Monday, 2 April 2012

Things to Ponder...

Wow, it has been AGES since my last post - and now that I am on spring break I have finally had a chance to breathe and get back into the swing of things. We had an interesting PD day before we left for break, as my school is changing their strategic plan and wanted to get some input from the staff as to the direction the school should be headed (whether or not our input is valued... we shall see!) There was a question they asked that got me thinking - "What will education look like in the future, 20-30 years down the road?". 

The first thing that came to mind was this: 

And I got excited - maybe change is on it's way? The second thing I thought about was this article: 

Sweden debuts first classroom-less school

And, maybe standardized assessments will soon disappear?!

And then I thought - who am I kidding? The are so many different people involved in education... how do we even make a dent in order to bring about change? And DO we need to change the paradigms of education? If it were up to me, I would say YES - change is GOOD. But how do we change so that everyone is happy and has their needs met? Seems impossible. Now this would be, some might argue, a good place to give up on the thought. But, instead I think of my little ones that I have taught over my short teaching career so far. If I can bring a sense of fairness, community, and true learning into the 4 walls of my classroom, I know that I have had a positive impact, even if it is on a small scale. Truth is, we can't change education overnight. Over time? Maybe. As long as we are there for each other, there for our kids, and do what we believe to be right each day, we can't go wrong. It is exciting to know that we, as teachers, play such an important role every day - and I think we can all agree that no 2 days are ever the same! I do think that change is on its way, but in what exact direction will education be steered?

Anyway, these are just my thoughts for the day. I would love to hear what you think!
Hope you all had a wonderful Spring Break!


Friday, 2 March 2012

Made by the kiddos - PPT to a movie, so EASY!

So, I learned a new task the other week - how to turn a Power Point presentation into a movie! It is so super easy, and is great because many students (at least div 2 & up) are able to navigate through Power Point already, so they can easily make movies without learning a new type of program. My gr 4 kids each created a slide to help spread the word to the world about how important our water is to us. I then compiled all the slides into one Power Point, and voila, turned it into a movie to be uploaded to YouTube (scroll down to see how!). My kids are SO excited, and keep checking to see how many hits they have, and if they have gained any new comments - so if you have a second, click on the picture to check it out!!

I have PPT 2010, so I only know how to work specifically with this version of Power Point, although I am sure it is similar on other versions. For the Mac users out there - I'm completely incompetent when it comes to Mac computers (maybe you can teach me a thing or 2?!)

Here is how to make your Power Point into a movie (the movie will include all transitions, special effects, and sound clips!):

When you are happy with your Power Point presentation & have saved it normally, click SAVE AS.  

Then, where it says "Save as type:" select "WINDOWS MEDIA VIDEO"

It will take a few minutes to save, but before you know it, it will be a windows media file and will play in any media program and can be uploaded to YouTube. It's that easy!!

Let me know if you have any questions, or know of any other fun tips and tricks on the computer for presentations ;)

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Simply for Your Enjoyment & Inspiration

Here are a couple of funny, fabulous, motivational clips (in my opinion!). If you haven't seen them (or haven't seen them lately), enjoy!

Sir Ken Robinson - Multiple Intelligences

"The Nothing Box" - Men's brains VS Women's brains - funny!
part 1
part 2 (& better picture)

And finally, just something silly - yet funny & true 
(Don't judge me for getting sucked into the fad of these videos! hehe)

Happy Long Weekend!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Social Skills, Class Meetings & Freebies!

.My very favourite part of being a classroom teacher is when we get together as a class, and have a class meeting. It is one thing that I will always do in my classroom, no mater what! We usually have our class meetings and social skills lessons together, at least once a week (plus the impromptu, emergency class meetings when something really big is going on between the kids - teachable moments are so important)! During one of my most successful class meetings, my kids and I came up with some problem solving strategies, and we made the poster above on (if you haven't checked the Wordle site out, you will love it! Great for mother/father day gifts, projects, displays.. & more!)

I always tell the kids that in our classroom, we don't create problems, we solve problems. The best way to do that is by having a discussion, and agreeing on a solution that adresses everyone involved. Class meetings are perfect for this! It gives a chance for everyone to have a voice, and for kids to learn from each other. Also, I truly believe that academic learning can not take off to its full potential if students are worrying and obsessing over problems that are hanging over their heads. It is astonishing to see how the kids succeed academically after their social and emotional struggles begin to improve!

My class meetings work like this:

We all sit in a circle on the floor, including me. There are very important rules during a class meeting (which is always what our very FIRST class meeting is about) and it is amazing how the kids really take these rules to heart. I choose a stuffy, or another object to be our "talking tool"... and it gets passed around the circle, beginning with me asking a question about the topic that needs to be addressed.  

Here are our class meeting rules:

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Liebster Award?!

Wow, it seems like ages since I last left a post (student-led conference time! BUSY busy..)! The other week, I got a great surprise! I am SO excited that Kara from Spedventures gave me the Liebster Blog Award! Wow! I am fairly new to blogging, so this is super exciting, and I am flattered to be nominated!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

All Dogs Have ADHD..!

Oh my goodness... I was shown an AMAZING book yesterday by one of my collegues! Have you heard of this one??

It is a book  by Kathy Hoopmann, and she has some amazing books for kids all about ADHD and Asperger's Syndrome. This book, All Dogs Have ADHD, uses extremely cute photographs of all sorts of dogs to help explain what it is like to have ADHD, and helps kids relate to certain behaviours and understand that it is OK to have ADHD. I think it is a great book not only for kids diagnosed with ADHD, but also for kids who are around kids that struggle with attention (classmates, siblings, etc). Kids can instantly recognize the traits that are exemplified by these canines.  THEN I did some looking into it, and she has another book that looks great:

 All Cats have Asperger Syndrome. Incredible. I haven't had a chance to look at this one, but I bet it is great too - can't you picture some feline tendencies relating to the non-verbal/sensory/literal traits of a child with Asperger Syndrome?

Kathy Hoopman also has an adventure series where the characters illustrate what it is like to live with Aspergers; think: A kids version of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" By Mark Haddon (which is a MUST READ if you haven't checked it out yet!).

And, while we are on the topic of fabulous books, have you read House Rules by Jodi Picoult? She is one of my absolute favourite authors, and in House Rules, she delivers an amazing, can't-put-it-down, brilliant novel demonstrating the struggles, triumphs, and challenges between members of society, families, and individuals with Asperger Syndrome (and all based around a murder mystery, too! Can't get much better than that.) Also a must-read if you have not picked it up yet!

I hope everyone is staying warm out there (us northern-ers anyway.... it is -45 degrees Celsius in Alberta today...brrrrrr. Snow day today!)

I would love for you to leave me a comment to let me know what you think of these books! Also, if you have any other great resources (or just darn good novels) that you have come across that relate to ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, LD, Social Skills, etc.I would love to hear about them too!

:) Christine

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Social Media (sort-of) and..... Full Sentences!

Happy New Year! I hope 2012 is treating everyone well so far. Well, we are back into the swing of things, and it barely feels like we had a break - with teaching we seem to just dive right back in, wouldn't you say?!

I wanted to share my super successful writing lesson I had with my Gr. 4 students this week. I teach Gr. 4, but keep in mind that the kiddos are all diagnosed with learning disabilities, and they all seem to have an especially tricky time with written output. I have been trying ALL year to get the kids to successfully write full sentences on their own, but it sure has been a battle - editing their work tends to bring on negative reactions because it means *more* writing....

I tried out a website that I had heard about a while back called TodaysMeet. This is a site that is extremely easy to use, and is similar to twitter because there is a live feed that you can view as people submit a message. I like this site because you can set it up for a certain time frame - and then it is deleted. So, for the purpose of this assignment I set the site up for one day, then it would disappear along with all the written messages from my students at the end of the day.
 The lesson....