"As a new teacher, how has social media helped you?"
- Chris Wejr

When I started the Education program in September, I barely left a footprint in the education social media world. But that quickly changed under the mentorship of Ryan Hong, who directed me towards exploring the many tools available for sharing resources, connecting with other educators, and developing as an educator.

These are the resources that I currently use:
  • Weebly Blog - a place to record my experiences and reflections related to teaching; I also love reading the blogs of other educators to increase the depth and breadth of my learning
  • Twitter (@BettyFei)- a fantastic tool for sharing of ideas and resources, making connections with other educators across the globe, and keeping up-to-date with issues, questions, and initiatives in current education
  • WikiSpace/FaceBook- great tools for staying connected and sharing ideas with others in my education cohort
  • YouTube Channel/Teaching Channel- great tools for finding multimedia resources, seeing lessons and classroom practices in action, and sharing of ideas with other educators
  • Pinterest/Edmodo- useful platforms for sharing ideas and resources
Addition: Since Nov 30, 2012, I also began using:
  • Instagram- useful for making student learning more visible to both students and parents; a great visual record of learning for the whole year
"Taking learning risks is not easy; but if I expect my students to be bold learners, then it must begin with me. "

Being involved with the girls' volleyball team has been a wonderful experience: learning from great coaches (Mr. Hong and Mr. Weltzin), witnessing the girls' progress in skill and confidence, and being inspired by the girls' enthusiastic team spirit at every game.

However, volleyball was never a personal forte; so it was definitely a step from my comfort zone to facilitate an impromptu practice (with Mrs. Shakur, another teacher candidate) and to referee the home games. To be honest, I didn't completely know what I was doing. But sometimes, jumping in, taking the learning risk, and being willing to learn from one's possible mistakes is more important than knowing everything before starting (though not to downplay the need for preparedness). Taking learning risks is not easy; but if I expect my students to be bold learners, then it must begin with me.
Via class jobs, students can take on more responsibility as well as more fully utilize their talents and skills. Also, it is fascinating to find out about what strengths and experiences students consider themselves to have.

So why not ask students to fill out a job application for class jobs?
"Is it possible to design lessons that sacrifice neither content nor engagement, given the time constraints?"

Mr. Hong was gracious enough to act out a brief skit with me, to introduce the importance of bibliographies:
He enthusiastically told me about the plot and characters of a book he read; but when I inquired about the title, author, date of publication, etc., he unfortunately could not remember. If only he wrote down those key details, then we could both go back to read the wonderful book again! That is one reason why we write down our sources when doing research- so we/others could go back to the same sources if necessary.  

The meticulous details and punctuations in bibliographies could be cumbersome for students- unless some friendly competition is involved! Students worked in groups to write down the bibliography information for a particular website, and then each group was responsible for writing on the board one piece of bibliography information. Other groups had to keep their eyes pealed for mistakes, as both correct answers and corrections for other groups earned the group points!

Lesson Reflections:
  • Group activities are a lot of fun, but it took longer than anticipated (could only cover bibliographies for websites; did not get to bibliographies for images). Is it possible to design lessons that sacrifice neither content nor engagement, given the time constraints? Or does one have to try to balance both and sometimes sacrifice one for the other?
  • Getting students to speak about key points they have learned in the lesson would be a good way to review and wrap up the lesson
Encouraging French oral practice is so crucial; yet how do we engage students in oral practice?

Previously, Mlle. Waddell taught the students the basics of communicating about time in French. We reviewed how to ask questions and give responses about time, and then played a game that helped students to reinforce oral expressions of time.
  • The class was divided into 2 teams, and one student from each team was asked to come to the front of the class by the whiteboard.
  • A PowerPoint slide with various clocks was projected onto the whiteboard.
  • I wrote one of the times (eg. 3h05) onto a mini board to show to the class, while concealing it from the students at the front. 
  • The class had a bit of time to think about how to say the time in French.
  • The students at the front asked the class "Quelle heure est-il?"
  • On my cue, the class responded together "Il est... (eg. trois heures cinq)".
  • The students at the front of the class had to listen for the time in French, and then try to find the corresponding clock. The first student to put their hand on the correct clock earned a point for their team.
  • The competition was on, and students were eager to participate!
Lesson Reflections
  • Communicating the time as a group helped students to not be singled out, yet still have the opportunity to gain oral practice. But it was difficult to monitor who actually spoke and who remained silent; so it was up to students to take ownership of their own learning and oral practice.
  • Students also received listening practice when they were up front, but the activity was mostly geared toward speaking practice.
  • It was great to see students who do not normally volunteer for activities to put up their hand and volunteer to come up to the front!