Starting something new

Get it?
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Hello everyone and welcome to my blog!

As we begin our directed reading course this spring, our first task on our list of duties is to create an introductory blog that breaks down our topic of interest, and what we want to gain out of this experience.

I’ve never done a directed reading course before, so I’m definitely anticipating some sort of learning curb throughout this process. I’m quite excited to be working with some familiar faces however, which will most definitely make the experience a whole lot easier in many ways.

I’ve got no idea what I got myself into!
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I have the pleasure to be working alongside past EC&I 834 classmates Jen, Jaymee, Liz and Kyle. From past experiences, I have learned a great deal from these specific pupils, and I couldn’t be more excited to be working with them once again! Furthermore, Dr. Alec Couros will be joining the team by supervising and evaluating us throughout the next few weeks.

For my directed reading course, I chose to focus my attention and research on ways that we can integrate technology into a middle years ELA classroom setting.

I couldn’t find a cool ELA teacher doing “ELA” things, so I found a science teacher doing “Science” things instead…
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The reason why I chose this area was because last semester in my EC&I834 class, my classmates Jaymee (yes, the same one!), Roxanne and I created a course prototype for a blended learning ELA class (Click the link to check out a blog entry I wrote, breaking down all the specifics of our course prototype). This project got me thinking of how I could eventually integrate these very same blended learning elements into my own classroom the way we designed them in our prototype.

Although we put a lot of work into this project and made many portions of it fully functional and actually ready-to-use in a classroom, I still don’t feel quite ready to bring these things into my room for various reasons.

Yeah…I’m not ready for this just yet…
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For one, working in a school with limited computers, it’s very difficult to actualize these theoretical visions. Wifi isn’t always cooperative, and sometimes kids aren’t able to log onto their accounts for whatever reason. This is definitely a poor attempt to justify why someone should NOT try these things in their classroom, BUT they are nonetheless nuisances that are frustrating when you simply want to get work done with your class.

Ugh…SO annoying!
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Sure, these are typical issues we would typically face in a typical everyday scenario; but shouldn’t we have some answers to these “typical” issues?

As a goal for this course, I intend to find/put together strategies that can work around some of these kinks I often run into when trying to bring tech into the classroom.

I’m also going to be looking into some of the pros and cons of bringing technology into an ELA class (or any language class for that matter).

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I see this course as an opportunity to further explore some of the questions I left unanswered last semester, with the hopes of learning plenty of new and insightful things along the way.

Having a little more freedom with the direction I take my research in this time, will allow me to answer specific questions I’ve had in relation to teaching with technology in my own language classes. Although I don’t teach ELA this year, I have taught it several times in the past. Furthermore, as a middle years French Immersion teacher, I’ve found that many of the issues, strategies, approaches and techniques used in any type of language class, are applicable and quite similar to those seen in a typical ELA class.

Throughout the semester, I hope to gain more knowledge on content creation and putting together my own materials and courses for my classroom. Seeing that I teach French, I’ve found that it’s next to impossible to find good, updated, and easy-to-understand content, appropriate for french immersion students. If I ever find anything, it’s the same stuff my teachers taught me with over 25 years ago. That’s kind of crazy if you think about it…

Furthermore, when it comes to French resources, they rarely ever cater to French immersion students. If I happen to stumble upon grade 6 level French resources, they’re often far too difficult or advanced for French immersion students, as these resources are often intended for native-french speaking students (not students who are learning French as a second language).

This is why I’ve often resorted to creating my own material for my classes.

Seeing that I’ve learned so many new things in relation to creating my own educational videos and digital resources through the EC&I830 and 834 (with Dr. Couros) classes I took over the past year, I’d like to further explore content creation in relation to language classes.

I’m looking forward to working with a much smaller team this time around as well. Not only will we have more opportunities to voice and share our ideas, we’ll also be able to get a deeper look at what our other classmates are learning about as well.

Wish me luck, and I hope you’ll be able to take away something new over the next few weeks from my blog. Take care everyone!

Dre

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7 thoughts on “Starting something new”

  1. I am excited to see what solutions you come up with to your problems you face. Through conversations with our core French teacher and other peers/colleagues over the years I understand the difficulty in finding appropriate French resources. I struggle to find current Social resources at times but it is nothing like the struggles you have to face. I think on the technology front I am hoping as a group we can share our experiences and new ideas we come up with this semester to hopefully find some solutions to the tech gap within our buildings and we can incorporate as much edtech as we can into each of our classrooms. Looking forward to the next few weeks.

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    1. You’re right, this will be a great chance for us to share ideas and hopefully some helpful solutions to some of these issues. Teaching French definitely has it’s downsides, especially since it’s not usually JUST French language class resrouces that are scarce, but ALL other subjects as well (that need to be taught in French). Whether you have to translate resources or create your own, there’s never really an easy solution to any of these problems.

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  2. I completely agree with you and I – it is a real burden trying to find appropriate French Immersion resources. I teach French Immersion Social Studies at Campbell and even at that level it is difficult to find engaging material students can understand wholly. I even find it difficult for them to express opinions during discussions because they struggle finding the vocabulary. Perhaps there are ways technology can help us in these situations! Looking forward to learning with you for this semester.

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    1. Absolutely! And the vocabulary struggle is definitely real. I feel as though it stops kids from wanting to really engage in the material because they often feel as though they are unable to even express themselves properly (or to their full potential). It’s too bad too, because when I do the same things in English, the results are absolutely different and students are often WAY more into it when they don’t have a language barrier. Regardless of this situation however, if the material and resources (and the teaching) is on point, you can still find ways to engage students. It’s a big struggle, but lacking in the resources department definitely doesn’t help the situation.

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  3. I also look forward to being apart of finding solutions that we face in our common connection as educators of making learning fun, engaging, and authentic when we often don’t have the right tools to assist us. I don’t think about not having proper French resources or dealing with students using their devices inappropriately in class but I am glad to be aware of it. I think it will be valuable that we have a closer look into the struggles of each one of our different situations and the possible solutions we are hoping to discover. It will be a great collaboration!

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  4. Dre, I look forward to working with you this semester. I’m looking forward to reading your blogs weekly as I think they will be so helpful when I get back to work (as we work in the same building). I think the directed reading course will be amazing in the sense that we will get to research and come up with ideas/solutions together!

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