All posts by Dani

Kids Yoga: My last learning project post!

Well, what a journey this has been! I am thankful for the opportunities to grow, learn and evolve in yoga, with my children and in my knowledge of educational technology.

These are the goals I started out with for my project:

Goals:

  • To create my own digital resource folder of kids yoga activities.
  • Practice new yoga activities with my kids and friends at home
  • Record Practice Teaching Videos to share with EDTC 300 classmates
  • Create a Kids Yoga Channel on YouTube

Here is what I achieved:

  • I explored and shared many resources for kids yoga with classmates
  • As I began to work on my own guide, I created an outline, but I decided to leave it open for now… One of the things I realized is that in my own journey as a yoga teacher, I am still developing my own style of teaching yoga to kids. For me, part of this practice involves reflecting on how I might best support other educators to incorporate more movement work into their classes. I would like to eventually work as an Educational Consultant, and I imagine that yoga and movement work would fit into that!

I feel I need a few more years experience and practice (and perhaps another professional level training) to be ready to create the kind of guide I would truly like to create.

For now, I have the following outline to share – the topics I feel would be most important to include in my draft guide.

  • I was successful in recording and uploading some yoga practice videos with my kids: three videos in total!

I also learned:

  • I love video editing! At first, I felt daunted by the challenge. As I started to get into it, I realized it is not as hard as it looked at first glance. There are just different steps and processes to learn. The more I break it down, and figure out, the easier and more natural the process becomes. It’s already getting faster for me too!
  • Canva is the coolest program ever! I can’t wait to spend more time with it!
  • It is way harder to do yoga with your own kids than someone else’s kids!

Some of my challenges:

  • It would have been nice to organize a group of kids outside to do a kids yoga practice and record it – because of time constraints I was not able to do this. I am also hesitant to ask my friends about videoing their kids to put on the internet. It just feels outside of my comfort zone.
  • I was dealing with health issues that affected my breathing. Actually, the catalyst for the issues was connected to this project – I have been working on a wall at my house, to use as a background for shooting yoga films. My painter did some sanding for me – the sanding triggered my asthma – and had affected my ability to talk, laugh and sing (and teach yoga!) for several weeks. For this reason, I had to be flexible with my project, including the content and the focus of the project. I ended up spending more time on iMovie and learning to video edit than I initially planned as my goal. This worked out for though, as it is now something I am starting to feel passionate about as a new skill!
  • I can feel overwhelmed by all of the kids’ yoga content available on the internet. Sometimes it seems like everyone is just out to make money and it is impossible to know who to trust. There is lots of great content out there, but you have to hunt around for it. The discovery of Mercury Reader is helpful because at least it helps you cut out some of the advertisements when you are reading.

My yoga guide outline (I think this could turn into a book one day!):

Thanks to everyone for following along!

I am happy to help anyone anytime. Please feel free to reach out to me if you ever have any questions about kids yoga or trauma-informed yoga. Anytime!

Take care,

Dani

The Sun Shines on Everyone: Teaching Inclusion through Song and Kids Yoga

The Sun Shines on Everyone is a song by Snatam Kaur. It is often used in kids’ yoga practice. It is a nice song for adults to listen to as well. It contains a powerful message about inclusion.

“The sun shines on everyone – it doesn’t make choices. When it rains – it rains on everyone – it doesn’t make choices.” 

Teaching kids about inclusion: Let us just have love and acceptance of everyone. Of all of their beauty. Of all of their difficulties and differences too. Of course, life can be more complicated than this. But when we start with messages of inclusion, we lay an important foundation.

“The one spirit lives in everyone – it doesn’t make choices. It doesn’t make choices.”

We are all connected. As humans and beings of this earth. We are all worthy of being here.

“Peace to all. Love to all.”

Kids Yoga Practice

Options:

  • You could just put this song on and let your kids dance or have it play in the background.
  • You can use it as transition music in the classroom, as kids move from one activity to the next.

-You could experiment with a movement practice: adding yoga forms to the music. Feel free to get creative with this! My kids like to make up their own yoga forms!

“The sun shines on everyone”

“When it rains, it rains on everyone”

“The one spirit lives in everyone”

Bedtime or Restime Song

Options:

  • You could sing this song to or with your kids for quiet time or relaxation time.

I’ve taught my kids the words to this song and we like to sing it at bedtime now. 

  • I worked with an amazing Kindergarten teacher in my ECS 100 Practicum – she regularly incorporated quiet time/rest time for the kids into her class. She would play calming/relaxing music to them in the background. Yoga (and the use of this song and practices) could easily be incorporated into various resting practices in schools.
This video demonstrates some examples of the singing and calming practice I have been doing with my two young children at bedtime.

Sharing, Learning, Growing and Course Community

I really enjoyed getting to know my classmates through the online platform of EDTC 300.

During the COVID-19 Outbreak, we have all become more socially isolated. The opportunity to connect to classmates, even though it is over a computer, is a gift, and I have been grateful for these opportunities.

I made this video to summarize my learning experiences in the course.

Contributions to Course Community

Twitter

Joining Twitter was a learning curve for me! I felt hesitant at first. As a Yukon University YNTEP Student, I was aware that Twitter is a resource used by some of the Education Students. I felt intimidated, but ready to give it a try. I created a Twitter handle and bio. I discovered and followed classmates and people and pages of interest on Twitter. I discovered that there is a wealth of Education resources available on Twitter – this was a new discovery! I interacted with classmates, asking them questions, commenting on their posts, and responding to their questions on mine.

One of the things I could offer my classmates, is positive, encouraging and inspirational posts. I also tended to share news articles about the north, LBGTQ2S+, and general education topics, especially lists!

Tweeting about Inclusive Classrooms – A post with lists and visuals: my favourite! It was great to connect with classmates online about this important topic.
Providing suggestions and ideas for video-making apps to classmates on Twitter

Blog Posts – Others

I really liked reading the blog posts of my classmates. It was a great way to learn about people in the class and to feel connected with others.

I liked offering encouragement and support. 

Some of my favourite bloggers to follow were:

What I appreciated and valued about each of their projects were:

Linnette’s dedication and determination: despite some challenges and setbacks, she kept challenging herself to keep walking. She was not afraid to admit her shortcomings or difficulties. I also related to her, as a Mom, and knowing how much more challenging that can make things feel sometimes – you just have less time to fit everything in – self care and schoolwork included – because little people always come first. In the end, she was successful in accomplishing her goal of 10,000 steps!

Rosalie has been working really hard on her beading skills. She is really good at it! She has persisted in her learning, despite the challenges of needing to get instructed from her sister over the internet. Beading seems to be something that is much easier to learn when you have direct, in person support. Rosalie did not have that, as she is living in Yukon, and her sister is in their hometown of Paulatuk. Despite this, Rosalie persisted, and she was able to make beautiful earrings, experimenting with different types of patterns.

I could tell that Andrew was really set on improving his cooking skills – and I think he did really well! Not only did he learn to cook himself, he provided detailed instructions and insights that would help any beginning cook to get started and feel more confident in the kitchen. It was neat to watch how Andrew explored various elements of cooking, such as tool organization, list-making, and how to use a dishwasher. He also highlighted the benefits of family mealtime, which I thought was awesome!

Here are some of my comments:

As well as commenting on these student’s blogs, I also had a chance to visit the blogs of other classmates and share regular comments throughout the course.

Some of my interactions on other student’s blogs:

Blog Posts – My Blog

It felt meaningful to me to have other classmates take the time to read and comment on my blog. I appreciated hearing their comments and insights.

One of the conversations that felt the most important to me is about student mental health. Mental health affects everyone. Despite growing awareness, I believe there is still a lot of stigma. We need to keep having the important conversations. We need to keep normalizing mental health difficulties. Every conversation matters. I am glad I could contribute to this a little bit.

Interactions on my blog:

Discord

Students used Discord to ask questions, problem solve, and help each other.

I found it useful to download the App onto my phone so it was easily available.

Connections with other students

I did my best to keep up with other students’ posts and comments on twitter, although I must admit – with being a busy mom, and working three jobs – some days it felt like a challenge! 

Students in EDTC300 shared some amazing resources on Twitter and I liked reading some of the posts they made! I replied to comments, and made comments on other student’s posts. When I found a resource that I found helpful, I would retweet it and thank the other student for sharing.

I like to connect by offering thanks to others, and offering them messages of support and encouragement.

I observed how incredibly helpful and supportive everyone was of each other on Discord! Students were quick to jump on and answer each other’s questions, offering in-depth support and solutions whenever other’s needed. I felt that if I ever needed to ask a question, my classmates would be there for me to help.

Yoga Meditation for Education Students

As part of my learning, I became curious about the process of video editing. In practice for the longer work of editing videos of doing yoga with my kids, I decided to take on a more simple challenge of making a meditation video. I wanted to create a meditation that would be helpful for education students during times of stress or overwhelm. For me, this was another meaningful way of contributing to the class community.

Thank you for reading and for sharing the journey!

Until next time!

-Dani

VidCode: Creative Coding – End Plastic Pollution!

I have heard the term – coding – so many times. Mostly it seems to be used by kids and younger adults. So what is it?

According to Robo Wonderkind, coding is:

“Code is the language of the 21st century. It’s what tells our computers, apps, websites, software, and products what to do and how to do it. It’s giving a computer a set of instructions and functions, so it does what we want it to do. These instructions are also commonly known as ‘computer programming’, ‘software programming’, or ‘coding’.”

Source: https://www.robowunderkind.com/pages/coding-for-kids

Some of the benefits of coding for kids:

  • Problem solving skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Memory work
  • Development of computational thinking skills

I tried out Hour of Code

I chose a coding activity aimed at the grades 6+ level called “Plastic Pollution PSA”

Here is the finished product!

Every time you hit the button, the garbage moves over to a new location. This is possible because of the code I entered into the setup.

My reflections:

It was harder than I thought! I had to stay focused and remind myself to follow each step. Concentration is necessary for coding! It is also important to be able to follow directions clearly.

Why Every Child Should Learn to Code

Cool off-screen activity, that introduces coding:

Teach Your Kids to Code with a Deck of Cards

Here is a free google course for adults:

Understanding the Basics of Coding

Fake News: Read it, check it, wait

Fake news is real. Fake news can be dangerous. Fake news can be elusive. Fake news is a threat. 

Our class worked together to look at various websites to examine the credibility of the sources. Some questions we asked were:

  • How neutral is this information provider?
  • Is the information provided accurate or biased?
  • Where does the funding for this site come from?
  • Where does income generated from this site go?
  • What could be some of the underlying motivators of this site?
As teachers, we must find age-appropriate ways to educate our students. Increasing our students' digital literacy is a top priority.

The three main takeaways from the video below are:

  • Read it 
  • Check it
  • Wait

Kids benefit from simple and easy to understand steps directions, especially at younger grade levels!

Fake NEWS: How to Equip Your Kids to Tell Fact from Fiction

Protecting Children From Fake News

NTCE Framework

Breathing with Bubbles – YouTube movie project using iMovie, Canva and Epidemic Sound

My learning project work continues this week! Here is the finished product:

A few weeks ago, my dear friend Emily came by. I had asked her to help me explore some kids yoga practices with me and my two kids. In my learning project (kids yoga) one of the big insights I have had is this:

Practicing yoga with kids is so much better with friends!

In fact, having a high adult to child ratio when exploring yoga with kids will make a practice go smoother, easier, and allow for more 1:1 attention for the littles – especially when you are working with younger children.

This advice applies both in the classroom, and at home…the more support available for children, the better!

For this video, I used a few apps:

Canva

Epidemic Sound

iMovie

Here are a few helpful handouts and links on breathing exercise with kids:

Calm Breathing Handout for Parents and Educators

Five Fun Breathing Exercises for Kids

10 Breathing Exercises for Kids with Anxiety or Anger

Monica L.’s Story, Digital Identity and Mental Health

I was touched and moved by this video. I appreciated the candidness of Monica’s sharing. 

It takes incredible courage and strength to come to a place of readiness to be able to openly share one’s journey in the ways she has with others.

She said It had taken her many years to become ready to share her story. She said that she shares it in the hopes that it will help others. And she does it so she can be strong in her own truths.

She said she was deeply affected by her online takedown, which occurred synonymously with the rise of social media. She suffered from the rumours, the gossip, the destruction of reputation and character. “Don’t most 22-year olds make a few mistakes that they regret in their life?,” she asks. I have to agree that she is right.

Why do we people think it is okay to be so mean, so cruel, so judgemental, so dehumanizing to others? Why does the anonymity of the internet bring out the worst in people?

Whether it is from the effects of cyberbullying, in person bullying, or other psycho-social conditions, our students are at risk. We must always remember this.

Our students are always at risk of experiencing deep levels of hurt. 
We are in a place to help them. We can change lives. We can save a life.

The truth is these deeply interwoven aspects and layers of mental health extend beyond just one realm of online or offline – some kids will be prone to emotional challenges no matter what their level of online safety practices and digital literacy. And some yet will be more likely to engage in risky online behaviour despite every heed and warning we could ever give. Still, it is our job to educate them. And further still, we must always be ready for potentially rising mental health crises in children and adolescents.

Mental health crises' can sneak up upon them - and us - so quickly.
We can make a choice to speak up. We can try to help.
We can make a difference. Do not ever forget it.

We can do an incredible service for our kids by truly familiarizing ourselves with the online platforms of which they become so well-acquainted to themselves. We can help to educate them to protect themselves. And we can support them along the way – connecting with the kids themselves – as well as with parents and the community.

Reaching out to colleagues, friends and counsellors is necessary to keep ourselves healthy. We must take the time to debrief. To seek all of the support that we need. Holding space for other’s suffering – witnessing their difficulties, and intervening in the ways that we may – can be difficult, painful, and cause our own suffering.

Some of these kids may have already had many struggles before we met them. There are limits to the ways we can support them. Coming to terms with these limits is challenging work. I believe we must always try – to be present, to offer our best selves- caring, supportive, empathetic. 

And ultimately, our job as teachers is to help guide them to become the best humans they can be – kind, caring, empathetic. Holding space for them matters. And just being there for them teaches them all of these values.

We can teach them that the world of communication and the ensuing responsibilities of this, falls not in one place – online or offline – but rather along the whole spectrum – in the realm of these mixed and complicated spaces.

Kids Help Line

Bell Let’s Talk

Crisis Services Canada – Suicide Prevention – Support

In each other’s spaces: Digital Sleuthing exercise

Left to right: Dani, Rosalie, Janet

For the class exercise, I snooped on my friend Rosalie. After this was complete, I gave her some feedback about her digital identity. 

One of things that stood out to me was Rosalie was surprised  about some of the information that was available about her online. She simply was not aware that certain information was out there. 

 It’s just nice to know what is publicly available or not. But all too often, we do not take the time to figure this out. For this reason, I feel grateful for this course, and the learning experiences that have been offered to us.

For example, neither of us realized that YouTube shares your personal playlists publicly. Rosalie seemed surprised by this and I was as well. For this reason, I’m going to check my own settings, and make sure I’m not sharing my YouTube lists with others. For me, I prefer to be more private with what I share with others. 

My friend and classmate Janet snooped on me. I felt fairly content with the feedback that she gave to me. Mainly, that most of my personal details, such as my birthday and address are hidden. I feel that’s important in protecting ourselves from threats like identity theft. Also, because I work in some higher-risk settings, I like to keep my home life safe and private. It was nice to hear the feedback from her that my online presence comes across as professional. This is what I aim for in the work I do through my business. 

Reflections

After completing our class learning, my view has shifted. I now feel strongly that every person should be making themselves aware of what information is available about themselves online. It is so easy to live in an imaginary bubble where you do not think to ask yourself what kind of information about your life may be public, but it is a question everyone should be asking.

I plan to educate my family and friends about the importance of this. One of the aspects that I love about being a University Student, is the exposure to new ideas and concepts and the openness that comes along with it. I feel that it is easier to explore new ways of knowing and doing as a student. It is also easier to try to convince some of the hard-minded adults in my life to learn to think a little bit differently, when I can share knowledge from a classroom perspective.

Here are some articles I will share with my friends and family:

Manage Your Online Reputation

17 Things to Know Before Googling Yourself

10 Tips to Improve Your Online Privacy

Here are some resources for Working with Kids

What Can You Do To Protect Your Online Rep? (Video for Kids)

Educating Kids About Digital Privacy

Resources for Teachers – Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

Breathe Like a Bear and Integrating Breathing Breaks For Kids

Breathing and meditation practices are wonderful for parents and educators to have in their toolbelt of resources

Benefits of Breathing Breaks and Practice Ideas

Breathe Like Bear!

This is a great little practice guide for parents and educators:

The book is available on Amazon here.

Support for Parents and Educators

Tips (Breathe Like Bear)

  1. Skim through the pages and find the ones that stand out to you
  2. Be ready to teach on the fly! Have an upset little one? Offer “Hot Chocolate Breath” or “Pizza Breath” – Pay attention to their reaction. If they seem interested, you could try it with them.
  3. Be willing to adapt practices based on kids’ requests and needs. It’s okay to go outside the book and make up or modify into your own versions of things!

Other suggestions for the classroom:

-Where do you even get started? Learn a few practices at time. Know that it’s okay to know very little! Start small!

-Try it out and see what works – listen to the kids’ feedback. Does this one work for them? Would they like another one instead? Which one is their favourite?

-As you learn more practice ideas, it gets easier to offer breathing exercises in the moment –to help support them with calming, grounding and centering, whenever they need it.

Remember: Check your own breathing! These practices can help you, as a parent and/or educator to stay calm, centred and grounded yourself. You can role-model self-regulation to kids by becoming more aware and in-control of your own breathing. When you are ready, if you like, you might take the time to slow down for a while and practice your own breathing exercises and or meditations. There will be benefits for you and your kids/classroom!

Digital Citizenship

“…students are often not learning to be safe and responsible Internet users at home, so schools and teachers must make sure that students are acquiring these skills in the classroom; otherwise we are putting young people at risk.” -Page 7

“If we want students to be lifelong learners, they should see learning as something that can happen at any time, but by keeping technology out of the classroom, we send the message that school is separate from “real life.” ….Incorporating digital worlds and digital citizenship into the curriculum helps bridge the gap between school and home.” -Page 9

Digital Citizenship in Saskatchewan Schools – Policy Planning Guide

red and blue hot air balloon floating on air on body of water during night time
Photo by Bess Hamiti on Pexels.com

Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship – Reflections.

Here are some of my own notes and takeaways of the main points from the guidelines;:

-Respectful and appropriate communication to and with others

-Allowing children to fully participate in digital society

-Understanding ethics, laws and legalities

-Understanding the implications of digital communications and digital footprint

-Teachers must develop their own digital literacy capacities first; then they can pass this important knowledge on to students

-How money is spent online, taking care and cautions, and avoiding scams

-Exploring freedom of expression and protection from bullying and harassment online

-Balancing physical and emotional health and wellness with internet use

-Protection of personal data, protection from viruses

-Bring your own device policies and programs: There are benefits to letting kids use their own devices!

As Educators, we must:

-Always be teaching at age and grade appropriate levels, embedding knowledge within various subjects whenever possible and appropriate

-Be familiar with outcome and indicator goals and incorporate appropriate teaching and learning within these contexts

How to connect Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship with grade levels, subjects, outcomes and indicators?

-Introducing digital literacy as a core learning goal, at the beginning of each school year

-Use of multi-disciplinary learning: For example, embedding digital literacy practices into other subject areas. E.g. As learning increasingly uses more digital software and platforms, digital literacy practices accompany.

-As the class becomes more familiar, asking them to draw upon their knowledge and share with classmates and teachers what they have learned and are practicing

-Children learn to analyze, and explain the purposes of digital literacy practices, breaking it down into step-by-step practices and purposes

-Schools become digitally literate, and it becomes a common school language

-Children understand the knowledge and expectations appropriate for their age and learning level, and are able to apply these skills in the classroom.

How can you integrate digital citizenship into your future classroom?

-Have regular, open-ended discussions with students

-Keep a list of goals and priorities on the wall

-Allow students to reflect and grow on their digital experiences

-Teach scenarios: “What is the worst that can happen?” and “What does healthy digital citizenship look like?”

-Create mini workshops and tutorials for parents to help keep them updated, educated and informed

Student’s need to develop twenty-first century skills!

Apollo Research Institute’s 10 key skills critical for the future workforce are:  

-sense-making  

-social intelligence  

-novel and adaptive thinking  

-cross-cultural competency  

-computational thinking  

-new-media literacy 

-transdisciplinarity  

-design mindset  

-cognitive load management  

-virtual collaboration

Supporting digital fluency will help nurture the development of these skills.