Saturday, February 14, 2015

The wiki for my class

The first attempt at posting information of a class online.

This is the initial plan for a class wiki. I would use this to communicate with the students. Assignments and discussions about them will had on this wiki.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Syllabus with 1:1 Classroom expectations.

This is the syllabus for a mock class I could possibly run as an after school camp with my Elementary students. As I was making the assignments I came up with some really cool ones, I think. I'll post them a bit later as I get more sleep over the weekend.

On the second page there are the Classroom expectations. I hope they don't sound too overbearing.

This is the file in google docs.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sound Recording Project

Everyone in the class is assigned a portion of a chapter to read. They record themselves and upload it to Soundcloud. A playlist of the entire chapter is made and listened to in class.

Movie Unit

This is the movie unit designed for Grade 6 elementary students as part of a final project or an after school extra curricular club. The basics of composition and and camera operation have already been taught, as well as the used of editing software.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Blog 7: My thoughts on the best tool introduced in the EDUC932 course

There has been a plethora of tools introduced. Productivity tools like EverNote I have begun to use right away. I also started using f.lux the very first day I heard about it. Prezi is an exceptional presentation tool which has some very unique applications. But for me there are two things that are truly standout. Unfortunately these things have been around for a while and it's just been my stubborn apathy that has kept me from using them. Google Docs, and Twitter.

Twitter, where do I start? I thought twitter was for dim people who sought to lap up the dim musings of celebrities. Now I recognize that to only be a part of the twitter community. I've been shown that intelligent people too work hard to share and learn from from each other via this platform. For showing this to me and forcing me to start using it I am grateful.

Google Docs too seemed very elaborate and difficult to wrap my head around. I needed a crash course and a twist of the arm to really appreciate the versatility and wealth of the possibilities this software opens up. Having a smouldering resentment for the company has really hampered my uptake of their services. I'm pretty think like that.

Along with the software it seems this course has forced me to face my own senseless stubbornness when it comes to technology. It is definitely something that I have to get over. Maybe I'll twit about it. ;)

Blog 6: What are the most essential skills?

Well, in the blog post 9 Essential Skills Kids Should Learn, Leo Babauta compiles a pretty good list.

Leo begins by lamenting his own traditional education. An education that left many of the skills required in the world that never stops changing. He goes on to say that he and his wife are homeschooling their kids to allow them to explore their own education and not be stifled by the traditional education model.

He then spells out the 9 skills he seeks to instil in his kids, and recommends all children be taught.

Asking questions: Being able to learn on their own.

Solving problems: Being able to learn or do anything that needs learning or doing.

Tackling projects: Develop confidence and the habits of seeing large tasks thought to the end.

Finding passion: Allowing, and encouraging, the child to find and follow their interests.

Independence: Encourage independant trial end error, allow them to gain confidence through their own mistakes and accomplishments.

Being happy on their own: Make time for the child to be alone, following their interests, avoid coddling, and meddling.

Compassion: Be the example of compassion. Talk about the feelings of others, and how it is possible to help.

Tolerance: Allow for interactions with different people of different backgrounds. Encourage inclusiveness, and respect.

Dealing with change: Apreciate unpredictability, allow for adventure. Embrace whims and maintain a positive outlook on the uncertain future.

These are all quite lofty. But having read them I was struck by how few of these qualities I allow my students to express in class. To the point where I'm not even sure that they can.

I have just conceived an idea for a group project that will have them write their own dictionaries based off the reading passages in our Elementary text books. I will attempt to tackle the first 3 skills on this list with this activity.  It's a start.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Originality is synthesis.

Everything is a Remix

RiP: A Remix Manifesto

These two documentaries are a great introduction to the current issues surrounding copyright law. I particularly enjoyed RiP: A Remix Manifesto. It lays out the Remixer's Manifesto and talks about
how the protected ideas of corporations of yesterday are stifling the creative potential of companies today. The general premise is that nothing exists in a vacuum and anything new is just a novel combination of things that we already have. If we are not allowed to have access to ideas that came before there is no way to generate new and interesting ideas.

After watching these documentaries it is hard to side with the corporations and not the tiny upstarts that are making something new from old ideas. But as an artist, musician, or writer it is difficult not to feel threatened by the potential of having your images, music and books simply stolen. I feel that the copyright laws at the beginning of the 20th century had it right. Fifteen years after the death of the artist is enough time for protection of individual interests. Anything more is simply protecting the interests of a massive corporate machine at the cost of public good.

Are ideas property? I don't know. I feel that ideas are like children, they are your responsibility for the first 18 years, but after that it's unethical to keep them locked up in the basement.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Final storyboarding assignment for extracurricular animation class.

These are the instructional materials and an example presentation for a possible storyboarding assignment.

Enjoy that!

I bet you enjoyed that!

Friday, February 6, 2015

My favourite class

My favourite classes are usually with the younger kids. Grade 3 students. Although teaching older students can be more interesting, with the materials the younger student are learning it is much easier to see progress and feel good about it. Also, I like singing with a bunch of kids and for most of my Grade 3 units I have a relevant song paired to help them with the vocabulary.

I think my favourite lesson is the weather lesson because it has the coolest song. The kids usually love to sing it. After a few days they can sing it by themselves without music or assistance. 

Sunny, Sunny, 
Sunny, Sunny, 
It is suuuunny in the sky, 
S-U-N-N-Y, Sunny, (letters spelled out)
It is sunny in the sky.

This song can have any number of verses with different weather conditions. Windy, rainy, snowy, foggy, hazy. You have to be clever to get it in rhythm. 

The song is great because it teaches the spelling of the words and the answer to the target question of "What's the weather?" I also use hand gestures to indicate the next verse. These gestures are invaluable in prompting struggling students later on. 

I really like it because as a lesson I can begin with showing pictures of the weather, then introducing the sentences, and solidifying this knowledge with a great song. After having done this most students will correctly answer what weather it is. That's what we call results!

If I had to admit, I would say that my other lessons simply aren't as well planned or executed. If they were they two would be my favourites. This is how I know that even with the years of experience I do have, I know nothing. 

SoOOo International!~

I bought a new computer in Korea so I finally have Hangul on my keyboard. I've wanted this for so long.

I thought adding and additional language as an input source would be a great topic for an instructional video for the course.


Hope you learned something!~~

Thursday, February 5, 2015


When we did the googling activity on the first day of class the information that immediately popped up didn't embarrass me so much as disappoint. What I had was a string of accounts registered under my full name that were bare and/or out of date. The overall effect was not to present me as a professional who is currently active.
My initial attempt to create a digital footprint was in college to create a name for myself as an artist. Mostly for the same professional reasons you would do it as a teacher. That career path didn't pan out but stands as a reminder to those good ol' college days.

Do remedy this I have begun to delete the accounts of services I do not use and take off the images that I don't particularly want displayed on the web. Unfortunately the search archives the results and displays the dead links. It seems that the answer is to start creating more new content to over shadow the old. This means either picking up my old blogs and adjusting the content or creating even more visible websites and blogs.
I figure as long as the results don't dredge up anything incriminating I don't have to rush it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The importance of clear presentations.

Last class we took a look at many different presentation software that is available online for free. Most notably and

We talked a lot about what separates great presentations from presentations you have to sit through. I think that I am a pretty good speaker, but what can I do to become an even more effective presenter?

Well, most of my presentations are already pretty zen in their appearance but I think I must focus on the speaking and being more prepared, not my usual wing it approach. Taking time to plan out the ideas more clearly and maybe even rehearse a time or two might help out a lot. I never do the rehearsing because you can't rehearse an improvisation. It is my preferred method of working, I can't honestly say if it is because I'm lazy or I actually work better that way.  

The second bit would be to focus on the handouts. This is surprisingly a part of presentations that I have never focused on. I tend to talk, show fun pictures, and make jokes, but in the end my audience is very likely to forget anything that I may have been talking about. A more detailed summary of the information and points in conjunction with my presentation would really put it over the top I think.  e 

I have a presentation on Saturday, I will give it a try then!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I am a dinosaur

After the first day of the Creative Teaching Techniques course from Framingham State U I realize the lack of technology use in my classes and, to be honest, my lack of knowledge about how to use technology as part of a class.
I would like to improve as a teacher by learning more about the technology solutions that I can implement in my lessons. This will undoubtedly make me a better teacher, as well as improve the experience for my students. But the programs and how to use them are not the most important things I could learn during this course.
Gaining the skills and more importantly courage to implement new technology in the classroom would be the real key for me. A lot of the organizations we talked about have good supporting materials so going through that might shed light on the topic. I found that ISTE has a nice selection of videos on their YouTube channel of educators sharing their stories. This could be a good first step.

The use of technology in the classroom is not yet ubiquitous, so perhaps I can be forgiven for being slow on the up take. But when I give it some thought, the idea of giving my students computers, phones, or tablets sounds daunting. I feel it would just be easier to just give them all knives.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Finally a new computer.

I have firmly planted my foot in the 21st century with the purchase of a computer that runs the latest software. But now I'm flooded by the new gestures, features and services that are surprisingly daunting to research and begin to use. I think this is what it feels like to get old.

Friday, January 30, 2015

I need to buy a new computer. But with the Canadian dollar being as it is I can't use my Canadian credit card. I will have to figure something out.