Tag Archives: learning

Where There are Sparks, There is Fire


Right now, my province is facing the biggest evacuation effort in our history because of wildfires in the North.  More than 13 000 people have been displaced from their homes and their communities and relocated in shelters being taken care of by the Red Cross, the generosity of our people, and other companies and organizations.    My family has a cabin that is located in the middle of some of those fires and miraculously our subdivision has remained unscathed as of yet.  We remain optimistic and hopeful, always knowing that all it takes is a spark of ember to ignite a disaster.  My most sincere thanks and appreciation to all of those men and women who are working to save what they can from Mother Nature’s wrath.

Sparks can cause damage, but after the fire, there will be regrowth and rebuilding.  Nature and the human spirit are both extremely resilient like that.  In our learning, all it takes is a spark to ignite a movement, an activity, or a change in our teaching style.  The sparks that can do that for me and that drive my continued journey as a life-long learning come from a variety of places.

Twitter:  So many good ideas on Twitter!  The people who I follow and who I consider my PLN are so smart and so interesting.  All it takes is an interesting idea and I find myself drawn to research more and make it happen!  Find me here.

Colleagues:  So many talented people doing so many interesting things!  My colleague Bonnie is an absolutely gifted teacher.  She is a Daily 5 Guru, and having seen what she does with that structure I was motivated to learn more, even going to a Daily 5 Conference led by The Sisters.  I love to collaborate with colleagues – some of the best ideas are ones that came up accidentally in a chat session and have created the most memorable experiences for me and for the students!

Real life:  I love being able to take things that are happening in our real world and connect them to my students’ learning, as well as my own.  Often, we are learning together!

Students:  What are the kids interested in?  That often drives how I teach, what I teach, and physical structures in my classroom.  This past year involved a lot of changes in my room as I transformed it to a space that I feel was a better fit for more of my kids.

The thing about sparks is that it takes a very small one to lead to a very big result.  A simple idea becomes a unit.  A student request becomes a project.  An interest becomes a leadership opportunity.

I love when I have an opportunity to try something new.  The small sparks often become wildfires by the time I am done with them!  I love, in this case,  that there is an uncertainty about how it will work out.  I love that I can tell my students, “I’m not sure about this, but let’s give it a go and find out!”  I hope that I am always able to find those sparks to guide me as an educator because if those particular sparks are ever snuffed out, it will be time for me to pack it up.

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“And to learn, you have to be willing to push yourself.”

(Quote by Brandi Chastain)

One of my biggest fears is always that I might fail at something that I try.  I don’t like to fail.  I don’t like if there’s a remote possibility that I will fail.  I wish I could take all the quotes about failure and live them, but it’s hard for me.   Signing up to take the ECMP355 class at the University of Regina was a GIANT step out of my comfort zone.  Having been out of the profession for a number of years and having not been a student for much, much longer, I was terrified that I would not be able to understand, keep up, or relate.  When the Learning Project was introduced to us at the beginning of this term I will admit that I panicked a little bit.  I was afraid that I would not succeed at something that I tried and worse, that since my learning was to be transparent and publicly documented, I would be publicly humiliated.

I have learned some very important things since the beginning of this term.

* I can do whatever I set my mind to.  I am relevant, motivated and intelligent enough to do this.

* Stepping outside my comfort zone is something I need to do more often.

* People are mostly good and supportive.

I substitute taught in a Core French classroom last week.  Grades One to 8, during the day.  I’m not bilingual.  In fact,  I haven’t taken French since Grade Nine but do have basic classroom instructional abilities, verbally and to read.  I amazed myself (and my own children, who I had the pleasure of teaching during the day!) with my abilities and I think that now, thanks to that experience and the confidence that taking this class and doing my learning project has reignited for me, I am going to try to take a French class next year.

This post will serve, also, as a  public thank you to my friends and family who encouraged me, pushed me, and insisted that I take these steps. You know who you are, and I will send you a link to this post to make sure you read it.   Sometimes, I need the push.  Your push helped me more than you know.

Learning is. . .

In our ECMP355 class this week we worked together to put together a slide show using Picnik.  After finding an image using Compfight, to ensure that Creative Commons were in place for it, we each put together a slide to finish the starter

Learning is. . . 

This was my contribution:

Using Picnik, you are given 20 seconds to talk about your slide before it automatically forwards to the next one.  I enjoyed the challenge of explaining my choice within that time constraint!  The points that I was able to make were that I feel that learning is active because it is an active process. For the best learning to occur, participants are engaged and active in their own success.  Learning is energetic and busy, interesting, creative and ever-changing, colourful, artistic, and individual.  And it can be unpredictable.

I really enjoyed seeing the slides that everyone put together in the presentation and hearing their thoughts!