Over reading break, I was able to meet with an administrator at School District 20 Kootenay-Columbia to discuss Freshgrade and online portfolios and how they are making their way into our education system. We had a great conversation on if she believes that online portfolios will become the new report cards and she believes they will as SD 20 has already been converting to using online portfolios. However, they don’t use Freshgrade they use another platform called My Blueprint. This is another online portfolio that she has said they’ve had some push back from teachers but overall, it has been working really well. From an administrators point of view online portfolios are great because it shows growth rather than 3 check-in points over the course of the year. We also discussed the change in grading and assessment. She informed me that there are now no letter grades from K-9 which I think is a great transition away from students being focused on grades rather than comprehension. We then took a look at the new grading scale that is being used in Vancouver and how the new titles to represent 1, 2, 3 and 4 are not fully meeting, etc. rather using language like beginning, developing, etc. which allows students to not focus on the “grade” they recieve. This plays into using Freshgrade and seeing continuous progress over the year. I also wanted to bring up the question on if parents don’t have access to technology how would they could access their children’s grades. She then told me how they have had 4 parents that don’t have technology at home, one had a phone and could access them through the app, two used the computers from the local library and one came into the school to view their child’s grades. Another benefit of Freshgrade is that all information is protected within our country, so parents and students don’t need to worry about having their information being accessed.
Overall, being able to talk to an administrator about the change in assessment moving to online was extremely beneficial to hear her thoughts on where we were moving with it. She says by the time we are in schools, online portfolios will be in full use. This is why it is so great to be learning this tool right now and become comfortable with it.
I recently spoke to a family friend who teaches within at an elementary school within the Victoria School District. SD61 has been using FreshGrade for a couple years and as a group we were interested in hearing from a teacher about their perspective on FreshGrade.
After speaking with her there were many aspects of the conversation that I found interesting and important. As most teachers would say she said she felt that it was a significant change from the old system that the school district used and was something that all teachers had to change and adapt to. One of the biggest benefits of FreshGrade is that it allows for continuous documentation throughout the school year instead of a report card a couple times throughout the year. She stated that it is easier to manage her work load through FreshGrade instead of having a stressful week of writing report cards when they are due.
Another aspect of FreshGrade that she enjoys is being able to share the students work and progress in a more direct way with the parents. For example in her class each student was presenting a science experiment with a loved one to the class. Through FreshGrade she was able to record a video of the presentations and directly upload it onto the students e-portfolios the same day. This allows for the parents to directly see how their child is working in class and examples of the work they are doing throughout the year. It ultimately allows for better representation of a students work.
Although she did say she found FreshGrade a little bit frustrating when she first began using the e-portfolios because she had to adjust to a completely different system. She stated that now she enjoys this method better she just had to get used to the new technology and ways of documenting her students work.
Overall it was a great learning experience for me to have been shown how to use FreshGrade from a teacher who is currently using it and hearing the benefits that it has for her students, the parents, and herself as a teacher.
For my music final my goal I put is that I would learn one song and be able to sing with it. However, through my learning process, I have changed what my final goal is. I did stick with the song I was going to learn which is “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King with four chords which were AM, F, C and G7. I have practiced this all semester and have felt very confident in my abilities. When I started to try to sing with it I found this to be something that I struggled with. While I am still working on singing and playing, I was unable to reach this goal for my final. I will still be working on this on my own but I rather focused my time and energy in switching between chords well and strumming with only my hand not my whole arm. I underestimated how hard it was going to be to sing and play at the same time. I felt like I lost the beat and would get confused on when to sing, so I am still working on this but didn’t feel confident enough to be graded on it.
Since I felt I was not ready to sing I felt like I needed to try to learn more. I have really enjoyed playing the ukulele and when I go down to the beach, I enjoy sitting there and strumming different tunes. So, I started to look up other songs that I could learn to play. I started learning to play “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz and it has another chord which is G. I just started learning this song a week ago but I have been constantly playing it. I have some difficulties switching between C and G in the song because I just learned how to play G but I will still be working on it afterwards as well. The strumming pattern is different as well but I didn’t find this challenging. It goes down up down up down up but on the second down you play louder which gives it a nice tune. I love this song and playing it so I will be working on making my transitions better. Overall, I feel like I learned so much and pushed myself to try something new. I actually have really enjoyed playing the ukulele, so much that I’m buying my own to continue to learn over the summer.
I found practicing once a day for 15 minutes made a world of a difference because I was actually able to progress. When I started learning “I’m Yours” I played longer because I was really determined to learn the song in a short amount of time, so I think continuing on, I will be able to learn to play more songs. The next song I want to learn is “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” by Elvis Presley because it was my parents wedding song and this year is their 30th wedding anniversary!
I have attached these links to each song I learned:
Sports have always been a huge part of my life and has shaped who I am today. Playing various sports like volleyball, basketball, soccer and field hockey allowed me to be a team player and understand what that means. Teamwork is a huge aspect of teaching because you need to work together as a team with your colleagues, your students and your student parents to provide a positive and safe learning experience. I had the opportunity to fill the leader role on my sports teams and I took this position seriously. I understood that I needed to be uplifting but someone my team could turn to when issues arose. At points it could be stressful but it allowed me to learn how to compromise and lead by example. Sports has been something in my life that always gave me joy but it also allowed me to live a healthy lifestyle. I think as an educator to give my students the same opportunities to having a healthy lifestyle and be part of a team is something extremely important to me.
I have had the opportunity to coach in my community and school. I was able to coach U3 soccer for my community team. This was a great opportunity to make connections to my community and learn a certain skill set to coach such a young age. This taught me to always teach with enthusiasm and to have patience as a teacher and coach is key. I also was able to coach Grade 8 girl’s volleyball in my grade 12 year of high school. This coaching experience gave me a different skill set that has added to my coaching style. I believe that a good foundation of skills, positivity and being patient are just a few things that are key for coaching any age.
Through my experiences travelling I have been able to learn more than I ever imagined. Having the opportunity to see first hand different cultures, religions and histories has broaden my learning experiences and gave me opportunities to use this information in continuing my studies. Learning about history through old European cities, learning about different cultures in South America and learning about different religions throughout Asia are all experiences I find will add to my teaching career. Being able to understand history through monuments and speaking to locals who experienced some major events will add to my teaching when I am discussing social studies or literacy. Understanding different cultures allows me to ensure my class is a safe space for all different cultural backgrounds.
One aspect that guides my lesson planning is ensuring that my classroom is a safe and inclusive environment for everyone. Over the past year I have been able to learn how to provide a safe space for everyone regardless of gender or culture. When creating a safe space it allows our students to be able to learn without feeling judgement when presenting or asking questions. This also allows children from a young age learn to be accepting of everyone’s differences. If we are able to create a space where everyone feels their opinions and feelings matter, students will learn that their voice matters and this will give our classroom many different perspectives that we may have not heard before. I find this is a key aspect to keep in mind when lesson planning because many of our students will suffer from anxiety or another mental illness so we need to be cautious of this and implement a safe environment from day one.