Final Project Update

Well… Technology has succeeded in frustrating me again.

I downloaded all of the clips that we filmed onto my PC and tried to transfer them onto a Mac and couldn’t. The Mac would not recognize the .MOD files that my clips were in. ENTER PANIC MODE!

I texted my film editing buddy out in Vancouver to ask if he knew of a way I could change the file and he couldn’t. ENTER DOUBLE PANIC MODE!

I tried to google a solution but all the responses that came up were posted in what seemed like a foreign language (…

So I emailed my professor. He suggested at the beginning of the semester that we only use him as a last resort — he wanted to teach us independence in the technological world — but I was beginning to feel desperate.

Fortunately, he has a Twitter account. He was able to tweet out a request for help and received a lot of helpful responses, which he forwarded to me.

The irony? The thing that frustrated me the most also provided a solution to my problem… Ahh, technology.

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Tech Task #9

For our 9th tech task we were asked to create two six-word stories based on: a current idea you’ve been exploring, a world event, something you’re reading, a curriculum concept, a photo of your own.

This semester I am taking three classes that have made me reconsider some beliefs that I have held about marginalized students. I have been pushed to think outside of the box and have realized that it is very hard to categorize and make assumptions about different “groups” of students (ie: EAL Learners, students with disabilities, FN students, etc…). This semester has reinforced the idea that every student is an individual and using predetermined assumptions when dealing with students can be detrimental to their learning. I created the following image based on this idea:

My second 6-word story is quite a bit more light-hearted. We are 3.5 weeks away from finishing classes at the University and a lot of my friends are starting to feel extremely stressed about the amount of assignments we have left to complete. My cat (featured in this picture) knows how to appreciate the simplest things in his life–his favourite toy is the plastic ring that comes off of plastic milk jugs when you first open it!

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What Makes “The Best” Teacher?

I want to direct your attention to this article if you:

a) Can’t understand how your physics professor who holds a B.Sc, M.Sc, and a PhD in the subject area can’t explain anything coherently

b) Are intimidated (or completely horrified) by the thought of teaching one (or more) of the subjects required in the Saskatchewan Curriculum because you struggled with it your whole life… and still continue to do so!

Why Experts Are Not The Best Teachers

A short, humorous, logical read. I encourage you all to check it out 🙂

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Ranch Ehrlo

I am currently in ERDG 425 – Diagnosis and Remediation of Reading Difficulties and we have been working one on one with students at the Ranch Ehrlo Transition school. Prior to taking this course I had no idea that a school like this even existed. I was shocked that as a soon to be graduate from the University of Regina’s Education program I was unaware of the educational opportunities within and surrounding our city that work outside of the mainstream model.

I think that as future educators we need to start thinking outside the box, and familiarizing ourselves with educational situations that do not fit the K – 12 model is just one place to start.

If you are not familiar with Ranch Ehrlo, I highly recommend that you look it up–along with any other educational facilities that Regina has to offer!

Just last week a reporter from the Leader Post came and interviewed some of the ERDG 425 students about the program. Have a look at the article!

Students learning to teach.

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Final Project Update

Well, the semester is quickly coming to an end so it is time to start working overtime on our project! We are going to an elementary classroom on Monday to film the three different strategies being taught. After that we will spend a lot of time editing the videos using Final Cut Express and will publish them to our website. However, until the website looks a little bit more polished, we won’t be making it public.

We are very excited to get the ball rolling on this project. We realize that it will be a lot of work, but teaching is something that all three of us are passionate about, so if we can use our recently acquired technological skills to help other teachers, GREAT!

I’m trying to decide between two texts to use for my strategy – DRTA. One text is called Yaba Gaba retold by Joy Cowley, or The New Pet by Lalie Narcourt and Ricki Wortzman. I like the length of The New Pet, but Yaba Gaba provides  more predictive points throughout the text… For now I am going to prepare both texts, just in case!

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Online Anonymity

I recently deleted my FaceBook account, and not because I am afraid of what my future employers may find, or because I spent too much time on it, or because they change the template so often that I can’t keep up. I deleted FaceBook because of what it allows people to do. It gives people anonymity that allows them to think/say/do anything they wish, regardless of the repercussions because there are no repercussions on FaceBook! Basically what I am trying to say is that FaceBook (and many other social networking sites, I’m sure) is turning people into cowards.

Example #1: Best Friend of 18 years backs out of my wedding party one week prior to the wedding, and lets me know through FaceBook.

Example #2: FaceBook friend who I haven’t seen or spoken to in over a year finds out that I “unfriended” her two months after the fact and proceeds to direct her FaceBook status towards me. Let’s just say I can’t include what she wrote because this is supposed to be a professional space.

I don’t want this post to become a rant that turns me into a victim. Rather, I want to address the issue of anonymity that these social networking sites provide. Neither of these women would have acted the same way if we had been face to face when these issues arose. Perhaps my friend of 18 years would still have backed out of the wedding, but at least in a face to face conversation there is a mutual respect between both parties. What are the consequences of substituting real life with social networking sites? How has it become socially acceptable to deal with real life matters in a virtual world?

How can we, as educators, teach our students to use these social networking sites in a way that does not replace the need for face to face interaction? How can we encourage our students to deal with real life problems in real life rather than online? How can we show our students that tweeting about somebody behind their back is both cowardly and unproductive? Perhaps one way to do this is to demonstrate it–students learn by example. Maybe having a FaceBook account isn’t such a bad idea, as long as you use it properly, so that your students can see the positive benefits of social networking sites…

However, I am still angry, so I will not be “reactivating” my FaceBook account anytime soon.

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EAL/ESL Programs

For one of my courses this semester I am required to go to a local High School and work with some of their EAL/ESL learners for one hour a week. I really appreciate this opportunity because I have no experience working with students who are learning English as an additional language. The High School that I am at has a large EAL/ESL student population so they have developed an EAL/ESL program at their school. This program not only teaches the students English, but it provides additional supports for those who have been put into mainstream classes. When the students first come to Canada all of their classes are EAL classes. Then, as their English and educational skills develop, they are introduced to mainstream classes one by one. Once these students are fully integrated into the mainstream classes, they are given an extra “tutorial” class so that they can have one-on-one support from a teacher on any homework that they may have.

I asked the teacher whose classroom I am working in what happens with those students who come to Canada during their teenage years. I was curious about whether or not they were able to “catch up” and graduate alongside their peers. I was very sad to hear that most of the EAL/ESL students who arrive at this school in their teenage years–especially those with no educational experience–will not graduate. She said that they can remain in the public school system until they are 20 years of age, but after that they are on their own. She said that there is an adult campus for students to go to school, but the only classes offered there are grade 12 classes, so if a student does not have enough credits from being in the public system they cannot attend the adult campus. I was shocked to find out that whether or not the students were ready or prepared to enter the world, they are forced out of the educational system and left to fend for themselves…

I guess what I am wondering is if there are any other programs out there to help these students become successful. Leaving school at the age of 20 with a vague understanding of the English language and a education equivalent to grade 6 does not create a very promising future. Are there programs in place to help these students, or is this as good as it gets? What could an educator do to help ensure the success of his/her EAL/ESL students? What should an educator do to help ensure their success?

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