EC&I 834 – Summary of Learning

I want to start off by saying “You’re welcome!”… WHY? Because, I didn’t create a music video for my Summary of Learning. You would all be crying, your ears would be bleeding you would never be able to look at me again if I sang in my video. Haha. But, in all seriousness, seeing some of the incredible things that you have created blows my mind! I love seeing how unique everyone is in their approaches.

You will also see on my Youtube page, the extent of my “Blended Learning” projects up to the beginning of our course. I can tell you all that my basic Youtube videos will have a major upgrade following our course.

 

I had lots of fun working with PowToon. I didn’t have as much fun with my laptop which kept overheating, the horrible laptop mic and my terrible internet connection. But, here it is!! I hope you all enjoy.

Here is a link to the PowToon that I created for my Summary of Learning:

Okay, really LA FIN this time!

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WE PRESENT TO YOU… EXPLORING SASKATCHEWAN THROUGH ART!

Exploring Saskatchewan Through Art Moldules can be found at: https://exploringskart.wordpress.com/

Course Profile:     https://exploringskart.wordpress.com/course-profile/

Rationale:       https://exploringskart.wordpress.com/rationale/

My Module:     https://exploringskart.wordpress.com/category/module-1/

Parent FAQ:    https://exploringskart.wordpress.com/category/module-1/

The three teacher contributors were AngelaEllen and myself.

 

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The Final Post

Looking back at my second post “Dreaming and Designing”, I can happily say I am finally less overwhelmed.  The creation process of our prototype definitely brought everything together and kind of made sense of everything. Hooray! I finally understand it. At least, I think I do. Creating the prototype allowed me to explore so many different websites and programs and it finally brought all the lessons we had, together.

I want to start off by saying how blown away I am by the other modules I had the pleasure of reviewing. The effort that was put into each of them were evident! It’s great to get to see how unique each prototype is. It was so cool how different the prototypes were. GREAT job everyone! Time to celebrate your success in the completion of your prototype!

We had such wonderful feedback from our classmates. Thank you to everyone for your kind words. We are happy that our classmates were able to enjoy our prototype and see the amount of effort that was put into it. 

We had a group meeting to discuss the feedback we received and here is what we came up with: 

Some of our feedback mentioned that it was a little hard to find our information. While WordPress is a clean and organized tool, our drop down menus were confusing to some, which means they could be confusing to parents and, of course, the eight-year-olds taking our course. One thing that we would change in response, is to change our drop down menus. Instead of having information on the header of our drop down menus, the header could be used as more of a title, with the content in further drop down menus off of the header. For example, the header of “course profile” could be changed so that the course profile isn’t listed underneath and instead is found on a drop down menu off of the header. We believe this would help students navigate our site.

We also decided to rewrite our rationale based on some of our feedback. We have now included more details about the reasoning behind many of our specific choices including our LMS and other instructional tools. Our new rationale is more comprehensive in explaining the choices we made in order to maximize learning opportunities for grade three students targeted with this prototype.

Another area that came up often in our feedback was that our modules contain both student content and teacher instructional notes. One area that we would change in response to this, is to have the student content and the teacher notes separated on our WordPress site. We intentionally created our modules with both, simply for the benefit of this course and we would definitely streamline them and remove the teacher talk if this were to go live to an actual grade three classroom.

Finally, we had a couple of issues with links not working. We went through and double checked our links and also decided we would embed the information in the blog instead of relying on the link. Our example is with the Fotobabble link, we would post the actual picture in the blog post and also include a sound link to avoid the external link issues.

We appreciated all of the feedback given to us and definitely saw this as an opportunity for growth. If we were to ever create another flipped or blended classroom, we think we’d have a good grasp of where to start!

I am grateful for my two wonderful partners, Ellen and Angela and for all that I learned in the process of creating our module. There will definitely be some programs that I will use in my classroom. 

Thank you everyone for your words of wisdom and support. I learned so much from everyone! 

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LA FIN

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“And they all lived happily ever after. The end”…. 

I don’t know that we will all live happily ever after but, after reading many of the posts for this week, it seems as though many are happy to be completed their modules. I am with you! Just as Jannae said, I felt many emotions throughout the process of creating my modules. I was stressed, felt inadequate and completely lost at times. However, thanks to the patience and support of my wonderful partners Angela and Ellen, I learned a great deal and made it through in one piece, just in time for report cards and conferences this week!

Things started off stressful for us as we made the difficult decision to switch our platform from Google Classroom to Word Press. We felt the same as Andres and found that Google Classroom did now allow for major edits which would make our page more visually appealing. As a visual person, I found it very difficult to see how our modules and ideas would easily be organized on such program. Having experience using Square Space to create websites, I was expecting the same amount of user friendliness (if that’s a term). I found it extremely difficult to navigate and organize Google Classroom since there were so many limitations. But, my difficulties didn’t end there.

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After deciding to use Word Press since all three of us had experience with it, I thought it would be easier to organize. It was but, I encountered some serious issues as well. I cannot count how many hours I spent trying to reorganize the order of my modules without facing other problems. My wonderful partners came to the rescue though. After hours of frustration, I would wave the white flag and ask them to come in for backup, which they did. And, I am so incredibly grateful for them. For some odd reason, I thought I knew how to manoeuvre Word Press much more than I actually did. I was imagining the ease that I had with Square Space… With the help of Ellen and Angela, I did eventually figure it out.

That was just the one side of it.  That doesn’t include the actual planning and creation of the modules. It was hard to get into but, eventually, I adopted the “Just try it” mentality that Roberta mentions in her post. I tried out some programs that I LOVED and some that I struggled with and decided I would explore at a later date. The ones I loved, I was able to include in the module which, I am excited to share. I, like Roberta, was hesitant and scared at first but, upon exploration, I found what was grade-appropriate and what worked with the ideas I had in mind.

Here we are now, at the end. I am very pleased with the work that out group has created. We all worked hard. Meeting weekly to discuss the progress of our modules along with the open communication we had of the emails and conversations we would have throughout the week to support one another. I look forward to hearing the feedback from others and also to share this module. I agree with both Katherine and Natalie and feel that as a teacher, I learned a great deal and know that I will use this knowledge in my classroom.

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Since I started with the Fairy Tale Theme, I thought I would close with a Fairy Tale Finish Line!

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Draw a circle… I will tell you how

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Similar to Kelly’s module, Ellen, Angela and I will be using Google Classroom as one of the main platforms for our module. I agree with Kelly’s perspective in seeing the ability to make the appropriate adaptations for students varied abilities. I am excited to see Kelly’s module and how it will be adapted to the group of students that is their main target.

Our module will be created for a grade 3 classroom and there are often different levels of abilities and sometimes-major gaps in abilities as well. Using Google classroom and various delivery methods on Google Classroom will allow us to differentiate our instruction according to the needs of our students. In arts education, specifically visual art education, it is extremely challenging to use language to describe what needs to be done. Rather, language and modelling of the actual process needs to be done, especially with early years students. For example, even the process of drawing something as specific as a circle could be challenging to describe to a group of 8 year-old students. Google classroom will allow us to include videos or links that will not only describe the process but also show it.

The outcomes that we’ve chosen to tackle are also linked to plants. With all circumstances in mind, it is best to provide visuals to assist our students. Perhaps some students haven’t been exposed to many plants and will require the option of seeing various plants through the use of videos or pictures.

I feel as though a blended class would be ideal in any visual arts module as it allows for various methods of instruction with the visual supports. Going back to the drawing of a circle example, imagine using a description only to try and help grade 3 students draw a circle. The addition of allowing the students to see the process would help them better understand and execute the task.

Even as an adult that is not strong in visual art, seeing and hearing someone go through all the steps of doing art is much more useful and productive than someone who just explains it. I think that’s why Paint Nites are so popular. I am no Bob Ross though, I love his enthusiasm. I can’t say that his modelling and explanation will get me anywhere near the masterpieces he’s created and this keeps me mindful of the adaptations I will have in my module creations.

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We will also be using SeeSaw which seems to be quite popular and widely used amongst the early years teachers. This will allow students to post and share their work with their friends. Through the use of both platforms, parents will be able to see their child’s work and be involved in the learning process at home. This also allows the teacher to come home with the students and be part of their learning.

Here’s to hoping that all my trees will be happy in my module!

Primary Ressources

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I had the chance to explore some content creation tools this week that I peaked my interest. What made it even better was that I finally found a resource that would be perfect to use in a primary French Immersion classroom. Up to this point, I have found it hard to see myself using the resources our course has been looking at in an early years classroom. I was so happy to find something that I plan on using in my classroom!

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Little Bird Tales is a wonderful alternative to the Youtube videos that I record and send home to the parents. This creation website allows me to make it more visually appealing for my students rather than them just seeing my finger indicating where I am in the reading. I love that you can draw or insert images to go along with your story-telling. For a person who is not so strong in drawing, the option of inserting images makes it even easier! After creating the story, it would be very easy for me to share it with my parents in the classroom by adding their emails. One of the biggest concerns with French Immersion reading homework, as I have mentioned in a previous post, is pronunciation. Parents are always worried as to whether they are pronouncing things properly. This tool allows me to ensure that students are still hearing my voice and the proper pronunciation. Parents will also get to hear it. Text and images are  included in the content which adds to guiding the student in their reading skills.

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The image above is still true to this day. I can do a mean “S”. But, that’s about it. 

Not only could I use it for homework, I would love to use Little Bird Tales with my students. They could create a story and share it with the class. So, not only can I use the creating website for reading skills but, also for writing skills! I would recommend this tool to any primary teachers as it may be too “baby” for the middle years students.

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I explored Animoto next. I was curious at what it was like. As I was watching the videos explaining what it was, tons of ideas rushed through my head. I could easily use it for Math, Art, Science… everything! I liked that it really does capture your attention. I could create short videos to catch the attention of my students. I would use voice over to guide them through what they’re seeing or add text to teach them vocabulary. I wouldn’t necessarily use it in my classroom for my students to create content but, I would definitely be interested in using it to create content for my students.

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Animoto is also a great way to share classroom pictures with the parents. I’ve used The homeroom App in the past to share pictures. I am unsure of how private Animoto videos would stay so privacy would be a concern here. I did try and look and was unable to find wether I could have privacy settings on my videos or not. I would assume that I can considering that I’ll be creating the content and sharing it afterwards. I am not too sure. The nice thing about the Homeroom App is that it is very secure. Parents could only access the images if I sent the link to them. The classroom page I created wasn’t ever visible to anyone else. Homeroom is a great app for primary teachers looking to share pictures with parents while ensuring the safety and privacy of the students.

 

 

I am blocking your number…

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Let’s start with the BAD first. I will admit, I was excited to give Canvas a try after having quick peek at it in our class last week. I quickly signed up for an account in order to have our group discussion, little did I know, it would result on multiple phone class from our friends at Canvas.

The first phone called happened during work hours so, naturally, I sent it straight to voicemail. It was also a long distant number and I wasn’t about to be bothered by someone trying to tell me I won a free trip somewhere, even if I really need one right now. Turns out, it was a friendly gentleman from Canvas. He was seeing how my trial was going. My inbox was also slowly filling up with notifications from Canvas which was essentially a countdown to the end of my trial period. I wasn’t so bothered by the emails since they go straight to “Promotions” in my Gmail. And honestly, the first voicemail left by their rep was really nice. But, things got ugly fast.

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The phone calls continued. The same number kept showing up and this time, I knew I wasn’t winning anything. It’s gotten to a point where I want to block their number. I don’t understand how calling a teacher or student during school hours is going to be productive. Also, if I continue to send you to voicemail and never return your call, I probably don’t want to talk to you. I want to BLOCK your number. So, at this point, I am so irritated with the constant haggling that I won’t bother with Canvas. Poor marketing can result in losing potential clients. After reading other posts, seems to me as thought I am not the only one who is being bombarded with messages from Canvas. I hope they stop soon.

Kirsten was clear-minded enough to reflect on who Canvas is even targeting when making those phone class. Kudos to you for not losing your mind over the multiple messages you’re being bombed with by Canvas. That makes one of us!

Now onto the GOOD. Like many others, I really enjoy Google Classroom. It’s just unfortunate that our division doesn’t use it. I can’t say that it would be too used to the early years education teachers, like me but, I know it would be a great resource for others. I wish that UR Courses switched to Google Classroom. I find it easy to navigate and like the various options that are offered. It’s more visually stimulating. We have all stared at UR Courses for so long that it’s gotten old. I also find it overwhelming sometimes when profs have assignments and other work posted in advance.

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I learned a lot from Jayme‘s post about Google Classroom as well. I feel like you learn more as you play around with the program and would discover more and more as you use it. I love all the different options you can add to it. Such as students submitting their work, the teacher’s ability to grade it on the website, tracking the progress of the work. One of the challenges with a blended classroom is perhaps tracking your students progress. With Google Classroom, you’re able to stay on top of it and see how your students are doing.

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Hopefully, I will be able to use Google Classroom to interact with my students in the future. As for now, as a primary teacher, I believe that it may only be used by parents.

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Dreaming and designing

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I have to be completely honest in saying that I still feel overwhelmed by #EC834 and all this new content that’s being introduced. As a newish teacher, I thought I’d be “with it”…Boy, am I wrong. There is so much to learn about Blended Learning. I know that there is a multitude of resources out there. So where do I start?

Reading through the articles that were provided to us for homework this week, I learned that I was doing some blended learning without even realizing what it was that I was doing. As a (past) Grade 1 French Immersion teacher, one of the things I heard most often was “I feel as though I cannot support my child”, “I don’t speak French”, “I don’t know if I am pronouncing the words right”, ” I am apparently rolling my “Rs” wrong”. Oh, trust me. I get it! Being first generation Canadian, I spoke neither French nor English when my parents enrolled me into French Immersion School. My poor teachers! But, here I am. So, I always assure parents that if an Allophone can do it, so can their child.

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To support parents at home, I would record weekly (unless I got too consumed by other things) reading pages. I bought a cheap $5 tripod from Wal Mart, and attached my Iphone 5 to it. The camera view would always stay on the paper as I used my finger to guide what I was reading. The idea was that parents would use it to check the pronunciation after or while reading with their child. The videos were not intended to replace parent-child contact for homework and reading time together. However, I do know that eventually, the videos brought me home with the students. Parents often told me that they would open up the video on their Ipad and their child would listen and read along. That’s essentially what I would have already done at school. But, I couldn’t complain because I was happy that they were doing homework.

Sample of the Homework Videos

Now to the project. I dream of being able to support my students at home. I know and understand the challenges both parents and students can face while doing homework at home. Especially in a second language. I hope to be able to have more of an influence at home that goes beyond a poorly recorded video that is used for something that it’s not intended to be used for.

I have requested to join Ellen and Angela in creating a blended class for a grade 3 Arts Education course. Both Ellen and Angela are early years teachers and I am confident that I will learn a great deal from that. I just recently joined their group and am looking forward to discussing further details with them.