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Kerrie Craske- Teacher & Learner

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." -Nelson Mandela

Month

February 2016

Archery in Schools

Believe it or not, archery in schools can benefit students behaviour, self-awareness, focus and overall health. The benefits of learning archery in schools are endless. I wanted to learn through the internet why we should teach archery in schools, and what archery programs are offered in Canadian schools.

BENEFITS

In the CLASSROOM…

I read an interesting news article which highlighted how archery skills help students in the classroom. Below are real life benefits that are seen by other teachers in the classroom due to archery.

benefits seen by other teachersSchools have the possibility of using archery programs (or any sport program) as a means of improving student’s grades.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think putting a specific grade limit into joining a sport helps increase students academics, teaches them to give up, or something else?

For Children’s HEALTH…

An article I discovered written by Jack Gerard discusses the health benefits of archery. Some include:

  • upper body strength, walking exercise
  • balance, coordination and mental focus

OVERALL…

My favourite article discusses all of the reasons to teach archery to children.  Here are some the article presents:

  • one of the safest sports
  • can be done year round (indoors and outdoors)
  • archery is for everyone (it is adaptable for people with disabilities)
  • develops better behaviour in students
  • teaches goal setting ( by increasing distances or shooting at smaller targets)
  • builds confidence and self-awareness

The final one that really stood out to me was teaching students self-discipline.self discipline quote

National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP)

This program was developed to serve educational and conservation purposes. It is supported by many Wildlife Conservation agencies, as they believe too many young people are being disconnected from the outdoors. Their goal is to inspire children to spend more time in the wild and outdoors. This program is offered for students in 4th to 12th grade.

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Archery is a growing sport in many schools. What are your thoughts on introducing archery into schools? Have you seen any benefits based off of your personal experiences?

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Justice in Education

The education system of Canada contributed to the problem of injustice among First Nations people, but it is through the education system that we can repair this injustice. This was one of the key messages I took away from the 2016 Woodrow Lloyd Lecture that was livestreamed from the University of Regina. As a future educator, it is my responsibility along with the responsibility of my colleagues to develop change and reconciliation for First Nations children in our schools. Justice Murray Sinclair, the Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was the speaker who educated us about the experiences of the Residential School System in Canada.

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Justice Murray Sinclair- Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

We are all treaty people. As educators, we have the capability and responsibility to repair injustice through positive social change. One of the most important understandings I have gained as an educator is to build relationships with our students. First Nations students need those strong relationships so they can feel safe and educators can discover their needs in order to be successful in their education and future lives. As Justice discussed, these students deserve equal opportunities to education and resources. It is also our responsibility to educate all students about First Nations people and Treaty Education so we can develop a culture of acceptance and understanding.

Justice discussed many things about residential schools during his lecture. He explained that 7 generations of children went through residential schools, and it may take another 7 generations for the negative effects of these schools to be overcome, but never forgotten. He discussed that every child that went into a residential school was abused in some way. Although it was not always physical abuse, the abuse was emotional, mental or spiritual as well. This type of abuse often left First Nations children wondering who they were and what they did wrong. It is vital as teachers to teach First Nations children along with other children that it is important to be proud of who you are. Justice brought up an interesting an eye-opening thing we need to do to help guide children into answering four important questions in their life about identity. These questions can sometimes be more struggling for First Nations people who may experience identity loss. It is our role as educators to help students set out on the right path to begin to answer these questions:

Where do I come from?

Where am I going? 

Why am I here?

Who am I?

Going back to building relationships with students, I believe it is just as important to build relationships with First Nations families. As mentioned in the lecture, we must not consider families as being just the nuclear family model. In First Nations culture, when a child belongs to someone who gives him or her a sense of self, that person is considered family. This includes grandparents, cousins, friends or community members. As educators, we must understand that First Nations families may be more reluctant to entering our schools and classrooms. We must show willingness to build relationships with these families, and be culturally responsive to their needs.

 

 

My Car is Teaching Me About Archery

I frequently drive long distances on the weekend, and I often think about all the homework I should be doing or get bored listening to the radio. I now found a way that I can learn while driving!

I wanted to look into new ways I could learn about archery and hear different perspectives of archers through the use of technology. I remembered back to when I used to listen to a podcast on Youtube about living a positive lifestyle. I looked into more about podcasts and found some helpful information. I learned that podcasts are now becoming a more popular trend and people who podcast are really passionate about a particular subject. They are easy to download and are often free to listen to!

As part of my learning project, I wanted to find podcasts that talked about archery. After some research, I found The Best Bowhunting and Archery Podcasts. Through this, I had the opportunity to explore a variety of podcasts. Lots were based on bowhunting, and I wanted to find ones that talked about the techniques and skill of archery. Eventually I found Nock OnThe main host of this podcast is John Dudley. He often talks about how target archers can improve their skills.

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I’m really enjoying some of his podcasts. I am able to select the ones that I want, download them onto my phone for free, and then listen to them as I drive. I have already listened to a few driving around the city and on my weekend trip. I’ve learned about how to stabilize the bow, how to maintain my release hand position, how to anchor my body, and how to perform bow maintenance.

I think podcasts are a great way to learn new information or just for enjoyment. They are basically accessible anywhere once downloaded, and I am able to stop and start listening to them without having to worry about losing them like I could a Youtube video.

I recommend looking up podcasts that highlight your learning projects or things that interest you. Let me know what you discover!

 

Assistive Technology for Students with Autism

In my past experiences being in the classroom, I have had the opportunity to work with a child who displayed many signs of autism. Due to it not being diagnosed, additional resources were not readily available. I often wondered what could be done to help improve this students environment and learning capacity. With the growing use of technology in classrooms and a need for inclusive interventions and practices, I decided to look into some technological tools to help children who have autism.

I looked into some blogs and websites to see what I could discover. One blog that really stood out to me was Innovative Technology Helping Those with Autism Connect. This blog was written by Jonathan Izak, who’s younger brother was diagnosed with autism. He wanted to help him with his communication and connect him with the world. He noted that “just because my brother couldn’t speak, didn’t mean he had nothing to say”- Izak. Every child should have the right to voice and opinion, and students with autism who have little speech are now provided that voice. Izak helped developed the app AutisMate. I would use it as a communication and visual tool in schools and recommend it to parents to use at home as well. The image below highlights some of the positive aspects of the app.

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Another website that I found quite relevant was an article on Autism ConsortiumTechnology and Autism: What’s Available and What Works?. It discusses the two types of assistive technology available for children with autism; communication and increasing independence. Different types of technology are broken up into different categories:

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I think this is a great article for people to explore. There are categorized apps available for different needs a child with autism may benefit from. Some include scheduling, first-then boards, visual timers, positive behaviour support systems and social stories.

I believe that through using some of these tech tools in the classroom, students with autism will be able to communicate and interact better with other students and teachers. These apps can provide students with a voice and increased independence.

Has anyone ever used technology or apps to help a student with autism or other special needs? What apps did you use? Did they benefit student learning?

 

 

 

Amateur Archer Adventures

Who knew hitting a target could be so difficult? I have only had archery practice once, but I thought that it is important to start actually aiming at something for safety purposes. Before I practiced hitting a target, I checked out a few things on the internet first.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 9.57.06 PMRecently, Whitney Czerwonka commented on my blog and recommended I check out Feedly for archery blogs. I did so, and found some relevant blogs to my learning experience, including Archery Talk and Archery 360. I discovered an interesting article that highlights 3 mistakes archers make. I need to remember to stay put, anchor myself, and breathe deeply!

 

Next, I checked out youtube for videos on archery accuracy and I found Sean from outdoor adventures. This is what he taught me:Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 10.02.04 PM

  • keep muscles in the palm relaxed and have a relaxed grip
  • make sure bow poundage is not too high at full draw
  • don’t tense the shoulder, neck and back muscles
  • look right at the target and find anchor point
  • don’t move your head around and be consistent

Critique:

  • all information was new and valuable to my learning
  • Sean talks quick and to the point, and shows real life demonstrations
  • I would have liked to see him shoot at the target

Check out my target shootingI felt a lot more comfortable shooting the bow this time. My aim is shooting to the left for some reason, so I will need to learn why. On the other hand, it is good that all of my arrows are hitting the same place as this shows I am not moving my head and I’m being consistent.

 Have you ever struggled learning a new sport or skill? What was the most challenging part to overcome?

 

EDigital Thinker

Technology will always continue to evolve and provide us with new opportunities to grow, learn and connect. Who knew our 21st century would become so technologically advanced?

I believe creating a digital identity online as an educator is important. It is just as important to teach our students how to develop safe and positive digital identities. I have never thought about developing a digital portfolio online, but as this article by education reporter Kristin Rushowy suggest, it is now becoming a trend and almost a necessity. Social media allows us to connect with people to share thoughts, knowledge, achievements, opinions and experiences. This article mentions having an online presence is important as an educator. I have already begun developing my online identity throughout the following:

Do you have any other recommendations on where I can expand my digital identity?

Digital Identity as an Educator:

I recently found a resource called Building and Keeping A Positive Digital Identity. I discovered that as educators, we need to have an online identity that is open, positive and professional. The resource discusses some things to remember when building a digital identity. Here are a few of my favourite:

  • check your online profile regularly and keep it active
  • understand the need-to-know basis (do your viewers really need to know what you are positing?)
  • become educated and up-to-date with new technologies
  • follow the STEP approach (see below)
  • assume that your digital footprint lasts forever

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Teachers are role models. It is crucial that through our own digital identity we can model  how to build responsible and appropriate online spaces for our students to learn from.

Digital Identity as a Student:

The Faculty of Educations News Blog from the University of Regina shared a blog involving professor Dr. Alec Couros and sessional instructor Katia Hildebrandt. It discusses how many opportunities technology opens for us, along with the issues that may form around digital citizenship, including cyberbullying. How do you think we deal can deal with cyberbullying not only in schools, but more importantly outside of schools? I am interested in reading the publication Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools, to further develop my understanding of teaching digital citizenship.

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I want to share this final resource as I think it will help educators to help their students develop digital portfolios. Getting Smart shares 8 tools that can be used by students to create digital portfolios so they can share their best work and learning experiences.

Let me know if you have used any of these digital portfolio tools, I would love to hear feedback on them!

Youtube is my Archery Instructor?

After recently filming myself practicing archery, I have been reviewing the videos and wondering how I could make improvements. I realized that I needed to compare my skill level with that of someone else’s, so off I went to Youtube!

There are numerous instructional videos that I came across on how to use different bows appropriately. It was interesting to see the different perspectives of videos developed to capture people’s attention; some funny, serious or animated.

I will admit I got a little sidetracked and engrossed into Youtube. I like Youtube as a search tool for videos, however I wish there was an option to select what type of videos would come up on the side as videos to watch next. I know some stay on topic of what you searched, but I noticed myself beginning to watch completely off topic videos.

After numerous viewings, I found a great video that helped me compare my archery skills to that of a more advanced archer.

My review on How to Shoot a Compound BowScreen Shot 2016-01-31 at 8.17.15 PM

Pros:

  • quick and to the point
  • visually appealing and captures attention
  • multiple angles and up close demonstrations

Cons:

  • presenter is not actually doing the talking (voice over)

Where I’m At:

Please check out my video on My First Attempts at Archery on Youtube! This was my first time using iMovie and I did it without any help. I also used the slow-motion option on my camera for me to really see my form, stance and grip of the bow. Each clip shows a progression of my skill- the first clip was my very first shot and the last clip my was my last practice shot for the day.

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Check out my first attempts!

What Did I Learn?

I noticed I was shaky, due to me extending my left arm too much. Based off of the video I watched on “How to Shoot a Compound Bow”, I learned that it is important to not grip the bow too hard with the left hand, it should be fully open and relaxed…whoops! I was gripping it so hard. I also learned that I was not pulling the bow string back far enough. The anchor point is where your shooting hand rests against the cheek or jaw. It is beneficial to have the bow string drawn back to the same spot each time. I was so nervous the string would hit my face I kept on pulling it at different lengths. Now I know it is safe and the appropriate way.

If you have any feedback or tips on archery, I’d love to hear them!

 

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