Curriculum as Becoming – A Tale from the Zoo

For my ECS 210 class we were to make a digital story using any program reflecting on our learnings from the semester. I created a children’s book using ZooBurst! I highly recommend it for any classroom as it is very user friendly. I uploaded my story onto youtube – Here it is! I used the trainers as teachers and the animals at the zoo as the learners to reflect back on my learnings. Hope you enjoy, comment below to let me know what you think or any suggestions you may have for me in the future! I have learned so much throughout this semester from how to use technology, to the fine details of curriculum to a multitude of lesson plans and classroom ideas for topics that are not necessarily easy to teach. I am so honoured to be able to take my learnings into my future years of teaching.

Thanks Everyone 🙂 (Here is the link incase you couldn’t locate it with my above attachment)


Professional Learning Network: An Online and Offline Journey

I cannot believe the semester has come to an end and I am sitting here reflecting on what I have learned. As I look through my notes, emails, twitter and blog I am shocked at all the knowledge I have gained in these few short months. At the beginning of the semester when I learned that a lot of our learnings  would be technology based, my stomach did a little flip inside. I am not a technology literate person, it took me over a week to find my documents on my macbook. I was a very to the book kind of girl, and thought that a pen and paper, some hands-on activities, and community circles would do the trick for a successful classroom. I was soon proven wrong, as I saw how technology can be incorporated into each lesson. Technology is key to communication with educators and resources around the world and I wanted apart of that. I realized the importance of modelling 21st century teaching to our students, which meant a lot more technology and opportunities for everyone.

To begin with my professional learning network, I created a blog and a twitter account. This was a big step for me as I never thought I would be able to share my opinions and ask questions over the internet for everyone to see. This was a big stepping stone and I am thrilled that I took it. I definitely grew as a professional, but I want to share something with you where I grew personally. I had written in my autobiography that an aspiration of mine was to travel the world, but the fear of flying was holding me down (literally). I received an email one day saying I had a comment on my page. As I read it, I saw that there was a little inspirational blurb and video from Julie stating that if travelling was a dream of mine, I should definitely go for it. I highly recommend watching this and incorporating it into your class to inspire your students. I wanted to say thank-you to Julie for giving me the push of courage I needed. I have officially booked a trip to take in the fall! I think that sharing ideas for the classroom, sharing teaching strategies and resources is an excellent thing, but sharing information to improve your personal growth is something to celebrate as well.

Twitter was something that was new for me as I never realized how quickly a question or comment could circulate and where your post could end up! My favourite thing about twitter was that if you saw an idea, a quote, or some resources, you could retweet or favourite them so they were there for future reference. There was no need to write it down in a note book or memorize it until it was the only thing you were reciting, all you have to do was go visit your ‘favourites‘ page and all of the tweets would be right there. I found my followers were so quick to respond to any question I had, or comment and favourite those that they wanted to use in the future. It brings a good feeling to a future educator as you know that your words are important to others. Just as I felt that what I said was important and useful, I found other people’s tweets to be to. Sometimes a person wonders about something but figures that everyone knows the answer so doesn’t ask. Kaylene rose a question that I had been wondering for awhile and got the answer we’d been looking for. I could see all the comments and could favourite the tweet so I had it to refer back to. Below is a picture of the conversation:

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 7.01.22 PM

With school projects varying in the styles in which they are submitted, I had a tough time knowing how to create my digital story. I simply used the 140 characters twitter allows me to ask my fellow future educators. I got responses quite quickly that helped me begin to create my project. Below are some of the responses I received via twitter:

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 4.44.53 PM

I think twitter is a wonderful resource. It has allowed me to follow and communicate people who can provide me information, assistance, and resources to help me make my career the best it can be. Some of the people I would recommend for my fellow educators or those who just want some insight on some professional opinions I suggest Amy Lawson, Grant Urban, Claire Kreuger, Julie Machnaik, and Katia Hildebrandt. They have provided me with answers and new perspectives that I can take into my teaching for the rest of my years. I am truly honoured to be able to use the adivce of these inspiring people as I find everything they say can be a learning experience for all.

The Inquiry Projects were a big topic this year in our ECS 210 class. The amount of time and effort everyone put into these projects was phenomenal. The amount of resources and information that I took from these gets me excited to apply them to my classroom. A major theme throughout all these projects was the incorporation of Treaty Education. This is a topic that is not being applied into our schools enough, and the upcoming education graduates will change that for the better. There was clear evidence that the outcomes and indicators for Treaty Education was referred to throughout. Before beginning the project, I was very nervous to even think I could Treaty Ed. I thought that I didn’t know enough about the topic and it was not my heritage, so what gave me the right to think I could teach my students this? Well Claire Kreuger changed my perspective on this. She proved to me the importance of teaching Treaty Education, how to incorporate it into my class, and if I did not know, use my resources. It is okay not to know, but it is not okay to avoid the topic because I don’t know.

These Inquiry Projects provided me with another resource that I am beginning to use, Pinterest! It allows you view an abundance of ideas on whatever topic you want and provides you with another set of resources. For my Inquiry Project, my group did Inclusive Education. We developed a Pinterest board with lesson plans, activities, and information about Inclusive Education. We have a number of followers and people are pinning to and from it everyday. I am honoured to have got to work with the group that I did as everyone brought a different perspective to the table and different resources from their own twitter and blogs. It was nice to have my own blog where people commented their posts and ideas. When beginning the Inquiry Project I didn’t know where to begin in regards to the topic of Inclusive Education, I posted the question to my blog and these were the responses I got.

I am still new to the idea of technology and I am working towards becoming more familiar and successful with it. I replied to some tweets, favourites others, read some blog posts, and would occasionally share my thoughts. Looking at some people’s experiences through technology, it encourages me to work harder at it. I used this semester to learn how to navigate through the sites, build on the people I follow, becoming comfortable with sharing my opinions with the world, and finding resources to help my education. I plan to continue to use this technology to build on my learning and become more involved with helping others build on theirs. I found that I read a number of tweets and blog posts and if I had something to share, I would send the person a text or talk with them in class. Reflecting back on it now I am wondering why I did that. If there was one person with a question, chances are there is someone else wondering the same thing. I could have commented so everyone could see my answer to the blog post or tweet and use what they want from it. It could have sparked new conversation, or led to different resources. I now see how when everyone contributes the success is much greater. I cannot wait to dive into the social media and technology more as I can see the benefits it has for us future educators.

Knowledge is power. When our society puts our individual knowledge together the outcome is infinite. From being in ECS 210 and building my Professional Learning Network, I can see how technology is really benefiting education today. I am thrilled that I got my feet wet in using technology this semester and I cannot wait to jump right in for my future years. I am thankful for the people I have met, and those who have guided me along during my journey to become a teacher. I know that my Professional Learning Network is only going to grow and I am excited to see it happen.

Hidden Messages in Yourself

Who are you? What is your ‘place’?… When someone asks you these questions, what are the first things that come to mind? Your name, favourite sports, and some characteristics you possess? There is so much more to YOU than that.

Looking back on it now, there are so many things about myself that I did not include in my autobiography. Thinking about it now, I guess I just assumed by what I wrote my gender, race, and sexuality would be known. I did not realize how these variables affect who I am today. I wrote about my life experiences, values, and beliefs all assuming that these determine who I am, not realizing that my race, gender, and sexuality are the foundations to where my journey started.

In my autobiography I included my name and automatically assumed that the name Montana would specify that I am female. Why would I assume that? There is nothing about a name that specifically tells someone your gender. I am a white female and I did not see the need to include what race I am. I did not look at this aspect of myself as something that would define me. I still do not let it define me, it is apart of who I am, but it has had an affect on how I grew up. No one wants to admit that race plays apart of who you are, but in today’s society you would be lying if you said it didn’t. I have had many privileges in my life growing up as an middle class white female. I am thankful for all that I have and all that is yet to come. I think this is an important aspect to include when you are telling people who you are, or writing an autobiography on yourself.

In my autobiography I had mentioned that I had a boyfriend, but did not come right out and state what my sexuality is. I did not look at my sexuality as something that would define me, but in our society it sometimes determines how some people look at us. No one should be ashamed of their sexuality and I am happy to see our world becoming more accepting of this.

These are all factors that many people would not think or want to include when asked the question ‘who are you’ or what is you ‘place’. I do not believe that any of these define who you are but they are apart of you and no one should be ashamed of it.

Inclusive Education

For my ECS 210 class we are to do an inquiry project in groups. My group is focusing on inclusive education. We are questioning what inclusive education really is and how to foster it in a classroom. If you look up the definition, it is said that : “Inclusion in education is an approach to educating students with special educational needs. Under the inclusion model, students with special needs spend most or all of their time with non-disabled students.” Inclusive education is definitely about meeting the needs of special education and including it in the classroom, but when I think of inclusive education I believe that it goes beyond that. I think it is about including all children, no matter their race, culture, or ethnicity. I think it is including different culture’s traditions in everyday lessons. It is creating a classroom that all children feel included and no one is discriminated. It is integrating special education into the mainstream classrooms. It is about making everyone feel included and ensuring you as a person are including everyone.

When you think of inclusive education, what do you see in a classroom? Looking for some resources or ideas that relate to this topic!

Thanks in advance 🙂

Times Are Changing and So Are We

All this talk of technology in classrooms, anti-oppressive teaching, and teaching for social justice is really starting to excite me. I find that I am being given so much information and readings that I am starting to become prepared for what my life as an educator will look like. There is still a long road ahead of me which excites me, but also makes me nervous. When I was in elementary school it was a lot of handouts and workbooks with two hours of scheduled free time on the computers. It is crazy how much technology is being incorporated into classrooms now. It is exciting to see as it is providing the students to get out and communicate with the world without actually putting them on a plane and shipping them off. It allows the students to collaborate with one another and works at a team from different locations around the world. This is great as it opens their minds to new things and let’s them take on new experiences that they find interesting. This can help teach for social justice as it teaches the students to learn new things from different cultures and meet new people. They can communicate with others that are not in their classrooms and make connections to these other students. It helps create a sense of equality as they realize that all children from all cultures want to learn and be included just like they do.

What we have been told in past presentations and readings is that the best way to teach safe technology use, is to actually have the students use it. It can be scary for a teacher to open your children up to the world but in the end it will benefit them. As a future educator I am concerned for this change from textbooks to technology, as it soon could overtake teaching all together. There needs to be a balance between personal interactions, in class communication and computers and ipads. I think that this change is going to be great but I don’t want to loose the meaning of teaching. I want form a close relationship with my students and create a safe environment for them to come to everyday. I want them to learn to interact with others in person and have day to day experiences away from technology. I think that a balance between this is what every classroom needs. I just fear for the day that I greet my students over my computer screen from MY own home rather then at the doorway of OUR classroom.

Visual Representation for Equality in Classrooms

This is a visual representation that I did for one of my education classes. We were to look at a piece of art and represent it in another form of art. I picked to show mine in a cake, as baking is my favourite thing to do! The cake is in three layers with three different flavours and colours. This represents the different races and cultures. To me, if we ate this cake all together, the flavours would blend and be delicious. This is the same as our world, with the many different races and cultures, we all blend together and make one ‘delicious’ planet earth! Around the cake are children of different ethnicities from around the world, all holding hands and joining forces to represent equality amongst everyone.

This visual would have also worked for my ECS 210 class as we had to read stories and make connections to them. I would say that this goes well with the story “The Brown Kids Can’t Be in Our Club”.

To me, this could be used in a classrooms in many different ways. I would love to incorporate this into a lesson when on the topic of racism and diversity!