Friday, October 24, 2014

Blowing off the Dust



 
Can you believe it after almost 3 years I am compelled to blog.  Why is that? What has churned up my insides with awesomeness that I have to blog.  Well one name Darren Kuropatwa.  I was blessed this morning to sit in on his session about using images in teaching.  I have seen it all before but Darren being Darren kicked it up a notch.




Before I go into detail with the cool tools from Darren I should really talk about blogging and my lack of it. 

Schedule
Personally I have not had time.... no I have not made time for blogging or twitter as of late.  Life at school changed with new roles and responsibilities.  I am in charge of our school lunch canteen.  I feed 300 kids various things every day.  It takes up every lunch hour during the school year.  I am not complaining but there went 55 minutes of reflection time. Life at home with 3 teen age boys also tends to get in the way of things.  Choice too comes into play when perhaps I want to spend time with my family and wife or training for a marathon instead of writing and reflecting.  Anyways perhaps this is a reason to write too.  Make time for quick reflection and let some of the goodness and badness out.

Students
Even though I still have maintained student blogs every year since 2007 or maybe 2006 they really did not evolve with the time.  Their main purpose was to build a sense of community and keep the room transparent 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  In recent years students have started to look at the blog a digital paper. 

That was never its intent.  I feel that as my momentum slowed down and I started to learn less so did the purpose at the blog and the students attitude towards it.  For blogs this year to be successful they need to evolve and be what they once were.  Something cool and different that no one else does.  Using new tools to create this community within the blog itself might be the answer.  Many tools that Darren talked about today will allow students to use the blog as a canvas to showcase their learning in ways not yet done in this province and perhaps country.  I am ready to open some eyes again, my students, my colleagues and my PLN.  These kids are ready to show off what they know and l need to be there to help them do this. 

Bringing Blogging Back
So how do we bring blogging back, get that reflection and thinking and create a digital document.  I think it stems from the reason I have not been blogging.  Time.  Kids need to be able to get something created quickly but at the same time do something well.  What if kids use the blog as a digital folder, still do scribeposts but do it in a way that is more efficient.  I had been expecting kids to create scribepost in the same way that Darren and I had been doing for almost a decade.  Life changes and so do the assignments.

I am going to incorporate more video and audio into the blogs.  When kids see the new tools that are out there they should get enthused about blogging and scribing as their older brothers and sisters did years ago.  So what am I going to use? Good question.  What can I use is a better question.  The lab that is attached to my room is so old (How old is it?) that hamsters currently are used to power them by spinning a wheel. 7 year old Dell PC's can type but event that is difficult when the browsers that are on them do not support the java or flash that sites are using. So most of this work will have to be done at home.  For something to be done at home there had better be some kickass apps to use so that I get the use of the thumbs not the video games.

That will be another post but until then I will tease you with this.  Mozilla Popcorn
Imagine making a video in class on an Ipad and uploading it to the spmath youtube account.  
Then at home using Popcorn to add overlayers of links to other places where you could learn about the subject, images and links to more math info and even just some light hearted photos showing elements of the lesson.  This is pop up video meets youtube or any other video on the web.  This can be the driving force of the scribe post with its layers and the blog is the canvas where these videos will live.  
Wish me luck.  Jumping in with two feet!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Run for Diabetes 2012

Hi everyone. Here is a small letter I have sent to some explaining why I am running the 2012 Run for Diabetes on September 3rd. Hi Everyone While most of you will be enjoying the September long weekend at the cottage or in your back yard! IMG_0625
I will be running the Run for Diabetes 2012 The North West Company Half Marathon on September 3rd. This run will be in support of my son Colin that has Type 1 Diabetes. IMG_0807
It has been just over a year now since Colin was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. The year has been smooth and for an eleven year old kid Colin is showing tremendous strength and resilience. He receives insulin 3 times a day and has even started to self administer the needles. New Morning Routine Mixing Insulin
 Colin however does go through some periods of "Why Me". He has always been a healthy child and is active and looks after himself. He sees his twin and older brother with no issues and sometimes struggles wondering why he was chosen to be the child with "health issues." This is tough for a kid. Strangely enough of my three children Colin has always been best suited to coping and dealing with challenges. This year Colin will continue to play competitive basketball and soccer and run track. Diabetes does not stop kids from being active it just requires new routines and awareness of when your body needs insulin or sugar. IMG_5044
For the most part as a family we have helped Colin lead a normal life and have controlled his blood sugar levels properly. Sometimes we do miscalculate and his numbers either go down or up substantially. We have been blessed and lucky that this first year has gone so smoothly. That being said Jackie and I still wake up every morning and check to see that he is breathing normally and not in a Diabetic Coma (when the blood sugar dips very low over night). Every morning we go into his room watch his breathing and breath a sigh of relief. While giving insulin is some what mathematical the body is constantly changing. We are always vigilant about Colin's growing and changes and hope our calculations are correct.

Thanks for your time and I hope you can support my run this September. If you are unable to pledge online I would gladly come by and pick up your donation.

Chris

Here is the electronic pledge information. You have been invited to pledge for Chris Harbeck in support of Canadian Diabetes Association.  Secure online donations can be made at the Running Room Events web site with your credit card. An electronic tax receipt will be sent to you by email. Please click here to make a secure online donation.

 For more information about the Run for Diabetes 2012 The North West Company Half Marathon, or to join us on Monday September 3, 2012, please visit this link.

Some facts about Diabetes
  • Over 300,000 Canadians live with type 1 diabetes.
  • The incidence rate of type 1 diabetes is rising by three to five per cent in Canada; the greatest rise occurs in five to nine year olds. 
  •  Living with type 1 diabetes requires approximately 1,460 needles a year (based on four injections per day) and 2,190 finger pokes a year to test blood sugar levels. 
  • The World Health Organization indicates five to ten per cent of a nation’s health budget is spent on diabetes.
  • Diabetes and its complications cost the Canadian economy more than $17.4 billion a year. 
  For more information about Diabetes please see this link at the JDRF website.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Vow Of Silence

Cross posted at Embracing Citizenship

Free the Children have an annual awareness campaign called The Vow of Silence





The main goal for the Grade 8 Teaching team at Sargent Park was to make our students aware of why it is important to stand in solidarity with the millions of child labourers in the world.

The Students in our school need to know that they do not need to  stand by while children are subjected to exploitation, poverty and the denial of their basic rights.

The Vow of Silence is a way to make them aware.  So on November 30th this year all of the Grade 8 students and many of their classmates went silent for a day.  In the school teachers did not talk, annoucments were not read and silence reigned over all.  It was amazing.  For a loonie or a toonie the students were allowed and encouraged not to talk, use cellphones, text, connect on the internet for a day.  Many passed the test.  Hallways were silent during classtime, during class change and even during lunch.  Ordering lunch was difficult when you do not have a voice but students managed to communicate even without a voice.

The Grade 8 team passed out information for other teachers to use in their classes.  Articles talking about the exploitation of children around the world were used as language arts and social studies lessons.  As a school we became more aware.

At the end of the day when it was all over students and staff were more aware of what was going on around the world. We had also raised over $300 for Free the Children. 




Did you take the Vow of Silence this year? It is never to late.
Here is what our day sounded and looked like.

I Will Statements

Cross Posted at Embracing Citizenship

In preparation for their citizenship unit this year we got the students to come up with I will statements.  We had them watch Spencer West and the Kielburgers from previous We Day Events.  Following the videos we brainstormed, did some group work and allowed the students to come up with statements of I Will... Each of these statements were supposed to be large and transformative for them. All of the statements did not end up being as grand as we planned.  I think this works in our favour.  It will allow us to revisit them in the future, see which statements were weak or easily accomplished and which ones withstood time and are still ongoing.

Here is the video we produced with their I will statements.

Monday, November 28, 2011

We Day 2011 Wrap up

This is a post is also found at my Embracing Citizenship blog.

It is just under a week ago that 45 of us from Sargent Park School attended We Day in Winnipeg.  What a wonderful event.  If your city does not have a We Day I highly recommend becoming a Free the Children School and traveling to the closest city that has one.  It is a life changing event for many students.
Starting early in the morning the students arrived at school and prepared to go to the MTS Centre.


cc licensed flickr photo shared by charbeck10

We decided to go by transit bus due to the ease of getting to and from downtown.  This proved to be the right decision. The bus picked us up right out side the school and had us at We Day in under 15 minutes. Yeah bring on We Day.

Before the concert the students went to the various t shirt outlets and souvenir kiosks and purchased many items to remember We Day.  These souvenirs would go with the We Day shirts we created at school.  Being dressed as a team was a gave us that togetherness feeling. 

cc licensed flickr photo shared by charbeck10
It should be noted that other divisions bought tshirts for their entire crew that went to We Day.  These florescent yellow  shirts really glowed in the black light of the arena and would be standing out on TV and the simulcast.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by charbeck10
We Day then started in earnest.  This concert was designed for youth.  It was amazing.  You had 5 to 6 minutes of high energy music and dancing followed by a short video and then a speaker.  This kept the attention of all those in the audience.  Amazing messages were soaked in by all the students in the audience.

Memorable speakers were The Honorable Paul Martin, Mia Farrow, Hannah Taylor, and Rick Hansen.  But it was Spencer West and the Kielburger Brothers.  The ability of these speakers to stir emotions inside todays teens and make them want to be agents of change shows the power of the day. 

cc licensed flickr photo shared by charbeck10

cc licensed flickr photo shared by charbeck10
Kids walked out of the Arena wanting to do more.  Asking questions about how they were going to change things at school, in their community and around the globe.

Arriving back at the school we had a debriefing session and started with the next stage of this process.  The Vow of Silence.

This will take place on November 30.  Our goal, to silence our school, raise $500 and stand in solidarity with those who do not have a voice around the world.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by charbeck10
Updates to follow!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Halloween for Hunger... The Results

Today is November 1st and the students have returned from Halloween for Hunger.  Over half of the students participated.  I am very impressed.  These students decided to forgo candy at houses to ask for donations to Winnipeg Harvest.  We have great kids.  One of their comments this morning was...
"The people in the neighborhood were all saying WE LOVE Sargent Park Kids".  Well so do I.



I set the bar high when I asked these students to participate.  I asked them to try to get 1400 items for harvest.  They almost made this goal.  They brought in 1281 items for Winnipeg Harvest.  It is all sitting in my computer lab.  Tomorrow we will package it up and send it up the street to the food bank.

Way to go Sargent Park.  You are truly amazing.  Great group of kids and fantastic team of teachers pushing you to bigger and better things.  Keep it up... soon we will be doing more great things. 

Here is a movie of the students creating a wall with 1300 items of food.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

New Year New Citizenship Curriculum

Well it is the end of October, the temperature is cooling off here in Manitoba but it is rising inside the Grade 8 classes at Sargent Park School.  We are embarking on our fourth year of Teaching Citizenship and we have added a few new twists.

One of the first twists is that we have asked the students to participate in an activity called Halloween for Hunger.



We have had 3 meetings with the students so far.  Of the 140 that we teach between 60 and 70 are willing to do this activity.  Wow if each student brings in 10 items for our food bank that would be over 700 items.  Our class food drives have been successful so far and we have brought in between 100 and 200 items.  I am proud of our students.  Great cause too.  Helping hunger at Halloween instead of helping tooth decay.

This year we are a We School.  This means that we get to participate in We Day in Winnipeg and do activities for Free the Children.  This has opened up many opportunities for our students to see the power of youth in action. We get to take 45 students to this event.  So they are showing us actions they are doing to be chosen.  Sadly there will be lots of competition. and not enough seats.  The rest of the rooms will watch the simulcast on Much Music back at the school.


Here is what we have done so far....

To inspire the students about the power of humanity we showed this X-Factor Australia clip. If  you have not seen it you need to. Warning you will need some kleenex at the end.  Powerful stuff. When showing this to your students stop it at the 50 second mark.  Talk about what they have seen then play the rest of the video.  (The crafting of this video by X-factor is also worth noting.  For a film class it is amazing how powerful the soundtrack and editing is)



Our first We Day activities focused around Spencer West and Craig Keilburger.  Spencer is a motivational speaker for a group called Me to We.  It is affiliated with Free the Children and pushes youth to become active in their community and around the world.  We showed a video of Spencer


Following that we had the kids read a biography of Spencer we had found online.  The students read the biography and highlighted the key words.  We are going to have them put all the words into a Word splash like a Wordle.

Once the students complete this task they are doing a few different activities, found on the second page of the document.  Most importantly we want the kids to go from I COULD to I WILL statements.  Following the I WILL statements we will take a photo of the students eyes and I WILL statement over their mouths.  This will be made into a movie and photo mosaic like the one found at this Ewan McIntosh post. Instead of hands we will use our I WILL statements.  It should be powerful.
http://yfrog.com/kljbhxuj
We also introduced the students to Craig Keilburger.  In my opinion one of the most important Canadians of all time.  At such a young age Craig is the founder and spark behind the Free the Children Organization.  This is a group he started when he was but.... 11 years old.



As we were studying and learning about Craig the idea was to draw parallels between his life and the lives of my students.  We used a 3 column approach to attack this issue.  I found a biography of Craig online and the students read and watched the video to find out key characteristics about Craig's life and passions. It was interesting to see all the interest in what he had accomplished and to see them struggle to see similarities between what their lives are like and what his has been.  Once the students had done this note taking we asked them to choose 4 character traits they admire in Craig and write a few sentences explaining why they had chosen them.

Lots of work for a morning but it was amazing.  I had two classes in my room.  That is 70 students.  All of them were on task and talking about what we were doing and the people they had just met on video and print.

We will continue this lesson on Monday morning.  Following this we will show Pay It Forward and inspire the students to do Random Acts of Kindness!! Wow they will really start to change soon!!