The end of one chapter, the start of another… overlapping

Well I am officially a teacher in charge of his own classroom; a wonderful group of Gr. 4/5 students at George Lee Elementary School. However, I am also still a student, taking my last week of classes.
It’s an exciting and certainly pressured situation I have found myself in, and one which really has me proving to myself that I am capable of multi-tasking!

I have started my new class as though it was a fresh start; a new environment, a new variety of classroom management, and a new kind of instruction. I have really found ECMP355 a blessing to facilitate all of this, as it has provided me with the tools necessary to research and choose the best approaches to creating this kind of change. The innumerable ideas from blogs, wiki’s, and other education-based websites have all been helpful. Twitter has also proven to be an excellent support system for ideas, ways to solve dilemmas, and most importantly to reinforce the idea that you aren’t the only teacher out there trying to make their classroom the best it can be for their students.

I look forward to the website we will start using (next week hopefully!) that will keep both students and parents abreast of their learning, and to act as a means of an online yearbook of all the learning that took place. It will also act as a reference for students to find supplementary aids for any subjects they choose to focus on (ex: math help). I am also excited for students to have their own blogs, so they can start becoming more interested in writing, and to see the relevance of expressing their ideas through the written word. It will be awesome to check the comments from students, parents, and those around the world, and will only motivate them more, leading to a stronger tech. literacy, so important for our student’s future.

I look forward to integrating all forms of technology into social action, and other project based learning to enhance interaction, and more engaged, critical thinking. Already we have used the projector to watch a short video on class citizenship, used it as a means of collecting student ideas that can be later put on a class wiki for citizenship. We are planning on creating our own videos based off how students feel about classroom citizenship and what it means to be a good citizen. It has already captured the student’s interests and motivation, and hopefully will lend itself to exploring the community, and society as a whole.

I am also really looking forward to using Skype in the classroom to talk with experts and other classrooms around the world. From my time teaching in Japan, I have made contacts with other teachers who have expressed a strong interest in making this happen!

The only difficulty will be the availability of the computers in the school. Several of the other teachers are also strong proponents of the use of new media in the classroom, and it will be an organizational feat to ensure that we all can share the computers without stepping on anyone elses toes. I really do think that the availability of a digital projector in each classroom helps this problem somewhat, but we’ll just have to see how well it plays out. I also think that using the Google suite, Docs specifically, will help keep students organized, and avoid the problem of not knowing which laptop they used last which has their entire project on it.

Starting so soon into teaching brings about challenges which I am excited to take on. I want to send a shout out to Dr. Alec Couros and all my classmates of ECMP 355 for being so valuable in making me aware of just how useful and important technology is in the classroom. Thank you!

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