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.