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Ham and Cheese with a Side of TV: Does TV Belong in the Lunch Room? 0

Posted on November 07, 2016 by Allison Dyjach

I believe television is going to be the test of the modern world, and that in this new opportunity to see beyond the range of our vision, we shall discover a new and unbearable disturbance of the modern peace, or a saving radiance in the sky.  We shall stand or fall by television – of that I am quite sure.  -E.B. White, 1938

“Our teacher lets us watch movies during lunch. Can you put one on for us?” This is a question that I get asked about 50% of the times that I supply teach in an elementary classroom. I have been supply teaching for a year now, but no matter how many times I get asked this question, it always feels like I am being put on the spot, and I can’t seem to come up with a quick answer.

My hesitancy on this subject is complex. It’s not because I am against the idea of children watching TV or movies in school; it’s not because I don’t trust them telling me that their teacher allows this; it’s simply because I don’t know how I feel about television and movies becoming such a regular part of a student’s daily school routine. I am completely undecided and wishy-washy and noncommittal when people ask me whether I think it’s a good idea or not. I have to say that during my Bachelor of Education studies when we were tasked with writing our personal philosophies about what we value and believe about teaching, whether or not I was going to let kids watch an episode of “Magic School Bus” or “Arthur” during snack time did not come up.

tvokids

TVO Kids offers hundreds of educational television shows for children to watch online. Image from: eurovisionshowcase.com

So. I am stuck. Obviously when it is left in a teacher’s supply notes, or all of the students are telling me this is a normal routine, I allow it. My job as a supply teacher is to follow through with whatever plans the teacher has left, and if a class is used to watching the latest video from TVO Kids while they munch away, then so be it. But, what happens when I am no longer a supply teacher, when I have my own classroom and I begin to make decisions about what routines I would like to carry out with my own students? Does the TV still come out?

You see supply teaching is a multifaceted position. Although it is not something that many of us want to do long term, it does come with several great perks. Every day, you are faced with a new classroom with new rules and routines, student dynamics, and student abilities. This can be frustrating and tiring at times, but to me, being in a new classroom everyday means that I come home with a notebook full of new ideas for anchor charts, phys ed games, language activities, or number talks that the teacher left for the class. Each day I get to “test out” certain teaching methods that the teacher has put in place, and then decide whether this is something I might use in my own class one day.

I have been exposed to both sides of this experiment—TV and no TV—in every grade K-8, but for some reason, this is something that I still can’t seem to make my mind up about quite yet. There are still so many questions that seem to float around my head every time I try to make sense of this idea in my brain:

 

Isn’t TV bad for kids? All they do is watch TV when they get home. Don’t they need to socialize?

Yes. Kids need to socialize. They need to learn how to carry on a conversation with their friends, peers, lunch monitors, and teachers, and what better time to practice this skill than break time? The students are left to their own free will, and it is up to them to create some sort of structure and use their social skills to decide how they want to spend their lunch period. Everyday they get the chance to explore how the flow of a conversation works, how turn taking works, or how to enter a new conversation happening beside you. If students are spending their lunchtime staring at a screen, are we taking away a large opportunity for social skill development?

bookflix_login

BookFlix is an online site created by Scholastic that pairs children’s fiction books with non-fiction ebooks and movies to encourage reading and knowledge exploration. Image from: bkflix.grolier.com

But what about the kids who struggle with unstructured social situations?

I remember being this kid when I was younger. If my friends in the class happened to be away one day, lunch seemed like the loneliest, most uncomfortable 30 minutes of my life. I was stuck at my desk alone with no one to talk to and no self-confidence to change that. I would have loved having a small show to watch to take the attention off my feelings of isolation and stress. Or what about kids that get teased during breaks when the teachers on duty aren’t looking, or the students that simply don’t get along with many of their classmates? Television steers kids away from social difficulties they might be having, and instead provides them with a distraction that can keep their lunch break entertaining and bully free.

Ok, so now we’re just using television as a “quick fix” to underlying issues in a classroom dynamic?

See when we phrase it that way, it doesn’t sound so great. We often complain that “kids these days” are not independent enough; their resiliency is lacking and they aren’t able to problem solve the way we used to. Is giving them a TV show during lunch simply feeding into this idea of students no longer being self-sufficient? Because students can’t socialize in a respectful and quiet manner, we provide them with something that doesn’t allow them to work on those skills but instead ploughs over and makes them irrelevant? With a movie on at lunch, students don’t have to talk to a single one of their classmates if they don’t want to. No talking, no problems. But could that be harming them in the long run?

But Allison, the kids love it don’t they?

Yes. They do. They undoubtedly do. Everyday they get to watch a little fun snippet of a favourite show while they sit and eat their lunch, and often the teacher has chosen an educational show where the students get to learn about science or history at the same time. They are exposed to new content and knowledge that they might not have time for in their regular classroom schedule, or might not be able to access at home. The class also gets to engage in an enjoyable shared group experience. They can use those experiences to relate with each other, using it to inspire a group inquiry project, or as a conversation starter at recess. It could almost be coined a bonding experience. Keeping children entertained while also educating and connecting them always seems like a win-win situation.

And sometimes the teachers love it too. Last week I taught at a school where every junior classroom had something playing on the projector screen, and it was the easiest lunch duty I had ever done. Every class was silent, kids were sitting in their desk eating their lunch, and all I had to do was make sure kids tidied up their garbage when the bell rang. I was happy, and they were happy.

But there is still a part of me that wonders if this is a good thing. Teaching students that indoor voices and respectful language need to be used during lunch can be a never-ending task, but is distracting them into silence going to benefit them any more? Is TV a distraction from all of the learning skills we should be instilling upon our students? 

There is no real conclusion to this post, because I still don’t have a solid conclusion in my personal teaching philosophy about all of this. I would like to hear what you think, what you use, what has worked and what hasn’t. There are no rights or wrongs to these questions, but I would like to hear some of your ideas about steps in the right direction or ideas that might seem completely wrong in your classroom.

I still feel like I am being put on the spot by trying to make sense of it all, but maybe the next time a student asks me, “could you put on a show for us during lunch? Our teacher always lets us,” the answer will be a bit more than an, “um, well…I suppose…sure. Yes.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Pause Before You Post (Jostens): The Lounge Express Episode 1: Digital Responsibility 0

Posted on July 17, 2013 by Natasha

The Lounge Express:  Teaching DIGITAL RESPONSIBILITY.  In an instant (online) world, it is our job to create a safe and respectful climate online for our students.  I think the phrase “Pause Before You Post” is fantastic.  Kids will post online, and we should be teaching them how to do it responsibly.  Just because they are behind a screen doesn’t mean they can remove their gatekeeper.

DISCUSSION

  • How do you teach digital responsibility? Comment below or join us on Facebook or Twitter (@RookieTeacherCA).

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Today while browsing my pins on Pinterest I came across this quick video from The Band Perry:

“These issues are timely and can greatly impact schools, students, educators and families and their respective online reputation. Recent high-profile cases involving abuse of the Internet have prompted many communities to encourage students to learn more about publishing personal information, particularly when they’re using social media sites. As a supporter of education and traditions, Jostens is pleased to offer an awareness program called Pause Before You Post™ that encourages students to make smart decisions when self-publishing through online social media that aids in preventing bullying online. The program also includes valuable information about cyberbullying and potential consequences of poor decision-making.” (Jostens)

More resources: 

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Technology in the Classroom: The Lounge: Episode 13 0

Posted on July 16, 2013 by Natasha

On today’s show, Andrew and Natasha meet again to record another episode of The Lounge Podcast.  This episode features conversations about technology in the classroom…apps, tech tools, and using technology safely!  Listen in to hear about tips, tricks, must-do activities, and more!  Read the show notes below and don’t forget to download & subscribe to the podcast on iTunes today!

photo: flickrcc.net / aperturismo

photo: flickrcc.net / aperturismo

SHOW NOTES
Each episode features three segments:

  1. Topic Discussion
  2. Quick Tip for Tomorrow
  3. The Rookie Resource Bank

Topic: Technology in the Classroom

photo: flickrcc.net / LEOL30

photo: flickrcc.net / LEOL30

Quick Tip for Tomorrow:

Something you could do the next day in class with little or no prep and is applicable to most grade levels.

  • Andrew: Create a culture of learning/Kids involved with programming 
  • Natasha: Classroom Twitter Account

The Rookie Resource Bank:

photo: flickrcc.net / Spree2010

photo: flickrcc.net / Spree2010

Any electronic, print, or event resource that we found helpful in our first few years of teaching.  Of course, these are all applicable to all teachers.

Quick Shout Outs

  1. We want to take a moment and thank everyone for continuing to support our site – we have reached over 12,500 visitors. Thank you !
  2. We hope you continue to watch for Natasha who is co-moderating the #ntchat with Lisa Dabbs – on Wednesday nights at 8:00pm ESTJoin me at New Teacher Chat #ntchat
  3. Please join us and 261 others on Facebook.com/TheRookieTeacher
  4. We are also spending time gathering some great ideas for the classroom on Pinterest (http://bit.ly/rookiepins) – we are up to 2881 followers on our collab board – let us know if you’d like to contribute.
  5. If you believe in what we’re doing & want to support our team, we have buttons available – send us a FB message, tweet, or email and we will get one out to you ASAP!
  6. Watch for our Lounge Express Series – starting soon!

Would you like a BUTTON? Email us and we will send you one :)

Like what you’ve heard? Have more questions? Contact us:

Andrew: I blog at TheRookieTeacher.ca, or email me Andrew@TheRookieTeacher.ca, I am currently focusing on pinterest as my social media project

Natasha: I blog at TheRookieTeacher.ca, follow me on twitter @yoMsDunn, or email me Natasha@TheRookieTeacher.ca

RookieTeacher Online
We are always looking for ideas, feedback, tips and tricks of the trade.  Find us on Twitter @RookieTeacherCAFacebook.com /TheRookieTeacher.  If you are looking to get involved with our team, please contact us!

 

 

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Long Range Planning: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 9 4

Posted on July 25, 2012 by Natasha

We’re back with another great episode of The Lounge Podcast.  We were extremely lucky to have Lisa Dabbs from Edutopia.org and Edutopia’s New Teacher Connections Group Facilitator Skype in for the show.  She was able to enrich our conversation, give us lots of great tips and web 2.0 tools, and advise us where to start when it comes to Long Range Planning.

Cursive Calendar - photo by: Your Secret Admiral

photo by: Your Secret Admiral

I think it’s safe to say that this topic is very important to think about at this time of year (and as the school year goes on…after all, we consider plans to be working documents).  We all agreed how valuable and powerful the act of collaborating with a grade/division team plays in the process of long range planning and how successful backwards design/mapping can be when creating strong plans.

Listen in to hear our conversations about long range plans, curriculum, split/combination classes, backwards design/mapping, web 2.0 tools, staying organized, Post-It Notes, Pinterest, Evernote, Twitter, Live Binder, and more!

Find Lisa on twitter, Wednesday nights at 8:00pm EST for the New Teacher Chat (#ntchat).

This is by far one of my personal favourite podcasts yet! Huge thank you again to Lisa Dabbs for joining us…it was a pleasure to have you on, and we hope you’ll come back to continue the discussion another time.  Andrew and I really appreciate all that you are doing for new teachers.

SHOW NOTES

Each episode features three segments:

  1. Topic Discussion
  2. Quick Tip for Tomorrow
  3. The Rookie Resource Bank

Topic: Long Range Planning

photo by: Pedro Vezini

photo by: Pedro Vezini

Quick Tip for Tomorrow: Something you could do the next day in class with little or no prep and is applicable to most grade levels.

  • Andrew: About Me heads
  • Natasha: SMARTboard attendance
  • Lisa: One Little Word (http://goo.gl/NbNHO)
The Rookie Resource Bank: any electronic, print, or event resource that we found helpful in our first few years of teaching.  Of course, these are all applicable to all teachers.
Quick Shout Outs
  1. We will be working this summer to develop some content – what would you like to read about? Email or send us a tweet.
  2. Please join our discussions on Facebook.com/TheRookieTeacher
  3. We are also spending time gathering some great ideas for the classroom on Pinterest (http://bit.ly/rookiepins)

Like what you’ve heard? Have more questions? Contact us:

Rookie Teacher Online

We are always looking for ideas, feedback, tips and tricks of the trade.  Find us on Twitter @RookieTeacherCAFacebook.com /TheRookieTeacher.  If you are looking to get involved with our team, please contact us!

Thanks for listening. Join us for our Summer Podcast Series. Topics included will be: More about AQs, Classroom set up, the first day of school, Applying for Jobs, Setting up your Day Book, Developing classroom routines for your first month of school.

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Teacher Appreciation Days 0

Posted on January 02, 2012 by Natasha

20120102-213900.jpg
We wanted to give all the Rookies a heads up for this weekend (01/07-08/12) and next weekend (01/14-15/12)…Staples Business Depot is hosting a 25% off sale for all the teachers out there. Swing by to stock up on post-it notes, pens, paper, new technology (computers, iPad, printers, ink), and so much more!

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My Brush: Apps For Education 0

Posted on December 03, 2011 by Natasha

My Brush for iPad. By effectmatrix

What a great creative app for drawing.  The coolest thing about this app is it records your drawing as a video that you can playback.

We want to hear from you.  

Please share your ideas on how you would use My Brush in the classroom.  Are you using any other iPad apps with your students?  Comment below or send us an @ reply on Twitter!

More Apps for Education:

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Announcify: Tech Apps for Accommodation 0

Posted on November 26, 2011 by Natasha
Announcify Logo

Announcify Logo

Great news…Yesterday I stumbled upon* a tool for students of all ages!
(*as seen on LifeHacker.com/5856460)

Announcify is a great little extension for Google Chrome and Android Devices and it works like this:  (a) transfers any website to a text page, (b) zooms in and highlights, (c) reads the text aloud.

<<note: While testing this extension, I ran into one problem…occasionally it will read aloud the html code from the webpage.>>

Ideas for Tomorrow

  • Announcify listening center (all you need is a laptop & some headphones)
  • Have students create websites then listen back to what they wrote
  • Upload tasks/quiz/tests for accommodation
Sounds great! …Hook me up
  1. Download Google Chrome for WIN or MAC
  2. Visit the Announcify extension on the Chrome Web Store
  3. Download and enable the Announcify productivity extension

Please share how you are using Announcify as an educational tech tool in your classroom…post a comment below.

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