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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. 🙂

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Slide Rocket – Resource for Visual Presentations

What is it?

Basically, it is basically like PowerPoint except it’s online and has more animations which are a lot better!  Specifically, here’s a blurb from the website’s “about” section:

“SlideRocket is a Web-enabled transformation of the way people create, manage, deliver, and share presentations. SlideRocket provides a level of rich internet application functionality that far surpasses today’s Office-lite web tools. It will be the first online productivity application that not only matches the features available in desktop apps like PowerPoint and Keynote, but extends beyond those tools by embracing Enterprise/Web 2.0 mainstays like community, sharing, security, and collaboration to provide a complete presentation management system.”                  – Sliderocket.com

What Do I Like About It?

  • Very easy to use! I previously tried a different site (impressr) and I found it extremely difficult and frustrating.
  • Has similar features as PowerPoint but, as it says, it “goes beyond” PowerPoint.
  • Neat animations.
  • Can include voice clips that you have made or ones that have already been created.
  • Embed videos and links into the slides.
  • Stored in the cloud so you can access the presentation from anywhere.
  • Visually engaging.

What Do I Dislike About It?

  • Almost seems too similar to PowerPoint.

How Would I Use This In My Teaching?

This could be used in any classroom where a teacher wishes to do more of a direct instruction type of lesson (or others but most likely for this purpose).  In my classroom, I might use this to present information on a topic before going into practice problems with my students.  I could use this for the solutions as well but for some types of math questions, it might not be worth the time trying to key in all the symbols and equations needed to show the solution.

Evaluation of Slide Rocket

Overall, Slide Rocket is a very easy to use website where you can store your presentations online and make them easily available to the public.  It is very similar to PowerPoint but has more interesting animations and designs.  I would definitely use this in my classroom and prefer it over PowerPoint.  However, if I were given the option of using this technology over SMART Notebook (for example), I would definitely choose the SMART Notebook because of its interactive aspects.

If I had to give this website a numerical value, I would give it a 9/10.

If you would like to see a presentation that I created on Slide Rocket, see my post “Personal Learning and Tech Task 8” or click here!

When 2010 met 1979 – Resource for Teaching Isomorphic Problems and Retrieval

This is a video discussing the oil spill that happened in both 2010 and 1979.  It discusses the strategies used by the United States government in 2010 to try to solve the problem, which were exactly the same as the attempts in 1979 and that each attempt produced the same results.  This is actually a very funny video (although the situation itself is not) which is poking fun at the U.S. and their strategies.  However, this can be a great educational resource to engage and teach students the important of understanding isomorphic problems and the retrieval strategy (both used in math classes).

Isomorphic problems are “similar or identical in structure or appearance to” another problem.  The retrieval strategy (in math) is where one is able to recognize that a question they are working on is isomorphic to another question they have solved before and uses similar methods to solve the problem.

These are both important, especially in math.  If students cannot make connections and see the relationship in different content and questions, they will feel as if they are learning a whole lot more (and harder material) than they actually should and trying to solve problems will be much more complicated than it should be.  Also, a study found that retrieval is very important in consolidating learning.  There are also many other reasons that understanding and recognizing isomorphic problems and using retrieval is very important, one being this video, which as funny as it was, it was a disaster than may not have gotten as severe as it had.

Bullying and Suicide

With the increasing cases of suicide all over the world (more specifically in Canada and the United States, or at least it’s mostly publicized in these places), I feel the need to put out some discuss this issue.  Below, I have posted a few articles, links, and videos that I wanted to share with everyone discussing recent suicides and information on bullying and suicide.

If you are wanting to take a course on suicide awareness, I recently took the safeTALK course which I would recommend to anyone else who would like to increase their knowledge in suicide awareness.

Articles on recent suicides due to bullying:

Amanda Todd:

Bullied Teen Leaves Behind Chilling YouTube Video” ABC News

Here is a link to a video she posted before her suicide.

Tyler Clementi:

“Tyler Clementi: A Call to Act on Cyberbulling” CBC News

Rachel Ehmke:

“Rachel Ehmke, 13-Year-Old Minnesota Student, Commits Suicide After Months of Bullying” Huffingtonpost

Websites with information on suicide and bullying:

This link discusses the effects of bullying including kids that are bullied, kids who bully, bystanders, and the relationship between suicide and bullying.

Here is the Government of Saskatchewan page which discusses common warning signs of suicide.

Embracethefuture is a website for youth which discusses topics like emotions, youth issues, and thinking positive.  Here is a link from this website that discusses some ideas on what to do if someone you know is thinking about suicide (or you think they might be but are unsure).

Here is a link discussing bystanders and their effects on bullying.  I personally believe bystanders play a HUGE part in bullying.

Videos:

Below are videos posted by celebrities and bands.  Celebrities and bands are inspiration and role models for our children and these are just some of the ways that they are trying to reach out and talk about bullying and suicide.

Here is a video by Ellen DeGeneres in which she speaks about the rising cases of suicide due to bullying.

Alyssa Reid – Talk Me Down

Billy Talent – Nothing To Lose

7 Tools for Creating Visual Presentations that Engage

If you are wanting to find more visual presentation tools besides PowerPoint, here is a link to an article that lists and describes 7 tools that could be used for making visual presentations.  Well, okay… Although this site states 7 tools in the title, it actually has seven categories and lists a few more than seven tools for visual presentations. This resource discusses the following tools:

1.  Prezi

2. Gliffy

3. SmartDraw

4. Visio

5. Interactive Excel

6. Stock Photo Sites

7. Microsoft Office Online

8. Chatting and Polling within GoToTraining

9. Native Programs Beyond Microsoft Word

10. Maximizing PowerPoint (animating static images, picture placeholders, using image effects and photoalbum, and third party programs for PowerPoint visuals

Helpful pictures are included in these descriptions.  As well, this resource also lists other blogs and sites to visit for more tools in depth.

One thing that I really like about this resource is that it acknowledges the whole “death by PowerPoint.”  It has its own introduction section that discusses this which I completely agree that PowerPoint is being overused and it is no longer engaging to students.

SMART Exchange – Business Resources

What is it?

SMART exchange is a website where you can search different lessons created by teachers using SMART notebook.  This is more specifically for the teachers that have access to a SMART board but you can preview the entire presentation in which you can get an idea of how to teach a subject.

Screenshot of preview

This website does provide a variety of resources in many subjects including math, social studies, English, and business.

A look at some of the different presentations available: 

The “Economic Basics: Supply and Demand” (see picture above) is a SMART Notebook presentation and questionnaire that tests students understanding of supply and demand.  This uses features such as clicking on an answer and then it moves to a particular slide depending on whether or not the right answer was right or wrong.  This fits into the Economics curriculum.

The “Problem Solving: Debt Management” is a presentation that checks students’ understanding of aspects of loans, how to generate an amortization schedule, and provides scenarios in which students must come up with a solution to the problem.  This presentation uses the SMART response clicker feature where students are given a keypad and must push the button that corresponds to the right answer.  Once completed, the teacher can view everyone’s responses in different ways including a pie chart and bar graph.  This fits into the Life Transitions 20/30 curriculum.

What do I like about SMART Exchange?

  • Provides curriculum outcomes for every grade in every province in Canada but for a few subjects including math, social sciences, science, and English.
  • User friendly.
  • If you download the presentation, you can edit it to meet your outcome, or you can just download and use it the way it is.
  • Mostly made by teachers to help accomplish curriculum outcomes.
  • Presentations use neat features that you cannot find with Prezi or PowerPoint.
  • Interactive and engaging presentations.
  • Provides previews before downloading in case you don’t like the presentation (or don’t have SMART Notebook).
  • Don’t need an account (unless you’re uploading a presentation to the site).
  • Provides presentations in case you want to create your own and don’t know how and how to use different features of SMART Notebook.

What do I dislike about it?

  • Like slideshare, I had problems finding presentations that matched what I was searching.

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

This fits in just about every curriculum (ex. I’ve shown Economics and Life Transitions).  This is a great way to engage your students and get them involved in their learning.

In a classroom, I could use these presentations at any time (even if I made my own SMART presentation) to either introduce or develop a topic or I could also use it to test students understanding of a topic by using the different question features this technology provides.

Evaluation of SMART exchange.

Overall, SMART exchange is a very resourceful website where teachers can “borrow” other teacher’s presentations.  It is engaging for the students and could get the students involved in their own learning.  I would definitely use some of the resources from this website in my own actual classroom.

If I had to give this website a numerical value, I would give it a 8/10.

Cyber Safety Guidelines Article

Here is an article called “Guidelines and Resources for Internet Safety in Schools” by the Virginia Department of Education.  Specifically for teachers, read pages 13 – 15.  If interested, this does provide a lot of general information for others including parents, administrators, and school boards.  It also discusses integrating internet safety into curriculum content instruction.  You can find all the page numbers for these under the table of contents.