The Wonderful World of Blogging

This week as part of my ECMP 355 class, I signed myself up for a Feedly account and started navigating the wonderful world of blogging! When I first logged onto my Feedly account, it seemed a little daunting. With so many blogs out there how would I know which to subscribe to? How could I find blogs that would be of interest to me and my views as a pre-service teacher? Well, it turns out it’s simple. First, I read this article  that gave a variety of great education blogs to follow. I did not follow every blog on the list, but instead read each description, and figured out which would be the most beneficial for me and my interests. After using the article, I simply typed “education” into the Feedly search box and went from there. I quickly found quite a few  interesting blogs this way, one being Edutopia. I then realized that I wanted to narrow down my search and focus in on educational topics that were of the most interest to me (mainly educational technology and inclusive education).

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Above is a screenshot of my Feedly page

It was during my search for inclusive education related blogs that I found a blog called The Autism Helper. The Autism Helper is a blog that aims to provide tools, resources, articles, etc. that can help support those working with individuals on the autism spectrum. The blog is split into different categories that enable readers to easily find what they are looking for. The categories include “Academics, Behaviour, Communication, Shop, and Get Involved.” From there, each category is subcategorized. For example, when looking under the “Behaviour” section, readers would find the subcategories “Data, Intervention, Organization & Classroom Set Up, Schedules, and Visuals.”After exploring this site, I think it is a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, and others working with people with disabilities. The articles are easy to read and personal, and the resources are very helpful. Even if readers do not want to buy the resources, they can still gain some great ideas that can be created and adapted to fit their own classroom. All articles and pictures can also be linked to Pinterest, so that I can go there and easily find any ideas or resources that I found especially helpful. I believe that this blog is invaluable for educators looking to adapt their teaching to fit the needs of all learners.

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My Learning Project: Becoming Stretched and De-stressed

After reading a fellow blogger’s post about starting to write for himself instead of others, I have set myself the goal of writing more informal blog posts that sound more like me and less like essays. So naturally, I tried to come up with a witty title for my first learning project post. I then quickly realized that coming up with witty titles is a challenge! So, forgive me for my first attempt. Anyways, after much deliberation over what I should choose for my learning project, I finally decided on yoga. At first I was unsure because I noticed that there were quite a few people thinking about doing yoga, but the more I thought about it the more it just seemed like a good fit for me. This semester I am focused on becoming a healthier version of myself (better food choices, more exercise, etc.), so yoga fits right into my focus. Doing yoga for my learning project will (hopefully) improve my overall health, and because it is for a class, the idea is that I will feel more accountable than I would if I were just trying to do yoga on my own time. I get anxious and stressed out easily, so I am also hoping that yoga will be an outlet that I can use to relax in high stress situations.

I have unsuccessfully attempted to make doing yoga a habit a few different times. In my first year of university, I signed up for a weekly yoga class with full intentions of having it become part of my lifestyle. Even though it was on campus and I also lived on campus, I think I showed up to two classes. Then, this past fall while living in Kenaston for my internship, I signed up with two friends for another weekly yoga class. This time, the class was actually a pretty positive experience. The yoga itself left me feeling relaxed, I really enjoyed the instructor, and I liked going with my two closest friends. However, as internship started to become more and more stressful, I started to show up to yoga less and less. I think I went to the class maybe four times total. While I do have some experience, I believe that it’s limited enough that I do not have a very high baseline.

In order to decide what type of yoga I should focus on (I have briefly tried both vinyasa and hatha), I read this article  so that I could learn more about each type. I found the article to be very helpful, as it was written in a simple, enjoyable to read way. After reading the article, I also took a fun quiz (located at the bottom of this post). The quiz and the article helped me see that hatha yoga is probably the best choice for me. Hatha yoga is a type of beginner yoga that is slower paced, and focuses on breathing.

Now that I have decided what type of yoga I will be doing, I will be spending time each week practicing various poses and sequences. I’m still a little unsure about how I will go about this, but am hoping to figure out the details this week! I hope to use Youtube, Pinterest, and Twitter to research techniques, tips, and poses. To start, I found an awesome website with tons of different instructional yoga videos. I haven’t explored it extensively, but I love that I can zero in on exactly what I’m looking for, as the site allows you to choose the teacher, level, style, length, wellness focus, body part, practice focus, and pose focus. I’m looking forward to trying it out this week!

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A screenshot from greatist.com

More About Me

Hey there!

My name is Ashton Mills. I grew up in small town Kenaston, Saskatchewan, with my mom, dad, twin brother, and younger brother. I attended Kenaston School from kindergarten to grade twelve, and was involved in a variety of sports and clubs, including volleyball, basketball, student rep. council, dance, track and field, and drama. I loved being at school and helping others, so becoming a teacher always seemed like a natural fit. I chose to attend the U of R because I had heard so many great things about the program. I am currently in my fourth year (and final semester) of my BEd PreK-5.

After finishing my first year of university, I returned to Kenaston for the months of May and June and worked as an EA for a seven year old boy with Global Developmental Delay. I then went back to Regina for July and August and worked as a summer program worker at the Autism Resource Centre. These experiences made me realize my passion for working with individuals with disabilities, and since then I have worked as an EA in the Saskatoon Public School Division, and as a summer program worker at Autism Services in Saskatoon. I strongly believe in inclusion in the classroom, and hope to eventually obtain my inclusive education certificate through the U of S.

This past fall, I interned at Davidson School (Sun West School Division) in the grade one classroom. I could not have asked for a better experience. I loved my class, supervising teacher, and the school’s environment in general. While at Davidson, I was able to coach grade 5/6 volleyball, help direct the grade 3-6 drama production, and help start up an elementary student leadership team. Sun West is a division that puts great emphasis on the use of technology in the classroom. I was able to learn and implement a variety of new technology tools into my teaching, and immensely enjoyed it. Sun West is starting to move towards personalized (or blended) learning. Personalized learning uses technology to allow students to learn at their own pace. While my teacher was not starting the official personalized process until January, I was able to observe other classrooms in the division and attend workshops based on personalized learning. It was so awesome to see the benefits of technology in the classroom firsthand.