Road Block…

road block
Photo Credit: danny.mccreadie2 via Compfight cc

I could relate a lot to this picture these last couples of days! Actually these last few weeks have been a whirl wind and I can not believe that it is almost November! Where did September and October go? I have had a great two months with my grade two students. They are such a creative and inquisitive group of students! I can relate to the picture above because I feel that I am that vehicle at the very back and moving along very slowly.  I can see all of my goals and things that I want to achieve, but sometimes obstacles slowly start adding up…Now I feel the road looks more like this!

several animals on the road

Photo Credit: CNorth2 via Compfight cc

I am so happy that I am taking graduate classes and perusing my Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction.  Many of the classes that I have taken so far have challenged me in a positive way!  It has introduced me to different resources and ways of teaching that allows my students to be more interactive.  My classroom is becoming even more student centered.  My students get the opportunity to create projects, play, and use technology to enhance their learning of the curricular outcomes that need to be covered in grade two.  Over the summer I took classes and attended the Early Learning Institute. It was the best decision that I have ever made! Those two classes confirmed my beliefs with Saskatchewan Play and Exploration Early Learning Program Guide that outlines the Four Principles of Early Learning:

  1. Children as Competent Learners
  2. Holistic Development and Learning
  3. Strong Positive Relationships
  4. Stimulating and Dynamic Environments

I believe that those four principles should be principles of learning and not just early learning principles.  All students are competent learners!  It is important to remember to focus on the different domains of development and not just the intellectual domain when they are in elementary school, middles years, and in high school.  All students need to gain and have strong positive relationships while learning in an environment that is stimulating and dynamic!  During the summer in the institute I continued to learn about the value of play and that it should be incorporated into early learning classrooms in the higher grades and not just in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten.

Play nourishes every aspect of children’s development-it forms the foundation of intellectual, social, physical, and emotional skills necessary for success in school and in life. (Canadian Council on Learning).

I also learned about the all the different types of play there are and learned to trust the process even more.  I think sometimes in education the importance of the process gets lost at times because many people want to see the final product and what their students have learned.  People get so worried about the end result or the final grade.  I have found students learn more from the process compared to what the final project or product even can begin to represent.  Having conversations and taking the time to sit back and observe your students is very important.  The learning process needs to be documented in a variety of ways such as observations, conversations, photographs, students journaling or blogging about their journey.  Then you can get a better picture of what students are capable of and what they know about the topic they are exploring or learning about.  During the class we did a lot of process art and our art pieces that we created represented what the topics we were learning about in class.  It was amazing to see everyone’s pieces and their projects throughout the class.  My favourite part was listening to everyone share their pieces with the class.  Then I was able to hear their process, what they learned, and what that piece truly represented.  I liked that everyone was given the same instructions, but we all had creative choice and our imagination was not boxed by very small specific instructions.  We were given very  brief and broad details of what was expected.  I liked that they were broad enough to given us freedom to create the pieces and projects that fit our style so we could share our journey and learning.  Some people painted while others used a variety of different mediums.  Many students wrote poems, songs, or journal entries!  Last fall I also was lucky to get into the ECI831 Social Media class and was introduced to so many great ideas and ways I could incorporate technology into my classroom that allowed my students to learn and represent their learning in a variety of ways.  I learned about student blogging, the maker movement, Google Documents, and digital story telling just to name a few.  I have shaped my classroom pedagogy based around lots of the topics and concepts that I learned from both of those classes and experiences.  I love teaching this way and those classes helped energize me to be creative with my teaching again!

 Photo Credit: via Compfight cc

Road Block Direction Signs

So why do I feel that the obstacles are adding up?  

First off I was very lucky to have the opportunity to go to Toronto to watch the Blue Jays. I work hard coaching and directing extra curricular activities to have those earn days off saved to use them when I need to take a few days off.  I never worry about being out of my classroom because we have the best substitute teachers! All of the substitute teachers that I have had in my classroom work so hard to follow the plans that I leave, make connections with my students, and try to make sure routines continue for my class.  I was lucky again to have another great substitute teacher to teach my class one day this week while I had to go the dentist because I broke my tooth.  So why do I feel that I have to travel lately in so many different directions on the road?  Even though we have fantastic substitute teachers many of them are not familiar with blogging and a lot of the other ways I use technology in my classroom.  My students are independent enough to get the computers ready for Daily 5 math, but it is still early in the year to leave blogging with a substitute teacher.  I also did not want to leave my digital citizenship lessons because being in a rural area many of the fabulous substitutes are retired teachers and many do not have a lot knowledge about digital citizenship, technology, or social media.  Also when my students complete project learning my classroom can get a little messy from my students creating and it gets a little louder because of the excitement and awesome conversations.  When my students are creating their projects I just help them with the hot glue or help them cut something out if the material is thick.  But they have to tell me where to hot glue and draw the line on the material so I know where to cut. It is their project and vision and I am just the fascinator; however, not everyone can handle a bit of an organized mess, a louder classroom, or can let the students design the project even if it is more fantasy than reality.  Lots of people want to lead and not just facilitate.  When I am out of the classroom I feel like these projects have to go on hold because I do not want to make a substitute teacher uncomfortable in my classroom.  I want everyone to have a day full of learning and feels successful including the substitute teacher.  But, what do you do when you are away from the classroom?  I find it hard to plan sometimes because my students do not complete worksheets everyday and it can be hard to explain a project to a substitute teacher over a sub plan and what the hands on learning in my classroom looks like.

Another obstacle is report cards  as they are just around the corner.  So that means more assessments need to be completed during this time of year. It is hard to assess students on their reading while observing hands on learning when the classroom tends to get louder with the excitement and the discussions.  I know this first week in November will be busy with assessments so I might not get as much time to focus on my digital citizenship lessons or begin our new animal project, but soon I will soon be able to continue doing what I love best.  Facilitating lessons and allowing my students to learn about the world and new topics through inquiry, conversations, books, technology, and hands on learning!

I am excited to get back onto that sunny road where students are creative, ask questions, make new discoveries, and carry on meaningful conversations!

beautiful road

Photo Credit: Justin Bailie via Compfight cc

Do You Think Before You Post or Share Online?

jays game (1)     jays game (2)

My husband Damon and I were very lucky and had a fantastic opportunity to go to Toronto and watch games three, four, and five of the ALCS!  I love watching baseball and I grew up cheering for the Jays with my family.  My husband grew up not only watching, but playing baseball all his life.  He still is playing baseball for a senior team in Kenosee and has been a Jays fan since he was a little boy.  We had a blast cheering on the Toronto Blue Jays and watching the games live in the stadium as the atmosphere was electric!  It was fun getting a chance to sit in the stands together and getting a chance to spend time together since we both have been busy with work.

Before I left for Toronto last Sunday I was trying to piece all of my thoughts together from the readings and viewings.  I wanted to finish my blog post before I left, but it did not feel finished so I decided to wait and put the finishing touches on it when I returned home from Toronto. I also do not like feeling rushed and I wanted to have time to look over my thoughts to make sure my ideas were clear.  While I was in Toronto I was thinking about my unfinished post.  I was focusing my post a lot around the topic of online shaming especially after watching Monica Lewinsky’s video The Price of Shame.  I was talking with my husband about this topic on the plane.  Since we had baseball was on our mind we talked about the young women that were at an MLB game in Arizona and how the sports announcers were talking about the young women taking photos of themselves during the game.  I was surprised by how long the announcers talked about the ladies and how unprofessional their comments were.  Soon after there were people posting and tweeting on Facebook and Twitter about the young women taking selfies at the baseball game.  I still can not understand why people would post negative comments about other people!  My parents always told me if you do not have nothing nice to say then keep the negative comments to yourself.  I do give people credit who stood up for the young women in a positive way online.  It was discussed in an CBC News article online that “Many others, however, took up issue with the commentators themselves, calling their remarks inappropriate — especially in light of the fact that fans had actually been encouraged to take selfies in the stadium as part of a T-Mobile promotion right before the sorority girls appeared on camera” (Lauren O’Neill CBC News).  I have found many times that people begin to post comments online without knowing the other side of the story or the whole story.  I often wonder if people think about other people’s feelings before they post comments??

Since arriving home from Toronto this post has evolved a lot over the last couple of days.  On Friday evening I was multitasking by tweaking my blog post while watching game six of the ALCS with my husband and later couple of friends stopped by to watch the end of the game.  At the bottom of the second inning a Kansas City Royals fan caught a homerun ball that was hit by Mike Moustakas.  As a Toronto Blue Jays fan I thought it was important for the umpires to relook at the play incase the fan, Caleb Humphreys, did interfere with the play.

The umpire ruled that there was no interference so the homerun still counted. There were so many Blue Jay fans that were outraged and began to lash out with negative comments all over social media.  Later in the game my friend received a text with the following picture:


I could see that he was excited to catch a home run at a Major League Baseball game from watching the game and an interview that I saw.  It would be pretty awesome to catch a homerun ball during an important game of your favourite team.  Throughout this weekend I have been reading a variety of articles from USA Today,  The Kansas City Star, and CBS Sports.  The CBS Sports article written by David Brown was called Reaching Royals fan: I didn’t want to be Jeffrey Mier or Steve Bartman.  I could not recall the stories of the names that were mentioned in the title so I searched for articles about each of them.  I found an interesting article about Jeffrey Maier that he wrote himself.  The column was called How Catching a Derek Jeter ‘Home Run’ Changed My Life.  I appreciated reading Maier’s thoughts about that day and how that moment has changed his life.  Reading  Mier’s words reminded me of what Brittany commented in her blog post.  She discussed “How long can we hold youth accountable for decisions they make when they are young?” and that “The internet will remember for ever- the change needs to be in what we, as consumers of the information, do with it. ”  We need to be teaching our students about how to be good digital citizens.  We need to educate students on what to do or how to respond when they view and read articles from different sources of media.  Our decisions can impact us and stay with us for the rest of our lives in a positive or negative way.  We need to choose wisely when making choices.

I found an article on the Chicago Tribune about Steve just a few days ago and another article written a few years ago.  After reading the articles I started to reflect about how it would feel to be in Caleb’s or in his families shoes.  What will be written about him and about game six in the years to come?  People need to remember that you never know what curve ball may come your way in life! Many times people think that it they are invincible and nothing would happen to them, but you just never know.  While I was reading all the different articles it made me think of my husband Damon.  In August during our honeymoon in New York we went to watch the New York Yankees play against the Minnesota Twins.  We decided not to wear our Toronto Blue Jays jerseys and hats to the game because we wanted to enjoy the game instead of being heckled throughout the whole game.  We made that decision because when we were wearing our Blue Jay hats downtown in Time Square we were often approached by many Yankee fans since both teams were so close in the standings.  Most of the comments were made in a fun rivalry spirit, but we had a people say some off side comments.  During the game in the 7th inning Sano from the Twins hits a homerun and my husband caught the homerun ball!

It was pretty exciting to watch my husband’s eyes light up!  Here we did not wear our Jays gear so we would not get heckled, but boy did Damon and I get heckled for not throwing the ball game back since it was an opposing teams home run.  I read an article on ESPN about fans throwing the opponents home runs back onto the field and where that tradition came from.  The Yankees were screaming and chatting “throw it back” and “you’re not Yankee fans!”  I was going to take Damon’s picture with the home run ball after the game was over, but we did not want to be bugged more about not throwing the ball back so I took his picture in a different area in the stadium.  What would have been said about him if he interfered with the play?  Since Damon is a huge ball fan and player I do not think I would ever have to worry about him interfering with a player because he would not want a fan to interfere when he makes a catch in center field.  But, if the adrenaline is high and it is close to being on the fans side you never know if raw emotion will take over and a person might possibly jump in sooner than what you would have normally.


We were lucky because once we left that section no one knew who we were and we were able to walk away from people heckling us.  Damon and I did not have to worry about reading negative comments about his catch, videos online, tweets, Facebook posts.   There are no rude memes created about him and that moment will not become apart of his digital footprint in a negative way.  When we returned home we did see some posts about Damon’s catch.  Our families and friends posted and shared the video of Damon’s catch and we had people even texting us that they were excited to see his catch on TV.  I could not imagine if Damon was in the same shoes as the people I talked about in this post.  People need to stop being cruel and they need to think before they post!  Remember that when you post something negative and make inappropriate comments about others that person is someone’s son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother, grandchild, or friend.  We are human beings with feelings!  I think sometimes people need to breathe and remember it is fun to cheer on sports, but not to let it get so heated in a negative way.  It is also exciting to have some rivalry if it is all in good fun and remains positive.  Mistakes will happen during a game because we all are human and are not perfect.  All of the articles and videos that I have read reminded me of a scene from Fever Pitch.  The main character Ben has an obsession with the Boston Red Sox and after the Red Sox lost a big game Ben and his friends are very upset.  Then they noticed players from the team at the same place eating while they could not eat because the Red Sox lost the game.  I know some fans who take longer to get over a lose than I bet some of the players.  Although it maybe tough, but people need to remember that it is just a game and there is always next year!

So…Do You Think Before You Post or Share Online? I know I sure do!  Not only because of I want to protect my online identity as a teacher, but I want to be a good role model and do the right thing.  The Globe and Mail Wency Leung wrote an article called Why do some people take delight in online shaming?  This article even discusses Monica Lewinsky’s TED talk that I mentioned at the beginning of my post.  I also encourage you to read Danielle’s blog post A Digital Citizenship Lesson At It’s Finest; Watch Out For Online Shaming.  She reminded me about Jimmy Kimmel’s segment that had celebrity’s read mean tweets that people wrote about them.  At the end of her post she talks about the YouTube comments that people left on her grade one and two’s students video that they created for school.  I was appalled that people would ever say horrible comments about Danielle as a teacher and her young six and seven year old students!  The people who leave nasty comments and pollute the online world with negativity are the reasons why so many teachers and so many other people are afraid to give social media a chance, to try having a classroom blog, creating a classroom Twitter account, or creating their first video to share with others.  I believe that we need to teach our students to be mindful of what they post and be critical of what they read and view.  Students do not need to be scared of social media!  Online spaces can be an excellent place to promote learning, share opinions in a constructive way, you can meet new people, make connections, get help from others, and you can help support others in return.  What can be done to stop people from shaming others online?

Hip Hip Hooray!

hip hip horray

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We had another fantastic week in my classroom!  At the end of the week the last blog permission form came back to school.  Now all sixteen of my grade two students have permission to take part in our classroom blog and create posts on their own blog.  Everyone is allowed to have their picture posted onto our blog and can have videos or audio clips posted onto the blog as well.  (Insert happy dance!!)  I was able to finishing creating the remaining individual student blogs for those two students who handed in their permission forms.  I was beginning to think about what those two students would have done if they did not return their forms back while the other fourteen students were blogging.  I was thinking about students creating a notebook blog and if they handed in their form then I could scan their work and upload it onto their blog. Has anyone else experienced students not handing in a permission form?  If you had students that could not participate on the blog what did you have those students do while other students were blogging?

My students are almost finished their community project!  Please take a look at my students working on building their community projects!  They all have been working very hard at finishing up their project and adding in their own creativity.  It has been a lot of fun watching their designs come to life.  Next week we are going to put the final touches on the project by creating roads and placing their buildings on the roads around the community.  I was hoping to record an audio clip or video of my students finishing up this project and talk about their community.  I was wondering if anyone knows if you are able to post audio clips or videos without using Youtube? Or is Youtube one of the only ways you can post videos easily onto a blog?  If Youtube is the main way to post videos onto a blog then do teachers need to get parents to fill out another permission form if you are uploading videos onto Youtube?  If you have any tips or advice on the best way to post videos or audio clips onto a blog please leave me a comment on my blog.  I would really appreciate it!

I was able to accomplish almost everything from my to do list that I wrote about in my previous post.  My students each drew a self portrait of themselves.   A few students were away so they will need to finish their self portrait next week.  I was able to help add their self portrait onto their individual blog pages and create their blog avatar.  We talked about why they were using a drawing for their avatar on their blog instead of using a photograph. It led to a good discussion about posting pictures onto the Internet.  For the header of their blog my students decided that they wanted to use their Dot Day art work that they created.  During Dot Day  my students rotated around to different stations and were able to create a variety of artwork pieces using different mediums.  Each student choose their favourite piece from Dot Day to become the header artwork for their blog page and I helped them post their art onto their blog as well.  My students were really excited to see their work posted onto their blogs.  Please explore our classroom blog and check out my students art work!  A lot as been added onto our blogs this week!  I know my students would be excited to see that more people have visited our blog and their own blog.  If you have time please leave a comment on my students individual blogs as well.  My students would be thrilled to read your thoughts!

oct 23 blog

Photo Credit: Picture Taken By Mrs. Kyle

On Thursday my students brainstormed ideas of what they wanted to write for their about me page as a class.  During our class discussion I wrote down their ideas of what they wanted to share on their about me.  After the brainstorming was over students recorded their ideas in their journals.  On Friday I taught my students how to log onto their blog so they could create and type their about me page.  I am very thankful that I have a Smartboard in my classroom because it made it easier for my students to follow along and for me to model what to do.  I was also lucky that I had another adult in the room during blogging time.  She was able to help my students as well if they had any problems.  I had a few students away Friday and some had to leave class a bit early for Missoula Children’s Theatre practice since they performed Friday evening.  Check out Secret Agent #15s about me page and all my other fabulous Secret Agents in my class! This coming week students will be given the opportunity to finish or create their about me page on their own blog!

I was away from school for a few days so we did not have time to co-create criteria together on what they think a good blog post looks like.  I plan on co-creating criteria for a blog post on Tuesday. Then later in the week when students create a blog post about their community project they will have a guideline of expectations to follow.  Since I was away we did not have a lot of time to blog during the week.  I did have a few students who typed out their about me pages fast and wanted to continue blogging so they created their first blog post discussing what they have been learning about in school.  Last year I found so many of the students who struggled with writing and did not want to write, but loved blogging using Edublogs.  I am not sure if it was the novelty of being able to type on the computer or having an larger audience of people reading their ideas and seeing pictures of their work, but I enjoyed last year seeing their faces light up while they were blogging.  I looking forward to seeing my students reactions while they are blogging and hearing their opinions about blogging as they begin to understand more what a blog is and what they can post.

This past week my students did a great job remembering safety online when reviewing the going places safely lesson.  On Wednesday I will introduce my class to the common sense education lesson about ABC Searching.  As a class we will talk about the proper way to search online and I will introduce to them to a picture dictionary.  I will have students go onto the websites that was suggested on lesson plan and have students work together to create an ABC book.  I am looking forward to continuing to reflect on the safety topic as students work on their searching skills.

Please check back later in the week to read about how my major digital project is progressing with my students!

Slow and Steady…I am Continuing My Race!

Wow!  Where did the week go!  This past week has been very busy for me because on Monday, October 5th our division had a Professional Development Day and our school brought in a fabulous presenter Jeanne Corrigal later on during the week.  She talked to the different grades in our school and taught our students about some Metis and First Nations teachings that she learned from her father’s friend Jim Settee and her family.  My students learned a lot from her presentation and as a class we created a blog post telling everyone what we learned from Jeanne.  I was so impressed with her presentation and how she was able to keep our Kindergarten to Grade Two students engaged while delivering her message.  I am excited to extend her lesson and teachings into my classroom with the resources that she provided us!  It is so important to bring teachings from different cultures into the classroom often throughout the entire year and not just special events or holidays.  This week my class also created a post showcasing what they have been learning about during the week throughout their day.  During this time I have been modeling to my students about the blogging process and I have been showing them how to navigate around our blog.  We have also been exploring and looking at other classroom’s blogs so they can see what different classroom blogs can look like and what their classroom blogs about.  Next week we are going to begin to co-create criteria together about what a good blog post looks like!

Near the end of the week I have been busy working on creating my student’s individual blogs.  I have been waiting to get all my student’s blog permission forms (Permission Letter to Parents About Using A Blog 2015-2016) back before I began to create their blogs.  As of right now I have fourteen out of sixteen student’s blog permission forms back.  I decided to create those fourteen students blogs and I will create the remaining students blogs when their form gets handed into me.  Last year I had all my students hand in their forms and everyone was allowed to participate so I am hoping for the same outcome this school year!  When I was beginning to create my student blogs I could not remember what I did and what that process looked like.  Thankfully I blogged about this process last year so I was able to look back at my blog called “Approaching The Starting Line…”  When I looked back at my old blog post and I clicked on the Edublog link that explores and outlines student blogs and tips on when creating student usernames.  I could not remember what I did when it asked for my student e-mail addresses.  Since my students are young and only seven or eight years old I did not want to create individual accounts for each of them.  On the Edublog website it gave helpful information in how to create student accounts using one email account.   When I read over the information on the link I was happy to remember that my students did not need their own e-mail accounts.  The Edublog website has been a fabulous resource for as I have been using my classroom blog again.  I am looking forward to my students creating their first blog post!  My students have been asking me many times when they get to blog so I know they will be excited to get started this week too!

students on lap tops

Photo Credit: nwresd via Compfight cc

This week I also decided to add in another widget onto our classroom blog.  I created a flag counter widget!  When someone from a different country visits our blog this widget will showcase the country flag of the visitor onto our blog page.  This widget will allow students to view different flags from a variety of countries.  I am hoping that it will open up conversations about places around the world like the ClustrMaps widget does.  The ClustrMaps widget puts a dot on the world map of where the visitor lives who came to read and view our blog.  Last year my students enjoyed getting their agendas out and exploring their world map when we looked at the ClustrMaps.  In grade two students need to learn about mapping skills in social studies so this one widget provides a great learning opportunity for the social outcome-DR2.3.  When I went to create the flag counter widget I could not remember what to do since I created ClustrMaps  widget last year wither.  I read through the Edublog support for adding in widgets and then Youtube came to the rescue again as I found a video that walked me through how to add the new flag counter widget onto a blog.  That is the beauty and power of the Internet!  It is amazing that I am able to find resources and receive support at the click of a button.

This week I have a few goals set out that I would like to accomplish:

  1. Begin to co-create criteria with students about what they think a good blog post looks like.
  2. Have students draw a self-portrait of themselves so they can use their drawing as their blog avatar.
  3. Have students choose their own favourite art work that they created.  Students can create their background picture for their blog using their favourite drawing.
  4. Students will write in their journals to plan what they want to say in their about page for their blog.
  5. Along with our learning buddies we will review the Going Places Safely lesson and have open conversation about what they learned about.
  6. Give students time to do their first blog post!

My blog post “Approaching The Starting Line…”  gave me inspiration for the title and the direction for this blog post “Slow and Steady…I am Continuing My Race!”  I believe that blogging is a never ending journey!  My students and myself might cross the finish line by reaching some goals or tasks that were set out, but there is always more to learn about.  I only created my first classroom blog last year so I have so much to learn!  I am looking forward to a busy week with my student!

Please check back later this week to read about my progress with teaching my students about digital citizenship and the blogging process.  If you have any recommendations of other great resources and supports regarding digital citizenship and blogging please let me know.  I always look forward to learning new things and expanding my ideas!

Which One Am I?

My mind has not turned off since I read and viewed all of the articles and videos for my EC&I832 class, especially since I watched the video called Do “Digital Natives” Exist?  This video explores “digital natives” and “digital immigrants.”  In the video they describe digital natives a group of people who were born and grew up along side technology.  They have an familiarity of the technology and can speak the digital language. Where as digital immigrants were not born into the digital world, but later in life became fascinated by and adopted many aspects of technology.  This “doesn’t just define an age range, but an intimate familiar with technology.”  The video explored that digital immigrants may gain an digital accent when they become more exposed to technology.

I could relate to what Jeannine Whitehorse commented on her blog.  I also spent more time exploring David White’s continuum of “Visitor and Residents.”  Like many of my classmates I prefer the wording and the ideas in David White’s video.  I liked White’s ideas better because it doesn’t assign people to groups based on age and population as it did in the first video. I agree with looking at residents and visitors as a continuum. When reading Andrew Foreman’s blog post I discovered that Jennifer Stewart-Mitchell and himself both prefer the continuum as it used the visitor and resident as a classification. White’s video explored that digital visitors may go online and search for a specific topic, book a holiday or pay bills and then goes back offline again.  Visitors are invisible as they do not leave any social traces online when interacting on the web in those spaces.  While a resident leaves their mark and identity through blogging, commenting, posting videos, posting pictures, and/or posting other forms of written work in a series of places or spaces online.  Residents live a portion of their lives out online. They choose to go online to be present with others and will leave a social trace and footprint.  Their identity and trace will continue to stay there even if the resident is offline.   When mapping out if you are a visitor or resident I like how there is a personal or institutional (professional) side to the map.  People interact with different forms of media and tools differently depending on why and how they want to use it. It can be easier to learn about technology by being immersed in it from a young age, but does not mean a person can not become fluent in a skills if they were not raised with it.  They can learn the digital language.  When looking at visitors and residents age is not the factor, but it is based on engagement.  It is a continuum and not just two solid groups.  I liked how on the video it was explained to be more grey and not just black or white.

Seeing the images on Jeremy Blacks’ and Jeannine’s blog posts inspired me to create my own map representing where I stand as a digital visitor and digital resident personally and institutionally (professionally).

I watched a video called “Are You A Digital Native or a Digital Immigrant?”  It had me reflect on the readings and the different videos that I viewed for our class and posts that fellow students have written.  Here are some of the highlights that I took away and some of the ideas from watching the video:

  • The impact of technology on young brains is as broad of a conversation like climate change. It can be highly controversial.  It made me reflect on many of my classmates posts that critically explore people using devices such as cellphones and if we are not as present in the experience when are using those types of devices.
  • It explored the brain and how if you practice juggling for a week then your brain is going to change.  It had the viewers imagine people sitting at their computer for ten years and using the internet and how that would change the brain.
  • The video explored how there is evidence that visual IQ is going up and spatial visualization skills are going up.
  • It mentioned how people are becoming better at multitasking and experts of dividing their attention. But commented that it may lead to a problem-too much information or overload is turning people into scattered thinkers.  Do you think people are becoming scattered thinkers?
  • Later it explored that people are not digesting the knowledge, but becoming consumers.
  • The video briefly introduced the term digital footprint.  It made me reflect on all the footprints I have left in the places and spaces.  I began to reflect on the places and spaces where I am a resistant and if I am a visitor in any spaces as well.
  • The video also explored research tasks and compared how two different generations gather information when performing the research task. The digital immigrant took around 3 to 3 1/2 minutes to find the answer on the Internet while the digital native took around 30 seconds. The digital native was able to find the answer quickly, but lacked evaluation skills. The digital native choose the first article in Google where the digital immigrant took more time and compared sites.  The digital immigrants answers were more correct than the digital native.  Are we teaching our students to become critical thinkers when researching and evaluating websites?  Do students lack evaluation skills?  If so how can we help our students learn evaluation skills?
  • The video discussed how text covered with links could lead to information being less absorbed than printed material.  What do you think?  I know I prefer text with links because the links usually allow me to get to know the topic better.  The links can help give me a bigger picture and presents me with more information of what I am reading and learning about.
  • During the video is also explored the idea of people being bombarded by e-mail, Twitter, ect. and that people go to responsive mode.  It discussed how we no longer give ourselves the gift of switching off.  That comment made me think of the “The IRL Fetish”  article written by Nathan Jurgenson.  I began to explore and think about how many people may believe if we turn or switch off our devices that we are offline.  Through the readings it has taught me that when people engage in spaces as a resident their identity and footprint will continue stay online.  Many spaces allow other people to interact with you even if you are not presently interacting in that space at the same time.  Do people need to take more time away from being present and interacting online?

I was happy to find this video because in one minute because I was able to show this to my husband to give him some insight into what I have been reading and viewing about over the past week and a half.  The video pointed out that a resident uses the web as a place to gather knowledge and build relationships.  A place where people create an identity online while connecting and contributing to an online community.  Where as a visitor uses the web more as a tool or using it for a specific goal.  At the end of the video it asks, “Which one are you?” This question opened the doors to a huge conversation between my husband and myself.  I feel I am more of a digital resident and my husband feels he is more of a digital visitor.  I have numerous e-mail accounts for work, university, and for personal use. I also have a classroom blog and a personal blog.  I use Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Facebook.  Some of those accounts are for personal use while others I use for professional use.  My husband feels he is more of a visitor because he usually just uses his e-mail daily while he rarely interacts on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.  The last time he was on Facebook was when he changed his status that he was married to me and the last time on Twitter he posted a Tweet back in April.  Damon and I are both the same age so according to the Do “Digital Natives” Exist?  Damon and I should both be “digital natives,” but that is not the case.  Just because we are the same age does not mean we have had similar experiences while growing up and similar experiences with technology now.  I appreciate the continuum more because it is not put people in a specific grouping based on age.  The continuum looks at how much a person engages in technology and in online spaces.  I appreciated reading Cortney’s blog post and reading her thoughts on feeling more like a “digital tourist.”  I think often times people want to tour and visit a new space before they become a resident at that particular place.  It takes time to feel comfortable in a new environment and to put yourself out there so the world can view, read, and listen to your opinions and what you have to offer the world.  All of the articles and viewings have given me a lot to think and reflect about.

So which one are you? 

Are you a digital resident or a digital visitor?  Can people be both? Or as Ashley mentions in her post “what is the point of the classifications?”

Let’s Go On A Online Field Trip…

On Thursday during learning buddies I knew I wanted to teach my first lesson to the students so I turned looked through the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools.    I decided I wanted to focus on Digital Literacy from the Continuum that outlines that Digital Literacy “is the capability to use technology and knowing when and how to use it” (Government of Saskatchewan Continuum).  In the lesson student’s will “navigate appropriate websites as provided by the teacher” (Government of Saskatchewan Continuum).  I wanted students to learn about good websites that they can go on that are fun and high interest, but also have educational value as well.  There are so many fantastic websites that are wonderful for students to grow and learn from.  I also wanted to begin discussing Digital Safety and Security with the students.

be careful make every move a safe one

Photo Credit: ShanMcG213 via Compfight cc

In this lesson students will also “participate in safe online activities that ensure they do not post their location, full name, and identifying photo with their name online” (Government of Saskatchewan Continuum). That is one of the reasons why I decided that students will use their secret agent numbers for their individual blogs instead of their first names.  I decided to look through the lessons on the Common Sense Education website to help me plan my lesson.  I needed to create an account to have access to the PDF fills for the different lessons that were posted.  I was struggling with trying to find the school I teach at since there was a Carlyle School in the United States and the Internet was acting very slow at my school when I was attempting to create this new account.  I decided to wait to try and create my account when I got home so the Internet would also be a bit faster.  I ended up saying that I taught at the high school in Carlyle instead of the elementary school since I was able to find the high school name on the list.  At the beginning of my career I use to teach at Gordon F. Kells so I did not feel bad having to use that school name for my account information.  Once I got my account up and running I chose to follow the Going Places Safely lesson from the website.  I was very impressed with how the lesson was designed and presented.  When I looked over the lessons I was excited with the idea of taking students on a virtual field trip and comparing the rules to a real world field trip to an online trip.  In the lesson we did focus on the essential question provided: “How do I go to places safely on the computer?” (Common Sense Education).  We started off the lesson with a good discussion.  I began the lesson by asking what rules do we have for visiting places in real life?  The students came up with some good rules and told me important things to remember when going on field trips in real life.  Have a look at the picture down below to see what the students said in our discussion:

lesson one photo

Then I showed the students the My Online Neighborhood video again from this lesson to refresh their memory.  After watching the video this time the students brainstormed what rules they have for visiting places online?  The students focused on the video again and came up with some great rules and guidelines to follow when visiting online places.  Have a look at the next picture below to read what the students ideas were:

lesson one #2 photo

Ì was very proud of everyone and was surprised in how engaged everyone was in the lesson.  My students were very excited to be traveling on an online field trip with their learning buddies.  The lesson introduced me to two new websites that I have never heard about before.  The Destination Modern Art and The San Diego Zoo.

The Modern Art website allows students to go on an online field trip to The Museum of Modern Art in New York City.  Students are able to do interactive activities with the art work.  Some activities they can look to help find the colours in the paintings, put the paintings back together, or identify the materials that were used in the artwork .  Other activities allows them to listen to sounds that match the painting or art piece.  While others allow students to create poems and gives students the opportunity to learn facts about the artwork and the artists.  It also provides encouragement for students to go create pieces of artwork inspired by the artist.  Students can also travel to the PS1 Contemporary Art Center.  The center used to be a school and now it is an art center.  In the website it has students help find art pieces around the building and gives details about the pieces.

By students going on an online field trip to The Museum of Modern Art and PS1 Contemporary Art Center they can learn a lot about online safety while learning about art and it also covers other outcomes from the curriculum such as:

  • Arts Ed: CP2.8- Create art works using a variety of visual art concepts (e.g., secondary colours), forms (e.g., collage, drawing, painting, sculpture, mobile, traditional art), and media (e.g., paper, found objects, paint, crayons).
  • Arts Ed: CR2.2- Create art works using a variety of visual art concepts (e.g., secondary colours), forms (e.g., collage, drawing, painting, sculpture, mobile, traditional art), and media (e.g., paper, found objects, paint, crayons).
  • ELA: CR2.2- View and explain (with support from the text) the key literal and inferential ideas (messages), important details, and how elements (such as colour, layout, medium, and special fonts) enhance meaning in grade-appropriate visual and multimedia texts.
  • ELA: CC2.2- Use a variety of ways to represent understanding and to communicate ideas, procedures, stories, and feelings in a clear manner with essential details.
  • ELA: CC2.4- Write stories, poems, friendly letters, reports, and observations using appropriate and relevant details in clear and complete sentences and paragraphs of at least six sentences.
  • Health: USC2.5- Recognize potential safety risks in community “play areas” and determine safe practices/behaviours to identify, assess, and reduce the risks.
  • Health: DM2.1- Demonstrate how, why, and when to ask for help and/or advice when discovering healthy connections related to thoughts-feelings-actions, healthy snacking, affects of illness/disease, respect, safety, and diversity.

The San Diego Zoo website also allows students to go on an online field trip.  This website has so many great links that allows students to learn a lot while going on animal adventures.  Students can learn facts about a variety of animals.  The website sorts the animal profiles and facts into the different animal families such as: amphibians, birds, mammals, arthropods,  and reptiles.  Students can read facts about the different family groups and can choose to learn about the different animals that belong to the families.  Students can learn about where the animals live, what they look like, what size they are, what they eat, and about when they have babies.  There are also a lot of pictures of each of the animals.  The students loved the animal cams and the chance to be able to watch the animals live in the zoo!  The website has a lot of other fabulous videos of the animals.  Students are able to learn about the different jobs that people do on the San Diego Zoo.  Finally there are fun activities that shows students how to draw pictures of the animals, create animal crafts, and games that students can play.

By students going on an online field trip to The San Diego Zoo they can also learn a lot about online safety while learning about science and other outcomes from the curriculum such as:

  • Science: AN2.1- Analyze the growth and development of familiar animals, including birds, fish, insects, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals, during their life cycles.
  • Science: AN2.3– Assess the interdependence of humans and animals in natural and constructed environments.
  • ELA: CR2.4- Read and demonstrate comprehension of grade-appropriate literary and informational texts read silently and orally by relating and retelling key events and ideas in sequence with specific details and discussing how, why, and what if questions.
  • ELA: AR2.1- Reflect on and assess their viewing, listening, reading, speaking, writing, and other representing experiences and strategies by participating in discussions and relating work to a set of criteria (e.g., “What did I learn?”).
  • Social Studies: DR2.2- Analyze the influence of the natural environment on the local community.

I know my students will be returning back to the museum and the zoo!  They learned so much in such a short amount of time on those two websites.  My students told me what they learned about when we wrote a blog post together on our classroom blog. I am very proud of all of them.  I am looking forward to teaching my students more about online safety and introducing them to topics that focus even more on digital citizenship.  Please leave me a comment if you know any more great websites where my grade two students can go on more fabulous online field trips that allows for lots of learning!!

The Internet can open the doors to a lot of learning for students! 

They just need to learn the tools to stay safe and learn how to create a positive digital footprint for themselves.

three hands around the world

Photo Credit: social.englishme via Compfight cc

This New Journey Has Begun…

digital footprint with words

Photo Credit: Chris Swift via Compfight cc

I was very excited that I received approval from my school division again to continue blogging with my students this year.  Last year I was introduced to Edblogs when Sue Waters talked to our class when I took EC&I 831.  I am really happy that I chose to use Edublogs because all of the guidance you get through their website and their Support Team is incredible.  As I mentioned in my previous blog post I have been busy changing my blog over to my married name.  The support team responded back to my e-mail very quickly and answered all of my questions.  They also gave me guidance in how to create a new account, change my account information onto my new account, and helped me transfer my old Miss Stephanson classroom blog posts onto my new Mrs. Kyle classroom blog.  I am currently now figuring out what to do with my last years student’s individual blogs so I can create new individual blogs for my 2015-2016 secret agent students.  If you have any good tips in what you do with your previous students individual blogs please let me know!

This week I was able to send home a parent letter to my student’s families when I got approval from my school division.  The letter explains what a blog is, why I believe blogging is beneficial, what our classroom blog guidelines/rules are, and what blogging in our classroom is going to look like.  At the bottom of the letter is a parent permission form that my student’s parents must fill out before their child can begin to blog in my class.  (Permission Letter to Parents About Using A Blog 2015-2016).  I attached the letter onto this post so you are welcome to use it or edit the parent letter for your own classroom.  Last year I searched the Internet and followed Jonah Salsich’s format.  I used a lot of his ideas and sentences when I created my letter.  I was so grateful that Jonah shared his parent letter onto his blog.  Thanks Jonah!

 Last week my grade two students along with their grade six were introduced to the term digital footprint.  Together with their partners or groups of three they brainstormed what they thought the term digital footprint meant.  Students wrote down their ideas onto a piece of paper that was in the shape of a footprint.  After students shared their ideas with the rest of the class and we  had a group discussion.  Later in the year students will get an opportunity to look back at their predictions and get to create new footprint explaining what they have learned from all of the lessons.  This will allow students to compare their ideas and see their growth.  When our class discussion was over I showed everyone a video from the Common Sense Education website called My Online Neighborhood.  Then I showed them another video called Your Digital Footprint.  The videos allowed students to get a snapshot of what they will be learning about in the coming weeks and months.

After we watched the two videos it led to a lot of great questions and discussion.  After our discussion I finally I explained to both classes that they will be learning about the Internet, safety, digital citizenship, and what a digital footprint is.  I am hoping that my students and the grade six students continue to ask good questions.  I am looking forward to learning more about digital citizenship so I can educate both classes in how they can be digital citizens.  If you know of any good resources, videos, picture books, or other websites to educate elementary students about digital citizenship please let me know!  I am busy working on piecing my unit together!  Please check back to read my next post about our online field trip that my students went on Thursday!!!