Sunday, September 23, 2007

Standardized testing in Saskatchewan

I am in the process of writing a paper for my ECE class at the university of Regina on Standardized testing in Saskatchewan. DO YOU HATE IT - LOVE IT - OR INBETWEEN?

I really want to hear your comments on this one - please.

Especially for the little ones in K to Grade 3.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happy Trails

Well it is once again the end of a class - that is always a mixture of sad and happy thoughts. Glad to be over but sad to have it end. Good luck everyone with the fall semester and may all your trails be happy ones !

Final Reflection

Ronda Wedhorn My collective reflection
I learnt new information that I did not have before this class; all the sites we linked to and the wiki information, blogs, storybook 3, the RSS feeds, the whole thing was all new to me. These are things that I can take with me into my classroom. I found that everyone was getting good sites and giving information on them and reading everyone’s blogs was a good way to see what everyone else was finding in the world of technology. I found that I do not have a passion for this sort of thing and it is not something that I enjoy doing and would not spend the time on it, unless I had to. I will set up my classroom to incorporate some of this but because I hope to have a grade one classroom, I will not make it the highlight of my classroom. I like playing on the computer but when I do it is a photo edit program like Photoshop and I have no interest in the other stuff. I am aware of this about myself so I know that I need to not let my personal feelings over ride the interests of my students.
When setting up my classroom I will use Story Book 3 or something similar as a documentation board for my classroom because I can save it and use it as a history tool, the parents can see it when they come to Family Fridays or to pick up their children, and I can even make a DVD for the parents to keep, if they want one. The environment is important in the classroom and I want my room to reflect the environment as the third teacher with child sized furniture, wall boards at eye level, and less clutter. Setting up the room so the children are free to move around is important and hopefully having an outdoor classroom area where we can go and use at times. I will have a parent area in my classroom so they will feel welcomed with coffee, a comfy adult chair and have an open door policy where they are invited to stop by anytime. Light is important in my class, I hope to have windows in my classroom and I will use disco balls, mirrors, and other things to reflect the light. It is important to use recycled materials for other things and that will be interesting for my students. Instead of spending tons of money on things, I can get by with recycled materials such as plexi glass with four milk crates for legs and it makes a great table. I also will invite people to my classroom meeting such as the janitor because everyone spends time with the students and has important things to share with me. It is important to build relationships with your community and collaborate together for the best interests of the student. It is important to remember that the role of the teacher is changing. We no longer stand at the front of the room and tell the students what to do…we should not do that anyway because we need to take the curriculum from our students interests.

My classroom will also have interesting invitations that are colourful and engaging instead of just the same old centres of play dough and plastic cars.
I would try in incorporate technology but I won’t have the computers in my classroom because grade ones usually go to a lab. I would like to use web logs, and wikis between the staff members, as well as the, Rich Site Summary (RSS) for links and information pertaining to teacher and parent related sites; book marking sites would be helpful. Knowing your audience is important and it would depend upon the children’s interests and what they wanted to do. I would use a blog for myself somewhat like a diary to reflect and keep notes of teaching experiences, tips for other teachers, post information for the parents of upcoming events, and past things in the classroom, a way to communicate with others.
I think that using the computer to enhance the learning is a great thing to do. Students that have a real interest in technology will certainly be more interested in doing school work on line and you can do anything online, math, social, science, everything. The guests tonight talked about how children will keep blogging when they are not in school and how they will go online and blog with kids in other countries and that we need to stay out of their way and let them blog in the way that they want to and give them that freedom and I agree with that very much.
It is exciting to have knowledge about this so I can be among the leaders using technology in the classroom. I really enjoyed this class and what I really learned the most is that I really do not know very much about what is available to use in the classroom. Thank you for bringing the different methods to our attention and for the wonderful guest speakers which I really enjoyed listening to. I feel like I now have some understanding of ways to incorporate technology into my classroom and at the very least I now have contacts to help me.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ronda ECMP 455: Internet Safety

Ronda ECMP 455: Internet Safety


This is the link for the collaborative project of Jane and I. It has links to information for teachers and parents with a focus on Kindergarten to Grade 3.

Let us know what you think - we welcome your feedback.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Internet Safety

The EMS services in Moose Jaw is putting together a DVD on safety issues for Grade four and up. They were looking for sponsors to help cover the costs from related people such as lawyers in town. Which I thought was a good idea.

They will be making the DVD and distributing it to schools. I am going to try and get my hands on one to see what all is on there.

I heard them say it was about the safety issues or drugs, internet, and other types of safety concerns. I thought that was a pretty great idea.

Documentation Panels

I was thinking about documentation panels and how they take up so much space in the classroom. It would be a neat idea to make a photostory and set the monitor up in the hall way or by your classroom door so when the parents come to pick up their children they could watch the slide show of what their children are doing (learning) in your class. That would be a great way to get the parents involved and not feel so out of touch when their child leaves them to walk through your door.

I am going to do that in my classroom.

Teacher as Researcher

If teachers see themselves as researchers then we will look for the meaning of why something is happening and not become frustrated and upset with it. That might be irritating behavior in children or it might be the bad day when nothing seems to work with technology. Which I just had with our wiki site. Jane spent hours on there and now the links won't work. Frustrating or an opportunity to discover why and become a researcher of new knowledge.

Turn annoyances into research questions and ask why do...or how do....

Then you can research why it is that way and make a plan to do more research about it.

Emergent Curriculum

I was thinking about technology and how it fits with emergent curriculum in the way that it all begins with observation of the children and their interestes. If teachers are truly listening to their students then they may hear topics on technology that may interest those children. Then following the style of emergent curriculum - we need to select that particular group of students who have that interest, and not the whole class. With this select group we can focus on what type of technology they have an interest in and guide those students into acquiring new knowledge. We do not have to teach the same thing to every single student in our classroom. Technology and emergent curriculum go together in other ways such as collaborating with our fellow peers, co workers, and mentors to gain better understandings and to utilize an pick their brains for things we may lack or need to learn more about ourselves.

When we think of children as being capable, competent, and resourceful we will create an environment for them to learn in that challenges them to be their best. Children need a wide range of media to express themselves and communicate through and though the technology side is certainly growing by leaps and bounds, I hope as teachers we always remember that not all children learn the same way.

As Reggio Emilia said, "children have 100 languages" and often in the past we have taken away 99 ways of learning and left them with the pen and paper to express their ideas. I guess what I hope is that the computer won't become the one language that we leave the children with while we take away the other 99.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I am not trying to claim Janes photostory as mine. It ended up on my Youtube site.

Children want to be like us

this is a short video clip that many of you will have already seen. I think it is so touching and I showed it to my daughter who is nine and she wanted to watch it over and over again. The clip sends a powerful reminder that we are role models for our children and our students and that children want to be like us.

Safety on the computer

I was reading the other blogs about invites to Facebook and MySpace. I get people inviting me to join all the time but I just delete their emails. They don't have to know that I never join and I don't have to worry about hurting their feelings by declining. No one has ever said anything to me so I don't think it is a problem not to join.

I have gone the odd time and looked at MySpace accounts of students (not my students) to see what they say on there and these kids had a lot of swearing, the F word seems to be a favourite term these days. The profiles talked about their sex lives, their use of drugs and alchohol and the latest parties they attended and how drunk they were going to get the next weekend.

These kids were fourteen to sixteen and had invited me to join MySpace.

The question Dean talked about tonight was how do we handle that - if they are students in our classrooms? Are their private accounts private? Do we have a right to know what is on there? Would that be like reading a printed copy of someones personal diary?

My view is that I would advise them of the reasons why "I think" they should not post certain things on their site that may hinder them in future employment options and for other reasons. Employers are google searching names before the interview these days or searching YouTube for videos. I know when I need an employee for my equine photo work I will see what comes up under their name and I do not know much about doing a search. An employer such as SIAST would be able to do a thorough search on a potential employee.

But I still believe it is as private as a diary and that I do not have the right as a teacher to forbid students to post certain things - I think we need to give them the information and hope they follow through.

Of course I am talking about their own private time at home and not at school. At school I would not use MySpace or others - in my classroom for the above reasons. It's not my place to monitor it - so I would not use it.


well I finally finished up my haying so the horses can eat all winter! Now I have to spend time catching up on my class work. I think the collaborative project is a great idea for students to connect with people in other parts of the world. What a great way to learn about different aspects of the curriculum in a fun and interesting way.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Big Shifts

I found it interesting that the text book commented on the fact that schools and teachers at one time "owned" the content of the curriculum. The curriculum being taught only from the text with few outside resources. Students did not have much outside information available to them. I remember when I was in school and doing a research paper, we had the encylopedia and books at the library. It took a long time to research and find the information.

Today, students are able to go online (teachers also) and get so much more information and it is fast.

The text also talked about how the way of teaching is changing to more open source and that everyone can contribute to the curriculum. We have access to other teachers today, in ways we never had before, we can get our lesson plans online, or view things that worked or did not work in other classrooms.

Students have the opportunity to share their work with others via the web. Isn't that a great incentive to complete a project? Before only the teacher saw the hard work put into an assignment but today it is possible for many to view it. Students can also work together on projects that they would have had to meet in person in the past. Today, they can do a whole project and never meet face to face.

different ways of teaching

I am excited that people are taking the time to reply to my blog. I never expected that to happen. Thank You, I appreciate the feed back.

I don't really see the computer as a seperate identity and I see the possibilities of it's use in language and the other domains. The story book is a great way for students to express themselves, you are right. And better yet - if we can get the parents "hooked" through a story book about their family for example, then the parents might get more involved with the school and that would be a wonderful thing.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007


okay where is my last blog? it is missing.

Story Book 3

I am having way to much fun playing with this story. I find the photograph part of it is lacking in some aspects. I can not rotate the photos or grab and slide them around. Also, the text is only allowed in certain places, I can not angle it or grab and place it.

I am so used to working in PhotoShop - this is quite frustrating to me at times. Really I do not find it much different than powerpoint. Maybe I am not finding all its features yet - you can let me know if I am missing the way to do the above things.

It is fun though. I spent about 20 hours on it already. Love it. Keep messing with it.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Kindergartens on the computer

I was thinking about the reply to my blog that asked at what age do I think that children should start on the computer and do they need to start in kindergarten to learn the skills. In my experience children in kindergarten and grade one will not choose the computer if given free choice of what they want to do. This age seems to prefer other activities and it is usually teacher directed and not child directed when they have to use the computer at this age. Granted there are some children that will want to be on the computer but not many. Will they be deprived and behind other children, if not teacher directed towards the computer, at this young age? Personally, I don't believe so.

To me that is like saying - "if you don't start reading blue prints" in grade one, then you will never be a carpenter. Or if you are not using a camera on manual settings by the time you hit grade one - then you will never be a photographer.

Children will still know how to use the computer and have all the skills they need for the future even if they are not using the computer in kindergarten and grade one.

Really, I am not against technology - honest - and I think Mrs. Cassidy's class is the coolest ever and being in her class and watching the kids work on the computer is amazing. I would love to intern in her class! But I would sneak a book or two in there to read to the children.

Here is a question fellow classmates: If we want student directed classrooms and our grade one students prefer other activites over the computer - are we going to accept that? Or are we going to step in as a teacher director and sit them down in front of that computer?

We all know there is never enough time to do everything in the classroom so - is reading on the computer in grade one the same as having a book read to you? Would the time be better spent reading to your students or having them on the computer?

Maybe my experiences are different than yours but the young children I have been around will choose to have a book read to them over going on the computer.

What are your thoughts?

Text Book

I really enjoyed the live session last night. I am excited to try out the PhotoStory 3. I love the way the photos can pan across and zoom in and out - I think that is awesome!

The text book talked about how the computer is just another media for our students to use. I have to admit that I can see that point. The more options the students have the better for them. When we talk about Reggio Emilia and the 100 languages of children but then we go and steal 99 of them and leave the students with only the pen and paper - I can relate the readings in the text to my early childhood classes. I was thinking about that last night (instead of sleeping) and for sure some students would be engaged and using different languages on the computer. These same students may not otherwise want anything to do with school and the pen and paper but if we can hook them in with something they really have an interest in - then that is a good thing, for sure.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Technology means money

I have been thinking about the trouble I am having with this class with slow dial up and non up to date equipment. It seems clear to me that my students would have to have access to plenty of money in order to use the technology in the classroom. I don't feel that is fair and would leave some students feeling left out. Not all students will have computers in the home and not all schools have computers in them, though more schools have them I expect.

I don't have much money so I don't have the new computer and I can not afford satellite to get high speed so I can see where my students might have trouble. Myself, I do not want anyone to feel singled out by not being able to afford a computer to use at home and I don't feel this is something that should be pushed into the classroom. I think it should be available for students who wish to use it but not mandatory and not for the whole class because there will be students who can not use the computer or lack skills because of their family backgrounds and as an educator I would never make those students feel uncomfortable in my classroom.

Students with limited finances are going to find this very difficult because they will not have had a computer in the home to develop skills nor will they be able to access the sites from home, if the school chooses to go with the information online.

I think we need to keep in mind that not everyone has a computer and not everyone can afford this stuff.

Also, as a single mom in full time university working three part time jobs - I find this extremely time consuming and frustrating. I would never blog without this class or set up all those feeds because I have no interest in that sort of thing. What about my students who have no interest and no time? I would not make this mandatory in my classroom - it does not allow for the "whole child" concept incorporating everyones unique differences. Not everyone wants to learn by computer.

I do see the purpose in learning about it myself, though because for my students who are using this, it will be helpful to keep in touch and monitor them and as an educator, I need to keep up with the changing times............even though I am kicking and screaming about it.

It is just another media for my students and in the long run - the more options for my students the better - but never forget - know your students and don't hurt anyones feelings or make them uncomfortable.


I am trying again to access this live session. I am feeling so lost and behind in this class.

I have read the whole text book - twice. It's an informative text book but I found out that I do not have much interest in this sort of stuff. I suppose it would be useful in a classroom but I am yet to be convinced.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

July 10

I can see why I do not like technology in the classroom. I have yet to be persuaded that this beats the pen and paper!! I can not get logged in to tonights session once again. I also can not view last weeks sessions that was recorded. I don't think anyone plans around dial up because it is 20 times slower and this stuff is not working especially since I have such a slow old computer on top of dial up.
I am about to give up. I have been trying to get into the session for an hour. I sent Dean several emails but I don't think he is getting those either because he has not replied.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Getting Started

June 29, 2007 today and it is Friday. I am trying to figure this all out and get started for my online class.

I am interested to hear from any Saskatchewan people who are interested in Schutzund dogs.