Mental Health is Around US All!

I was doing some planning and programming this weekend and started looking as I usually o at things going around the world around us in our towns and communities in which we live in and came across something near and dear and also very close to me; Mental Health.

Prior to being hired on in Grand Erie District School Board, I worked many year for Haldimand Norfolk REACH as a Personal Support Worker and Respite Worker. The Agency supports and promotes Mental Health Awareness and those living with Mental Health. I got to see, meet, work and support many living with various forms of Mental Health.

Unfortunately; Mental Health can hit anyone, at anytime throughout our lives! This is not anything we can be prepared for nor prevent; it just happens and occurs BUT we can support and help those living with Mental Health!

I am not going to list the many ways one comes to Mental Health, but more so how we all can help and support those in need. The BIGGEST and MOST IMPORTANT thing is you are NOT going to fix, reduce and or eliminate it for anyone, especially IF that individual is not ready to overcome and move through and ahead of it! Depression is one of the largest forms of Mental Health, it can hit you in many means, forms and fashions.

I am not an expert by any means but I do know what helped me during my experience supporting others living with Mental Health, so here it is:

  1. Be there to LISTEN and really HEAR what’s behind the feelings one may be experiencing (sometimes reading behind the lines you can gather insight into the cause and means of this individual acquiring Mental Health).
  2. Provide you time for anything that may be needed; a walk, a talk, a coffee. This could be a trip to the movies, grocery shopping a doctors appointment (Its the TIME you spend that helps ).
  3. Its the QUALITY not QUANTITY you provide! Gifts do not and will not help! QUALITY TIME is HUGE and means more then you can imagine for those living with Mental Health.
  4. Its not about YOU and how YOU are helping, its all about THEM! (Do not get me wrong it always makes me feel good to help another BUT it IS about them!).
  5. Lastly PATIENCE is key! In time one may be able to move on through their struggle, sometimes it may never happen but your patience and time is very helpful and important!

Being there for someone is the BIGGEST thing you can do! Mental Health is not something you need to fear, more so be aware of! Know what it is / could be and possibly even review and reflect upon yourself a friend or family member. I know throughout my life I have gone through periods of depression myself, but being aware and seeking support and help is key!

Do not be shy, cautious around others and hid your struggle; use your voice and share your struggle with others as they may need to hear it too, just knowing you are not alone is something key to consider too!

This week on Wednesday, January 25th is Bell Lets Talk Day; Lead once again by Clara Hughes. I am excited to take my grade 3’s into this day looking at Mental Health Awareness; discussing it with our awesome media man at Grand Erie; Shawn McKillop. We will partake in Skypes, texts and tweets to help raise funds to support the cause / awareness as BELL will donate 5 cents per text, tweet using #BellLetsTalk hashtag etc… please see their website for more details!

If anyone else could and would consider being a guest speaker and Skype us learn more about Mental Health please feel free to email; joseph.archer@granderie.ca or tweet; @ArcherJoe I would love to connect and provide my students with more insight into Mental Health!

Be well and reflect everyone!

 

 

 

A Coding Reflection…

A while back (just after Christmas) I wrote a blog in regards to Checkers; which low and behold uses and works with primitive coding language long before programming even came out.

Last night while training with Norfolk Fire on our yearly update and renewal of First Aid / CPR and AED training I witnessed and realized another super important piece of equipment; an AED has programming and coding behind it as well. Talk about wanting to ensure your programming is PERFECTION, this IS the ultimate life saver!

When an AED’s pads are applied to the body, the AED itself is reading and looking for sinus rhythm, otherwise known as a pulse (which looks like jumping lines…picture your heart beating, each beat the line jumps). The AED is reading what the pads are taking in and relating it to a few different types of previously imprinted pulse checks (i.e., normal reading, cardiac arrest and no signs of life – layman’s terms). The AED goes through each of the aforementioned to see what matches the current reading (Coding language for repeating circuit until blank is achieved), once it finds a match the NEW AED’s (found throughout all communities within public buildings; libraries, schools arenas to name a few) it tells / informs you what to do (i.e., shock advised / analysing / no shock advised), IF no shock continue CPR for 2 minutes, every two minutes the AED runs the ‘Loop’ sequence again to determine ‘IF’ there are any changes, “IF so then do this…..’ may imply ‘shock advised (since no pulse detected and we need to shock the heart to support rescue breathing), IF shock is sent then immediately continue CRP for another two minutes.

This CPR and AED training is pre-programming us Fire Fighters to remember a sequence of event IF this happens or that, so in reality we are being ‘coded’ / programmed ourselves by trainers who were previously programmed by another; hence back to yet more coding and repeats / circuits.

This got me thinking; and when my mind hits the ‘I wonder’ program its lights out crazy upstairs and anything can transpire and occur, endless possibilities and not enough sleep. Now, being an educated person whom internally needs relentless amount of evidence (hence the career choice) to prove anything is exactly true without a shadow of doubt, I wonder if there is a coding language behind the creation of existence?!?

Wow eh?!!? Being an atheist is HARD, I would sincerely love to fall into faith based beliefs BUT my personal belief system, how I think and require to run my life is solely ran by requiring evidence to prove existence or truth in an exterior ‘Being’ or some sort.

BUT, think of it this way…IF things went BANG (flashback to Sheldon and Leonard – The Big Bang, love this show by the way), then this happened, IF things inter-mingled, THEN this occurred and CHANGED into something more or dare I say better (Homo-sapiens), IF these ‘things’ banged various items together eventually they get a cool reaction from rock and create…FIRE. Seems to me like lots and lots of pre-determined loops / circuits, statements and IF statements….low and behold ‘CODING’ –

I live my life outside the box, I am not a faith based believer in anything until I see evidence! BUT I AM a believer in ALL THINGS HAPPEN FOR A REASON and that it is the UNIVERSES way of keeping you on your pre-determined but malleable, bendable path.

So, now I come back to my job as an educator; I got an itch to read, investigate, try, learn, fail and dabble with technology from an old principal; Dennis Wright to help support my Special Education Students with their learning. While reading, going to workshops, conferences and trying new things out I met many new people along the way whom help me learn more and more about the amazing features technology can offer everyone! And now, I find myself doing the same for my teaching students; directing them in the same manner, fashion Dennis did for myself (LOOPS and CIRCUITS) or upon further reflection IF (Dennis hooks Joe), THEN (Statement) Joe is now programmed to run the loop to those he runs into as while (colleagues, teaching students etc…) – what an tangled web this CODING THING is!

I have to say, this coding thing has brought me somewhat closer into considering an Exterior Being or an Existence of Something / Someone….wondering where String Theory is at and IF Coding could help support String Theory!?!?

I think I am now going off on a endless tangent so, checking out!

Until next time I get the itch to share….’IF (statement) I run into a new wild and crazy thought or experience….ahhh crap there I go again!

 

Strong Start Reading Program; A New Prespective

This school year marks my third year being the Strong Start Site Coordinator at Hagersville Elementary school. We have grown our program over the years to include up to 10 + volunteers and over 20 + students within one round. The amazing volunteers that have come, gone, stayed and recently began have supported over 85 students at the conclusion of this round (concluding January 2017). We have had some wonderful parents, grandparents, adult volunteers and recently a recently retired teacher; Jo-ann Dunns.

The actual empowerment that students walk away with from these direct one to one experiences with trained volunteers is phenomenal from a teachers standpoint. Students leave room twice a week (30 minutes each time) for ten weeks to gain support with letter, sounds, building words and words knowledge to support classroom teachers guided reading programs from SK-Grade 2 and some grade 3’s requiring additional support.

Below is a link to a short cameo I did for Strong Start last year discussing the program and its applications for students and teachers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCVN_pF5V_4

The next link is our awesome principal; Janice Hughes discussing the program as well;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0EQks8Yd_c

The reason I blog regarding this amazing program at this time is how I have now experienced a new side / perspective of Strong Start; as a parent. My son; Xander is in grade 1 now, at the conclusion of his kindergarten education he was still an A reader, still requiring to learn many letters, sounds let alone trying to decode sight words in print.

Last year my wife joined us volunteering at Hagersville Elementary; she received the training and worked two rounds of Strong Start with us. Shannon also is part of Lakewood Elementary Schools Parent Counsel and when it came up last year at a meeting after hours, she raved about the program and strongly supported Lakewood adopting and acquiring the kits to begin Strong Start at Lakewood. Along side the LRT teacher; Shannon and many other Port Dover volunteers are now delivering the program within my own community I live in, where OUR kids go to school. This was HUGE for me being a strong advocate for this awesome program!

What transpired and is still currently occurring I did not expect nor foresee. Xander was admitted into the program working on letters and sounds to support his sight word vocab and reading. Along side lots and lots of hours spent after school reading various books, doing Giraffe Sight Words from Dolch Lists (Thanks Jen Abbott-Smith for supporting and pushing him) he is now an Independent C reader by Christmas and an Instructional D reader.

What I enjoy more is that he is actively asking and driving us nuts at home after hours, on weekends, at the rink in the car asking to read more and more and more! What I have witnessed as a parent is something remarkable I did not see as a Site Coordinator. We hear from parents how much their child has improved, but today I am able to say I see it, I have live through the painful trials and tribulations of watching my child struggle to now seeing the grin from ear to ear when he gets a new book. He is one of the most eager kids I know that WANTS new BOOKS (in todays world that doesn’t happen often). So, the transformation for me as a parent is something remarkable….this program has empowered Xander to excel become more confident at reading and as a direct result his writing as well…he has become more willing, able and eager to go to school (we still have rough mornings getting him there but he is doing very well at school). His teacher is quite impressed and happy with the growth and development, but as a parent it is incredible to see the smile upon his face while trying to solve a difficult word, sounding the letters out, doing the blends and ending / beginning sounds, even small words within larger words too.

I wish everyone could see this amazing change in your own children! I strongly suggest you ask for Strong Start at your child’s school. Volunteer and become involved (all it takes is a minimum of 1 hour a week) every little bit helps.

To you volunteers – I cannot say enough at how thankful and impressed I am with my sons growth, my students past, present and future growth to occur – you all are amazing!

The Strong Start program has enlightened school for my son, and as a teacher that’s the greatest gift I could ever get when he was previously apprehensive and reluctant to go to school!

Thank you Strong Start – this new perspective is unreal to see and witness first hand! Sign me up for a new testimonial from a parents perspective please!!

 

 

What I learned through HS Co-op this year

So, we are coming down to a little more then a week left with my Co-op student.

I have been taking on Co-op Students for the last 6 years of my 9 years of teaching and have had some wonderful people come through my classroom doors. This year, I had an eye opening experience that has brought me to tears a few times (and I AM NOT a sentimental guy – unless it comes to my family or my Wings), so I wanted to share my experience and my 2017 resolution is to blog more and low and behold here it goes!

She arrived early in the school year with us, as a full time Co-op Student (Full Days) at the request ,of my principal to attend MY classroom. This was somewhat ‘off’ from past  ways of taking on Co-op students, but I am always open for a challenge and adventure. What I experience though was something I was not foreseeing.

She came in unbelievably shy, very quite and would always somewhat reverted into a self-conscious shy demeanor as such is her personality. Overtime, she came out of her shell; started talking more and asking questions. I try to ensure people are comfortable before pushing them outside their comfort zones (this is something I try to do for growth and development for all around me – especially students, HS Co-op students, College and University Students alike).

This girls mother works diligently in our schools Parent Council and supports the Nutrition Program and after talking a few times with her and gaining a little more insight into Natalie as a person I knew I had a gem in which to work with. She is a genuinely kind hearted yet shy individual that always put others (the students) ahead of herself.

So setting to work, I gave her a reading group to work with daily, which began with me providing materials and within a week she took off on her own developing ‘next steps’ occasionally with a little support from me, which then lead to completely on her own. I would read through her notes and student work and the growth was fantastic to see. A highschool co-op student doing what we educators do on a regular bases with NO TRAINING at all. This lead me to believe there was so much more to and behind this girl, so she was asked to oversee ‘The Game of Things’ which is a card game every morning, that got my reluctant writers within my room writing daily on funny and engaging topics. After a couple of weeks of doing this she seen that they were becoming less and less engaged; so she tweaked the program and made it her own (similar to what we do as teachers) engagement rose again and they are now within their 10th week of this daily writing program.

Along side this she has asked if she could try more, which shocked me at first as I did not foresee her shell being exposed and released. This was the moment that I personally seen the caterpillar becoming the butterfly breaking out and becoming something amazing. She created sways for art, challenged students thinking behind everything we did, supported when needed but never providing the answers. She began using ‘Teacher Talk’ without realizing it, using probing questioning, getting the kids to inquire thoughts deeper to improve their work, all of which was on her own. Now whether it was unconsciously or not I am not sure, but she had evolved from the shy, quite very, very self-conscious person in September into a confident contributing member to the classroom teaching team.

Now, I have had other high school co-op students o very well, but I haven’t never had a Co-op Student have her final assessment as an actual lesson (plan and actually doing the lesson with the students). This, was requested by her High-school Co-op Supervisor. Normally I would be a little worried that this may be too much for a co-op student; but…I am not worried at all, she will have no problem completing this at all, not a doubt in my mind. Her plan of attack is perfect and will be differentiated for ALL students, engaging and provide a great learning opportunity that also encompasses technology as well.

Backtracking about two maybe three weeks prior to Christmas I remember having a conversation with her regarding future aspirations. She wasn’t entirely sure what her aspirations were; I had mentioned that she should consider something with kids, possibly even teaching. I do not think nor believe it was even within her mindset nor thoughts….so I left it as is and let it percolate.

Fast tracking ahead to this past week, she wrote a letter that took me off my feet. Within the letter she stated this was a learning experience that opened her eyes and now she has set her sights towards teaching. Reading this letter was inspiring and remarkable, as I took a couple of days to digest the words within it. A girl whom walked into our classroom, incredibly shy to the point of becoming red in the face each time she spoke beyond a whisper, evolved into an adult with a goal in mind the profession in which I love!

Taking this 4-5 month journey with her was great to see that behind all the things we do as educators; the up’s and downs, challenges and success’s people are watching and seeing how we interact, experience and build rapports. This girl and I did not have many one to one conversations as I typically do with teaching students, but….she took it all in! She did so her way, made it all hers and tried, failed, tried again did better and continuously pushed herself outside her comfort zone…now the once shy student I knew is now taken a step towards teaching!

The letter itself was hard to read because it reflected her growth as a person without direction towards an adult with a goal to become similar to myself! Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and think, that was a rough day, or am I doing right by the students? But, its times and occasions such as this where you know you are doing something right! I think the best part for me was the face to face I recently had when she informed me that she would be doing a co-op again next year and that I was not allowed to leave for another school as she WAS and WILL be coming back to my classroom again! She wasn’t asking, she was telling me it would be happening…that’s the go get it attitude that I did not believe was within the shy girl in September! Look out for this one people (especially if she is backing up in a car- hehe insider joke) she is going to do something remarkable!

I always enjoy taking on all types of students and usually try to keep track in some form or fashion! I have to say that this one hits home a little more then the others because upon reflecting deeper as to why; she reminds me of myself growing up…shy, quite not the greatest marks and no goal in mind, just trying to get by! I found myself in a similar situation as a high-school co-op student in a classroom at Doverwood Public School. My experience here lead me to believe I had an unknown love for working with kids;so  I went to Fanshawe College for Early Childhood Education, then off to Brock University; then a Masters Degree in Elementary Education at D’youville College….and now 9 years as a teacher – time flies when you are having fun!

My high-school co-op experience set my sights and goal on teaching and I worked incredibly hard to get where I am today, but without that original experience in co-op I may never have gotten here now! So, thanks Karen Peters, Jen Abbott-Smith (whom both taught my own kids now) for pushing me in this direction so I can do the same for others similar to myself….I hope to one day be able to do what I can do with them; calling them my colleagues (Which actually happened this past week with a former Nipissing Student – way to go Nick!) with her and all the others walking through my door! This stuff makes MY job the best job in the world, seeing the future unfold and unravel itself live before your eyes…this was an experience that I will take with me throughout my career and reflect upon after those tough days that will happen!

A big shout out and ‘Thank You’ to Natalie for showing me that inside all people is greatness, hope and inspiration waiting to be released into action…you are up girl, look at all those challenges and overcome them all! Set your goals and aspirations high and don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do it!

See you next year, not sure in what form or fashion but I am in for the journey sitting behind you in the corner if needed!! Best of luck in all of your future endeavors!

Micro:Bits Coming to @HESGEDSB

Hello all!

After scanning @Twitter on my professional digital PLN and discussing @Makeymakey with @mraspinall (aka Brian Aspinall) Program Director of STEM Education from Fair Chance Learning @FCLedu Brian was kind enough to offer some Micro:bit kits for us at Hagersville Elementary, which will arrive next week!

We are super excited to continue our educational exploration into the amazing world of coding and programming. I am always blown away with how the world somehow ‘knowns’ and ‘grows’ along with your own means and interests, as I ventured from Kindergarten last year into grade three this year. It so happens that my group of students in grade three are so adaptable, willing, eager to explore all things ‘Archer’ I say….by this I mean that I myself have a keen interest in bringing education into the 21st century. I find 21st Century Learning so fascinating and important for our future and my students, just so happen to feel have the same interests!

So I have been working diligently after hours trying to keep up with all the amazingly new opportunities to provide ‘Archer’s 3’s’ with, and low and behold; Mr. Aspinall offers yet another new avenue to explore and work with! We are so happy and eager to receive and begin our learning with Micro:bits. We watched video’s and read about them on Friday (I will be honest, the kids become very intrigued and we spent far more time investigating then I originally planned) but it just goes to show me, THIS is the group for ME! This class and I were meant to be together this year for some strange reason and the universe brought US all together to explore and share our experience!

To date we have brought in Scientists in School, Kara Golani @karagolani (Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator) for Minecraft, Sway and Office Mix. We have networked throughout our board Via Skype for our RMS Math; which GEDSB is supporting now to enhance Math. We have used Skype to visit various places in the world, twitter to network and share our learning globally and so much more! I am thankful that our awesome principal; Janice Hughes linked my up with these incredible kids and has allowed me to explore my keen interests and engagement in 21st century learning and technology! 2016 was very kind professionally for me and I know with the engagement and tenacity of my students, they will continue to push my professional learning to the extremes in order to expand their educational journey this year alongside myself in learning.

The most amazing thing I see happening within my classroom is the interest in expanding and always going deeper and deeper into things. There has yet to be an endpoint, the students are always asking ‘would I be able to do this with that?’ or ‘can we try to do this next week / time’; answers which I will be honest I have no idea at all, but…..Twitter my bestest friend in the whole wide world this year allows me to explore and answer these questions for my students via my digital PLN.

I read a book by George Couros; The Innovators Mindset, which blew my mind over the summer. George says its ok not to have the answer but important to be willing to explore them and be innovative and expand others ideas, thoughts and understandings even more so then the current idea. Collaborative is key, its the be all and end all that I personally am trying to instill within my students. The funny thing IS when it comes time to personal reflection and dare I say it ‘tests’ they get upset they cannot trouble shoot and support one another….not for the right end answer BUT for an answer, a means and reason that explains how they got there and why this answer is far more superior then the other! Now, to me that’s empowering, that’s inspiring and that IS Innovative!

My students challenge me every day, even the difficult ones (as all educators know) but not behaviourally, more educationally. Reflecting within my digtal PLN via Twitter has empowered me to become the teacher I believe they ‘my students’ need to reach a new standard in learning. By this I do not mean A’s or Level 4 but a 21st century learner, one in which explores things within an inquiring mindset, searching for people to support their own personal learning to enhance their current understanding and find someone with similar interests to explore in greater detail alongside them as well.

Looking ahead Micro:bits, Makey Makey, Minecraft Edu, coding and programming will become stronger in 2017 because of these students. I am eager to receive the Micro:bits next week….not since its a new ‘toy’ to explore and play with (well a little) BUT to see what my students will ask and wonder and to push me to explore and investigate alongside them! That is my excitement and that is why our profession is the greatest in the world – we get to create tomorrows future in todays students….so excited to see the outcomes!

Look out world here comes Archer’s 3’s!!

 

X-men; First Class…a concept to consider… ‘X-Educators’

Watching X-men; First Class today with my little buddy!

I cannot help but think and reflect upon our jobs as educators and consider our job and the power we have within our grasp similar to the X-men which we can inflict, instill and most of all empower into our students, families and communities in which we all work within.

We have an uncanny ability to mold, model and create citizens of the future; of which will be our leaders, innovators and even friends at some point in time. These students we see, create and provide learning opportunities for each and every day will become those of which will run, work and support our towns, communities potentially even Country one day. These will be the individuals in which oversee the world for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

We have a responsibility to ensure we provide our past, current and future students with all they will require, need and use to make our world productive, proactive and supportive for all! Learning opportunities come and go, but inquiry and problem solving are behind all types of curriculum content and strands we are covering throughout the year. By taking things into a new realm, flipping a classroom and letting the students become the leads in the learning is at a pinnacle at this point in time. Problem solving in a collaborative inquiry manner will be extremely important for them to instill and become superstars, champions even at this type of learning.

Gone are the days of full teacher directed, book read and summarize of information, now is the time of constant reflections, innovation and collaboration with one another globally across all boarders, time zones. The world of technology provides us with the X-men super power to ensure this means of learning become innate and natural.

Microsoft with their O365 account with all the tools of the trade; Onenote, Word, Excel, Sway, Office Mix, Forms, Planner, Skype for Business, Calendar and ever more on each given day allows us ‘X-Teachers’ to become leaders in innovation and determination to pass the sail and the buck onto our students. These tools provide strong collaborative means in which to take ones idea and transform it with others via the Internet through sharing, collaborating, changing and adapting an idea into something unreal, something surreal and amazing! We need this type of leaders for our future as old people on this planet, I WANT this type of leader for my children, grandchildren, great grandchild, nieces, nephew’s, past, present and all future students!

Its time to become the new wave of educator! Dare I say ‘X-Educators’ lead with our super powers of creating a new mindset, a new model citizen that is adaptable, collaborative in nature and will seek answers without fear, trepidation and worries, as they know they can reach out for support to anyone globally for support from experts in any area of interest / need. Its time to instill this passion to go beyond boarders of books, classrooms and even one given job.

Lets mold and create a new wave of student that will challenge us mentally to become better, stronger and innovative ourselves. To ensure their growth and development changes and WE along side our empowered students will become that much more empowered and stronger as well to create a world that we can be proud of, that we can ensure is great, endless and amazing for all future generations even after we are gone!

I cannot help but think the X-men would reflect upon their powers endlessly and constantly try their darnest to ensure they utilize their ‘gifts’ to ensure the world becomes a better place! Growing up I always wanted to be a Hockey Player, but many things got in the path, altered my direction in life and lead me to education. I cannot help but think, similar to ‘X-men’ we educators are ‘chosen’ somehow, by someone because we all have a distinct uncanny quality to reach out and support all types of learners by any means necessary, if not we would not have reached this pinnacle position in our given communities!

Educators ARE superhuman role models that can instill, empower and create a new mindset within citizens for the future…we ARE ‘X-men’ ourselves….we ARE ‘X-Educators’!!

Let 2017 be the year we step up to the plate and bring forth a new wave of student a new mindset…will you reflect upon your practise, philosophy and profession and join the force of greatness?

Blogging in 2017

So, here we go again!

This year one of my personal professional resolutions is to try blogging much ore often sharing and networking with others.

Just recently tonight I was chatting via twitter (please follow @ArcherJoe) with a friend @Mrs_Gozzard aka Cynthia whom read my past blog. She mentioned she would love a room to try new things with and I was thinking with the world of technology even though Mrs. Gozzard is not a classroom teacher using Skype and her amazing technological skills she could teach within ANY classroom. Being one of my fellow MIExpert colleagues Cynthia is always willing and able to try out an abstract idea and or concept and make it reality! So, eager to see what transforms from this conversation!

Blogging itself is another way of networking! Its a great way to share thoughts and ideas with others. I personally love reading George Couros @gcouros and Angela Maiers @AngelaMaiers their reflections and thoughts always have me pondering and trying new things myself as a professional all through another favourite tool of mine @Twitter. I have found twitter has taken my professional PLN to new heights and levels, its expanded my horizons in math (not a favourite of mine) to a point of confidence now, I use to be afraid and very reluctant die to past experience with Numeracy. Now using my Twitter PLN I am loving Number Talks, skypes with various professionals using Number Talks (Bellview PS @MrshinrichsT and also a Math Instructional Coach @mr_cottam).

Through blogs we hear the voices and experiences of other professionals. We experience the world in their shoes and try to gather and construct meaning from their world into something that could come into our personal classrooms. Blogs are empowering if used and reviewed with a gain of salt. George and Angela are ‘High Flyers’ yet IF I take something from anything they imply and share its more than what I had prior to reading the blog. A word of warning; do not become someone else, do not try exactly what others are doing and become worried you are not as good as others…make IT (whatever it may be) yours. Take that ‘Something’ and put an ‘Archer Spin’ on a ‘Couros / Maiers’ idea. You are not, nor will ever be them, so be ‘Innovative’ as @gcouros consistently blogs about and make you mark!

One of my most favourite people to converse with; Norma aka @NormaGEDSB (Whom is a curriculum connection Goddess) always pushes my limits and always informs me to share my thoughts and experiences (stay tuned for our Mbot experience prior to Christmas). Blogging will be my voice, my mode of transferring my experience to you all, along with twitter! These two tools can an will transform your educational philosophy, professional boundaries and bring new and exciting experiences / inquiries and learning to classroom around you not only yours!

Become a voice! Become a member of the Grand Erie PLN using Blogs and Twitter to share the success’ and even failures! As failures are sure fire signs of attempts of trying something new! Failures are the strongest means of learning, failing is the true journey towards achievement and understanding! Blog about this, these, everything and anything you are wondering and pondering! Blog about questions you may have, do not be afraid to as for help! Twitter has many ears, and many experienced ‘failures’ whom have overcome odds and found a success behind multiple attempts….if someone can’t help, twitter PLN’s know of someone whom can help, or even someone who may know someone else that may know someone!

Let the 21 century technology and blogs / twitter be your greatest asset heading into 2017!

Best wishes in 2017 GEDSB and all Educators globally! I thoroughly look forward to ‘failing and overcoming’ with you all this new year! Lets Make It Grand (Like that spin on things GEDSB?).

Please share your blogs with me via twitter! I love reading them @ArcherJoe so I can take them all back to @HESGEDSB and @JaniceGEDSB (Our awesome principal at Hagersville Elementary).

Let the Blogging begin……

Coding is it all around us?!?!

Coding…sounds simple; and it is, but so much more behind the simple process of coding and programming may be a lot more then what I originally believed!

So, a short little anecdote to this was about three weeks back my son received a checkerboard set for Christmas. He was eager to learn and play so I set out teaching him the game of checkers. To my surprise I began using language and terminology similar to coding (I.e., statement, if statements and circuits). As we were walking through steps to moving pieces on the board, I began; “Prior to moving think this…’if I move my piece here….this could / would happen’ always keep you finger on your piece and always ensure you have a second option, or even a third….and also think is there a better option or choice” we began moving and playing and my busy son stated; “Dad, this is just like Box Island on my Ipad”

For those of you whom are unfamiliar with Box Island; this would be the most basic apple based coding I personally have found. My three year old children play it, as well as my former kindergarten friends. Box Island does all the basic statements but in left, right, forward an backwards manner slowly increasing in difficulty as you complete each problem at hand. I would HIGHLY suggest this app as a primary step towards becoming fluent in code.

Funny looking back and not knowing prior to our checkers session that behind the game of checker itself is coding. I was flabbergasted and also thought I need to keep an open mind and reflect to see if coding is behind anything else I did not realize. Well, low and behold coding jumped out again while visiting my mother in law and trying to set her thermostat. While programing the thermostat I had to set times and temperature settings, which then increased in difficulty when changing the ‘routine’ during the work week….I thought there must be an easier way….wait coding says circuits can help, so by taking a short series of temperature settings I could program / code a sequence during the work week hours, yet also pre-program the majority of the after hours temperature settings, as well as weekend settings as well. Hmmmm is coding behind everything??

Think; I have a keyless entry to my truck, ‘if’ I hit this button is locks, ‘if’ I hit that button it unlocks, ‘if then I want it to preheat’ before driving to work I can set the circuit and turn on and run my trucks engine for 5/10/15 minute durations. ‘If’ I also set more code behind that I can pre-program and or turn up my windshield defroster ‘if’ its really cold outside. Wow more coding!!

Now, being a man of science and requiring much more then faith to fully believe, could a ‘being’ of some sort and matter pre-program and develop reality the way we see and live within it via code? This is where I am at now behind and with my ‘coding understanding’ – maybe ‘String Theory’ needs some coding understanding behind the quantum physics and whatnot before I can fully become fully immersed within the believers releam. I want to believe, I really, really do BUT the academic within me says I need evidence.

Can anyone prior insight into this for me?!?! I would love to hear others thoughts and ideas behind this!!

Also please provide other examples of code in our natural world to show the power and evidence of a grand designer ‘if’ possible…..

 

2017 Here we come!

Hey All!

Been a while since last posting, but looking ahead to a new year a transition if you will into a new unknown uncharted territory…

Just like any new experience we are entering a time of unknowns, no pre-written history nothing whatsoever….a new year means starting fresh and taking chances, making leaps and bounds and trying something new you may have been pondering about for a while now. Well 2017 is here is and your time is now, if you ever considered / thoughts of trying something new ‘get to it’ now!

As I look ahead I am thinking continue expanding my horizon within the new primary / junior classroom in grade 3. Continue my personal growth and development in math (not my thing, but trying hard) with my ‘tech spin’ on the math and ‘Number Talks’ supporting my personal growth. A big thanks to Jennifer Henrichs at Bellview for meeting often through Skypes to share and connect with Number Talks! Such a powerful tool and using Skype brings our vast Board so much closer together in our learning journeys!

A close friend and colleague Krista King and I are venturing with former Nippising student; Nicholas Reynolds and current student Presley Sibbick on opening our doors after hours for inspiring parents to learn the new wave of educational tech. Monthly at Hagersville Elementary we are offering training on various programs such as Onenote, Sway, Office Mix, Snip, etc….lots of amazing tools within the Microsoft O365 Account that are free for parents and all students in Grand Erie! I am looking forward to working with this team of great educators to support our parents at home to support the Board’s Parental Engagement piece of Director Blancher’s 5 year plan.

Moving ahead within the classroom my students and I will be venturing and exploring Onenote Classroom Notebooks, along side parents. By using this tool we can get closer to a paperless model classroom. This is going to be a rather large leap, Onenote; although super useful is very abstract for grade 3 students, however based on the work to date I think we are ready to explore this new learning environment.

Something we are looking at is bringing a Camp 21 into Hagersville Elementary for parents, community members and all educators within the surrounding area. I was lucky enough to go to Hamilton, Brock Campus during the summer and experience a Camp 21 there, and my lofty goal is to expand this concept and bring to Hagersville this year. This is a HUGE undertaking os not sure how it will pan out, or what this may look like in its inaurgral launch but I am going to try and see what happens.

Professional development has always been a huge reflection piece for myself. I have much more work to do on this field of personal development to reach my own five year goal and plans, hoping this calendar year will get me closer to my goal!

So, reviewing my own work; as I have always been extremely wordy I wanted to keep my postings to a 500 word limit. I am a little over now, so stay tuned for much more to come!