Yoga Practice Turned Educational Practice

I loved reading and learning about the concept of Pose/Wobble/Flow this week. My source of admiration for this concept was that last year, I decided to join a yoga studio, and went to some yoga classes. I went with a friend of mine, who was an experienced “yogi,” so she was somewhat my mentor, in that she showed me where to get the “equipment” and explained to me what to expect. However, she could not prepare my body for the physically strenuous poses that encompass a typical yoga class. In reading the articles this week, I found it easy to relate to the “wobble” aspect of yoga, and it caused me to do some major reflecting on my teaching throughout the week.

As a second year teacher, my life is in a constant state of “wobble.” Sure, there are certain “poses” that are easier to flow into now that I’ve gotten into a routine — weekly lesson planning, scheduling conflicts, instructional practices, etc. These poses have become more natural for me, and therefore I can flow into them with a bit more grace than I could last year. However, this week I realized that there are many areas where I continue to wobble. A few that I noted this week are listed below.

  1. Dealing with student conflicts and drama
  2. Parent communication
  3. Behavior management
  4. Identifying academic goals for struggling students

…just to name a few. And from all of this note taking and reflection, came a discovery: Wobble is OKAY! It’s how I grow, learn new things, and develop as a teacher. Without wobble, I would have no need to ask questions and seek help from my fellow colleagues. Wobble pushes me to try something new, change up the way I’ve been previously doing something, and develop a new routine that will hopefully lead to some sort of flow the next time the situation arises.

In researching the concept of “wobble” I discovered a piece of play equipment called a Wobbel Board (different spelling). While watching this video of kids playing on Wobbel Boards at the beach, I found it to be very symbolic of “wobbling” as a teacher. When the kids have the boards one way, they are wobbling. However, when they flip the board over, they can stand on it sturdily. This makes me think of the times in my teaching practice when I’ve attempted to turn something I’m struggling with completely around and it’s become a lot easier.

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Seek 6 Saturday

  1. As an elementary teacher, I have a fear of using social media in my classroom because of the vast amount of inappropriate content that exists. However, this list provides a bunch of different ways to use twitter in the classroom in a safe way.
  2. Geoff Richman and I share a belief that one of the most important things in a classroom is making connections – not necessarily online connections, but actual relationship building. Read what Geoff has to say about making connections in an educational setting .
  3. I loved the concept of Pose/Wobble/Flow, so I decided to read a little more about it. This is another chapter from the same book our Pose/Wobble/Flow assigned chapter was from. This, however, focuses more on preservice teachers and their interaction with the “wobble.”
  4. In researching the concept of “wobble” I discovered a piece of play equipment called a Wobbel Board (different spelling). While watching this video of kids playing on Wobbel Boards at the beach, I found it to be very symbolic of “wobbling” as a teacher. Read more about this reflection in my blog post about yoga ūüôā
  5. Mary mentioned in her blog post this week that she feels like she has a better flow now that it’s her second year in the same position. I’m in the same boat as her, in that I’ve been in the same position for two years now, and I definitely agree that my flow has gotten easier this year as I’ve gotten more into a routine.
  6. The last “find” is going to relate to where I seek assistance in times of struggle, and that is mainly my colleagues. I work in an environment that is full of incredibly supportive, experienced teachers. I am constantly asking questions and seeking advice from them to better my practice.

Seek 7 Sunday

  1. After thinking about Candy Crush Saga a lot this week, I decided to see what types of benefits it has on the brain. I found this article, which discusses the benefits of Candy Crush (and probably could apply to a bunch of other phone games as well).
  2. Thinking more about the benefits of play, I found this graphic which depicts all of the different benefits of play. Image result
  3. In this article, the author speaks about how play is actually preparing children for the challenges of adulthood.
  4. A great new math game that my students have just started to play is called Prodigy Math. It combines math and video gaming AND has connected learning opportunities! (Triple Whammy!) It gamifies math practice by allowing students to play math-focused video games against other students in their class, which brings in that connected learning aspect.
  5. Katie’s blog¬†has a post about a game she played with her 2nd grade class. She combined a maker component (another connected learning example) and play to create a great learning opportunity for her students. Check it out!
  6. Minecraft seems to be a vessel for combining play and connected learning AND equity. This article discusses the challenges and benefits of Minecraft in many different facets.
  7. And… one last meme that gives the phrase “playing games” a different meaning…Image result for keep playing meme

The Saga of Candy Crush Saga

This week, I’ve been doing a ton of thinking about “play.” Typically, the idea of play makes me think of a park or playground, a basement with a video game console, kids ¬†on a jungle gym, etc. But really, what is play? According to¬†dictionary.com, play means to “engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.” This led me to think a bit more… as adults, do we engage in play as well? Does it look the same as child’s play? Does it have the same benefits?

After reflecting on our BlueJeans conference from Thursday night, I realized that I actually do a lot more playing in my everyday life than I originally thought. For me, watching television is a form of play for me. I engage in the act of watching TV for enjoyment and recreation, rather than for a serious or practical purpose. Watching TV shuts off my mind and transports me to an alternate (and sometimes imaginary) world that is vastly different from the world in which I live. This is a somewhat adult form of “play.”

Additionally, for many years, I have been a Candy Crush Saga enthusiast. For those of you who don’t know, Candy Crush is a game that can be played on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. The game involves swiping “candies” to the left, right, up, and down, to make matches of three or more similarly colored candies. I’m sure that anyone who plays Candy Crush would attest to the fact that the game is highly addictive. Playing the game results in dopamine production in the brain, which is linked to what makes it so addictive.

This week, instead of just playing my regular games of Candy Crush as I waited in the waiting room, before I fell asleep, and while watching a boring TV show, I actually stopped to think about the benefits that this form of “play” had on me. First of all, it is somewhat of an escape from reality. Just like other forms of play, Candy Crush hooks me in and sometimes I feel so engrossed that I shut out the outside world for a few minutes. (Do I sound like an addict…? You decide!) This helps me to decompress, relax, and forget about the stresses and pressures of everyday life. In this sense, I discovered this week that Candy Crush, although it can be addicting and probably has had some pretty bad effects on my eyes/brain, it does have benefits as well.

So… is play just for kids? No! Play can be beneficial for all ages. Going into this next week, I’m going to focus on incorporating new play-learning activities into my classroom.

F5F

  1. This website has some great ideas regarding collaborative learning.

“Research shows that educational experiences that are active, social, contextual, engaging, and student-owned lead to deeper learning.”

2. This TED Talk discusses why creativity is so important in classrooms. I feel that connected learning promotes creativity in the classroom.

3. Capture

4. This is an interesting current events article about a connected learning initiative in Nebraska. The initiative will increase the amount of connected learning opportunities there are in the school districts.

5. This is an awesome network that exists for PA educators to engage in STEM activities.

Fast 5 Friday #F5F

Five Reflections/Connections

  1. I love this image that I copied from of our readings this week, ” Transitioning from Conventional Teaching to Connected Teaching: Small Moves and Radical Acts.” I feel like it really shows the importance of creating connected experiences in the classroom to benefit students’ learning experiences. ¬†Link Here

connected-teach_23406707_310714f13f0483cc456eb9199f45e4f1bdadae15.jpg

2. https://vimeo.com/157289578 This video is an awesome depiction of why equity in connected learning is so important. It discusses the gap in the education system for children of privilege vs. children who are less fortunate. I found the video on the Connected Learning Alliance website.

3. Another student in our #ED677 class posted his feelings regarding a discussion forum like marginal syllabus. That student’s blog (brentcarcadia) on WordPress.com, mentioned the idea that familiarity with technology is a form of privilege that many users may not have. I had never really thought of this, but I think it’s a very important consideration having to do with equity in connected learning.

4. I love the way that blogger titled their article. “Annotating to Engage, Analyze, Connect, and Create” speaks to me so loudly because it includes so many of the “21st century skill buzz words” that we as educators are constantly trying to touch on with our students. .https://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/11/12/skills-and-strategies-annotating-to-engage-analyze-connect-and-create/

5. This annotation shows the power of connected learning. It is an annotation of Kendrick Lamar’s song, “The Blacker the Berry.” Many different people have come together to voice their opinions and share their thoughts on the song lyrics in a safe, open forum. https://genius.com/4869038