“…girls are less interested in leadership than boys.”

Is that so? Being a girl I remember even when I was young I wanted to be a leader. I wanted to inspire people, I wanted to be Mother Teresa, I wanted to be Gandhi, I wanted to be Martin Luther, I wanted to be the president of United States of America (even though I have never lived in USA), and I wanted to be a superhero amongst other things. At the same time I wanted to be liked, I wanted to have friends; I wanted to be a “pleasant” person–whatever that means. For the longest time I was called bossy and pushy and stubborn because I know what I wanted and I was very clear about it. I am at a point in my life now where I don’t really care if someone thinks I am “bossy” but as a young girl this word haunted me in my sleep. Being the oldest of three children at home I was always expected to take a leadership position, there were no questions about it, but in school it was a big no-no. Girls were meant to be likable beings that cared about how they looked more than they cared about being a leader. And I was one of those who cared about both. Every time I wanted to take a leadership position in an activity that involved both boys and girls, instantly I was told I am being bossy and that I need to “cool it”. It’s been couple of years since this has bothered me but it has left its scars on me.

I love #BanBossy campaign. Words hold so much meaning than we think. Tell a girl that she is bossy and she will be scared to be leader for the fear of not being liked. We need to tell our children that they could be leaders, doesn’t matter if they are boys or girls. On my way to work couple of days I heard a very good piece about why we should ban bossy on the radio by Matt Gallowy. Click here to listen to it. In this interview we have people on both side of the argument, on that supports the campaign, and one who supports the initiative but not the campaign. There is another very profound B word that females are called in workplaces and schools and it’s looked down on and is banned in many workplaces. Bossy should be another B word that is banned. Who we are going to achieve is by getting EVERYONE involved. I want men and women to all be standing behind this campaign and support it.

Celebrities are now also starting to stand behind this initiative, and here is what they have to say.  

I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.

 

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So I know I havent posted anything here in a WHILE, I have been just crazy busy with school, internship, work, volunteer, and life. It has been crazy 3 months and I have a feeling its going to get crazier. So like I mentioned I am currently interning at George Brown College as a TA. This has been one of the most challenging experience for me. This is mainly because of my hectic work/life schedule. I am having a hard time focusing on my priorities and dividing my time equally to all of them. I know for me writing about things always makes them clear for me, so from now on I am going to try to write here weekly (hopefully!!) about my stuff that happens to me at school, work and at GBC.

That being said I have also had some wonderful experiences at GBC and it has thought me a lot and to a certain extent solidified my belief that I am at the right place. For someone who has doubted about what they are doing in life is really for them or not, this is very important epiphany to have.

Anyone reading this: how do you deal with work/life stress? can you give me any tips on how I can balance these things better?

Gummies Playground App Review

Gummies playground is an interactive educational app that is designed for children between 2 to 4 years old. This app is designed and distributed by Squink Games, and is available on Google Play, App Store, and Amazon.

Gummies playground is basically a series of short games that focus on the areas of mathematics, object recognition, and alphabets. The game has three levels of difficulties ranging from the development level and the age of the child. These level include easy, medium and hard. The “easy” level or level one is for children between the ages of 2-3, at this level there are plenty of clues that are provided throughout the games. As the level go further there are few and few clues and the more games and concepts are introduced. Level 3 or the “medium” level is directed towards ages 3-4 and level 3 or the “hard” level is for children ages 4 and up. The challenges these two level are focused more on the academic part of children’s development and introduce new concepts, for example when children play at “medium” level there are shapes like octagon and diamonds which are not available to children in the “easy” level, the words that children have to spell get longer. Also for example when playing in level 3 or the “hard” level there are things like patterns that children have to remember and where children have to spell a word. An interesting feature of this game is that at the end of the series of the games children get to pick a character and with this character and other character children could make their own song. There is plenty of motivation that is provided throughout the game, and children are encourages to be creative.

This app does not have any ads in it, and does not integrate with any social media. There is however an in-app purchase that needs to be made if you want to access this app more than once a day. The price of getting unlimited usage of this app is $2.06 (for those living in Canada). There are variety of characters in this game and most of them are gender neutral so this game is suitable for either gender.

There are many great features of this app some of these features include the variety of media used, positive feedback, and the interesting manner that it’s presented (Goyne, 2000). As Goyne mentions in her article “Practical Guidelines for Evaluation Software” that use of “vivid graphics, animation, video and sound can bring concepts to life” this app definitely provides that to its user. The sounds used in the game are very life like and very interactive. The visuals are simulating and colorful at the same time being simple enough so children are not overwhelmed by them. Another aspect of an effective software that Goynes mentions in her article is feedback that the software gives (Goynes, 2000), and how is it given. Gummies Playground does accomplish this on a certain level. When children make a mistake the software somehow shows children what they are doing wrong with “high error tolerance” (Goyne, 2000). For example for the matching level when the two objects that the child picks are not same it shows why its wrong by placing the objects right on top of each other. Another thing to consider when assessing whether a software is effective or not is to see whether children will actually enjoy it. The children will definitely enjoy the funny and colorful gummies. With graphic being simple and enjoyable at the same time attracts the attention of the player right away and makes it interesting for children. Goyne does mentions that the age, gender, interest and academic level of the student is important when it comes to if the user would be interested in this app for long (Goyne, 2000) Gummies Playground definitely achieves that with its diversity of characters and ability to fit the divers age range of children between 2-4 years old.

That being said, there are aspects of this software that could be considered as its limitation. Goyne mentions in her article that inorder for a software to be effective it needs to be accessible by students. Though you could download this app for free, the free download comes with only once-a-day play time. If the user wants to access this app more than once there is a charge of $2.06 for Canadian consumers ($1.99 for US consumers). Not every educators would be willing to pay this amount for each an every student that wants access to it (if an educator wants to use this software with the entire class). This charge could be something that turns off parents from this software.

Some of the tips I would offer parents or educators using this software with children would be:

  • This software works best when there are adults actively involved with children while using it. We know from Goyne’s article that in order for a software to be effective it has to allow the child or student to have the opportunity of social interactions (Goyne, 2000). This app definitely gives the chance for adults to interact with the child. Some examples of how you could do this would be to talk to children how the characters in the app are similar or different.
  • Social interactions are important but one should know when to step back and let the child problem solve on their own.

References:

Coffey, H., (2009). Zone of Proximal Development. LEARN NC K-12 Teaching and Learning, 

Goyne, S. J., McDonough, S. K., Padgent. (2000). Practical Guidelines for evaluating Education Software. The Cleaning

House, 73, 345-350

Video:

SquinkGames. (2013, June, 28). Gummies Playground- out now on the Google Play Store!. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kazY180k7o

Images:

http://www.squinkgames.com/squink-games/gummies-playground/

Finding a quality childcare.

One of the biggest challenges that parent come across is finding a quality childcare for their children. I have spoken to many parents and they don’t usually know what they are looking for in a childcare other than timings and the cost.

Find Quality childcare is a website created by  Childcare Resource and Research Unit (CRRU) and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), to help educate parents on what quality childcare looks like.

Below is the link to access this site. I highly recommend this site for parents looking for a childcare for their children.

http://findingqualitychildcare.ca/

P.s this link will be posted under resources for parents page.

Using Technology to Support K-4 Learners- A Reflection

I recently read this following post that I found rather intriguing. This is something that is a big step towards the future of teaching in my opinion.

 Click the bellow link to access the article:

Using Technology to Support K-4 Learners

Here is a little reflection that I did on this article:

This post by Tech News published on June 20th 2013, talks about a new research taking place in couple of school boards in Alberta. For the purpose of the study, researchers provide children from kindergarten to grades 2 with technology like video cameras, gps, motion detectors, software apps; and children from grades 3 to 4 with digital cameras, Google docs, mind mapping software and presentation tools. Children use these technologies in their daily routines and experiments with them while carrying daily activities. Teachers and educators plan curriculum and activities that allow for children to use these technologies. These technologies provide the chance to educators to come up new and innovative ways to interact with children, and in many cases takes children learning and experiences to the next level. Since this research is only in its 1st of total 2 years it’s hard to say what will become of this and whether other school boards would implement something like this or not, but one thing for sure it does give a person a lot to think about.

In many of the classes we have talked a lot about technologies that could be used by or either with children. These technologies and tools are usually something like a software where children could record themselves or write something. This research or study introduces technologies that adults use in their lives to children. If you step back for a minute and think why a 6-year-old needs a gps, or a motion detector. But the beauty of this is that they lean so much by engaging with it. Also we often talk about the purpose of kindergarten or early school to get children life ready, what is a better way to get them ready than giving them the tools that they would be using in the future (or similar tools, my guess is technology would have advanced way too much that this would be outdated) and letting them use it now.

This article is very useful to me as an ECE because it actually opened my mind up. So far I have only thought that apps on iPads or laptops would be useful to me, but the idea of using motion detectors makes me feel excited. Also this article really indicates what the future is going to look like for our field, and we as ECEs need to be comfortable with using these technologies so we can implement this. It might take few years for the entire Canada to catch on to this but my guess is it will happen eventually and couple of years down the road pre-school and kindergarten classes would be equipped with these tools.

As someone who has taken child development for the past two years I am firm believer that children are like sponges. Backed by science and hard-core research we know that children would pick up on things easier earlier in their life compared to later. Introducing these tools to them sets them up for easier time living in a world where technology is so common and crucial. My pedagogy includes that children learn best when they explore things, nature, and their surroundings on their own and as educators our job is to provide them with tools and moral support that foster their learning. As I said before having these kinds of tools available for children  takes their experience of learning to the next level.

I will post the article under the article page if any of you are interested in reading it.

Related readings:

Flexible Pathways to Success: Technology to Design for Diversity

Source image: http://ruthcatchen.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/five-ways-schools-are-using-technology-in-the-classroom-1.jpeg

Source article: http://www.industrymailout.com/Industry/LandingPage.aspx?id=1273856&p=1

The Halton Resource Connection

This morning for my Quality Assurance class we had a visit from two representatives from The Halton Resource Connection in one my classes. The presentation was about two hours long with a lot content. Now let me just say that I enjoyed EVERY SINGLE MINUTE OF IT, and this is coming from someone who is not a morning person and doesn’t like to sit through long seminars. The presenter, and her assistant, presented the materials very well. The presentation was on Inclusion Quality Scale and Caregiver Interaction Scale, so i guess that factor played in their favour as its something I am very infatuated with. They delivered the content by doing groups activities, showing short clips (even though we had many technical difficulties) and discussions.

They also provided everyone in the classroom with a one day free pass, which I thought was great. Just like CDCRP and THRC has many resources for ECEs and parents. Again another membership I highly recommend for anyone living or working in the Halton Region and also for parents that have a child in childcare in Halton Region.

To access the site click here

Again I am going to post a link for the website under the professional development resources page.

Image source: http://thrc.ca/

CDCRP–A great resource for educators

 

 

 

 

Every RECE living or working in the Region of Peel should have membership with CDCRP.

CDCRP offers many professional development resources for not only ECEs but also parents and community members. Be it a job bank, professional development courses and seminars, or the opportunity to borrow resources for classrooms, CDRCP has it all. The highlight of this website for me is the webinars and eLearning opportunities, because they could be accessed by anywhere.

Click here to access the CDRCP website

I am going to post a link to the website on the professional development page as well.

Image source: http://www.cdrcp.com/

NAEYC National Conference, DC, NOV 23rd-25th.

If anyone is interested, check out this link.

Under 5

NAEYC National Conference is happening Nov 23rd to the 25th. Featured presenters include; Wolf Trap Foundation, Diane Levin from Wheelock College, and presenters from Temple university, UC-Berkeley an more. Check out the link below for more registration and more information.

http://www.naeyc.org/conference

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How Schools Kill Creativity By: Sir Ken Robinson

http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

 

So I have a question to anyone reading this blog; do you think our school system kills creativity in children? If your answer is no, go watch the video “How schools kill creativity” by Sir Ken Robinson. If you said, then your viewpoints might be a lot similar to Mrs. Robinson.

New lesson plan from Headstart

Here is an activity that you could do in your class (or at home) with children at this time of the year. I did a very similar activity lasy year with a group of preschoolers as a small group activity, THEY LOVED IT!

Under 5

Lesson: Learning with Leaves

Author: Sarah Pounders

Overview

This pre-K activity guides you in using leaves as a tool for practicing basic math skills and introducing some plant science concepts.

Objective: To use leaves as a tool for practicing basic math skills. Materials:

  • A variety of leaves
  • Plastic bags
  • Paper plates
  • Cardstock shape cutouts (circles, ovals, squares, triangles, hearts, and stars)
  • Small blocks, stones, or dried beans
  • Paper
  • PaintLaying the GroundworkTake a nature walk in your backyard or schoolyard and collect a variety of leaves and place in a plastic bag. Note: You do not need to add any moisture to the bag to preserve the leaves for the activity, and in fact adding water or moist paper towels may speed up the decay process.

    Exploration

    1. Working in groups or as individuals, give each child 5 to 10 different leaves. Begin by counting the leaves.

    2. Next, ask students…

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