Saturday, 22 March 2014

First Two Weeks

Well I said I was going to try and keep this alive while student teaching this time but so far I have been failing... miserably! It seems that time has just been flying by. I couldn't believe that I am already done two weeks of student teaching!

Those first two weeks were very trying and telling. I learnt a lot about my students while not having to worry about planning lessons or scrambling to get supplies ready. My cooperating teacher and I have an understanding that I'll help her wrap up everything she had started before spring break and after that I'll start new with my stuff. I thought that was fair to the students as well. There is no way I could expect them to remember any new material after a two week break :).

This time around I am taking on a science unit in simple machines. I'm most excited about planning and executing that one! In the end I'm going to have the students design a Rube Goldberg Machine in the gym. The teacher that I am working with for this isn't actually my cooperating teacher but my students switch with the grade 7/8 so they can have French with my cooperating teacher (for the record my French level is more suited to grade 3/5 and not 7/8, ha ha). Anyways the teacher I am working with for this already had the grade 7/8's build one of those in the gym and it was AWESOME!

My focus will not entirely be science this whole time but also math. In math I will be planning a patterns unit for grade 5/6 as well as working on basic facts. Thankfully Sandy (my math professor from BU) has well equipped me to keep the students busy with fun basic math activities! On the other hand if anyone has any suggestions for patterns in math I am open. I was given a stack of textbooks but I would rather move away from those and find something hands on or fun at least.

For social studies I will be co-teaching a unit that my cooperating teacher already has a package on. We have already started that this week and so far it has been going really good. The focus is to get students thinking about the types of questions that are given to them or that they ask (thin and thick questioning). This is something I'm familiar with from another student teaching placement so I felt comfortable jumping right in.

The focus in ELA is the Daily 5 which is something that I was introduced to in my first year at BU (thank you Donna!). It is actually great to finally see it in action in a real school setting. This is something that I also had no problem jumping right into and I am already planning for after spring break.

Well that is it for now... I'll try not to let weeks pass by before I post again! If you have any recommendations or anything of that sort please leave a comment :)

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Final Week At BU

Once again it is time to start my student teaching experience. I look forward to implementing a few of the things that I learnt in this class. One thing I definitely want to get my students to try is making a video. I think it will be quite a process but I feel confident in attempting it in a real classroom setting. I'm going to be in a grade 5/6 class of 18 students so I think this is something that could really work. I'm not too sure either what devices are available for our use, but it is something that I want to look into once there!

Looking back on the last few weeks it is hard to believe how fast time went by. Last year at this time I was hoping to keep this blog alive and document my student teaching experience. I'm hoping to try that again this year (fingers crossed) and really use this as a place to share what worked and what didn't. I'm also hoping to hear back from people on their own experiences and possibly helpful resources.

If that doesn't happen at least this will be a place I can look back fondly and remember the great times I had at BU, which were awesome! I am so glad that I had the opportunity to take Internet for Educators course last year and the ICT course this year with Mike. I felt that I was forced to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. It was great! I want to thank Mike for everything that he has shown and taught me over these past two years. I can't wait to get out in the field and implement what I have learnt :)

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

One Sentence Story

Last week in class we participated in a fun activity known as a one sentence story. Basically the one sentence is broken down and pictures are picked to represent the broken down parts of that sentence (specifically each word in that sentence if possible). When this was first introduced to me my mind immediately went blank and I couldn't think of anything to write or represent in pictures. After playing around with pictures an idea suddenly came to me. I took pictures from a summer trip to Portugal and organized them in a way to represent a sentence describing that trip.

When I was going through the process I used a familiar tool, Photo Story 3 for Windows, which made it easy to put the final product together. The great thing about this program that makes me continuously use it is that it easily allows pictures to be uploaded and added to. Another feature of the program that I really like is how easy it is to add music. In just a few simple clicks I had music playing at the volume and location I wanted it to. One last feature that I really like and find great is that saving and finding the document later is easy. Later when I needed to find the video I could easily because it was saved as something that I understood and knew where it would be.

I think that using this activity in a classroom would be awesome, and I think that students wouldn't have as much trouble as me at being creative. Also this is an opportunity for students to try out different programs and navigate different tools just as I have.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Video Making

This past week in class we had the opportunity to make a video in groups. Our group had a great idea based on a popular trend in society. I don't want to give it away yet since we haven't published it yet! We had a great time making it and I even learned a few things along the way.

When it comes to filming a video the first important thing to keep in mind is to make sure you are not filming vertically! No one wants vertical video syndrome!! This was something I had never thought of before but makes sense. It’s not a picture that can easily be passed around and turned whatever way. Another important thing to keep in mind is that there are tons of different programs out there so if one doesn't do what you want just move on to another. When we made our video one of the members has a macbook so we were able to make our video with little to no problems. We were able to speed up parts, cut the sound, add music, and even have credits at the end.

This is definitely something that I would want to try with my own class in the future. It would be a great way for them to explore creatively and use technology efficiently. The process was a great one and I can't wait to see the other video in class!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

The Global Teacher

George Couros blogged recently about different types of teachers. He mentions the "classroom teacher" who is solely focused on their own room and students. They are often found to have their doors shut literally and figuratively. Next came the "school teacher" who is more open and aware of what is going on around them. They care about all students and are willing to share their expertise and experience. Last comes the "global teacher" who is a combination of both the school and classroom teacher but always has the students foremost in their thoughts. This teacher doesn't care who they are teaching because they are in this profession because they love to teach. The students could be from their own neighbourhood or miles away across the ocean. It doesn't matter who or where they are because they all present an equal opportunity to teach and share teaching strategies.

That is the type of teacher I will strive to be. I think it is important to build community on all levels of life. It also sets a great model for students to learn from. Education is something to be prized and passed around. I also like the aspect of teachers sharing their knowledge across oceans. The internet makes it so much easier for this to happen and I'm sure there are many opportunities to engage in this kind of learning.

Once again a really great blog post by George Couros! Check it out here:

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Pictures Recreated

Last week in class we had the opportunity to play around with editing pictures. I am quite familiar with this process because in highschool my friends and I would do it all the time. There are so many different tools and programs available online to edit pictures (and even videos but that will be another post).

One of the sites that I really liked and found easy to use is Pic Monkey ( The layout is easy to follow and there are plenty of options. The only problem I have with this site is that there are too many options that it can be overwhelming. Before using this in a classroom I would want to play around with it a bit more and work out the kinks.

I think that picture editing is a great activity for the classroom and kids would have a blast playing around with photos. A way of taking this even further is having students scrapbook any photos that they edit. A friend and I  did a presentation in another class based on using scrapbooking as a creative activity in the classroom. We found that it is a great way of students reflecting back on different experiences they had during school. Also it is a more hands on activity compared to just journaling in a notebook.

For class I took a picture of my brother and me from our 2008 grad;

I changed the lighting of the picture as well as added a border and text.

Overall I really like the use of photo editing in the classroom and will definitely be trying it in a future classroom.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

A Visit from John Finch

Last week our class was fortunate to have an in-person visit from John Finch. He had many great things to say and it took me a bit of time to digest and decide what I wanted to blog about. The one thing he said that really caught my attention was that about 90% of grade 11 students have a laptop and about 40% of grade 4 students have a cell phone. This has changed quite a bit from even my time in grade 11 and, especially, grade 4. When I was in high school probably every third student may have had a cell phone, and that was by grade 11. Times change and I can only imagine what schools and students will have in only a few decades time from now when I'm in the teaching seat.

The fact that these students have access to these items right in their own backpacks or pockets is great. I think it will mean a lot in the classroom because it will empower student’s creativity and understanding. Just as John pointed out, time doesn't need to be taken to go look in a book or boot up the computer to find specific facts. Students can just pull out their devices and instantly have that information. In the end it is up to us teachers to show students how to determine which information is good and how use it in a productive way.

The instant feedback really changes the way of teaching. Time can be focused on being creative and productive and not always searching for the right information. Students will always be engaged because they have the ability to document and create right in their own hands wherever they are learning. So it is also up to us teachers to show students how to document their learning and publish it in a productive way.