Learning From Other Bloggers

I signed up for a Feedly account this week.

I am following 11 blogs so far. I found some through a list the instructor shared, others through my own research and some from previously visiting the blogs while lesson planning.

I came across The Drama Teacher blog while putting together a Grade 5 drama unit. Justin Cash has some great content and I want to keep learning. It is more suited to teaching to a higher level, in my opinion, but a great resource none the less.

I used Math For Love for my Grade 5 Math on fractions. The blog has a great resource for fraction number talks. I learned about Number Talks from a previous cooperating teacher, Robin Dubiel, in her Grade 7 classroom. The students were engaged and felt safe discussing various strategies for finding a solution to a problem. Occasionally they were guided to “adjust their thinking” if corrections were needed. I was given the opportunity to lead the students through a couple of Number Talks and it is an easy strategy to utilize.


Left to right: Mrs. Blenkin, Mrs. Dubiel, Miss Brass

Number Talks are a strategy for teaching Math using short, daily exercises to build flexibility in number sense. There are many amazing resources around Number Talks and I was happy to stumble upon a Fraction Talks posted by Dan Finkel. He not only had a slideshow of images to put up on the SmartBoard, but he also included discussion prompts. The Grade 5s were very engaged in our Fraction Talks while I taught my unit and I will continue to use this strategy.

Source: Dan Finkel

 

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A Time for Tech and a Time for Nature

Technology is a great asset to teachers and students. I will be learning more about bringing technology into the classroom. I will start by experimenting with blogging over the next two months. I am a little bit out of my comfort zone with this, but my philosophy is to never stop learning. Stretching myself now may benefit my students in the future, so this is a good decision.

I have one year of University left before I complete my Indigenous Education degree. For the last three semesters of my University classes, I have experienced a teleconferenced classroom. My cohort includes 15 students from Yorkton and 8 from Fort Qu’Appelle. The professors and instructors teach from either the Yorkton campus or the Fort Qu’Appelle campus with a live video feed to the other location. This technology is quite amazing. Occasionally technology acts up, and more occasionally the user of said technology acts up, and class has a minor interruption. Presentation projects have allowed my classmates and I to experience teaching in this format. It adds another dimension to the art of teaching when you have to engage students at two locations.

Speaking of my classmates and technology, I should mention Jory’s love of Kahoot! Kahoot is a fun game-based learning platform that can be used as an assessment tool in the classroom. Learn more about Kahoot here. Jory introduced me to Kahoot in one of his micro-teaches. I used a Kahoot quiz with a Grade 7 Social Studies mini-unit I taught and the students loved it.

Although technology is great, stepping away from it occasionally is very important. My classmates and I had the opportunity to disengage from technology and enjoy the great outdoors this past fall and winter as part of EIOE 215 and EIOE 225 (outdoor education) classes. What amazing experiences. We went to Sturgeon Lake First Nation in September which is a Cree First Nation. We had the opportunity to be part of a horse ceremony, chicken dance ceremony, sacred bundle ceremony, name ceremony and multiple pipe ceremonies as Sturgeon Lake held their Culture Days at that time. The people from Sturgeon Lake welcomed us and allowed us to participate in all ceremonies and activities; not simply observe. It was amazing!

Below is a picture of my cohort and a couple of extra people. I am missing however as I left on the last morning due to a death in the family.

Photo credit: Erin Goodpipe Ironstand

And a beautiful picture from part of the Culture Camp setting.

Photo credit: Reilee Slusarchuk

In early March we spent 3 nights and 4 days at Takoza Tipi Camp. We were taught about Nakota and Saulteaux (guest speaker) cultures. We experienced putting up a tipi (and later keeping the tipi from getting smoky), archery, ice fishing and building a wind shelter. We learned about perseverance (it was cold at night sleeping in a tipi!!!!), collaboration and much more.

Here are some pictures from winter camp:

 

Photo credit: Amber Barwell

 

Photo Credit: Tim Haywehe

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Photo credit: Angel Bigstone

I am grateful for the opportunity to experience First Nations culture while spending time in the great outdoors. It is important to engage students in experiential learning opportunities. Technology, however also plays an important role in education. I am excited to learn more about educational technology in my EDTC 300 class.

The Art of Decluttering

I have been tasked with using technology to learn a new skill. I want to learn more about the art of decluttering and maintaining a more minimalistic lifestyle. This is actually becoming quite popular so I should be able to find many great resources to help me with this. My husband has really been pushing to declutter our home. Clutter gives him anxiety and makes him irritated. He emails me an article at least every four months or so to encourage me. I have come to realize that clutter really bothers me as well. I am currently using my Chromebook at the kitchen table to type this blog because my desk is too cluttered to work at. I have not put away from textbooks and binders from last semester yet. My bookshelf is downstairs and the end of the semester was brutal for assignments so everything ended up on my desk as I worked through my tasks. Once I was done I stepped away from my desk and didn’t look back.

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Psychology Today has a great article on 6 Benefits of an Uncluttered Space. I agree with all six points they make. I feel so much better when I am not surrounded by clutter. The process of decluttering is energizing and life runs more smoothly when everything is organized well. Be Brain Fit also offers excellent advice on Removing Clutter to Reduce Stress. They claim that getting rid of clutter helps a person to be more focused, relaxed, and productive. They also offer a 5-step decluttering system that I will try out.

My husband and I watched the first episode of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. We both really liked it and agreed we want to try her method. The first step Marie recommends is getting rid of clothes you no longer wear or need. The problem we ran into is time to spend decluttering. I have been waiting on Chad to go through his half of the closet and his dresser drawers. I am not innocent either. I started in my youngest children’s shared bedroom and happily passed along clothes to a cousin. I have not gotten into my older daughters clothes or my own. I started on decluttering toys instead. I got rid of 3 boxes of toys and such, but do not tell my kids!

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I will get back on track decluttering our clothes starting with mine this week. I will either have to move on to the next step or go through Chad’s clothes without him. Do I dare?