Going back to school.

I decided to go back to school to upgrade. I really want to be able to effectively teach computer science to high school students. It is something that I have always enjoyed. I decided to study online while teaching and I am starting my certificate program with Athabasca University in November. I can’t wait to start. I hopefully will be teaching computer science to students next semester at school, so taking these classes should help me out and refresh my knowledge.

So, today was a bad day.

I was teaching grade 8 french when one of my students made a Fallout 3 joke that they thought I wouldn’t understand, being the uncool female teacher that I am. I accidentally let slip that I got it and then my classroom exploded. My students could not believe that I was a gamer. That in itself was not the bad part. The bad part was when they would not focus on the work after they found out. I need to be more authoritative in my classroom. I really don’t mind chatter because I am in a French classroom and I feel my students should try to speak to one another using any French language they have gained. This was bad. I hope next class will be better.

Final Project Option A: Foundations of Mathematics 20 Flip Lessons and Wikispace

For my final project in ECMP355, I chose to create something that I might be able to actually use in the near future. I created three units worth of flip lessons in the Foundations of Mathematics 20 curriculum. I based my lessons off of the Nelson textbook and Smart lessons.

I encountered many challenges.I tried using two programs for recording. The first was Camstudio (which stopped working after 1 video) and the second was Smart Recorder. Smart recorder might not have a lot of bells and whistles, but it got the job finished. I tried actually allowing my students to see my face while I was talking, but found this to be too much of a distraction to me while filming. I thought that if it was a distraction to me, it was bound to be a distraction for my students, so I stopped trying it that way.

I found that the planning of my lessons took the longest with about 40 hours dedicated to just that. It takes a lot of time to evaluate and pick out the important features of a 40 minute math lesson and condense them into a 10-15 minute video. Wow. Recording and editing was not a big issue for me because I had done some video editing before. Unfortunately, I was forced to use Windows Movie Maker for all of my video editing which meant that editing took a lot longer than expected. When I have money, I am investing in a Mac to do editing in the future. I spend in total about another 40 hours on recording and editing because I am really not very good at talking to a screen.

I have started developing an online classroom using a wikispace. This is essentially a free-for-educators tool that can be used to create personalized web pages. I found this to be very easy to use when I first used it last year, so I decided to stick with something I know. Check out this link to my wikispace to see the ‘final’ result. I say ‘final’ because I eventually want to develop this more and finish my wikispace.

ECMP355 Summary of Learning

This class has been a ton of work, but it pad off. I am now more aware of how I can use various tools on the internet to my benefit instead of ignoring them and fighting my students for attention in my class. Watch the video I made below.

I believe that this class might as well have been a class on collaboration. Others have contributed to my learning and I have contributed to theirs. I did this through leaving 5-7 comments per week on other’s blogs, added to the collaborative class notes on the class urcourses page (even though I’m pretty sure I was the only one who looked at it), and actively participated in class. I have posted around 40 blog posts so far, and will continue to post on this blog throughout my teaching career.

By lrschmale Posted in Other

Tech Task #10

For this task in ECMP355, we were asked to look at two different online Learning Management Systems in small groups. We looked at Edmodo and Schoology. You can see our Google Doc here that answers all of the applicable questions regarding these two Learning Management Systems.  On Brooklyn Krause’s blog, I found an awesome Venn Diagram that sums it up rather well here.

Film Bully Given a PG Rating in Canada, R in US

The film, Bully to be released in Canada on April 6th follows several American students who are bullied in day-to-day situations. This film was given an R-rating by the MPAA in the United States because of curse words thus preventing the teenagers who are bullied everyday from seeing the film of their own accord. In Canada, the film has been rated PG according to this Globe and Mail article.  A petition has been made by a 17 year old to push the MPAA to overturn this rating and has been endorsed by celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres. For those who have never heard of the film, I have included the trailer below.



Killing Creativity and Crushing Dreams

I was on reddit this morning and was deeply saddened by this parent’s reaction to her son’s music. It is amazing how many people fail to recognize creativity as worthwhile.

To give some context, this YouTube user has been online since 2009 and has created awesome videos with his guitar such as this one.


Our education system is designed to pump out doctors, lawyers, laborers, and anything we need in the world right now while completely ignoring the future’s needs. Creativity is something that needs to be praised and celebrated in the coming generation.  What do you think about this?

Bill Gates on Education and How to Make Teachers Better

I was watching Bill Gates’s TED talk on “How to Make Teachers Better” and I was saddened by one thing he said in particular: after a teacher has taught for three years, their teaching does not improve thereafter. I sincerely hope that this is not me in 3 years. I feel that in order for teaching to remain a profession, we need to go to and actually take part in PD events that our school divisions put on and also engage in “unofficial” PD such as #edchat on Twitter. I feel that social media is a great tool for personalizing your PD.

Bill Gates is for standardized testing. Ever since my 1st year of the B. Ed program at the University of Regina when I was first exposed to standardized testing determining my future salary, I was shocked. I never even thought of this as a possibility. Of course, I starting thinking “What happens if this comes to Canada?”. I have been thinking about this question for three years. I think that if a teacher is going to be judged by how well his or her student performs on tests, than a doctor should be held accountable for the health of their patients. Let’s think about this for one second in a hypothetical situation: a doctor advocates for physical fitness. He or she educates all of his or her patients about nutrition and fitness using all of the resources at his or her disposal to the best of his or her ability. The patients are subjected to a before and after test to examine whether or not they have become more healthy since the doctor started. Some do well, but the majority of the doctor’s patients are poor. Those patients will a low SES do much worse because of the quality of their meals and lack of time for physical exercise. Because of the SES of his patients, the doctor goes under review and his or her salary is lowered.

Is this fair?

By lrschmale Posted in Other

This week in my ECMP355 class, I had to join in to a synchronous and an a-synchronous learning activity. I watched a TED talk by Pamela Meyer on how to spot a liar and learned a lot such as people are lied to between 10 and 200 times per day. WOW. This was not expected. For the synchronous activity, I chose to participate in #edchat on twitter. I will participate in this tomorrow as it takes place every Tuesday.