Robin's Blog

My journey from student to teacher…


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ECMP Final Project

Below is the two part project Janice, Jackie and I created for our ECMP 355 Computers in Education class.

We created the project using Window Movie Maker. Enjoy!

 

 

The second part of All I wanna do, affectionately called ” Trailer Park Backyard”. We had a blast re-writing the lyrics.. Sheryl, please forgive us…

 


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Social Media in Today’s Classrooms – Tech Task #10

Social media is a way to connect with others online. Students are using social media more and more these days and I feel it the responsiblity of teachers to also use social media in their lives and classrooms. A recent Pew Research Center report shows that 73 percent of online teens between the ages of 12 and 17 use social networking sites, up from 55 percent just four years ago. As the NCTE Definition of 21st Century Literacies states, twenty-first century readers and writers need to

  • Develop proficiency with the tools of technology
  • Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally
  • Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes
  • Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information
  • Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts
  • Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments

Using social media with students can provide an opportunity for students to gain media literacy. I think it is important to teach students about smart digital citizenship when it comes to identity, safety and healthy online behavior. Media Awareness Network (MNet) is a Canadian non-profit organization that has been pioneering the development of media literacy and digital literacy programs since 1996. They provide many practical classroom resources for teacher when educating students about media education. They offer many educational programs and online games that can help teach students about online safety and positive online experiences.

Using Google Docs in a classroom setting with students rather than a paper and pencil assignment is a creative way to use social media with students. This type of social media allows for and fosters collaboration between students and  extends the learning experience beyond the classroom. Students can revisit what they have learned in the classroom and add to it at a later date on their own time.

Another creative way to use social media with students, is to connect them with students from around the world. The Global Virtual Classroom‘s vision is to empower, enable and connect students around the world using Internet technology.  This experience provides with the opportunity to develop skills that are essential in the 21st century:  cross-cultural communication, collaboration through teamwork, information technology and website design.

What other creative ways teachers can use social media in their classrooms to fully engage students? I would like some feedback and ideas on this topic and would love to hear from you!


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“r u online?”

After reading the article, “r u online?”: The Evolving Lexicon of Wired Teens and considering how texting is creating new ways in which students can use the English language to suit their linguistic needs, I couldn’t help but wonder in what ways are English language learners are using this new accessible language. I also thought it might be interesting to compare the ways in which native speakers of English use Net Lingo to communicate to emerging bilingual Net Lingo English.

I think when teaching students about when it is appropriate to use certain forms of language or “proper” English, a discussion could also be around how we use language is similar ways in different situations in different geographical locations. We could explore why is it that Net Lingo is becoming almost a more universal type of language among young people than “proper” English.

As a teacher, I think it is especially important for me to understand this new phenomenon and consider what impacts it may have on student learning but find ways to use it as a teaching tool in the future.


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Literature Circles

Children's books

I recently participated in a literature circle in my ELIB 216: Children’s Literature class which was my second experience with a literature circle. I have gained valuable insights throughout the process. I was excited to get the chance to respond to my experience with children’s literature and gain valuable insights into the benefits of giving children the opportunity to discuss and share their experiences with others. I feel I can now use the knowledge I gained from this experience to help guide and facilitate literature circles in the future. This assignment has opened my eyes to the power of discussion and expressing your reactions to literature and all that can be learned through the experience.

I was happy to learn our small group would be choosing a book on our own. I experienced first hand what allowing that freedom of choice can do for a reader’s interest level. Because that choice was built in, I was more motivated to read it and compelled to understand the deeper meaning of the story and share my reactions with others. And in turn, I was especially interested in hearing the reactions of my peers. These feeling I experienced directly related to what I read, when “students are in control of the discussion and have the opportunity to express their opinions can become more actively involved” (Lynch-Brown & Tomlinson, 2008, p. 292) in my course textbook Essentials of Children’s Literature.

Being a participant in the literature circle rather than simply reading about the process has allowed for a better understanding of the way in which a literature circle is carried out and the process it entails. I can now see how important it is to first teach students to value others opinions and use respectful listening behaviors when participating in discussions. As suggested by Lynch-Brown & Tomlinson (2008), these are skills that need to be taught and practiced by carrying out “small group discussions with the teacher as a participating member and joint planning by teacher and class before groups begin working can enable the group to set rules, goals, and time lines”(p. 293). Even as an adult, I can see the valuable benefits of having the teacher involved in the planning process when students are first introduced to literature circles. Given that this was my second experience participating in a literature circle, I can see the difference the “practice” had made on my experience as I used the knowledge I had gained from my previous experience.

Although I had experience with a literature circle before, I was still completely amazed at the discussion one book can lend. I was excited to share my thoughts about the book as were my fellow group members. I think establishing roles gave everyone some responsibility and was beneficial to get the conversation going. As the discussion progressed and everyone felt comfortable within the group, these roles slowly disappeared. I was eager to see all the different perspectives on the story and if we had similar or different reactions to the story. This in-depth discussion as we searched for the deeper meaning of the story also brought closure as we came to some conclusions and discussed further activities to do with students to extend their experience or other ways to respond to the literature.

Although I experienced children’s innate want to respond to literature before, I never truly understood the benefits children can gain once given the opportunity. “They develop a better understanding of what they experienced by organizing and deepening their feelings and thoughts on the experience” as I did throughout this experience. Literature circles can be used with students as a valuable way to respond to literature and find a deeper meaning and express their reactions to the story.


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Learning from Those We Label

Before reading this article, The Child’s Eye: Memories of Growing Up with Cystic Fibrosis, I had never considered how it might feel to be labeled with a disability. I had never considered how being labeled could change others perceptions of you. By reading this article “The Child’s Eye: Memories of Growing Up with Cystic Fibrosis,” and considering life through the perspective of someone with this chronic illness, I have come to realize there are many things I can do as an educator to provide a supportive learning environment for the child.

I couldn’t imagine having to hide who you truly are because of others negative reactions. I have also realized how much unfair and unnecessary ridicule a child with a label can face at such a young age.

Throughout this article, I discovered children who are labeled with a disability face many different stressful interpersonal situations throughout their life. They have to deal with many difficult peer situations and negative reactions of others. They are faced with the challenge of how to tell others about their diagnosis and were confused by the meaning the label had to others. Amidst all these struggles, it is critical the child forms close friendships with peers. Teachers can have a direct influence in these phychosocial and educational needs.

In the future, I hope to create a classroom environment where children learn about individual differences in a positive way. I feel, if children learn about and celebrate things that make themselves and others around them different, they will be more accepting towards each other. I could also create opportunities for individuals in the class to share information about themselves with others and explore what they have in common. The adolescence interviewed in this article stated that meeting others with CF was extremely beneficial as it introduced them to “peers with similar characteristics who shared many of their same life experiences” (p. 9). Teachers could possibly locate other children with the same diagnosis within the community and provide opportunities for students to communicate with each other.

Considering life through the perspective of someone with CF has truly opened my eyes on what it means to be labeled with a disability. It is important as an educator to create a positive and supportive learning environment for every child. In this article, when the adolescence interviewed were asked what they would advise an 8 year old child with CF about growing up with a chronic illness, they responded: tell others what the diagnosis is, do not hide the diagnosis inside, do not let friends upset you, take your medications, and think of yourself as distinctive (p.11). Above all, I won’t let any misconceptions about a designation or label guide my teaching, I will get to know the student, their individual needs, their family, and let that guide my teaching.

Works Cited

Christian, B. & D’Auria, J. (1997). The Child’s Eye: Memories of Growing Up with Cystic Fibrosis. Chapel Hill, NC: W.B. Saunders Company.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Since 1955, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has been the driving force behind the pursuit of a cure. Thanks to the dedication and financial backing of our supporters–patients, families and friends, clinicians, researchers, volunteers, individual donors, corporations and staff, we are making a difference.