Wednesday, 31 July 2013


Pinterest is the most deadly place for anyone who likes to do anything... there are so many great ideas floating around and not enough time to use them.  I'm eagerly awaiting the start of my Kindergarten position at a daycare that works under the Reggio Emilia philosophy.  On Pinterest I have re-Pinned many ways of integrating Reggio Emilia into Ontario's Full-Day Early Learning Kindergarten Program and cannot wait to use them in my own classroom.  My plan is to use my blog to feature how Reggio has aided in the implementation of the ELK program at the daycare in which I work as Ontario continues to focus on a more play-based, child-directed approach in Kindergarten as a whole.  Let the learning begin!

Photo credit:  Early Learning HQ

Thursday, 18 July 2013

So... I'm back.

After a very, very long hiatus from the social media profiles I used back at Brock for my teacher education program, I'm back.  So much has happened over the last year and a bit that have brought me to where I'm at now:  on the verge of being the kindergarten teacher in a classroom at a daycare that I've spent lots of time working at since 2010.  I'm overjoyed, I'm nervous, I'm terrified... but mostly, I'm excited for a new challenge.  To be honest, after graduating from Brock I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  I took some time to myself, reconnected with my family and friends, and then went back to work as a supply teacher at the daycare I'd been working at for a few years and was eventually hired on to work in an infant room, which is where I've been since last September.  Over the last few months I really wasn't sure if teaching was for me anymore... I didn't know if I had lost my passion, if my passion was ever really truly for teaching, and if I needed to consider a different career path altogether.  However, I was offered the position of kindergarten teacher and I couldn't pass up the opportunity - to work alongside an ECE I know is amazing, to stay in the building and with the organization I have come to know as a second home, and to go back to the age-group I had thought I wanted to teach from the get-go was too perfect to just let go because I was scared.

So, here I am.  A few weeks away and I will be embarking on my first year as a Certified Teacher in a recognized, licensed Early Learning Kindergarten Program.  I couldn't be more excited for the challenge!  Stay tuned to see how it all pans out :)

Friday, 8 June 2012

Hello, world!

On Wednesday, June 6, 2012, I graduated from Brock University with my Bachelor of Education!  I can't believe it's finally happened.  I'm just waiting on my OCT number, and then I can fully and completely say that I am an Ontario Certified Teacher.  What an honour!

Instagrammed, @kristeneakins
The graduation ceremony at Brock was a lovely day.  Everyone looked great in their gowns and the smiles were contagious.  I couldn't be happier for my fellow classmates.  And, yes, we were lucky enough to be in the presence of Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who were there to support and celebrate Gosling's mom's graduation from the program as well!  I can't imagine not having my family there to support me on my big day, so I imagine Mrs. Gosling felt the same way.

One of the speakers at convocation was Kevin Kee from Brock's Faculty of Humanities.  He gave a moving speech about being ready for our futures, but urged us to go out and search for our future and not just sit back and wait for it to come to us.  He was adamant that things don't always go as we plan and that sometimes you take a path that you least expected to take, but which takes you where you want to be in the end.  I really appreciated his sentiments as I have been considering my options as a recent graduate.  I know that the job market is tough for teachers right now and that has put somewhat of a damper on my outlook.  However, Mr. Kee's optimism about things not always working out according to plan has really resonated with me, and his words couldn't have come at a more optimal time.  For those of you who attended the ceremony, you'll understand when I say:  Mr. Kee, I won't give up searching for my deer!  We'll all find it eventually.

Congratulations to Brock University's Class of 2012!  Best wishes to every single one of you.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The End is Near

So, my year at Brock University's Faculty of Education is coming to a close in two weeks.  I have learned so much about the field of education, about teaching, and about myself.  But, I've spent the last few hours thinking to myself - what's next?  I've been searching Apply to Education and general job search sites to find what my next steps are going to be.  I know that I am going to volunteer as much as I can to continue gaining classroom experience.  But, as Teacher Candidates we hear that job prospects are few and far between, so how can I make sure that I'm doing all I can to eventually find a position in the field?

I guess I'm writing this blog seeking support from other Teacher Candidates and experienced teachers willing to offer some advice - where do I go from here?

Sunday, 11 March 2012

It has been way too long.

I haven't blogged in what feels like forever.  I've been neglecting my social media connections and feel disconnected because of it!

This past week was my first at my new Grade 4 teaching placement.  I can't even begin to explain how tired I am but how every ounce of that tiredness is completely worth it.  I love teaching.  I love learning to teach.  I have learned so much from my associate teacher in such a short time, and so much from her students who are full of energy and curiosity.  I had the opportunity to attend a bunch of meetings this week, where I gained invaluable learning about what goes on "behind the scenes" of the classroom.  I was invited to attend Halton District School Board's Family of Schools meeting along with my associate teacher, where great minds come together to set goals and the means to achieve them via their School Improvement Plan.  At a School Team meeting, I witnessed firsthand how teachers and administrators plan to accommodate students who need some extra help.  I was invited to tag along with my associate teacher to a SMART Board workshop put on by the Halton District School Board where I was able to put my SMART Levels 1 and 2 training to use and play around with a SMART Board with several other teachers.  Finally, I attended a meeting with a few teachers (including my associate) and the principal of my placement school regarding how to keep up with the digital age and integrate technology for the benefit of our students.   Students who are often bombarded with technology in their everyday lives, except for at school where the culture has not quite caught up due to obvious needs for funding for technological equipment.  However, it's understandable that funding for technology in schools can't always be a top priority when other issues and needs must be met first.

I could babble on about my experiences forever as I've had so much fun despite the late nights of planning and preparing for lessons.  I can't wait for the upcoming six weeks!  But... March Break comes first.  To all the teachers, administrators, and those who get the week off - ENJOY IT!  You deserve it :)

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Use of Social Media by Teachers

Social media has taken the world by storm.  A day doesn't go by where I don't check my Facebook, Tweet about something or scan through Pinterest.  In my Tech class at Brock University, we were encouraged to use Twitter, Google+ and Blogger to explore using social media as a teacher.  This has proven to be exceptionally valuable to me.  I've participated in #ntchat on Twitter the past few weeks and have found so much support and gained awesome resources as a future/new teacher.  I can see this being a valuable resource for any teacher or professional in the field of education, as the possibilities for collaboration and expansion of learning are extremely powerful.

The Ontario College of Teachers released a professional advisory on the use of social media by teachers in April of 2011.  The advisory touches on how great it is to use social media but also that teachers need to be wary of the risks involved in creating and maintaining a permanent digital footprint.  I think that the bottom line is that teachers need to compose themselves online as they would in the professional world, just as this advisory states.  Watch your language, do not discuss confidential or personal details about students, colleagues, or anyone for that matter; and use it as a professional forum for the sharing of ideas and advice.  Furthermore, as I've mentioned in earlier blog posts, we need to transfer this wariness to our students so that they are aware of the risks and dangers involved in using social media and the 'netiquette' required to uphold a respectful, appropriate, and effective online persona.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Using Tagxedo as a Learning Object

Created using
In my Teaching and Learning with Technology class, our instructor, Zoe Branigan-Pipe, asked us to create a learning object.  A learning object is basically a method of using a Web 2.0 tool to teach a part of the curriculum.  To try this out, I chose to use Tagxedo, a very fun take on a Wordle, to display the characteristics of a Fair Weather Cumulus Cloud.  I thought that this would be a creative way to approach the Ontario Ministry of Education's Grade 2 Science & Technology curriculum, under the Understanding Earth and Space Systems strand and the Air and Water in the Environment topic expectation:

  • 2.5 investigate water in the natural environment (e.g., observe and measure precipitation; observe and record cloud formations; observe water flow and describe where it goes; observe a puddle over time and record observations)

I'm not sure how in depth this curriculum goes into the various types of cloud formations, but I do recall students learning about cloud formations at some point in elementary school!  Please correct me if I'm wrong about the curriculum expectation this could be used for, or if I'm off-base about the whole thing :)

Regardless of the accuracy of my Tagxedo example, I think using Web 2.0 tools to "teach" curriculum is an awesome idea, but only if it is done appropriately.  I believe that in order to use these tools appropriately, we cannot rely on a tool to teach our students.  We could use these as a means to summarize the key points of an upcoming topic of study, or to consolidate the key concepts discussed in a particular unit.  As usual in the world of technology, the opportunities for using Web 2.0 tools in education are endless - the ability to teach through the use of these tools provides a creative, interactive way of allowing students to actively participate in their own learning.

Main point to take away from this blog post:  Give Web 2.0 tools a try!

P.S.  Information about Fair Weather Cumulus Clouds gathered from University of Illinois' WW2010 website.