Saturday, September 25, 2010

oh my '80s

I never realized how much I'd been influenced by Whitney Houston.

Soon more, but right now I just have about 500 pages of politics to read - and I'm not even behind in my readings or anything.

nerd 0ut

Thursday, September 16, 2010

yowza! year three in full swing

Hello there -

Third year is going full-bore already, and we're only in week 2! Yipes!

Got some interesting courses - a families course that focuses on diversity, ethnicity and culture; a politics course looking at well-being and opportunity; a literacy course where we'll learn instructional methods and theories of literacy, as well as get to explore a lot of good books; and a year-long Research class, with Methods in our first semester and Applications in our second. Each class has a bucket of reading, and a couple of projects, but if I keep on top of it all I think I'll be ok.

Add my Feminism in Society class, a professionally related course, to the load, and that's some heavy-duty academics. I'm going to be reading and writing and thinking 'til the cows come home, and I haven't seen them for ages.

So, of course, I'm psyched, being the silly little nerd-lord that I am. But I ALSO just got a pretty super job - I'll be working as a research assistant on a project in the ECE department that sounds wicked-cool. The project will be looking at how kids interact with technology and sociable media practices, and how those interactions influence their learning and socializing...I think. The prof I'm working with is zany and inspiring, and I have yet to meet the rest of the team, but I am pretty excited about the whole thing. Hence, the post down below of the thought-provoking TED talk about child-directed, technology mediated learning.

By this little TED talk alone, I'm not convinced that this is the bright new future of education. However, it is really interesting to think about how incorporating sociable technological learning tools into social, constructive classrooms facilitated by thoughtful, nurturing teachers might invigorate learning.

Anyway - I gotta get back to those books...more for sure soon!!!


Ok - this is pretty crazy.  It sure has got me thinking...

Nerd oUt, peeps.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

the octopus's garden in Victoria

We were brought to this totally AMAZING playground in Victoria on Vancouver Island while we were out there - I have become increasingly fascinated by outdoor play, playgrounds and outdoor learning environments since Teacher Tom bent my brain around some great ideas (and here, here and here) and I found Arcady's blog. Irresistible Ideas and Let the Children Play have also been huge sources of inspiration and fascinated reading and wondering.

So check this out - Octopus, Salmon, and Cadborosaurus concrete climbers and a huge boat playstructure, all poised on the edge of the beach looking out onto the Pacific. AWESOMENESS.

I mean, it's practically heaven. I wish that I was 10 years old and had had all day to hang out here, climbing and playing and seeing how deep the Octopus's arms went under the sand. Ridonkulously great.

If you're out in Victoria anytime soon, go check it out - it's super-fun.

Nerd OUT on the playground

Summer summary and the first day of school

woot!! Today was the first day of school - yeeehaaawww! As I rode my bike downtown to Ryerson to start my THIRD (gasp!) year of this degree, I saw a ton of parents walking their kids to school all the way through the neighbourhood. It got me so excited!

So, today's class was Research methods, and I think I'm going to like it a lot. The prof is very human and approachable, and also the first male prof I've had in the Early Childhood Ed. department.  His name is Bob Rinkoff, and he's from a developmental psychology background, and his research right now is focused on outdoor education and children in mountain wilderness environments. Pretty awesome, as I've been getting excited about that kinda stuff too - playgrounds, adventure learning, outdoor schools and classrooms. Zowee.
Anyway, it seems promising.

The summer went by so fast - I can hardly believe it. Oh! I promised some more photos of the end of Snail Trails Camp - here they are:

So - Snail had a Carnival to celebrate the end of camp, and we had a lot of different carnival-esque activities for everyone to get involved in.  This is a photo of the giant snail that Alison and I built with the kids - 2 x 4s and screws, duct tape and sheets, and the head is made out of foam core.

This giant Snail really wanted to play on the playstructure...

...and looked really wonderful after the kids and their families applied beautiful colours to it's shell...
We put food colouring into spray bottles - and we used the same thing to do another activity, our Spray Snail...
...this activity ended up looking like this... colourful!

We also had another fun activity, using squirt bottle paints on big snail forms. They were pretty fun, and ended up looking fabulous!

Some other cool, but slightly random things that we did at the end of camp were these - check it!
and...the mixing bin!!! It grows real grass!!! Just add kids and water!

I feel so lucky that I was able to work with the kids and educators at Play and Learn - I learned so much and felt so good, and it got me really thinking about playgrounds and outdoor classrooms and learning and ...well, the list just goes on and on. It was super-duper.

What a summer - first being up in Inukjuak, remember that? Look here, and work your back if you don't remember. Then Snail Trails. Jam packed goodness.

Then, when Snail Trails Camp ended, I got to go on holidays! The greatest holiday ever of my life so far. First I was in Nova Scotia with my parents, and then all the way across the country to B.C. visiting friends and family there. I came home feeling soooooooooooo relaxed and recharged, and psyched for school.

And so here I am and here it is - just a quick little look at my summer. More real soon, cuz I want to show you this amazing playground we found in Victoria.

Nerd out!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

empathic civilisation - what we're working towards in early childhood ed!

Watched this AMAZING video on TEDtalks (love it!) and was blown away at how it fits so deeply in with what we're trying to do with the education of young people. Lots of interesting things to think about and some great drawings.

Jeremy Rifkin on "the empathic civilization" | Video on

Also - I'm home now from my most amazing vacation ever of my whole life, and I'll begin to post regularly again. Third year of school starts in two days, on Tuesday, and I'm looking forward to it, especially with ideas like these bubbling away inside me. I'll get some photos up, and other thoughts real soon.

Nerd OUT!