My Personal Journey and Thoughts

Category: ECI 834 Weekly Reflections

Times Like These

Well here it is, the last blog post for ECI 834. This semester has raced by faster than all the others so far and I can’t believe we are already making this post. I have truly learned so much from all of my classmates and have loved seeing all of their Modules that they planned for this course. It has been an honour to view the work that you have all done and I am truly humbled to be in a class with such amazing people. So thank-you for the comments you have made on my posts, thank you for the work that we have done in our break out groups, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for not judging me too harshly on the song that follows the end of my video.

To be totally honest, I had the idea to write write this song as I was driving home in my car and “Times Like These” came on. All of a sudden the lyrics were changing to things we were discussing in class and writing it just flowed out of my head. And then, the realization happened! I just spent a day writing a song!!!! What was I going to do? I really didn’t want to sing it, but the day I used was a day I set aside to work on this project, ohh the conundrum. So I sat down at my computer and practiced it several times making sure I had the timing right but it really isn’t in a key that I am comfortable with (the low parts are the most embarrassing). I had to commit, I saw no other way around it. That is why you are getting a song I hope you enjoy the lyrics!

As for the beginning, I have two notes – I recorded it after school on a day where we had to dress up like a Pokémon. Did you know that the creator of Pokémon is autistic? So this week in school we are recognizing and celebrating autistic individuals as well as showing our love and acceptance to people living with Autism. That day I was wearing a hat because I dressed up as a Pokémon trainer, therefore the hat was staying on. Secondly, I had a big plan on how I was going to record and then I watched Leigh’s and Dalton’s video. I thought to myself that I have never tried anything on a green screen before either, so decided to take their wonderful influence and learn something new.

And just like that…

Everyone has a Story

Well here we are, at the end of another class with another completed project. I honestly cannot believe how quickly time flies. I have to say that I actually quite enjoyed this process even though at first I was not quite sure if I was doing it right. When we got together as a class to view our first module, it was good to see that what I was doing was correct, and I have to admit I was a little relived.

Who Is, Who Was by Roberta Edwards 25 Books 1-25 Paperback Collection Set: Amazon.com: Books

I started this course by thinking about the outcomes that I would like to cover in my ELA 5-6 class. They are an inquisitive group of French Immersion students and they love English class. I only see this class 3 times a week for an hour at a time so I wanted to maximize the time we spend together by covering several outcomes in reading, writing, and speaking. I knew I wanted there to be a book involved, and that I haven’t spent a lot of time doing non-fiction. After speaking with our wonderfully awesome Teacher Librarian, I was made aware of the “Who Is/Was” biographies that we have in abundance in the library. Not only do our students love reading them but they range in reading level from grade 3 all the way up to grade 6.

Next, I was to design my Course Profile. It contains information about my students needs, my rational for the course, outcomes the course will cover, guiding questions, assessment, and most importantly the LMS that will be used for the course with an explanation of how it would be used. As I designed the course shell some things did change, but I stuck pretty close to the original plan. One thing that you may notice in my course shell is that I haven’t added the final assessment piece. As I explained in my profile, the final assessment piece will be the students blog posts about the person in the biography that they chose, as well as a presentation of their choice that fits their learning style and needs. Students will have the choice to present live or record their presentation and show it to the class. They can stick to the standard Google Slides, design a Kahoot with an introductory speech, do an art gallery walk, etc. The sky is the limit for the presentation mode that they chose to present with.

Once we had our Course Profile completed, our next step was to complete the first module which was to be a lesson that was 5-15 minutes (I ended up designing the whole 1 hour lesson). Opps! We had two peers review our module and prototype and then give us feedback. The feedback I received was extremely helpful in organizing my final project and I want to send a huge thanks to Lindsey and Devon for giving me such valuable feedback. My blob post about the review can be found here.

And now for the main event: My Course Walk Through

Well that’s all I’ve got for you, I hope you enjoyed looking through my lesson. I would love to hear your feedback – I am currently in the middle of using this unit so if you have any advice or comments they would be greatly appreciated. Please see below for access to the LMS – I created it in Google Docs as you are now all aware, however if you are logged in to Google with your district issued email you will not be able to gain access. Please use a personal Gmail account.

https://classroom.google.com/c/NDU0NTM3ODUzMzAx?cjc=qmu2gw7

The class code is: qmu2gw7

Peer Review of Course Prototype

Feedback Reflection

Over the past two weeks we (our whole class) have been given an interesting assignment. We were to peer review two different course prototypes and give feedback to the authors of those prototypes. In return two others reviewed my course prototype and offered me a review and suggestions. Wooden blocks with the word Review. Customer review concept. Reviewing, auditing, reviewer. Service rating. Feedback.

First of all, this process was difficult but in a really good way. I found it challenging to provide feedback that was both useful and encouraging. It is super easy to say that “everything looks great,” or “I love your activities, ” or “I really enjoy the way you have added videos.” What is not easy is giving feedback that is useful, and I hope that I was able to add at least some useful content to the reviews that I submitted. It is rare to have this opportunity in a professional role to give this type of feedback, and it really made me think about how I provide feedback to my students. It is one thing to read about feedback from sources like: Framing Online Discussions: Getting Quality Posts and Giving Effective Feedback by Marilea Bramer and Monica Janzen, but to actually put it into practice is a totally different beast. I am so grateful that Katia gave us prompts to work from, otherwise I think my feedback would have been terrible.

Feedback that I Received

I want to start by thanking Devon and Lindsay for their thorough feedback. I am pleased that you thought my module would be interesting for my students and that it is organized and well laid out. However, even more so I appreciated your feedback.

One piece of feedback that I received was that there was not a way for students to connect with me and with each other, and immediately I went on the defensive (in my head) because I have Discord set up for the class with text channels that include: general, teacher announcements, q-and-a, and resources. Having discord set up for the class allows them to chat and ask questions of each other, as well as ask me questions. However, once I thought about it, I realized that maybe it was not in a place that was highly visible to my reviewers, and thus would not be highly visible to my students. I have to find a better place in Google classroom to post it so students know how and where to sign up as I did not specifically mention it in the lesson or post it in Classwork/Material.

Discord's New Logo Sows Discord Over Its Font Choice - DesignTAXI.com

Another piece of feedback that I really appreciate is on my slide show titled “Famous or not?” My intention for this activity is for it to be done in person, however one of my reviewers pointed out that it would be a difficult lesson to figure out and do on your own if that particular class was missed. I have thought about it for quite awhile and I am thinking that one way to solve the problem would be to record myself giving the lesson as if it was going to be an asynchronous lesson. That way students who happen to miss the in person lesson would still benefit from doing the activity. For the final course shell I will add a recording of that lesson. If you want to take a look at my “Famous or Not” slide show I have set the restrictions so that anyone with a link can access and view the slide show.

Last but not least, I wasn’t clear that the ticket out the door/critical thinking assignment at the end of the lesson is in place to provide me feedback for how well the students understood the lesson, but that I would also be using it to follow up and provide group feedback to the students. The questions would be used as a formative assessment piece. It is my strong believe that students should almost never be given a summative assignment from an introductory class unless the work is something that they have been practicing for a long time.  The three exit slip questions from my lesson are:

1. What makes a person famous?
2. Who decides who is famous?
3. How has your opinion changed from the beginning of class? If it hasn’t changed why?

As you can only imagine, it would be very difficult to answer these questions if you did not attend the lesson – thus the need to record myself teaching the lesson so any asynchronous attenders would be able to submit their answers.

This famous or not piece is a critical part of the lesson because this group of students will be choosing to read a biography on any number of different people that they may not have even heard of. I believe that it is important that my students maintain an open mind when they chose their biography, and that they choose a person that they have never heard of. I don’t think that I made that very clear in my outline, therefore will have to add this piece for clarity.

Summary

This course can be improved by making the lesson more accessible to students by providing an online lesson component so students who do access the course asynchronously are not left guessing what to do.

Students will have access to each other and me through Discord. I have set up channels that allow for chat in the following areas:

  1. general – In this section students will be able to chat with each other and stay in touch. They can use it for any form of interaction as long as they are following the rules set out in the classroom at the beginning of the year (this is not part of my course – it would have been pre-taught and in place).
  2. teacher announcements – A section for me to make announcements to the classroom such as reminders or questions that I have for students.
  3. q-and-a – A section for students to ask questions and to receive answers from their peers or myself.
  4. resources – In this section students will have the opportunity to add any online resources that they have found that they think will help out their classmates, or a place where I will add videos or websites that will help with a flipped classroom/blended learning model.

Overall, this has been a very helpful process and it is too bad that as teachers we don’t get many opportunities like this to have our lessons peer reviewed. It has helped me see my lesson through a different lens. Another big thank-you to Lindsay and Devon for such great feedback!

 

Volleyball or Ping Pong?

Anyone? Anyone?  Pause………….anyone?

Anyone GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

We have all been there – sitting in silence waiting for that one brave soul to put up their hand and contribute anything, absolutely anything to the conversation. After these classes I am always left feeling deflated and wondering what I could have done differently, and it usually comes around to a few things. A few things that I am going to list below and I would love to have others add to this list in the comments below, because as we all know having a full tool bag doesn’t always mean you have the right tools, so let’s fill up each other’s tool bags. I just pictured Hermione’s bottomless bag in the Deathly Hallows. She was able to pull everything they all needed out of that bag. Sometimes in my classroom I feel like I have/or need one of those bags.

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Padlet – a review

So I have to start this blog post by apologizing. This is not going to be my best blog post. I am sitting in a hotel room in Edmonton trying to think about things to write but it is difficult because I am not here under the best circumstances. I am not saying all of this to garner sympathy, rather to explain and to obtain understanding.

I have been able to spend a little bit of time playing with padlet.Padlet - Wakelet

When I first saw the little origami bird in the above image I wondered if it would be exactly like haiku deck – in fact I wondered if Haiku deck had changed their name and was now Padlet?

What is Haiku Deck? | Course Method

However, once I started playing around with Padlet, I realized that they were in fact nothing alike. What is Haiku deck? Haiku deck is a super-duper easy way to make a presentation. It has loads of pictures in its picture bank that are all Creative Commons images so there is no need to add references. But that is it, it is nothing more – it provides a quick and easy way to make a presentation.

Well then what is Padlet? Padlet is a site that allows the user to post and share information. What kind of information? Pretty much anything! The website describes it as “software that people use to make and share content with others.” However, it is so much more. It is a message board, a collaborative tool, it is visually stimulating, it is great for EAL students (as it has 42 languages available in it’s software), it is private, and it looks like a fun place to learn content.

When I first signed up, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing – however I was able to find a couple articles that helped me to understand what I am able to do on the site. The first one is: “What is Padlet and How Does it Work for Teachers and Students” by Luke Edwards. The second is: “Padlet Lesson Plan for Middle and High School” by Stephanie Smith Budhai. Both articles are great reads and provide many ideas to get you started in Padlet.

I can honestly see myself using Padlet in a number of different ways. The first way is as a colaborative tool with students. In the first article posted above by Luke Edwards, he says that Padlet is only limited by your imagination. He then goes on to say that you can easily expand it’s capabilities by adding your students because you then have all of their imaginations. Imagine yourself teaching a history class and you want students to look up and post websites, news articles, videos from youtube, or a document or slide show that they created with 5 other friends on Google Docs. Then, they have access and they are given time to explore what others have posted. Imagine all of this being done asynchronously while they are at home and when you come together the next day your entire block is planned and dedicated to having a conversation about the things they discovered. It was not a lecture taught by you, it was information that they found, giving them ownership and a sense of pride.

There are so many different things that you can add to a Padlet:

How to add a post to a padlet - Padlet Knowledge Base & Support

Not to mention the different layouts that are also available to meet your needs:

HyperPadlets & Padlet Timelines – Jake Miller

I have to admit that I am seriously falling in love with this app so I’ll start with cons because I don’t believe there are many.

Cons to Padlet
  • With a free account you only get 3 Padlets (however you can always archive one when you are done with it and keep adding more
  • You have to pay for more advanced features
  • there is no way to regulate what your students post, and since I haven’t been able to test it out with my students I have no idea if it is easy to delete what they post
Pros to Padlet
  • It is free to use – although you only get 3 you can archive older padlets so really the number is unlimited – you just have access to 3 workable padlets
  • it is really easy to unarchive an older padlet
  • just like a google doc your posts are automatically saved therefore nothing is ever lost
  • your padlets are shareable
  • they look amazing – very visual and enticing
  • there are so many different file types you can add
  • I read in an article that you can link it to your Google classroom ( I haven’t figured this out yet, however everything else on the site is pretty easy to use I can’t imagine it being to difficult)
  • and, as seen in the image above, there are a variety of layouts available to meet your needs
Final Thoughts,

Padlet is amazing, and I will definitely be incorporating it into my lesson design. I tend to be the type of teacher that jumps on trends really quickly without thinking them through entirely. So, before I introduce Padlet to my students, I want to have a well thought out lesson plan and know ahead of time the way that we will use it in a blended learning model. I will take my time and think things through (even though I am really exited about this).

 

My Course Profile

Introduction:

I am really excited about this project because I have never had students create websites before, and I cannot wait to see how they turn out. I have already started some of the pre-teaching. As a class we have learned about digital citizenship and our digital footprint. I feel as though students understand their role and responsibility to our online community of learners and they are excited about creating their own website. I have also started teaching students how to create their website using Google Sites and we have worked over the course of three classes so far in setting it up and adding our own personal touch. Students have created an “About Me” page, they have listed their interests and strengths, as well as set personal learning goals.

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A little bit of this a little bit of that – Blend it all up, smooth right?

What are your experiences and perceptions related to your own use of blended learning and/or technology integration in your professional context? What challenges and opportunities have you experienced?

I really struggled with where to start with this question because I have used technology in my practice right from Day 1 when I introduced Ancient Egyptian civilization to my grade 6/7 class during my internship. I put together a PowerPoint presentation full of pictures and videos and music to “hook” my students into wanting to know more. I used story telling to awaken their curiosities and get them interested in this amazing civilization and period in history. Fast forward 16 years and the capabilities of technology sure has changed. Continue reading

All about me – but not really ALL!

I am very excited to begin learning about Blended and Online Learning in EC&I834 with Katia Hildebrandt

My name is Chris Weber and I have been Teaching for almost 15 years. The first 9 years were spent teaching in New Westminster, B.C. and included everything from grade 3 to grade 8 including teaching in a public Montessori school and two middle schools. For the last 6 years I have been teaching in Regina at École Dr. A.E. Perry School where I have been the Vice Principal for the last 2 years. GOOOOOO Panthers!

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