Wednesday, April 15, 2009

want to be a teacher at the u of r?

An email I received from the Education Faculty last week:

Here is what we want you to pass along to anyone you think may be
interested in becoming a teacher:

As of Thursday 2 April 2009, The Faculty of Education has openings
for admission for Fall 2009 in the following undergraduate Bachelor
of Education and After Degree program

Post Secondary Transfer & After Degree Applicants
* Arts Education
* Baccalauréate en éducation (français)
* Secondary Education with a major in:
o Business Education
o Core French
o Health Education
o Music Education
o Science Education

High School Applicants Deadline extension
* Arts Education
* Baccalauréat en éducation (français)
* Secondary Education:
o Business Education
o Core French
o Health Education
o Music Education

Separate quotas are in place for all programs. The above
programs have extended the annual application deadline until
quotas are filled; this includes applications from current high
school students, high school graduates with no applicable post-
secondary, and post-secondary transfer and after degree (BEAD)

The Teacher Education Application & Profile 2009 is available at

Monday, April 13, 2009

Daily Picture 12/04/09

Originally uploaded by metro_racer
A banana peel. Kind of gross, but I thought the yellow/brown was pretty cool.

Daily Picture 11/04/09

Originally uploaded by metro_racer
A bag with some cool designs on it.

Daily Picture 10/04/09

Originally uploaded by metro_racer
A container with some kind of hair gel I found in my mom's bathroom.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Daily Picture 09/04/09

Originally uploaded by metro_racer
Our newly repainted and redecorated basement, in honour of the two Japanese exchange students arriving on Saturday (we still need to put the new brown couch covers on).

Thursday, April 9, 2009

pecha kucha

When I first heard that this class was online, I was pumped at the opportunity to study at home in my pjs, drinking tea and being sat on by my cat. I was a little nervous that the program we communicated with would be too slow with all of us in the same online room at once, but Elluminate turned out to be a great host for our online sessions. The weekly tech tasks, though sometimes time consuming, were one of the best parts of the class. My favourites include:

  • Podcasting using Audacity – I did a podcast on easy, achieveable ways to prevent global warming. It was great hearing people’s personalities come out through podcasting as editing.
  • iGoogle was a tool I had already been using before this class, but the blog posts the class did taught me about some cool widgets that I have since added to my own iGoogle.
  • Delicious is also a tool that I have been using for the past year, but it wasn’t until our lesson online that I realized the importance of tagging. Once I realized I could also subscribe to a tag via RSS feed, I really began to understand the power of delicious bookmarking.
  • I haven’t quite become the addicts of Twitter that Dionne and Tessa have, but I have established a small Personal Learning Network that was a great help to me when I was looking for resources for my final project. If someone couldn’t help me, they knew who to direct me to.
  • Flickr has been a wonderful tool to upload my Daily Pictures to, but it’s the Creative Commons that really make Flickr stand out. I can use images in Creative Commons and not have to worry about copyright infringement.

Blogging has also been an eye-opening experience. It was through blogs that I communicated with all of my ECMP classmates and both my mentorship classrooms. Blogs are wonderful tools of communication and with the addition of RSS feeds to Google Reader, it was easy to keep track of everything going on, even if it wasn’t easy to keep up.

I made a world cloud using Wordle and added every single one of my blog posts to it. As you can see, the words that appear most prominently are class, student, blog, mentorship, students, new, learning, classroom and think. What amazing words.

I have Skyped.

I have Tweeted.

I’ve made Personal Learning Network.

I have learned.

I have taught.

I am connected.

Daily Picture 08/04/09

Originally uploaded by metro_racer
My mom feeding Joey an apple. What a strange cat.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

mentorship addition

Maria Knee just got back to me with the feedback I'd requested from my work with her Kindergarten class. Here's what she had to say:

"We appreciated all the effort you put into working with the class. I wish you could be in the room when we check our blogs so you could hear the children say with enthusiasm -"Oh - It's a comment from Robin!" They will miss having you be a part of the class. I think you did well reaching every student. You were always thoughtful and often gave them something to think about. Our pigeon drawing come from books we read and the children wish that you knew about the books. They were so funny - saying - "I don't think Robin knows about the Pigeon books." I had to explain that most University students wouldn't know about the Mo Willems books since he hasn't been writing books for very long.

Would you mind posting one "goodbye" message on the main page of our blog? If you can find the time, this would be easier than writing to each child. They each have a new drawing/story on their blog. It is hard for me to keep up with their individual blogs and post their work. It is as difficult to keep up with the main page. We have a video posted and by the end of the week, I hope to have another new post…

…Thank you so much for being involved with the KinderKids. You cannot know the impact it has made. They know that there is someone reading their blog and therefore they want to do good work so someone enjoys their work.

Please keep in touch. If there is anything i can do for you, please ask. I am still in touch with my first student from Dean. She just contacted me with a question for a project she is doing."

Thanks Maria for your feedback! I will definitely be posting a farewell message in the next few days, but it's not truly a farewell. I have really enjoyed following their class blogs and plan to continue following them until at least the end of the school year. Thanks for the great mentorship experience!

final project

Wow, my final project is finally finished. My goal was to gather a bunch of resources that I can use to incorporate technology in an elementary music classroom. Most of my time for this project was spent gathering said resources. As I say in my VoiceThread, I used Google Scholar, delicious tags, and my PLN on Twitter to find these websites and programs. @mhammons on Twitter was especially helpful, thanks Mark!

After several hours of gathering resources, I spent another few days registering, experimenting, and choosing the top six programs/websites. I tried to choose a variety as there are many aspects of music. Here's what I chose:

1) Audacity/Garageband - for composing, recording and editing sound
2) Skype in Schools - a wikispace where you can add your classroom to a directory and receive contacts to Skype with. Can be used to Skype with composers and musicians from around the world.
3) - an amazing interactive website for your students to use. Includes lessons on orchestra, instrumental sections, individual instruments and all the elements of music including notes, tempo, dynamics, and more.
4) - a list of 100 music educator's blog URLs
5) - a new way of teaching music with technology, complete with lessons plans, worksheets, and examples of student work
6) Mark Hammon's slideshow - on the importance of arts education in today's schools

My original plan was to make a video, but you can't really film your computer screen moving... unless you have Jing! I downloaded this program to get screenshots and screenvideos. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to import those videos from Jing's weird file format; I think you have to pay for it to do that. Anyway, to compromise, I filmed my computer screen using my camera. It's not nearly as good of quality, but at least it's there.

After securing my screenshots from Jing, video clips from my camera, and a couple neat pictures from Flickr's Creative Commons (attributions here and here), I decided to use VoiceThread for the first time to record my presentation. It is very easy to use, but it takes a strong computer. Mine froze twice, and I lost my progress the first time. The second time caused a glitch in the slide about You will have to manually skip to the next slide because of this. I probably spent a good three or four hours on this step.

Overall, this project was very beneficial to me as an education student. I can use these resources as lesson plan ideas for future projects and lesson plans. Remember, this only highlights six of the thousands of music education sites I discovered were out there on the fabulous Web 2.o. Hope you learn something!

SMART tables

Hey all! Thumann Resources just made a post about the new SMART Tables! I thought I'd give you the link to her blog post about it and embed her YouTube video of her first experience with the SMART Table for you to check out if you'd like. They're about $8000 apiece right now, and only for K-6. Lisa Thumann's blog explains a lot more, so if you're interested, go here!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Daily Picture 07/04/09

Originally uploaded by metro_racer
My mom's housecoat, oddly enough, but the flash makes it look pretty neat.

Daily Picture 06/04/09

Originally uploaded by metro_racer
My new phone! It's not too spiffy, but definitely a step up from my clunky pink one. This one even has a camera :)

Speaking of which, that camera could be useful for Daily Pictures. Anyone know how to get a pic off a phone and onto the computer?

a reflection upon a reflection

This is a response to Dani's blog post, Reflection of ECMP, the ultimate social learning experience. I recommend that you read her post first, as mine might not make much sense otherwise.

Dani is absolutely right when she says "I knew I needed to work extra hard in this class if I wanted to gain anything from it" I think that the people who put the most effort into this class also got the most out of it. I also agree that the students in this class taught each other. Dean was kind of the guide, but we got to chose what topics we focused on. I also checked out some tech tasks before doing mine, like the two story-telling ones, as I'm sure others looked at mine before doing theirs. It's a learning circle!

I did spend hours on end in front of my computer for this class, but most of that was simply reading/commenting on blogs for this class and my mentorship - it does take time. I have become quite proficient and reading and commenting, and by some spur of luck, technology comes pretty easily to me so the tech tasks didn't take long. Hopefully this class helped to encourage your technological skills too.

I have enjoyed reading blogs like Dani's where tech tasks did not come as easily - honestly! I think it's great that you are okay saying that you aren't doing well in this class. That is teaching the rest of us a valuable skill; not everyone is going to 'get it' unless you teach for multiple learning styles. You are visual and face-to-face, while others are more independent, and that's totally fine!

This class taught me about technology, about social networking, and about different learning styles. I could see my classmates journey through ECMP as clearly as my own and observing all the success, failure, and half-ways stories was beneficial for all of us. Thanks to everyone in ECMP355 for their work during the semester! It was fun.

social learning

Social Learning. A new term I learned all about this semester. I think the easiest way to write my summary is in a list, so here we go (this is in no particular order)!

1. Blogging and 2. Commenting: I felt that these should be separate yet connected topics. Not only did I expand my learning throughout the semester by taking the time to post about various things happening in my school and social life, but I realized the power of commenting! It is extremely motivational to receive comments on your blog posts. There were a few periods where I did not receive any comments and wondered why I was posting at all, but there were other times when I did receive a few comments and that inspired me to write even more. I tried my best throughout the semester to comment on every blog post that I could. You can see this in my mentorship where I commented on over 250 blog posts, but I also tried to comment on my classmates' blogs to give them the motivation that they give me through their comments. I wish I had kept track of all the learning I've done through commenting, but here are a few:

3. Delicious is another form of social learning that I maximized during this class. I had a delicious account before ECMP355 started, but our lesson in Elluminate taught me about the importance of tagging, adding friends, and using RSS feeds in delicious to gather reliable URLs on any tag. I was able to pass on my knowledge of delicious through a Skype session with my mentorship, and talking to my friends about it.

4. Elluminate/Instant Messaging. Elluminate was a great tool to host our weekly online class. Yes, it had it's occasional faults in chipmunking sound and 'kicking people out', but overall each online class was very smooth. I am also glad that Dean recommended purchasing a microphone, as I have used it more than I ever thought I would through Elluminate, Skype, and podcasting. Nicole and I also spent a few minutes after class a couple weeks ago chatting and talking through the microphone about how to change the Look and Feel of her final project wikispace:
5. Google Reader. What an immense tool. There is no way that I would be able to keep up with all my classmates' blogs, teacher blogs, and mentorship blogs without my lurvely Google Reader. Subscribing to RSS feeds is super-easy and saves hours and hours of searching through blogs and websites. THANK YOU Dean, for introducing us to this tool. Other tools, such as spreadsheets and documents are things that I would like to explore more indepth in the future - I just chose to focus on other topics this semester.

6. Email might seem too obvious, but it is definitely a prominent form of social learning. Whenever an Elluminate link didn't work, what saved us? Email. Sure, a few people got the link from Twitter or Skype, but the majority of us went to our email accounts first. I also exchanged a couple emails with Dionne(? I think!) about using wikispaces.

7. Face to Face. Several Thursdays as we sat waiting for KHS to start, several of us ECMP355ers would talk about the Elluminate session we had attended the previous night. Some days the discussions were "That's so cool! I'm so going to use that in my classroom!", some days it was "I fell asleep and don't want to listen to the recording. What happened?", others consisted of ":S!!?!?! Help!" and me calming re-explaining some concepts to panicked faces. Other dicussions weren't directly related to Elluminate sessions, such as the convo I had with Marcy about saving her podcast:
8. Skype is also a new tool that I hadn't even heard about until this class. An online phone call seems pretty basic, but wait. You can call anywhere in the world, FREE? Whoa. As if that wasn't enough, there is an instant messaging feature, webcam options, and a program called Pamela that records Skype calls!

9. Twitter. Calm down Dionne, I mentioned it ;) The main reason I use Twitter is for resources. I twittered asking about ways to incorporate technology in a music classroom for my final project, and almost all of my ideas came from help on Twitter. Instead of writing a lengthy paragraph, I'll just direct you to Dionne's lengthy blog posts about other benefits of Twitter here, here, here, here and here!

I think that overall, I did a ton of teaching and learning in this class. I catch on to this technology deal pretty easily, but my learning was really maximized when I could teach others to use the tools or read neat things that other people discovered about tools that I did not.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Inspired by other's wordle clouds, I decided to make my own. I copied and pasted every blog post I wrote all semester (excluding Daily Pictures) and here's what I got! There are some great words in there :)

Daily Picture 05/04/09

Originally uploaded by metro_racer
This picture is a little weird... but I like it at the same time. Hmm...

synopsis of mentorship experience

As my faithful followers know, I have been participating in a mentorship partnership with two classes in the US. This blog post is basically a synopsis of the work I have done with them.

In Jennifer Clark Evan's two junior English classes in Virgina, I read seven blogs posts from each of the 40ish students about the novel A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway. Here are links to some blog posts I've made about this mentorship in the past:

The Beginning: my initial thoughts and ideas about this mentorship
Teaching delicious Through Skype: complete with two audio files
Reading Through Student's Eyes: how I learned about the novel through blog posts
Student Values; blog posts about the student's top five values

Besides all this, I also had to provide feedback on the posts that the student's made at six checkpoints within the novel. Here are some examples of my feedback to Jennifer's students:

Spelling: Matt and Ian
Originality: Ian and Chelsea
Connecting with Hemingway: Derrik
Learning about a different time and culture: Emily
Working on personal reflection: Rachel
Passionate posts: Emma, Jessica and Matt
Last post - near perfection! Brian and Hillary

I also saw that Jennifer posted about the blogging experience in her blog. It was nice to hear her perspective. I emailed her because I wanted some feedback on the work I'd been doing with her class: comments, compliments and most importantly, criticism. Here's what she said:

"You really tried to jump in and do anything that you could learn for yourself. Some of the students even commented on this-your strong work ethic. You were diligent in your commenting and did a great Skype presentation. That was not easy talking to a room of strangers two time zones away. You were flexible and well organized. I enjoyed working with you and wish you luck in the rest of your studies."

I think I experienced the most in Jennifer's mentorship class and spent a TON of time keeping up with all the their blog posts, but I'm now proud to say that I commented on every single blog post: that's over 250 comments! *high-fives myself* That doesn't go to say that my second mentorship, with Maria Knee's kindergarten class in Deerfield, New Hampshire, wasn't a great experience as well. Maria's class only made two blog posts during my mentorship, but they were great! Here are some links to previous blog posts about Maria's class:

The Beginning / Spiders
Skyping with Maria Knee's Class
Pigeons Like to Drive and Stay Up Late

It didn't take long to read and post on their artistic blogs, but it was very fun and I actually did learn quite a bit about what kids can accomplish at that age. As I mention in my previous posts, Maria had the students operating the computer for the Skype call - wow! I will keep their blogs in my Google Reader and hope to continue commenting on their blogs posts in the future. I also asked Maria for some feedback on my work with her students, but she has yet to reply.

Overall, I am glad that I participated in these mentorship opportunities, despite the huge amount of time that they took to do well. I have learned more than I originally expected from these classrooms, and definitely see the benefits in using blogs in a classroom to hand-in assignments rather than written work: the other students can see and comment on your homework! This can be scary, but that probably makes the students work harder! Enough rambling; hope you enjoyed reading about my mentorship experiences.

Daily Picture 04/04/09

Originally uploaded by metro_racer
My speedometer :P I'm still amazed by the detail my camera captures when I look at the larger version of this pic.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Daily Picture 03/04/09

Originally uploaded by metro_racer
A bird's nest that has been sitting in our tree for at least a year. It must be pretty strong to survive the Sasktachewan winds.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Daily Picture 02/04/09

Originally uploaded by metro_racer
The feathery end of a pencil that I never use to write with but it always sitting in my container of pens.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Daily Picture 01/04/09

Originally uploaded by metro_racer
A picture of some music that was sitting on my passenger seat after I picked it up from my prof's house. An impromptu picture.