Starting from scratch

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For my ECMP 355 class we were challenged with using Scratch; a coding site designed to teach students basic coding skills. At first I found this very difficult as I have never coded before and kept restarting the project. As a visual learner it was difficult for me to use with just the written instructions I found on the site so I ventured to YouTube where I found this video. Once using this video I was able to complete this project in a way I was happy with.

I believe that Scratch can be a great tool to teach students how to code if students are given the resources they need to use the website.  Coding is important for students in today’s world because as we’re becoming more technology centered more jobs are requiring the knowledge of coding.  Code is another language that is becoming more and more  necessary to communicate as a digital citizen.  Here is my project; let me know what you think!

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The Delivery

For my ECMP 355 class we were challenged to create a five card flickr story to demonstrate our use of digital storytelling. Mine is titled The Delivery.


Five Card Story: The Delivery

a Five Card Flickr story created by Lexi Milligan


flickr photo by bionicteaching


flickr photo by bionicteaching


flickr photo by bionicteaching


flickr photo by Serenae


flickr photo by bionicteaching


One gray and dreary day Lucia was told by her mother to deliver a cake to their new neighbor the elderly Mrs. Stueck. Now Lucia was not normally a fearful child but there was something about that house that unnerved her. Not wanting to disobey her mother she set off to complete the task at hand…that is until she reached the gate. You see; the gate was old, grey, and run down; something Lucia knew was a sure sign of a haunted house. Her nerves getting the best of her she decided it would be best to try the back door, but to reach the back door Lucia had to go through the deserted alley and past many cold metal fences. As she was just about to knock on the door Lucia heard something creeping down the alley, and with the cake still in hand ran from the horrifying creature that must have been chasing her. Out of breath and exhausted Lucia reaches the park just down the street and collapses onto the bench next to the tree, and eats the cake. For it’s tiring work trying to deliver a cake.


Ed Tech and today’s parents

Recently I read this blog post about how teachers/schools can use technology to increase parent engagement.  I found this useful because in my own school experience parental involvement was minimal right from elementary school.  It was 2000 and at the very beginning of the push for schools to go paperless which is great; what wasn’t so great was that the tech hadn’t really caught up and many homes didn’t have computers quite yet.  Rather than finding other ways to communicate with parents they relied on having students writing notes about school events in their agendas and hoping parents remembered to check them.  The article goes over 5 tech that can be used to connect with parents including social network accounts, iTunes U, Remind HQ, Seesaw, and Blippar.

I use remind HQ currently to get updates about #Saskedchat  and love the system.  I have known for awhile that I want to use it as a tool to remind my students of homework or just for class/school updates, as I know as a university student there have been a few times where I could’ve used a reminder about assignments, room switches, or even if a class is cancelled.  I also love that it is a safe and secure system with no students receiving your number and that students can get the reminders as texts to their phones. The idea of using remind for parents is one I had never thought of before but would be great when needing parent signatures, snow days, and big homework assignments, and would allow parents a glimpse into their child’s school life.

I also like the idea of a class social network account, and would probably go with a class blog and Twitter account.  I like the idea of parents getting to see what their child is working on in real time. And as a student at Globe Theatre School seeing snippets of our classes on their youtube channel was always really exciting.

Posting short videos like this of drama students rehearsing a scene or English students giving a presentation would both be beneficial for students who could watch their rehearsal back and learn from it and to parents who can see their child’s learning in progress. A class blog would also allow parents to come to you with any questions or concerns they may have about the lessons rather than hearing something from their child.

The other three I can’t quite see myself using in my classroom as I think that too much tech may overwhelm parents who do not have as much experience in using technology. iTunes U, Seesaw, and Blippar are also less common and thus there would be more of a learning curve for both teacher and parents.

Digital citizenship in the high school classroom

The Ministry of Education here in Saskatchewan is making digital citizenship a mandatory part of our curriculum as per the digital citizenship continuum; using both the continuum and the Saskatchewan curriculum I was able to create some lessons to teach in a grade eleven English classroom.

Lesson 1 

Outcomes and indicators

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Connection to the continuum:

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I would use this lesson at the very beginning of a class; as it sets the tone for use of technology in the classroom.  For this lesson I would begin by explaining what terms of service are and where they can be found; then moving into a class discussion as to why these may be important.  I would then have students go online and find a terms of service page and write a journal entry/blog post about what they found/why certain points may be in the terms of service.  The next day I would work with the class to create a terms of service/responsible use policy for use of technology in the classroom.  This policy would then be displayed in the classroom and sent home to parents, and be a guide for students as to responsible digital citizenship.

Lesson 2

Outcomes and indicators

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Connections to the curriculum

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For this lesson I would have students in groups of two or three research one of the following topics in regards to online activity/digital citizenship (piracy, gambling, shopping, online fundraising, digital currency) and create a powerpoint based on the information found.  After they present to the class each student would write a blog post/journal article looking deeper into one of the topics that interested them.

My knitting project: a hitch in the (knit) stitch (Part 4)

I am actually beginning to see the accomplishments I’ve been working towards and it’s really inspiring me to continue. This week I learnt the knit stitch and actually began knitting my scarf! For this step I’ve been following along with this video.

I liked this video because it was very simple and showed the actions up close with a lot of detail, as one of the problems I’m finding with the other video’s I’ve been using is that they are not detailed enough for a beginner to use.

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This stitch went pretty smoothly until the end where I realized that mine did not look like the one in the video.

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See how in this picture she has yarn on either side of the needle.

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Whereas mine is all on one side.

After realizing this I went to Twitter and tweeted this to see if I could get any help.  I also found this knitting forum where I thought might find some help.

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I added some photo’s and quickly got repliesScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 9.21.36 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 9.23.07 PM

It turns out that my problem was not actually a problem after all, and I can just continue knitting.  At least this gave me the opportunity to find a community for any future problems with my knitting, and they do have a forum to post updates on projects you’re working on, so maybe I’ll try that.

My knitting project: Cast on (Part 3)

After reading the responses on my last post, and seeing that I was not the only one in the class having trouble displaying something that was not perfect; I was inspired to overcome this feeling and post whether my knitting is perfect or not.


Cast on

Casting on is the first step in knitting my scarf and is defined in Merriam-webster as “to place (stitches) on a knitting needle for beginning…[a] knitted work” .  Having found many techniques for casting on around the web I chose the one displayed in the video below because the method seemed straightforward and she displayed it well.

The only problem I faced while doing this was the fact that I had not considered that my cats and yarn do not mix, and they kept trying to steal the ball of yarn.  Once the cats were put into another room the process went smoothly, and I am very happy with the final product.

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Stop by next week to see my experience with learning the main stitch of the scarf.

Citations

Cast on. (n.d.). Web. Retrieved November 1, 2015, from http://www.merriam webster.com/dictionary/cast on

Response to opposition of Treaty ed

When teaching Treaty education teachers often face ignorance and opposition to their work.  Two common arguments related to this oppression include:

  1. I have no Indigenous students in my classroom so I don’t need to teach Treaty Ed.
  2. It all happened a long time ago; it’s not important anymore.

Treaty ed. is a mandatory part of the Saskatchewan curriculum for a reason. Whether you have Indigenous students or not; we as Canadian’s are all Treaty People since we signed the treaties.  You cannot separate Indigenous history from Canadian history, and pretending that we were not a part of this history is doing a great disservice to all of our students.  Yes it’s a history that we should be ashamed of as it’s riddled with hate and oppression, but rather than hiding from it we should acknowledge it and use that to inspire change.  By pretending that we were not a part of the horror of residential schools, the sixties scoop, and the countless other forms of oppression that indigenous peoples have faced is erasing our place in history, and without that reflection we risk continuing the cycle of oppression.  The argument that it doesn’t affect our students because it happened a long time ago is not valid as the last federally run residential school in Saskatchewan “continued to serve as a residential school until 1996, when it was finally closed…and torn down”; having only been nineteen years since the last school was closed and only seven since the Canadian government officially acknowledged their role in residential schools and apologized this is still very recent.  Our students are going to have parents, grandparents, and even siblings that have experienced this horror and abuse.  Aside from that, students are still experiencing stereotypes, abuse, and racism left over from our troubled past

My knitting project: Overcoming my perfectionist side (Part 2)

You’ll see some knitting videos really soon; my perfectionist side kicked in and made me feel like I had to be an expert before I shared anything, but that’s silly. I will push that aside and post a video of me knitting whether I’m perfect or not when I have a moment to record it. For now I thought it would be useful post a collection of sources I have been using to learn about knitting.

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Cast on – A podcast all about knitting

This video – A great demonstration on how to knit an infinity scarf

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And the @Vogueknitting twitter – I feel like they could be a useful resource for me

Does Twitter belong in schools?

The following conversation has been written in two parts to examine potential perspectives on a classroom Twitter account. Madison Osterhout has taken on the role of a questioning or concerned parent, and I have written the response as a teacher, to advocate for the use of Twitter.

It is important to recognize that not all parents or staff may be ‘on board’ with the use of Twitter in schools, at least not initially. As with any tool or pedagogical technique, we as educators must thoughtfully consider why we do what we do, and be able to explain our reasoning to others when necessary.

Dear Teacher,

When my daughter came home today, she told me the class will be using “a classroom Twitter account.” She’s excited, but I have reservations. Namely, how is Twitter of value to students? And why does it need to be in school? In my opinion, kids are spending far too much time on their devices nowadays. It’s all I can do to get my kids to look up from their phones when I am trying to talk to them. It just seems that social media is taking over and we’re losing something as a society. Everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, and those other social media sites at all hours, filling up every spare minute of their day. And now the thought of it being a part of my daughter’s schooling, too? I just don’t understand. I send my daughter to school to learn, not to waste time online. I’m just not certain that it is a wise use of class time. I certainly respect you as an educator, and hope this letter is not taken in the wrong way, but I am hoping you can help me understand. Like all parents, I just want my daughter to receive the best education possible. 

Thank you,

A Concerned Parent 

The importance of place

In the article “Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing” there were many examples of both reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative of a research project. One way this project encouraged reinhabitation is that they encouraged young people to converse with older generations about the river because ‘this connection to nature and land was all the more significant for its contributions to an additional dimension of development: the cultural identity of the people”. Allowing the students to take ownership for and reinhabit the land. Decolonization was supported by research project was that the advisory group was formed with the band council “so that the Cree could track environmental and social changes on their own terms for their own purposes”; this is important to decolonization because society’s colonial wallpaper encourages us to get so caught up in helping people that we neglect to ask their own ideas or opinions on the project,

I definitely want to consider place in my own classroom; I will do this by first asking myself who feels comfortable in my classroom and in the school as a whole. I would also like to get my students opinions on the place where they are learning; maybe by having students write in their journals describing their favorite place then sharing with the class what makes up a safe, comforting, and open place. Through English and drama I plan to encourage the exploration of place both through reading and analyzing texts and through play; using my students insights to mold and create the place that is my classroom.