Learning Leader Reflection 2013

The 2012-2013 learning leaders course has been a wonderful area of professional development. The integration of new apps and technologies has provided an interesting dynamic to my early teaching career. In response to the final learning leaders session I have discovered the following information over the course of the school year:

As a continue to develop my niche as a school teacher, I have found that technology can be very useful for classroom instruction and organization. In particular, Google drive has been extremely useful and practical to teach my students. I am constantly learning all the wonderful uses Google drive can be for a school teacher. At first I struggled to keep everything organized because it was a constant swarm of shared docs. However, I learned that it would be a lot easier if the child ‘shared’ their main folder with their name (Ex. John D)  and this way everything they created in their named folder, would automatically be ‘shared’ into the folder that I already have.Furthermore, I just recently learned about the importance of naming each document appropriately. Naming each document is very important because it makes it a lot easier to search for a child’s work. If everyone in the class uses the same title structure, it is very easy to look through the database and find a particular assignment about a particular topic. The way that I will begin to title my documents are by writing the title of the assignment followed by first name, and last initial(ex. Provincial government – John D). I am finding that the more time I spend using Google drive, the more comfortable I become teaching the app to the students. I am excited to dig further into this application for students and my sake.

Moreover, social media was another area of exploration for the Learning Leaders course. I have already been exposed to the value of social media in education by George Couros. I have found that Twitter can be very valuable for networking and gaining help from others. At first, I will admit, I did more “lurking” then contributing to the educational twitter world. I still find myself looking through Twitter but I am finding it is just as easy to click the ‘share’ button and have others read, think and learn about a helpful or critical thinking article, blog, lesson, etc. As I continue on in the educational world, it is exciting to think about the possibilities with networking.

Building Capacity – “Do or do not there is no try” Yoda 

Lastly, the session and discussions that I have been taking part with my colleagues in school have been very interesting. Our school has got a good start on blogging with the upper middle years school. Also, grades 5-9 have made great use of Google drive. Seba Beach School has a small staff, and it is interesting because in starting out a school wide initiative like classroom blogging or Google accounts, we have developed great foundation for next school year. As we move forward it is imperative that we as teachers model good us of classroom blog and Google drive.

For more discussion find me on twitter @Ferzlig

 

 

Final Thoughts

This was my first chance to be a PSD 70 leader as I am a new teacher.  I found that it was nice being the person giving information rather than being the person looking for information.  It felt like I could contribute to the school which was a welcome change.

I am a grade 4 teacher at Millgrove and teach with 4 very accomplished teachers.  The learning leader program allowed me to keep up with my grade level partners and not slow them down when it came to technology. Looking to the future I feel I will learning a lot being where I am and possibly become a tweeter.

In our school there were 6 learning leaders and it was nice having other people to bounce ideas off and run in-services.  Our discussions primarily surrounded Ipad apps as not many of us are proficient with twitter.  Below I have listed some of the apps we thought worked well in our early year school.

Here are some of the Apps we use at Millgrove:

Haiku Deck

Used for Social Stories with children who require pre-teaching for a fieldtrip or cultural event

iMovie

Great for learning Math for example going on a shape walk in and around the school and making a movie of those things that are similar

Endless Alphabet

This helps children learn the letters and build vocabulary at their own pace

Bad Piggies

This app allows students to use critical thinking, problem solving skills and cooperation

Number Rack

Here is an app that is open-ended and uses Base 10 beads.  We use is for “How many ways?”

Dolch Words

Students read the words, trace them and can complete a voice recording

Felt Board

Inspired by flannel boards, Felt Board is an app with hundreds of flannel pieces in digital form. It has enabled students to collaboratively  illustrate scenes from a story, and has inspired student writing as well. It’s great for use in a literacy station where students can create a picture and then write about that picture. The illustrations can be saved to the iPad’s photo roll, and is great fodder for beginning story-writing.

Story Buddy 2

This user-friendly app enables beginning writers to publish their own polished, illustrated books. Students can include pictures from the iPad’s camera roll or from an internet search and even allows students to include an audio recording on the pages. The book can be saved as a PD and is a great way for students to showcase their writing and learning.

A-HA Moments with Social Media:

We see the value of Social Media to enhance our teaching by connecting us with fellow colleagues around the world.  We also see how articles are found and conveniently retweeted.  This cuts down the search time and links us directly to relevant information.

Final session

I have learned a lot during this session. I was the go to person for those teachers who needed just the basics but were reluctant to ask.   On the November PD day, we hosted Learning Leader iPad centers.  Staff was invited to explore the various apps and learn how different grade levels used this tool.  This hands on, interactive session was well received and more time was requested.

In March, we hosted the Tri -School PD morning.  We supported our staff from the Tri-Schools at the tables by sharing how the iPad works in our classrooms.  We also shared apps that are our favorites when working with our early year students.

During PLCs throughout the year, there was consistent collaboration in grade two.

Haiku Deck

Used for Social Stories with children who require pre-teaching for a fieldtrip or cultural event

iMovie

Great for learning Math for example going on a shape walk in and around the school and making a movie of those things that are similar

Endless Alphabet

This helps children learn the letters and build vocabulary at their own pace

Bad Piggies

This app allows students to use critical thinking, problem solving skills and cooperation

Number Rack

Here is an app that is open-ended and uses Base 10 beads.  We use it for “How many ways?”

Dolch Words

Students read the words, trace them and can complete a voice recording. Lots of fun.

Felt Board

Inspired by flannel boards, Felt Board is an app with hundreds of flannel pieces in digital form. It has enabled students to collaboratively  illustrate scenes from a story, and has inspired student writing as well. It’s great for use in a literacy station where students can create a picture and then write about that picture. The illustrations can be saved to the iPad’s photo roll, and is great fodder for beginning story-writing.

Story Buddy 2

This user-friendly app enables beginning writers to publish their own polished, illustrated books. Students can include pictures from the iPad’s camera roll or from an internet search and even allows students to include an audio recording on the pages. The book can be saved as a PD and is a great way for students to showcase their writing and learning.

A-HA Moments with Social Media:

We see the value of Social Media to enhance our teaching by connecting us with fellow colleagues around the world.  We also see how articles are found and conveniently retweeted.

Final Project

A-HA Moments with Social Media:
We see the value of Social Media to enhance our teaching by connecting us with fellow colleagues around the world. We also see how articles are found and conveniently retweeted. This cuts down the search time and links us directly to relevant information.
Sharing With Staff:
On the November PD day, we hosted Learning Leader iPad centers. Staff was invited to explore the various apps and learn how different grade levels used this tool. This hands on, interactive session was well received and more time was requested.
In March, we hosted the Tri -School PD morning. We supported our staff from the Tri-Schools at the tables by sharing how the iPad works in our classrooms. We also shared apps that are our favorites when working with our early year students.
During PLCs throughout the year, there was consistent collaboration at each grade level. It was very helpful to have a learning learner represented from each grade to attend those meetings.
Here are some of the Apps we use at Millgrove:
Haiku Deck
Used for Social Stories with children who require pre-teaching for a fieldtrip or cultural event
iMovie
Great for learning Math for example going on a shape walk in and around the school and making a movie of those things that are similar
Endless Alphabet
This helps children learn the letters and build vocabulary at their own pace
Bad Piggies
This app allows students to use critical thinking, problem solving skills and cooperation
Number Rack
Here is an app that is open-ended and uses Base 10 beads. We use is for “How many ways?”
Dolch Words
Students read the words, trace them and can complete a voice recording
Felt Board
Inspired by flannel boards, Felt Board is an app with hundreds of flannel pieces in digital form. It has enabled students to collaboratively illustrate scenes from a story, and has inspired student writing as well. It’s great for use in a literacy station where students can create a picture and then write about that picture. The illustrations can be saved to the iPad’s photo roll, and is great fodder for beginning story-writing.
Story Buddy 2
This user-friendly app enables beginning writers to publish their own polished, illustrated books. Students can include pictures from the iPad’s camera roll or from an internet search and even allows students to include an audio recording on the pages. The book can be saved as a PD and is a great way for students to showcase their writing and learning.

Final Project

Here are some of the Apps we use at Millgrove:

Haiku Deck

Used for Social Stories with children who require pre-teaching for a fieldtrip or cultural event

iMovie

Great for learning Math for example going on a shape walk in and around the school and making a movie of those things that are similar

Endless Alphabet

This helps children learn the letters and build vocabulary at their own pace

Bad Piggies

This app allows students to use critical thinking, problem solving skills and cooperation

Number Rack

Here is an app that is open-ended and uses Base 10 beads.  We use is for “How many ways?”

Dolch Words

Students read the words, trace them and can complete a voice recording

Felt Board

Inspired by flannel boards, Felt Board is an app with hundreds of flannel pieces in digital form. It has enabled students to collaboratively  illustrate scenes from a story, and has inspired student writing as well. It’s great for use in a literacy station where students can create a picture and then write about that picture. The illustrations can be saved to the iPad’s photo roll, and is great fodder for beginning story-writing. 

Story Buddy 2

This user-friendly app enables beginning writers to publish their own polished, illustrated books. Students can include pictures from the iPad’s camera roll or from an internet search and even allows students to include an audio recording on the pages. The book can be saved as a PD and is a great way for students to showcase their writing and learning.

A-HA Moments with Social Media:

We see the value of Social Media to enhance our teaching by connecting us with fellow colleagues around the world.  We also see how articles are found and conveniently retweeted.  This cuts down the search time and links us directly to relevant information.

Sharing With Staff:

On the November PD day, we hosted Learning Leader iPad centers.  Staff was invited to explore the various apps and learn how different grade levels used this tool.  This hands on, interactive session was well received and more time was requested. 

In March, we hosted the Tri -School PD morning.  We supported our staff from the Tri-Schools at the tables by sharing how the iPad works in our classrooms.  We also shared apps that are our favorites when working with our early year students. 

During PLCs throughout the year, there was consistent collaboration at each grade level.  It was very helpful to have a learning learner represented from each grade to attend those meetings.

 

 

Learning Leader Reflection

I have explored many apps during my learning leader year.  One of my favourites is haiku deck.  I love this one due to the simplistic nature of it.  It makes it easy for my grade 2s and 3s to use with minimal assistance.  It is a powerful tool for them to reflect on their learning as well as to teach others a topic.  I have also enjoyed zite.  There have been some excellent articles to read on zite to do with education and technology.  Through the use of zite, I have felt more comfortable with tweeting out articles which has helped me to be less of a lurker.

An aha moment for me was when I was using evernote.  This helped when I went to visit another school.  It helped me to take pictures as well as to add notes.  I was able to keep track of everything that I saw while on this visit.  It makes so much sense and it was so easy to do.  I also enjoyed the simple fact of google drive on the ipad.  It makes making and sharing documents so much easier and it’s right at your fingertips.

Bob and I did a presentation on our PD Day on May 10.  We presented haiku deck to the staff and it went really well.  The staff were engaged as they were able to make their own by creating 3 slides and could really see the benefit of using this app in the classroom.  We also presented the value of twitter.  We watched a video and had each person send a tweet on what they thought of our video to our new SPC hashtag (#spc70) which is newly created by Bob.  Even staff that are tech savy and enjoy twitter enjoyed this.  It went very well and it was great to show staff who were not familiar with this technology how it can be valued and how it does not take a great deal of time to do so.  Bob showed me how to use storify (another aha moment, would be great for presentations) and here is the storify of what our staff did while watching the video.

I will continue to explore the twitter world and hope to learn even more.

@AmandaButler9

 

 

 

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.

Google Apps and Remind 101

In our classroom, we have started relying on Google Apps significantly. We have our own class site where we post assignments, a calendar with important dates and other information. Our students rely on this for when they are at home sick or if they forget their work at school. We have found that this significantly decreases our work load because the students are catching up on missed work on their own.

Another service that we use daily is Remind 101. I know that this one has been discussed by others, but I felt it was important to mention because I find it so helpful. Every day we schedule a reminder to be sent to the students and parents’ phones/emails. It is neat to go out in the hallways at 3:12 and see the students standing at their lockers checking their phones to read the Remind 101 text so they know what to bring home for homework!

NoteMaster Lite

This is an app I saw on tv that has actually turned out to be quite useful!  NoteMaster Lite (the free version) is a word processing type app that syncs with Google Docs.  I’ve found that when I’m wanting to create a document on my iPad or my iPhone, its can be difficult to use Google.  Although you can’t share your NoteMaster Lite document with others until you sync it with Google Docs, it is more user friendly for creating the document.  I’ve shared with app with some of my students and they’ve told me that they like it for taking notes in class and creating documents that they want to keep but don’t necessarily have to share with others.

Requiem for Blockbuster

I’ve got to admit, I’ve been feeling my age this past school year. Fashion is doing weird things. Skinny pants? What happened to baggy pants? My grade 10 class didn’t know what a “vin-el” record was (had to show them a photo off Google). And I can’t rent movies from Blockbuster anymore. What?

My kids tell me it’s because everyone has Netflix now. Or they stream there movies off the internet through iTunes or cable “On Demand” services. But I miss the movie store. My wife and I would go to the movie store on a Friday night (years ago, before my son was born), walk the isles for 45 minutes, fail to agree on a movie and walk out empty handed. Those were good times.

I do remember one night we actually agreed on a movie, Pirates of the Caribbean 3 or something (whoa, now I really feel old), and on the drive home my wife, who is also a teacher, started reading the late policy on the back of the reciept. It went something like this:

1. Your movie is due back to the store in two days at 12:30 AM. Don’t even worry about bringing it into the store, you can just drop it in the slot here on the outside wall and we’ll get it.

2. If you don’t hand your movie in in time, that’s okay. We’ll give you a five-day grace period. Just bring the movie back, please.

3. If after five days we still haven’t seen the movie, we’ll give you a phone call home. Just a friendly reminder. Then we’ll apply a small fee every day to your credit card. That will get you to bring in the movie.

4. By this time, we’ve charged you more than the movie is worth. So you can just keep the movie, and we’ll call it even. No different really than if you bought the movie yourself. Even Steven.

5. Unless you bring in back now, in which case we’ll give you all your money back and start fresh from the beginning again. But by now, you probably have three or even four movies rented.

The policy sounded eerily familiar to something I had going with my kids. But, after the initial cold shiver reminiscent of the ghost of VHS and BetaMax passing through my body, I decided it was a good policy. After all, I accepted late work partly because in the “real world”, there were hardly ever hard and fast deadlines! You could be late with things and still get by. Finally, technology, you caught up with education! It’s about darn time.

I went home and watched Pirates of the Caribbean 3. It was a little hard to follow.

Fast forward a few years later, Blockbuster’s late policy seems to be working ok. From the looks of the store in my neighbourhood, people rented quite a few DVD’s then never bothered returning them. Then they rented the letters above the doors too. That seemed kind of weird. I’m hoping they’ll start to bring the DVD’s back, because I don’t have Netflix yet, and I hear there’s a Pirates of the Caribbean 4 now. With any luck, the film should tie up a lot of loose ends floating about.