Saturday, 3 January 2015

The Social Media Debate: Should Schools Be Using Social Media To Connect with the Community?

            “The first step in building strong relationships in schools is the first step for building any strong relationships: talk to each other. The more we communicate our hopes, desires, and needs within the school system, the more ideas and solutions we will have to discuss, the more plans we will have to put into action, and the more support and enthusiasm we will have for seeing those plans through.”[1] Communication is essential for building and maintaining relationships with school stakeholders, but how can schools easily communicate information to the masses without it becoming a time-consuming task?  The prevalence of social networking has increased drastically over the past decade and statistics are reporting that, within Canada,  85% of citizens use at least one Facebook account, 46% have a Twitter account, 45% utilize a Google+ account, and 91% of all citizens are using some form of social media on a monthly basis.[2] Social media is changing the way that people chose to get their information and the way they communicate and interact with the world around them.[3] This study will look at two divergent perspectives on the school use of social media as an effective and appropriate means of communication with stakeholders.

Literature Review
            While the topic of social media use in education is growing in popularity, there are still relatively few professional, peer-reviewed papers on the subject; newspaper and blog posts are far more prevalent. As such, this study focuses first on a blog post to support the school use of social media as an effective and appropriate means of communication. To argue against the school use of social media as an effective and appropriate means of communication this study then focuses on the con-approach of a comprehensive pro-and-con article on social networking and society.

            The first piece of literature, How School Districts Use Social Media to Strengthen Community, a blog post written in 2011 by Jill Kenney, focuses on the use of the social media platform Twitter as a communication tool for school boards. Ms. Kenney’s study centers on three school divisions: West Vancouver SD45, Abbotsford SD34, and the Toronto District School Board. It is identified that each respective school divisions’ decision to operate a Twitter account was fueled by a desire to, “...improve communications with their target audiences using new and relevant tactics... social media.”[4] It is important to note that each school division also operated Facebook and YouTube accounts, although the study focuses purely on their use of Twitter. When social media use was compared to more traditional forms of communication such as newsletters, webpages, and emails, Twitter was identified as an additional tool that, “...is used to assess the communications needs and to deliver information to their community (followers), while being as accountable and transparent as possible.”[5]

            Ms. Kenney compiled statistics from each divisions’ Twitter accounts that included their initiation date, followers, and average tweets per month. Furthermore, Ms. Kenney also identifies areas of success and tips for other divisions who are interested in implementing Twitter in their own communications plans. According to Ms. Kenney, the most important factor in each divisions’ success is that their Twitter account is managed by a Communications Manager who is in charge of, “a deliberate, planned, and sustained effort to establish and maintain top of mind between an organization and its publics.”[6] She then identifies that even though each division had a different tweet frequency, how often they used their account each month, they all excel at including a variety of relevant and useful content for their audiences. By examining each divisions’ accounts, Kenney shared that their Twitter accounts were used to share, “sporting events, school closures, committee meetings, educational news and relevant articles, crisis communications, job opportunities, student highlights, etc.”[7] To conclude, Ms. Kenney identifies four tips for other school divisions who are interested in incorporating Twitter into their communications plans: 1. Include content that facilitates conversations, 2. Hold weekly planning meetings on what you want communicated that week, 3. Train the appropriate personnel on social media use, 4. Implement appropriate social media guidelines that address topics like transparency, negative comments, timely responses, confidential information, etc.[8]

            The second piece of literature, Are Social Networking Sites Good for Our Society?, an article published by ProCon.org in 2014, identifies twenty-four arguments against the use of social networking sites including: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. While the focus of this article is not primarily about the school use of social media as an effective and appropriate means of communication, this writer has identified five of ProCon.org’s arguments that can be used against such use. The first argument identified states that social media enables the spread of unreliable and false information. In fact, 49.1% of people have heard false news through one of their social media accounts.[9] Even with careful planning and forethought, miscommunication can result in false information being distributed through a division’s social media account. Additionally, with the public’s ability to respond to information, public comments could be shared that take the original information out of context and/or present a false perspective. Furthermore, a second argument is that social media posts cannot be completely deleted and all information posted can have unintended consequences. If a mistake is made by a school division such as false information, spelling errors, unflattering information, etc, it cannot simply be deleted as the information will stay online, in some form, indefinitely.

To build on the argument of unintended consequences, a third argument states that social networking sites lack privacy and expose users to intrusions. By presenting information through public social networks, school divisions run the risk of sharing information that could prove to be harmful to students or teachers. For example, a division may send out a tweet wishing the Grade 4 class a good time on their field trip to the city zoo and, while seemingly harmless, an estranged family member could use this information to find a student in which they do not have permission to be in contact with. The fourth argument by ProCon.org states that social media causes people to spend less time interacting face-to-face; a very big concern for school divisions who want to enhance participation by their stakeholders. Statistics show that up to 34% of Americans report less face-to-face time with the family in their homes due to the sharing that occurs through social media platforms.[10] If users are already showing decreased interactions with their own family members, the use of social media may further deter stakeholders from actually visiting the school and its events because they can simply get information through an online network. Lastly, the article highlights that social networking site users are vulnerable to security attacks such as hacking, identity theft, and viruses. School divisions need to be cognizant that their networks store sensitive information for hundreds or thousands of students and staff and a security attack could leave the division liable.

Critical Assessment
            With 91% of all Canadian citizens having access to some type of social media network[11] and approximately 290 Manitoban school accounts already on Twitter and Facebook[12], can it be argued that schools should not be utilizing social media? The purpose of this assessment is not to debate the popularity of various social network platforms or the use of social media to increase student learning. This assessment, however, focuses on whether the use of social media can be used as an effective and appropriate means of communication between schools and stakeholders.

            In regards to efficiency, when deciding on whether or not to utilize social media, a school needs to consider the following: 1. What social media platform(s) are going to be utilized? 2. What information will be shared through this platform? 3. Is there a minimum use requirement to ensure it is providing current information? 4. Is there someone who is strongly interested or passionate enough to help fuel the launch? 5. Who is in charge of the day-to-day management of the communication?

            In regards to appropriateness, when deciding on whether or not to utilize social media, a school needs to consider the following: 1. Is there a need for online communication? 2. What audience will be targeted through social media communication? 3. What social media platform(s) has/have the highest use in the school’s specific audience? 4. Will social media communication replace an outdated communication format or be added as an additional option? 5. What form(s) of information can be shared through the platform?

Implications for Educators
            There is no doubt that social media use is on the rise and has tremendous potential to serve as a means of communication between schools and stakeholders. The almost three-hundred divisions, schools, and classrooms, which are already using social media for communication, highlight just how many educators are recognizing the value of social media for connecting with parents and community members. With various factors to consider before implementing a social media account, schools should revisit how maintaining communication can help enhance school success. Manitoba Education has published a document, School Partnerships: A Guide for Parents, Schools, and Communities, which highlights different communication methods to encourage involvement from parents, families, and community members:
            1. Seek input from the school community
            2. Maintain ongoing communication: share priorities, 
                plans, activities, meetings, announcements, and events
            3. Involve families
            4. Create an atmosphere of trust
            5. Give timely feedback[13]
When looking at the suggestions provided through this document, one can make connections of to how these could be accomplished through the use of a school or division social media account. If a school’s stakeholders are already using social media for personal use, providing an option that meets the audience where it is could prove to be very beneficial for all parties.

            Each piece of literature provides strong arguments in support of their perspective and presents an overall indication that this topic is one that needs to be addressed on a division-by-division or even school-by-school basis. Every school and division has a unique group of stakeholders that hold a diverse set of cultural, socio-economic, and familial characteristics that need to be taken into account before any umbrella-mandates are incorporated. By addressing the ten points of discussion listed earlier in the critical analysis, a school can make an informed decision on whether the use of social media can be used as an efficient and appropriate means of communication.
Bibliography

J.M Arseneault, E.S. Orr, C. Ross, R.R. Orr,  M.G. Simmering, and M. Sisic. (2009).
            “Personality and motivation associated with Facebook use.” Computers in Human
            Behaviour. V. 25. Pg 578-586.

Kenney, Jill. (2011). ”How School Districts Use Social Media to Strengthen Community.”

Manitoba Education, Citizenship, and Youth. (2005). “School Partnerships: A Guide for Parents,
            Schools, and Communities.” Pg 10-11.

Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth. (2004). “Working Together: A Guide to Positive
            Problem Solving for Schools, Families, and Communities.” Pg 5.

ProCon.Org. (2014). “Are Social Networking Sites Good for Our Society”. Pro and Con
            Arguments. Available online at: http://socialnetworking.procon.org/#pro_con

We Are Social. (2014). “Social, Digital, and & Mobile Use Around the World.” SlideShare.





[1]Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth. (2004). “Working Together: A Guide to Positive Problem Solving for Schools, Families, and Communities.” Pg 5.
[2] We Are Social. (2014). “Social, Digital, and & Mobile Use Around the World.” SlideShare. Slide 62.
[3] J.M Arseneault, E.S. Orr, C. Ross, R.R. Orr,  M.G. Simmering, and M. Sisic. (2009). “Personality and motivation associated with Facebook use.” Computers in Human Behaviour. V. 25. Pg 578-586.
[4] Kenney, Jill. (2011). ”How School Districts Use Social Media to Strengthen Community.” Uploaded to Get Fresh PR. Available online at: http://www.getfreshpr.com/2011/04/how-school-districts-can-use-social-media-to-build-community/
[5] lbid.,
[6] lbid.,
[7] lbid.,
[8] lbid.,
[9] ProCon.Org. (2014). “Are Social Networking Sites Good for Our Society”. Pro and Con Arguments. Argument #1. Available online at: http://socialnetworking.procon.org/#pro_con
[10] lbid, Argument #8.
[11] We Are Social. (2014). “Social, Digital, and & Mobile Use Around the World.” SlideShare. Slide 62.
[12] Thompson, Kirsten. (2014). Independent Research of Twitter and Facebook Databases.
[13] Manitoba Education, Citizenship, and Youth. (2005). “School Partnerships: A Guide for Parents, Schools, and Communities.” Pg 10-11.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Four Critical Digital Skills We Are Failing to Teach Our Students

“... Young people as a whole have enthusiastically integrated a variety of networked media into their daily lives, and can text, upload photos and blog with relative ease. However, using media effortlessly isn’t necessarily the same thing as using it well. Young people are mistakenly considered experts in digital technologies because they’re so highly connected, but they are still lacking many essential digital literacy skills.”[1] Classrooms are now filled with students that, from a generational standpoint, are coined, digital natives; born into the age of digital technology and familiar with computers and the internet from an early age.[2] Does an increase in digital experiences, however, directly translate to a strong understanding of digital literacy and citizenship? Unfortunately, many teachers are assuming yes.

Internet access has increased exponentially over the past decade and statistics are reporting that, within Canada, only 7% of students have no form of internet access while at home; 6% find access through a library or other community center and 1% only have access while attending school.[3] With such high frequency of internet availability students are able to spend increasing amounts of time online with Canadians logging an average of 4 hours 53 minutes of internet use each day, with up to 1 hour 51 minutes of this being through a mobile device.[4] With increased availability, however, comes increased challenges with 37% of students reporting that they have had something mean or cruel done to them online that has made them feel badly about themselves.[5] Furthermore, 73% of students admit to using the internet to commit at least one act of academic dishonesty at the high school level.[6] If the prevalence of digital experiences is a vast as the statistics imply, then why are students lacking in the areas of digital citizenship and literacy? I argue that it is the responsibility of the classroom teacher to incorporate digital citizenship and literacy outcomes into their curriculums at all grade levels. To support this study I will identify four critical spheres of understanding that I believe need to be implemented by classroom teachers at all grade levels and subject-areas.

            Many hours of professional development are spent on strategies and programs designed to help educators incorporate technology into curriculum outcomes; even more time is spent discussing and installing various types of hardware and software into schools. While the actual technology and appropriate professional development for teachers are incredibly important as we move forward with 21st century education, I believe that there are four critical spheres of digital understanding that our education system is failing to address appropriately: the creation and management of an online identity, netiquette, how to assess the quality and authenticity of online information, and referencing and digital copyright laws.

            The first of these areas, the creation and management of an online identity, is essential for helping students understand that their online time is not anonymous and that the information stakeholders can find about them online can help determine future job offers, program acceptances, scholarship offers, sports drafts, and etcetera. The term digital footprint refers to the traces or footprints one leaves online through active actions (social media profiles, blogs, comments) and passive actions (cookies stored by web browsers, technology use statistics)[7]. Students should be familiar with the term digital footprint and aware of their own unique digital footprint from an early age. As students reach an age where they are participating in social media they need to be taught the importance of appropriate usernames, an identity required for everything from email and Facebook to Instagram, Kik, and Snapchat. Not only should students be taught how to create an appropriate username that suitably represents them but they should also be aware of how using the same username across multiple platforms assists them in creating a stronger, more tailored online identity. It is important to note, however, that utilizing the same username is not the same as incorporating the same password for multiple platforms. A major component of ones online identity has to do with online privacy and how to effectively navigate and customize the privacy settings for various programs. Students need to be taught how to access a program’s privacy settings, on both computer and mobile interfaces, and how to customize them to appropriately meet the needs of the program’s purpose. For example, a student may host a public blog to showcase their personal writing pieces but have a private Instagram profile where they share personal photos with close friends. By learning how to create and manage their own online identity, students are forced to become more cognizant of what they are posting online and can help prevent embarrassment and disappointment as they mature.

            The second sphere focuses on netiquette, the term used to refer to appropriate etiquette for online and digital platforms.[8]  Educators, parents, and law-enforcement officials, have all spent time discussing and/or addressing issues such as cyberbullying, sexting, and online defamation, which all stem directly from lack of netiquette. Virginia Shea, author of “Netiquette”, identifies as many as ten online netiquette rules that should be adhered to by any person who is using online platforms of any design.  Of the ten, I believe a minimum of four should be taught by educators to students beginning in their elementary years;
1. Remember that the person on the receiving end of an 
interaction is another human and that all real-life regulations 
and courtesies apply.
2. There is a time and place for different interactions; what 
works in a private text to a friend does not always work in an 
email to a relative.
3. Everything you write/post/share should be a positive 
representation of yourself.
4. Respect the privacy of others and think before you 
forward/screenshot/tag/share information that is not yours to share.[9]
These are skills that can be incorporated at the elementary level by having students email newsletters home to relatives, interact with their peers through an online classroom community, create digital portfolios, or connect with an online pen-pal from another area of the school or world. As students mature they can transfer their netiquette skills to their personal social media interactions, email correspondences, and online activities.

            The third of these areas, assessing the quality and authenticity of online information, is not only an area of concern for educators, but for students as well. In fact, 35% of students identify that they wish their school would teach them how to search for information online and an additional 51% wish they knew how to tell if the information they found was factual and appropriate.[10] Of the four spheres, assessing the quality and authenticity of online information is the most closely related to pre-existing curriculum outcomes as educators ask students to find subject-specific information for every class offered, yet this is still an area of concern for many students. Edutopia column author, Julie Coiro, identifies four dimensions in which students need to focus on when presented with online information. In order to effectively critique information from online sources students first need to be able to assess the relevance of a particular piece in relation to their purpose. Students should then be comfortable cross-checking information with additional websites and primary sources to evaluate if the information they have found is factual. Lastly, students should learn how to determine what personal bias the author may possess and how reliable they might be in relation to the context in which the information is found.[11] While 45% of students identify that they do learn this information from their teachers, the remaining majority of 55% needs to be addressed.[12]  By introducing these skills at an early age and solidifying them as students progress through high school, educators are assisting students in thinking critically about information presented to them.

            The fourth and last sphere, referencing and digital copyright laws, is essential for ensuring students are giving credit where credit is due and preventing copyright infringements that are commonly occurring by accident. The assumption is that if it is found online it is free for the taking, and this misconception is held for everything from intellectual property and images to video and music files. Students are regularly posting material for educational and personal uses that includes information and various forms of media that were found online. Within the school, educators not only have to teach students how to understand digital copyright legislations and how to reference appropriately, but they also need to model it themselves within their classrooms. Teachers are commonly finding information, videos, images, and activities online for their students and, while educational copyright does have some differences, students do not fall under this umbrella once they leave the classroom. It is imperative that students see educators modeling the appropriate use of references in their work as it will help solidify this skill for students. By educating students on the legality of digital copyright and how to reference work in multiple contexts there is a decreased chance of students inadvertently committing plagiarism.  

            By addressing each of these four spheres within the classroom context, educators help ensure that students are representing themselves appropriately online, thinking critically about information being presented to them, and utilizing online resources within the context of copyright legislations. While digital natives can definitely be considered the experts when it comes to navigating certain online platforms and connecting via digital worlds, they require guidance and support to navigate many of the critical components of digital citizenship and literacy. Without the incorporation of these skills it is as if, “our kids are growing up on a digital playground and no one is on recess duty.”[13]

Bibliography
Burt, Ronnie. (2012). “The Educator’s Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons.”The Edublogger. Available online at: http://www.theedublogger.com/2012/02/09/the-        educators-guide-to-copyright-fair-use-and-creative-commons/

Coiro, Julie. (2014). “Teaching Adolescents How To Evaluate the Quality of Online Information.” Edutopia. Available online at: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/evaluating-      quality-of-online-info-julie-coiro

Honeycutt, Kevin. (2014). “Personal Tweet”. Available online at: https://twitter.com/adnanedtech/status/521042568528670720

Kharbach, Med. (2011-2014). “A Great Guide on Teaching Students About Digital Footprint.” Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. Available online at: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/04/a-great-guide-on-teaching-students.html

Lessons in Learning. (Accessed on 2014). “Liars, fraudsters and cheats: Dealing with the growth of academic dishonesty”. Canadian Council on Learning. Available online at: http://www.cclcca.ca/CCL/Reports/LessonsInLearning/LinL20100707AcademicDishone  sty.html

Oxford Dictionary. (2014). “Digital Native”. Available online at:http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/digital-native

Tricider. (2011-2014). “What digital skills do students need for the 21st century?” Available online at: http://www.tricider.com/t/decide/?show=2gKE

Shea, Virginia. (1997). “Netiquette.”  Albion Books. Available online at: http://www.albion.com/bookNetiquette/0963702513p4.html

Springer Science & Business Media. (2014). “Digital Native Fallacy: Teachers still know better when it comes to using technology.” Science Daily. Available online at: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141020104938.htm

Steeves, Valerie. (2014). “Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Cyberbullying: Dealing with Online Meanness, Cruelty and Threats.” Media Smarts. Available online at: http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/mediasmarts/files/pdfs/publicationreport/full/YCWWIII_Cybe            rbullying_FullReport_2.pdf

Steeves, Valerie. (2014). “Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Experts or Amateurs? Gauging Young Canadians’ Digital Literacy Skills.” Media Smarts. Available online at: http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/mediasmarts/files/pdfs/publicationreport/full/YCWWIII_Expe            rts_or_Amateurs.pdf

Steeves, Valerie. (2014). “Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Life Online.” Media Smarts. Available online at:  http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/mediasmarts/files/pdfs/publicationreport/full/YCWWIII_Life            _Online_FullReport_2.pdf

Steeves, Valerie. (2014). “Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Online Privacy, Online Publicity.” Media Smarts. Available online at: http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/mediasmarts/files/pdfs/publicationreport/full/YCWWIII_Online_Privacy_Online_Publicity_FullReport.pdf  

We Are Social. (2014). “Social, Digital & Mobile Around the World”. Available online at: http://www.slideshare.net/wearesocialsg/social-digital-mobile-around-the-world-january-   2014/61



[1] Steeves, Valerie. (2014). “Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Experts or Amateurs? Gauging Young Canadians’ Digital Literacy Skills.” Media Smarts. Page 1.
[2] Oxford Dictionary. (2014). Digital Native. Available online at: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/digital-native
[3] Steeve, Valerie. (2014). “Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Experts or Amateurs? Gauging Young Canadians’ Digital Literacy Skills.” Media Smarts. Page 8.
[4] We Are Social. (2014). “Social, Digital & Mobile Around the World”. Available online at: http://www.slideshare.net/wearesocialsg/social-digital-mobile-around-the-world-january-2014/61
[5] Steeves, Valerie. (2014). “Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Cyberbullying: Dealing with Online Meanness, Cruelty and Threats.” Media Smarts. Pg 2.

[6] Lessons in Learning. (Accessed on 2014). “Liars, fraudsters and cheats: Dealing with the growth of academic dishonesty”. Canadian Council on Learning. Available online at: http://www.ccl-cca.ca/CCL/Reports/LessonsInLearning/LinL20100707AcademicDishonesty.html

[7] Kharbach, Med. (2011-2014). “A Great Guide on Teaching Students About Digital Footprint.” Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. Available online at: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/04/a-great-guide-on-teaching-students.html
[8] Shea, Virginia. (1997). “Netiquette.”  Albion Books. Available online at: http://www.albion.com/bookNetiquette/0963702513p4.html

[9] lbid.,
[10] Steeves, Valerie. (2014). “Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Experts or Amateurs? Gauging Young Canadians’ Digital Literacy Skills.” Media Smarts. Page 46.
[11] Coiro, Julie. (2014). “Teaching Adolescents How To Evaluate the Quality of Online Information.” Edutopia. Available online at: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/evaluating-quality-of-online-info-julie-coiro
[12] lbid, 36.
[13] Honeycutt, Kevin. (2014). “Personal Tweet”. Available online at: https://twitter.com/adnanedtech/status/521042568528670720

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Charlie Appelstein: No Such Thing As A Bad Kid

     On Friday all of "T-Division's" teaching staff and EAs had the opportunity to attend a PD session with Charlie Appelstein; a youth-care specialist, author, and father. Being that we are now into December, and only have a short ten days until the Christmas break, I was apprehensive about attending a PD session when there is so much to do in so little time left. On the other hand, classroom energy is always high at this time of year so it was nice to have a day away to think and recharge! Mr. Appelstein was an incredibly entertaining presenter and shared a lot of helpful information while infusing humor and "random bursts of positivity", as he called it.
     Our 5.5 hour session focused on how to understand and respond to students who are living with emotional and behavioural challenges, although Mr. Appelstein carefully pointed out that these strategies can be used with all students: from high-functioning to at-risk or special needs. Here are a few of my notes that I took away from this PD:

Quick Tips 
- Effective education is all about building relationships
- Add in please and thank-you
     - It is crazy how much educators demand things from students
       without minimum courtesy
     - Yelling meets your needs, not your students needs
- Think, "Does every students wake up thinking Mr/Mrs ______
  thinks I'm awesome"
- Believing x Relevance = Motivation
- Greet students with positivity
     - High Fives
     - Fist Bump
- Incorporate random bursts of positivity throughout your lesson
- Help parents and you will help kids
- Humour builds relationships but not sarcasm

Activity Suggestions
- Create business cards for each of your students and hang them
  on the wall
     - Have students promise to mail in their official business card
       when they're done school and working in their chosen field
- Have students address post cards at the start of the year and keep
  them in your desk
     - Send good messages home throughout the year
     - Much easier to do when the post-card to ready to go!

Understanding At-Risk Students
- The brain has three sectors: logical, emotional, and survival
     - Students with trauma live in the survival system
- Don't label students: every kid is a Mercedes-Benz, some just
  come into the classroom on empty
     - Hope is humanity's fuel
- Think of an at-risk student in your class/school, can you think of
  if they have one true best friend
     - At-risk student's don't have true friends
     - They don't trust others
- Happy people have:
     1) Meaningful Social Connections
     2) Strong Social Support Networks
     - We need to help at-risk students fill in the gaps in these areas
- Life isn't what you see, it's what your perceive
     - When you change the way you look at the challenging kid, the
        kid changes

How To Respond to Challenging Behaviours
- Get mad at choices, not children
- Reframing
     - Take something negative & reframe positively
     1) Understanding (why is the behaviour happening)
     2) Reframe (change to a positive)
          - Acting rude: you have an amazing ability to affect people!
     3) Squeeze (give encouragement of where they can use that skill)
- Take about the future positively, like it has already happened
     - "How are we going to celebrate next week when you have the best
        week ever"
- At times you can't change the child, so change the environment
     - Sort behavioural goals into three baskets
     1) Basket A: non-negotiable topics
          - usually related to safety
     2) Basket B: compromise
     3) Basket C: ignore it
- Our emotions cause use to misuse the tools we have
     - Even if we know how to manage, sometimes our self-esteem
       takes a hit and our emotions get in the way
     - Respond instead of react
- Affect Scale
     - Balance out a child's actions
     - As they get loud, you get quiet
- When responding:
     - Two arm lengths away
     - 45 degree angle
     - Eye level or below (don't stand while they sit)
     - Ask open-ended questions
     - Repeat back to them

Standard Behaviour Management
- "Believing is seeing"
- Our school is awesome if you do well, if you misbehave life isn't fun
- You have to earn our trust
* This is what most schools function under

Unconditional Support
- "Seeing is believing"
- We care about you no matter what
- We understand where you are at and will help you get where you need
   to be
- You are strategically assisting all students to fill in where they have
   developmental gaps
_______________________________________________________

     My personal reflection is only a tiny bit of information that was covered in today's presentation. To learn more about Charlie Appelstein, and his work with teachers and parents, please explore the following links:
Charlie Appelstein Professional Website
- Charlie Appelstein Facebook Page

_______________________________________________________
 
     Thank you to Charlie Appelstein for visiting us out in rural Manitoba, I am left with a lot of practical information to utilize in my classroom!
Thank you to the admin and staff in "T-Division" for providing us all with another great PD opportunity :)

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Interactive Notebooks (I.N.B) in Grade 8: Front Matter & Rational Numbers

     Last year I used Interactive Notebooks with my Grade 8-10 Math classes with some success. My Grade 8 and 9 students used them the most but my implementation lacked direction and I don't feel my students got as much out of them as they should have. I still taught my lessons regularly and then we would do an Interactive Notebook entry at the end of that topic as a type of review activity. So, while useful, I wasn't using them to my full potential and my students could pick up on that,

     This year I was much more prepared and had class sets of notebooks for all student ordered before summer break even started! While I found lots of great ideas through basic Google searches and Pinterest, I spent the majority of my time scrolling through the great resources offered by Jennifer at 4mula Fun! Here is what I recommend:

- Introductory I.N.B Blog Post

- Webinar Video Page (Over 2 hrs of video explanations!)

- The 4mula Fun Teachers-Pay-Teachers store
(I bought the Flippable Template Pack & use it all the time)

     Since I found Jennifer's sharing so helpful and starting my journey, I wanted to return to the favour and share some things that I'm doing too (who knows, maybe someone will find it helpful!). All of the pictures come from my copy of our Grade 8 Math Interactive Notebook which is kept at the front of our classroom at all times for students to reference if they are absent.

     What I like about Interactive Notebooks:
- All students have standardized notes (I know everyone has the
  same information)
- I can easily say, "Check page ___" when students ask a quick
  question
- All of their notes are in one place, easy to find, and don't get lost
   in their binder
- The foldable aspect provides an activity for kinaesthetic learners
- Students have to focus more on the information when making sure
  they are putting it in the right spot
- I have easy formative assessment products through the output
  activities
- Students have built-in flashcards from the foldables for when
  they study
- They headings and organization helps teach note-taking &
  study skills

     We follow the Input-Output rule where, if you open up your I.N.B, the left-hand side is the Input page (meaning the information comes from the teacher) and the right-hand side is the Output page. The input side is what essentially replaces the traditional notes that we would have normally taken. The output side is a short activity or reflection piece that is completed independently by each student. It is completed anywhere from 1-5 days after and is used as a formative assessment tool for me to gauge where the student's understanding is. Here is a copy of the anchor chart I made for our room explaining this system.
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     We are currently finishing up our second unit of the school year but I wanted to start with sharing our introductory pages (Front Matter) and our pages for our first unit on Rational Numbers. I have tried to format this page so that the pictures reflect the input-output style of the I.N.B. Please note that my copy of the I.N.B does not have completed output activities, I include the activity instructions since it is used by students who missed that day.

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We start with our Table of Contents which states:
- Input or Output (along left-hand margin)
- Page Title
- Page Number
*I had students leave 2 blank pages after this to expand their Table of Contents as the year progressed
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I provided all students with a small copy of our Course Outline as an input entry. 
As an output entry I had students list:
- 5 things they learned from the course outline
- 5 resources/supports to assist them in the classroom
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We used the Respect for Diversity program at the start of the year and this Multiple Intelligences Quiz was a portion of that program as an input entry.
As an output entry we revisited page 4 before our first test and reviewed different study tips based off of students' Multiple Intelligences.

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This is the only example of in our I.N.B that broke our input-output routine.
At the start of the year I had student's create their own "S.M.A.R.T" Math Goals.
Now that we are in our second term, students have filled in a second goal on page 6 as well.

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Operations with Fractions (input)
- Definition of a Fraction
- Adding & Subtracting Fractions (different denominators)
- Adding & Subtracting Fractions (same denominators)
- Dividing Fractions
- Multiplying Fractions
- Examples of Each Operation

Working with Fractions (output)
- Least to Greatest Numberline
- Identify Errors in Incorrect Questions

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Operations with Integers (input)
- Definition of an Integer
- Adding with Positive Integers
- Adding with Negative Integers
- Subtracting Integers
- Multiplying Integers
- Dividing Integers
- Examples of Each Operation

Working with Integers (output)
- Equation Practice & Reflection

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Repeating Decimals as Fractions (input)
- 2 Step Explanations
- Examples

Equations with Repeating Decimals (output)
- 3 Equation Practice Questions

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What is a Rational Number (input)
- Definition
- Examples & Non-Examples
*I find it easier to do this definition last instead of first because students have already had lots of practice working with all of the rational number forms

Rational Number Forms (input)
*5pg book foldable: pictures continue below
- Pg 1: Integer or Decimal Example
- Pg 2: Fraction Form of their Integer/Decimal
- Pg 3: Equivalent Fraction of their Fraction Form
- Pg 4: Location on a Numberline

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interactive notebook, INB, I.N.B, interactive notebook grade 8 math, INB in grade 8 math, how to start interactive notebooks












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Whew! Are you picture-overloaded yet?

     This is everything that was included for our introduction and first unit with our Interactive Notebooks. If my short explanations are not sufficient please do not hesitate to comment below and ask any and all questions you may have! I would never have been able to start if it wasn't for teachers helping me so I would be more than happy to pay it forward and help you!

*Thank you again to Jennifer from 4mula Fun for creating great products and helping me get started.