A Switch in Focus

I had previously written about a project that @Farris0120 and I had planned. While our classrooms will still be coordinating and working on many of the goals of that project, I have decided to complete a personal project as my main focus. I was having difficulty nailing down a specific focus for my initial project idea. While I see significant value in exploring blogging and virtual connections, I don’t foresee my teaching timetable providing my with ample time to explore it fully and properly with my students. I also would like to improve my own knowledge base before beginning a journey that large with students. With that said, Lynnette and I do still intend to do many virtual activities with our students. Hopefully they can establish some connections. I intend to continue blogging some of my learnings and experiences throughout this process.

Now, on to the new project:

Schitts Creek Comedy GIF by CBC - Find & Share on GIPHY

I live a fairly healthy lifestyle and am always conscious of taking care of my body. However, I have always known there is room for improvement. I have always had some changes I would like to make in mind, but have never found the motivation to do it. This class project presents the opportunity I have been looking for.

My two main goals are going to be to improve my eating habits, (particularly eating more fruits and vegetables and cutting out some sweets/snacks), and losing 8-10 pounds.

I am going to use the website/app myfitnesspal to help me on my journey. The app will allow me to track my caloric intake and expenditure. More info. on the app will follow in my next post.

I will provide weekly updates on my progress (including data analysis based on my caloric intake/expenditure, weight loss progress, challenges and successes), and will also be completing a weekly wellness reflection to describe any changes in how my body feels.

I am excited about this project as it is something I am passionate about and I will have motivation knowing that it will improve my health and lifestyle. More details will be forthcoming as I prepare to begin my journey on Monday, September 27.

A Co-(Ad)Venture

I have often been the guy that has marveled at how others use technology in their classroom. Always watching from the fringes with trepidation and a lack of confidence that I did not have the skills, imagination, or creativity to incorporate it into my own teaching. Well, I still lack the confidence, I don’t have the skills (yet!), I don’t have enough imagination to even bring myself to watch Star Wars (no I have never seen any of them!), and my creativity is questionable at the best of times. But the time has come….to dive in head first….and hope it turns out a little better than this:

fat diving GIF

The last year of pandemic learning has brought educators many challenges, but has also allowed us to explore new horizons. It has opened our eyes to new ways of learning and creating connections. Technology in education is here to stay.

Online learning was difficult for teachers and students because of the lost face to face relationships. There is no doubt that teachers want our students in the building (particularly in an elementary setting where I teach), and a huge majority of students and parents feel the same way. Teaching and learning just aren’t the same when comparing being in the same room vs. being on a computer screen. But what if we explore the connections that can be made in a virtual setting? Can students form connections with other students they haven’t met before? Can students teach and learn from each other via online platforms? If viewed through a different lens, can we turn the potential positives of technology into valuable personal and educational experiences? This is exactly what @Farris0120 and I are seeking to discover.

Using my Grade 3/4 and her Grade 4 Health classrooms, we are setting out to make some personal connections while also learning some valuable social media and technology skills. While our ideas are fluid and will evolve as our project progresses, below is a summary of our plans so far:

Purpose: To explore the use of technology and social media to teach each other and establish connections between students in different schools in a common school community. Students will develop skills that enable them to understand the positive power of social media and technology as a personal and educational tool, that can foster relationships and friendships via asynchronous and synchronous communication.  We will use ‘real time’ communication on Microsoft Teams as well as personal video logs via Flipgrid, as a way of sharing with each other, teaching, and responding to peers, including the following –

*Virtual Teams meetings between classrooms.

*Student Teaching and Responding to Blog Posts – both written and recorded video

*Classes/Individuals will teach a lesson/share information.

*Analysis of the effectiveness of both written and oral communication, via technology.

Curricular Ties

– Health 3.2 Inner Self

– Health 3.4 Families

– Health 4.3 Relationships

Our ultimate goal is to teach children that open communication via technology can foster relationships beyond the digital world and can be a valuable learning tool.  Presenting social media and open communication in a positive way can affect how students will view and use technology in the future and potentially trigger the desire to create and maintain a healthy digital footprint.  While students will be learning about digital tools and communication they will be teaching their peers, albeit virtually, and sharing ideas that they can relate to, understand, and learn.

As this is my first venture into this world, I am both excited and nervous. I am excited to learn and hope our students can learn as much as I know I will.