Was doing some late night (well, not that late, but I get up really early in the morning now so it feels late) research as to where to take my English Language Arts for my internship, and I found this resource for National Novel Writing Month. http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/ This Youth version of the website is AMAZING! There is everything you could want here- an awesome step-by-step workbook complete with instruction that includes some of Gardner’s different ways of Learning in it’s approach, free classroom kits (although they do appreciate donations), crazy inspiration to get students writing, and more. A site any English teacher of any grade level MUST check out!
I was reading a blog entry on Lindsay’s blog about the many stresses that have been surrounding her, and wanted to share some pointers with her. However, upon beginning writing a comment to her, I realized that I had a fair bit to say on the topic, and that I should be sharing it here.
When I was younger, I was a workaholic. I would work myself into fits of stress, which would lead to insomnia, which made the workload I was carrying even harder. I had to consciously make a change. Now, I can cope with school, work, and extra stresses with relative ease. How? I always make time for the following things, no matter how busy I am, just to ensure I stay healthy and happy. Then, because I am in this positive state of mind, everything else just seems to fall into place much easier. It’s a matter of making some of these things priorities, which may be difficult to wrap your brain around at first with school or work staring you in the face, but it really helps. Here are the things I make time for.
1.) Meditative tasks such as cooking meals, art or gardening- They are simple, basic things that I enjoy, that I can absorb myself in, and that I can do by myself when I want to be alone. Taking the time to cook a decent meal is also ensures you’re getting decent nutrition. Always, always, always take the time to make breakfast; trust me, the rest of your day will go easier if you do. Art is a passion of mine, and I find nothing more relaxing than coming home after a difficult day at work and painting a picture of the sky above me, just for the sake of painting. Gardening is just another really peaceful activity that I have loved all my life. I have a herb garden I take care of every summer. Find yourself a healthy meditative task.
2.) Going to the gym/physical activity- I actually started paying more attention to this aspect of my life during my first semester of university. On top of adjusting to the new schooling system, I was under severe stress for other personal reasons. However, I noticed that going to the gym helped me cope. It made me feel up to tackling the day, and helped me sleep more soundly at night. This was something I used to cut from my schedule during exam or essay time, however, I realized during this particular semester that those were the times I needed this stress-releasing activity the most. So I made it a priority. I found my grades didn’t suffer at all from setting aside a few trips to the gym a week. When I really, really needed to, I would also multitask by studying at the gym. However, if you need the time to let your brain unwind, don’t bring your books with you. Gage your need to multitask.
3.) Sleep- Sleep eight hours, every night, no exceptions. As I mentioned before, I had difficulties sleeping in the past. However, I’m proud to say, that’s in the past now, which was a big accomplishment for me. It’s very common for students to short themselves sleep. However, ask yourself, do you really do any work worth handing in when you’re always overtired? Make sleep a greater priority than homework the majority of the time. If you do this, then you’ll be able to handle staying up late and finishing projects for one or two nights when you really, really need to. However, I would really recommend avoiding this as much as possible.
4.) Visiting with friends- That’s right, make your friends a priority over school work at times. The people around you are part of what makes life a wonderful experience, and you will regret it down the road if you miss out on this element of life. Now, by this I don’t mean spend all of your time fooling around with friends. Just make sure you are seeing the people you enjoy being around from time to time. Something I often do when writing a paper or studying is plan an hour coffee break in the middle where I meet a friend at my favourite coffee shop. We just have a short chat, and I feel relaxed, at peace, and ready to tackle my work again. It stops me from feeling resentful towards my school work for locking me away from the rest of the world. It stops me from becoming anti-social (a quality unfitting to a future school teacher). The trick is being able to have some self-discipline concerining how much time you spend out when you have other things on your plate.
I hope these tips help a few people out there. The trick to making these things work for you is learning to put some dedication into them. Like I said earlier, make these things priorities.I also wanted to record them to share with the students I teach in the future. I think a good teacher should help students achieve balance in their lives, and that this will bring far greater accomplishments from them than stressing them out ever will. For more tips specifically related to studying, check out this post on Swan200t’s blog.
Image courtesy of tati.ana on Flickr.
A friend ran across this site while searching for on-line games, and told me to check it out. So I did, and upon playing for a bit, I realized that this was something that needed to be shared. It’s a website called Free Rice, where you can play their on-line vocabulary-boosting game, and help to donate rice to poverty-stricken countries. The money for the rice comes from the advertisements and sponsorships that are listed at the bottom of the page when you get a word correct. So, in those few moments when you just want to waste time relaxing and playing on-line games after a hard day, you can actually be accomplishing something useful in this world.
Why stop at playing alone in your spare time? For my fellow future educators, this could be a great classroom resource. It’s a vocabulary exercise, and a social studies lesson all integrated into one. It’s a way to let students feel like they really can make a difference in this world as an individual. We have to remind students of this sometimes, especially when we start discussing some of the more dark and depressing facets of social studies. Also, why not create a classroom-wide competition? Small prizes could be awarded for students who obtain the highest vocabulary levels, or the most grains of rice. Or the class could do a little statistics work, and create a classroom goal, such as feeding a certain number of people in one day when you add up the total rice earned by each student. This could even be done at a school-wide level if one was very ambitious.
I should also point out that this game has levels for everyone. All age groups should be able to play.
Please, take a look, play for awhile, and pass this website on.
Any of you who frequent Photojojo have probably read the post on photography games already, but just in case you haven’t I would like to invite you to join a delightful game.
Of all the games that Photojojo posted, I thought that Mission 24 would be the most amusing. You are given a mission key word at random once a week, and then you have to post a photo within 24 hours interpreting the mission. I thought it would be a great creative brain stretcher.
On an educational note, wouldn’t it be great to create a similar game a a classroom level?
Join up for Mission 24, everybody! You’ll see some posts by myself there soon (I’m not sure if they’ll show up as Nikki L., or l.nikki12).
Lastly, I would like to apologize if I made any of my subscibers assume I have stopped blogging. I have obtained a summer job, and haven’t found nearly as much time to be on the computer lately (I check my emails and Google Reader, then turn it off). Currently, it’s my day off, I’m still in my pj’s (despite it being around noon), and trying to catch up on my cyber activities. However, I’m still around, so keep reading!
It’s done! After much work, I have created a classroom wiki for my final project: Miss Little’s Online Art Classroom. I used the one-month long unit of Visual Art 30 curriculum that I created for my Education Professional Studies 100 class, so that I had a strong idea of how this project would apply to the real curriculum I will be teaching in the future. It really helped to know beforehand what this wiki needed to accomodate.
I chose to create a wiki because it accomodated many different tools that I wanted to use, and because it allowed for class collaboration. For example, I really wanted the information that the students came up with in the group research assignment to be available to everyone, not just the students who found it. This way, the students are collaboratively making their own resources for this unit.
I created this wiki using Wet Paint, a wonderful site for creating wikis. It has several features that are very helpful to educators, such as the option to use pre-set classroom templates (which I did, but ended up altering greatly for my personal needs), and the ability to remove all advertising from education wikis. Visually, Wet Paint wikis are very eye-catching, and you can download extra little design elements that will compliment whichever theme you choose.
The only real difficulties that I found with creating this wiki was that sometimes the Wet Paint formatting functions are a little fickle. Just a heads up. However, when they do work, you can make a beautifully laid-out web page. I would also recommend that anyone creating a class wiki should SPELL CHECK EVERY PAGE. Nothing is more irritating and unprofessional than spelling mistakes on a web page. Don’t assume that because you’re a good typist, you didn’t make any mistakes.
Please, let me know what you think of my wiki, or feel free to ask any questions.
I was rather reluctant to sit down to another K12 conference. Perhaps this was because the first one I watched took so very long, or perhaps because I have trouble sitting and watching my computer screen for that long (I do a fair bit of multi-tasking if I’m in front of my computer, such as dancing or eating supper during my online class), as it feels like I’m not accomplishing much. Being especially busy right now, it occurred to me that I could just download the audio from a presenation, and listen to it while at the gym, thus pleasing the time-concious multi-tasker in me. This is also how I get myself to listen to podcasts, which I quite enjoy, but usually can’t justify listening to without accomplishing something else simultaneously.
Chris Harbecks presentation consisted of four parts. The first three I found rather repetitive, as they were about things that I’ve already learned in my ECMP 355 class. He was advocating the use of wikis, growth blogs, and scribeposting in classes (more specifically in math classes). There was very litte new to me in these three parts, except for one wonderful idea about creating a wiki for students containing tools to help them improve their blogs.
However, the fourth part of the presenation got my attention. Chris was talking about how the teacheer needs to step back, and let the student take charge of their learning. I’ve always boasted a similar view, believing that students will be able to learn the most when we give them enough room to do so. Their ideas about learning are just as good (if not better at times) as ours, as these ideas address the student’s personal learning needs, as well as play to their own interest. Students need to see that we respect their ideas too. Yet, in my Education Professional Studies textbook, I was really disappointed to read a statement saying that we should address children as incapable of learning certain concepts because of their age limits. I understand that it’s important not to overwhelm students, but if you only expect so much from them, you’ll only get so much from them. If you show them that they have great potential, they will rise to the challenge. The fourth section of Chris’s presentation confirmed this even more in my mind, as he spoke about specific students who went far beyond what anyone thought they would be capable of, just because he gave them the freedom and the support to do so.
I love how digital editing allows us to change photographic images to suit our artistic needs. For example, when I compiled these images, I wanted to create a certain intensity of colours, representing how vivid the world is from my perspective. I altered the contrast and intensity of the colours using Corel Photo House, and compiled the images on a Power Point slide.
This was an assignment where we were to sell ourselves with four photos, and minimal text. I chose to describe a bit about how I approach my artwork; an approach that I intend to carry over into my teaching career.