Well I am back after a little bit of a hiatus throughout the past few months as I switched out of university mode and into teacher mode. I am back and am excited about it, and hope that you are too!
Two days ago I began what is likely to be one of my biggest challenges I have faced in awhile. I have started organizing and planning for my first ever teaching position, as a Gr. 4 teacher. Monday morning I came in to the school all ready to start setting up my classroom and getting right to work. After a few bumps in the road, a little bit of hard work and some elbow graese I had an empty classroom that was ready for me to put my mark on it.
I call this my classroom in the making!
Who knew it could be so difficult to put up a few bulletin board backgrounds all on your own. I think at one point I was on a stool balancing on one foot, using my hands and other foot to help keep that darn paper where I wanted to be! I am sure a picture of that would have been worth a thousand words. I think maybe this should be a skill they start incorporating into the curriculum for the education programs at our universities!
Throughout the summer months I spent time reading through the curriculums that I am responsible for teaching and working to become more familiar with all that my job is going to entail. Little did I know how much would come as I started really diving in and working on some concrete planning! I know it is all going to come together as I continue to work through but right now I kind of feel like a fish out of water!
As an educator I feel it is important to reflect on my experiences and then learn from those reflections. It is amazing what you can learn as you type out your experiences, often I find a solution or an idea before I am done with my post. I will be using this blog as a means of reflection through my first year of teaching. I hope that you will enjoy it and if you ever have a comment or suggestion I would love to hear from you!
As I am sure many of you have time to sift through all that I have done, because I doubt that you are busy with your own projects, assignments and exams, I have compiled I little list of all the things that I have done throughout the semester! I am kidding of course, Dean this one is for you mostly!
I could link to all the other blogs that I have wrote throughout the semester but they are really just a click away from the page that you are on right now.I can not possibly link you to all that I have done throughout this semester as I would have you all here for days. With that in mind, as I move into my teaching career I know that there will be blog posts to come relating to exactly the topics that were discussed in this class.
Thank you for being my audience throughout the past four months and I can only hope that you continue to follow me as I move into my teaching career.
This semester seems like it has just flown by and it certainly does not seem like it should be over already. I have compiled my thoughts and a few experiences that I have had throughout my ECMP 455 class and would like to share my final reflection with you. I hope that you enjoy and please ignore the weird things that my voice does throughout the video, not too sure what happened there. It does get better throughout the video I promise!
As I mentioned before I have been working with Lee Kolbert and her class in Florida for my Collaborative Project. I created a VoiceThread for her class and sent the link away for her to assign to her class. I thought this would be a great project to do with her class and one that would work well without me actually being in the classroom. After a lot of trial and error the thread finally worked. Lee and I had to work together, and sent a lot of emails back and forth, before we finally had a version of the thread that her students would be able to access. So a little bit of extra time ,$10.00 and two threads later the thread was ready to go. I received an email from Lee saying that the thread had been assigned and the comments should be coming in quickly.
Well did they ever! I logged in to my Education VoiceThread account to find 363, yes I said 363, comments that I needed to read/listen to.Wow, was I ever not expecting that. In hindsight I should have done things a little bit differently. I am really glad that the students are enjoying the thread and learning from it but there has to be a better way to use VoiceThread in the classroom.
So I chalk this up to a lesson learned and something that I will keep in mind for the future. I have thoroughly enjoyed working along side Lee and the help that she gave me as we tried together to figure out all the different forms of VoiceThread was great. Thanks again Lee! I am going to continue to monitor the comments, even as my ECMP 455 class comes to a close, and see where this thread takes these students as they learn about the scientific method.
At the beginning of my ECMP 455 class I was really unsure about why I had bothered to sign up for Twitter. I would check it as much as I would check our class Ning, Facebook and my email. Every time I logged on I got really overwhelmed and gave up for a little bit. I thought there was no way I would be able to offer what some of the people I was following did. It seemed everyone I was following had something to share with each tweet and anything I shared was more of a what I am doing at the moment kind of statement. From conversations I have had with avid Twitter users I don’t believe that tweeting about what you are doing at a specific moment is the point behind using Twitter.
However, as time went on I started to see the benefits of using Twitter to develop my personal learning network and as a way to develop a ‘support network’ of pre-service teachers like myself. I see how Twitter can be used as a great way to interact with other educators and learn from those who are very involved in using technology in the classroom. I do believe the best way to learn is from experience and what better way to learn than from others who have worked through what I will experience in my future classroom. I have learned about many tools such as Flavors.Me where I created my own flavors.me/nicolejreeve page and received help from people almost instantly through inserting a couple of #hashtags into my tweets. This was where I started to see all that Twitter has to offer.
Even though I see the benefits of Twitter I still struggle with wanting to continue using it. I find it very overwhelming to see how often people tweet. I feel like I have learned to embrace technology both in my personal life and educational practices but I struggle with feeling like I need to tweet all the time or need to always have something to share. To be honest I feel like why bother tweeting if I am not tweeting several times a day or every day at all for that matter. Maybe this is just me not fully embracing Twitter, I really don’t know but I still have this uneasy feeling about it. I feel like if I truly embrace it as I see others doing I will have my cellphone attached to me at all times and I really don’t see this as something I want. Does this mean I should not use Twitter at all? Is it alright if I only tweet every once in awhile? I would find it interesting to hear what others have to say about this. I am kind of at a stand still with Twitter right now but don’t really want to give up on it either. Help me out if you can!
After a few technical glitches, mostly thanks to me never having used Elluminate to present before, I did a presentation on how and why VoiceThread can be used in the classroom and as a professional tool. My partner Karmen started off our presentation by sharing with the class how to get started using VoiceThread. I was really nervous about presenting the information in a way that would be engaging for my audience, it is certainly different teaching a class of people you can’t see. I had no idea whether my audience was engaged or interested but I think it went well and hope everyone was able to take something from the presentation. I am still on the fence as to what I think about this experience. I find it really interesting that there is a tool like Elluminate to allow us to teach to people from all areas of the world but at the same time I struggle with the fact that I can never know whether my audience is truly engaged. This is something that maybe comes in time, I am not sure.
I wanted to post the PowerPoint I used in my presentation for you to have a look at and reference back to if you need. I believe the links provided throughout the presentation offer some very valid information in regards to using VoiceThread.
I have been working with Lee Kolbert to create a VoiceThread to help her students learn about what the Scientific Method is. We have the thread up and running. I am really excited to hear what her students have to say about the thread as well as to see how the project pans out. This is one of the first times I have been able to take technology and use it with learners in an elementary classroom setting. Very excited to see what happens with it!
If you feel like you would like to leave a comment on the thread, please do. I am sure the students would find it very interesting to hear what others have to say about the Scientific Method. Also, if you have a few extra moments I would suggest pre-service teachers take a look at Lee’s class blog. She does some really amazing things in her classroom and has a great way of sharing that through the blog!
Stay tuned for a post about how this project is working out!