thing that the school had a responsible IT department that recognized
   the suspicious file and acted on what they found
- As teachers we have to be very aware of our personal and professional lives and
  while we may receive a computer for school use we should not be using it for
  personal files
- Appropriate and professional use of school resources

Tannahill, Julie. (2008). "Teacher's Personal Information Protected From Disclosure". 
- Parents made complaints against a teacher and requested records to back up their
  complaint. The necessary records on the teacher were released but other information
  was withheld
- Was the information protected by FIPPA and could it be released to the parents?
- It was determined that the information released was protected by FIPPA
- Additional information would need personal details removed and the remaining
   information would not have been of any use to the parents
- It doesn't say if the teacher was notified prior to the information being released
- I definitely believe that there are certain records maintained by the employer that
   private records and should not be released to the public
- Teachers will be under scrutiny by the public and there will be parents who will
   want to question our professionalism
- Teachers have the right to have certain information protected under FIPPA

Saturday, 12 January 2013

John Evans: The PLN Mindset

     On Thursday we were lucky enough to have John Evans from Manitoba Education visit our classroom to discuss Professional Learning Networks (PLNs). Teacher's engage in all types of professional development throughout a given school year and all divisions have a set number of days specifically labelled as Professional Development days. These might include:
- In-school meetings that include all the teachers in your school or division
   - In-service days
   - New school tech systems (Maplewood, Edline, etc)
- Out-of-town events that require you to drive to a larger center to meet up with other
   teachers in your subject/interest area
   - Fab 5
   - S.A.G.E
   - L.I.F.T
- Online courses or programs required by your school or division
   - "Respect in Schools"

     When we look at the term development, however, it implies that there is an end point; that we can become "developed" and, in essence, have nothing else left to learn about the subject matter. Professional Learning, on the other hand, is a continuous process that is always evolving based on the teacher's interests, their needs, their student's needs, their available resources, etc. The Professional Learning Network (PLN),
     "is an informal learning network that consists of the people a learner interacts 
     with and derives knowledge from in a personal learning environment. In a PLN, 
     a person makes a connection with another person with the specific intent that 
     some type of learning will occur because of that connection."

     While all teachers at your school can attend the same Professional Development session, every teacher's Professional Learning Network (PLN) is going to be different. There are no rules or guidelines that govern how a PLN functions, what it entails, or how you use it. While my go-to PLN may be Twitter, another teacher may be calling up colleagues they've meet at conferences and another may be blogging and receiving feedback from their readers. The video below shows a brief overview of PLNs and how you may go about "starting" one.

     When discussing PLNs, many people will actually refer to their PLN as if it is a tangible thing; something that you can see or document in a book or filing system. I tend to disagree with this type of explanation. Can I list the tools I use in my PLN? Yes. Can I show a screenshot of the other users I network with in my PLN? Yes. But a PLN is much more than just the tools used to create it, it is about the mindset of the person using it. You can be registered in hundreds of reputable sites that can assist in growing your PLN but if are not approaching them with a learning mindset they can be useless. PLNs are about using those tools to actually connect with other people who can help you learn more about a specific topic. This means participating in conversations, asking questions, sharing resources, offering advice, etc. For example, here are some of the tools I use in my PLN and how I specifically use them to expand my learning:

1 ) Twitter
Twitter is almost always my go-to platform when it comes to my PLN. I use it exclusively for education and only follow other educators and educational resources (National Geographic, TedED, CBC Learning). I regularly participate in Twitter conversations (#edchat, #sschat, #ntchat) and have been able to network with teachers from all over the world. I like Twitter because it is almost always instantaneous as many people have access to Twitter on their devices and use it regularly throughout the day. There have been several times throughout the last year that I tweeted out a question while working on homework or during student teaching and had responses almost immediately. It is so helpful to know that there is a network of educators out there that I can correspond with and get their advice quickly.

2 ) Blog
I blog regularly about a variety of topics related to my education courses,student teaching, educational resources and teaching in general. If it functioned purely as a journal, with no ability for others to comment or share, I would not include it in this list. My posts, however, often begin conversations with other teachers who share their thoughts and ideas with me. I also always share my posts via Twitter which links my posts up with other educators who can share the information, comment back and provide their point of view. I also follow other educator's blogs, read their posts, comment and sometimes share their information through my blog or Twitter.
3 ) EduPLN
I use EduPLN inconsistently but wanted to include it as part of this list to emphasize that you really do need to use these tools with a specific mindset. This ning site has thousands of registered educators and multiple topic-specific groups where you can network with educators in your subject area. I have participated in many group discussions and found them to be valuable but I find that most of the people on this site are also on Twitter; and Twitter gets used much more frequently. While I don't use this site as much as I could, I regularly tune in and participate in their weekly Twitter conversation, #edchat.
4 ) WeTeach Group
WeTeach is another ning site that functions very similar to EduPLN. I use WeTeach way more though! The reason why is because there is a specific group, "We're Bloggers" on the site that has a wonderful sense of community. I have met many supportive and friendly people through this group and that is why I continue to use it regularly. The members of the group share their blog posts, comment and provide feedback for one another and encourage educators to continue blogging when times get busy! While EduPLN is more of a general site for me, WeTeach provides a specific function in regards to my blogging interests and that is why I continue to maintain it as part of my PLN.
5 ) Maple
Maple is the newest addition to my PLN and was introduced to our class by John. It is exclusively for Manitoba Educators and sponsored by Manitoba Education. While I haven't been able to fully explore the site quite yet, one feature that I do like are the "libraries". Individuals and groups can host libraries of resources which can include links to resources, classroom resources they have created, curriculum support documents, etc. I think I will find it really helpful to search through all the material that is available and add it to my personal library for use in the classroom later on.

     These five sites are my main tools for my PLN but you can use any number of resources, online and offline, to create a PLN that works for your needs. When working on lesson plans and unit plans I often think, "How did teacher's do all of this before the internet?!" I am so thankful to have a strong and supportive PLN that works for me. I am comforted by the fact that I can expand my learning quickly and easily by networking with educators who are looking to do exactly the same thing. Even in the past year, my PLN has opened up so many opportunities for me that I know wouldn't have been available if I hadn't been in contact with the people that I had.

     I'd like to thank John again for taking the time to visit our class, introduce us to Maple, and remind us why PLNs are important!

What tools make up your PLN?
Has anything really helpful or exciting come out of your PLN?

1 Year Blogiversary Celebration Winner!!

Its been a busy first week back at university and my and my 
1 Year Blogiversary Celebration contest is officially over!
I want to send out another BIG, gigantic, thank-you 
everyone who made my first year of blogging so awesome!

I had 27 comments on the 1 Year Blogiversary post, however, only 24 comments were official entries. I used a Random Number Generator and voila, comment 23 (of the entry comments) is the winner!!

Congrats Maria, I am sending an email your way :)

Thank you to everyone who entered and is supporting me through my blogging adventure!