spaces of learing

The class makes me nervous.  I’m slow when going from screen to screen.  I’m not always certain where I should be. 

 I came into this class nervous because I do not process quickly.  I also came into the class wanting to learn specific skills, specific literacies.  I want to know how to set up connections with other classrooms around the world.  I want my students to be able to participate in literature circles with kids from all over the world, I want my students who are doing research to chat with other kids from other places, and, with other students who are researching the same ideas and asking the same questions.  Not only do I want to know how to set up these connections, I want to know where to find them, how to monitor then, how to maintain them, how to end them, and how to keep me students safe while using them.  I also want to know what other questions I should be asking about creating an on-line community of learners.  

 My classroom in the fall has computers and a smart board.  This is just-in-time learning, and more.  I want to be able to communicate with my learners in a way that is close to their own everyday discourse.  I sat in class Wednesday and listened to Dean lecture and watched the rolling chat happen on the screen.  I do not believe one takes way from the other; in fact, I believe that this layering of learning adds to our teaching, and helps, if used well, focuses students.  I will never forget the day an instructor introduced a balloon into a lecture… layers.  What do I want from this class?  I want to learn as many layers as possible so that I can offer as many layers as possible to my st2008 fall internship, halloween and Zoe 045udents. 

A challenge for me will be to find a space between my belief that blogging has an underlying egocentric base and is not necessarily needed as a personal tool for demonstrating, justifying or highlighting who I am.  If you really want to know me, sit on a hill in silence with me, curl up on the end of the bed while I read to Jessy Lee or tag-along in a class with me, that’ll do it.


“Wings Over Wascana”

WOW, or “Wings Over Wascana” Nature Festival, went really well this year. We had snow, but we also had Ozzie, a live Great Horned Owl and a live bat! 

 WOW is a nature festival for both schools and the public.  The festival is designed for anyone interested in investigating Wascana Marsh on their own or through guided tours to learn more about the Wascana wetlands and wildlife.  For the last two years I’ve facilitated the owl pellet dissection during the school day.  During the school day, 200 students from the Regina area explore owl pellets.  Owls digest the soft material (like meat) and the harder materials (like bones fur, feather, teeth) are formed into pellets which owls then regurgitate into pellet before their next meal.  Investigating a pellet can answer many questions about an owl’s ecosystem.

 I was apprehensive about using Burrowing Owl pellets for this major day of dissection because they are a lot smaller than the larger Great Horned Owl pellets usually used for leading pellet dissection.  However, I need not have been worried.  The student started to find rocks in their pellets.  “Cori, what’s this?”  Teachable moments.  There were greater direct links to the little owl’s environment and the reasons why our Burrowing Owls are endangered in a Burrowing Owl pellet than in the hugely expensive Great Horned Pellets.  We still found skulls and jawbones, so the students still had the “oh cook” and “oh, gross” moments.  The sessions were wonderful.  But the links for the teachers to take back what we explored were greater, and I was pleased.  I hope the festival stays with Burrowing Owl pellets.  Having students see, in their hands, the problems of loss of habit due to urbanization, was important.  “You mean they are eating rocks ‘cause they live next door to a Wall-Mart?”  Better teaching and learning in that tinier regurgitated treasure!  – good day.  And too busy to take pictures.. though… CBC was there… I’ll try to find some!