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Final Networked Learning post

Usually I just use social media to lurk from afar and “creep” on others, so it felt a bit unnatural to actually talk to others on Twitter.
But in an effort to grow my PLN, I did reach out to others!

I asked questions, and helped others in the process.

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I participated in #saskedchat and connected with educators from all over the world

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I also interacted with my classmates by commenting back and forth on each other’s blogs

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I also retweeted resources and articles that I thought might be interesting and useful to my peers

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Although I took this course while sitting on my couch at home, I didn’t miss out on interacting with my peers. I feel as though I got to know them just as well as, if not better, than if we were face to face in a classroom. Not only did I learn a lot from my peers and the other educators I connected with, but it feel great to know that I helped their learning in some way too.

 

 

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Summary of learning

Well ECMP 355 as a course is over, but my learning about technology and digital citizenship is nowhere near over. It feels odd not having anything physical to produce as evidence. I can’t hold up a project I did or paper I wrote. But my learning can be seen online in so many forms.  I have made so much progress on my blog, connected on Twitter, and have posted videos on YouTube.

I used YouTube video editor to create this brief and engaging (ha) video highlighting my learning in ECMP 355.

Thanks for watching!

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Sometimes, there’s no substitute for human interaction

This is my final post wrapping up my learning project for ECMP355.

By learning to play chess, I learned a lot about learning (that makes sense, right?)  What I mean is that I’m taking away so much more than knowledge of playing a game. I rediscovered a lot about the actual process of learning. I don’t remember the last time that I consciously learned and developed a new skill. Especially as teachers, I know that we are constantly learning and growing, but it is something else entirely to concentrate on learning one particular skill. I’m not getting any younger, and I’m sure it helps to keep the mind sharp to learn a new skill or game every once in a while!

I was stuck in the substitution and augmentation levels in my journey learning to play chess. Yeah, I was using technology, but not in a way that greatly benefited of transformed my learning. I think that if I had chosen a different learning project I would have been able to move more into the modification and redefinition levels. A goal for my teaching is to stay out of the substitution area with tech in the classroom!

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So what I came to realize through teaching myself a new skill through the internet…
Don’t force it. Don’t use technology just for the sake of using technology.  If the internet or tech tool you are using doesn’t feel right, try something else. Yes the internet is an incredible learning resource, but it has so suit your learning style to be useful. In watching videos, reading tutorial, and playing matches against the computer, I felt like I was lacking the hands on interaction that helps me learn best. So like I said before, the internet is great but it doesn’t work for everyone’s learning preferences. Sometimes there is no substitute for good old fashioned hands on learning and human interaction. Once I decided to return to playing chess with my boyfriend in real life, I caught on so much quicker. It really helped my learning to physically move the piece and interact with another person.

Which leads me to another nugget of knowledge I’ve obtained:
Don’t be afraid to access people as resources! While I struggled with learning online for weeks, there was a real live person sitting in my house the whole time who could have helped me. Use people as learning tools! I also found it helpful to reach out to other chess players I found on Facebook groups. Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge that other’s can offer you. I’ll be sure to remember this in my teaching. I’ll keep in mind that often student’s parents and family members could be excellent experts to invite into the class, Nothing wrong with admitting I don’t know everything! I’ll ask for help and invite them into the classroom to share their knowledge.

Although I didn’t end up loving learning through the internet, I definitely used technology to show my progress. I used Snapchat, YouTube video editor and uploader, Screencastify, and so many littler tricks on WordPress. I think I learned more about these resources than I did about playing chess! (Maybe that was Katia’s intention all along..?Sneaky..)

 

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I may not be a chess master, and I may not even really like the game… but I discovered a lot about myself as a learner and developed new skills in using technology!

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I am a slacktivist

Can online social activism be meaningful and worthwhile? Is is possible to have productive conversations about social justice online?

Initial thoughts: Yes,  absolutely. Online is the perfect medium for social activism. The internet and social media connects people in so many ways, so why not in regards to activism too?  Life is being lived online more and more, and social activism movements can join.  I am fully behind other people using social media for social activism, but its not personally my style. I tend not to post anything too personal or controversial on social media so I myself wouldn’t take up any social issue online. (The most I ever do is retweet an occasional article that would subtly reveal my stance on an issue) But I never post anything personal. I kind of look at online social activism as something for other people. There’s a possibility that I don’t take it very seriously. I could be completely wrong but it seems that when something goes viral, it loses its credibility

Example of what I mean….

Is this/was this supposed to be social activism? The purpose was to raise awareness and money for ALS research (which I didn’t actually know for the longest time) so I suppose that would be considered social activism.  It seems like when these causes go viral and eventually get ridiculous that everyone loses sight of the real purpose. Is this wrong? I don’t know.

Online social activism is all fine and dandy for other people, but its not really my thing. I think it can be a powerful tool and great way to reach people. But I’ll leave it to others.

This reminded me of a short video I had seen a while ago. Something to think about.

I am definitely a slacktivist.

I then read an article by Katia Hildebrant called  In online spaces, silence speaks as loudly as words  (link to her blog) She takes a somewhat different perspective and made a few points that I had never considered. I want to take some time to unpack the contrast between my initial opinion on social activism and my thoughts after reading her article.

“I have a responsibility to use my privilege to speak out and use my network for more than just my own benefit or self-promotion; not doing so is a selfish act. Being a good digital citizen is about so much more than being safe and responsible online. It’s about participating in meaningful ways to promote equity in networked spaces.”

-Katia Hildebrandt
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Whoa.

Okay I know that I am incredibly privileged and I am learning to consider the ways that will impact my teaching. But I had never thought about my privilege in regards to the internet and online social activism.

First off, not everyone has internet access and the ability to speak freely. I can literally say anything I want on the internet without facing and cultural, religious, or political repercussions. The worst that could happen is I might upset some of my peers. So many people do not have this luxury as I do. Now I feel like I owe it to them to stand up

So now I’m torn. Is it wrong if I choose to use social media solely for my enjoyment? The initial intention for most type of social media was for entertainment, connecting, and sharing. The original purpose wasn’t for social activism; that’s something new that has slowly been developing. I just want to use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for their original mundane purposes!  Am I really doing a bad thing by avoiding controversy and social activism in those spaces? What if I decide not to use any social media at all?

Returning to my initial questions Can online social activism be meaningful and worthwhile? Is is possible to have productive conversations about social justice online?   …. I don’t know. I think so. But I’m sure we can do better.

Now I’m rambling and still very confused. Please share your thoughts.

 

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Flappy Bird #HourOfCode

I had my first experience with an Hour of Code tutorial. I picked the Flappy Bird game to try because it looked familiar to me.

The Grade 4 students in my pre-internship classroom were into coding and creating their own Flappy Bird games. I watched them but was really able to help or answer questions because I was unfamiliar with it. So I wanted to give it a try and see what all the hype was about!

With this game from code.org, you can use drag-and-drop programming to make your own Flappy Bird game, and customize it to look how ever you want! It takes you through step by step to learn how to select different blocks to create the code.

flappyOnce you complete all the steps,  you are free to create your own game however you please!

Here is a short screencast of me creating my own game and giving it a try! I did it very quickly; of course you could spend more time choosing which features you prefer. So much fun to be able to play a game you made yourself!

One complaint with Screencastify: the free version doesn’t allow you to trim/edit your recordings 😦 I would have liked to cut out the bit at the end but wasn’t interested in paying for the premium version. Don’t you hate when that happens!

Coding in the classroom:
I would absolutely implement coding into my classroom someday. Not only would students love it because its fun and engaging, but it can increase problem solving skills.
I came across an article on edutopia.org outlines the benefits of learning to program.

Being able to follow programming logic trains the mind to think in more analytical ways. I believe that debugging a program leads to better problem solving skills.

…is where the computer’s true power as an educational medium lies — in the ability to facilitate and extend children’s awesome natural ability and drive to construct, hypothesize, explore, experiment, evaluate, draw conclusions — in short to learn — all by themselves

Here is a link to the full article.
I’m not an overly tech savvy person, but as a teacher, I am fully behind anything that is fun and great for learning at the same time.

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I think I’ll stick to checkers

Okay so chess isn’t exactly my favourite thing in the world. I wanted to give it a fair shot and really understand how to play before I decided whether or not I liked it. Well I know the rules and am capable of playing a whole game… and I just don’t really like it. Not my thing.  I’ve been practicing online at chess.com  which is really a fantastic website. You can customize all the settings to changing the level of difficulty and hints it gives you and the speed of the game. I played against the computer but you can also play against other people in real time. It was a great way for me to practice up!

Here is a short screencast  of my playing against the computer-just to give you an idea of what it looks like. If you are interested in playing chess or wanted to gain some experience, I highly recommend this site!

Just a short sample, but you get the point. I ended up losing this match… Beat by the computer (sigh). My strategy isn’t exactly the greatest. (Okay, I have no strategy whatsoever). But the important thing is that I understand how to play chess!

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My favourite form of self expression is through internet memes. Image from chess.com

At the beginning I was really hoping that I would turn out to be a naturally awesome chess player and would love it, buuuuuut that’s not the case. Not my thing. But that’s okay.  I went through the process of learning a new skill and can cross one thing off my bucket list. And I have a new game to play on my phone when I need to kill some time, and that’s the important thing right? 😉

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Facebook: not just a useless time suck

As suggested by one of my ECMP355 classmates, I used Facebook to make connections with other beginner chess players.  I would never have thought to try Facebook as a learning resource, so I was appreciative of the advice!  Who know it was good for more than creeping people’s vacation photos?! I was able to join a few groups for chess players where beginners can get advice, ask questions to other members, and connect and play together!  One group is called Chess Lessons with more than 8,000 members! It is a place to teach, share and learn about chess through knowledge and experiences, and help improve your game.   I haven’t quite built up the confidence yet but I am looking forward to reaching out to others from around the world who are also learning to play chess. When I have questions come up, I now have a community of people I know will be willing to help!

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I was feeling really excited about this new discovered use for Facebook, which got me wondering what else I can use Facebook for that I don’t know about yet. I searched Google for “uses for Facebook in education”  and I was not disappointed. I found a really great article about 99 ways you should be using Facebook in the classroom  It gave me a lot of suggestions for resources, projects and assignments, collaboration and discussion, and sharing. I think that sometimes Facebook gets a bad rap and is excluding for many classrooms but this article points out some really interesting uses! Some of them might be better suited for upper elementary or high school students since they are likely on Facebook already. I wouldn’t ask my primary students to get Facebook accounts but there are a lot of other uses for it without the students actually being on Facebook.

Leave a comment telling me what you use Facebook for!

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A love/hate relationship with Instagram

As part of my ECMP 355 class, I read an article about the devastating contrast between one young woman’s seemingly happy life on social media, and the reality of her suffering.  Madison Holleran was struggling with depression in her first year of college but maintained a flawless exterior and social media presence. Eventually, she couldn’t cope and ended her life.

The full article about Madison Holleran can be found here.

I’ve heard a hundred stories like this and read similar accounts. It’s no surprise to me that so many young girls and women compare themselves to others on Instagram and feel pressure to portray a perfect life.  But for some reason, Madison’s story really shook me. I cried after reading the article and now I can’t stop thinking about her. Maybe I relate to her on some level or maybe my emotions finally boiled over after spending so much time thinking about the darker sides of social media.

I have known about Amanda Todd’s story for a long time but just revisited her story during class discussion. Amanda Todd’s story is another devastating example of the results of the pressure to be perfect online. I don’t think that Amanda’s struggles were related to Instagram but this particular social media platform causes issues for many girls like what Amanda faced.

If you don’t know about Amanda Todd, click here for a link to read her story.

 

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Social media platforms like Instagram are intended to bring people together, but somehow they have the exact opposite effect. There is intense pressure to post the perfect pictures and have a seemingly flawless life. But of course no one actually feels like their life is perfect so a cycle of unhappiness ensues.

We hate the consequences of social media and empty feelings that Instagram produces but we continue to buy into it.

Below is a short account of Essena O’Neill, a teenage Instagram star with more than 500,000 followers who decided to shut down her social media career. Like many, the photos she posted depicting an effortlessly happy and seemingly perfect life, but it was completely contrived and she was secretly unhappy.  I think its amazing that she re-captioned her photos to show her real feelings and what was actually going on in those flawless snapshots.

 

 

The accounts I follow on Instagram are mostly cats, puppies, and travel accounts. Scrolling through pictures of animals usually boosts my mood. But its hard not to compare my life to the travel accounts and wish that I could life a fabulous life traveling the world. My favorite couple to love/hate is  doyoutravel and gypsea_lust  They make a living by blogging and posting on Instagram all of their adventures in gorgeous exotic places. And it doesn’t help that they are both extremely good looking. Ugh.
I make a point of avoiding fitness or fashion accounts to minimize the blow to my self esteem.

What/who do you follow on Instagram? Do you find yourself comparing and competing? Does Instagram build you up or tear you down?

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Digital citizenship in primary classrooms

I’m pretty sure that there isn’t a single photo of me on the Internet before the age of 13. And that photo I posted myself and I wanted it to be there. But it’s common practice now for to parents to post hundreds or thousands of photos of their babies and children on various Internet platforms.

 

A 2010 study by AVG, an Internet security firm, found that 81 percent of children worldwide have an online presence before the age of 2.

From https://www.commonsensemedia.org/videos/young-children-digital-footprints-video-tutorial

It is common now for parents to post sonogram photos of their growing babies and thus begin their online presence before they are even born. Some parents even create social media accounts on behalf of their babies and young children.

You may have seen this slightly hilarious but cringe-worthy viral video. But have you ever considered the impact it will have on this child later in life?  Did he give consent to have this video posted?

Personally, I consider the content of this video inappropriate. Clearly this child is distressed and needs to be cared for, not recorded. I don’t believe that at his age (or level of consciousness) that he could give his permission for this to be posted. It’s also important to consider the child’s personality and how they will react to the video later in life.  Will he would be mortified or fin it hilarious? I know that I wouldn’t be thrilled if a video like this of myself went viral with over 120 million views. Sounds pretty embarrassing to me.

I don’t have children of my own yet, and I have time to decide what content/how much if any I would post about them. What will impact me much sooner, is the digital footprint of my students. I am hoping to teach primary students so I must be prepared to handle the unique challenges they bring in this world of ever changing technology.  I will have to deal with the reality of teaching young children who have a social media presence before they even begin school. How will I combat or contribute to their digital identity?  How can I help them become responsible digital citizens?

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Baby memes are funny, but do we stop to contemplate the implications? This child will have massive online presence before they are even old enough to use a computer.

Currently, topics such as privacy and safety, the consequences of sexting, cyber bullying prevention and response, and occasionally digital citizenship are taught most often beginning in Grade 4 and upwards. But children are exposed to and using the Internet so much earlier than that! We need to begin educating students about responsible Internet use as soon as they enter school, starting as soon as Kindergarten.

The challenges I will face for teaching primary students about digital citizenship are different from those of older elementary.

My concerns:

1)Discrepancies between what I am doing in my classroom versus what they do when they go home. I worry that the practices I implement will be disrupted as soon as the students go home where there are different rules and expectations.

2) Finding balance.  “Understanding past, present, and possible future effects of technology. Cultivating a sense of balance that considers opportunity as well as responsibility, empowerment as well as caution, personal fulfillment as well as community and global well-being.”

3) Screen time. Will I be able to explain to parents the difference between active and passive screen time?  Will they understand that the technology used in my classroom for learning is different from their child playing games or watching videos on a tablet at home?

Curriculum connections:

Of course teaching responsibility and citizenship can be plugged into many subject areas and outcomes, but I think the best approach would be to infuse digital citizenship education into every day. Likely, my students will be using some form of technology at least once a day, so they can learn responsible use and about the impact they make at the same time. It doesn’t have to be a formal lesson that is taught explicitly. Digital citizenship can be taught more organically and continuously.

I’m sure there are no easy answers to my questions. Likely this is something I have to figure out along the way by collaborating with colleagues. But I am up for the challenge.

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My first real chess match

This week I took a break from my online chess efforts and decided to give it a shot in real life. It went much better. There’s just something about the human interaction and hands on factor that helps my brain grasp easier.

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This is Quinn. Electrician by day, chess master by night

I promised not to whine and complain, so he agreed to play a match against me and help me along the way. I only needed a hint a few times.

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I was the black squares/frosty pieces. Wasn’t sure what move to make next!
(This chess set is very frustrating. I wish I had gotten one with two distinct different colors- would be less confusing)

Right now, I definitely have no strategy and I certainly lost, but at least I get the point. It was almost fun.

Dramatic footage of me loosing…

Now its back to my chess app to practice up and perfect my strategy so I can beat him next time!

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Digital sleuthing

This week in ECMP355 we were discussing digital citizenship and digital identity. Once I got the terms straight, ( digital citizenship is the way in which you interact with others, utilize the internet and impact you leave – digital identity is your personal presence on the internet) I could see how vital it is to be aware of your internet use.

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Teachers are always under scrutiny, in public and online.

We all know that teachers are expected to uphold a certain image in public and online as well. Teachers must be professional, and responsible citizens. For this reason, I have been particularly conscious over the past few years about how I portray myself online. So my classmate, Amy Swanson and I decided to sleuth each other- which I would usually refer to as creeping. We did this for two reasons: 1) To see just how much is out there about us on the web and how easy it is to find information.
2) To double check our professional presence.

I began my sleuthing with a Google search of her name. The first result that came up was a bunch of Facebook profiles with hers at the top because we have a few mutual friends.

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Hi Amy!  Image from Amy Swanson’s Facebook profile

The only information visible on her profile is that she lives in Regina, Saskatchewan and is from North Battleford, Saskatchewan. I could see two photos of her and a list of music that she likes.  So, Amy’s Facebook is very private and gets the stamp of approval.

When I added Regina  behind her name in my Google search, I found her blog and Twitter account. Both of which are used strictly for professional and educational purposes.  Amy tweets and retweets great articles and resources for teachers.
Amy’s digital identity seems pleasantly boring. No dirt was dug up! The information I could find was absolutely appropriate and professional.

Check out Amy’s blog post here to see what happened when she sleuthed me.

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Slowly but surely

Trying something different for this blog post. I have uploaded simple videos to YouTube before but I have never used a video editor so  wanted to give it a try! Basically all I did was record three separate videos on my iPhone, upload them to YouTube, then use YouTube’s video editor to put them together and adjust the color and brightness. Very simple but its an accomplishment for me!

Here is what I have learned so far. Enjoy!

 

 

Next up…. a practice chess match with my boyfriend!

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Don’t fear the web

I find it interesting that the more accessible and common the internet becomes in everyday life, the more wary people become. It is used by so many people for so many things but we still approach internet use with caution. Students are being taught to be hyper-vigilant about privacy and are warned about the repercussions of unfavorable posts. The internet is this great big wonderful thing!-but we are also a bit afraid of it. It would make sense for people to become more comfortable over the years- but this is not the case.

I think we can shift our perceptions of the way we use the internet. Instead of focusing on what the internet can do to you (hacking, catfishing, hanging onto every gory detail of your past and using it against you…) let’s focus on what the internet can do for you! 

While listening to Alec Couros’ @courosa presentation as a guest speaker in my ECMP 355 class, I was at first shocked that he allows his 4 year old daughter to upload videos of her self onto YouTube. The only reason this was shocking is because it is uncommon. Some would say that this is much too young and is risky. However, it really depends on the approach you take and your attitude towards sharing online. I believe that if we teach students how to share and what to share, then much of fear of the unknown can be alleviated.

This video by Michael Wesch explores how YouTube developed into the cultural phenomenon that it is today. This is the first time I have seen technology approached from an anthropological perspective- fascinating.

In regards to YouTube, not only is the technology aspect of it incredible, but the human element is even more fascinating. The way that internet and specifically YouTube connects people around the world is absolutely incredible. Even though a large portion of YouTube traffic is comprised of silly home-videos and funny cats, the sharing and sense of global community produced is amazing.  The internet and developed its own culture of participation. People are now able to reach similar minds that they would never have the opportunity to meet without the internet. I can definitely use this to my benefit in my classroom to supplement student learning. It will be so easy to access information and collaborate with students in other parts of the world and provide experiences not possible without the internet. I would love to do a unit in which my students connect and communicate with another group of students to gain new perspectives.

So… yes the internet is a big, mysterious place, and bad things do happen- but it is also a wonderful tool for human connection. Yes, students need to be conscientious about their internet use, but not so cautious that they miss out on opportunities to learn and engage with others.

 

 

 

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Hurry up September!

After weeks of obsessively checking the mail waiting for my internship package and placement, it has finally arrived containing great news!  I’m so glad that I have been placed at a great school in Regina (also conveniently close to my house). For the first time in my life, I can’t wait for summer to be over!  I am beyond excited for my teaching internship in the Fall. I will be in a Grade 1/2 classroom at St. Francis. Over the years, I have spent quite a bit of time in St. Francis for various reasons and have gotten to know some of the staff already. It’s a great school and an awesome community. I’m really looking forward to becoming immersed in the school culture. I am so thrilled to have been placed in Grade 1/2-that’s exactly what I was hoping for.  This will be the first time I’ve been in a classroom at the start of the year. I’m curious to see how establishing classroom procedures is done and help establish the classroom environment from the beginning. It will be so rewarding to see how much the little ones grow and change.

I don’t want to get too for ahead of myself and over plan/plan too early, but I am definitely starting to think about things I want to do. I’ll be meeting with my co-operating teacher soon to begin pre-planning together. She is also a young, energetic teacher and I can’t wait to collaborate with her!

I’m going to try to enjoy my last summer as a student.  I know that after this, my summers will certainly be full of more intense planning and prepping. It’s bittersweet, but this is sort of my last summer of  ‘freedom’ before I enter the ‘real world’.  I have a summer reading list as ‘teacher books’ waiting for me. My summer days will be spent soaking up some sun in backyard hammock, a book in my hand, anxiously awaiting internship.

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Patience is a virtue

Okay teaching myself to play chess is harder than I thought. I am quite frustrated. I’m not catching on as quickly as I thought I would.

I’ve been trying to play against the computer on chess.com. I’ve set it to beginner mode and enabled the hints. I get the fundamentals of the game but I can’t yet seem to remember how each piece moves- I constantly have to refer back to a cheat sheet to check!  Or I end up using the hint option a little too often so I’m not sure that I am really playing…

Needless to say, the learning has been sloooowwww going. I have two options at this point: A) Suddenly become a more patient person (not likely). Or B) Take a different approach to learning. I know that I learn best through hands-on. While the live game online is helpful, I think my brain would respond better if I could actually touch the pieces and physically move them.  Get that muscle memory working! SO… I bought a second-hand chess board. I think it’s time to swallow my pride and ask my boyfriend to play a game against me/teach me. At least now I know what the pieces are called!

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Puppet Pals

Clearly I won’t be an award winning script writer…
Don’t judge my creative abilities. The point is that I downloaded the Puppet Pals app on my phone and learned how to use it. The hardest part was figuring out how to upload to YouTube then insert the link here. Overall, super cute and easy to use! I can’t wait to have my grade 1/2s use it. I’m sure kids will love it and be a lot more creative than I am. I really like the option to add your own photos. For primary students still developing writing skills, this could be a great tool that would allow them to express themselves.

Enjoy…

 

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A commitment to blogging

I have a confession to make…
I’ve been falling behind on my blog posts for class. Even though I heard the advice at the beginning: Don’t fall behind!  It’s just still not coming naturally to me. I still feel forced and awkward. I just struggle to find the right words to say.

I feel similar about Twitter. Katia suggested tweeting twice a day. That seemed doable to me but I’ve slipped on that too. I KNOW that the more I blog and tweet the easier it will come.  I have this preconceived notion that I need to be witty or have something incredibly valuable to post.  Instead of waiting for inspiration to come to me throughout the day, I am going to try designating a certain time each day to sit down and post something! Whether or not I have anything interesting to say.

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Intro

My name is Payton Keen! I’m a sister, girlfriend, cat mom, and pre-service teacher.

I was born in a small town in northern B.C. but moved to Regina in Grade 2 and completed all of my schooling here. My mom is a teacher and I sort of always knew that I wanted to be a teacher too. I love reading and writing- math and sciences not so much.  My pre-internship was in a Grade 4 room and it was an incredible experience. I will be doing my internship this Fall hopefully in a Grade 1/2 room. I prefer working with younger children. Kindergarten, Grade 1 and 2 are my favourite.
When in comes to technology, I’m a bit iffy. I know the basics but need to learn a lot more about incorporating tech into the classroom. In my own schooling experiences, I don’t recall using a lot of technology (for reference, I was in school from 2000-2012). We had computers in the classrooms but technology was did not play a big role in my education.  I’m sure there are countless resources out there to benefit elementary classrooms- I just need to discover them!

Follow me on Twitter @misspkeen