Resources for a First Year SST

As a first year SST, I found myself wondering “what resources do I need to be a successful teacher and support?” These are the resources that have helped me get through the first few months (right after some awesome colleages and kids!):

Reading:

FAIR – researched based phonics activities/games. Great to cut-out, laminate, and file so they are easily accessible. So far I have utilized letter recognition/sounds and rhyme games with great success and engagement from the kids! Note: K level actually translated to Grade 1 in many cases (adapt/gage for your children as necessary).

Letterland – kids love the actions and really retain it. Videos on Youtube, as well as, the Sotrybook are great tools for basic classroom teaching and interventions.

This always helps too:

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#halloween #awesomestaff #teacherlife

Measured Mom – everything early literacy (and math!). Great, engaging activities to get student engaged during small-group instruction. It is a good idea to cut-out, laminate, and file some of these supports so they are easily accessible. I also made kids their own individual books and while they worked on those we played some games one-on-one. The kids loved it!

Raz-Kids – for levelled books for guided reading (totally worth it to get an account!)

Reading Assessments: 

Concepts of Print by Marie M. Clay – for basic/initial reading assessments

Fountas and Pinnell Benchmarking Kit 

Orchestrating Success in Reading by Dawn Reithaug – assessing the 5 main components of reading (great for LIT goals)

Reading Power by Adrienne Gear – great for LIT goals and reading instruciton

Autism:

Circles Curriculum – teaches social boundaries/relationships

Getting Unstuck – how to problem solve

Whole Body Listening – great tool for whole-class listening (pair with both positive reinforcement, such as a marble jar, and negative reinforcement, such as name with checks on board, and you will be set!)

Zones of Regulation – great for emotional thinking and tracking (self-monitoring)

Motivation:

A Love Letter to First-Year Teachers from We Are Teachers

And whatever you do, don’t forget to ask questions.. lots of them!

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Breaking News! Your Phone Isn’t Just for Cat Pictures: Take Action!

Today I would like to reflect on how technology can be used to promote social action. Ben Rattray discusses how social media can be used to create grassroots movements through sharing digital stories and starting campaigns and petitions that lead to nation-wide movements. Maybe most influential is the idea that our technology is just beginning, therefore, our social action is just beginning. Ben notes that “we face big problems… but the democratization of technology [means] people will be able to start more campaigns than we can possibly imagine… because together with the right tools, we can change the world.” This video gives me hope that “there is no issue that will be left untouched.”

But how do we get students to engage in these issues that matter? I do think great change will happen but the technology is just the tool. In other words, the tools don’t use themselves. We must use the tools properly to make the change. It is the people behind the screen that matter.

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Photo Credit: andres musta via Compfight cc

So how do we promote social action for our students?

1. Knowledge/Exposure – kids cannot fix things if they do not know they are broken. We have the information at our hands. It is very important that we do not let single stories dominate our teaching. It is important that we show the voices of all: strengths, weaknesses, issues, successes, etc. If we expose children to knowledge in the right ways, this creates a culture of empathy in our classrooms/societies.

2. Create a Positive Digital Citizenship – kids need to create a positive online self. They need to actively be creating this positive imagine and we must assist them along the way (ie. get them to create a blog, discuss the risks/provide examples of inappropriate technology use that led to issues for people like this UCLA Student, discuss cyberbullying through examples like Amanda Todd, etc.).

3. Passion – with exposure to the knowledge and the know-how and platform to have a positive voice, students will find things that matter to them. It is up to us to help them pursue these things. Committees like We Day or SRC can help students work towards their goals. I was proud to be part of both of these groups during my internship and amazed at the action the students took; for instance, selling rafikis to empower women/families in Kenya. Here are some more examples of what has been done or what could be done:

Note that with all positives, come negatives, too. For instance, the ASL bucket challenge was a huge waste of water and highlights privilege (many people do not have clean drinking water so dumping good water on ones head would seem a bit insane to some). There is also the socio-economic divide causing a lack of access to technology. And we can’t forget the trolls of the internet.

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Photo Credit: uomoplanetario.org via Compfight cc

But in my opinion the pros outweigh the cons. If we expose students to different causes in an environment that encourages a positive sense of self; if we are proactive about bullying; if we help students find their passions; if we provide additional tools so that everyone has access to learning (even if it isn’t through technology); if we make technology a top budget priority in our schools; there really will be no issue that will go untouched. The internet, like our world, can be a more equitable place for all if we work from within. 

Compiling Tech. Resources

In ECMP 355 we have learned about many tools to facilitate 21st century education! From Blackboard to Pensieve to My Fitness Pal – it feels like we have covered it all. For my own benefit (and anyone else who is interested), here is an overview of what we have explored and some of my own favorites:

1. MOOCs

2. Blog/Writing/Classroom Places for Resources

  1. RSS Feeds/Bookmarking
  1. Communication/Assessment
  1. Social

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Photo Credit Globovisión via Compfightcc

6. Productivity/Plan

  1. Presentation/Assess
  1. Creative
  1. Media
  1. Coding
  1. Misc.

12. Autism Apps

13. Sign Language Apps/Sites

Today I also want to compile the resources from two articles: Snapshots Of Understanding? 10 Smart Tools For Digital Exit Slips and Apps That Rise to the Top: Tested and Approved By Teachers. Note: some resources repeat.

The first article discusses exit slips (an important element of assessment as… or assessment for if they are entrance slips). The article outlines these following technological options:

The second article outlines teacher-approved apps for:

1. Digital Storytelling/Presenting

2. Video Tools

3. Photo Editing

4. Augmented Reality

5. Reading/ELA/Library

*more ELA resources at kgorhamblog ELA Resources 

6. Commenting Tools

7. Coding

8. Note Taking/Organization

9. Digital Citizenship

10. Social Media

.11. Misc.

What other tools are out there? What is your favorite tool? What is a technology that you and your classroom couldn’t survive without!?

Free #DigCit Resources: No Tricks, No Gimmicks or Your Money Back

Alright, figuratively speaking you are sitting at your desk, coffee cup in hand and grabbing a fist full of your hair. You know you must teach #digcit to your students, but how? Where do you even start? How can you learn about it #digcit yourself? Well, set down the coffee cup, leave your hair in place and look below:

On March 6th, David Andrade posted resources (at the bottom of the blog post) and a free online class for teachers called teaching digital citizenship to students. This is the link to the free Teaching Digital Citizenship App by Netsmartz and Club Penguin. I would also recommend checking out Tech Learning and the Educator Resource Page. Also, 10 Tech Skills Every Student Should Have is worth the read!

The training covers:

  • Digital literacy & Ethics
  • Inappropriate Content
  • Online Sexual Solicitation
  • Online Privacy
  • Sexting
  • Cyberbullying

You can choose to look at whatever areas you want and start and stop if needed. In it’s entirety it is about 1 hour of training. The material covered is best for ages 5-17 and specific resources are recommended for each level. A certificate of achievement is earned after completing the training.

ELA and Digitial Citizenship Resources and Activities

Resources (as suggested by Donawa and Fowler in Reading Canada Chapter 6).

 “Fan fiction writers use pre-existing fictional characters from an original work to develop alternative relational, situational, and plot events which they self-publish for one another… fan fiction makes up 33 percent of all content revolving around books [on the web]” (in Boos, 2008)”” (Donawa et al., 2013, p. 186)

“Carlie Webber (2009) points out that school assignments like writing a letter from Mercutio to Romeo are fan faction: “You put your own spin on someone else’s story”” (Donawa et al., 2013, p. 186).

Activities (as suggested in Reading Canada by Donawa and Fowler 2013)

  1. Role-play
  2. Use Cross-Country Bookshelf to get students to present about authors
  3. Movie trailers
  4. Canada Read’s to debate and defend book of choice

“The concept of play (good for the brain and emotions) requires the students to know the story, setting, characters, and themes to be able to participate. The result tends to be higher order thinking and more elaborated conversation, including more extensive understanding by the young adult readers” (Donawa et al., 2013, p. 187).

Digital Citizenship: The Need to Know

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Image by Paul Downey

I read a great article about digital citizenship by Vicki Davis (link below). Her approach to teaching digital citizenship is to teach both proactive knowledge and experiential knowledge.

For proactive knowledge she teaches 9 key things using her book, Reinventing Writing, and examples, lessons, assignments, etc. The 9 pieces of proactive knowledge are: passwords (strength and remembering them), privacy, personal information (and who to share it with), photographs (what can be shared and geotagging), property (copyright and licensing), permission (citing), protection (viruses, malware, phishing, ransomware, and identity theft), professionalism (netiquette, conflict resolution, and decision making), and personal brand (voice).

Resources she uses: LastPass; 10 Important Password Tips Everyone Should Know; Common Sense Media Curriculum; Location-Based Safety Guide; Creative Commons

For experiential knowledge she uses lessons, discussions, examples, assignments, etc. to bring the 9 P’s to life:

1. Truth or Fiction (of scams and cons) using Snopes, Truth or Fiction, the Threat Encyclopedia, or the Federal Trade Commission.

2. Turn Students into Teachers by getting them to find the scams and present.

3. Collaborative Learning Communities through Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds, Gamifi-ed, AIC Conflict Simulation, game-based learning, Ning blog, and a classroom wiki. This also allows students to connect with those around the world.

My Reflection:

I LOVE THIS ARTICLE AND THE RESOURCES. I felt a bit lost as to how I would teach digital citizenship in my classroom but this will serve as a great roadmap. Davis notes that she teaches from a digital citizenship curriculum so I may have to get creative as to how this fits in with the curriculum outcomes I am teaching. If I was teaching Grade 9 for instance, these are the outcomes that I believe would fit:

CR9.1a – View, listen to, read, comprehend, and respond to a variety of texts that address identity (e.g., The Search for Self), social responsibility (e.g., Our Shared Narratives), and efficacy (e.g., Doing the Right Thing).

CR9.3a – Use pragmatic (e.g., language suitable for intended audience), textual (e.g., author’s thesis or argument, how author organized text to achieve unity, coherence, and effect), syntactic (e.g., parallel structures), semantic/lexical/morphological (e.g., connotation and denotation), graphophonic (e.g., common spellings and variants for effect or dialect), and other cues (e.g., fonts, colour) to construct and to confirm meaning.

CR9.4a – View and demonstrate comprehension and evaluation of visual and multimedia texts including illustrations, maps, charts, graphs, pamphlets, photography, art works, video clips, and dramatizations to glean ideas suitable for identified audience and purpose.

CC9.1a – Create various visual, multimedia, oral, and written texts that explore identity (e.g., The Search for Self), social responsibility (e.g., Our Shared Narratives), and efficacy (e.g., Doing the Right Thing).

CC9.2a – Create and present an individual researched inquiry project related to a topic, theme, or issue studied in English language arts.

CC9.3a – Select and use appropriate strategies to communicate meaning before (e.g., considering and valuing own observations, experiences, ideas, and opinions as sources for ideas), during (e.g., shaping and reshaping drafts with audience and purpose in mind), and after (e.g., ensuring that all parts support the main idea or thesis) speaking, writing, and other representing activities.

CC9.5a – Create and present a variety of visual and multimedia presentations to best represent message for an intended audience and purpose.

CC9.6a – Use oral language to interact purposefully, confidently, and appropriately in a variety of situations including participating in one-to-one, small group, and large group discussions (e.g., prompting and supporting others, solving problems, resolving conflicts, building consensus, articulating and explaining personal viewpoint, discussing preferences, speaking to extend current understanding, and celebrating special events and accomplishments).

CC9.9a – Experiment with a variety of text forms (e.g., debates, meetings, presentations to unfamiliar audiences, poetry, précis, short script, advice column, video documentary, comic strip) and techniques (e.g., tone, persona, point of view, imagery, dialogue, figurative language).

Obviously, I would have to go beyond teaching digital citizenship to meet these outcomes but these are all places where digital citizenship can be touched upon. Through technology and digital citizenship I could definitely have my students focus on the 6 strands of ELA: reading, writing, speaking, listening, presenting, and viewing.

The best part about this process is that I would be learning alongside my students, as I have lots to learn about digital citizenship. Another resource I would use is lol…OMG! by Matt Ivester.

“Citizenship is what we do to fulfill our role as a citizen. That role starts as soon as we click on the internet.” – Vicki Davis

Read more at: Edutopia’s “What Your Students Really Need to Know About Digital Citizenship” and Anne Collier who believes we should drop the word “digital” in digital citizenship.

 

Discussion:

What resources would you use to teach digital citizenship? What curriculum connections can you make (Saskatchewan Curriculum)? Do you think we are teaching digital citizenship or just citizenship; are the terms one in the same?

Learning American Sign Language Online Resources

For my major project in ECMP 355 I am going to attempt to cross something off of my bucket list: learning American Sign Language! As a future inclusive educator, a tutor for those with varying abilities, and an employee at Camp Easter Seal in the summers, I feel that sign language is a skill I need to truly include all of my learners. I know that in 50 hours I will not be fluently signing even though I have used the basics at work and have a strong grasp of the English language. There is a common misconception that ASL is simply signing English words and phrases when in fact, an entire new set of grammatical rules governs the language. It takes just as long to master sign language as it does to learn a new language. BUT I am up for the challenge and so far these are the resources that I have found that will assist me on my learning journey:

Start ASL free online classes, resources, dictionary, product reviews, deaf culture information, course search, and workbook.

ASL University videos.

YouTube videos for practice.

Bill Vicars on YouTube

Expertvillage videos on YouTube.

My Smart Hands on YouTube for kids learning ASL.

Deaf Linx

ASL Training Programs

ASL Pro

I am also purchasing this book: Talking with Your Hands, Listening with Your Eyes: A Complete Photographic Guide to American Sign Language by Gabriel Grayson and I have the ASL and LearningSignLanguage applications.

I think I am all set for resources. The biggest challenge will be focusing, directing my own learning, and selecting the right resources. Wish me luck!

A Very Long and Random but Important List of Resources: First Nations Education, Treaty Education, Anti-Oppressive Education, Inclusion, Body Image, Bullying, Wealth Inequality, Teaching Tolerance, etc.