Today our class learned about video conferencing. Again, I found out this class very interesting and beneficial because I didn’t have much previous knowledge about this topic. Our class was split into two groups and each group was in a separate room. Val then proceeded to do her lecture but she bounced around from room to room. Throughout the lecture she asked us some open ended questions about video conferencing that led to a productive collaborative talk.
In today’s class five students from Colquitz Middle School and their teacher visited our class and talked to us about Minecraft. The teacher spoke very highly of Minecraft, and mentioned several times how it can be such a useful teaching tool. I really enjoyed today’s class because I have never thought about using Minecraft in a classroom, but after hearing the students and teacher talk so highly about it, I am definitely open to the idea now.
Today’s class was great because I have never played Minecraft before. I have seen some friends and family play before but that’s about it. I found the class very engaging and loud today. So many of my peers were collaborating and critically thinking together.
I was also very impressed by the five Colquitz students today. They were so knowledgable and passionate about this topic. I asked all the students a variety of questions and every time they provided me with a helpful answer.
Would I incorporate Minecraft into my classroom?
This is a tricky question for me because my teachable is PHE. So incorporating this into PHE would be tricky. At the same time, I’m very open to teaching middle school in my career, and if I was in that environment I would definitely use Minecraft every once and a while.
Last Friday our class visited PSII. PSII stands for Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry. PSII is very different compared to public schools because the students learn through inquiry pathways that act as the umbrella for projects and other learning activities.
Personalized learning paths are created through the teachers and students. Currently at PSII there are 95 students, and 7 teachers. The students who have chosen to go to PSII often feel like they fit into regular high or school, or struggled, or didn’t feel challenged enough. Their parents most likely noticed this as well. The 7 teachers who work at PSII all have different specialties and collaborate together to give the students the best opportunity to learn and grow. Having only 95 students at the school allows for teachers to develop unique relationships with their students that in turn will benefit the students immensely. From the students I spoke to directly, I got the sense they enjoyed the freedom and independence of inquiry-based learning. Having freedom and independence for students when learning is so beneficial because it allows students to be in the drivers seat, but at the same time it puts the responsibility on the students to critically think for themselves.
A learning disability is not an intellectual disability. A learning disability is a disability that affects a person’s ability to process information. People with learning disabilities possess an average to above-average IQ. Learning disabilities are neurologically-based processing problems. These processing problems can interfere with learning basic skills such as reading, writing and/or math.
Learning Disabilities are quite common now a day. An estimated 5-10% of Canadians have Learning Disabilities, and 50% of students receiving special education have LD’s. LD’s are on of the fastest growing type of disabilities in Canada.
Learning Disabilities often interfere with the following acquisitions:
This link is an article that provides strategies for teaching advice for students who have learning disabilities.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. For a designation such as autism, “it is estimated that 1 in 59” (Autism Speaks, 2018) will be classified with this learning challenge.
Below are some questions and answers that hopefully will provide you with some more clarity!
How do you diagnose autism?
Autism is diagnosed in BC by a diagnostic psychologist
Typically the whole process starts with a parent or teacher who has some concerns about the student and they will take them to their family paediatrician who will make a referral to the autism assessment network
Diagnosed by a set of behaviours that are observed by parents and doctors
Not a blood test or neurological exam
What are the characteristics of autism?
Social communication impairments (probably the main one)
Stereotypic behaviour, which is a child that engages in repetitive ritualistic kind of behaviours. Examples include flapping hands, tiptoe walking, any kind of repetitive speech
Sensory issues, anxiety, and other characteristics
What do students with autism struggle on a day-to-day business?
A whole list of social demands including: social interaction, understanding social content, reading non-verbal cues, sharing, co-operating with others
Difficulty with organization, mental planning, prioritizing transitions
What are some strategies that support their challenges?
Not over talking!
Use pictures and diagrams
Allowing kids to have breaks
Having set routines and predictability in your classroom (super important)!!!!!
What are the resources you can use to help these kids?
POPARD (Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders
POPARD website: https://www.autismoutreach.ca
How do you create a good environment for the students in a PHE setting or even just in a normal classroom setting?
Learn as much as you can about autism. Read research, do in-service professional development
Have predictability and set routines in your class
Provide visual information
Be a good role model for the students
I received all of this information from Kari Bennett who is a Special Education Teacher
For my Free Inquiry I have chosen to focus on students that have special educational needs in Physical Education. By special education I am referring to students with some type of learning difficulty which calls for a special educational provision. I am very interested and passionate about this topic. My goal for this blog is to provide my peers, and other colleagues, with different strategies and resources that they could use when teaching games in PHE with students who have a special education designation.
As a future educator I believe it’s imperative that more teachers should be educated on how to effectively teach students who have some sort of a disability. When teaching any class, teachers will always have a wide spectrum of students who learn differently, have different abilities, and disabilities. Teachers must firstly assess each student and then alter their teaching style to cater to each students learning needs. It is the teachers responsibility to work with their students to create more inclusive learning environments, regardless of different students disabilities.
An average school day for student’s who have some sort of disability can be extremely challenging. For typical students who find school relatively easy, it maybe hard for them to fully understand what special ed students go through in a school day, and also on a day to day basis. Social interaction, understanding instruction, not fully being able to read non-verbal cues, sharing and co-operating with other students, and organization and mental planning are just some struggles that these students go through.
Please have a listen to this video!!! It is only two minutes. Before any teacher starts their career they should listen to these videos because it will help teachers realize and appreciate what students who have a disability go through on a day to day basis. The Dear Teacher video illustrates how teachers MUST listen to the voices of their students, and realize that every student learns a different way. It’s not the students responsibility to change, it’s the teachers responsibility to create a more inclusive learning and working environment, regardless of the disability.
Before proceeding with this first blog post, we expect you to consider your privacy preferences carefully and that you have considered the following options:
Do you want to be online vs. offline?
Do you want to use your name (or part thereof) vs. a pseudonym (e.g., West Coast Teacher)?
Do you want to have your blog public vs. private? (Note, you can set individual blog posts private or password protected or have an entire blog set to private)
Have you considered whether you are posting within or outside of Canada? This blog on opened.ca is hosted within Canada. That said, any public blog posts can have its content aggregated/curated onto social networks outside of Canada.
First tasks you might explore with your new blog:
Go into its admin panel found by adding /wp-admin at the end of your blog’s URL
Add new category or tags to organize your blog posts – found under “Posts” (but do not remove the pre-existing “EdTech” category or sub-categories, Free Inquiry and EdTech Inquiry). We have also pre-loaded the Teacher Education competencies as categories should you wish to use them to document your learning. If you would like to add more course categories, please do so (e.g., add EDCI 306A with no space for Music Ed, etc.)
See if your blog posts are appearing on the course website (you must have the course categories assigned to a post first and have provided your instructor with your blog URL)
Embed images or set featured images and embed video in blog posts and pages (can be your own media or that found on the internet, but consider free or creative commons licensed works)
Select your preferred website theme and customize to your preferences (New title, etc.)
Customize menus & navigation
Use widgets to customize blog content and features
Delete this starter post (or switch it to draft status if you want to keep for reference)
Do consider creating categories for each course that you take should you wish to document your learning (or from professional learning activities outside of formal courses). Keep note, however, that you may wish to use the course topic as the category as opposed to the course number as those outside of your program would not be familiar with the number (e.g., we use “EdTech” instead of “edci336).
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