This term I decided to start blogging with my Social 9 class for my digital learning project. I have had several posts throughout the term about my trials, tribulations, and successes with the project:
I would also like to show off my classroom blog. My posts are pretty boring as they mostly constitute the assignments for the class but some of my students did a really good job and really embraced the process.
I have had an amazing time with this project and intend to continue its use. I feel that, at times, I was really pushing my students to work on the blog in an inorganic way so that I could talk about what we were doing in class for this project. I look forward to being a little less pushy moving forward, using it more as an option for how to submit assignments as opposed to a “YOU MUST DO THIS” as I had a few students who really did not enjoy the process.
I made blogging with this class a part of my Professional Goals I submitted to my division so that I am encouraged (and feel obligated) to continue the project throughout the year. I can’t wait to see where this takes me as I have wanted to start blogging with a class for a long time but could never actually get to the point where it was set up and ready to go.
As I continue my work with my DLP I have encountered some challenges . Although, I am still very pleased with many of the features of the Group I have set-up for my class there are some things I need to work through, and work on.
Some of the challenges I have faced are:
When students go to access any word document files I have provided they are able to edit the document that is in the group, therefore changing it for all who view it.
Students have the option to download the word but it wasn’t a smooth process, even when they are already logged into their own Office 365 account. It seemed that they needed to open the document and either copy and paste the information, or download it to the desktop version of word and then save it to their Office 365 student account. The idea I had with sharing documents was that they could open them and they would automatically be for the individual student use in their personal online file.
I still have yet to include an element of student contribution. Students are accessing the group for documents, the calendar, to contact me and to share assignments but they themselves are not contributing or interacting. The Group has the program One Note as a part of it automatically, although I contemplated using this as a way for students to list their poem choices for an assignment I never followed through as it seemed an unnecessary addition.
Moving forward here are my goals for the week:
Look at the word documents I have uploaded and see if I can note preferences for students so they are view only, this way at least what I am putting in the Group cannot be altered.
Inquire to our school Office 365 “expert” what the best way for students to access and use the documents for their personal use would be.
Add an element of collaboration and contribution. We are starting a novel study this week I will need to see where this could fit and enhance their learning.
Do some research and inquiry to see if anyone I know has experience with One Note.
Overall, I am still extremely happy with the Group and plan to set-up Groups for all of my classes next semester. I know that the students appreciate the class calendar and the accessibility of the documents I have posted, especially since it is a tool they were already using for their school work and email.
If you are reading this and have experience with One Note where would you suggest I start? Or what do you use it for?
As I get closer and closer to my due date, April 17th, 2018 I have been talking to my mommy friends about their experiences with labour and delivery. I have learned that they have either enlisted the support of a doula or wished they had.
I started to explore this idea by looking into the role of a doula. According to Angie Evans, a doula in Regina, “[a] doula is a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother and partner during pregnancy, birth & early postpartum. In much of the world today and throughout history, women support women through labour & birth.”
I really liked the idea of having a larger support system extended to someone who is connected with other doula’s and who has supported over 100 births. This kind of community, knowledge, and advocacy was exactly the kind of resource I wanted/needed for my first pregnancy. I am excited to have an experienced birthing partner in the room who can help me and my husband move through labour in a good way.
Now we needed to find and choose a doula! We sought recommendations from doula’s in Regina for a doula in Saskatoon and we interviewed Karen Slater. After we met, talked, and learned (a lot) about each other and the birthing experience we decided that she would be a good fit for us. Since then Karen has provided us with resources, books, and things to think about as we prepare for delivery.
She indicated it would be good to consider our birth plan/preferences. Now that I have a doctor I am able to take all of the resources I have to construct my preferences. However, I didn’t know where to start to begin creating my birth preferences, and so I turned to the internet for help and found some questions to answer or consider. This is my first attempt to develop my preferences and it is based on information I have heard about or learned from friends, family, various websites, my doctor and my doula. I choose to use the bolded questions and answers as a starting place and know that these may change over time and as we get closer to child birth.
Where would I like to give birth?
In a different circumstance I might have liked to give birth at home, but because we are currently living in an apartment waiting for our house to be built I would prefer to deliver at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.
Describe ideal labour environment.
The type of labour environment I hope to construct will involve the following items for optimal relaxation:
ability to walk around
soothing music playing
private room (if possible)
personal items (blanket, pillow, robe)
Who Do I want Present?
I would like my husband, Kyle and my doula, Karen to be present during labour and delivery.
Is there a special birthing apparatus and/or position that appeals to me?
Some birthing positions that appeal to me include:
kneeling on the lower part of bed with arms or upper body resting on upper section
on all fours with stomach facing down, supported by hands and knees
Both these positions help to relieve backaches which I am expecting to have plenty of. If there are other positions that relieve backaches and are more natural/gravity-centered please share with me!
Other birthing preferences
intermittent external fetal monitoring
internal vaginal exams every 2-4 hours after active labour begins
no pain relief medication – only pain management through acupressure and massage (the pain control options include narcotics, nitrous oxide, and epidurals)
if we have a boy – no circumcision
rooming in – keeping the newborn in the hospital room with us unless there are health concerns with the baby
delayed cord clamping; we will donate the umbilical cord blood
My doula also recommended taking prenatal classes from the Prairie Birth Collective. We have signed up for the “six-week birth preparedness class. Topics will include childbirth principles and history, signs and symptoms of labour, childbirth choices, breathing and relaxation, the coach’s role, medications, breastfeeding, postpartum, as well as early childhood literacy.”
Learning about labour and delivery from these resources has been instrumental in helping me shape the kind of birthing experience I value and appreciate.
Pregnancy Update: I have fully recovered from the cat bite and I am finished the antibiotics. While I was on them I felt awful for over a week. Now that I am done them I have renewed energy and have been enjoying the pregnancy a whole lot more!
Development: I am 19 weeks along today! The fetus is approximately 6 inches long and about half of a pound – the size of a mango! Now the fetus is covered in head-to-toe vernix caseosa which protects them from the amniotic fluid. The fetus’ legs have also gone through a growth spurt which can create more movement in the uterus.
Check out this video that explains how the internal organs change throughout pregnancy. It is pretty cool!
Symptoms: difficulty sleeping, dehydrated, shortness of breath, and general discomfort caused by my growing belly.
As Christmas approaches, boxing week sales are on the horizon, and as I get closer to my due date I have realized the importance in researching and sourcing all the supplies we will need to bring a newborn home in April. There is so much to think about that I did not expect to be considering while we are shopping. Questions we have been considering include:
Will we grow our family into needing a double stroller? Just because we may want to doesn’t mean we will necessarily be able to.
Should we buy the cleaning supplies to keep a circumcized are clean? Are we having a boy? Are we going to circumcise?
Should we be looking more for deals on these items so that we don’t break the bank? Concerns about how much of my wages will be covered between EI and my work top up.
I looked over the suggested supply lists on a number of sites and found twosites that covered a lot of the essentials. I cross-examined these lists and others to determine what supplies and what quantities make the most sense. See below for a fairly comprehensive list.
As you can see we have only been able to get a stroller, car seat, and crib so far. We have a lot more items to get before baby comes and this requires a significant amount of time and energy to source good quality, ethical (if possible), and affordable items.
So, if you have any ideas of where to pick things up in Saskatoon, Regina, or online that are free, second-hand, or otherwise, it would be greatly appreciated. Or, if you have any other suggested items that you could not have gotten through the first six months or so without, do tell!
On Saturday night I was playing board games at a friend’s place and was petting their cat. After playing a couple games of Settlers of Catan we switched games and during the intermission I spent some time giving the cat some pets. Unfortunately, as I turned and looked away momentarily the little monkey bit my hand.
Not thinking too much of it, I began to pull away and he sank his teeth in further and punctured my skin. I have grown up with pets my whole life and am confident in reading their body language…but in that moment that I looked away, he got upset, and I didn’t notice until it was too late.
I regularly play with animals, but never has my skin actually been punctured to the point of bleeding, with exception to the odd scratch that bleeds for a short time. I was upset with myself for not paying attention and it reminded me how quickly things can become dangerous with animals if you aren’t paying attention. This was a good reminder for me to consider the health and safety of both animals and baby as we bring a baby into a family with a cat and dog.
The puncture wound immediately started to hurt, so I cleaned it out with soap and water. After a few hours my hand was swollen and was burning up. It was clear that it was infected, but I didn’t know what to do or take because I was pregnant. When we got home, my husband suggested I ice my hand and try to sleep. In the morning it hurt so badly and I had limited mobility in half of my hand. I decided to go to the walk-in clinic to get treatment.
The doctor took this issue quite seriously and asked me a number of questions about the cat and about my vaccinations. Fortunately, I was up-to-date on tetanus and actually had the rabies vaccine in 2015. This was good news because the risk of serious infection without the vaccines is more significant.
Now, it was time to get a prescription for an antibiotic to fight off the infection. The doctor explained the drug to me (Amoxicillin 875MG and Clavulan 875/125MG) and said that this drug could be harmful to the fetus, causing issues with its bowel development.
I hoped to stay away from all drugs that can be dangerous for a fetus and wanted to know if this prescription was the best option for me. I called my brother, who is a pharmacist, and he explained that this drug is probably the safest option for women who are pregnant since the drug is less dangerous for women who are in their second trimesters. Lucky for me, I am, and can rest a little easier knowing that the risk of complications for the fetus is low.
As winter sets in and cold and flu season arrives I am curious what over-the-counter drugs or alternative remedies/healing practices others have used to treat their symptoms during pregnancy. If you have any suggestions I am eager to learn.
Additionally, I am feeling excited about my class group, and today was wishing I had set one up for all of my classes. I am at 95% for students joining, and those who have joined are utilizing the resources. I am still posting them on the traditional online grading system, but am having them in the documents file in our class group. Had I set up groups in Office 365 for my other classes I would have avoided having to email students documents today.
If you are curious what I mean when I say my class group here is a quick video that explains it.
Below is a video I found extremely helpful as far as setting up some of the features in my class group. I will also refer back to it for my goals this week. In the future I will mostly show a portion of this to my classes when explain the purpose of these groups to the students.
So far the online group has been a place for students to easily access resources, view the class calendar, submit assignments and quickly get in touch with me or their classmates. Over the next couple of weeks I would like to increase the interaction of the students within the group.
Here are my goals for next week:
Create a One Note document for students to enter data in. The data will be in connection to the poetry assignment we will be working on.
Have the students upload their presentations to the group so that they are accessible for everyone in the group to view them.
I realize this is only two goals for the week but I feel each of these tasks will have many small steps to achieve them. Plus the assignment that I am planning to have these two tasks associated requires some more attention. I am changing it from the last time I taught this course, in addition to adding these technological requirements to it.
Pregnancy Update: 16 weeks along and feeling great!
Development: the fetus is between 3-4 ounces and 4-5 inches long. It’s muscles are growing, their eyes function, and the fetus is getting more and more sensitive to touch.
Symptoms: headaches, constipation, gas, and bloating.
In efforts to continue this healthy pregnancy I wanted to learn more about fitness activities I am interested in and can do while pregnant. As an Ultimate Frisbee competitor I am not used to inactivity, however during the first trimester I was not feeling up to doing much.
Now that I have more energy in my second trimester I am excited to get back to exercising! I searched several websites to learn about safety concerns and precautions when exercising during pregnancy. Learn more about some of the myths.
In order to get me through the winter months I have decided to get a membership to the YMCA. There, I will take prenatal exercise classes when they are offered and otherwise try and do activities from the following routines.
I am interested in doing some yoga, strength training, and meditation throughout my 2-3rd trimesters.
Yoga and Cardio – I will plan on doing yoga and cardio 3 days a week. and then the strength training two days a week.
Just when I thought it would never come, I made it to the second trimester!
Pregnancy Update: I am feeling much better than I felt in the first trimester and my appetite is back. It is as if a major brain fog has lifted and I am better able to re-engage with the world.
Development: the fetus is about the size of a fist, and is developing hair, straightening out, and the left and right hemisphere of its brain is developing.
Symptoms: bloating, gas, constipation. More energy and less nausea – starting to feel like myself again! Source:Wikimedia
However, my body is changing and it is hard getting used to it. When I bend down to tie my shoes I lose my breath; after I eat I get hungry again almost right away and if I don’t feast I am super moody; when I see something that triggers happiness or sadness I weep; etc. All this to say, I feel like my hormones are so wacky right now and I think nutrition and exercise will help keep me more balanced.
In order to have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby I need to learn more about good nutrition during my 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
By simply doing a Google search on ‘pregnancy nutrition’ there are many articles that come up that provide suggestions for how to gain weight, eat well, and warnings not to pack on too many pounds during pregnancy. It is all quite overwhelming.
In order to get a better sense of how much weight I should be gaining, so that I can avoid pre-term labour or a baby with a low-birth weight, I went to visit the What to Expect website. They suggest the first step is to determine my Body Mass Index (BMI) to Since I started my pregnancy at 128 pounds, in the normal weight range (22.7 BMI) I am supposed to gain 3-4 pounds in the first trimester, 14 pounds in the second, and 10 pounds in the third. Based on this calculation, by April 2018 I should be a healthy weight of 158 pounds.
How am I going to put on all of this weight in healthy ways?
Pregnant or not, I have never followed the old or new version of Canada’s Food Guide. However, since I need to eat for me and a fetus I want to make sure I am following a trusted source on Canadian nutrition. Health Canada suggests that Canadians eat the following servings of food each day and it is broken down by sex and age. The new version does not have specifications for pregnant women.
Now that I am equipped with the knowledge of how much food I need to eat based on the food guide and how much weight I need to gain, now all I needed was a food tracker or menu planner. I looked at a couple of websites to try and find one that would work for me, and then I came acress the Eat Right Ontario Weekly Menu Planner, which served my needs.
This website was such a useful tool! Once I was done the process of developing my menu, I received a 40 page report of my selections along with a grocery list and recipes to go with these meals. I plan on getting groceries the rest of this week and begin prepping the foods so that I can begin this diet on Sunday.
If you have any healthy vegetarian recipes that align with my diet (daily servings) please share them!!
My readers have requested that I share some coping strategies for dealing with unsolicited advice from strangers or loved ones.
In the first trimester, often when people would approach me or would show their excitement for my pregnancy it would be difficult to engage nicely because of how terrible I was feeling. At that time I had not found effective ways to cope with advice and my reaction to it was negative and sometimes hostile, which made me to feel like a bad person.
More and more, I am understanding why people don’t share their pregnancy news before the second trimester. It is not only because of the risks or complications during that time, but also because pregnant women often do not have the energy or emotional endurance to handle others’ excitement or questions. Or, at least that is my experience.
There is a lot of pretty funny and sometimes still hostile ways the online community suggests to deal with the unwanted advice, however I did find the suggestions offered in the blog Dealing with Unwanted Advice particularly useful. They suggest that you:
Use your poker face;
Keep your sense of humor;
Turn it back on them.
Now that I am feeling better I am happier to discuss the pregnancy and less reluctant to dismiss the advice I am given. Basically my coping strategy has been to change my reaction to people and take what they say with a grain of salt while showing appreciation for their interest.
My next blog is going to talk about nutrition during pregnancy. I am soliciting your advice on good strategies for healthy eating during pregnancy. Please share if you have thoughts on this.
I have felt as though my Digital Learning Project has been at a standstill. Initially, I was very excited to create an online, engaging, and useful space for my ELA 9 students. I am not sure where I lost my enthusiasm. I even started being envious of others who chose more “exciting” projects. For example my classmate, Coralee has been organizing and decluttering her house. I am so jealous. She is working really hard, learning new skills AND her house is clean!
I need to remind myself what the purpose of my DLP is. The purpose of my DLP is for students in my ELA 9 class to have easily accessible class documents, a class calendar, and a point of contact and interaction with each other and myself.
Here is what I have achieved so far to date:
Compared using Google Classroom with what I have available through our school system
Created an online class group using Microsoft Office 365
Invited all of the students to join the group
Added 1 document relevant to our current unit of study
Added 3 class dates to the calendar
Sent out a notification to the students that have accepted my invitation
Below is a visual of the online group.
By our next class on Tuesday here are my goals I would like to achieve:
Send another invite to the students who have not joined yet
Add all upcoming class dates to the calendar: paragraph assignment, upcoming act questions, review periods and the upcoming exam
Upload the Writing Process Power Point we covered in class
Create a Google Form to gather some feedback from students, send the form out via this group
Speak with any students who have not joined the group and help them to join
As we are ending a unit in ELA 9 I am planning to use this online class group for some review activities and connections outside of the class. Once I have achieved the above goals that will be my focus.
What are some examples where educators have used online spaces for student collaboration? How can I motivate students to refer to and use the online space?