Innovative Learning

When people think of the classroom they think of students in desks and the teacher at the front of the classroom giving a lecture. Homework usually consists of worksheets or reading assignments. But why does this have to be the typical norm for when people think of the word “classroom?”It doesn’t. As future teachers, I believe it is our job to be as innovative as possible. Sure, it’s okay to assign a worksheet or reading assignment once in a blue moon, but the classroom would be so much more fun and exciting if we used different resources. One thing I have unlearned this semester is exactly that; how to make the classroom a more enjoyable and exciting environment for students.

One of the tools introduced during this course that I really enjoyed was TedTalks and podcasts. There are so many TedTalks to choose from and they have videos on any subject/topic you can think of. Personally, I would have loved to watch TedTalk videos in middle school and high school. I think a lot more students would pay attention and become more involved with discussions and their school work if more teachers introduced podcasts and TedTalks into their daily curriculum.

9627525993_af43154455_z Photo CC by Celestine Chua

As teachers, we should encourage out students to become more innovative themselves but it’s also important for us to become more innovative as well. Teachers always need to be looking for ways to make learning more enjoyable for students and accommodate to their learning needs and abilities. One of my favorite quotes from George Couros’ article is, “I will utilize the tools that are available to me today and I will continue to search for new and better ways to continuously grow, develop and share my thinking, while creating and connecting my learning.” If we want our students to be innovative, we must be willing to learn new skills and utilize different tools to help our students learn better.

As a teacher, I plan on using many of the tools and resources that we learned about during these short 2 months. One of my favorite resources was the blog post. With this resource, I am able to share my experiences and advice to fellow educators around the world. I can also follow so many different blog posts from educators and learn from their experiences as well. I will undoubtedly use TedTalks in my curriculum. I also think Twitter is a great way for teachers and students to interact and is a great PLN resource as well.

This course has taught me so much about who I am as a person, learner, student, and future teacher. I have expanded my knowledge on technology and resources to use in the classroom when I become a teacher. I can’t wait to become a teacher so I can use these amazing tools and resources I have learned about in this course to become a more innovative and effective teacher!

 

FYI 169AB Course: Project Presentation

Picking a service-learning project for this assignment was not easy. It took me a while to think of a community organization that would both complement my skills and meet the hour requirements. Oh, and the most important requirement: serve and benefit the community! I’m not going to lie, I was pretty stressed out about this assignment. How am I going to find the time for a service project that meets all of these requirements without going absolutely insane?

Thankfully, I found a local organization for this project! Unfortunately, it didn’t necessarily complement my skills. But it is something that I am passionate about and that’s just as important, right? My community partner, The Bulldog Backpack Program, distributes food to students who do not receive enough meals during the weekend. The reason I am so passionate about this is because I am going to college to become an elementary teacher and there’s so much more to being a teacher than just teaching. I will be responsible for all of these little humans and my job is to make sure they are learning and also receiving adequate care so they can attend school. (This may not be in the school job description but it is MY job description I created for myself.)

Another reason I chose The Bulldog Backpack Program is to raise awareness for the program. According to Cheryl Harris, the program director, “150-250 Alliance school children go hungry every weekend.” There have been several other fundraisers for this program but I believe this program needs all of the help and donations it can get. Click here to read an article to learn more about how much money it really does take to keep this program going.

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Here is some more information on The Bulldog BackPack Program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, now onto the service-learning project! This project was pretty fun to do. For the fundraiser, I decided to set up a booth at the local family fun night that was going on during Heritage Days. I set up a box for food donations and also had a ring toss game for the kids to play (all proceeds went to the program).

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Here is the flyer I made to put up at local businesses and social media websites. Many people told me they heard about it on Facebook so that was a good resource to use!

 

 

 

 

 

The first hour of the fundraiser was pretty steady with food donations, but I soon realized that no one was participating in the ring toss game. I figured out that the cause was the way my booth was set up. This is how I set it up:

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As you can see, the ring toss sign is behind the booth. Many people did not pay any attention to the sign behind and only paid attention to what was right in front of them.

 

 

 

 

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After I moved the sign and game to stand right beside the booth, I go a lot more business! Kids were able to see the sign and were instantly interested in the game.

 

 

 

The booth at Family Fun Night was very successful! The program received two full boxes of food donations and the game brought in about $20. I would have loved to have more food and money donations but I thought it was a pretty successful project in the long run. Many people had never heard of this program so I was able to answer their questions and give them more information about it.

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Here is one of the boxes full of food donations. As you can see, many people were super generous with their donations and for that I am forever grateful!

 

 

 

 

Now that the fundraiser part is over with, I am going to meet with Cheryl Harris, the program director, to get it all organized and separated. She will also walk me through the process and I will be able to see how everything works. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of the actual “pack the backpack” event since school is not in session. The end of August or beginning of September is usually when all of the volunteers get together to pack and distribute the backpacks. However, I will be participating in the event and will get to see all of the student’s smiling faces! 🙂

Like I said before, I thought this project was very successful. My goals were to raise funds and donations for the program and also raise awareness. I believe these goals were accomplished. Another goal was to learn more about the program and make connections with my community. I believe these goals were accomplished as well! By completing this project, I have learned so much about The Bulldog Backpack Program and am very proud that it is available to students in my hometown community. Who knows, maybe I will start my own Backpack Program at a future school I will teach at!

 

If you have any questions or would like more information about The Bulldog Backpack Program, please don’t hesitate to ask!

 

Graphic Project Using Canva

For my visual/graphic that I created, I used Canva. After reading the article presented in our homework, I wasn’t quite sure which tool I wanted to use. Both Piktochart and Canva seemed like amazing resources for what I wanted to accomplish. So I decided to check out Piktochart first. I went ahead and created an account and started browsing around the different options it offered. I soon realized that a lot of the things offered cost so I decided to check out Canvas. Canva has so many different FREE options! It was fun to look at all of the different backgrounds and layouts that were offered. As I was looking through the layouts, I was surprised to see all of the free options that were available. There were also so many things to choose from! You can create a poster, presentation, Facebook cover, blog post graphic, etc. The possibilities are endless.

After spending some time looking at the different options I decided to go with a layout under the category “Presentation.” There were so many cool and eye catching options and it was hard to choose just one. It was kind of confusing at first learning how to organize and set up the poster. There are so many different things you can change on your graphic; background, color, text, layout, images. With more practice I’m sure I will get the hang of it but it was just a little confusing at first.

This is my finished product!

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I had fun playing around with the colors and even found an option to edit and add a filter to my picture. I wanted my graphic to include information about yoga but I didn’t want it to clutter the poster. I wanted my poster to motivate people to try yoga and experience the benefits!

I think Piktochart and Canva would be great tools to use in the classroom. I think it would be a great way to display classroom rules. There are so many cool and creative things you can do with a poster and it would be a great way to get student’s attention.You could also assign a project for older students to create their own piktochart or canva.

I loved this assignment and loved using Canva and think it is great for any kind of project!

An Unhealthy Addiction

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Repeat. I often find myself completing this monotonous cycle daily. But what attracts everyone to social media? Is it the fact that people can stay in touch with loved ones with just a click of a button? Is it because people can share their feelings/emotions at any point of the day with their followers? Is it because of the game invites? (Probably not).

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Photo CC by mkhmarketing

So what is really so attractive about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc? I found myself asking that question just last week. Before learning about mindfulness and the internet, I had contemplated deleting my social media accounts. I spend entirely way to much time on Facebook but for what reason? I rarely update my status (unless I share a cat video or some other funny meme), I don’t post a lot of pictures, and I am “friends” with people I’m not really friends with in real life. Another reason why I should probably delete Facebook is because I am always so annoyed when I get done scrolling through my timeline! I get so tired of seeing people use Facebook as their diary and it’s also annoying how political everything is getting.

So in other words, I DO NOT use social media mindfully. Like Paul Miller said in his TedTalk “Quitting the Internet for One Year”, I’m scared I’m going to miss out on something. I’m afraid I’m going to miss out on someone’s Instagram picture or Snapchat story. Isn’t it sad? How we get wrapped up in the world around us and pay more attention to people who don’t think twice about us? I honestly regret creating most of my social media accounts. I waste so much of my day scrolling through everyone else’s lives that I don’t pay enough attention to my own life and the people in it. With the time that I waste I could be reading a book, working out, picking up a new hobby, finishing my homework, etc. The possibilities are endless!

I really found the article “Simplify the Internet” by Leo Babauta very helpful. Leo gives many different tips to help simplify the usage of social media websites.The first advice he gives is to quit Facebook and choose 1 or 2 networks to use. I like this idea because I would like to delete my Facebook account but would like to keep my Instagram account because I love looking at other people’s pictures and love taking and sharing my own pictures. Another tip he gave was to use social media sparingly. I would like to make it a goal to check social media sites once a day at the end of the day and only spend 20-30 minutes on all of them combined. I always have my phone with me but if I were to make it a priority to not touch my phone through out the day I could accomplish this goal.

My goal for this upcoming week is to not let social media consume me. There is so much more to life than sitting on your phone/laptop scrolling through various timelines. I want to spend more time reading and being in nature so I think going “off the grid” will be for the best!

Digital Activism

Most of the time the media only talks about the negative things that happen on the internet that involve teens and young adults. Cyber bullying is a huge problem in today’s society and is something that continually happens every single day. I agree that these stories should be on the news to create awareness but I also think that the media should talk about the positive things these teens are doing for these types of problems.

Digital citizenship ties in perfectly with digital activism. In order to be an engaged citizen on social media sites, you must first learn to do so respectfully. A person needs to learn when and where it is appropriate to engage in conversations and put their two cents in.

To my surprise, teens are taking activism on the internet very seriously. It’s great to read about this kind of stuff! With all of the negative in the world today, it is nice to know that teens are trying to make a difference, even on the internet. The best part about this is that most of these kids are learning about activism in the classroom. I think it is so important to teach students about being respectful online and teach them how they can be the ones to be the positive light in the world.

8208077880_b823b7647d_n.jpg Photo CC by Ken Whytock

I really enjoyed readying the blog post My Kids, A Cause and Our Classroom Blog by Bill Ferriter. Surprisingly, this blog was about raising awareness for eating healthy. I think this is a great activism idea because there are so many children who are not eating correctly and that affects their ability to learn in the classroom, in my opinion. Having a healthy lifestyle is something that should be taught at a young age so it can be engraved into children’s daily habits.

The Teen Activist nominee that I would vote for is Hope, which was founded by Jason Harris. The thing I liked about this was because not only does Jason raise awareness for bullying, self harm, and suicide, he is also always available for his followers to talk or just listen to their problems. Just by listening to his followers’ problems, he has saved 29 lives! I think this is incredible and Jason sounds like a genuine student who cares about others.

Digital activism is such an important thing to teach our students. I don’t think the age matters, I believe anyone no matter the age can make a difference.

 

Yoga: My Stress Reliever

6734737765_6bf88bc00a_n Photo CC by Nadir Hashmi

Last week was a very stressful week for me. It seemed like everything that could have happened, happened. Unfortunately, that stress carried into this week. My huge fundraising project was coming up on Tuesday and I still had so much that needed done before even being slightly ready for the event. After a long day at work on Monday, I decided to take a break from all of the preparation and attend yoga class that night. There were new faces in class and they were all pretty much older than I am (I’m the youngest that attends the class but I’m totally fine with that!).

I didn’t expect to learn too many new poses for this week but was up for any new challenge my yoga instructor threw my way. To my surprise, we learned a new pose and it had to deal with releasing negative energy. How crazy is that? Sometimes it’s crazy how things work out.

Anyway, the pose was called Catching the Waves. My yoga instructor described it as taking all of your negative energy in your body and releasing it back into the earth. She told us to think of something in our life that is weighing us down and let all of that negativity go. I thought about all of the stress and negativity that had happened to me in the past week as I was doing this pose.

I can’t find a video to share to show what this pose looked like in action but I will try my very best to explain it. Stand with your feet spread apart, your right foot should be pointing forward and your left foot should be pointing out in front of you. As you inhale, bring your hands toward you and when you exhale push your hands away from you. Also when you are exhaling, bend your left knee and use your whole body to push the negative energy away from you. The hardest part to me about yoga is mastering the breathing! And that is a very crucial part for this pose.

It’s crazy how much better I felt after doing this yoga pose. I am so glad I went to yoga this week because it turned out to be exactly what I needed! I also did Yoga With Adriene videos a couple days out of the week and that helped decrease my stress level as well. For this upcoming week, I am going to focus on breathing techniques!