For my summary of learning I have chosen to create a map of my mind & journey through this course. I have created a reading/poem that contains all my thoughts & feelings through each assignment, topic, and learning curve. I then reflected this onto paper. I debated perfecting it or changing it, but decided to keep it the way it was because I feel if your summary of learning is honestly reflecting your journey, there will be many imperfections along the way. Please click on the video below to watch my map come to life!
This class has been so beneficial in so many ways. I have thoroughly enjoyed creating a class prototype & look forward to implementing it into my future classroom. The ADDIE template really helped to guide me & get me started on the right foot. I know I will use all of these strategies & tools in the future as I continue to embrace & incorporate a blended learning approach for my students.
As much as this class seemed to fly by & we only had 4 online classes together, I appreciated that time together. I always looked forward to seeing my peer’s faces & having class discussions on such important topics. The breakout rooms filled with conversations & feedback was very much appreciated & enjoyed on my end.
In regards to our last classes breakout room sharing, there was feedback in the form of ensuring we were all on a similar track, yet appreciating each other’s differences in creations. We all seemed to have a unique approach, but supported the process & individual journey we all went on to get to where we got. I am thankful to my group for providing a safe & welcoming atmosphere when sharing my course prototype.
The article 6 Strategies for Building Community in Online Courses does a great job of explaining the importance of acknowledging that there will be a difference in connections made among the students depending on if the material is delivered online or face-to-face. However, I personally believe that at a young age the best way to make & build connections amongst peers is for there to be some level of in person learning. I think the option for blended learning can bring so many new & exciting levels to this, but there still holds great importance of face-to-face. Even though this unit can absolutely be offered online, I’m choosing to take this as a blended learning approach for this course.
OCL theory provides a model of learning in which students are encouraged and supported to work together to create knowledge: to invent, to explore ways to innovate, and, by so doing, to seek the conceptual knowledge needed to solve problems rather than recite what they think is the right answer.
The following outlines the online learning platforms I will be using & how they help to create a connected community within our classroom. There are lots of opportunities for discussion, collaboration, and reflection, which is beneficial to their learning, but also helps for me to assess & gather their understanding. This unit has pushed me out of my comfort zone in many ways & I hope it does the same for my students, all while respecting their boundaries & differences.
Google Classroom will be the bones & structure of this unit. Everything found below will be nicely outlined in an easy to follow structure for the students. This will be the place they can refer back to when needed & have access to all their resources & materials.
Google Slides provide the students a great opportunity for everyone to be working on one document at the same time. They can easily be assigned a slide & work simultaneously amongst their peers. The following are areas in this unit in which they will be using & benefiting from Google Slides…
Stress case studies to reflect what their personal strategy would be
Choose the stress strategy they find most beneficial for themselves from all the strategies we have previously been exploring & share their stress strategy to create a team built stress strategy document
Google Docs will be used similar to a piece of paper in most of these lessons & students will actually have the option to simply use a piece of paper if they would rather. The following is how Google Docs will be used as a reflection piece & can be shared with others…
Explore & experiment with many stress strategies
Daily reflection/check in on their stress & mental health
Google Forms is a great way to create a digital reflection. This is the one area where community & connection does not have a huge impact, however for many students typing is more ideal, so the following is a way in which it will be used…
Personal reflection on what the students have learned through this course
Jamboard is where I will host almost all of our class discussions, thoughts, brainstorming, and idea sharing. This is an excellent resource where students can feel connected & involved. Jamboard will be used in many of my lessons, where students can comment individually, with partners, or in small groups; as well as anonymously and non anonymously. The following are just a couple of examples of how it will be used within this unit, but the options are endless…
Discuss terms, descriptions, and emotions in a group setting
Deeper exploration on why stress happens, why it differs between each person, & why it isn’t necessarily a negative thing
Lumi is a great place for a video to be turned into an interactive lesson. I will have created three videos below (only one so far) where the students are given the opportunity to connect & engage with the material in front of them. I also think this is a great way for students to feel connected to myself as the teacher when I turn these books into an interactive experience.
Book/read aloud to pause & replay at their own needs & Create a “Worry Monster” to practice throwing away our stressors
Book/read aloud to pause & replay at their own needs & Art creation of their ideal calm spot
Kahoots are a great way for students to engage in online learning & material. Group Kahoots lets the students discuss & engage in a classroom setting all while broadening their learning experience.
A group Kahoot to deeper their understandings of stress & broaden their own strategies
To me it is clear how helpful, accessible, and beneficial Google Classroom is. The article What is Google Classroom? All You Need to Know! is very helpful in understanding all its areas and benefits. I appreciate that our school division uses this platform, and that this course gave me the opportunity to explore & understand it further. I will definitely be incorporating it into more of my lessons & learning within my classroom this fall.
I would like to note that this unit can be completed in an online format or a blended learning format. If this were to be done online only, there would be a daily (for each lesson) meet up for me to go over the lesson & instructions (example: what is stress?), along with hosting a discussion with breakout rooms. Ideally this would be implemented in a blended learning format, where these instructions & discussions can be held in person and then they are given time & resources to explore further on their own or in small groups (using technology when applicable).
I really enjoyed last week’s lesson & discussion around accessibility & equity, especially in regards to online learning. I think there is some confusion with thinking that simply making resources & information available is accessible. However, that is where equity comes into play, because if you are simply making it “accessible” but not considering all needs or challenges that some of our students may face, you are not actually making it accessible for all.
Digital accessibility is important in all aspects of life and it’s especially valid in education. Schools shape how we see the world and pave the way for growth. Allowing everyone access to the same online content, virtual experiences, and digital devices is the only way we can move forward in this ever-connected global village.
Of course when looking at the term “accessibility” we need to consider student access to technology & how that might play a part. However, I feel like identifying the needs of the students plays an equal part in this. An additional article that I found draws attention to these needs through an inclusive edtech perspective. The image below summarizes the areas that were discussed in the article, including hearing impairment, vision impairment, motor skills impairment, communication difficulties, and specific learning difficulties. I think understanding your student’s needs & how to properly make it accessible depending on the student is the most important part.
When Katia asked us to discuss in a breakout room how we can further ensure our classrooms are accessible, our group struggled to answer this question. Some of us thought about a student with a learning deficiency, some thought about a student with a physical disability. It is almost impossible (actually I am going to go as far as saying it is impossible) to make something accessible for all without knowing what needs need to be met. This article does a great job of breaking this down further & bringing awareness to each of these impairments or difficulties.
In regards to looking at this within my own course, I have to be honest in that ensuring it was accessible for all students with any impairment or difficulty that might be present was not something I considered. Looking back through the outline of my lessons, I think it is quite accessible & equitable for all. In regards to technology, everyone at school will have access to it. Nothing is to be completed or done at home, so no further issues in this area should arise. However, like I mentioned previously, accessibility goes way beyond simply having access to a piece of technology.
In terms of hearing impairments, all of the videos I have incorporated will have subtitles and/or reading options to follow along. With visual impairment, most of these lessons are actually in the form of audio, with me creating an interactive element using Lumi, to break down the video & pause for helpful interactions. With any learning disabilities, I have created this unit so there are levels of completion. If all a student can do is watch the video & not complete the interaction piece, that is okay & I will provide separate instruction for each student that might need it.
I feel like the piece in my unit that might have been overlooked is that I really tried to focus on the mental, emotional, AND physical aspect of stress & handling. After last week’s class I realized that maybe the lesson I created through Lumi is not accessible for all. If I have a student with a physical disability, I am limiting them or leaving them out when asking them to try a certain yoga pose, or a variety of them. Again I think it is hard to predict what impairments and/or difficulties might arise in my classroom each year & is something I will need to address & properly incorporate when that happens.
I really appreciate how the article, Teaching Remotely for Accessibility, Equity, and Inclusion draws attention to self care. It really connects with the unit I am choosing to focus on within this class. The article addresses the importance of looking out for yourself, as well for your students. Going online during covid definitely created some mixed emotions for many, being that leader who ensures everyone’s feelings and emotions are valid & understood is an important piece to ensuring you are providing an accessible, equitable, and inclusive learning experience for all.
The title of this blog post feels ironic, considering my students will be learning through Lumi with the interactive video I created, but I also found myself learning through the process of exploring Lumi.
The lesson I created through Lumi was Lesson 5 within my Grade 4 Health unit, in which I explained in more detail on my course profile. This lesson focuses on finding calm spots & focuses primarily on yoga, more specifically breathing, movement, and mindset to help us achieve this. This lesson will begin with an audio book (read aloud) title “A Little Calm Spot”. I retrieved this video from YouTube & I turned into an interactive experience using the Lumi platform. I paused the video when I wanted the students to try something on their own (breathing, movements, and positive thinking) or to reflect on their understanding of the book.
Once my students are done exploring this they will be instructed (through Google Classroom) to listen to a guided meditation & then create an art creation expressing their own calm spot. This can involve ways of using breathing, movement, positive mindset, or all of the above if they choose. This can be something they explore & express on paper with a drawing or words, or something they explore & express in person… possibly as a mini yoga flow.
Prior to this lesson, our class will have focused on what exactly stress is, what might cause stress, and why stress differs from person to person. We will have taken the time to explore a diverse range of stress strategies & will have practiced many of these within the classroom. This lesson lands on the mid-way mark through the unit & provides the students with another stress strategy. This lesson also leads us into exploring our own calm spots & how we can cope with stress in different ways. For this lesson in particular I will assess my students in their responses & their creation of a calm spot (formative). However, here will be lots of ongoing assessments (formative & summative) through out the rest of the unit that shows they understood this lesson & concept.
This course covers the Health outcome USC4.6, which focuses on assessing healthy stress management strategies (e.g., relaxation skills, stress control skills, guided imagery, expressing feelings, exercising).
Develop and use respectful language to talk about stress and to describe the intensity of feelings
Explore the responses one may experience as a result of stress
Recognize potentially stressful situations and examine possible reactions to the experience.
Describe strategies for managing stress
Assess healthy stress management strategies
I am providing this Grade 4 Health unit (stress strategies) in a blended learning format to ensure my students have all the resources they might need & are able access to them when or if needed (this could also be on their own time). I also believe that using online platforms provide students with a sense of privacy (ability to post or comment anonymously from their peers) and provides them the opportunity to further explore deeper understandings & research.
Grade 4 students (lots of strong students & strengths, but a few students who are weak in reading & writing, as well as some learning disabilities).My classroom has a diverse range of students, some being pulled for extra support, with EA support, missing school, etc. Using a blended learning approach will provide my students with the opportunity to catch up & learn on their own time, when they have missed, or if they need to go back & review.
Technology adds a helpful piece when an assignment or reading can be read out loud to the student & they are given the opportunity to use voice to text (struggle to write or type) or text to voice (struggle to communicate or speak). Grade 4 is also the first grade in our division where they receive one-to-one technology within the classroom & it is encouraged to provide our students with the opportunity to better their skills & understanding on the Chromebook & more specifically within Google Classroom.
Students will have variety on their assignments & choices
Students will have privacy & the chance to explore on their own
Students will become more familiar with technology & how to properly navigate it
The teacher will have the chance to see their work in a diverse range of ways
Stress is a big health outcome at this grade level & finding stress strategies is a huge part of life
Every student will have access to their own chromebook at this grade level
Students might need further instruction regarding either the lesson or the technology element
Teachers need to turn this into an online course, likely with limited time & support
Ability to ensure every student is up to speed on how to properly use the technology
Limited tech help or support when a chromebook is not working, broken, etc.
Instructional Approach & Course Layout
Lesson 1- What is Stress?
Discuss many of these terms, descriptions, and emotions in a group setting (face-to-face & Jamboard)
Lesson 2- Stress Strategy Exploration
Explore & experiment with many stress strategies (face-to-face & online)
Choose the stress strategy they find most beneficial for themselves from all the strategies we have previously been exploring & share their stress strategy to create a team built stress strategy document (Google Slides)
Lesson 7- Stress Check in
Daily reflection/check in on their stress & mental health (Google Doc)
A group Kahoot to deeper their understandings & broaden their strategies
Lesson 8- What Would YOU Do?
Stress strategy word problems to reflect what their personal choice would be (Google Slides)
I have chosen to focus on Grade 4 Health, specifically looking at outcome USC4.6. This outcome focuses on assessing healthy stress management strategies (e.g., relaxation skills, stress control skills, guided imagery, expressing feelings, exercising). I have taught Grade 4 before, lots of that time however was during the pandemic, which required doing many of these activities & lessons online. I will also be teaching Grade 4 again in the fall, so I knew that was the grade level I wanted to focus on. Grade 4 is the age where lots of changes begin to happen & it can be a very overwhelming time for children. When we were online the first time I had many Grade 4’s not know how to handle the stress they were feeling & this emotion was new to a lot of them.
I wanted to make sure my students were properly managing their stress levels & I have now made this a priority in all of my classrooms regardless of the grade or the outcome/unit. This is a life skill that needs to be understood and implemented properly and I believe this is an outcome that everyone reaches in a unique way & at diverse levels. No entire class of students will have the exact same management strategy incorporated in the same way, so I feel it is important for students to work through this with their own exploration. Of course collaboration with peers, and suggestions or discussions from the teacher is necessary, but at the end of the day our students need to find what works for them.
I think that this outcome/objective will work well in an online or blended learning format for many reasons. For starters it provides the students with the opportunity to explore & research on their own. The internet is a great place to search for strategies & tips and I can also provide some of these resources in an online format for my students to use & explore on their own time. This adds a deeper level of exploration, rather than just reading through pages then completing a booklet. I think there are so many online platforms that can be used to enhance the learning in this area & make it more interactive for each individual student. It also lets the students participate anonymously from their classmates when or if needed.
All children process and handle stress and stressful situations in such a wide range of ways. Some become emotional, some shut down, some become angry or aggressive. I think there is such an importance in respecting this diversity within children & providing them with the privacy of exploring this on their own. Karen Wallace & Patrick Lewis do an incredible job of expressing the importance of healing & growing through play, art, and narrative (PAN). Technology provides such an incredible opportunity for approaching this within the classroom. However, I do think this proves that blended learning is more beneficial than online learning for young children. I know next year there will be lots of things I will explain & share with my students regarding this topic, but I will also let my student’s explore what they need to & how they need to in order to feel safe & reduce areas of stress.
I am Kennedy Loreth, well actually Kennedy Cooper as I just got married this June! I graduated from the University of Regina with my bachelor degree in 2018. From there I took a year to travel abroad to Australia & take in as much substitute teaching as I could. I loved learning all the unique teaching strategies & diverse classroom structures. As much as I enjoyed this time to further learn & gain some understanding, I was definitely eager to get into my own classroom. I started my first teaching job in September of 2019. I was teaching Grade 6 & loved every second of this experience. I took in every moment, both challenging & rewarding, and was constantly in awe of this being my job.
Unfortunately March 2020 rolled around & Covid-19 had hit. My first teaching experience was forced to go online & I was absolutely crushed. If I’m being honest, this was a challenge for me in many ways. I felt so disconnected from my profession, my colleagues, my students and even myself. I found myself questioning my own abilities, along with my love & passion for teaching. Within the next couple of years there seemed to be lots of flopping back & forth between online & in person and each time I was reassured that online teaching was not for me.
As much as I am even more thankful to be back in the classroom teaching, I did learn a thing or two from teaching online. I honestly do not know if I would incorporate technology to the level that I have had we not gone online during the pandemic. I’ve learned to embrace the many positives of technology, which I had previously held a negative & close minded perspective about. I’ve embraced letting my students learn, research, and create online. It has given me the opportunity to enrich my teaching skills & connect with my students in diverse ways. I’ve also learned how online and blended learning has helped me to balance a split class.
Looking at this from the perspective of a student rather than an educator, I am very thankful for the opportunity of learning online. Again, I think we owe a lot of this to the pandemic, but I believe it has created such an ideal & unique way for us educators to continue learning. I know that the majority of these classes were previously only offered in person and since then it has opened new doors & opportunities for online & blended learning. I still appreciate & enjoy the in person classes, but being as busy as I am & living over an hour away from the university, this has provided me with realistic opportunities & many new possibilities.
On the first night of this class, my group discussed how sometimes blended learning can often feel like we are doing double the work as the educators. So then why do it? Well for me personally I believe it is because the outcome is so worth it! I believe my students are gaining more from blended learning & are also pushing themselves in new & unique ways. It gives me the opportunity to assess in various ways & to understand my students better. It also ensures we are keeping up with today’s advanced technology in beneficial ways. I’m thankful for learning as much as I have about online learning & am so eager to keep gaining a deeper understanding & seeing the benefits of using it within my classroom & teaching profession.