Kerrie Craske- Teacher & Learner

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


March 2016

The Legacy Continues

Yesterday I had the privilege and honour to listen to and video conference with Carol Todd in my ECMP355 class. Carol Todd is the mother of Amanda Todd, a young girl who took her life too soon due to the negative affects of social media and cyber bullying. Carol Todd is an inspiring, positive and passionate woman who speaks out for change and supports others. Carol has chosen to vocalize the issues of social media and the harm of negative online identities to parents, children and teachers in order for all of us gain a better understanding of the online world. We often learn best from real life, true stories, and Carols is one to remember.

Carol shared a variety of analogies and thoughts that speak the truth about life, digital citizenship, and education.

  • She talked about taking a picture of yourself. Would you think twice about posting it on a bulletin board… what about online? You would most likely think twice about putting it in public on a bulletin board, but we do not think twice about posting it on social media. Carol mentioned that the Internet brings us together, no matter how far apart we are. This can be a scary and dangerous thought, but it doesn’t have to be. We need to learn and teach our students to be cognizant of the things that are posted online and how to be safe online.
  • She hit the point of teaching digital citizenship right on. Carol mentioned that on a child’s 16th birthday, we wouldn’t just give them keys to a car and say go drive. We teach them everything they need to know. What’s so different about giving a child a cell phone or a laptop? We need to teach children how to use technology appropriately and safely. We need to be their to listen to our students and hear what their experiencing, and we need to teach students that it is okay to be open to communicating and sharing how they are feeling or what is going on in their lives with us. Building relationships is key.
  • Carol brought up the analogy that each person has four walls that we hibernate within- a wall of isolation, lack of voice, lack of attachment and lack of strength. It is our goal to get out of the four walls. As educators, it is our goal to help students break out of these walls as well. We need to be comfortable and gain confidence in who we are. People’s behaviours can be changed. As educators, we have the power to alter the behaviours of others and make an impact for the better. In order to do this, we need to shift our ways of teaching.
  • We are all snowflakes in this world… unique, fragile, beautiful. However, alone, we melt and dissolve quickly. Alone, we are not as resilient. When us snowflakes unite together, we become a snowball. A snowball is strong, powerful and resilient. Students need to be taught that it is important to build one another up, not break one another down. Amanda’s mom built the legacy of her around snowflakes. You can read why here.

Carol will be speaking at a TED Talk in a few weeks about the effects of online bullying. I recommend for everyone to watch it to gain a greater understanding of what goes on in the online world.

Carol continues Amanda’s legacy through supporting others and teaching them about the dangers of online identity. As I stated before, Carol mentioned we need shift our ways of teaching. How as educators and/or parents do we make sure our students understand the digital world and feel comfortable talking to us about their experiences online? 



An Archer’s Perspective

I am only a beginning archer. I know I have much more to learn and I have so much opportunity for growth. I thought it would be interesting to hear a perspective from an archer that has been shooting for a long time. I decided to talk with a friend Bailey Steciuk. She began shooting at young age of 3 (with rubber arrows), and has now been doing the sport for 15 years.

Bailey Steciuk

These were some aspects of archery that I wanted to discover from a passionate archer:

  1. What has been the most rewarding thing about archery?

A: I really like the opportunities to travel to different places. Being on Team Canada was pretty great too. Team Canada is the top 16 shooters from all of Canada in grades 4-12. Another great feeling is having younger children look up to me and want to shoot like me when they get older.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 8.21.05 AM
Bailey shooting for Team Canada at NASP World Tournament.
  1. What has been your biggest challenge?

A: Probably nerves… I guess the only way to overcome them is with more practice and experience in competitions.

  1. How do you continue to find interest in the sport and challenge yourself?

A: I constantly increase my goals, always trying to do better than the time before. In archery competitions, I aim for a higher score each time.

  1. Do you think archery has helped you in other areas of your life?

A: Math. Especially when I was younger, it really helped me with my adding when I had to add up scores. Its also helped me concentrate and focus a lot more. Archery has taught me dedication and commitment.

  1. Is archery an inclusive sport? Why would you recommend it to others?

A: Everyone can do archery. I would recommend it to others because of the experiences it provides. You can travel to a lot of places, and meet new people who are interested in the same thing as you. Archery is an easy sport to get in to and it’s relatively inexpensive.

Due to Bailey succeeding in a variety of events, I thought it would be interesting to see if her identity showed up online. Based off of my research, I learned another way we can form our positive digital identities- through our hobbies, interests and sports that we participate in. This is great for students to understand. Bailey has already begun her positive digital identity online before graduating. Check it out here:

This week I have learned that archery is a sport that provides numerous opportunities beyond just shooting a bow. Archery is a sport that you can constantly set goals and improve on. Archery is great for people to develop social interaction, travel to different places, and build commitment and concentration.

Coding for Future Careers

I got to experience my first time coding this morning, and I actually really enjoyed it. I got a little frustrated at times, but it taught me a lot about the importance of coding and the benefits it can have for people of all ages.

I chose to practice code on through learning the Hour of Code. SO many people are talking about Minecraft these days, I thought I would try it out because I really had no idea what it was about. I quickly learned how to do a Screencast from Youtube, and I recorded my process! I would recommend watching it only if you are bored because I made a few mistakes shearing my sheep and cutting down trees…whoops!

Although the process seemed a little intimidating at first, I would definitely do it again. As I was doing this task, I thought back to a video I watched.  What Most School’s Don’t Teach It highlights a lot of well-known people who learned how to code and how it has impacted their lives. The most important message I learned from this video is coding teaches you how to think. 

I looked up some benefits of why students should learn to code.

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 10.33.53 AM

I found a CBC education article that talked about Why Kids Should Learn to Code. Something that stood out to me was that this is an ideal opportunity for students to learn about technology in our rapidly growing technological world. A quote that stood out in particular was this:

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 10.46.53 AM.png

This is a skill that children can learn before they can read and write! What a great way to bring educational technology into these children’s lives.

I believe that coding allows for endless possibilities. Students can learn to develop problem-solving skills, understand the real world, and become more involved in technology which could possibly be a future career.

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 10.52.56 AM.png

I am wondering if coding can be used within the curriculum. If you have any ideas, I would love to know!

Out on the Range

Lately I have been focusing on hitting a target in archery. I wanted to expand on this by shooting at different ranges. This week I shot at a range of 10 yards and 15 yards. I hope to get my target on point at 15 and then further increase my distance. I had a little competition with my boyfriend and he could shoot at 40 yards what I could shoot at 10 yards…I have a little practicing to do!

I used a range finder to measure my distance. This is a great tool to use. Its handy, accessible and very simple.

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 6.41.26 PM
Range Finder 

Before practicing, I looked at some tips for shooting at a long range. I learned from Cobra Archery  that if you are shooting at long ranges, you need to have proper grip and to follow through until the arrow hits the target. I also revisited my Feedly account and learned more from a very valuable and reliable source that I have used throughout my learning project journey, Archery360. It taught me about the different ranges for different types of archery. In indoor field archery, most archers shoot at a range of 20 yards. However, outdoor field archery’s shoot at a variety of ranges, from 10 yards all the way up to 80 yards. I eventually want to try 3-D archery at an outdoor range, which would give me the opportunity to shoot at different distances.

On Youtube, the archer talked about trying to shoot at longer distances when practicing so when it comes time to shoot for success, you can be confident in your ability to shoot because you will be closer to the target.

This is how my practicing went at different ranges this week:

Check out the video of me practicing  here. As you can see by my second shot, I am pretty excited I hit the center of the target! Let me know if you have had any experience with archery and shooting at different ranges.


2 lives or 1? Student Digital Citizenship

Students of our 21st century are living and growing in a constantly changing technological world. Although this development has potential and great benefits, it comes with an increased risk for student safety.

For ECMP355, we were given the task of watching Sext Up Kids, a film documentary that discusses issues and shows the truth about the hyper sexualized culture being developed in young children, often due to unfiltered or increased access to negative and inappropriate social media. This documentary was eye-opening to say the least. As an educator, it is quite scary to think that my students could be being influenced or given access to social media that is inappropriate and detrimental to their health. It really proves that we need to step in as educators along with the help of parents to teach students at a young age how to create positive digital citizenship and how to access and use social media appropriately.

The film mentions that our whole societal culture is changing the ways in which girls and boys are portraying themselves. Things like toys (Barbies, princesses) and clothing can have negative health effects on young girls, including depression, lack of self esteem, risk taking, and overall mental health. Young boys and girls now have the opportunity to access sites on social media that display inappropriate ideas of sexual identity and fantasy-like concepts. The online culture is teaching children to flaunt and promote themselves. Children and youth are developing representations of themselves to fit into society. They often feel “comfortable” doing this and see no wrong. It is our job as educators to teach students the difference between right and wrong, and public and private when it comes to technology and our personal lives.

What can we do?

We need to teach our students digital citizenship- critically. Learning about digital citizenship helps teachers understand what students should know about how to use technology appropriately. Social media is happening at a fast speed, so fast that it is hard for us to control our digital footprints. The only thing we can truly do to keep up with this fast-paced technological society is to educate students about how to use it.

It is important to teach students about digital knowledge. After watching Sext Up Kids, I was eager to find resources in which I could use to help me educate my students about online safety and digital citizenship. I went onto Feedly and the web to help me gather a variety of resources.

  1. 9 Themes of Digital Citizenship– This highlights a variety of themes including digital literacy, digital security, digital etiquette, and communication. It mentions that respect, education and protection around digital identity needs to begin in Kindergarten.
  2. T.H.I.N.K before posting to Social Media– This is a video I came across developed by some school students. They highlight the acronym of T.H.I.N.K. before you post. Is it trueIs it hurtful? Is it illegal? Is it necessary? Is it kind?
  3. Digital Citizenship: Teaching Students About Safe and Responsible Use of Technology– A video that highlights the importance of educating teachers about how to teach students about digital citizenship and how to monitor privacy settings.
  4. Educational Technology and Mobile Learning– This site provides some resources for teaching students about cyber-safety.
  5. Internet Safety for Younger Students– This is a great article that I found which is directed to younger children. It provides a sort of layout of a lesson plan designed to help students understand the importance of being safe on the internet.

Our digital and personal lives are no longer separate. We need to constantly think about using technology to better our students and their lives. One question I still have to discover is about our digital lives versus our personal lives. Jason Ohler, who wrote the article Character Education for the Digital Age posts a thought-provoking question.

“Should we teach our students to have two lives, or one?” – Ohler

I encourage you to read Jason Ohler’s article and think about how we should teach students and educate them about technology. I would also appreciate any feedback or thoughts, as I still do not know the answer to this question. 

Technology Integration into the Curriculum

When bringing technology in the classroom, it is vital that we integrate technology into student learning rather than just using technology. It is important as educators that we use technology as an asset and integrate it within the curriculum appropriately. Sometimes we can get so excited about the technologies available to us in the classroom that we use them without a real purpose. I came across a really helpful chart developed by Aditi Rao, which helps differentiate “using technology” versus “technology integration”.

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 7.23.28 PM

Some points that really stood out to me and made me think about my teaching experiences were through using technology, it is mostly being used by the teacher, and it instructs students on content. However, when technology is integrated into learning, it is mostly being used by the students and it engages the students with content. I truly believe that it is important to think about some of these factors when applying technology to classroom learning.

I looked into more facts and resources about integrating technology into curriculum.

What are your experiences with technology in the classroom? Do you think you “used technology” at times or did you successfully “integrate technology” into the learning experiences for your students?

Archer Tech

Is learning archery on the Internet ideal? Not really. Has it been an interesting experience so far? You bet! When I first chose archery as my learning experience, I was a little worried about how much I would find online, as its quite a hands on sport. Being able to do this project online has allowed me to really expand my knowledge on technology and dig deep into what tools are available online.

I wanted to see what other resources I could look into in regards to technology. This week I chose to focus on articles.

In A Beginners Guide to Archery by Jemima Kiss, she talked about her experiences with archery that I can now resonate with.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 2.47.21 PM

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 2.48.16 PM
– Jemima Kiss

I find that I need a constant reminder about the steps to follow when doing archery. Learn Archery reviewed those steps with me with great visuals to help me understand exactly what I need to be doing.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 4.04.34 PM

Among my research, I came across an interesting article from the New York Times. The Odds Are Ever in Their Favour mentions that ever since The Hunger Games came out, more young girls have been interested in archery and joining the sport. Archery has become a popular trend, even beyond practicing to compete.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 4.19.56 PM
Courtney Rubin

Oh! And about last weeks blog revealing the truth behind the “golden bow”. Thanks to Carli Cooper and Shelby King for taking a guess. This bow was earned by my boyfriend’s sister. Only people who have won 1st place in a national championship in National Archery in the Schools Program receive it. I thought this was an interesting fact, and it related back to my previous post about NASP and the benefits of archery in schools.

KWHLAQ for the 21st Century

Do you remember doing KWL charts in school and even university? What do you KNOW, what do you WANT to know, and what did you LEARN? They were basic, got to the point, and had the opportunity to be a form of assessment of what students understood. While I was looking through my twitter feed the other day, I came across a different form of a KWL chart posted by Brian Aspinall. Its called the KWHLAQ chart.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 8.15.22 AM

I truly believe that our KWL chart use needs to be adapted for the 21st century. It is important to include:

How students will find out information? (this can lead to a lot of inquiry tasks or lessons)

What action will you take? (this allows students to demonstrate what they have learned to someone else, develop new ideas or to develop what they have learned into something like an action project)

What further questions do you have? (it is important for students to be reflective and they can use technology or collaborate with others to discover answers to unanswered questions)

I am wondering if anyone has seen or implemented this type of chart into the classroom? If not, would you use it in the classroom? Why or why not?


Our Future Social Activists

Children need to be taught how to create social change to and be actively engaged in the society that they will one day be responsible for. It is our role as educators to provide students with education on how to speak for what they believe in, and to help them understand what is going on in the world around them.

Looking at the planning for social activism guide that we worked through in ECMP355, there are many factors that need to be considered when implementing a social action project. I believe that to begin, social change needs to start small and within the community. Once students are familiar with the idea of speaking for social change and making a difference, they can expand their projects more globally.

I never had the opportunity to be involved in social activism projects during my school years. I have a passion for the outdoors and would’ve loved the opportunity to be involved in one relating to the environment. In high school, I was in an Environment 30 class. I remember my brother being in this class and being involved in a project speaking out to Stephen Harper about climate change, as part of a social activism project being developed  by David Suzuki.

In order to get children involved in social activism, The Freechild Project mentions the three things that youth need:

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 2.30.23 PMEducation is key. One way I like to teach young children about new concepts is through storytelling. I found a variety of books that are great reads for introducing students to becoming young activists and teaching them that it is okay to stand up for what you believe in.

In regards to technology, I believe social activism should be expressed in both person and online. This website is a really great read on how to get youth involved in developing online activism.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 2.31.51 PM

I believe that there are numerous opportunities for students to become socially active and still connect it with the curriculum. In science, students could develop social activism projects around the earth and environment, or its resources. In social, projects could be developed around people’s rights or inclusion.

I would like to hear some of your ideas of how we could incorporate social activism projects into an elementary curriculum!

Blog at

Up ↑