education

Who I am

profileHello there! My name is Robbi Keller and I am a full-time teacher in a rural school in southern Saskatchewan! I am currently teaching ELA, History, Social Studies, PAA and Art, although our semester is about to change.

I was raised in Pennsylvania, went to school on a rodeo scholarship (yes, that is a thing) at Montana State University where I earned a Bachelor’s of science in Secondary Education-Social Studies Broad Field (teaching minor in political science) and a Bachelor’s of Art in History. national_champsAs a member of the women’s rodeo team, I finished top ten in the nation three years out of my four years of eligibility. Also, I was a member of the national championship women’s team for Montana State. The coolest thing about all that is that my picture is on the wall in the MSU Fieldhouse!

Before I was married to a Canadian, I was pursuing a teaching minor in Spanish, but dropped that when I decided I was moving to Canada. I  miss speaking Spanish and am currently dusting off my skills thanks to Duolingo and Tinycards!

I am currently taking EDTC 400 for professional development and I really like learning about education technology. I took Katia’s class Winter 2017 and really enjoyed it so when I saw this class was offered this semester, I jumped at the chance to learn more!

I’m considered the “techy” teacher in my little school, introducing my colleagues and students to tools such as Powtoon, Google Drive, and Evernote! I want to begin integrating tools such as Google Classroom to help streamline procedures such as handing in homework  and giving my students feedback on their writing assignments. I feel like the “right” technology tools can really aid a teacher in providing quick, meaningful feedback and help in recognizing where the student is at on the learning scale. Also, students can benefit from tools that might make learning easier (such as speech-to-text for writing papers or text-to-speech for students who struggle with reading, but are more auditory learners)

In my spare time, I still enjoy barrel racing and break-away roping at rodeos, reading (what kind of English teacher doesn’t like to read?!), sewing, and helping out on my husband’s family ranch in southern Saskatchewan. I’m addicted to chocolate and tea, all things Harry Potter (and Game of Thrones, I guess!)

I am married to a full-time cowboy, part-time artist named Shay. He is currently working on a few bronzes for the Calgary Stampede, which I think is super cool! I am little jealous that my husband is so artistically talented when I have to be content with stick figures and and word art!  gorgi

We currently have five horses, a few dozen cows, and a “Gorgi” (Golden Retrieve x Corgi) named Grace that we adopted in October.

 

 

 

 

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Flipping for Flipgrid

I decided to explore Flipgrid as a classroom tool. Flipgrid is an edtech tool that allows students to respond to a teacher-posted topic or question. Student videos can get likes and responses and teachers can post their own responses to student videos.

I love the idea of Flipgrid! As a social studies teacher, I really believe in promoting democracy in the classroom. Encouraging student voice leads to student involvement and student involvement can evolve to community participation and active citizens. This tool allows students to develop their own voice via video and respond to their peers. This allows even students who may be quiet in “RL” an outlet for discussion. I might be able to hear a voice that might otherwise be drowned out in the usual hustle and bustle of a regular classroom.

I tried the free version, since I’m still subbing and don’t have a classroom of my own (yet!). The free version allows an educator one grid, unlimited topics, unlimited number of students, and unlimited responses in addition to a free app. The non-free subscription has more handy dandy tools and the ability to embed a grid or topic to a website or blog (like this one!) and I could see myself upgrading eventually.

Let me get down to the nitty-gritty:

Pros: 

  • allows for equal student voice with created video responses
  • helps create and supplement class discussion
  • Teachers can moderate and response to student videos
  • Has privacy controls that can be tweaked by the teacher

Cons: 

  • Student created video responses are short (in the free version, only about 1:30 long)
  • There’s a bit of a learning curve to set up, but now that I’ve played with it, its pretty easy to to set and moderate.
  • Requires app for student devices such as tablets and phones which might be difficult for some students (sometimes storage space is a hot commodity!).

Application ideas:

  • Great tool for a flipped classroom or a classroom oriented around discussion
  • Encouragement of student voice and classroom discussion of ideas
  • Tool that students can access at home or when traveling

 

Blogging in the Classroom

So Skylar and I decided to create videos using Flipgrid for our conversation regarding blogging in the classroom.
I played a concerned parent and the points of my video are:

  1. student privacy- Is my child going to be exposed to potential predators?
  2. The idea that what my child writes could have potential to hurt them in the long run (think about Justine Sacco and the backlash from one Tweet)
  3. Is blogging really necessary? Is this vital to my child’s education or is it just a fad? Is the instructor going to have enough time and energy to devote to overseeing students when they blog.

Skylar responded to my video! It is so cool to see different videos on a topic. I just wish those videos were longer than a 1:30! I was in a room that wasn’t very quiet with no headphones and so I love the idea that Flipgrid makes a transcript of every response! The transcript may be inaccurate thanks to developing technology but I’d like to thank IBM Watson for trying his best anyway!

isam just responding to your post about blocking ends at the classroom and as a parent myself I think you know it it’s natural for us to to be concerned about a child and especially you know with the stories of Amanda Todd or just you stay cool you know about about how we’re leaving you know it to doodles like Frank and I think that as a teacher privacy privacy settings and controls are greater importance we must be careful when choosing our privacy options especially for how great you know when having our students while you were at different assignments or you know I am I think when introducing flocking to my students that it’s definitely a a great opportunity to first educate them on digital identity you know discussing online safety and privacy with students as well as discussing arm digital footprint that you may be creating I also think that having the parents involved will be an important step as well you know to student success for a blogging perhaps having the parent teacher interaction will help motivate the students learn more I’d definitely think that there’s a lot of positives to that as well that can come from blogging inside the class

In addition to the points that Skylar made in her video response, I wanted to add a few things. Blogging and the creation of a digital portfolio can add so much to a student’s education and set them up for success after high school (whether it be college readiness or career readiness). George Couros makes some valid points in his post 5 Reasons Your Students Should Blog” I am going to re-hash most of what he said and add a bit of my own ideas into the mix as well.

Blogging can improve literacy with different mediums, making students better digital citizens while exposing them to various tools such a YouTube, Flickr and a host of others that can be related to blogging.

Blogging can also help with the development of student voice and encourage reflection about learning. With blogging, students can be a part of a community and through community (commenting, etc) there can be an exchange of ideas and those students can learn from each other. Students can initiate change through their blogging and the exchange of ideas. This shows them that they aren’t “just a kid” and that they can make their own environments better with their ideas (Like the creator of “Sit With Us”).

Blogging can also serve as an archive of student learning. All your posts are saved and organized by tag, category and date! They can see how far they’ve come from grade 9, or see what they learned in grade 10 science; it is all there on their own page! I kinda wished I had an archive like that off my classes from university or even high school! This leads us to the development of a positive digital footprint for our students. Let’s create one before someone else does it for us. Let’s fill the web with positive stuff instead of negative.

I also think blogging in the classroom could be a great set up for teaching our students 21st Century skills for both career and college readiness. Students learn:

  1. About tagging and using categories- for post viewing ease and webpage organization
  2. Development of networks (like my PLN on Twitter or my network of fellow “hipsters” who struggle with FAI and labral tears of the hip)
  3. Résumé building, or using their blog webpage as a résumé where they can show off their skills.
  4. Skill ownership and the importance of communication. Students can say “I know how to do this!” and student created blogs can serve as a way for parents to check up on what their children are learning (depending on the privacy settings).
  5. Privacy and how to control who can see what.
  6. Intellectual property and appropriate usage and the need to cite sources, photographs, etc.

Overall, I see many positives for blogging in the classroom with the appropriate lessons to students about privacy, writing to an audience, post appropriateness. As long as the instructor takes the time and the steps to set students up for success, I can see blogging being very beneficial for students.

 

Failure as a teacher

With the weather being kinda crappy out, I decided I might as well work on my learning project. 

I decided to tackled this tutorial on the Engraving Forum. It is a step by step demo of the basic western bright cut engraving. 

Screenshot taken from hand engraving forum


I quickly realized this basic tutorial isn’t as easy as the engraving forum members made it out. I am a raw beginner, working for the first time with brass with limited tools. Most of the members are either professionals, or have been practicing for awhile. 

Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.

 Morihei Ueshiba

I did give it a try, despite missing some of the tools listed. 

I sharpened my tools, put a piece on my vise and began. I failed. Miserably. 

Wiggle engraving the backbone was step one.


Step one went fairly well. Wiggle graving is a skill I know how to do. After that, I was lost. My graver slipped (a few times) resulting in scratches. And no matter what I did, I couldn’t make cuts like the author. 

This reminded me of teaching in a classroom setting. We will have students who struggle, who fail at tasks, and who wrestle with a concept. We need to help them learn to wrestle with hard concepts and not give up on learning just because it’s hard. 

A picture of my failure.


I failed today, but I won’t quit. I will go tool shopping (who doesn’t like shopping?) and learn more about engraving and practice more. 

Who else has struggled with something to do with their learning projects? 
PS: I just had an epiphany about making sure we have all the tools before implementing something new in our classroom such as a new app or piece of technology!