Last Day of my BEd!

Today is my last day as an undergraduate student! That’s right, today I have completed my Bachelor of Education *insert crazy happy dance here*. It seems like I have been in school forever, and it’s kind of hard to believe today is finally here. This journey has been a great one for me. I have grown so much as both a person and a professional through my experiences, and I have met a lot of wonderful people along the way. I think it may be a little hard at first to turn from student to teacher, since I have been a student for so long, but I cannot wait to dive in and begin this journey.

To all of my peers who are finishing up with me, thank you for making this such an awesome program to be in, good luck with everything in the future, and congratulations!

Section 40 at P.L.A.C.E.

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Wrapping Up My Learning Project

So today is the day my ECMP 355 learning project is due. I have really enjoyed making my wiki throughout this semester, even though it is definitely not complete and I did run into a few problems.

Working on this wiki allowed me to see just how many resources there are available online for teachers, and I know I have only just found the tip of the iceberg and there are many, many more resources out there that I have not found yet. Most of the resources I have included are ones I have used before, and have enjoyed using. Other resources were recommended to me by my peers, and some I have seen used in classes I have been in. On my wiki I also included the outcomes and indicators that each resource fits with, according to the Saskatchewan Curriculum. I am hoping that adding this information will help educators navigate through the page easier, since they can see exactly where the resources they want to use fits in with what they are teaching. I also chose to add a page about why I think incorporating technology is beneficial. Of course I am no expert at technology, and I haven’t had an opportunity to use it a whole lot in the classroom,  but I chose reasons based on what I have learned this semester and through creating this wiki. I am hoping that if educators see these reasons it will help them understand that there truly is benefits to incorporating technology, which may make the more likely to use some of the resources I have collected.

Although I had a lot of fun creating this wiki, I also ran into a few problems. The first problem was simply getting started. I changed my learning project in March, so I started a little later than I wanted to, and when I began I found myself getting overwhelmed quite quickly. As I mentioned above, there is so much online that I could include in this wiki, and I found myself getting a little lost in the resources. I think I was just so unaware at how much was out there that when I found so many resources I didn’t know where to begin. After taking a couple of days to search around and get an idea of what was out there, I began to start looking back on what I have used and was already familiar with. I chose to do this because I knew these resources worked, and I knew I enjoyed them and found them beneficial. I was already so overwhelmed I didn’t want to start picking resources just because they looked fancy, without knowing if they would actually work in a classroom or not. With this wiki I wanted to make sure that when I had completed this project I had something I could stand behind, that I had seen first-hand working in a classroom, so this is why I chose resources I have used before.

My next issue came with screenshots.  I had talked to Alec about adding images for visual appeal, and I really liked this idea, however, I quickly found out this was easier said than done for me. This semester is the first time I have really dove into technology, so anything I did was a big step for me. I figured out how to make screenshots (yahoo), but I could not figure how to make them look good on my page. When I inserted them on the page they were WAY too big, and when I tried to make them smaller they messed up all my font I already had typed out. Needless to say, after numerous attempts at trying to make this work, I have not succeeded… yet! As I mentioned, I am definitely not finished my wiki, so as I continue to work on it I will also continue trying to figure out how to get these images to work!

Overall this learning project was a success, at least in my eyes. I have never created a wiki on my own before, and now I have, so this is just one more tool I can bring into the classroom. I look forward to continuing with this wiki as I grow as a professional and finding out just how much more is out there!

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My Summary of Learning

So I have spent the last couple of days working on my summary of learning, and here is the final product…

I chose to use xtranormal to complete my summary of learning for a couple of different reasons. The first is because I have never used the program before and, since the semester is coming to an end, I thought it would be beneficial to try something new – after all, this project is all about learning so why not learn something new as I reflect on what I have learned. The second is because I can see myself using this program in my future classroom. Children love cartoons, and this program allows you to build your own cartoon, so why not let children do what they love while learning about technology. The last reasons is more of a personal reason, and this is for the simple fact that I hate hearing myself talk. So, to eliminate this, I chose a program that allowed me to share my ideas without having to hear myself say them numerous times as I edited and watched the video; a win-win for me!

Through this summary of learning I realized I have learned a lot in a short amount of time, and there is still so much more I can learn, and want to learn. So this is my summary of learning, or a reflection on what I have learned through ECMP 355 if you prefer to look at it that way. I hope you enjoy!

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Have You Ever Heard of Nature Deficit Disorder?

Last night in my ECMP 355 class we were talking about how technology affects us and the idea of Nature Deficit Disorder was brought up. At first I was puzzled, since I have never heard of this before and couldn’t imagine something like this being real, but once I read what it was about it started to make a lot of sense to me.

In a nutshell, Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD) . . . “refers to an alleged trend that children are spending less time outdoors, resulting in a wide range of behavioural problem,” (Wikipedia, 2012). However, it is important to note that, NDD is not recognized in any of the medical manuals.

This is also something we have been talking about in my ECE course; how children are often inside playing in front of a screen rather than playing outside. I think I found the idea of NDD being real so puzzling because of how I grew up. When I was young I was always outside, rain or shine, and there were many times my parents had to come out and almost drag me in the house because I didn’t want to come back inside. As soon as I got home from school, or as soon as I woke up on the weekends, I was outside, and I often didn’t come back in until the street lights were on – with the exception of eating lunch and dinner.

However, times have clearly changed and now it seems like kids are glued to a screen, whether that screen be watching television, playing a video game, on a cell phone, or any other type of technology they can carry with them, such as a Nintendo DS or Ipad. Of course I had a TV and video games when I was young too, but I never played them to the extent they are played now, and my parents never would have let me play them to the extent they are played by kids today.

So now there is this disorder because children are not spending enough time outside and, I have to admit, I can’t help but giggle a little bit. It makes me wonder; What changed? When did parents stop making their kids play outside? Or, perhaps more importantly, when did kids stop wanting to be outside? I mean, I am only 25, so it wasn’t too long ago I was a kid, yet how I grew up and how kids today are growing up seem to be hundreds of years apart. Even on a hot day playgrounds and parks are often almost empty because kids are playing inside, in the air conditioning. I guess I giggle because I don’t understand how this could happen, or maybe because I don’t see how a television screen is more fun than all the possibilities you have when you play outside. I am not saying all screen time is bad, even I watch TV at night, but too much is definitely not good – which should be obvious if someone created a disorder because children are no longer going outside.

“Let nature by your first teacher”

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153 

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Regina Makes Top 5!

My cousin had sent me this article from the Leader-Post which stated that Regina has been placed in the top 5 Canadian cities to live in Canada, as determined my MoneySense Magazine.

This is quite the accomplishment since, as Mayor Pat Fiacco pointed out, 12 years ago Regina wasn’t getting any positive publicity at all, and now we are the 5th best city to live in in all of Canada!

As the article explains, things that were taken into consideration to make this list are: employment, sales tax, crime, population growth or loss, and weather. Air quality, housing costs, household and discretionary income, income tax, and the number of physicians and other medical professionals were also taken into account.

According to the article, Regina’s strengths are: population growth, low unemployment, and cultural amenities. (we also received brownie points for having hospitals and a university!). The low points for Regina, according to MoneySense Magazine, are: income levels and the ability for residents to walk/bike to work.

So I think this is pretty exciting that the little city I was born and raised in beat out bigger cities, like Edmonton for example. I am also happy to see Regina getting some positive publicity.

So, do you agree with MoneySense Magazine? Would Regina be in your top 5 Canadian cities to live in? If so, what makes you love this city so much (why would it be in your top 5)? If not, where might you rank  it and why?

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Another Update of My Final Project

So today I put in another 2 hours worth of work into my final wiki, and I still feel like I have so much more to do (and time is running out)! I have to admit, I am finding this task more difficult than I had anticipated. I enjoy finding the resources, because I am also learning how much there is out there, but there is SO MUCH out there I am finding it hard to find what I am looking for. I am finding Art Education and Kindergarten particularly hard, which is why those areas are much smaller than the other grades and areas. So, if anyone has any good resources they know of in this area I would love to hear about them!

So here is my updated wiki. It is not done by any means, but I am making progress so I thought I would share!

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TED Talks

Today I was looking through some TED Talks when I came across this video. The speaker is a young girl who is discussing the idea of adults learning from children, and what good can come of it.

Some of the key points I really enjoyed were:

1.) Children’s imaginations are so large and unrestricted by history, while adults often stop short of succeeding or fulfilling their dreams because they let doubts and worries cloud their minds. Children, on the other hand, have not yet experienced all this history of failure or reality (I suppose you can say they still have their “rose-tinted glasses” on when they view the world) so they reach for their dreams, regardless of how out of reach those dreams may seem to adults.

2.) The word childish is often used to stereotype child-like behaviours, and is often used towards children. However, many “childish” acts, such as greed or wanting more than you have, often come from adults.

3.) Adults need to take the time and learn from children,  rather than expecting children to only learn from them. There is so much children can teach us, because they are all so positive and full of life, but sometimes, as adults, we are afraid to give up that control and allow children to help lead the learning process.

As a future educator I really enjoyed this video because it reminded me just how much I can learn from my future students, and how much I will be missing if I choose to ignore their voices and try to lead my classroom on my own. As a pre-service teacher I think it is crucial to remember there isn’t just one teacher in the classroom, there is 25 (or however many students are in your classroom each year), and each of these “teachers” brings something new to the table. It makes me wonder, why would anyone choose to teach alone when they have 20-some other teachers to collaborate with in one room?

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A Pause From Homework for Wedding Planning!

So, I have been taking a break from my homework tonight to do some planning for my upcoming July wedding. Usually planning is a good stress reliever for me, however, I seemed to have hit a wall! I am quickly finding out that finding a first dance song is not as easy as it sounds, even  for a music lover like me!

I have learned that blogs are a good place to share ideas, and get ideas as well, so I figured I would ask for some help via my blog – even though this isn’t a very educational entry!

So, as I mentioned, my fiance I am finding it difficult to find a first dance song. We want something that is unique and not completely over-killed (so no “Amazed” by Lonestar). Even though some of these over-killed songs are good, we are just looking for something a little different and new.

So, this is my question to you, my readers – any suggestions for a good first dance wedding song? We’re really pretty much into all types of music, so genre isn’t much of an issue. All we’re really looking for is a nice song, something we can dance to, that isn’t done to death. If you know of any suggestions that fit all three of those criteria I’d love to hear them!

Thanks =)

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On the Home Stretch!

So I am down to the final month of my undergraduate career; yahoo! Since I am on the home stretch I figured now would be a good time to reflect (I know that’s everyone’s favourite word) on this semester and what it has been like for me so far!

Before coming into this semester I had heard many times that the semester after internship is going to be the hardest. When I say “the hardest” I am not referring to it being academically harder than past semesters, I mean harder as in: hard to get back into being a student rather than a teacher; harder due to having to sit in a class instead of teaching a class; harder because I am now back to making my own assignments rather than assessing my students’ work. Even though I had people telling me it would be hard, I didn’t realize just how hard it would be on me!

Normally I have enjoyed my time at the university. I have enjoyed the majority of my courses, I felt I have come away from each class learning something new, and I didn’t find it overly hard to jump into my assignments. Sure, I went through the “getting back into school mode” each semester, where it took me a little while to get into the swing a things after being off for a couple of months, but this semester that “getting back into school mode” doesn’t seem to want to kick in at all!  This semester has been a completely different experience for me than past semesters, and I am still not totally sure as to why that is. I am constantly finding myself in a slump – a slump to get motivated, a slump in creativity, just an overall slump. It seems that procrastination has been my best friend this semester, more than in past semesters, and I find myself having difficulties staying focused. I also find it hard to stay interested in my classes. This is not because I don’t find my classes interesting, because they are, it is just a different kind of feeling I can’t really explain.

I think one reason for my slump this semester is due to the simple fact that I miss my kids in my interning class. I don’t know how I am going to do it – changing students every year – because after just 4 months I became extremely attached to those students. I thoroughly enjoyed every single day of my internship, including all the difficult times. There wasn’t a morning I didn’t wake up where I wasn’t excited to get back into that classroom.

Another reason for my slump may be because I am a hands on learner, and I think I learned more in those 4 months of internship that I have in the 4 years of my program. Now, don’t get me wrong, the education program is great and I did learn a lot while I was in it, but I learned what cannot be taught while in that classroom; real life situations that you can’t read and reflect on through a textbook. Now that I know how much I can learn out there I just want to dive back in and learn so much more.

So, here I am, just over 4 weeks left in my program, and still in my slump. Somehow I have managed to get all my assignments done, and I am doing quite well, but I would be lying if I said I am not anxious for April 11th to come! And, even though I am in a slump, I am still enjoying my last semester. I have met a lot of amazing people through this program, learned a ton of information, gathered many tools and resources, and, through all of this, I have started to grow into the teacher I want to be.

I know many of you who are finished this semester are in the same boat – the, “is it over yet?” boat. So, to you, I say good luck, you can do it, and you are certainly not alone! We all have come so far and there is so little time left, we just have to keep our heads up and keep on truckin’!

For those of you who may be reading this that are not finishing this semester: good luck to you as well! In my opinion, the best year of your program is yet to come. My advice to you would be to enjoy your internship, and take risks while you are there. Your co-operating teachers are amazing resources, and they will help you along the way. Internship really is an amazing experience, even though it will be tough at times, but in those 4 months I am hopeful you learn more about yourself as a teacher and it gets you excited to get out there in a classroom of your own.

Happy one month left everybody!

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A Break For Laughter!

I realized I have been rather serious on my blog, so I wanted to take an opportunity to add a video that could provide a good laugh r – because laughter is always fun!

I seen this on a friend’s Facebook and I couldn’t stop laughing. Perhaps I found it hilarious because I am overtired due to a lot of assignments coming up at once, but, overtired or not, this is worth a good laugh! Ellen is so funny as it is, but talking about where I come from (or trying to talk about it) makes her that much funnier for some reason!

Enjoy, and have a laugh to relieve some of that stress most of you are undoubtedly feeling in this last month!

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