Learning something new everyday!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Don't you just love it when your planned lessons are enhanced by a little "spontaneous combustion" so to speak?  As I have mentioned before, I am being challenged to keep up with technology in the classroom and so far love (with a little hate here and there) the experience. I am learning to let go of idea of the perfect lesson in place of the I will make mistakes and learn along with, or from, my students. I do find this giving up a little of the control in the class very difficult, but when things start to fall into place and everyone in the room begins to adjust to their new roles fluctuating between instructor and learner, the results are amazing!

Just before the break I had an art lesson planned using plasticine in the style of Barbara Reid. While my supplies and books to get ideas from were organized and the students were excited, I was still missing something.  Enter my fabulous colleague from across the hall, Ms. Leech, who is also doing the same activity only she is showing her students a youtube clip of Barbara Reid modelling her techniques. So, with the ease of having the Smartboard already setup my students too were benefitting from Ms. Reid's expertise within minutes. Here was the missing link to enrich my students experience with this activity.  In opening our doors and allowing others to see in and interact (teach, share and learn) with us, we all may benefit.  Yes, I do find the thought of others seeing me teach and make mistakes in the classroom  humbling to say the least, but isn't that what I'm asking of my students?  I'm trying!

I am beginning to see the possibilities of further allowing my students the opportunity to share their learning on a more global platform and interact with others around the world.  Exciting! I would love some ideas for direction and opportunities.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Break and Looking back on the Year!

This spring break has brought a much needed opportunity to relax and reenergize. I was fortunate enough to trade our wacky and unpredictable BC weather for the 90+ degree Arizona climate for a few days (thanks mom!).  It felt great to put the worries of the day (current job action stresses, family & household chores, homework - my own as well as my grade 8, 6 & 4 kids to help) aside and spend some time by the pool with my iPad, visit and shop!

Now that I'm back home, I'm continuing with the goal of improving my teaching! In the course of this past year achieving this has morphed into a more dedicated focus on technology.  This is a challenge for me as I am not  a "techie"!  In preparing to return to the classroom full time this year, I spent last summer covering related blogs and Pinterest for ideas. I was challenged in my thinking and gained many lesson ideas from talented professionals. I jumped into full-time teaching as I tried to keep up with my own professional development on line as well as opportunities through my district.  It was at our district ed-camp that my plans to use technology to a greater extent in the classroom really took root. I had just got a Smartboard installed in the classroom and my students and I love using it, but can my grade ones do more?

The short answer is - Yes!  My friend, Niki and I met fellow grade 1 educator Karen Lirenman, also from our district, who is using technology in so many other ways with her 6 year olds! After some great discussion we made arrangements to meet again where she graciously helped set me up in the world of blogging and showed me how she gives her students a greater voice with their own blogs. Soooooo, here I am jumping out of my comfort zone with this blog as well as preparing to start my students with individual blogs. I have also been introduced to Twitter which is fast becoming another valuable professional development tool and yes, using iPads in the classroom!

This has been a fantastic year in so many ways for me as a teacher and I have never before been so excited about learning.  The more I learn, the opportunities I can see......!