As we get to know each other in the class, the Ripplers have been figuring out what we’d like our classroom learning environment to look like. To do this, students started out with 10 Creative Commons images that were selected from Flickr. They were asked to think about the ways each one could be connected back to our classroom. There were so many fantastic ideas! It’s always so interesting to see how a picture can speak to us in different ways. As each picture gathered more thoughts, some common ideas emerged. Below is the result of our efforts and we can begin to see that by following these class agreements, we can create a pretty amazing place for learning.
Ripplers, how are you feeling about our classroom agreements? Are there any that stand out for you more than others? Which ones do you feel might impact your learning the most?
We’ve had our iPods up and running for a few months now and it’s about time we shared some of our experiences with them. A little while back, I wrote about our initial plans for using them around literacy, which focused on comprehension strategies that are often reserved for teaching students to be better readers. We didn’t want to limit ourselves to reading though, so we expanded them to help us better understand the world through what we see, hear, and experience. Hopefully, our video helps explain the rest. We always love to hear feedback or if you have any questions, we’d love to try to answer them!
Trev is on his way again! While we’re a little sad to see him go, we know he has big adventures still waiting for him and we’re looking forward to seeing and reading all about it on Trev’s blog.
He’s headed north from us, up island a ways and then a bit east to a smaller island called Sointula [soy-n-too-la] where Ms. Watson‘s class has been patiently waiting for him.
We had hoped to ship him off a bit sooner, but we noticed that Trev was in need of some minor surgery, so we decided to make sure we sent him on his way good as new after Celina‘s mom patched him up. Thank goodness she came to his rescue, too because if I was his last resort he may have ended up with a wing sewn to his head accidentally.
While we were waiting for him to return to us, we prepared a few new items for his next travels. After we added a few pages to his scrapbook to document his visit, we started thinking he might run out of room after a few more visits. We didn’t want him to worry about that, so we’ve created a Part 2 scrapbook that can be used once the other one’s last page has been used up.
The Super 7 Scoopers will also notice we’ve added a Comox Valley pin to his bandana. He came to us with a New Zealand pin already attached, so we thought we’d help him start a collection that he could eventually bring back home as souvenirs of his travels.
Maddie also wanted him to leave with something distinctly Canadian as well so she has given Trev a new bandana to wear on any days that he is feeling a little nostalgic for us on this side of the world.
So we think we’ve sent him off well prepared for the next leg of his adventures! Good luck Trev! In the next couple of days, we hope to hear you’ve landed safe and sound at your destination. Please keep us posted on all the trouble you get up to.
March 26, 2011 at 8:30 pm is Earth Hour in Canada. What is Earth Hour? It’s actually an international event that began as a local one in Sydney, Australia in 2007. From there it has spread globally year after year. Last year, 1.3 billion people ranging from 128 countries participated in it. 10 million Canadians in over 300 cities were a part of this.
Why is Earth Hour important? It has been estimated that in the 1970′s humans were using 70% of nature’s yearly output of resources. By the early 1980’s that rose to 100% and in 1999 it topped the scales at 125%. 1999 was 12 years ago … I wonder what percent of nature’s yearly output we’re using today. I find those numbers mind boggling!
It’s our world to shape, not just to take ~ John Abbott
Earth Hour reminds us to think about how we are using and producing energy and what we can do to help make sure we have a sustainable future. Through this wave of darkness that unfolds across the globe, we hope world leaders will stand up and take notice of the message global citizens are sending.
Last year during Earth Hour, many of the students in my class played board games, read by candlelight or found fun activities to play like hide-n-seek. They embraced this hour without power to show their support and I hope this year even more will participate. The tricky bit for us, though, is that next week is Spring Break for our school district. That means I won’t have the opportunity to remind them on the Friday before. So I’m hoping with a little help from the counter above, they will stay committed to seeing Earth Hour through and afterward, numerous comments will appear on this post telling me how they creatively decided to spend this time.
Did you get that Ripplers? Next week, while you are off, check back to this site to see where the countdown is at and after Earth Hour is complete and you have power once more, please leave a comment telling us what you ended up doing for those 60 minutes. I’ll be doing the same to let you know what I was up to. Anyone of readers are welcome to let us know how their Earth Hour went as well.
Today was Pink Shirt Day – a day we set aside to bring awareness to bullying issues and the devastating effects it can have. This past week, we have been looking more closely at the hidden scars it can leave on people as well as how powerless it can make a person feel. We each have an important role and responsibility if we ever discover someone is mistreating others or someone is being mistreated.
There are four types of bullying: physical, verbal, social, and cyberbullying. As a teacher, I find social bullying one of the hardest forms to deal with. Why? Because most students don’t even realize they are taking part in it. And those that do know what they are doing tend to operate very covertly so it doesn’t bring a lot of attention to it. Social bullying puts a person’s social safety at risk by using the power of a group to encourage teasing, exclusion, spreading rumors, and/or any of the other three forms of bullying.
We have learned that it’s human nature to want to be a part of a group. We are social creatures. But unfortunately, while we seek acceptance “in” a group, one of the strategies to keep ourselves there can be to point out the “out” group. Group dynamics is a powerful force. After watching a video clip of the 1950′s Asch experiment, we were able to see just how powerful group thinking can be. It’s easy to say we wouldn’t be swayed so easily, but time and time again over the years, that experiment continues to generate the same results. Sadly, I see it happening at school too many times to count. Sometimes people conform because they are afraid of backlash from the group while other times they conform to the group because the group convinces them they are wrong.
It’s difficult to stand up to a group of people. No question. Especially, if you don’t feel like you have a lot of power or stability in the group. More than anything, I want the Ripplers to remember that sometimes the right thing to do is the hardest thing to do.
Grab your pink shirt! This Wednesday, February 23rd is Anti-Bullying Day, which is commonly known as Pink Shirt Day.
This was the colour a young man wore to school one day in Nova Scotia, Canada 4 years ago. Sadly, he became a target of bullying when other individuals in the school decided that his pink shirt was a reason to pick on him.
That event was a series of unfortunate and fortunate events. It was unfortunate that this boy had to experience any type of bullying, but fortunate because there were other students who were determined to show the school, and ultimately the world, that they were not about to stay silent while another student was being bullied. These grade 12 students had not witnessed the event, but hearing that it had happened was enough to motivate them into action. To read more about their story, click here.
Pink Shirt Day is an important day for us. Taking action against bullying is a cause we are committed to. We will be posting more about how we intend to spread our message about how important it is to value everyone for who they are and how we feel the bystander is a pivotal role in preventing bullying.
In the meantime, you will find Pink Shirt Day posts popping up on student blogs describing individual thoughts on bullying and what our personal commitments toward anti-bullying are year-round. We know this is about much more than just one day.
Here is our video message from last year that continues to motivate and inspire us to be part of the solution.
February 8th, 2011 is Safer Internet Day. What is that, you ask? Just like the title suggests, it’s a day set aside to promote Internet awareness with young people. Originally, this event began in Europe, but it has now spread to over 65 countries. It happens at the perfect time for us because it’s about the half-way mark of the year and it’s a great opportunity to review how savvy we have become.
In our class, we prefer to use the term “Internet Savvy” rather than “Internet Safe”. Can you see a difference between the two? To us, Internet savviness means being aware of the big picture and understanding the risks and benefits of any decisions we make online. It’s about protecting our personal information so we can avoid potentially harmful situations. Becoming savvy also means developing the ability to anticipate the cause and effect of our actions, in essence becoming self-aware.
A lot of times, Internet safety is taught through the medium of fear. Fear of who it is you are talking to online, fear of who you are sending images or movies to, or fear that there are individuals online who are a danger to children. We need to be careful about focusing on the fear factor when it comes to supporting the development of online behaviour. Are there risks? Absolutely! But …
When we look through a lens of fear, we can become overly focused on one aspect and unintentionally lose sight of others. In a nut shell, if we become so worried about a potential scenario it may blind us to others situations that could put us at risk as well. The easiest solution to some may be to avoid it entirely, but it’s difficult to learn how to become savvy when you don’t have access to it.
However, if we look through a lens of savviness or awareness, we can assess a much bigger scope of potential hazards because our focus is on understanding both the impact and risk associated with our online actions. The Internet is a glorious resource for our 21st century learning. Our job as surfers is to tap into it with a wary eye while making sound decisions that maintain our privacy and protect our personal information.
Ripplers, this week your task is to reflect on how your savviness is developing. What have you become more aware of this year? Have you been surprised by anything new you’ve learned about this topic?
We’d also love to hear how other classes and students are improving their savviness? Feel free to share your ideas so we can all benefit from each other.
When the Ripplers came back to school after Winter Break, they were surprised and excited to learn that a visitor had arrived over the holidays. Trev has been traveling the world meeting new students in many different countries and we’re one of the fortunate classes that he will be spending some time in. His adventure began with the Super 7 Scoopers in Mrs Bee’s Year 5/6 classroom in New Zealand and his last destination before us was Room 162 – Mr. Miller’s class in California.
We have discovered that Trev is a very curious little kiwi bird. He’s been accompanying us on our daily school escapades and has volunteered to star in an upcoming movie we are making. The timing of his arrival was actually perfect for photos. We needed to take some photos of our class in the Paddle Dance regalia that we performed in for our Winter concert. The ‘Namgis nation, a member of the First Nations Kwa’kwakawakw group from Alert Bay, B.C. gave us special permission to perform the dance and drumming song. We didn’t mind bringing Trev in on a few pictures.
We’re very much enjoying his visit, but we also know he can’t stay for too long – Mrs. Watson’s class in Sointula is awaiting his arrival as well. We’ll be posting more about Trev’s adventures with us very soon, so keep your eyes peeled for more. We’re also hoping Mrs. Bee’s class might be able to Skype with us in the near future so they can see Trev in action on the west coast of Canada!
We’ve had a very busy last few weeks leading up to our Winter Break. Trying to tie up loose ends during the same two weeks that our class and the entire school are also rehearsing for the Winter concert has proven to be tough at times, but with a room full of hard working students we’ve met that challenge head on.
We managed to successfully Skype with Mr. Miller’s class to finally meet them (lovely class by the way) and learn about the fate of one most interesting individual … Gurbert the Explorer. Truthfully, we’ve never actually met him, but we’re hoping to be able to do that soon one day and we can’t wait to discover what sorts of adventures he’s been on. We also hear he has quite the story behind him … hopefully, Mr. Miller’s class will help us solve that mystery.
I have this feeling we’ll all soon become Gurbert experts, so you can be sure that we’ll share more about him in the New Year. Stay tuned!
image: sent by Mr. Miller’s class
The Ripplers been exploring some pretty important local and global issues these past few weeks. We’ve needed to stretch our thinking and wrap our minds around many new ideas presented to us. So, today, I thought a few moments of just plain “fun” was in order. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely more interested in doing something if it’s fun. I’m pretty sure the people in this video agree with me.
So what does this have to do with school? Many many years ago I learned how important fun was to my learning, but the trick is: Don’t wait for someone to make it fun for you. If you look at school assignments and tasks as chores, they just feel like work. If you can learn to put your own spin on a project and infuse some fun into what you are doing, it can make a world of difference in how you approach it. The trick, though, is knowing when and where to do this because timing is everything and true fun only happens when it has a positive impact on everyone, so sometimes we need to be careful with how we choose to make things entertaining for us.
How can I make it fun? It might be how you choose to present your work, what you add into it beyond what’s required, or inviting others to collaborate with you. When you choose to have fun with your learning, the learning sticks. You understand it better. I know 25 years later, I can still remember the projects that I had fun with and many of them didn’t necessarily start out that way … I found ways to add it in.
Have you ever turned something that felt like a chore into something more entertaining? How have you added fun into assignments and projects?