Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Beauty of ECC!

I would like to formally introduce myself as the newest member of the ECC! I feel very lucky to be a member of such an amazing team of teachers. Errin and Aislinn have made me feel very welcome.

I would like to share a few things about myself. I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. During my Education Program at UBC Okanagan, I did one practicum in Grade 2 and the other in Grade 4/5. I really enjoyed teaching both grades and when I graduated last spring, I was open to teaching any grade. The Okanagan area is very difficult to get into as a full-time teacher and I knew that if I was lucky enough to get hired as a Teacher-On-Call, I could easily be doing that for quite a few years before I would get a full-time teaching position.

Close to the end of the summer, my husband and I decided that I should try applying to some other districts to see what would happen. When I saw the posting for an Intermediate Connected Classroom Teacher in School District 74, I immediately started "Googling" to find out what a Connected Classroom was. I came across this blog and the Prezi made by the team last year. I was very intrigued and thought that this would be a great opportunity for me!

When I got hired, I honestly could not believe it. Within less than a week, I went from hoping to get a job as a TOC to having a full-time teaching position.

I first met Errin and Aislinn via video conference, which was an interesting experience because I felt like I knew them although we had not yet met in person. As soon as I met both Errin and Aislinn in person, I knew I had made the right decision by taking this job (which does not feel at all like a job!). I imagine that this is how our students feel, because they meet the other classes everyday via video conference before they ever meet them face-to-face. The students have now had one face-to-face gathering and I'm looking forward to seeing how they interact with each other differently at the second gathering!

The beauty of Connected Classrooms, as a new teacher, is that you have an extra support system. I have heard from other teachers that they often feel alone or isolated in their classrooms. With ECC, I have never felt this way. I think this is the benefit of the ECC for students as well. Our students are living in small, rural communities and with Connected Classrooms, they get to connect with students from other communities. They also get the benefit of having three teachers, which means three different sets of strengths, passion, and knowledge.

I have found that Connected Classrooms also increases the quality of student work. The lessons that we do where students get to share their work, either verbally or in a photo, produce a higher quality of work because students know they will be sharing it. Also, once they see the quality of work that other students are doing, I think it increases their motivation to improve their own work.

I look forward to continuing to learn and grow as part of the ECC team! I am excited to see the continued learning and engagement of the students in the New Year!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Always nice to hear positives from parents...

I cannot believe that four months have already flown on by this school year. I will do my best to post at least once a month for the next few months! For now, a lovely story I wanted to share that originated from a conversation with a parent of one of my students...

At the Christmas Craft Fair this week, I made a point of talking with as many parents as possible. One conversation was particulary enlightening. 

I was chatting with one of the students’ mothers. We were talking about a variety of things and somehow the conversation turned to the Online Literature Circles. She talked about how this was the first time her child had shown an interest in reading novels. This surprised me because if I’d had to guess, I would have guessed that this student has been reading novels for two years. Her mother was so pleased that we were encouraging students to read novels. She read both novels that her child brought home in the nine weeks of Online Literature Circles and she was very impressed with the quality of the literature for the students to read. 
It was great to hear such a positive experience for both a mother and child originating in the ECC! Finally, I think it’s very important to share that I made a point of crediting my colleague Aislinn for having such a flair for finding and choosing wonderful novels for our students (and their parents!) to enjoy.

Image used via Creative Commons license taken by Daryl Marquardt and accessed on December 13th, 2012 from