Well, the time has come for my experience in ECMP455 to come to an end, but my connections with educators online is just getting started. I regret letting myself have a slow start in this class as coming back to university after being a student-teacher for four months was extremely difficult. I am more than happy to say it was well worth it, and I learned so much in this class and interacted with individuals around the world that I never would have met if I wasn’t introduced to Twitter.
In ECMP455 the most important thing I took out of the class is understanding the importance of collaboration, sharing, and asking for resources or assistance online. I have always been fully aware of Twitter and blogging but I honestly did not know how to properly use them, so therefore I felt like I had no interest in it. Because of this class I have come in contact with so many people around the world, shared resources, learned from them, and actually helped them learn! Which is really exciting, and I wouldn’t have had that opportunity if it weren’t for social networking and building our Personal Learning Network. Tweet Deck has helped me follow #saskedchat, #slowmathchat, and has helped me collaborate with these particular educators willing to help me as well. BlueJeans and Blackboard Collaborate were extremely cool, being able to meet online, hear audio, see visuals, meeting with people without having to be in one classroom at the university. I also really enjoyed FlipGrid (which you’ll see in the video below), great way of getting responses from people, sharing them, and being able to capture that information using Screencastify. I learned about so many great tools throughout ECMP455 , I am so grateful for this class and cannot wait to use what I’ve learned in my classroom!
Take a look at my group’s video about what we all took away from ECMP455!
My initial goal during my learning project was to eventually be able to incorporate sign language into music as a music educator. Ideally I would have liked to complete an entire song, and still hope to do so, but in the mean time I chose to work towards completion of a chorus.
The song I chose was Masterpiece – Jessie J, a song that talks about not being perfect, still working towards our goals, and completing our true masterpiece. It took be a duration of about 3 weeks to learn the words individually, get the timing down pat, and combining the ASL with the soundtrack.
I am so proud of how far I came with learning ASL, along with the community I became apart of online. After my first tweet regarding ASL resources and suggestions, I had a lady who is a teacher in Preeceville reply who personally has a hearing impairment herself. This was absolutely incredible, I was so honored to have to reach out to me and offer to meet one-on-one to help me learn phrases and answer any questions I had about ASL.
Not only has this learning project led me to be a novice signer, but I have connected with an entirely new #iechat and #spedchat aimed towards Inclusive Education which is also a strong passion of mine. Social networking is so incredibly valuable, I am sothankful for ECMP455 providing me with the opportunity to understand how to properly many different educational and technological tools.
Below are my two final videos displaying the words I learned to sign through ASL slowly without the music,then the final stage with the music. Signing lyrics to a song is so difficult as you have to make the timing match up and sometimes it is really quite quick! Thank you to everyone who helped, encouraged, and supported me through this. I received incredible feedback on my blog and replies via Twitter, I have such a phenomenal PLN out there. #thankyou!
As a preservice teacher I wanted to share an inspiring video shared by Think Inclusive via Twitter earlier today. A bright, passionate, intelligent young lady by the name of Megan Bomgaars spoke up to educators about how the biggest disservice in allowing her in our classroom would be if we limit her capabilities. I think it is extremely important for teachers to get to know their learners, get to know the skills, talents, and dreams each one possesses. Deciding who can or cannot learn in our classroom validates our inabilities to meet the needs of all of our learners, it does not accurately determine the capabilities of each student.
Megan makes an excellent point that it isn’t our job as teachers to only teach subject-based outcomes to our students, we should also be teaching transferable skills and behaviors for them to take away with them and use outside of school. Teachers cannot limit their students by deciding who is permanently dependent of others or lowering the expectations of anyone. Some goals may be harder to reach or may take longer to accomplish, but nonetheless every student should have the same opportunity to be successful and should receive necessary assistance and guidance to do so. My favorite quote from Megan’s video was, “Teach me respect. Respect is give and take”; along with life skills, teaching independence, safety, and a strong voice to speak up is essential. If we practice exclusion in our classrooms, we are deliberately teaching our students that this is OK in society as well and they will take that behavior into their lives outside of school.
“Good teachers teach and learn with their students”, another golden message from Megan. In education we always preach the importance of acceptance and inclusion of all cultures, suggesting culturally diverse students should teach the class about their history and culture. This is an excellent idea, so why don’t we take into the consideration the thought of classmates or peers with disabilities speaking to students without disabilities about their successes or struggles as well. No information is more accurate than when it comes from that particular individual themselves, and if a safe, accepting classroom environment is created from day one this type of conversation can be extremely powerful.
I have always been a strong advocate for Inclusive Education, and this final semester of my university career has fueled that fire even more. Between my Ed Psychology course, ECMP learning project, and my new Inclusive Ed family on Twitter, I feel even more passionate and comfortable about ensuring inclusion exists within my future classroom.
Please watch the video below and see how Megan’s powerful message can inspire you! Just remember, erase all limitations.
Some of you may have heard about the teacher, Dave Martin, from Red Deer, Alberta who has abolished marking students throughout a term and only assigns a grade based on the outcomes they have reached by the end of the course. This topic has been popular in the news lately and it was first brought to my attention in my Math Education course when we were shown the newspaper article online just over a month ago. This week we had the opportunity to Skype Dave into our university class, ask questions, and have him go over in more detail how he runs his classroom and how he is successful with his altered marking scheme.
After our conversation he invited us to keep in touch with him, and provided us with his twitter handle and blog if we need any help or resources in the future. As I was looking through his blog I came across a post about how he has incorporated the use of Facebook into his math classes. Martin created a class specific group to allow weekly math discussions to talk place outside of class, and made it a requirement to have the question/prompt answered online. The bonus to this FB group is that students ended up using it to ask for help on weekends, but if Martin could not answer soon enough other students were able to step up and help teach other, “My students were becoming teachers”, Martin stated.
The integration of social media had its precautions, but students monitored themselves and took this Facebook group seriously. It allowed for open discussion outside of class that normally wouldn’t exist, and students found themselves to be more creative, enjoying trying new things without worrying about losing marks. FB was also a means of catching up on missed content instead of having to wait until their next class.
I normally would have never thought of implementing Facebook of all social websites into my math class, however, Dave Martin has shown an incredibly beneficial example of how well it fits. I am extremely grateful to have been able to hear of his teaching and grading approach and would personally love to look into heading in that same direction in the future.
During one of the #slowmathchat Twitter chats Michael Fenton posed the question, “How (if at all) does homework count towards a student’s overall grade in your class?”.
Amongst the many replies, suggestions, and ideas that educators shared in reply to Fenton’s tweet, I came across a video by Rick Wormeli speaking on how much homework should count.
This video was extremely inspiring, emphasizing how significantly homework completion can affect students’ marks, and not necessarily accurate or for the better. I chose to look into this topic a little further and present to my EMTH class at university. I compiled various resources for and against grading homework, and proposed the question to my peers. Overall, the main ‘for‘ was aimed around attaching responsibility and consequence to complete/incomplete assignments in school. However, many articles I found and conversations I had agreed with the idea that homework is practice, that when the necessary work is put in it will reflect in the final assessment. Lower a student’s grade who shows 90% understanding of the content when assessed simply because they didn’t hand in two homework assignments is essentially grading their behavior and work ethic, not understanding of an outcome.
That being said, I definitely found myself grading homework assignments and keeping track of homework completions in my grade book during my internship. My beliefs on grading homework have definitely changed due to this twitter chat and am extremely thankful for the suggestions other educators contributed to the chat. I love having my teaching philosophy challenged with evidence and reasoning to support students’ learning.
What role does homework play in your classroom?
These past few weeks were very overwhelming with school as it was right in the heart of midterm season! Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to post a new video, but nonetheless I was still learning!
Since the semester is coming to an end, and my future teaching career is getting closer by the minute I decided to work on classroom related words and phrases to expand my ASL communication with my students.
In the first video I will show you the words ‘teacher’, ‘student’, ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘what’, ‘understand’, and ‘name’. Basic single words to help with communication and understanding in a classroom setting.
Next I tried my best to learn from Bill Vicar’s YouTube Channel and be able to sign full phrases and questions I may need to use with students as well.
1- What’s Wrong?
2- Do you need to go to the bathroom?
3- Keep Working!
4- That’s very good!
5- Please come here.
6- Try again.
Please get in touch with me if you have suggestions! I’m always wanting to learn more and take any advice you think is essential with ASL.
This week one of my colleagues posted a link to her newly created webpage, a place where she can organize and access all websites, files, blogs, or pictures she would normally bookmark and lose track of. Looking deeper into the webpage I decided to create one of my own with Pearl Trees.
Pearl Trees lets you organize websites, blogs, and files individually to store in one location, as well as creating collections of similar topics. On my pearl tree page I have various webpages, youtube videos, apps stored on my main page, as well as collections for my personal social media sites, my learning project resources, and mathematical/educational blogs and websites. I find this site to be extremely handy as I have all of my main sites for university and every day browsing at the click of a finger now, no more searching! A few other bonuses are that it allows you to download an app for your phone (iPhone or Android) and now if I’m not on my laptop I can still add sites to my PearlTree page while I’m on my handheld device. Second bonus, feeding off of my last blog post, is that it also comes with a Google Chrome extension. So no matter what site or blog I’m reading about, I simply click the extension (blue star symbol) and select to add this webpage to Pearl Tree; just like bookmarking but much more organized!