Monthly Archives: March 2009

The Power of Twitter!

An old post that I did not publish until now…It seems fitting that I now post this as twitter continues to garner more and more popularity in everyday media.

I was first introduced to Twitter by Alec Couros when I took ECMP 355 this past summer. Slowly, I began to build my network of followers. Discovering the Twitter 4 Teachers wiki created by Gina Hartman made it easy for me to connect with business educators, physical educators and many others from all levels and subject areas of education. After some time learning the in’s and out’s of twitter and patiently building my personal learning network (PLN) I now find Twitter to be a very powerful tool. It has allowed me to connect with many educators from around the world, stay up to date with new educational technology tools, and share my work/ideas with experienced educators. For more information on how to get started on Twitter check out this blog post by Kate Klingensmith.

Below I have embedded a recent CBC news segment on Twitter that Alec Couros and myself appeared in. I had no idea I was going to be interviewed and originally thought Adam was going to interview me about basketball.

March 19th, 2009 – Last Day of Pre-Internship

Thursday, March 19th was my last day of pre-internship. We spent a lot of time working on our school description assignment early on in the day. Later we mainly focused on having fun with our students and further building the relationships we began creating during the 3 weeks. It is hard to believe that it is already over and we are now headed back to university classes.

In 2nd period I handed back tests from yesterday to my Accounting 20 students. The students all did very well aside from a couple who had trouble understanding the new accounts that were introduced. If only I was able to stay longer and help these students understand the adjusting entries. I really enjoyed my time teaching the Accounting 20 class, they were hard workers and classroom management was never an issue.

In 4th period Entrepreneurship we finished off the Apprentice Challenge 2 and then presented in “the boardroom” to the entire class. The students did a great job, I was amazed at how well the commercials were for only having approximately 2 classes to complete them. Some students even dressed up for their presentations to better help them sell their idea. Ms. Hanson and I acted as Donal Trump, leaving the boardroom and then returning to announce the winner of the Apprentice Challenge #2. The students were very engaged with the challenges we gave them and seemed to be having a lot of fun. I am glad that Ms. Hanson and I were able to do some Apprentice-like activities with the students as we had hoped during our observation days. (* See previous post on Apprentice Round 2 for more information on the Entrepreneurship class challenges)

Overall the last day was a lot of fun. My cooperating teacher was great and gave me a lot of insight as to what I did well and what I can improve on. It was an amazing 3 weeks and I am now looking forward to internship.  I can tell that it will be very challenging to balance interning and playing basketball for the university but I think I will be able to manage it.

After pre-internship all of the business education pre-interns attended the 2009 SBTA Spring Conference in Moose Jaw, SK.

March 18th, 2009 – My First Staff Meeting

Today was a half day for the students which meant that all 5 periods were condensed so they could fit in the morning. We started our day off by doing some research for our EBUS assignment and discussing Business Education at Campbell in our 1st period spare. I also used this time to ensure that I had photocopied enough exams for my 3rd period Accounting 20 class – my first test as a teacher.

After all of that it was time for 3rd period where my Accounting 20 class wrote a chapter test. They were great, everyone wrote quietly and finished their exam within the condensed class period. Because this was my first test as a teacher it also meant my first time marking a test (I actually just finished marking the test and will hand them back tomorrow).

In Entrepreneurship the students continued working on the Apprentice Challenge we assigned yesterday. The groups seem to do be doing very well so far and all students appear to be very engaged in the activity. It is nice to see that students are enjoying it. The activities are not easy as time is a huge factor and they are forced to work efficiently, be creative, and come together as a team. The students did an excellent job on the first challenge and I can’t wait to judge the second challenge tomorrow when students present in the “boardroom”.

After lunch today we had core subject area meetings and then the staff meeting. It was my first time experiencing both of these and it was very interesting. I enjoyed hearing the other Practical and Applied Arts teachers talk about what they will be doing for the PAA9 course which spends a little bit of time in multiple subjects. It was also nice to hear about some of the issues that surround PAA courses in Regina high schools such as enrollment, fees etc. Another positive about the core meeting is that we got to know the PAA teachers a little better as we all sat together at one table for the hour and a half meeting.

Next it was time for the real deal, the staff meeting. This took place in the teaching theatre which is a very impressive classroom for a high school. A lot of topics and issues were covered in the staff meeting including an upcoming multicultural extravaganza, hosting the national debate championship, and all of the pre-interns were introduced to the staff by their cooperating teachers. The staff meeting ended with an hour long presentation by the principal. It was very informative and he presented some interesting information. A couple things that I found surprising were some of the statistics…

1. 70% of the staff has been at the school for less than 5 years

2. 75% of the staff has been at the school for less than 10 years

These were just 2 of many interesting points that were made during the staff meeting. Another thing that surprised me was that the staff meeting went until 4:30pm. I never realized that staff meetings went over the regular school/teaching hours, not that it was a bad thing. Overall today was a good day, it was a nice change up from the routine we had been getting used to and we got to experience a staff meeting.

My high for the day – During Entrepreneurship 30 I overheard a student talking about how much they like the commercial advertisement activity they are working on right now. It felt good to hear that!

My low for the day – Knowing that tomorrow is my last day of pre-internship…

Something I would change – I accidently had my Entrepreneurship students sign off of their computers 7 minutes before the bell today because I mistakenly thought it was going to ring. In the future I will make sure I know exactly what time the bell rings at on staff meeting days as I took away 7 minutes of work time from my students. Lesson learned.

March 17th, 2009 – The Apprentice Round 2

The day began with some planning in 1st period. I made sure my lessons were fully completed and put some finishing touches on my presentation for Entrepreneurship. After 1st period it was homeroom and today we headed to the gym for a demonstration by the cheerleaders and dance team. It was very impressive, the gym was jam packed, the demonstration was a great display of athleticism, and this was all done within the 15 minute homeroom (CAP) period.

In 3rd period I continued teaching in Accounting 20. Today I started off by having the students fill out a feedback sheet on the jeopardy game we played last class. I did this for my own professional development and to see if they enjoyed it as much as I though they did. The feedback was great and I got some really good suggestions. I think it’s important to listen to student ideas as they often have some very creative thoughts. After the feedback, the students worked on terms and questions for most of the class. We marked the terms and questions at the end of the class and then I reminded them of their chapter test tomorrow. This will be the first time I have given a “test” to one of my classes.

Over lunch I did some of the last minute preparation for Entrepreneurship 30. We continued on with the Apprentice Challenges today, they did great yesterday and today was challenge #2. I created a prezi to introduce the challenge to the students (VIEW THE PREZI). I have been wanting to use a lot of educational technology and web2.0 tools to enhance student learning during my internship and have been looking for a good opportunity to use prezi. I also recently read Mike’s blog post which linked to a prezi he created and that motivated me even more to use it. Technology aside, the teams are off to a great start on the commercials we are having them create for a major athletic apparel company (Apprentice Challenge #2). The commercials will be presented on Thursday so tomorrow will be a work period (although it is a shortened period due to the staff meeting tomorrow).

My high for the day – Entrepreneurship 30. Introducing challenge #2 to the students and also showing the students the short videos that Ms. Hanson and I each created as examples (I will try to post these soon).

My low for the day – Partly learning how to use the photocopier but not fully being able to use it without the assistance of a fellow pre-intern or librarian. It was my first attempt at the photocopier today and I plan to continually improve so that I am an independent photocopier.

Something I would change – I would have prepared for 4th period a little sooner as there was a minor technological issue with the first projector we tried to use. It was only about a 2 minute issue before we got a working projector but it would have been nice to have gone error-free.

I am looking forward to experiencing my first staff meeting tomorrow.

March 16th, 2009 – Monday Funday

It is now the last week of pre-internship and it feels as though it is literally flying by. The first two observation days seemed to be very long but ever since we have started teaching the days seem to fly by. This week the two classes I am mainly focusing on are Accounting 20, which I have been teaching since Wednesday, and Entrepreneurship 30, which Ms. Hanson and I started teaching today.

In Accounting 20 today it was Monday Funday which meant I started the class off by having students mark each other’s assignments from Thursday and I recorded the marks. After the fun start we went on to play a game of Jeopardy – Accounting Edition [I discovered a great site (http://jeopardylabs.com/) for making your own jeopardy games online via my delicious network and I really wanted to try it out]. I created the Jeopardy game specifically for Chapter 16 of the textbook they are working out of. I brought prizes, including a pack of Chartered Accountants (CA) gum and a very fashionable CA book bag (See photos below). The students did very well and I was happy with the result. The game was competitive, questions were challenging, students were engaged, and most importantly it was fun. Check out the actual Jeopardy game I created http://jeopardylabs.com/play/chapter-162

After lunch it was time for our first day of Entrepreneurship in 4th period. The class has been watching “The Apprentice” on Fridays for most of the semester and as mentioned in an earlier post, Ms. Hanson and I wanted to do some Apprentice-like activities with the class.

For today’s class we planned a 1 class period group activity having the students choose a new mascot for Campbell Collegiate. We had the assignment state that due to recent legal issues over the use of the Tartan as the school mascot, administration is looking for a new school mascot. The students had only the class period to create a slide presentation on the new mascot they have chosen, some images of what it may look like, and other specific criteria. The students presented right before the end of the class and we (Ms. Hanson, our cooperating teacher, Marg, and I) decided on the winner as the students waited outside the class. We then invited them back into the “boardroom” and announced the winner. It was a lot of fun and really forced the students to work together using their creativity. Tomorrow we will be doing another Apprentice-like activity with the class relating it to another part of the Entrepreneurship curriculum.

My high for the day – Both the Jeopardy game I played in Accounting 20 and the Apprentice activity in Entrepreneurship 30.

My low for the day – Realizing that pre-internship will soon be over.

Something I would change – Well when I started the Jeopardy game today I forgot to state a couple specific rules such as always answering with “what is” or “who is” and also stating that students cannot tell their teammates the answer. This only affected a few of the early questions and was not a big issue but it would have been even better had I covered those 2 rules before we started.

Check back to see what Apprentice-like activity is on the menu for Entrepreneurship 30 tomorrow!

(Accounting Jeopardy Prizes below)

Writ Large

Recently I was asked to write an article for the U of R Report’s Writ Large column. I was asked to write about the CIS experience and what university sport brings to campus and the local community. Specifically I was asked…

for something that captures the excitement Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) brings to campus…. what participation means to students, to you, why thousands come to watch etc. etc.

Below I have embedded a pdf version of the March 9th, 2009 U of R Report. My article is on the second page and can also be viewed on the University of Regina website by clicking here. You may need to use the Zoom feature to read the article below. Let me know what you think.

U of R Report – March 9th, 2009

March 13th, 2009 – School Based in-Service (No Students)

There were no students at school today as it was an in-service day for teachers. Because Campbell has such a large staff I saw quite a few teachers today that I had not yet seen. It was nice to interact with some of the teachers during the sessions and see how things work during in-service days.

To start the day off Kayla and I attended the RAP (Response Ability Pathways) session. It was a great session and touched on things such as the Circle of Courage and Reclaiming Youth. There were some interactive aspects, the staff was split into groups for the completion of a question sheet agreeing or disagreeing with statements about youth. I had been introduced to the Circle of Courage in the past and just vaguely introduced to RAP. I feel as though I can take some of the things I learned in this session and implement it in my teaching.

For lunch a few of the pre-interns went out together to a local restaurant. It was nice to share our experiences thus far and talk about the differences in subject areas. There are about 13-14 pre-interns at Campbell in a wide array of subject areas. Often we eat lunch together or chat in the staffroom about how our lesson or units are going. It’s interesting to see what happens in other subject areas.

After lunch we attended a session on Critical Thinking. I felt that it was presented creatively and done very well. The presenters (3 teachers) used a couple short movie clips  to show examples that related to their topic (1 was a 10 minute clip from the Dark knight). I was very impressed with the speaking and storytelling skills of the presenters. They also had some interaction in this session as we were split into subject areas, Kayla and I were the only Business Ed representatives as our coop was in a different session. This was the last session of the day and now it was the weekend – time to catch up on some sleep!

My high for the day – Going for lunch with some of the other pre-interns and talking about our experiences thus far. As I stated earlier it was nice to hear others stories and learn more about what teaching is like in their subject areas.

My low for the day – When I got home from school today I had the daunting task of teaching my mom how to send a text message. She learned quickly and now seems to be a capable “texter” but I’m not sure if that will be a good or bad thing for me.

Something I would change – Try to get to know some of the teachers better. I know some of the teachers from various sporting or school related events and activities but there are many that I do not know. At the same time, it is very tough to get to know a lot of the teachers when I am only there for 3 weeks. I think it will be easier in internship when I am at a school for a whole semester.

*Note – The Campbell sr. boys basketball team won the City Championship last night but unfortunately the sr. girls team lost to Sheldon. Campbell traditionally has high achieving basketball teams among the many other successful extra-curricular activities that are offered.