Final Course Submission

“Innovation is a process, not a product.” –George Couros

Creating my online course did not happen overnight, it has a been a journey over the last few months learning new and innovative technologies, figuring out what I should focus on, and trying to make this online course usable for 6 year-olds.

The importance of creating smaller learning cohorts within the larger classroom environment is critical to a balanced literacy program. By creating smaller learning communities, the teacher is able to customize and personalize instruction for individual students or small groups. A first grade classroom brings a wide range of abilities, especially when it comes to literacy. Using blended learning and specifically the station rotation model, an educator is better able to accommodate and engage the individual learners as you are able to customize the lessons to the individual students. This course is a blended course using a station rotation model, which includes online instruction, teacher-lead instruction, and collaborative activities and stations. There will be a set time for face-to-face instruction, followed by online work. Students will be divided into groups based upon their reading level.

Below you will find my journey as I worked towards the product for my major project for EC&I 834. To see the final product , which is still a work in progress (I will continue to chip away at the remaining modules over the next few months), please download a copy of the online course. Please click the links below to see the process of completing my final project in more detail.

  1. I started this journey to creating my online course after reading the Bates chapter on The continuum of technology-based learning. I was excited to attempt an online course for grade 1’s after reading and reflecting on this chapter because my online course could be a blended course and I could use a station rotation model (the perfect model for balanced literacy).
  2. The next task was to create a course profile, which included an overview and description of the course.
  3. The next task was to check out some online courses. This was crucial to my development of this course as I was able to identify what I needed to include and how I needed to structure my online course for grade 1 students to be successful.
  4. Then it was time to complete my first course module. I am so glad this module was due early on in the course as it took WAY more time than I had imagined. I really struggled through this process and I believe it is evident in what I produced as it wasn’t my best work.
  5. We then received VALUABLE feedback from our peers on our online course. This feedback was really a game changer in my online course and if you look at my first submission to my final submission, you will notice that A LOT has changed. Some of the notable changes are:
    • My YouTube video review lessons were completed reformatted and re-recorded to be more aesthetically pleasing and to better align with the student activities.
    • All of the student activities in seesaw were re-created to create a more uniform feel and be more engaging for the students to complete.
    • Activities were sorted into categories, folders, and identify the skill being learned.
    • The assessment process was better described and thoroughly laid out.
    • The overall feel and look of the online course was changed. An e-book was created in place of the document.
    • The course was more thoroughly described.
  6.  Lastly, the final submission was completed!

Please watch the screencast below for an inside view of my online course.

* You can also find this post on my EC&I 834 Major Project page.

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How can I improve?

This past week we had the experience to receive feedback from our peers on our online course. Receiving this feedback is so valuable to me and I truly appreciate the time and effort my peers put into looking at my course with a critical eye and providing me with the positive areas of my online course and where I could improve or areas that were unclear. This will help me a great deal as I continue to develop and revise my online course. (Alec, this is a brilliant idea to encourage community, provide room for growth, and help your students be successful. Thanks!)

After reading both Joe’s and Dani’s reflections, I thought I would respond to my feedback in a similar approach by including some direct quotes from my feedback form and responding to them.

It would have never crossed my mind to do an online course for grade 1. 

The idea of targeting the grade-one student population within the school division is a wonderful idea.

I agree and thank you! I was questioning my choice of doing an online course in grade 1 as I knew there would be some challenges as grade 1’s are very reliant on the teacher. I feel like the focus on one major online tool, Seesaw, allows them to master the tool and then they are able to focus on the learning activities related to the outcomes, rather than learning multiple tools.

Research has shown that students often memorize words for a test and then promptly forget them. Assigned spelling lists often require students to study isolated words rather than phonics, the sounds that letters make within the words. Therefore, the goal has been to create a program that does not completely abandon weekly lists, but emphasizes opportunities for students to investigate and understand the patterns in words and build word knowledge that can be applied to both reading and writing. Hopefully this online course will do just that!

The station-rotation model of the blended course gives an opportunity for teacher-student and student-student interaction, as well as independent work where students can experience both face-to-face and online learning.

I feel like the above reviewer understood my online course and how it would work in a grade 1 classroom, but perhaps I need to include some more information on this in my course profile as the following questions were asked in my feedback form:

  • How will students be sorted into different modules? Some sort of screen administered to begin with? FnP assessments?
  • Have you thought about what you would do for students reading at a higher level?
  • You mention that this is intended for Grade 1 students in Regina Catholic Schools and that students can have a “wide range of abilities” but you did not address the demographics and what adaptations to the program could be possible (example-how would you help a Grade 1 student with EAL be successful with this module).
  • What other tools could you use for feedback during the process to both monitor, as well as, encourage student progress?

In Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades, Second Edition, Fountas and Pinnell emphasize that “small-group instruction is more powerful when nested within a variety of instructional contexts with varying levels of support,” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). This word study online course allows for a small group of students to work independently on the “we do” portion of their word study practice while the teacher does guided reading with a small group of students. Other students in the classroom would be working on writing, reading to self, or listening to reading. A station-rotation model of blended learning allows for a purposeful and engaging use of technology in a grade one classroom. In addition, this online course can be accessed from home to allow for enrichment with parental support. This small group instruction guided by assessment will allow for differentiation for individual students whether they are EAL, reading above grade level, reading at grade level, or reading below grade level.

At the beginning of the year multiple assessments will be used to determine a student’s current reading level. This will help the teacher to decide where to begin instruction.  Each level of text along the gradient brings new challenges in the form of vocabulary, words to decode, high frequency words, concepts, and syntax.  Supportive teaching enables students to expand their reading strategies by gradually increasing the level of challenge and at the same time assuring that they are successful each day.​ 

Stepping Up

This assessment tool enables teachers to:​
  • Determine students’ independent and instructional r​eading level
  • Group students for reading instruction
  • Monitor ongoing student progress in reading
  • Select texts that will be productive for a student’s instruction
  • Identify students who need intervention and extra help
  • Document student progress across a school year and across grade levels
  • Inform parent conferences
  • Gather information about the reader, including the reader’s accuracy and self-corrections, comprehension, and fluency
  • Link the results of the assessment to their teaching to ensure students’ growth as learners

This benchmarking tool will be the main influencer in grouping students into different groups. However, a spelling inventory will be completed as well to determine a student’s stage of spelling. The Words Their Way Primary Spelling Inventory would be completed during the first couple of weeks of school. This inventory provides the teacher with specific information about each student’s knowledge and application of specific spelling features.

word study

Please see the powerpoint below that was created by our divisions ELA Consultant that provides more detail on the the Word Study program within our school division. This program is the backbone of this online course. 

WSPPT
Word Study PowerPoint

As part of the formative and summative assessments, incorporating a variety of activities, such as seesaw activities, weekly spelling tests, and observations from small group instruction will give an accurate picture of the students’ academic progress.

As you continue to build this up, the single blog post would get pretty long. Would it be worth exploring making your course into a blog of its own, and being able to divide it into categories, etc ?

I agree. I think I will create an online document, almost like an online teacher module with live links that allow for the teacher using this course to plan and access materials.

If this does pan out into the teacher resource that it looks like to me (a pretty fantastic one at that) then you could use videos of yourself doing some of these activities to supplement as visuals and aids for teachers wanting to implement this. You could use placeholders as doing this may not be feasible in the amount of time we have to build this?

This is a great idea! I will definitely keep this in mind for future development!

I very much appreciate the rationale and driving purpose behind this course. Creating a structure that generates purposeful targeted instruction is exactly what teachers have been/are trying to do. This is a relatively novel way to do it, and I would love to know what happens as you implement!

I am really looking forward to see how this course develops over the next few weeks. I am also extremely excited to share it with other teachers within our school division so that they can have the opportunity to blend within their classrooms and not have to do as much of the “leg work” to get there. I am a huge fan of sharing and collaborating and my hope is that as a team of teachers we could create online word study courses for the grade 1-3 range.

Thanks so much for your feedback! I can clearly see my gaps and this has given me some guidance on how to improve my online course!

Word work, work in progress…

To download a copy of the course prototype, please click here.

Introduction

Please see my course profile for a scope and sequence of the course.

This is a working document as the course is still in the development stages. This course protype is based off the units created by Regina Catholic School Division. This course may be most successful in a connected educator classroom during balanced literacy/guided reading time; however, it due to the nature of the station rotation, this course is accessible to other classrooms who have access to a smaller number of devices. Devices such as tablets are best for the station-rotation model as they eliminate the need to log in and provide quick access to materials and lessons.

The format of this blended course uses the gradual release of responsibility.

GRR

Unit 1: Short Vowel Word Families at, an

High Frequency Words: like, my, ran, the

Resources
Magnetic letters

Words Their Way Level A by Bear, Invernizzi, and Johnston

Big Book of Rhymes

Reading A-Z Mentor Series: Short vowel “a”

Reading Rods (Word Families)

Making Words Grade 1

Tablets

Seesaw Activities

 

Traditional Classroom Instruction
Day 1:

·         Introduce Sort 6-TG page 26 (Words Their Way). You may want to use highlighter tape to highlight the –at and –an words.

·         Project short “a” book, Nap and Pap, from Reading A-Z. Follow the lesson plan on Reading A-Z (contact Jillian Laursen – RCSD ELA Consultant – for your log-in information)

·         Sort 6: -at and –an word families TG page 26 (Words Their Way)

o   Introduce Picture/Word Sort TG page 26 (Words Their Way)

o   After modeling this activity, students will complete at the Word Study Station through Seesaw activities. In addition, students could re-sort their cards. Next, students make the words with magnetic letters and then print the words in their word study notebook.

·         Introduce high frequency word(s).

 

Day 2:

  • Reread the short “a” book. Omit the last word of each line, and have students provide the missing word.

·         On the projector, model using the reading rods to make short “a” words.

o   After modeling this activity, students will complete at the Word Study Station on Seesaw activities.

·         Practice the Sort TG page 26 (Words Their Way).

·         Introduce/review high frequency words.

 

Day 3:

·         Apply the Skill TG page 27 (Words Their Way).

·         Show the Making Words Lesson 1 pages 5 and 15 (Making Words for Grade 1)

o   Make: an, at, pat, pal, pan, tan, plan, plant

·         Introduce/review high frequency words.

 

Day 4:

·         Complete the Sort-Paste in Place TG page 27 (Words Their Way).

·         Learning Phonograms: -at, -an page 292-293 (Phonics Lessons for Grade 1).

·         Learning Phonograms: -an page 304-305 (Phonics Lessons for Grade 1).

·         Introduce/review high frequency words.

 

Day 5:

·         Introduce/review high frequency words.

·         Assessment

o   Spelling Test (“-at and -an” words and a couple of high frequency words).

 

Station Rotation Activities
Watch the video: Short Vowel Word Family Lesson Review -at, an

frame (1)

Seesaw App:

For the purpose of this course prototype, please use the following to sign in:

If you’re using Seesaw for the first time:

1.       Go to app.seesaw.me

2.       Choose “I’m a Student”

3.       Type in the code: JDLP XCCT. This code expires on February 19, 2019

 

In the actual course setting, grade 1 students will access seesaw using the following steps:

seesaw.png

 

After you sign up as a student in my Seesaw class, you can access the following activities:

3.      Scratch Jr. Coding

Recognizing and Naming Uppercase and Lowercase Letters:  This project reinforces a student’s knowledge of writing and recognizing uppercase and lowercase letters.

scratchjr

 

 

Unit 2: Short Vowel Word Families ad, ap, ag

High Frequency Words: all, how, be

Unit 3: Short Vowel Word Families op, ot, og

High Frequency Words: if, she, big

Unit 4: Short Vowel Word Families et, eg, en

High Frequency Words: put, run, you

Unit 5: Short Vowel Word Families ug, ut, un

High Frequency Words: as, not, for

Unit 6: Short Vowel Word Families ip, ig, ill

High Frequency Words: am, has, day, cat

To be continued…

Write On: Improving Student Writing

“Remember what writing is for: to share what we see, think and believe, and invite response.” – Blogging in the classroom: why your students should write online

Over my career, I have noticed a common trend in my students when they enter into my classroom. They DISLIKE writing. Sadly, they often come into my classroom with a negative view of writing and when asked to complete the beginning of the year writing assessment, the room is filled with moans and groans. (I hate to admit it, but I was one of those kids too). Just like Elizabeth, writing has never come easy to me and I often struggle with writer’s block, so I can relate with my students when they come into my classroom. Usually by the end of the year my students leave the classroom with a new outlook on writing.

Some of the common trends I see in the classroom that spur on this hatred of writing are:

  • Too much focus on conventions or as Heather says, the writing process. Teachers love their red pen and LOVE marking every error on students writing; however, this is such a small part of the process of writing. In fact, it is on small part of the 6 traits of writing. In my opinion, ideas, organization, voice, and word choice are WAY more important than if you are forgetting a period.
  • Students are told what to write and their only audience is the teacher.
  • Authentic and real-time feedback is often limited.
  • Often the pre-writing process is not authentic and has too much teacher input. This causes students to get stuck on what to write about because they are trying to write what they think the teacher wants.
  • There is a disconnect between reading and writing.
  • When students are allowed to use digital tools to publish their writing it is limited to word processing.

Improving student writing has been a priority within our school division the past few years. At the same time our division has implemented a variety of new technology tools to help enhance and transform the way we teach and learn. One of the ways to leverage student engagement in writing is through collaborative writing tools that help build writing communities. Who are our students writing for? Who makes up the audience? How do they make the audience care?

“It’s not just 21st century skills but 21st century connections and how to make them.”  – Vicki Davis, Reinventing Writing

By reinventing writing and using collaborative digital tools within the digital writing workshop along with traditional methods, we are fostering community, allowing students to explore various perspectives, and with that acquire and synthesize new information. Using digital tools in the classroom doesn’t mean that you can sit back, relax, and let the tool do all the teaching. The teacher must be an active participant by facilitating learning, intervening when necessary, and providing relevant feedback.

It is also important not to get caught up in the bells and whistles of the digital tool. Some key questions to think of when integrating digital tools are:

  • How will this tool further student-centered learning?
  • What outcomes will this tool help to leverage?
  • How is this tool connecting students and creating collaborative learning?
  • Did I sent out information about the tool to parents?
  • How easy is it for me to set up this tool?
  • How easy is it for the students to use it or navigate the platform?
  • How will I monitor student work and passwords?
  • What is the terms of use of the tool?

(Questions from: Writing Assessment & Digital Tools Workshop by Regina Catholic Schools)

When we use digital tools and engage in authentic writing experiences, we are redefining the author’s chair. In my experience a great way to provide purpose for writing and an authentic environment for writing is through a blog. Blogging provides a place for students to develop their voice, make meaningful reflections, connect and collaborate with peers, curate content, and develop transliteracy and digital citizenship. By building your PLN on Twitter and using hashtags, such as #comments4kids, you will be able to connect your classroom with other classrooms around the world to make this process even more exciting, authentic, and engaging.

Cooperative Learning & The 21st Century

The readings last week really got me thinking if the instructional methods I choose were the most effective way to meet the needs of 21st century learners. Illich’s idea of education reform, written in 1971, suggests we “dismantle the system altogether and build learning webs, peer-matching systems, skill exchanges, and other resources for liberated learning and free inquiry.” However, over 40 years later and we are still not there yet. Thankfully the idea of 21st century education is being talked about allowing learners to develop skills such as creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, media literacy, and problem solving.

The course readings also explored the idea of connectivism. The idea that learning is a process and by thinking critically about what are learning, we will alter, change, or add on to what we know. In addition, interdependence on others to foster learning. Connectivism relates to the idea of rhizomatic learning where learning is continuous network and is acquired in collaboration. My question is can connectvisim fit in with other learning theories? I believe it can, and one way to integrate those theories is through cooperative learning groups.

Although technology and media is not the focus of cooperative learning groups. I believe that starting young and implementing something such as cooperative learning groups allows students to engage with the material, collaborate with others, and enhances the probability they will remember it.

In my past teaching experiences I had the assumption that students come to school knowing how to work and how to work together (just as I would assume they know how to use technology). I would think to myself they are in grade three, they should know how to do this by now, but they didn’t.

It is important to remember that cooperative learning is group work, but not all group work is cooperative learning. Group work allows students to divide to work, go their separate ways, work on their own, and meet for the final product. Cooperative learning engages students in a task that is difficult enough that members need to talk with each other to figure things out.

Cooperative learning is more than just placing students in a group and having them work together, it is the process of building learning communities. Students are responsible not only for their learning, but for the learning of others. Throughout the process of cooperative learning, students work in small groups to achieve a common goal. Cooperative learning helps to create engaged citizens and allows students to work collaboratively, essentially creating a productive society rather than a group of individuals.

cooperative

Cooperative learning uses a variety of strategies to educate students to work together. where the teacher is a facilitator. As the students are working together, it is the teacher’s job to study the students, see how they cooperate, and design learning experiences to teach them to work more effectively together.

One of the main jobs of the teacher is to create and maintain a learning environment that is conducive to cooperative learning. It is essential that the teacher deliberately teaches the five basic elements of cooperative group skills, as well as, conferences about individual and group accountability while students are working in groups.

Johnson describes the five basic elements of cooperative group skills as:

  • Positive Interdependence
  • Individual Accountability
  • Group Processing
  • Social Skills
  • Face-to-Face Interaction

The elements of cooperative group skills can be achieved through a variety of mini-lessons, modelling, and direct teaching. If the teacher establishes clear expectations and holds students accountable, there will be success using this instructional strategy.

When cooperative learning is combined with models from other families (information processing, personal, and behavioural), the results are profound. Some of the many benefits to using cooperative learning as an instructional method as per Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun (2015) are:

  1. It increases motivation.
  2. It produces positive energy with in the classroom and school.
  3. Students are able to develop a feeling of connectedness with their peers.
  4. Student learn from each other better through cooperation than a structure that generates isolation.
  5. Interacting with one another produces more cognitive and social complexity.
  6. Cooperation increases positive feelings.
  7. Cooperation increases self-esteem.
  8. The more students have the opportunity to work together, the better they get at it.
  9. Students can achieve greater mastery of material.
  10. Off-task and disruptive behaviour diminish substantially.

(Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun, 2015, p. 233-234)

Cooperative learning benefits both students with poor academic histories and academically able students as individual effort is still required. Cooperative learning fosters a safe environment of respect, teamwork, self-reflection, and engagement.

Start with small simple tasks within the students’ zone of proximal distal, to ensure success will allow students to acquire and develop additional skill to be used within their cooperative learning groups. During the process of implementing cooperative learning groups and while students are working within their groups, students should have ample opportunities to reflect on their roles within the group and how their group worked.


References

Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. (1989).  Cooperation and competition:  Theory and research. Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company.

Joyce, B., Weil, M., & Calhoun, E. (2015). Models of Teaching, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

It’s all about the process…

Initially I had decided to do the internet-based social activism project as my final project; however, I ran into some glitches with the class I was going to work with and decided I would rather do this a personal project than a final project for this class. I am still very passionate about bringing our AR program outside of the school and in turn make a larger impact on the school community. Our school has applied for the I Am Stronger grant and is still actively present on our blog and twitter. Follow us at @heart_library.

Photo Credit: charlywkarl via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: charlywkarl via Compfight cc

I am VERY excited about implementing and creating my new project that will directly relate to my new role as a Teacher Librarian. This position interested me because the role of the teacher-librarian with RCSD is evolving. It is my hope that through this position, I will be able to collaborate with other teachers to implement engaging and innovative technologies to improve student learning, engage students in inquiry based learning to help develop multiple literacies, and teach students how to use technology to find information and with the information the ability extract and synthesize it to formulate new meaning. That being said, I think my final project will help me achieve my goals as TL.

Photo Credit: Joyce Valenza & Gwenth Jones via joycedownunder cc
Photo Credit: Joyce Valenza & Gwenth Jones via joycedownunder cc

What I would like to do is create a webpage based on the ideas on an image created by Joyce Valenza and Gwyneth Jones. I was amazed when I tweeted this image and my twitter account blew up! This image combined with the proper hashtags gave me the most action I have ever seen on twitter. It had around 100 retweets or favourites and I gained a plethora of followers. This gave me confidence that pursuing a final project based on the evolving role of the TL would not only have importance to me, but also others. As I said, part of the reason I left the classroom and took on the role of the TL was so that I could be involved with helping other teachers and students with transliteracy and I think this project will help me accomplish that.

My final project will be a webpage that is a comprehensive resource for TLs and teachers that includes lessons and resources on the four domains as listed in the poster (inquiry/research, evaluating resources, creating & sharing, and digital citizenship). Specifically I would like to focus my lessons on the Gr. 1-5 range. This website will have lessons, ideas, and resources that address the bullet points listed on the poster. My next step is to start gathering resources, developing lesson plans, and creating a practical resource for TLs to help develop transliteracy.

Media Education

Taking a big step out of my comfort zone by creating a vlog for my second post! (Nerves set in a few times, so please disregard me saying critiques instead of critics!)

Ideas are based and formulated from this weeks course readings as listed below:

  1. Do “Digital Natives” Exist? (PBS – Watch until 5:34) – This video from PBS presents an excellent overview of Prensky’s “Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants” framework including the evolution of the idea and the common criticisms.
  2. Visitors and Residents (David White) – David White from the UK provides an alternate view on Prensky’s framework, useful for understanding the continuum of digital engagement.
  3. “Social Media Sites as Networked Publics” (danah boyd) – boyd discusses the emergence of social networking spaces as networked publics, and examines how they have emerged to replace and augment our traditional concepts of public space.
  4. “The IRL Fetish” (Nathan Jurgenson) – Jurgenson introduces an important concept around the common obsession with binarizing online vs. face-to-face spaces and giving less value to digital spaces and communication.
  5. “YouTube and You” (Michael Wesch) – Wesch discusses YouTube as a cultural medium; he describes the context collapse that occurs in online spaces as well as the effect on issues of identity and self-awareness.
  6. Excerpt from An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube (Michael Wesch) – This short clip from a longer Wesch keynote describes the spread of one of the first popular digital memes and how this represented new forms of collective expression and celebration.
  7. Transmedia: High quality, no captionsLower quality with captions (Henry Jenkins) – Jenkins discusses the concept of transmedia and how youth (in particular) are reclaiming digital spaces from corporate and institutional power.

Thanks for watching! I challenge you to try a vlog!

Kristina

Major Project Thoughts

I was very interested in the internet-based social activism project after it was explained in class. It is my first year at Sacred Heart Community School in Regina and I believe this project will have a great impact on our school community. This summer as I was preparing for school, I asked one of the veteran teachers at our school, Adam Ward, if there had been a chosen theme for AR in our school. Accelerated Reader (AR) is a reading program where students read a book then take an online quiz to earn points. Most schools in Regina Catholic School Division have an AR program, but I have learned none have the same impact as the one at Sacred Heart.

Students at Sacred Heart take great pride in reading books, setting goals, and achieving their goals. Students are rewarded at various levels and once they reach 100 points, they are awarded a themed t-shirt.IMG_3360

“The shirts are yellow: It is our school colour, it is the same colour as the sun which is the highest point in the First Nations world view, and it is not a gang colour in North Central…in fact it is associated within the community as a reading colour now” (Adam Ward, Sacred Heart School).

To some it may seem like just a shirt, but to our school community, it is much more. The AR committee has described the past shirts below:

AREagle feathers are a sign of honour.  Many years ago eagle feathers were presented to acknowledge great accomplishments among First Nations people.  For the past four years all of our 100 point t-shirts have included an eagle feather in recognition of the importance of 100 AR points.  100 is forever. The feathers are also a reminder that our reading is not only for us but helps our community as well.

Elder Mike Pinay has told us that “Education is the new buffalo”.  For many years the great herds of buffalo provided many of the basic necessities of living in Saskatchewan.  The First Peoples relied on the buffalo to survive and thrive.  Today people in Saskatchewan are sustained by their education, making it the new buffalo.  When we succeed in reading we are taking control of our own lives, helping our community to thrive.

Inukshuk have been used in the vast lands of Northern Canada to guide travelers and to mark fertile hunting and fishing areas.  By earning our AR points we are creating landmarks that help us guide our lives to where we want them to go.  Being a community of readers we are also guides for everyone all around us, setting an example of how we can succeed and follow our own path to success.

The Métis infinity symbol represents the joining of two cultures and the existence of a people forever.  Our infinity symbol reminds us that when we earn our 100 points that it can never be taken away from us.  We combine our AR reading with the rest of our education to create a foundation that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.  Our infinity means we make our own choices and go where we want to go.

This year, the shirt has a totem pole on the front that incorporates the four previous symbols into the structure of the pole.  Totem poles are traditional more to the west coast First Nations, but is a significant Aboriginal symbol within Canadian culture.  The sleeves have 100 on them and the back has the RCMP logo, our school 100 point logo and the wording “Working Together Strengthens Us All”.

“AR isn’t just reading at our school.  It’s an anti-gang strategy, cultural education and a community builder.  We run reading contests throughout the year but we make sure students celebrate themselves and each other, competition is a motivator but accomplishment is the take away.  One person getting 100 doesn’t mean another person can’t so one person’s accomplishment is everyone’s accomplishment” (Adam Ward, Sacred Heart School).

Bookmarks are awarded weekly to students as they make their way to 100 points, at 10, 25, and 50 points and beyond 100 points. Teachers are also encouraged to participate in AR.

On top of reading during school hours, we also host a monthly reading night where staff and the RCMP come into the school to read with students and their families. This is allowing for positive connections between students, families, and the greater community.

So what does this have to do with internet-based social activism?

I have created a Sacred Heart Library Website where our accomplishments will be highlighted through pictures, videos, and blog posts. Additionally, our school library has just set up a twitter account (heart_library) where students will take on a leadership role and post how they are reading with younger students in our school to help them achieve their goals. The hashtag #100isforever will be used as our hashtag campaign.

I plan to apply for the #iamstronger grant as well. I understand that this initiative doesn’t directly address bullying or cyberbullying, but I think it connects on a bigger level to creating a culture within our community to help students become readers, set and achieve goals, and help others to achieve their goals.

What are your thoughts? Does this achieve the goal of the internet-based social activism project as listed on the syllabus?

IT Summit 2009

Formatting didn’t work as I planned, but here it is:

IT Summit 2009

it-summit1

I am so thankful that my prof Alec Couros invited me to help present and attend the IT Summit on Monday, March 23 and Tuesday, March 24. This experience has helped me develop more as a professional. I only hope that one day I can possible measure up to some of the presenters. I was in awe at some of their presentations and keynotes. Their knowledge, dedication to their students, and innovative ideas were beyond what I expected.

Here is a wordle summary of what I learned from the IT Summit:

it-summit-sum

Continue reading “IT Summit 2009”