Learning Leader Project – Final Assignment

Participating in this project has rejuvenated my teaching practises!  I am excited again about what I am doing in my classroom with my students.  I had found that I was in a bit of a rut and if I was feeling somewhat bored, my students were also likely to pick up on that.  So, when the opportunity to become involved in the Learning Leader Project came up, I am very grateful that I signed on.

I have learned so much during this project, and there is still so much more to learn. I have found several apps that have become favorites.  The first one is Evernote – I love this app for organizing the information that I have found and it gives me an easy way to access things later.  I don’t have to remember a lot of hashtags and labels, as things can go into the many “notebooks” I’ve created.  This works for me, and it makes sense to me for my style of learning and retrieving information.

I was trying to find a way to utilize an app immediately in the classroom and I discovered that Show Me does just that.  I teach Food Studies, and one of the things that is so important for my students to see are exemplars of what a good product should be (standards).  I had used my iPad to take lots of pictures of my students’ work at various stages during the cooking or baking process.  I had an “a-ha” moment, when I realized I could simply take one of these pictures and turn it into a mini lesson to illustrate what the standards for a good loaf of bread should be!  It literally took 21 seconds to do.  Now, I have big plans to turn out more of these “show me” lessons that will also be valuable to students who may have missed a demonstration that I have done in class.

I have also enjoyed using Twitter.  I found it took me awhile to get comfortable “tweeting”, but I am able to see how valuable Twitter is now for obtaining information and sharing and connecting with others.  Going back to what I said earlier about taking pictures of my students’ work, I sent out a few of these pictures through twitter, and was surprised to get several responses that connected me with other foods teachers (up to that time, my PLN consisted of no one in my area).  That led to a dialogue with a teacher in Red Deer who was struggling to fit a particular module into his program, and through Twitter, I was able to share with him what I had done.  It was a great connection, especially because most schools will only have one Foods teacher, so you really do need to have someone else to bounce ideas off of.

In my school, many teachers were part of the Learning Leader Project in 2011-12.  As a result, we have a lot of staff who are very savvy on this technology journey. I found this very helpful for me, because each of the sessions done in this project were packed with a lot of new information.  This, at times, could be somewhat overwhelming, so it was great to have others on staff that I could go to for help.  They could clarify or show me how they had used various apps and programs.  I don’t feel that I am an expert in any of this, but I have felt comfortable sharing what I have been learning, and it is encouraging to know that I am much further ahead now, than I was even a month ago, in utilizing apps, google docs and blogging.

My goal is to get my students comfortable sharing their learning.  For a group who readily shares their life on social media, they have been somewhat resistant to blog/share what they have learned.  This has surprised me, yet I know that if I am comfortable doing it, they will be too.  My hope is to create our own web page where my students consistently post their work and what they have learned as they created it.

Cheryl Jereniuk – Spruce Grove Composite High School

 

SGCHS Bike-a-thon Success

As a high school teacher, I struggle with the wording of report card comments, trying to find the right words to convey my message.  The ones I find the hardest to do are the comments related to our school division CSR outcomes.  These are outcomes that are very difficult to measure and sometimes, we don’t always have evidence of a student exhibiting them just in our classroom.  As we get to know our students better, it becomes easier, because we see them involved in other activities outside of the classroom.  I had the opportunity to see, first hand, one such activity, that I would like to share with you.

On Wednesday, April 24, the students of Spruce Grove Composite High School demonstrated that they are not only good citizens, but advocates for cancer survivors, cancer patients and those who have succumbed to this dreaded disease.

Our school hosted its’ 4th Annual Ride for Life Bike-a-thon to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.  It was a fun event, but for each participant, it was an extremely meaningful event.  We came together as a community to be a part of a positive way to work toward finding a cure for cancer.  We know that the money we have raised, ($30,363.53), will go a long way toward patient care, treatment and research.

As the organizer for this event, I was so proud of our students.  They showed that they have met and exceeded all of the expectations of our school division’s CSR outcomes.  They are exemplary citizens.

Learning Leader Project

I love my iPad!  I have to admit, it took over my life and sleep for the first few weeks into the project – now that the novelty has worn off a bit, I can appreciate it for what it is, a learning tool.  I have learned that it can be a tool that can connect me with whatever I want to know, it can connect me to people around the world and it can capture the joy in a student’s face when the bread that started as a lump of dough turns into a beautiful creation!

Technology can be great, but it is still very important for us to “do”.  Maybe it’s because of what I teach (CTS-Foods), maybe it’s because I’ve been teaching forever, but you can’t take away what we can create with our hands.  Whether it’s a sculpture, a wood cabinet, or a loaf of bread, we are still learning.