Category Archives: Blogging Adventures

A Day in the Life of Miss Van Kannel

I didn’t quite know where to start for a blog post for this month. Then, Auntie Debbie asked for a “Day in the Life of Miss Van Kannel.” Perfect! So, here you are:

4:50 – Alarm goes off.

5:00 – 5-ish km run (This doesn’t sound all that exciting, but trust me, it can be. Dogs of all sizes and demeanors run out after us at any given time. You run in groups for safety (not just from the dogs), yell “HEY!” and slow to a walk until you pass the dogs. Also, the roads along our route are a mix of pavement, brick cobblestone-type things, and dirt with MANY potholes and deep ruts (think: completely impassible by most vehicles). There are also countless strange smells. Most not good. Then the mystery liquid puddles (sanitation isn’t the same here by any stretch of the imagination). And sometimes people who like to call encouragement at us (admittedly, we stand out – 7 white girls running in Nica draws some attention).

6:20 – Leave for school. Prepare for the day in the quiet classroom.

6:50 – Prayer/fellowship/testimony time that I take with an amazing Nicaraguan woman in our school’s prayer garden

7:00 – Whole staff devotions (I have to lead one week each year.)

7:20 – Kids start entering the classroom. We do morning calendar, jobs, and prayer.

7:45 – Some of my students leave for English Language classes. While only 7 out of 27 of my students are native English speakers, some of the Spanish kids no longer require intensive, small group language practice, so I keep 16 kids.

8:30 – Reading! My favourite time of the day. The students work at various centres and I get to meet with students in groups of 2-4 to focus their reading instruction.

9:15 – Writing, Snack. Woo. Normal stuff.15086200_10211452959829872_971651933_n

9:45 – Spanish. My students have 50 minutes of Spanish each day. They split into classes depending on their level of Spanish (native speakers, intermediate, and Spanish as a Second Language). This is when I do the vast majority of my prep (responding to emails, planning, cutting, photocopying, researching, and any other number of duties).

10:30 – Snack and Recess

10:45 – Math – I have a Grade 12 student assistant in my classroom during this time. She wants to be a teacher when she’s done school, so I am trying to mentor her and give her some small teaching opportunities. She is amazing.

11:45 – Bible – One of the kids’ favourite times of the day. We do worship, prayer, stories, service projects, reflections, and much more.

12:15 – Story! Another good time of day!

12:30 – Lunch & recess

1:00 – Science or Social (I teach each for half a year). Also pretty normal.

1:50 – “Specials” – it rotates as to what the kids have during this time (Computers, Art, PE, or Music). I usually have one meeting or another (with parents, the Special Ed team, or admin) during this time.

2:30 – Prayer & dismissal

2:45 – Depends on the day. I tutor a Grade 4 student on Mondays and Thursdays, attend a Spanish class on Tuesdays, and am starting an after-school dance class on Wednesdays. Fridays I usually hightail it out of there!

13958142_10154469457802276_7538222767385952983_o4:00 – Head for home

4:30 – Repack my lunch and get supper on

6:00 – Do schoolwork to get ready for the next day.

8:00 – Get ready to wind down and relax.

9:00 – Sleep.

And get ready to repeat!

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Posted by on February 5, 2017 in Blogging Adventures


Your Treasure Map!

Hello everyone!

So, for my final summary of learning, and this final class, I have put together an online scavenger hunt for you! There are five “locations” and at each location you will have the opportunity to discover one of the lessons I’ve learned from ECMP 355, and at some you’ll even have the chance to contribute!

Img Courtesy of MontyAustin

So, for your starting location here at WordPress, Lesson 1 is linked to the importance and value in blogging and the things that I have learned from this particular blogging community. I have had the privilege of learning about a greater selection of educationally related topics than anywhere else before. I’ve had the opportunity to ask for help when I’m clueless, and offer expertise when I’ve felt experienced. Therefore, Lesson 1 is: I’ve learned how to be a member of a new kind of community– the blogging, online community.

Lesson 1 Mission: Complete!

Clue #2: This is a new way of doing an age-old thing. It does not require paper and ink, but is very interactive and still encourages literacy… However, there are many sites that can help you to create this, so I suppose I’ll have to tell you where mine is! Don’t forget to click on the exclamation points too when you read! Click here for the story.

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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Blogging Adventures


LeechBlock: My New Favourite Digital Invention

So, I am assuming that this time of year is about the same for you as it is for me?! In which case, I have more than enough papers, final projects, and even an exam to study for. And yet, somehow Facebook’s call beckons more strongly than it normally does!

I was on my blog today updating more of my professional pages, and when I logged out, the list of “freshly pressed” blogs came up, and one by a college student called Reflective Happiness popped up about setting goals. “Perfect!” I thought. So, anyway, I perused that for a while, and found out about the most marvelous little tool for Firefox. It’s called LeechBlock and you can enter which websites you want blocked, on what days of the week, at which times, and for how long you are (or are not allowed) access to those sites. Just what I need!

Of course, to test it I needed to play around on Facebook for 15 minutes, and just when I truly was getting distracted, it kicked me out! I love this new gadget and hope that it will help me to write five more pages of this essay…! Try it out if you have focus issues like me!

Image Courtesy of javierb


Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Blogging Adventures


Online and Independent Learning

I participated in the Screencasting Session this week. I found it challenging to locate and figure out how to get involved in the session- I know there was supposed to have video too, but I couldn’t find it so I just listened to the audio. As soon as I finished listening, I went to the iTunes store to see if I could find any more neat educational podcasts, etc. Of course, that’s when I found the accompanying video to the clip I just listened to!

One comment that specifically made me stop to think was that screen casts should be kept to about 2 minutes and focus on “core content.” I understand why after trying to listen myself to over an hour long one! However, I wonder if we compromise the desire for students to understand a topic in depth when we do this. Do we “skim”? Or simplify? Inevitably, I would think. I believe screen casts would work better as an introduction to a topic. What do you think?

For the second part, I watched The Sandbox Manifesto by Angela Maiers

She talked about success of business and the economy no longer about how hard the individual works- it will be about how well they play, which I thought was neat. What I loved most though was the following:

Discovered rules of the sandbox from kids:

  1. Sharing is caring
  2. Messy is good!
  3. Imagination is your greatest asset
  4. Sand is for filling buckets (never for throwing- hurts them, and wastes your play time)
  5. Hugs, Help, and Smiles matter
  6. Take it to the community (take problems to the community- there are people that can help)
  7. Strangers are Future Friends
  8. Be Remarkable! (only job is to have fun, be courageous)
  9. Here you are the MASTER of your Universe
  10. PLAY is the work!

Image Courtesy of DLR.

I loved them, and I intend to keep these rules close to me always. I still love playing in the sandbox, and especially believe that the rules should carry over throughout our lives and not end suddenly at the end of Kindergarten. If you have a chance to watch the video, I would highly recommend it—even just to see the adorable children playing and explaining their rules is worth it!



Posted by on March 19, 2012 in Blogging Adventures


Dislike Learning?

I recently had an argument with my brother about the idea that people can dislike learning. Now, a bit of background on him: he is intelligent and enjoys learning about medical, biological, kinesthetic, and scientific topics. However, he still maintains that it is possible for people to dislike learning: “Some people just don’t like learning.” I argued that this was impossible. People may be able to dislike learning about certain things, or dislike learning in certain ways, but I do not believe that people can dislike learning itself. All of life requires learning, and everyone has interests that they would value learning about, and even teaching others about.

I found this article that agrees with me. It stresses the idea of learned behaviour—even that student in class that seems to not hear one word you say is learning about what behaviours will test you as the teacher, or what behaviours will get him/her a passing mark, etc. I truly did try to find an article arguing that people can try to dislike learning, but the closest I could find was that some people can hate school.

Now, I realize that I am biased. Because I am in education, I obviously value learning incredibly highly. However, is it really possible to dislike learning? And, even if this is not the case, what makes a person (especially one such person as my brother who was always successful in the education system) uphold the belief that people can dislike learning? I found this belief very distressing. What do you think?


Posted by on March 12, 2012 in Blogging Adventures


Learning Through Search Engines

This week I decided to take the leap and finally learn how to embed videos into PowerPoint. First of all, I want to say that it is more complicated than it seems! After 15 minutes of struggling on my own, I realized that Google would likely have the answer. I found it on “The Travelin’ Librarian’s” blog! When skiing over February break, we knew our condo had a pizza oven, but we had no idea how to use it. Our immediate response before departing our house for the slopes—“YouTube it!” My mom has called me numerous times regarding phone scams. She gives me the number that phoned the house and I type it into Google. Within ten seconds, a person can have a fairly good indication as to whether the call was a scam or not. She had never thought to use Google for something like that.
I think that this class has helped me to more effectively learn how to learn. I believe that this is essential for us as a society, and especially, as teachers. There are bound to be moments when we don’t know the answer to a question. I certainly don’t want to be the teacher that says, “I don’t know,” and leaves it at that. I want to be able to investigate, search, and learn alongside my students.
Knowing how to use search engines is essential in today’s world, but I also believe that it is important to learn how to use them effectively, and to realize that it cannot answer all of our questions, or in many cases, it answers them in too many—often hundreds—of ways that leave you more bewildered than you were when you began. Maybe that’s a good thing– it shows us that answers are never as simple as they seem– our culture and lives influence our responses.

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Posted by on March 3, 2012 in Blogging Adventures


Technology Expectations and Reliance

I pride myself on being a person that is not technologically-reliant. I refuse to put a television in my bedroom, my phone gets turned off at 9:30 pm sharp, my laptop is used primarily only when necessary, and I am not (although I don’t pride myself on this fact) up to speed on many, ok, any, of the new technologies available on the computer, or otherwise. But this week I spent having no contact with any technology besides ski lifts, and it was hard!

My family and I spent the week nestled in a condo on a quiet ski resort in the mountains. We had zero internet, computers, or cell reception. The days were spent skiing, and the nights spent visiting in the hot tub. It was fantastic. However, today on the way home, all of us had our phones turned on trying to get a signal as soon as we pulled onto the gravel! I felt that I had been deprived!

Not only that, but I was loaded with texts and emails that began with polite requests or comments, and by the end, had several emails/texts from the same people that began to sound increasingly impatient. They were “curious” (or more like demanding) about why I had not responded for several days. Have we become so dependent on technology and the speed that it allows that we have come to expect immediate responses?

I must admit that I do get a bit impatient with professors or classmates that do not regularly check their messages when I am trying to communicate with them. However, as a a teacher, and as a professional that is communicating with other teachers, parents, and students, how available do we have to be? How much is required? And how much is expected?


Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Blogging Adventures