Quad blogger

My first attempt at quad blogging… Angela , Nigel, and Kelcy… I’m doing this now even though it’s out of order….We are having some very bad weather here, being snowbound is the perfect opportunity to begin blog #1
     I live in Oxford,,. a small town in Western Maine… gently rolling hills and home to one mountain that skiers frequent. I was born on the coast of Maine and although my husband prefers the mountains, I miss the ocean.
  I decided I wanted to be a teacher in the sixth grade. I was a good student but shy, so my astute teacher asked me to read to a first grade class while their teacher had her lunch. I was hooked. I attended our state University. Luckily, I got a teaching job right after I graduated. I taught second grade for 7 years. and first grade for eight years. I got pregnant later in life and decided I wanted to stay at home and raise this child and fore go day care.. We moved to the wilds of Northern Maine and bought a farm. There, I learned very practical things like how to grow vegetables and can them up, raise chickens, bake bread, raise and milk the goats, ride a horse and mend fences. I also learned how to stoke 3 wood stoves in that drafty old farmhouse. After nine years of trying to live off the land, I said goodbye to long, cold, often times 60 degrees below zero winters. It was, though, a great experience.One year, I home schooled my daughter.   She was so ready for 6th grade the following year, that she was bored to death! If only her 6th grade teacher had inspired  her and given her the extra push to take responsibility for some of her own learning. I loved the rural life and connecting with the university extension group which taught me everything I know about canning garden produce. I look back on those years with some fond memories….would I go back and live that lifestyle again. Not a chance.
    However,getting back into the work force was not easy. I am now an Ed Tech, fancy name for teacher assistant, in a Primary school. I’ve been there for 10 years, teaching in the Resource Room. Children with learning disabilities come to my room for extra support in reading and math. I love it! I don’t have the hassle of disgruntled parents or the headache of dealing with out of touch administrators. Teaching has changed since I began in 1972 .In some ways for the better, in other ways not so much. When I taught school, we did lots of hands on learning. We cooked, sewed, planted flowers, got involved in the community, We had fun. Some of that is still done in a few classrooms at my school, but not enough. Today, I see little ones stressed, competition is fierce even at the age of 9,  It seems like every time I turn around, pupils are being assessed. In my humble opinion, too  much time is spent on tests and assessments and not enough time cultivating a  true love of learning.
And this  very fact led me to take this MOOC. The instruction that I give is remedial. Many of the lessons need to be very systematic and structured.
Here is the type of instruction that I do every day .

Students are making real progress,but I want them to be excited to come to my room. I took this EDCMOOC  hoping to learn some tech tools to bring into my classroom. I want to add a little fun while learning necessary skills.. School can still be fun.
I came across this quote by Roger Schank  from Willrichardson.com .Schank said, and I agree.
“But learning happens when someone wants to learn, not when someone wants to teach.”
I think that more of my students will want to learn if they can use some web 2.0 tools to enhance their learning.
I’ve certainly had fun so far with my DIY Web 2.0 tools course that Laurie St. Cyr Niestrath recommended.
I’ll certainly have fun when our E-learning and Digital Cultures Course begins. I’ll have fun because I want to learn and I find learning new things exciting.
Until then, I’ll continue to roam the Internet in search of fun things.


5 thoughts on “Quad blogger

  1. HI Willa
    Just read your blog. That country life you led sounds idealic until you experience it I guess. I live in the west Wales countryside but it is nowhere as remote as your place sounded and we rarely drop below -2, we consider that cold. We used to have lots of people form the cities coming to west wales for the ‘good life’ trying to run a small holding, thye soon realised it is bloody hard work.
    Like your husband I love the mountains and go hiking as often as family and work permits.
    I am going to Sicily in April to hike for a week with my pals. I am looking forward to that.

    I was interested to read that you teach children with specuila needs. My wife, Fiona, and I foster an 8 yr old girl called Gabby who has Downs syndrome and her speech, whilst making progress in the last 2.5 yrs with us is still a major barrier to progress. We understand her but others don’t, in fact she is quite a chatter box but some of it is a mystery. If we could find the key to unlock her speech she would develop expotentially.
    We have started using and iPad for words and eye hand coordination and she loves using it although she has a habbit of swiping the screen so we have to start all over again, this of course is because of her attention span which is 2 minutes max.

    Thanks for the post

    • Thanks for your comment Nigel. Looking back, the farm seemed more remote than it actually was and yes it was “bloody hard work” I learned a lot though and the precious time spent with daughter was well worth it.
      Enjoyed our Facebook chat.I will get back to you on the name of the communication tool.

  2. How well you described the remoteness of your life. It is my dream to be more remote. Maybe that’s because I have 4 kids and never a quiet moment. We have to be careful what we wish for! I live on nearly 12 acres, chickens, vegetables, fruit trees and lots of mowing and weeding, but we are only 5kms out of town, So rural, but not remote.

    I agree with your quote, my son finished high school last year and scraped through, just. It was always tumultuous and a troubled time for him both socially and academically. This year he started uni and is flying through with HD’s and Ds. Because he wants to learn, and is learning about things he loves, people. Human geography and sociology. The “teacher” aspect no longer looms large, it is all about learning. Also, there were no real equivalents at school and nothing that inspired him to want to learn.
    As a teacher of adult learners, I find the same thing…. they are there because they want to be and want to learn, much of it is self learning and the teacher and being “taught” is not predominant.

    Laurie contributes some great stuff, doesn’t she!

  3. Thanks for your comment,Angela. Glad that your son has found success at his studies. Hoping to find some ways to motivate and instill a love for learning in my students.using technology and some web 2.0 tools might be the key.
    P.S. we lived on a 100 acre farm, looking back it seemed more remote than it actually was.I’ve really had the best of both worlds …teaching career and stay at home mom. those nine years may have been challenging, but time spent with my daughter was precious indeed.

  4. I’m trying Chris’s map idea when our course starts up next time. I think it was a great connector and motivator, made the world seem so much smaller. I’m also going to try to introduce a storify activity. I think the key might be to use some interesting activities but not too many or the tech side might dominate.
    At the end of our days, it is always time spent with family that we will value the most. Career is rewarding, but not like our kids.

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