That’s a WRAP!

Holy COW! This semester has seriously FLOWN by. I can’t believe I am headed to my LAST¬†class EVER today!

How did I contribute to our class and the learning of others? Let me tell ya! ūüôā¬†

Before my ECMP355 class, building my PLN seemed like something that was so far away and so hard to do. It was awesome to have the opportunity to start it during a class with the guidance of experts. Although I feel like I have a good start on my PLN, I also know that it is something that I will be working on forever.

I used 2 main platforms to expand my PLN: twitter and my blog. In addition, I have also created a document to showcase some of my growth throughout this course.

MY TWITTER JOURNEY:

At the beginning, I was quite hesitant to use twitter. I had created an account previously, but never used it.. which led to me eventually forgetting my password and then maxing out my login attempt. I decided to just make a new account, and made it as @MissTStork which is strictly for Educational purposes.

I found myself just simply retweeting education articles and my peers tweets. But, I eventually got the hang of it and soon began to quote tweets, create my own and link my blog into them. I quickly expanded my followers to other professionals such as school administrators and classroom teachers. It showed me how easy it is to collaborate online and 1, 000, 000 minds are better than just my own! I also had the opportunity to partake in a few different Twitter chats – something I honestly had no clue about until I was in the middle of one!

Twitter became something that I started using for my personal use as well. I didn’t stray too far from Educational blogs since my name implies that I am a teacher, but I used it to help me enrich my PLP experience.

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twitter tweetbacks

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MY BLOGGING JOURNEY

Oh, blogging. How my feelings have grown for you.

I first created my blog during my pre-internship and used it as a tool to reflect on. I really didn’t enjoy it at the beginning. I think mostly because I was felt into it without much instruction. We used our blogs again last year and had the chance to really get walked through them – HOW HELPFUL!! I started to enjoy it more, but didn’t do a whole lot of it.

This year I have really come to enjoy blogging. I will admit, I don’t love having to blog about certain prompts, but I really enjoy it when it comes to my personal interests. I have truly seen the benefits of blogging and understand more how beneficial it come be when it comes to collaborating, building your PLN and connecting with others.

Many of my classmates generously commented on my posts throughout the semester. I really appreciated this because having conversations and hearing peoples opinions really helps me to learn.

my blog comments

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I even had the New Fairfield principal comment on one of my blog posts! That’s the power of tweeting your blogs! ūüôā

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I had the privilege of reading and interacting with my peers on their blogs as well. Although we had the same prompts, it’s always interesting to see which direction people take with their posts. I learned so much and appreciated reading through everyones posts.

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Others blogs1

Others blogs2

In the end, I found this course to really help me expand my mind when it comes to collaborating and building my PLN. I feel so grateful to have such amazing peers that helped me through this class. Thank you to everyone who has played a role in building my PLN!

Good luck to everyone in your future endeavours! I wish you all the best in your teaching careers and hope to run into you sometime to catch up!

 

 

 

 

Let’s Educate…

 

Over the last week, many of my classmates have been targeted by an online troll. I have just sat back and watched, and hesitated to make my own blog post about the topic required because I didn’t want to become victim as well.

This blog post isn’t to address the troll, or to talk about the things I “wish I could say to him”, but rather just talk about the importance of a few things.

First, we (and by we I also mean the Ministry of Education) need to seriously consider the way that we are educating our children about Digital Citizenship and creating their online identity. Yes, I get it, kids are starting to use technology at a younger age – so why the HECK aren’t we starting to teach them about DC at a younger age?

We need to show students/kids the dangers that can come with being irresponsible online. I don’t know what exactly it is going to take – but if it has to be harsh, then it has to be harsh.¬†I also think we need to teach kids young to create positive online profiles. Let’s show kids how to “properly” use things like Twitter, Facebook, Google Drive, Snapchat, Edmodo – EVERYTHING! I feel a little confused as to why this isn’t already part of the curriculum, honestly.

Secondly, we need to take a step back and remember how we SHOULD treat people. It is so easy to get caught up with heated arguments Рespecially when we are hiding behind our screens. Far too many people, adults included, have no problem throwing out harsh language and rude comments that they would never say to someones face.

It is really sad to me that so many adults give kids heck for bullying or being mean to other students, but essentially do the same things online.

I am not sure if this makes all that much sense – but like I said, after the events that took place this past week I just had to kind of “rant”.

Thanks for listening!

 

I have an ADDICTION!

Ok – it’s true… I think I am officially ADDICTED to Yoga!

But, before I go on, I do need to be honest. Blogging is hard for me.¬†I LOVE working out and Yoga has become part of that routine.¬†I just have a hard time “talking” about it afterwards.. especially when I am just actually typing about it on here.

This past weekend has been FULL of family time, good meals, and a few too many chocolate treats :). I continued to workout through it all, but today I woke up feeling pretty gross. I really didn’t want to do anything, but I made myself do a quick Yoga workout¬†and I am SO glad that I did!

I read this article the other day about the numerous benefits Yoga has. It talks a lot about how Yoga increases endurance and flexibility, builds strength and helps create muscle definition. I have definitely noticed myself getting stronger. There are a few poses that I¬†really struggled with at the beginning. They require you to hold your body weight in a rather awkward position for quite a while which is hard to do if you don’t have much shoulder strength!

The article also talked about how Yoga has such a positive impact on our overall health. It stated that it teaches us how “…to be still in a world consumed with chaos”. I read that and it hit me like a wall. It is so true. We constantly just go, go, go. Whether we are running our kids to their events, we are constantly doing homework, or we are busy with work. It is so rare for us to take time for ourselves anymore (which is quite sad).

I have found Yoga to be the “me time” where I just can clear my mind and not think for a while. It is amazing how hard it is to actually shut your mind off. I know I have tried to do this before, but always seemed to fail.

I am so glad that I have found something that truly allows me to release the tension and negativity out of my body.

 

From Toddler to…. Teenager?

I just finishing watching the documentary Sext Up Kids and I am literally in SHOCK.

This documentary discusses the idea that our society has become so sexualized and the fact that children are growing up WAY TOO FAST! Young girls are growing up believing that they need to offer sex in order to get boys attention Рand this theory is starting at a younger and younger age. One of the (many) reasons that they believe this is becoming such an issue is because of the sexualized content that young kids are being exposed to. They use the example of girls playing with barbie dolls that are wearing short mini skirts, tons of makeup and have unrealistic (and disproportionate) bodies.

At first I had a hard time agreeing with the documentary when they said that Barbie dolls are, in a sense, brainwashing young girls. I kept thinking “well all of my friends played with Barbie’s and we didn’t grow up sending naked pictures or sexting”. BUT – I now realize that barbie’s are only a SMALL part of the problem!

You literally walk through stores and pass magazine covers with half naked women. You can turn on the TV and see explicit sex scenes. You go on the internet and can access porn at the click of a mouse. It is literally EVERYWHERE. I simply typed in “explicit music videos” and this website was the first one that popped up. Finding videos of half-naked women wearing the least amount of clothes (if any) is WAY TOO easy to access!

 

Don’t get me wrong, I never went around looking for this stuff on the internet when I was young, but I feel like it wasn’t THAT easy to access. Obviously it was there – maybe I am just being naive? I don’t know. But either way, it’s a scary world out there.

One thing I want to touch on is the whole “Barbie Doll” playing a large role in all of the “body image” problems young girls are starting to acquire.

One of the things that freaked me out the most about this film is when they talked about how young girls are being exposed to such sexual content and trying to copy it at such a young age – I am talking like 8,9,10 years old. They were showing toddlers playing with Barbie dolls, which made me remember that I had once hear that Barbies would soon be changing. I couldn’t remember the exact details, so I decided to look them up and came across this article. Essentially, Barbies are being made to be more “realistic”. Mattel has created “project Dawn”. They are on a mission to make Barbies more diverse, multi-cultural, and have¬†more “realistic” body shapes. Since this, these dolls are now offered in petite, curvy and tall body types, many different skin colours, different hair textures and different styles of make up. The company is stating that they are making these changes for many reasons, one of them being that¬†“…she’s a bad role model for girls and has an unrealistic body image.”

Watch this video to see the transformation of Barbie over the years and the reasoning behind why they are changing the product.

I think that this is a great step in the right direction to help show young girls that not only does your body not define you, but you are not defined by your body shape. Skinny is not the only body type and it definitely isn’t the “only” way that women should look. But, I think that we, as a society, have a ton of work to do if we want to reverse this idiotic “trend”.

What do you guys think? What other steps can we take in order

 

How on EARTH…

This week we were able to blog about ANYTHING we wanted. Normally this would stress me out and I would have to ponder for days. But, I read this blog post my colleague wrote the other day about¬†how trying to find resources online can be OVERWHELMING. It was something that I related to INSTANTLY, because I seriously feel like I spent most of my time in internship sifting through websites trying to find “the perfect tool”. Well, for the first couple months – but by the end, I resorted to what I knew and the resources my co-op passed on to me!

SO – my topic is How on EARTH are we supposed to find resources when there ARE SO MANY?!

It’s funny because the same day that I read the above blog post, my fiancee (who is also a teacher) joined Pinterest in hopes to find some new Phys. Ed games. (He has¬†been forced to see a lot of Pinterest lately with our wedding planning, so I am surprised he gave in to getting an account haha! :D) Within a couple of minutes of looking on Pinterest he slammed his laptop shut saying that there is WAY too much stuff. As a 25 year old, he was literally overstimulated.

During my internship I found a website called EdSurge¬†that helped me tremendously (my colleague also linked this website to her post, so it must be good!!!). It has categorized resources by grade level, subject and things such as curriculum, etc. It also has this area that has information and resources for “teacher needs” – so planning, assessment, collaborating, etc. which were REALLY helpful as a new teacher!

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Technology is GREAT. I think that our world would be lost without it, so it is important that we are teaching our students how to use it properly and respectfully. I also think that it is important to use technology while teaching. BUT, I also think that it is important to use your time wisely (haha), and for me, I felt like I was just doing too much “browsing”. SO, as much as I love technology – I think I¬†will need to be very mindful of my time!

#MyClassChat

OK – TO BE HONEST, I don’t personally enjoy Twitter for my personal use – maybe I haven’t given it a fair shot, maybe I am not using it properly, I am not quite sure. BUT I do think there are EXTREMELY beneficial ways that we can be using it in the classrooms.
We all know that (for the most part) students are growing up using technology on a regular basis. I am not totally sure if it is safe to say that “most kids have twitter”, but I do know that they would be willing to try it.

#MyClassChat on Twitter is a way that students/classrooms are able to connect with¬†others all across Canada. From my understanding, one classroom “hosts” and poses questions, while the others tweet back answering the posed questions. A single hashtag is used to link the conversations together, which makes it really easy to search!
Here is an example:

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Although I haven’t done this with my own class (during internship), I LOVE this idea! I do have to say that when I try it (in a MY class), I will do it as a classroom like shown above – I wouldn’t have students tweeting from their own accounts.

I have, however, taken part in a an #STARSchat – which essentially is doing the same thing (just take out the classroom part). We had one a couple weeks ago while #BellLetsTalk was on and discussed Mental Health. The questions asked were very effective and definitely made everyone think deeply about the issue. It was INCREDIBLE seeing HOW MANY people participated!

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I truly think that these CHATS are an amazing way to incorporate social activism in classrooms! I think that in the future I will get in contact with my fellow colleagues and friends who have their own classrooms and host some!

Does anyone have experience with their own #MyClassChats?

 

 

Reconciliation – Will it ever end?

On February 24th, Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair performed a sold out presentation. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to be there for it, but thanks to technology I streamed it live from home!

First, I want to state how phenomenal this presentation was – I can definitely understand why the auditorium was so packed! My attention was grabbed right off the start and I truly felt like I was sitting in the crowd.

To start the presentation, Sinclair asked for all residential school survivors to stand. When he did this, I felt the palm of my hands start to sweat and my heart started beating fast. His tribute and recognition to them was moving, and definitely set the stage for his presentation.

He discussed topics such as residential schools, segregation, assimilation and the NEED for reconciliation. It’s funny, we have talked about all of these issues TONS throughout the four years of my degree, yet it is something I still feel very uneducated about. Perhaps because I have no ground to stand on…. I wasn’t involved in it directly so I have a hard time picturing how horrible life in residential schools actually was, or what the¬†relationships between white people and First Nations peoples looked like. Either way, these topics (although spoken about often) always make me feel uneasy and unsettled.

During the presentation, Joseph Nayowhow tweeted this out:
*If you don’t follow him on Twitter already, you need to!

Joseph

How amazing is this message? It warms my heart and makes me so hopeful knowing that someone who has gone through so much (residential schools, especially) has been able to not only forgive, but focus his energy to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.

As a future educator, I find it so important to continue to educate myself on these issues and topics. It is unknown how much of a change I will make, but not trying is worse than failing.