Using the iPad to Develop Oral Communication

This week I will be introducing a new activity for Oral Communication with the grade 1's.

During guided reading group rotation, I will work with groups of students on the carpet. I will have 3 groups of students for 10-15 min each.

We will be using the app Story Wheel to create impromtu oral stories.

Each student will have a turn spinning the story wheel, revealing a picture. The student then has to record their ideas about the picture.

The next student to spin the wheel will land on another random picture. They not only have to think of something to say about the picture, but they also have to try to link their thoughts to the last person's to build a communal story.

My week at a glance is as follows:

Introduction of Activity & Creative Exploration
What Makes a Good Story?
Re-listen to student-generated stories from Mon, what would you change?
Tell stories again, use oral communication strategies that make a good story
Listen to other groups stories, re-tell in own words
Add conjunctions (program goal) to stories

This simple, fun, engaging oral communication activity targets the following Ontario Curriculum expectations:
1.4- retell
2.3- communicate ideas
2.4- appropriate words to communicate meaning
2.5- vocal effects
3.1- metacognition of strategies for speaking and listening

Possibly the most beautiful viewpoint of learning I have ever read


 "Knowledge is not secular. It is a process derived from creation, and as such it has a sacred purpose. It is inherent in and connected to all of nature, to its creatures, and to human existence. Learning is viewed as a life-long responsibility that people assume to understand the world around them and to animate their personal abilities. Knowledge teaches people how to be responsible for their own lives, develops their sense of relationship to others, and helps them model competent and respectful behaviour."

-Dr. Mary Battiste, Indigenous Knowledge and Pedagogy in First Nations Education: A Literature Review with Recommendations. p. 14  

(I think I've found the backbone to my personal philosophy of education!)

Painting With Nature- Niagara Nights of Art

Here I am at my workshop for the Wainfleet Niagara Nights of Art called Painting With Nature. This was clearly early in the day before the event was open to the public. It was a huge success! There were artists young and old taking part in the creative exploration workshop. Participants could walk up and create, using flowers, leaves, sticks, and feathers.
By the end of the day the front table was covered in paint and the back table was covered in drying works of art! It was so inspiring to see the variety of work people made. Feeling creative? I highly recommend painting with a feather. It makes an amazing paint brush!
Here is some more info about the event: Wainfleet Showing its Artistic Side, Welland Tribune

Balanced Mind, Balanced Life?

Food for thought...

Is it better to focus the majority of your energy on one subject you excel at? I would like to pose the argument that balance is better. For myself, the vast majority of my academic career focused on a very specific, very narrow pocket of biology (the evolution of regeneration in salamanders if you were dying to know) but in my personal time I rebelled. I needed a break from biology! I needed a break from talking 'shop' with other grad students, from reading research papers, and from sitting in a climate controlled laboratory. So, in my extracurricular time I expanded my boundaries. I took silk screening classes, did yoga, learned Latin dance.

During my brain's break from biology, amazing things happened. For one, I made a whole whack of T-Shirts for my family & friends, but I also learned skills that helped me along the way. I visualized things differently using my artistic skills, I learned stress reducing techniques that grad students need, I learned about new cultures, and made new friends.

And as an added bonus,  I will be combining art and science in an Art Workshop that I will be running! It's called 'Painting with Nature'. So, if you are in Niagara October 13th, come check out the walk-on-up & create workshop, which will be running from 12:20-6:00 as part of the Niagara Nights of Art.

First Day Jitters?

     Time to GUSH about my first internship day in a school! I have nothing but positive vibes after my first (almost) full day interning at my placement school. I say 'almost' because for the first part of the day we had to meet the principal. No, the principal was not scary. I could tell he really cared about his school community. One lesson I will carry with me from his conversation with us was to focus on the positive. It seems so simple, but it was an 'aha' moment for me. For example, if a student displays a behaviour that you don't really want to see, like pushing another student, you don't focus on the negative action, you redirect towards positive expectations. You might ask, "How do we show respectful behaviour? By keeping our hands to ourselves".

      And to think! All that time I spent worrying about ALL those hypothetical things that could have gone wrong. The day was a breeze! Time FLEW by! That is how I know I'm on the right career path. Being in the classroom didn't feel like work! I'm sure there will be aspects of the job that I don't enjoy, like marking papers, but all the hard work will be worth it a thousand times over because of that spark, that joy, that energy that I got from working in the classroom helping students learn.

     Now, I did assign myself homework after my first day. I've decided that to truly assimilate what I will learn from my time in the classroom I am going to start a teaching journal. Yes Cohort D teachers, I'm going to be Self-Reflective! Online of course, I am in the Ed Tech cohort after all! I really like the layout of the site Penzu. By recording activities, thoughts, feelings, etc. it will help me reflect on my own teaching style- what works, what doesn't work, and will help me grow as an educator. My goal (and I'm writing it here for the world to see) is to journal after every day I spend in the classroom. It might be a lot of work, but a lot of things happen in one day and I want to make sure I think about all of what I experienced so I can get the most out of these jam-packed eight months.

What Kind of Teacher Do You Want to Be?

It's day two of my first week of Teachers College, and although I'm already feeling a little tired and overwhelmed, I'm excited to dig into the content: learn new petagogies, strategies, and of course because I'm in the Ed Tech Leadership cohort, technologies to bring to the classroom.

But there's this little voice inside my head saying " What kind of teacher are you going to be?". Maybe it's my insecurities about managing a classroom, or my secret fear that all this new technology will crash on me in the middle of teaching, but I'm worried.

Then I look around at the diverse faces in my courses and I realize, everyone is here because they don't just want to be a good teacher, they wan't to be a great teacher. It's ok to be scared because it means I care about doing an amazing job. I want to be what my favourite teachers were to me and then some! I want to go outside with my class, get our hands dirty, use hands-on discovery, make math meaninful, integrate subjects, diversify instruction, be inclusive, be kind, and inspire a generation of lifelong learners.

If I'm feeling this inspired on week one, just imagine week 10, or 20!