Friday, May 11, 2012

Media Studies - Reel Bad Arab

Is this acurate in 2012? in Canada?
If so, what other countries use this in their media?

Is this the only stereotype that is villified to this degree? If not, what others and how?

Should this image be changed? How? ...look at all perspectives.

Watch "REEL BAD ARABS - How Hollywood Villifies a People [full documentary]" on YouTube

Monday, April 30, 2012

To Kill a Mockingbird Still Relates


Every year I get to teach the great novel, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Most students enjoy the novel, what I take as my challenge is to show how relevant it is still today. I enjoy this task and take it as an opportunity to make my students challenge their own beliefs and search out answers for why they believe what they believe. I usually find that they strengthen their beliefs and are able to express their beliefs clearer or more persuasively, depending on the final task.

This year I am going to be using the American documentary, Waiting for Superman. This is an analysis of the educational issues in the USA with a very specific point of view. I am careful to explain to my students prior to the film that this is a specific point of view and that they have three jobs during the film; 1. To watch with a critical eye and open mind, 2. To relate the film to Canada and Saskatchewan, and 3. Relate the societal issues raised in the film to To Kill a Mockingbird's theme.

I will be using the following resources to help the students with my three tasks.

#1 - Critical Eye

#2 - Relate Locally

#3 - Relate to To Kill a Mockingbird

  • Assigned Essay

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tools I Use - Part 1

After presenting at our iSITs boot camp yesterday, I realized that although I was presenting about educational philosophy change and a change of pedagogy, my audience was caught up in the tools. I maintain that it is not the tool that will increase student learning, but the way you use it and the way you use your f2f time with students.
With that said, this is will be the first of a series of posts on the "cool tools" that I use and how I use them.
1. Edmodo is the most powerful student to teacher tool I use. As a high school ELA teacher, I find it a much more effective way to gather information and assignments, share feedback and resources and incorporate any out-of-school activities we have.  For instance, doing a group research with a class in another country.
2. Twitter is my most powerful professional development tool. This is where my professional learning network (pln) is located. The people I follow and the people who follow me help support me in my professional growth and I am able to continue that growth any day at any time. I also find some of my coolest tools via twitter.
3. Delicious is my organized chaotic resource cupboard. I use delicious to save videos, resources, images and many other "things". I also use this as a powerful search tool and when looking for specific topics that I know members of my pln are interested in, I search there accounts to find what usually turns out to be "the best stuff".
Stay tuned for more to come.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The PD that is slipping through the cracks.

A fellow tech colleague has shown some disheartening feelings on the "failure" to teach responsibility with technology in his school. I have felt the same many times and wonder why this is. After recently attending Sylvia Martinez's session at ISTE, “We Need More PD!” and Other Myths about Technology Integration, I think I have found some answers.

© Stockbroker / SuperStock

Sylvia spoke of some of the most obvious PD in new much more efficient and effective forms that we all have access to but are not using.
  1. Virtual Communities - Now most of you reading this blog are thinking, duh, that is what I am doing right now. Yes, that is true, however, we still find ourselves constantly bombarded with the "gather teachers in a room and lecture, or if you are lucky, attempt new teaching techniques to teachers, expecting their "professionalism" to keep them focused, engaged and on task". Sounds a lot like some unfortunate classrooms out there. We need to see the powers that be encourage virtual PD, PLN's for example. (My twitter PLN has taught me and continues to teach me FAR more than any traditional PD.)
  2. Student Provided - This is the one I am most excited about. I did attempt my own version of this this year as a "learn a piece of software and create some help documents and a presentation for a teacher who may be interested" project found here, here and here. However, this was just scratching the surface after hearing Sylvia speak about Generation YES. In this presentation she spoke of incorporating students into the tech plan, allowing their strengths to help guide us as teachers. As many of my colleagues know, if you don't know how a piece of technology works, "ask a kid".
Well then, lets ask kids, put our out dated mentality that we are the knowledge keepers and truly take technology integration adventures with our students.

I will be further exploring this concept using the GenYES documents to guide me.

How do you include your students in tech planning?

...and to get back to my colleagues issue and not having students "buy into" the respectful and responsible use of technology, would the GenYES concepts create a student policed citizenship guided use of technology?

Teaching to the Test

This is a concept that has been thrown around a lot in my school over the past three or four years. It all started when we began talking about PLC's and new assessment practices.

I am dead set against this concept, however, I have not been put in the situation that my job was on the line due to test scores. I try to empathize for teachers in this situation and find myself torn.

I was never more curious how teachers could teach to the test than at ISTE this year. I attended a session, I thought was about writing, and learned very quickly that the framework of this session was teaching to the test. Needless to say I was very dissappointed and walked out of the hour long session after about ten minutes.

What are your thoughts on teaching to the test? Necessity? Tragedy? Cop out?

Is this were Saskatchewan is going?