Shout out to ECMP 355!

So I am currently teaching at Riverview Collegiate and three of my students who graduated last year came back to visit the school.  One of these students is a currently in the Education Program at the University of Regina and she told me about how my website is still being shown to some of the ECMP 355 classes.  So learning this information, I had a strong urge to say hello to everyone and apologize for the lack of blogging (I know… great example of someone’s blog when they aren’t even using it, right? lol).  So I hope you all know I really enjoyed making this website and had every intention of blogging and staying up to date with it but as you have obviously seen, I have not! 😦

For those of you who have been out and experienced some of the teaching world, you understand that being a new teacher is crazy busy and so any plans outside of lesson planning basically go out the window.

But I’m not here to tell you my sob story.  I really just wanted to say hello and have a chance to poke at Jamie (thanks for stopping by btw!!).

I hope that you are all enjoying this class.  It was an awesome class for me personally despite the fact that technology really hates me! One application of this class is that I now have a wordpress site for the classes that I actually teach now! So I tried using other websites when I graduated university but I always came back to the one that I used in my ECMP 355 class.  It saved me so much time later on because I didn’t have to figure out how to work the website and with technology hating me and all, this saved me A LOT of time!!

And if I can say this, and it may come as a shock to some of you, but a lot of teachers still don’t have websites and some of the technology that you are learning about now is still unknown to the teaching world!! I introduced Remind101 to a few of the teachers at my school and they love it! I remember using Remind when I started university and so by the time I got here, I thought that it was old news and yet no one here had heard of it.  So I thought that was kind of cool (or am I putting you to sleep yet?).

So for those of you who want to see my site, it is: mcmurchy.wordpress.com.  Here I have school announcements, contact information, and individual class pages which has an agenda of the week, any notes they missed (sometimes…), how to sign on to remind101, and finally a joke of the week (more like “of the month” as I sometimes forget to check on this…oops!).

But anyways, I guarantee you with my luck, you guys won’t even see this now that I’ve spent all of this time and energy into writing a heart felt post. **Sigh 😦

So I hope you all have a great semester in ECMP 355 and remember to have fun with it! 🙂 If you guys have any questions, you are more than welcome to email me: ashley.mcmurchy@prairiesouth.ca

— Ashley

** And if you need a giggle, I accidentally posted this on my actual class website… did I mention technology and I don’t get along??

A few days in and…?

So I’m having a late night here by the seems of things but its still so hard to believe that it is not quite yet supper time back at home!

It was interesting today, my friend asked me what to bring when she comes to Scotland. So here are a few pointers and things I wish I would have done differently when packing:

– pack light clothes – it is cloudy most times but its humid so shorts and tees are preferred!  So dont bother with pants and big sweaters unless you get cold easily! Also, pack shoes that go with your outfits! I didnt bring amy shoes to wear wih mt dress so I went out amd bought a nice, new pair of sandals and boy did I have blisters after that! I himk y feet wil be permanently scared and it currently hurts to walk. So also on that point, bring comfortable walking shoes!!! This is a walk-everywhere type of city so on average I probably walk about 2 hours every day… I think you’re gunna want some decent shoes!

– bring cash! – when I first arrived, I spent almost all my cash and have now been relying on my credit and debit cards. At first I figured it was okay, I’d just get cash back somewhere (p.s. call your banks amd find out what they charge for withdrawals.  My bank charges for withdrawing from my debit at an atm so double check first!). Now back in Canada, I have never had a problem getting cash back since our banks harge for using your cards and many stores offer cash back. Here on the other hand, making transactions and withdrawig money is free so stores dont see the need to offer cash back. So I’ve been going quite a ways out there to get cash (like offering to pay for something using my card if they give me cash for their portion, etc). And why is this important? Well some places like transit or small business don’t accept credit or debit so then it either prevents us from going there or is just a hassel so lesson learned for me!

– make sure to pack enough undies!! – I had to do laundry today because I realized I didnt bring enough to last me my trip! I really dont mind rewearing a shirt or pants but bras and undies!? Thats where i draw the line!!! So, thank goodness my friend had laundry detergent!

Other than that I would say bring whatever you want or was thinking of! Just make sure to leave some room for all the goodies you are going to bring back!

So my adventures… what have I done? Well, the day before yesterday we went to the botanic gardens. This is the queens garden filled with so many beautiful plants! We took a tour bus to get there which was freaking awesome!!!!! By paying the fee you get to ride on that very bus all day and it tels you all about that section of the city it tours. This one went through Leith which is absolutly beautiful!  It is right along the sea which you can see the royal yacht which looked like the titanic (or at least it did to me?). There are also a few canals there which makes me think of what Venice would look like. I’ve never been there but its sort of what I imagine it to look like if I went). So we took that tour a full time once then did it again – being free and all the second time – so that we could get to the botanic gardens. These gardens really are amazing and you should go into the greenhouses if you can (which if you took the tour bus, your receipt will get you a 2 for 1 admission in – while on the note keep your receipts and pamphlets sometimes they have coupons!!!). Save at least 2 hours or more – maybe have a picnic here!? – because we weretjere for about 1 and a half hours but had to leave due to time.

Then, yesterday I thoroughly shopped (well more like just browsed) through Princes Street, the Royal mile and georgia street (this street has really expensive food! Mind you food is jut expensive here in general but more so on this street!). Today I went to see the swan park they had. This is by Arthurs seat – old volcano btw! – and it was really the first time I’ve ever seen a swan! They are so beautiful! And I brought bread to feed them but it turns out you can only feed them if you bring the right kind of bread or grains for them (which is wholemeal bread I do believe).

Then we went to Holyrood palace which was pretty cool!  We found out that the queen was here earlier because of her annual tea party but she was gone so we could visit the palace. I will admit I thought it eould be cooler in the palace home sense but found the stories to be more interesting than the place. It was still beautiful though but not quite what I had expected – although I’m not sure what it was that I had expected… I will comment that her gardens are absolutely beautiful! And they have some ruins left of part of the palace that were destroyed long ago. I was sad though because there was a collection you got to see when you go there but they had closed it (why I cant remember….).

So that was basically the extent if the past few days. Still loving the place al though missing home a bit too!

P.s. this is all done from my tablet and done late at night so don’t mind the typos and errors!

First Two Days In Scotland!

Well, as a quick mention first, it was my first time flying a couple of days ago and overall, it was fantastic! I might a lot of great people on my flight to Toronto although my flight to Edinburgh my neighbour was not so talkative. Oh well!

DAY ONE

So Scotland… getting off my plane was realy hectic! There was a huge line and we were all rushing to get through customs and pick up our luggage so that wasn’t much fun. However, when Lauren met with me me at the airport, we took a double decker bus which was soooo col! To be honest, I’m glad I dont have to drive in Scotland because they all drive reallllly insane!! Before arriving, I thought “how hard could it be?” Well was i in for a surprise! Besides not being able to adjust to traffic on the wrong side of the street, they drive like a-holes! They do u turns in the middle of no where, pull up extremely close to people (my brother would get this reference), and ty seem to just love cutting into traffic lanes – kind if reminds me of Saskatoon driving! And the roads are just weird (twists and turns everywhere). Otherwise the bus was super fun!!!

After that, we walked around for probably about 2 hours which was amazing. I got to see Princes Street gardens which were beautiful, the royal mile (although not a thorough look) and went for a Scottish breakfast afterwards! It was quite a protein filled breakfast haha! 🙂 One thing that I think is totally awesome about Edinburgh is that there are random people on random streets dressed uo in kilts and play the bag pipe!!!

For the rest of the day we basically just wathed movies at Laurens place then went to bed.  So first day was a success I’d say! As for the jet lag, it wasn’t too bad as long as I kept moving. As soon as we sat down though my energy level basically plumeted haha.

DAY TWO

wokeoup feeling fantastic! Slept for 12 hours so I would hope I felt great! Today we went walking down to the Parliament building – which no ofense but is a horrific looking building… like what were thry thinking?? We were also going to go to Holyrood palace – which is where the royals stay when they are in town – but as my luck turned out, the royals were in town!  So unfortunately we can’t go until at least Sunday simce it was closee for their stay but Lauren got to see a glimpse of the queen in a car (I didnt get to tjough since i was not looking in that direction at the time but oh well 😦 ).

So after that we walked up the royal mile again and went through many stores on the one side of the street (we shall adventure the other side later haha). Probably thr greatest thing that I had seen was two all year roumd Christmas stores!! So now I can say someone has wished me a merry Christmas in July!! So hilarious! Also, there were random people dressed up all over the royal mile as characters like yoda and darth vader! So random!

Also while on this road we went to the Museum of Childhood (which was not at all what the description in my traveller’s book said it would be), the whisky experience (whch was awesome since we got like a mini fair ride adventure of how to make whiskey, a shot of a flavour of whiskey of our choosing, the shot glass that we got to keep, amd the massive whiskey collection thy had! They also had a whiskey for sale that was worth 4000 pounds!!!!!!!), and we also got to see a museum, which I think was the museum of Scotland? It was kinda cool which went through the history of Scotland a bit but mostly artefacts from way back when.

The great thing anout these museums is that thy are all free admission! You jut make a donation if you want so if you dont like the museum, its okay because you didn’t waste a bunch of money!

So once we finished with those shenanigans,  we went to the movies amd saw how to train your dragon 2 which was AWESOME!!!!!! Then we went home, watched some doctor who and mow off to bed, so with that, Good night!

Well Internship Is Over, Now What?

I still remember my first day at university – really it feels like it was yesterday (just with a bunch of great events and memories that somehow happened in between there!).  But now, here I’m saying: It has been over two months since I completed my internship… WOW! To finally be able to say those words and knowing that I have 2 months left of university left… well… it’s absolutely insane! I can’t believe how my journey through university has gone by so fast (I truly am beginning to believe the expression “where did the time go?”).  

To comment on my internship, words cannot even begin to express how thankful I am for the people I was surrounded with during my experience.  As much work as it was, I enjoyed every minute of it.  And every morning, I didn’t wake up thinking “Ugh, now to go to my job… can’t wait till 3:30 comes!” Instead, I woke up every day excited for what was going to happen next and to surround myself with the positive support network that I had.  Yes, there were days when I could have wished for a few more minutes of sleep or even wished a redo for a day/lesson, but I always went to school feeling excited.  When end of December came, it just didn’t feel right leaving – I was very nervous to come back to school to be a student again!

So now that internship is done, I’m in my last semester of university.  To say the least, the teacher back to student transition has been a bit rough for me.  I feel like my rating as a student fluctuates constantly between a good student and the worst procrastinator in the world.  There are times when I tackle homework and actually surprise myself in what I have accomplished work-wise.  But then there are times when my mind starts to wonder from what my students are doing, how they are doing, and how much I miss teaching and being in the classroom.

Because I had taken a few summer classes during my summers, I am only taking 3 classes, and wow! What a huge help this has been (I definitely encourage everyone to do this!).  I am finally able to start relaxing and take a break from internship and I now even have time for a job (which is at the university).  Dealing with loans this year has been a huge struggle and now having the time to be able to work has been awesome! So right now, I’m working and in university and I’m still able to find the time to relax and actually blog (I have surprised myself with this, but I really do miss blogging – however now that I announce that to the world… I will probably fall off the band wagon again and not post for another month or two…).

Anyways, so now all that is left for my time at the university is to hopefully stay on my “good student” self rating and get through this last semester.  Also, it is currently job application time so wish me luck (which I will add is not easy! There are so many possibilities and considerations to make! Oh boy!)!  And to all you future educators and those graduating, good luck and I hope your university experience has been as amazing as mine! I hope you see you all on the flip side!!!

And hey! While I’m at it, I just wanted to thank all the people in my life for being so supportive and caring.  I know that having to deal with me at times can be difficult but it’s everyone in my life that has helped me get to where I am now. 🙂

The First Week – Huge Respect for Substitutes!

September 3rd-6th

So first week… what can I say? It had it’s ups and downs which is to be expected.  I began the semester by teaching Workplace and Apprenticeship 30 class (for those who don’t know, this is a grade 12 math class).

So, the very first day of class I only had my students for 20 minutes since we had an assembly part way through the class.  This was okay but it felt very chaotic.  I had a few things planned but with my mind running everywhere, I came off as very disorganized and did not have a teacher presence/authority.  The next day, however, I feel like my teacher authority came out when discussing the classroom expectations and rules and that I finally had established myself as a teacher (and not as some young person who thinks they can teach but can easily be run over by the students).

Things seemed like they were going well until my teacher had asked me to try “subbing” for one of her classes (don’t worry there was another teacher present!).  I asked what class it was and when she said “Foundations 10,” I figured “Hey, it’s grade 10 math! This should be a piece of cake!”   Was I ever wrong! The material that was being taught that day was converting units in the Imperial system (US metric system).  This was most definitely not on the top of my “most favourite topics in math” list.  In fact, I feel like I have put a block on this high school memory and I actually don’t remember learning it.  Asking my friends, they admit that they learned this material so I have come to the conclusion that I just chose to forget it because it was that horrid! So, if you could guess, this lesson did not go so well! I had trouble explaining the material and we actually ended up moving to the assignment and not finishing the examples (with the promise that my co-op would go over it the next day).  The one thing that I remember clearly in my mind is the fact that I kept trying to hint for the actual substitute teacher to take over (because he knew the material very well!) but he wouldn’t.  However, as sad as I had become about this lesson, this was a huge learning experience for me and I’m glad that he didn’t let me back out.  The next day I apologized to the class and taught the last example to the students. By doing this, I hoped that I could redeem myself as a teacher in those students eyes (which is huge I feel because I will be teaching them in about a month!).

With that said, my actual class went very well and I have already learned a lot! The sub day had me question myself as a teacher but you know what? We all have our bad days! It’s going to be okay and you know what? It’s only my first week! It’s not expected to go great! Internship is where you should be taking risks and making mistakes.  Just know that if you make mistakes, take them as a learning opportunity and don’t let it get you down!

Accounting Explained – Accounting Resource

What is it?

Accounting Explained is a free online resource that provides information relating to financial and managerial accounting.  The website is split up into a few different sections.  On the home page, you can find the most popular topics searched on the website. At the top of the website, you can find three other categories: financial accounting, managerial accounting, and miscellaneous (this includes simple versus compound interest, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, weighted average cost of capital, and an introduction to corporate finance).

Within each topic, you can find a not too detailed, but detailed enough page of information that includes examples of the materials that were just discussed.

What do I like about it?

– Information is detailed, but overly detailed that it loses the reader’s attention.

– A search engine is provided to help make information easily accessible.

– The information usually contains at least one example to help ensure the reader understands the information.

– Website is user friendly and organized.

– Some of the information includes easy to remember acronyms to help readers understand the material better.

– There is a “most popular topics” section which can engage anyone who is interested in the topic or for those searching for extra help.

– A few of the information pages provide charts and pictures where possible.  One example can be found on the page with information about the accounting cycle.

What do I dislike about it?

– Although I appreciate the website including at least one example in many of the information pages, I sometimes wish that there were more.  Sometimes, one example isn’t enough and another example could have been extremely helpful.

– The website contains advertisements which can get distracting.  It also doesn’t help that the information pages are colourless and a bit bland looking whereas the advertisements are coloured with moving pictures.

Where does this fit into the curriculum and how would I use it in my classroom?

This online resource fits in with the Accounting 10/20/30 curriculum.  For the most part, this resource does an excellent job of covering a few of the objectives.  However for some objectives, there are a few small, but minor changes.  One example is in the curriculum, the accounting cycle is only 7 steps while this resource provides 8 steps (which I have checked that other resources have this as well!  However, when comparing the two, they are both relatively stating the same thing although one step in the resource is broken down into two steps).

Going into specifics, all of module 1 can be achieved with this resource (and it achieves it quite well I must say!).  This includes the accounting equation, financial statements, and commonly used definitions.  From Module 2, this resource can help to achieve the basics of preparing the financial statements.  All of Module 3 can be achieved.  A majority of Module 4 can be achieved although not in as much detail as I would like.  Only a tiny section of Module 8 can be achieved (mostly just the definitions and a few basics).  And finally, the basics of straight-line depreciation from Module 9B can be achieved.

As for actual use in my classroom, I might only use this resource for studying the accounting cycle from Module 1 since this resource covers it quite nicely.  So if I were to actually use this in my classroom, I could use the information either for notes or as an assignment/independent study.  With that said, it could be anywhere from a whole group assignment to pair or individual work and in class or out of class.

Also, this could be an excellent resource to post onto my classroom blog or website for extra help for students who need the help or even just want to learn more about the subject.

Overall evaluation of Accounting Explained…

Overall, I really enjoyed reading up on some of the information provided on Accounting Explained.  I feel that they have done a good job on explaining the accounting cycle and have broken it up into steps to help simplify this cycle.  The website itself is user friendly and it is easy to find information which is great for people like me with low tolerances for technology!  The biggest downfall to this website however is that it doesn’t cover very much of the curriculum and it fails to have pictures or something like that to help “spice” it up (or make it look more engaging).

If I were to give this website a rating, I would give it a 7/10.

Get Smarter About Money – Personal Finance Resource

What is it?

Get Smarter About Money is an online finance website designed to help individuals with questions regarding their own personal finance.  This is a Canadian website that was created by the Investor Education Fund, which is a Canadian non-profit organization.

There are four different categories that you can research information on which are: investing, planning, life events, and tools and calculators.  Each category is grouped into a number of subcategories which are grouped into even more subcategories which then lead to the information that you are looking for.

Once you have found the section in which you are looking for, there is information provided which is brief but provides enough information to find what you are looking for.

What do I like about it?

– Website is appealing and engaging.  Along with pictures and brief information, this website can be easily appealing to students.

– Website is user friendly.

– Information may not be detailed but it is straight to the point.

– Website is organized and easy to navigate through.

– A search engine is provided for the website so information can be easily accessed.

– Information is categorized into many different sections which is good if you only want to read the information you want to rather than look through useless information or waste time  (this categorization can also be a negative though!).

– Some of the information pages have other links within the text which open up to other outside websites.  These lead to related information that readers may be interested in which have been mentioned in the information pages.

– The website is made by a Canadian organization so the information will be more relevant to me and my students.

What do I dislike about it?

– There is not much about who actually created the website other than the fact that they only have an “About IEF” page (Investor Education Fund).  Because of this, the reader (or maybe it was just me) just assumes the website was created by this organization.

– When looking for information, there are a bunch of sections within sections.  This is nice and organized but it gets tiring to continually click in a bunch of different places to get to one bit of information.  Of course it was easy to find, just tedious.

– Although the information was short and to the point, I wish that there was more detailed information so that I could understand that topic a bit better.

Where does this fit into the curriculum and how would I use this in my classroom?

This online resource fits into LeBlanc’s Personal Finance 30 curriculum.  Looking at each of the objectives, this resource can help to achieve 6/9 objectives from this curriculum.  The first objective that this resource can help to achieve is PF (L) 3 which states: Demonstrate understanding of financial institution services used to access and manage personal finances.  This resource covers topics to help achieve this objective which includes: banking services available, different types of accounts, credit cards, commonly used definitions, service charges, and how to open up a bank account.

The second objective that this resource can help to achieve is PF (L) 4 which states: Demonstrate an understanding of income and personal taxation.  This resource covers topics including deductions that may be relevant to taxation and how payroll functions, gross pay, deductions and personal income tax are related.

The next objective is only partially achieved by this resource.  This objective is PF (L) 5 which states: Demonstrate understanding of personal budgets and their importance for financial planning.  This resource can help to accomplish the indicator about creating and maintaining a personal budget.

The fourth objective that can be achieved is PF (L) 6 which states: Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of investing, the various types of investment vehicles and how interest can be used as an advantage.  Information to achieve the indicators and this objective can be found in two places: under the planning tab and the investing tab.  The basics, including reasons to invest and how to start, can be found under the planning tab; while the retirement plans and different types of bank accounts can be found under the investing tab.

PF (L) 7 is the next objective that can be achieved with this resource.  This objective regards the understanding of services used to access credit options.  This resource does not cover the entire objective or even half of the indicators.  Even the indicators that this resource can help to achieve, it does not do a very thorough job but it can achieve a few indicators that work towards understanding the basics of credit cards, advantages and disadvantages to using a credit card, and tips on how to reduce credit card debt.

The last objective that this resource can help to achieve is PF (L) 9 which states: Demonstrate understanding of purchasing, leasing, and renting options.  Because quite a few of the indicators ask to research information from Saskatchewan, this resource can help to achieve only one indicator within this objective, which is buying versus renting (although nothing about leasing from what I’ve seen, but it does provide a very convenient chart!).

In the classroom, I could use this in a couple ways.  The first, which is mostly likely how I would use it, would be as an extra resource for students to use if interested or they need extra help.  I could post this online to either the classroom blog or website to make this easily accessible for my students.

Also, with one of the objectives that are covered quite well with this resource, I could do an independent study, group work, or even just an assignment or worksheet that I have designed.  This could be completed either in class or outside and with partners or even just individually depending on the length and difficulty level of the assignment.

Overall evaluation of Get Smarter About Money…

Overall, I actually really enjoyed this resource. It had a variety of information that can fit anyone’s interest.  The pages are engaging with short bits of information which can be great especially for those with short attention spans.

The fact that this resource covers a majority of outcomes in the Personal Finance curriculum can say a lot about this resource. It is definitely one to try out in the classroom!

If I were to rare this website I would give it an 8/10.