Phipps Files

Live. Laugh. Love. Learn

Major Digital Project December 6, 2011

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For my final project, I had my students start a blog about their learning. I have been encouraging the parents and family members to become involved as well. Luckily, and thanks, to my PLN, I have had many classmates and some people I have never even met- even in the virtual world- comment on their blogs. They have loved this experience and are excited to continue with it after Christmas. I wrote my reflections here in my blog as well as in a google document. Please feel free to read and share your thoughts. I also put together many websites on this blog page. The pages I added are ones that I feel are especially useful for me as a classroom teacher, but I hope that others will also use these sites in their own teaching. Lastly, I put together a google document about twitter and all its many uses in education. I have shared this with my staff and division and I hope to continue expanding on it after Christmas.


Thanks so much to everyone for contributing to my learning this semester. I hope to continue our discussions in the New Year!


Summary of Learning December 5, 2011

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Here is my Animoto Video for my Summary of Learning. I have created a google doc for the credits of pictures used. Really the video may not make much sense until I narrate it tomorrow.


Success November 24, 2011

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As this class comes to a close, I am, like a lot of classmates, saddened by the end.  As I have posted on some blogs, I take this as my beginning. I have learned so much, and especially since I am now done my Master’s, I can’t wait to apply this new learning. For my major digital project, I wanted to get my students involved in Social Media, and therefore decided to get them blogging as well. With a lot of bumps (and bruises on my part) I have this blog page up and running. At one point, I posted a blog about success (which really served as an outline for the students next assignment). Most of the students completed this assignment and had great thoughts, ideas and opinions to share. But here is success to me. I have a student who is difficult to motivate and get his assignments done. However, he loves technology and has really come a long way in the few short weeks I have encouraged him to bring his laptop to school. Here is success. I think by reading his blog post, you will understand.


Echoing some similar thoughts November 22, 2011

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As I think about last week’s session with Alan Levine and the amazing Storytelling tools he shared with us, I find myself echoing some of the same thoughts as classmates. At first, I was ecstatic that there were so many great tools and so well organized. I cannot wait to use so many of them with my students. But, at the same time, with this time of year, final projects, report cards, interviews, internship block, 2 kids, cruise to plan, it seems like I am running out of time. However, I can honestly say this is the most useful class I have taken in my whole Master’s program. I know that even when this class is over, I will continue to blog, read others’ blogs, track with Delicious, tweet and share, as well as use these new tools with my students. Like Chelsi, I have started creating a list of ways in which I can use certain tools with my curriculum and class. I  know I have said this before too but I LOVE that I can use these tools with my French Immersion class and it will definitely serve as motivation. I even have my class blogging in French. To check out our page, click here.


Alec’s challenge November 16, 2011

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Well I am still sorting through the millions of favourites (seems like it) on Twitter. Needed a break  and decided to take up Alec’s challenge of playing with our new tools. I already did the Five Card Flickr challenge. Here is Blabberize! Here is my example, my spiderman son and my voice!


Failure and Imagination

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“Nobody succeeds  beyond his or her wildest expectations unless he or she begins with some wild expectations.” – Ralph Charell

Today, in hopes of minimizing my favourites in twitter, I started watching some TedTalks on Education. The first one I watched was JK Rowling’s speech at a Harvard graduation. One of the main messages of her speech was failure. It seems weird to think that a speech that should deal with success in life has a main message of failure.

In education, we as educators, want the best for our students. We don’t want them to experience poverty, depression, or homelessness. We want them to be successful and have success. However, part of having success means we should experience  heartbreak, discontent, and failure. I try every day to explain to my students that failure or failing at something  is part of learning. We are expected to make mistakes. The learning comes into play if and when we try again in a different manner and succeed. It is also important to point out to students, and perhaps some adults, that there is a big difference between having a desire to succeed, which can be motivating, and a fear of failure, which can be paralyzing. Life and learning is about taking risks, knowing that there is a chance of failure.

The definition of failure (and that of success) will be different for everyone. Some may believe that divorce, unemployment, being a single parent, or poverty are all the ultimate examples of failure. And in these extreme cases, the light isn’t always at the end of the tunnel. Like Rowling points out, not everyone gets a fairytale ending. However, when we do fail at something it is important to learn.

Rowling suggests that from her failings she was able to strip away the inessential and stop pretending she was something she wasn’t. There are essential pieces to a person’s self-discovery. The next step is to free yourself from the constraints of other people’s expectations. A person needs to figure out what is important for their own happiness, well-being, and success. Rowling says one must direct his energy to what is important, realize his fears, and survive. This is how a person moves forward.

It is really important as teachers to convey to students that some failure is inevitable. In life it is impossible not to fail. Rowling suggests that we can’t actually live life fully without failure. Some suggestions she has for success in life is to have a strong will, maintain good relationships with others and gain knowledge.

“Personal happiness is knowing life is not a checklist of acquisition or achievement”- JK Rowling

I think this is a very important message to try to convey to students. Perhaps the hardest part is to convince  parents that their child’s success in school is not depicted by a report card?

At the end of her speech, she reminds everyone that we touch other people’s lives simply by existing. This is both a privilege and a burden. She encourages us to identify with the powerless. I think this is what a great educator does everyday. We try to speak up for the children and hopefully touch their lives in meaningful ways. Regardless of the struggles and hardships that we sometimes have as educators, I still feel blessed that I am able to do this job everyday.


Using some new tools

Filed under: Uncategorized — sjphipps @ 1:54 PM

Last night, Alec challenged us to start using a new tool immediately. I had already done a five card flickr story but I didn’t fully understand the purpose and so wanted to do it again. Here is what I put together. Feel free to comment! Learning lately.