What do I want my classroom to look like?

I’ve tried making a layout on many programs available, but they’re all glitchy and after the fifth time I’ve given up on it. I ‘ve thought about what my ideal classroom would look like… and here it is.

Student Layouts:

  • Four large tables with six chairs around each (two chairs on 3 of the 4 sides of the table… empty side is the one closest to the teachers desk & boards)
  • Each table will have a 3×2 whiteboard that they can have access to (or whiteboard paint on the desk… meaning students can write directly on the desk)
  • Preferable that each student has access to a tablet, laptop, or smartphone… or one for each two students

Boards & Projectors

  • Instead of a smart board like most classes, I would personally prefer a 55″+ HDTV with a chromecast attached to it (assuming internet in the school isn’t the equivalent of a potato)
  • White boards beside or behind the TV/smart board
  • White screen w/ a projector in a corner… within 10 feet of the tv/board
  • Each table has a tiny whiteboard attached to their tables

Miscellanious Things

  • Some noise cancelling ear muffs…. very cheap, and very effective. Have a few pairs attached t the wall for students whom do not concentrate well with noise to use when appropriate
  • Some sofas or bean bag chairs on the corners or against the walls… some comfortable furniture that students have access to
  • a regular desk or two in the corners or storage that can be brought out
  • Smart lights: I have in my own personal room two lightbulbs that are LED. They can be changed to any colour or brightness with a remote control. They can also be turned on/off with a remote control. It seems small and pointless, but trust me they are delightful
  • I’d like an L shaped desk with my own personal laptop on it… or a school one with good specs so I can stream to the chromecast or remote access my computer.
  • A toaster, microwave, and coffee pot in a corner that students have access to…. most students do not eat breakfeast. It’s something simple that can make a big impact

Response: Teachers, enough with these social media ‘lessons’

While doing my daily reading, I read Teaching the Teacher’s new post of the day: “Teachers, enough with these social media ‘lessons.'”

Every few months a photo like this surfaces In my social media stream feeds telling me to like, retweet a message to ‘teach’ children a lesson about social media.

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In world where millions of pieces of new content are being uploaded every second, creators are resorting to desperate and more shocking things to break through the clutter in search of that elusive like, share or retweet.

And it’s not just kids.

Companies, celebrities, politicians, sports teams and, dare I say it, teachers find themselves wanting to harness the power of this vast global network.

Could there be a better way to teach responsible use of the Internet than publicly shaming students in as wider a forum as possible?

I understand the motivation behind the lesson, to protect kids from posting something stupid that could ruin their lives if it goes viral.

However I’m not convinced this approach actually leaves students with an enduring understanding of responsible and ethical online behaviour.

Fear of ridicule may be great for short-term compliance but in the long term it does little promote sound and ethical decision making over the long term. It actually gives credence to the number one tool in bully’s arsenal, a public audience.

And that audience doesn’t need to be big. The reality is that most students aren’t going to experience Star Wars kid level of viral cyberbullying. However if a student has more than one friend on snapchat, they have the the power to hurt and humiliate someone else through a share.

The focus purely on students as creators of content ignores that most of the time the kids are consumers and distributors of content which is where the problem really lies.

Taking part in a meme without really thinking about the context.

Sharing and viewing images designed to humiliate without thinking about the consent or feelings of the subject.

Retweeting articles without reading them.

I was dismayed at the number of teachers who were happy to capture and share their students doing the Harlem Shake. Yet the kids dancing who had no idea that Harlem was a place let alone what the people living there thought of the global phenomenon.

Or how quickly the cause of motor neurone disease was forgotten in the race to upload, share and nominate others in the ice bucket challenge.

The Internet is participatory.

Whether it’s a 13 year old request for a like for a like or a multinational company getting you to share, they are asking for that moment of connection. They believe their idea is important enough for you to stand by it to give it more credence.

The audience for the share could be 1 or 1 billion. It is the power of that audience kids need to appreciate and use appropriately.

What we share is more important than what we create.

The best way I believe I can response to this article is by breaking it down and then posting a conclusion.

Companies, celebrities, politicians, sports teams and, dare I say it, teachers find themselves wanting to harness the power of this vast global network.

But this is the entire point of social media: Accessing information from others, and sharing yours with the entire userbase (and by extension the world). I agree with the goal of something such as twitter as being able to harness the power of a large collective group. But I also believe that in order for something to be powerful, one must have the mindset of “what can I contribute” instead of “what can I gain.” When one has this mindset and gives enough effort and time, the benefits flow naturally.

I understand the motivation behind the lesson, to protect kids from posting something stupid that could ruin their lives if it goes viral.

However I’m not convinced this approach actually leaves students with an enduring understanding of responsible and ethical online behaviour.

Fear of ridicule may be great for short-term compliance but in the long term it does little promote sound and ethical decision making over the long term. It actually gives credence to the number one tool in bully’s arsenal, a public audience.

Agreed. I was actually a victim of me doing something “Stupid” (others words, not mine. I stand by my actions). I was in the middle of a personal/social experiment on Reddit. Reddit is a large…. forum? Where tens of millions of people post articles, pictures, memes, advice, and so forth. It’s the largest of its kind, and has as much impact as something such as 4chan. The website has one major flaw (asides from its search bar). The flaw is that it becomes a hivemind. One educated person will post an opinion, and the people whom read it will follow it without looking at the evidence themselves or critically. This reflects the real world (with social media and news… trust your sources people!). For example, the site hates comcast, capitalism, and supports Edward Snowden. Back onto the point.

My social experiment was to show what people will believe for terms of entertainment. I started to make up stories and summarize them into memes to show what people will believe. I was planning on showing these results to the entire site once I collected enough examples, but was found out in my fourth or so exposition. The entire hivemind of reddit then decided to do a ‘witch-hunt’ on me. People literally spent hours going through my post history to ‘downvote’ everything (it’s the opposite of a like on facebook). Some even found my real world identity and contacted my friends and family with threats. Which is the point I’m trying to make with these paragraphs: I took extreme precautions to make sure nothing linked to my real world identity, and they found it anyways. One must be extremely careful of what they post, and where.

The focus purely on students as creators of content ignores that most of the time the kids are consumers and distributors of content which is where the problem really lies.

Taking part in a meme without really thinking about the context.

Sharing and viewing images designed to humiliate without thinking about the consent or feelings of the subject.

Retweeting articles without reading them.

Exactly the point I was making above. People will follow something blindly; on and off internet. How many people support John A. Macdonald, or Canada as a whole? I personally believe Canada to be one of the most racist places on Earth and John A to have an extreme dark side to him.

The audience for the share could be 1 or 1 billion. It is the power of that audience kids need to appreciate and use appropriately.

Precisely. Respect the power of the most used tool in the world; the internet and its users. This is a lesson students need to learn. It’s unlikely that a post they made when they were 13 on facebook holding a beer will harm them, but they need to understand that stuff like that shouldn’t be uploaded to begin with (and subsequently, their overall actions could take a little modifying. Mine have

Classroom Rules: Rad or Bad

Everyone who has gone to school has had that one teacher who had dozens of rules, many of which seemed to be pointless and lack sense. Every teacher has their own rules that they are passionate about and are must have. My personal must have rules are:

  1. Speak loud when answering my question or asking me something.
    1.  My ears are terrible, and we’ve all had many classmates who seem to whisper… I plan to help these students
  2. Keep noise to an appropriate level.
    1. Remember when I said my ears are terrible? I also have a disability. Lots of noise at the same time that I disorients me if I need to listen to it all at once. I also cannot key in on a single source when there’s background noise.
  3. Have respect for yourself, your classmates, and me.
    1. It’s good to define what you think of when you say respect. Your version and their version will be drastically different. Yours might include only one person speaking at the same time, while theirs might be not snoring when they fall asleep in class.

It’s important to remember that teachers should only have few rules. The less, the better. Too many rules become difficult to remember and make the students try to break them because you will be imagined as a Nazi ruler in their eyes. What are your must have classroom rules?

What’s it Like Being White?

I was doing my regular browning of the web and came upon the question “What is it Like Being White?” I scrolled through the answers and eventually found one that I can relate with. I feel it accurately personifies how many white people feel about the subject. Just some food for thought.

“There’s a lack of identity associated with it. I don’t think of myself as white any more than I think of myself as blue-eyed. It’s a feature, not part of who I am. There’s no real struggle to empathize with, no real connection to other white people based just on being white. At least not that I’ve experienced, so it’s just a non-thing.

A checkbox on a form and nothing else.

Hell, it’s less of an identity thing than hairstyle, at least for me.

As for day-to-day life, it’s honestly hard to consider, since I’ve never not been white.

I guess I’m not worried about going 10 over the speed limit, since I’m no more likely to be pulled over than anyone else. Is that a concern for minority drivers? I honestly don’t know.”

Alorha

How to get hired and stay hired. A drama in four parts.

How to get hired and stay hired. A drama in four parts..

I gave this a read in my spare time. It took fifteen minutes and it provides some extreme examples to take note of. During the internship and pre-internship phase (or rather, a student teachers’ university career) most of these are just something that will take an extra five minutes when one goes into the school.

Harsh Harper: Erasing Aboriginal Past

Residential schools are famous in Canadian history. I personally term it the ‘Canadian Holocaust’. The Canadian government and peoples are very infamous for being close-minded and racist on a personal and systematic level, and the majority of its citizens were (and still are) taught the White-European version of history and viewpoints.

Some progress has been made, but pebbles do not compare to boulders. Pebbles are the first official Federal apology regarding Residential Schools. The boulder in the room is the fact that the Government did not blame any specific individuals; no person was punished from the educators at the front lines of the residential schools, or the creators of such painful policies. This pebble and boulder are atop a mountain of the oppressive Canadian past.

Let’s move back to the official federal apology. Prime Minister Steven Harper, in July of 2009, apologized to all survivors of Residential Schools and admitted that the system was a complete disaster and failure. Residential schools were a result of colonialism, the believed Darwinism of Ethnicities, and assimilation policies of the ‘Canadian’ governments of almost 150 years.

Despite this, in only one year after his apology Harper has stated (at an international conference) that “Canada has no history of colonialism.” Quite the contradiction, ignoring the fact that Canada (and more specifically, Western Canada where the majority of residential schools occurred).

Fast forward to the modern age, and we reach Sir John A. MacDonald’s 200th birthday. On this day, Steven Harper was planning to lay a wreathe and celebrate the day, while Aboriginal rights advocated staged a protest in front of a statue of the creator of Canada. These protesters shamed John A. by stating that he (and by extension-his nation) denied Aboriginal peoples food, water, shelter, human rights, raped, murdered, tortured, and created a war of genocide on Aboriginal culture.

Due to this, Harper and his cabinet decided to cancel the ceremony/celebration of John A, but in a press Conference, Prime Minister Stephen Harper commemorated the occasion under tight security in Kingston, Ont. He described Macdonald as “a shining example of modesty, hope and success,” but also alluded to his reputation as a drinker. No mention was made of his treatment of Aboriginal persons and the policies he fronted or had major influence in.

It becomes clear that Harper’s apology was insincere and I guess was done only to gain a vote. I hope that Harper changes his recognition of the past atrocities of Aboriginal persons, or that a new leader whom truly repents for the past and present (and subsequently makes the future brighter) comes in soon.