Lost in Cyberspace?

I think our Grade level school system is lacking continuity, especially as our digital world is changing the avenues in which we educate students.   When I was younger, everything was done on paper so I could keep what i used from year to year and combine it with items from other years.  I could easily refer to previous notes or assignments to help me with my current class. With many teachers using a variety of portfolio methods, I wonder how many of our students’ work is getting lost in cyberspace?

Imagine that Sam who is in Grade 4 creates powerpoints, documents, and artwork throughout the school year primarily using Google Docs (his teacher had class accounts set up for every student).  Sam has a new teacher in Grade 5.  The teacher uses a class blog and twitter account to share student assignments and learning.  Sam develops a digital portfolio primarily using these tools.  Grade 6: Sam’s new teacher doesn’t display student learning online and has students print or hand write all assignments.  At the end of the year, Sam has a tangible portfolio.  In Grade 7: Sam’s teacher sets up class accounts but the login and user name is different than the one he used in Grade 4…….

When our students look back on their experiences in school, will they be able to find the work that they did? What happens when their accounts expire or the tools they had used become obsolete?

Rather than working on a separate portfolio for each grade level, what if we viewed each student’s entire K-12 work as a portfolio?  What would that look like?  Would teachers be having more conversations about would they could do to maintain continuity for their students while still utilizing a variety of online tools as they become available?

I have a lot of questions and no solution.  Would like to hear your thoughts on the topic!



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Reflections on Week 2

I enjoyed reading blogs about digital citizenship this past week.  I’ve followed some valuable conversations on Twitter and Google+ as well.  I feel that I will be echoing what many of you have already said!

My responses to the week 2 prompts (great questions!)

#W2Q1: answer posted on Google+

#W2Q2: How do we model modern approaches to copyright and creativity, where the rights of both creators and consumers are balanced and respected?

I think everyone, including our students need to be aware that anything we post online is available to anyone.  There is no doubt that regulators face many challenges sorting through what is placed online given the massive amount of content and lack of territorial boundaries.  I find the best analogy to share with my students is that everything they post online should be something they are willing to share on the morning announcements at school.

#W2Q3: How do we help students develop positive digital identities? What activities/assignments/projects can we integrate into our teaching to help our learners build their digital footprints?

A random acts of kindness assignment would be a great venue.  Make it a digital assignment where they can use any tool to share their act of kindness (snap chat, twitter, instagram, facebook, etc).

I have a class instagram account and let students take the photos to be posted.  We talk about what thinks would best represent our class activities using images and how they can do that on their own accounts.

#W2Q4: How do we help our students to become kind and caring citizens who act with integrity in all spaces, including digital ones?

Demonstrate it!

Give them opportunities to do it in the classroom everyday.  You could take 5 minutes per day to post something #inspirational on twitter from a class account for example.

Week 2, Question 5: What is the role of schools in terms of developing student activism? How might we encourage and support students to use online spaces and social media to contribute positively to our world?

I think schools play a huge role in this.  Isn’t our primary purpose in education to mold and encourage good citizenship in our students from K-12?  Doing so in a digital space has become just as important, if not more for our students well being and future.


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Setting Goals

Today I began participating in DCMOOC.  Alec (@courosa) suggested that we take time to set goals for this course because “what you put in is what you will get out of the course”.

Here are my goals to start: 

– Visit Google+ at least once per day.  Engage in conversations.

-Attend at least one live session per week.

-Blog at least once per week as a means to reflect on my experiences in the course.

-Engage in conversations on Twitter


I hope to learn a few new tricks and revisit some old ones.

I wonder how technology is changing our children and youth; the way they socialize, think, act, and react.

I hope to learn new ways to guide my students in the direction of positive digital and personal citizenship.



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A Saskatchewan Girl’s Journey to Chicago

Ecstatic: that barely describes how I felt when given the news that I was approved for a trip to the Chicago International Band and Orchestra Conference: Midwest 2013.

I was a sponge for 6 days the week before Christmas, absorbing every bit of music, culture, and professional development opportunities that I could squeeze into each hour. I sat in on rehearsals, met composers from all over the world, listened to incredible performances by children and adults, networked with other teachers in person and on twitter, and attended sessions on every topic: performance, rehearsal techniques, research, and even Google Glass!!

Now as the school holiday comes to an end, I am combing through the many new resources and ideas I plan to utilize in my classroom. I hope to share some of those ideas with you this term as I embark on a new journey with my students.

My experiences at the conference have confirmed, changed, and questioned many of my teaching approaches and strategies.

Thank you to the Regina Public School Board for giving me this opportunity! I cannot be more grateful!



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Glad I Made That Mistake

Last night I was inspired by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I couldn’t help but notice the Guest conductor did not have scores in front of him for Pictures from an Exhibition and Dvorak’s Overture. He ALWAYS had eye contact with his musicians. I have never heard an orchestra play so well together and I have never seen orchestra players so focused on their conductor. Coincidence?

A few weeks ago, I forgot my music scores at home (bad example, I know!) so I rehearsed with my Grade 7/8 bands without music. It was a different experience! I had nothing to look at but the musicians in front of me and because I had studied and rehearsed the music so many times, I had no trouble remembering the pieces.

However, I returned to my old ways the following week and performed our concert with scores (what was i thinking? I didnt NEED them!)

I think I will push myself to put the scores away at our next rehearsal and maybe even the next concert.

What are your thoughts on music memorization in performance? Do we perform better with or without music?


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My 11 year old students cannot tell time

My students leave their homeroom classroom to see me.  When I come to the school, I write the schedule on the board so that students know when to leave their homeroom for my class.

Today, the 11:10AM small groups was late. There were 4 students in the group, ranging in academic abilities and not one of them could look at the clock on the wall and tell me what time it was.  This was their reason for being late.

Clearly, our society is phasing out clocks.  Watches are fashion statements at best and the average household does not own a traditional clock anymore.  I don’t have one in my house.  I use the oven, microwave, tv, computer, and cell phone clocks.

Should we start using digital clocks in schools? Should we be teaching students to “tell time”?  Maybe this is a bit like the mental math vs. calculator debate…

There is so much rich history surrounding traditional clocks that I think our students are missing out on.  I remember visiting a “clock shop” in Europe when I traveled as a teenager.  I was in awe of these beautiful hand made machines!  I was in awe of the clocks in churches we visited as well.

I’m not sure it is an essential skill anymore however I feel sad when I think about the fact that clocks are becoming obsolete.

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Crazy or a VERY dedicated community?

Wow…the past week in Regina has been unreal.  Have you ever been a part of a community so large and so UNITED?  What is so special about this so called “Rider Nation”??

On Saturday at 5:00 AM, I checked the weather and it was -38 with the windchill.

grey cup parade 2013

I packed on multiple layers and headed to Marching Band Practice.  I rehearsed with 40 of my students and about 500 other members of all ages from all parts of Saskatchewan.  I could not believe how many people had shown up given the weather forecast.  When we started the parade, it was a chilling -36, but the crowds were enthusiastic and the band members were excited!  It was easy to forget the cold!

There are numerous examples of “community moments” that took place in our city over the past month.  It makes me wonder if there is more to “Rider Nation” than just winning a game.  I was intrigued by this article in the Huffington Post.

How can we instill this sense of community, unity, and drive in our classrooms, schools, communities, organizations, governments? WHY is Rider Nation such a powerful community?  What makes it so unique?

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November 27, 2013 · 1:28 am