Chelsi's Educational Musings

Archive for December 2011

One more post before the semester is over…

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our EC&I 831 class this semester.  I have learned SO much from you, Alec, and our presenters.  I take so much away from this class, and I will continue to follow you on Twitter and read your blogs if you continue to post.

I love to bake, and usually I take a treat to my last class.  Well, that won’t work this semester, so please accept the online version of some Christmas baking.  Dig in!  Merry Christmas everyone!

I have now completed my final project.  Well, by completed, I mean completed it for the time being.  I will continue to add to each month for the rest of the year, even after this class has finished.  I had blogged about my Moral Intelligence page previously, and it is now much improved since then!
 I worked like crazy to finish December’s Moral Intelligence Virtue of self-control so that our staff would be able to look at the page today after the staff meeting.  My staff was again very impressed by this month’s page, so I was quite pleased.  They still can’t believe that I’m able to make a website!Throughout the month, teachers have been letting me know how they have been using the site, and they have shared some very positive experiences.  I’m pleased that the site is very simple to use, and even the teachers who are not “technologically advanced” are finding success with the site.  Many teachers left such positive comments this month, and I am very grateful for the feedback.  Moreover, it is wonderful to hear from teachers on staff how they are using the site and have really embraced it, rather than seeing it as something else on their plate.  Teachers from pre-K to grade 8 have told me about how well-received it has been, how engaged the students are, how much they are learning about their students, and what mature discussions they have been having.  This is exactly what I wanted to happen!  I am also extremely grateful that my admin, Brent and Chris, is so on-board with my website.  The Moral Intelligences have been very important to them, as they had been wanting to have a solid program in place to use when dealing with disciplining students at the office.  At over 550 students, we have a very large school that is bigger than some of the high schools in our city.  Having all of the teachers on our large staff on the same page is important, and my principal has remarked that the site has allowed everyone to understand what they should be teaching, and how to teach it.  Thus, when students visit the office for inappropriate classroom or playground behaviour, our admin is able to talk to the students, using the Moral Intelligences as the basis for their conversation.  “How are you not using self-control?  How did you not show empathy for the other student?” are examples of statements that they can use that the students understand.  Brent and Chris had each grade group meet today to discuss how they used the website this month, and to take some time to review December’s page.  I am extremely grateful that they are giving the staff the time to peruse the website, as providing the time ensures that the teachers will look at the site and be more inclined to use it.  Furthermore, teachers are sharing lessons that they have created themselves, sending them to me, and I have been posting them, so the website is becoming a collaborative project!

When I started this project months ago, I never expected it to grow to what it has become.  I have put A LOT of work into this site – more work than I have applied to any other Master’s class project.  My learning curve has been huge!  However, the difference between this project and others that I have completed is that it does not feel like I am doing this “for the marks.”  I am not constantly thinking, “Is this what is required?  Is this what my prof wants?  Am I following the guidelines?  Will I receive a good mark?”  Instead, I have taken this project and have run with it.  I am always thinking about how I can add to it, and not because of project requirements, but because I want to make it better, share with my colleagues, and have something effective to use with my OWN students!  I have been using the site quite regularly, and I am so proud of it because the most important part is that the students are learning from it.  They always love when we work on the Moral Intelligences, and their answers are so mature.  They are really engaged, and I know it is because of the technological aspect of the site.  As well, it feels great to help my fellow colleagues.  I have made teaching this aspect of the curriculum so much easier for them.  Some are even planning to start their students blogging after Christmas – a project that I am going to start as well and with which I am going to help them.  I have been able to use so many sites and tools that we learned about in class when creating my website, AND have included them in my website.  Again, I was not thinking, “Oh, I should use Wordle, Picnik, and Compfight on the site so that I’ll get a better mark!”  Instead, I was thinking, “Sandy would love Wordle – her class would probably enjoy it too!”  “The grade eights will love using Picnik – I should include that somehow!”  I am so grateful for everything that I have learned in EC&I 831!

I have thoroughly enjoyed creating this project and it has been the most worthwhile Master’s class project that I have completed.  I am going to continue to add to it after this class has wrapped, and that way, there will be a page per month for the entire year.  When Dean Shareski spoke to our class, he asked us where our best work was located, and if it was online.  At the time, mine was not.  I remarked that it was sitting in boxes in my basement and in lessons that only my students saw.  Now, however, some of my best lessons are included in this website, and some of my NEW best work, this website itself, IS online!  I hope that other teachers outside of my school are able to use it, and that they will continue to share it with others for years to come.