From Student to Teacher

From Student to Teacher

It’s been 16 days since classes have ended. 10 days since my last final for my degree. And  8 days since I started solo teaching. That’s right you read that correctly, 2 days after I wrote my final exam I started teaching. Thankfully I didn’t jump head first in by myself right away and got to  shadow the sub for a couple days. That was a relief.

I adore the school I am working with! It is one of neighbouring towns around where I went to school and I even played basketball with them during my grade 12. They were like my school away from school. My mom went to this school and I still have cousins growing up there. I only teach one of them and it is only a tiny bit awkward (ha!).

I teach predominately grade 5 and 6 with a little grade 7 and 8 ELA and some RTI. I honestly love teaching middle years. I know I specialized in high school mathematics and physical education, but the more I work with the middle years grade the more I think they are a right fit for me.

So here it is a quick update from the adventures of Ms. Nyhus. I wish I could promise that I would blog regularly but we all know that won’t happen because I have way to much work to be doing.  I am procrastinating at the moment. This does make me rethink my plans for the future, but I am more than happy to take this challenge head  on! I hope you enjoyed my short post and cheers to the weekend!

 

We’re done!

We’re done!

Hey everyone, here it is my summary of learning for ECMP455. Now if you’re debating about watching it I would recommend at least watching the first 3 minutes for one sole reason. I sing. I created a song and I am unbelievably proud of it because I am the least creative person every so you know click below and enjoy. The last 4 minutes is me just rambling so that is less important.  Enjoy!

From Heartache to Legacy

From Heartache to Legacy

The other night we had the unbelievable opportunity to listen to Carol Todd. She is an amazing speaker who is extremely passionate about what she talks about. Carol Todd is an educator at Amanda Todd Legacy, where she educates parents and teachers about internet safety, mental health awareness and cyberbullying after the death of her daughter, Amanda Todd. Amanda Todd was a 15-year-old girl who took her own life after years of bullying, harassment and sextortion.

If you’ve never heard of Amanda, I would advise you to check out her video below to fully understand.

This video, her video, went viral following her suicide. Amanda dealt with bullying and sextortion, online and in school for 2 years. She was a princess snowflake, as her mom called her who dreamt about singing. After her death, Carol took it upon herself to help educate others on the importance of a child’s digital identity.

Upon hearing about what was happening in class I was very intrigued. I was curious, what would she say? Carol had every right to be angry or upset. Honestly, I expected her to be. I was blown away by how she could turn something so negative into a positive, educational way. If you get a chance to watch her TedTalk on April 16th, you won’t be disappointed.

I would love to be able to summarize her talk but for me, it would be nearly impossible. Kerrie Craske does a fantastic job of that. I would recommend checking out her posts on this talk. For me, I want to focus on to two important pieces of advice Carol gave to the class.

The first one:

When a kid turns 16, you don’t just give them the keys to the car without teaching them how to drive. So why do we hand children an iPad, tablet or cell phone without teaching them how to use it?

*cue explosion noises because my mind is blown* This simple idea is revolutionary and I would have never thought of it. I don’t remember ever getting lessons on it. I mean I wasn’t allowed on any social media site until I was in like grade 10 so maybe that why I didn’t get a lesson. But as you can see More Than Half of Children Use Social Media by the Age of 10. So why are we not educating them? We need to start educating children on the dangers of the internet and how to properly use it. StaySafeOnline.org has interesting activities to teach students ways to use the internet. They have some for k-2, 3-5 and middle & high school. We have to, both parents and educators to start teaching our students, computers are all around us and it will be better when people know how to use online space safely and appropriately.

The second biggest takeaway from the night:

Every single person in this word is unique. Beautiful. Fragile. Alone we can melt and disappear from the world. But together we form a snowball; strong and forceful. We can break just about anything. Carol talks about empathy, and the ability to actually just listen to somebody. Everyone needs someone who they can trust. Parents and teachers are the two most influential people in children’s lives (excluding friends), we must be open to listening to them. Carol deals with trolls in a remarkably classy way.

She is has one classmate says:

I know as a future educator the importance of teaching students to bring each other up instead of tearing each other down will be important both in person and online. I hope to educate the youth the importance of having a good digital identity.

What are ways we can incorporate digital identity in the classroom? What kinds of conversations must we have in order for there to be a change in the world? What were the biggest things you took away from the class? 

Code or Not to Code, That is the Question

Code or Not to Code, That is the Question

code.org featuring the Hour of Code is an online website where students anyone can learn to code. I know in high school one of our assignments for our computer class was to create a website that had to have pictures in certain places and words with certain fonts, sizes, etc. Now it had some coding but honestly, I can’t remember it. I do remember being really frustrated when something didn’t work and I couldn’t find that mistake. But the Hour of Code is something else. It is a fun and engaging way for anyone to learn to code. I think it is generally geared to younger students but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy doing one.

This first video is on level 2 of the artist level. One thing I really like was how the levels progressed from one to the other. I didn’t get discouraged right away it something didn’t go right and there was a lot of trial and error as you can see below.

After a couple levels, it got tedious having to repeat the same steps over and over again. Thankfully they introduced a repeat button. I also like how they gave hints if you got stuck at points.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 1.13.28 PM
Screenshot from code.org. One of the hints I received prior to starting the level. See the math involved?

On the last level of my Hour of Code, you got to basically do whatever you wanted. I decided to make a heart. It definitely took a lot of trial and error to make but it turned out awesome (or so I think)

So why were we talking about coding in our class the other night? Well because coding is becoming more popular now in schools. British Columbia will be including coding in the curriculum. Jeff Booth, CEO of Vancouver’s BuildDirect Technologies Inc. is quoted in the article saying;

Computer science skills … are increasinly critical as technology is where all future job growth lies. There is already a war for talent in technology that has companies like ours searching the world for the best engineers … It’s very possible that computer coding and other technology skills may become as critical as reading and writing.

But Australia, Britain and Nova Scotia have already beat B.C. to the punch to include coding in the curriculum. There are many resources to efficiently teach coding in schools with very valid reasons to do so.  Coding in the Classroom is a great resource that brings anything coding related together.

8 Reason Why Kids Should Learn to Code is an awesome blog post with fantastic reasons to code.

Learning to code teaches you a number of life lessons

  • Learning from mistakes is vital
  • You shouldn’t fear mistakes of failure
  • Success is a scribbly line
  • Persistence pays off
  • Teamwork is important

Computer science forces you to take responsible risks and engage you in the problem solving process of trail and error…

I mean I experienced 4/5 reasonings listed under number 1. Trial and error where my pals throughout.

 

You can check out and interactive infographic at, Infographic: Where a STEM Education Can Take You. And another inforgraphic on STEM facts on Women & Girls below.

stem-facts-on-women-girls
Graphics from forbes.com

Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without hearing the other side of this. Please Don’t Learn to Code is another interesting blog post. One thing that really caught my eye was at the end of the post;

Please don’t advocate learning to code just for the sake of learning how to code. Or worse, because of the fat paychecks. Instead, I humbly suggest that we spend our time learning how to …

  • Research voraciously, and understand how the things around us work at a basic level.
  • Communicate effectively with other human beings.

Another article Should We Really Try to Teach Everyone to Code is similar to the one before. These articles are not saying “we shouldn’t code because 1, 2, and 3” but are saying that we shouldn’t teach code for the sake of teaching code. We should teach these students how to express logic visually, working with other, letting go of the fear of failing and much, much more. Teach the students the benefits of coding and not just coding themselves.

What are your thoughts on coding? Is it some fade that will be considered useless like cursive writing? Or is it something more? Should be force students to learn to code? Or should we allow them to explore it on their own? Should it be mandatory? Or an elective? 

Do schools need a Principal?

Do schools need a Principal?

Honestly, today I am lost for words. Not in the sense that something shocked or surprised and I don’t know how to respond, but in the sense that I don’t know what to write about. Usually, I have an opinion on everything and anything but today/this past weekend I’ve just been unsure of what to write. Monday is my blogging day and I try to have something posted on this day.

So I tried, really hard for my huge fan base who have been dying all day to read my post (Just kidding I have like three followers) I’ve searched my Feedly and nothing has sparked my interest. I’ve scoured twitter, #edchat seeing if anything caught my eye. Nothing. But then I was on my Tumblr and now my Tumblr hasn’t always been used as a professional account but I’ve recently switched it over from personal use. I was scrolling through my feed not really looking for anything in particular. When BAM! “A School Without Principal? Yes, really.” Shows up on my feed.

I’m instantly curious about this article. Basically to sum it up if you don’t feel the need to read it yourself (I think you should go check it out) is that there are several schools in the United States that are solely run by the teachers in the school. These schools aren’t run like public schools, they are for parents and/or students who struggle to find connections in public school. They are also an extremely project based school where the teacher teaches students indirectly.

 

avalon
At the teacher-powered Avalon Schoo, project-based learning is a key aspect of the school’s curriculum. Taken from the article.

 

I think that it is interesting having a school with no “top dog” for lack of a better word. How do they make sure that all teachers are consistent and similar across the board? They do mention having a vote on school policies which may work, I would love to get more information on this. But is this creating more work for teachers? It seems even if it is, it is not putting too much of a strain on teachers. One school (Avalon) has a retention rate of around 95% a year.

These kinds of school would definitely be interesting to actually take a look at.  I like how retention rate is well above public schools. We always hear about teachers quitting the professional within 5 years of working but Avalon seems to be doing something right. One statistic from “Why Do Teachers Quit” says anywhere from 40-50% of teachers quit within the first five years of teaching. Which is unbelievable! I can’t imagine in 5 years hating my job that I quit.One thing I didn’t really agree with is how they say there aren’t enough principals who are supportive of teachers. Now I can’t speak for everyone but I have never had a problem with my principal being unsupportive.

One thing I didn’t really agree with is how they say there aren’t enough principals who are supportive of teachers. Now I can’t speak for everyone but I have never had a problem with my principal being unsupportive. I liked this blog post about supportive principals.

What do you think of teacher-led schools? How do you think it would be like without a principal?Do you think principals are valuable in the school? Or can they be replaced with teacher committees? Is this what we should expect in the next couple years to rise? I would love to hear other peoples thoughts!

 

Through Your Child’s Eyes

Through Your Child’s Eyes

During internship our RTI (respond to intervention) teacher decided to show us what it would feel like to have reading, writing, attention, organization and/or math difficulties.

It’s one thing to read about learning and attention issues. It’s another thing to see them through your child eyes. Experience firsthand how frustrating it is when your hand won’t write what your brain is telling it to. Or how hard it is to complete a simple task when you have trouble focusing. Use these unique simulations and videos to better understand your child’s world.

From, Understand.org, they give you the tools to show you how frustrating it can be for students who has difficulties.

Check out my ScreenCastify below to see what to do. Make sure you click the link above, to get to the website!

Now go try out the other simulations yourself! What do you think of the simulations? Did you complete any of them? Which one did you find the hardest? Do you think they are realistic experiences that some students face?