When was the last time your learned something just because?

IMG_4052
Follow me: prenatal.yoga.yqr

This term I was afforded the opportunity to learn something new. Not something that was dictated to me by my professors, but something that I was passionate about, interested in, and was of substance. I was also to use open education resources to guide my project. I took a risk in doing the learning project as I had some quality ideas for the other option of the major project, that I knew I would be successful at, but I wanted to experience something I haven’t in a while… learning for the sake of learning. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I haven’t learned anything in the past few years, but between graduate classes, teaching, new positions, and the general busyness of life, I haven’t allocated time in my schedule to explore and learn just because I am interested in it. This project has reminded me of the joy of lifelong learning and how important it is to fit time in to learn something of interest. We are so lucky to have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips and we should take advantage of it.

My learning outcome was to study and practice prenatal yoga to increase my flexibility and prepare myself both physically and mentally for the birth of my baby. As I went through this process of learning, I focused on assessing my sleep quality, hip and lower back pain, mindfulness, and the feelings of anxiety of childbirth. Even though I had an outcome of where I wanted to go in my learning project, I found myself learning much more than just what I had planned. On top of learning and experiencing how prenatal yoga helps me through pregnancy, I also found myself learning about labour, and postpartum.

I hope to use the experience of this learning project in my future classrooms to encourage students to access open education resources and learn something that is meaningful to them. This could be done through the use of genius hour, the maker movement, project based learning, or passion projects. I think in experiencing the freedom, riskiness, and openness of going through the learning process using online tools to not only enhance my learning, but essentially transform it, has allowed me to experience something I haven’t before and has taught me the importance of trying something like this in the classroom. When thinking of this online learning project in the context of the classroom, I can’t help but think about the SAMR swimming pool. In this learning project, I was able to transform the traditional learning process through the effective use of social media and open educational resources for learning and my ability to use technology to support and document learning.

 

Interactive SAMR Swimming Pool

 

How do you plan to use what you’ve learned in your learning project in your classroom?

Please stay tuned as I post a summary of my experience with this project in the next few days!

 

 

I am a creature of habit.

I am a creature of habit and I am extremely predictable, which is sometimes problematic. Some people may call my predictability organized, structured, or that it suits my Type A personality, but others may call it boring and not creative. As I have looked back through my major project blog posts, I have noticed a common thread… they are all very structured and follow the same format. I find it hard to break away from this format because I like and crave structure, but this week I am going to try to be a different.

I decided I would try something I have never tried before, but have always wanted to try, so I made an inforgraphic using Piktochart. I was actually inspired last term by Amy to make an infographic, but never got around to making one last term. Although the content is still very structured (this is something I am working on), the presentation is something new.

blog-8
Week 8 Piktochart

Feedback vs. Evaluation

25496689032_b9f28a9c7c_o
Photo Credit: ClassicsOnTheStreet via Compfight cc

My Week in Review

I really liked how my colleague, Erin Benjamin, reviewed her goals on her major project by colour coding them, so I thought I would do the same. Here is my key:

GREEN = I achieved my goal this week! Yay Me!!

BLUE = I need to revisit this goal this week. I wouldn’t necessarily say I failed at this goal, but it requires a bit more attention in order to be considered accomplished.

RED = I didn’t get a chance to complete this goal and it got pushed on the back-burner. I will look at trying to accomplish it this week!

My goals for this week were to:

  1. Continue to attend and participate in prenatal yoga classes both through online resources and in my face-to-face communities.
  2. Pin more prenatal yoga resources.
  3. Get at least 20 posts on my Instagram account.
  4. Decide on how I will summarize my learning project.

I was very thankful to get feedback this week from Katia Hildebrandt. I appreciated the detailed review on how I was doing in the class and in particular with this learning project. Not only was the feedback detailed, it was personalized and I could tell there was a genuine interest in my progress in the class and provided me with ways in which I could improve. As the tweet states below, feedback that is received at the end is not feedback, it is evaluation. I am finding EC&I 831 is not only teaching us about effective pedagogical approaches, but is also modeling it.

 

One recommendation in my feedback was a join an online prenatal yoga community. I found an online community with Prenatal Yoga Centre. In this community I am able to read blog posts, comment, and connect with others. I have enjoyed following the blog posts in this community and have learned a lot from them, but don’t find this is the most functional space for my learning. I will continue to be involved in this community to see if maybe with some time it becomes more natural.

I have enjoyed growing my community on Instagram. This is where I am finding most of my learning and connecting is happening. I find that Instagram for the purpose of my learning project is very similar to Twitter for my professional learning network relating to teaching. It is a very natural space, I am able to quickly get a “snapshot” of yoga resources and motivation and if I wish to investigate further, I am able to dig deeper into the post and the account.

I am looking forward to a slower week with report cards being finished so that I can take some more time this week to work on my learning project!

My goals for next week are to:

  1. Continue to attend and participate in prenatal yoga classes both through online resources and in my face-to-face communities.
  2. Pin a few more prenatal yoga resources.
  3. Share my learning and connect with others through my Instagram account.
  4. Decide on how I will summarize my learning project.

Thanks for following!!

 

Me Inspiring Me

My Week in Review

I have been sharing some of the same struggles some my classmates have been experiencing in past weeks this week. I found it really difficult to stay committed to my 3 days a week of yoga and posting it for my learning community to see. I guess this happens with the ebb and flow of learning, but I am feeling some pressure as this learning isn’t just for the sake of learning, it is part of an assignment and in the end a final evaluation.

Although I wasn’t able to commit to my 3 hour long sessions this week, doesn’t mean this project was put on the back burner. I feel like my yoga practice is starting to influence my life in a greater way than just being a learning project that will end at the end of the semester. The poses I have been learning from my PLN are often used sporadically throughout the day. For example, the other night I woke up at 3:30am due to pain in my lower back and hips (we are preparing to sell our house this week and I maybe over did it on the weekend). I could not get comfortable no matter how many pillows or times I flipped from side to side. So I got out of bed and did a hips, hamstrings, and lower back sequence in the living room and then returned to bed. To my surprise, the throbbing pain had dissipated and although I was not able to get back to sleep until around 5:30am, I was at least able to lay in bed and try to rest without pain.

As I was laying in bed, I had a lot of time to reflect on this learning project and it got me thinking of my pre-assessment. I decided I should do a reflection this week as a midterm assessment (as seen below). I also thought about the process of learning online. I have found doing a self-guided learning assignment, rather than one with more structure, such as a MOOC or creating something with a final product, is a lot more challenging that I anticipated. I am enjoying the process of learning something that I am passionate about and using my social network to learn, contribute, and create, as I believe this is lifelong skill that I will use again, but at the same time, this experience has been a struggle for me as I can only hope that my learning is evident through my twitter feed, Instagram postsPinterest board, and blog posts.

Midterm Assessment

 My Successes

During my learning project I have experimented with some different social media tools. I have enjoyed trying new tools and can see some of these working in my classroom in the future. Below are the tools I have tried out:

 hyperlapse Hyperlapse Hyperlapse allows you to easily shoot time lapse videos. Basically you shoot a video in the app and it allows you to speed up the video to varying degrees.

I have really found this app useful in sharing my practice as it allows me to video and upload my videos quickly.

 vidstitch Vidstitch Vidstitch allows you to post a picture and video as one in a collage. This mixed media is great way to showcase both videos and photos.

This app has allowed me to use photos and videos in a post, which really enhances the post.

 instagram Instagram Instagram is a social media site where you can share pictures and comment or like on others photos.

This has been the cornerstone to my project. The reason this outlet has been so important is because this is where I have been able to grow my PLN the most. I have been able to gain quality followers and have followed other accounts with like interests. By using appropriate hashtags, I have also increased the amount of likes I have gotten on my photos. Fitness is a major industry that is showcased on Instagram.

 Capture Twitter Twitter is a social media site where you can share updates with your network up to 140 characters. Quality posts are concise and contain quality hashtags.

Twitter hasn’t been the best outlet for this learning project as I find it hard to restrict my mini-reflections to 140 characters. I have followed some new accounts on Twitter that deal with my learning project and have found some great articles this way, but this is not my primary site for this purpose.

 pinterest Pinterest Pinterest is a visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas.

I have really enjoyed the prenatal yoga resources I have found to this point on my Pinterest account. It is nice having one common place to bookmark my sources so I can visit and revisit them.

 

So far I have enjoyed posting about my learning project online. Although I have never met the people in my PLN and they show their support with a “like” or a “follow” they have inspired and pushed me to keep going on this journey. Getting a “like” when you are feeling vulnerable or nervous about sharing something has been more powerful than I would have thought.

My Struggles

Something I have struggled with this past week is posting my progress online every time I practice yoga and maybe that is ok. Many times I have practiced yoga using the open sources I have found on the internet, but have forgotten to post about it. I have enjoyed blogging about my progress weekly as it keeps me focused.

Another thing I have struggled with this week is the questions: Is anyone actually benefiting from this other than me? Again maybe it is ok that I am the only one benefiting from this and maybe I am impacting someone else just by posting my progress online that I don’t know about. In the end, this process is about me. I reposted a great photo this week on my Instagram account. As I continue this learning process I hope to live by this quote and focus on me.

inspire
Quote via YogaInspiration

Looking to Next Week

Here are my goals for next week, hoping by posting them online and for my PLN to see I will stay accountable!

  1. Continue to attend and participate in prenatal yoga classes both through online resources and in my face-to-face communities
  2. Post to my Instagram account at least 3 times this week, increase my followers to 30. Try to follow at least 70 quality accounts.
  3. Update my Instagram user description to show my purpose and connect with my PLN.
  4. Create YouTube showcasing 3 new poses I learned this week. Think of a quality title for my video to increase viewership.

 

 

It’s a double-edged sword

My learning project is a bit of a double-edged sword, but first a look at what I accomplished this past week…

Last week I was a bit worried about my process on my learning project. I would consider myself an overachiever, which can sometime be problematic. I am also very product motivated and look forward to the end task, so it is sometimes hard for me to focus on the process, even though that is what I encourage my students to do and is one of my foundational beliefs about education. With that being said, I set some goals for myself last week that would emphasize the process of what I am learning and make my learning visible.

My goals were to:

  1. Practice prenatal yoga 3 times this week (one face-to-face session, one YouTube session, one session on my own). SEMI-ACHIEVED – I was able to practice more than 3 times; however, I did not make it to a face-to-face session. The timing for the Bodhi Tree prenatal yoga class was not working with my schedule, so I decided to look elsewhere. I am signed in for a class tomorrow at Everyday Sacred and look forward to giving it a try!
  2. Play music when I am practicing on my own to help with mindfulness and focus. ACHIEVED – This really helped me focus on the task at hand. It also told my husband that I was busy and he shouldn’t bug me :). 
  3. Videotape at least one of my sessions and post onto my Instagram account. ACHIEVED – I did 2 hyperlapse videos this week and posted them to my Instagram account. This was WAY out of my comfort zone, but a very neat experience!
  4. Post at least 3 times this week to my Instagram and Twitter account using the hashtags: #eci831, #learningproject, #babybootsyoga. ACHIEVED – I posted more than 3 times this week. I also tried to grow my PLN by following other yoga accounts and using hashtags… more below on this one.
  5. Complete a vlog at my check in next week that includes my week experience and 3 new poses I have learned. ACHIEVED – See below!

Now back to the title of this post… There are two reasons I would say this project is like a double-edged sword.

Reason #1

As I mentioned above and in a few of my other blog posts, I am trying not to get caught up in the final product aspect of this project. It would have been way easier for me to choose the other option of the major project and integrate social media in my teaching practice or integrate/develop open educational resources related to my practice. I have some experience with both of these routes and have been successful implementing them, so I could have just continued on that path and know I was headed for success. However, I chose the other option where I am expected to learn and share online. Although this process has proven to be a struggle at times, I am very thankful I chose this learning process and experience the learning process while thinking critically about it. I believe through this learning process I am examining the idea of rhizomatic learning and I am connecting though social media in my “classroom”. It may have been easier for me to participate in a MOOC, integrate social media in my teaching practice, or develop OERs, but to actually go through the process is a learning experience I will never forget.

Reason #2

As I mentioned before, making learning visible has been a challenge for me in this learning process. Last week I made a goal to ramp up my online presence on both Instagram and Twitter to build a new PLN. In the past my PLN was solely for educational purposes. The people I followed on Twitter and through other networks all dealt with my teaching practice. If I was learn something new, it would be limited to the course and the people in that course to find my information. How hypocritical of me! Here I am preaching to my students and fellow course mates about the importance of a PLN, yet I limited my PLN to only education. So this past week I began following yoga accounts through various social media tools.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Photo Credit: qp1977 via Compfight cc

I also learned firsthand about the power of the hashtag. I wanted to build my network on Instagram and gain more followers, so I tagged my posts with some key hashtags. I have been getting more ”likes” on posts and I now have 22 followers! This may seem small to those people who are Instagram famous, but this is a huge accomplishment for me! Using appropriate hashtags is essential to your online presence when trying to connect online.

Now here comes the double-edged sword… I am feeling nervous about sharing this process online and with my new PLN. I am usually quite reserved, don’t post many photos, and keep my identity (online) quite neutral. I have my privacy settings high and don’t overshare. So to be sharing this vulnerable learning process with the whole world is a huge learning curve for me! Additionally, I don’t really know who is following me and there is always the risk of people “stealing” your identity. But at the same time we face these risks whether we are private, public, online, or offline. It is better to take control of your online (and offline) identity, know the risks, and be aware.

 

“Baby” Steps

yoga1

This was the first week of my learning project and man did the time ever fly by! My goal is to practice prenatal yoga three times a week. I was able to squeeze in 2 and a half sessions this week. You might be wondering, what is a half session. Well… I was unable to do a full hour session, but I did do some yoga poses after my Bootcamp class on Thursday morning. I had also planned on attending prenatal yoga at Bodhi Tree, but unfortunately failed on this aspect because I was held back helping with extra-curricular activities at school.

My Week in Review

Thankfully because of open source education on the internet, I was able to find yoga resources to enhance my practice this week! I started out this week researching the Do’s and Don’ts of prenatal yoga. I have practice a bit of yoga in the past, but never on a weekly basis. Luckily it came to be easy as I have always been athletic and quite flexible. Yet, as I have said in some earlier posts, my body is changing A LOT, so some of the things that used to come to me easily… now have me huffing and puffing!

yoga2My first full session involved me using Pop Sugar’s Hip Openers and Hamstring Stretches For Expectant Moms. This was such a nice session! After this session, I was off to prenatal class at the YMCA and had to sit in a chair for 1.5 hours and to my surprise, I felt good sitting for that long… so it must have helped my hips and hammies! Something I was a bit challenged with during this session was timing myself to make sure I was holding the pose for long enough and staying committed to completing the whole sequence.

Due to my challenges, I thought I would try a YouTube video for my next session to see if I had increased focus, mindfulness, and better form. I found the Prenatal Yoga Routine: Calm Interior (2nd Trimester) and after skimming through the video, thought I would give it a try. I enjoyed having someone to listen to and keep my on track and the 45 minutes flew by! My one complaint was I didn’t really enjoy the sequence. There weren’t many poses I was familiar with and I found it hard to follow exactly what the instructor wanted me to do.

My mini-session was more of a Yin type of yoga where you hold the pose for 3-5 minutes. I thought I would focus on hips and hamstrings again as I believe this is where most of my issues are coming from. I chose to do the frog pose, swan/sleeping swan, and baby dragon. I also used the foam roller, which felt AMAZING!

My Struggles

instagramSomething I am struggling with is documenting my process to demonstrate my learning. I am hoping my posts on Instagram and Twitter are enough, but I am finding it hard to take photos without a photographer! I also was hoping to do some video, but I am not sure how I would make this happen without someone to videotape me. I am finding myself respecting those self-made Instagram stars now who have mastered the selfie and videotaping on their own. Does anyone know if there are any apps that could help with this? For example, sometimes I see people with fast forward videos on their Instagram and I would like to do something like this.

Another struggle I found this week was making time to practice prenatal yoga. I know it will come easier as it becomes a habit, so I am sticking to my commitment!

Looking to Next Week

Here are my small, yet attainable goals for next week (now that they are out there for the whole world to see… I better stay committed!):

  1. Practice prenatal yoga 3 times this week (one face-to-face session, one YouTube session, one session on my own).
  2. Play music when I am practicing on my own to help with mindfulness and focus.
  3. Videotape at least one of my sessions and post onto my Instagram account.
  4. Post at least 3 times this week to my Instagram and Twitter account using the hashtags: #eci831, #learningproject, #babybootsyoga
  5. Complete a vlog at my check in next week that includes my week experience and 3 new poses I have learned.

 

Yogi in Training

I have been contemplating for a while on what I should do for my major project this term. I really liked both options and initially thought I would do option A, where I would integrate social media into the library at Sacred Heart school, but after talking to a few others in the class I think I will take the rare opportunity to engage in learning something for myself… especially since my life will be changing a great deal in the next few month with the arrival of our first child!

A healthy and fit lifestyle have always been important for me, playing many competitive sports growing up. However as my participation in athletics began to slow down, I looked for another way to maintain that healthy lifestyle and became a certified Fitness Instructor through CanFit Pro in 2006. Over the years I have taken various other trainings through Body Training Systems, which included weight training, cycling, balance and flexibility. One of the reasons I love being a fitness instructor is because I can inspire others to reach their fitness goals, but often my own goals get put on the back burner.

0d011104-0024-45fb-9ba5-dea7ebb280e3
Photo Credit: micolumnasana via Compfight cc

I would like to take this opportunity to reach a fitness goal of my own, which is to study and practice pre-natal yoga for the next 10 weeks to increase my flexibility and prepare myself for the birth of my baby. As many of you mothers know, the changes in pregnancy are HUGE and I have been noticing increasing pain in my lower back, hips, and neck. I am very high energy and often neglect the importance of flexibility and relaxation, so this could be challenging for me.

Research suggests that prenatal yoga can:

  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth
  • Decrease lower back pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, headaches and shortness of breath

Taken from the Mayo Clinic, Prenatal Yoga: What you need to know

On top of learning and practicing yoga, I would also like to use my fitness instructor experience to produce some pre-natal yoga videos based on what I learn from online resources (such as Prenatal Yoga Centre), online videos and participation in pre-natal yoga at Bodhi Tree or the YMCA. I will be looking into both of these place this week to see which place better fits my needs. As I am new to pre-natal yoga, I am not sure what the videos I create will look like at this point, whether they be educational or just videos on my progress, but I am excited to see how this project develops over the next 10 weeks.

I plan to document my process through blog posts, vlogs, videos, and photographs. Perhaps I could even create an Instagram page or something to showcase my progress? Also trying to think of a clever hashtag to use to document my progress (if any of you clever people out there have any ideas…)

My only concern is since I am not a yoga instructor and do not have training in yoga, I wouldn’t want anyone getting hurt trying to replicate what I am doing in my videos. Do you think this could pose a problem or since it is about my journey I should be fine?

Welcome Transliterate Librarians!

Welcome Transliterate Librarians! 

I am finally feeling the excitement shared by other members in EC&I 832  in the past few weeks with the completion of my final project! This has been a long process and I may have set out to accomplish a bigger task than anticipated, but I am extremely happy with the product!

I believe my website for transliterate librarians is a great resource that is user-friendly and allows teachers to integrate digital citizenship lessons through cross-curricular lessons. These lessons are not meant to add more work load to teachers, nor are they to be disconnected from the curriculum. They are created the enhance and transform lessons to help create and inspire digital leaders within in the classroom and to promote digital citizenship and media literacy.

The final product contains an opening page describing the websites purpose, four landing pages (inquiry and research, evaluating resources, creating and sharing, and digital citizenship), and 12 lessons to support transliteracy.

Although this project is completed at this stage in the game, it is far from over. It is my hope that with collaboration from fellow teacher librarians we will be able to add lessons to the database. If you would like to collaborate with me on it, please fill out the contact page on the weebly site and I will get in touch!

A special thanks for Jennifer Stewart-Mitchell and Genna Rodriguez for allowing me to use the Digital Citizenship Lesson plan page as found on my lessons. And a huge thank you to Joyce Valenza and Gwyneth Jones  for inspiring this project! Lastly, thank you to Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrandt for giving me guidance and introducing me to new and emerging ideas surrounding digital citizenship and media literacy, but also the freedom to make this project meaningful and authentic to me.

 

 

Final Project Feedback

This week I was able to create (and hopefully finalize) the landing pages for my final project on Transliterate Librarians. I would love some feedback on what I have written… Have I provided enough information on each topic? Have I provided a good explanation on each topic? Do you feel the videos match what I am trying to explain in my writing or do they take away from it?

Thanks!

Opening Page

The role of the Teacher Librarian is changing. TLs are no longer the keepers of information, but rather media specialists and educational leaders. TLs 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.

The purpose of this website is to provide a comprehensive resource for TLs and teachers that includes lessons and resources on the four domains of what TLs teach according to Joyce Valenza and Gwyenth Jones.  The four domains as listed in the poster below are inquiry and research, evaluating resources, creating and sharing, and digital citizenship.

This website takes into account Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship, the Saskatchewan Digital Citizenship Continuum from K-12, Teaching in Education Framework, and RCSD’s Essential Skills of 21st Century Learning.

Please use the menu above to locate and access the lessons and more information on each domain.

Inquiry and Research

Inquiry is embedded across all renewed Saskatchewan curricula.  It can occur in many ways, in the moment, integrated in a lesson, planned as unit, within a subject area. Inquiry allows students to explore and engage in learning opportunities that fosters deep understanding. Inquiry encourages students to ask questions, perform investigations, and build new understandings. Research is a key piece to an effective inquiry as students are searching, synthesizing, and formulating new knowledge, meanings, and understandings. In addition, inquiry and research promotes reading and writing as students explore and formulate new knowledge.

Evaluating Resources

Students need the skills to locate, use, and evaluate information. While doing research, students should be able to choose an appropriate media outlet for their purpose, check the currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose of the information. It is essential for students to develop this skill at a young age as they are turning to the technology to access information and learn new concepts. However, they need the digital literacies of how to use technology effectively, such as navigating the web appropriately, keeping track of sources for reference, using search engines and keywords successfully, and ensuring information is accurate and reliable.

 

Creating and Sharing

Creating and sharing are important components of transliteracy as they give learning a purpose, an audience, and allow for connections. Through creating and sharing students should appreciate literature in all media forms. It is important not to get distracted by the “bells and whistles” of things and to remember your purpose. Through creating and sharing students are taught how to communicate their message. They are also encouraged to be critical thinkers about media messages that are presented to them. Creating and sharing can be done through a PLE or PLN and allows student to express themselves authentically and purposefully.

Digital Citizenship

Digital citizenship is an essential skill in transliteracy. Often it is assumed that because students are young, they are digital natives; however, they need to explicitly be taught digital citizenship. They need to understand that other people have created and own content that is posted online and it is important to attribute their work appropriately. This can be started at a very young age by just writing the author and title of a book and it will grow from there. As well, students should know the difference between copying, remixing, creating, and sharing whilst developing the skills of content curation and how to use creative commons. Additionally students need to manage their digital footprint and realize what they post online is available widely, therefore they need to protect their online identity. Lastly, students need to be respectful online, respectful of themselves and respectful of others.

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?