Dare to Care

create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically

08/Aug/2017
by Denise Krebs
11 Comments

A Day in the Kitchen

I have so much I could have done today–write a Slice of Life post, write an #EdublogsClub post, finish Shift This by Joy Kirr (I’m close), or work on school work (that’s a whole other to-do list).

Instead, I did what I’m good at and what I love. I stayed in the kitchen. (Am I an expert? My husband thinks so.)

I made Spanish rice, chicken fajitas, black beans and salsa and all the fixings. I baked tahini chocolate chip cookies for dessert. (That is a magical little recipe, by the way.) I even cleaned out the Tupperware cupboard.

Each Tuesday evening this summer, we host our pastor and his son who are home while the rest of their family is in the U.S. We have them over for dinner with dessert. Then we send the leftovers home with them for the next day. They are always so appreciative, and I love cooking for anyone with a good appetite.

Today Keith was giving the tour of the buffet line. “We’re having Mexican rice bowls. It’s like at Chipotle’s–you just put whatever you want into your bowl,” he said.

Minus the E. coli, I thought to myselfthough I didn’t want to say it aloud.

After dinner and the dishes, I sat down to write this post. Since today’s Capture Your 365 theme was “Relaxing,” I took this picture–one of the first times I relaxed today.

Relaxing. #cy365 #t365project#jjaproject

A post shared by Denise Krebs (@mrsdkrebs) on

28/Jul/2017
by Denise Krebs
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Digital Citizenship

This week’s #EdublogsClub Prompt #28 is about Digital Citizenship. We read this article on Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship based on the book Digital Citizenship in Schools by Mike Ribble and Gerald Bailey, published on the webpage DigitalCitizenship.net

The nine elements of Digital Citizenship:

  • digital access
  • digital commerce
  • digital communication
  • digital literacy
  • digital etiquette
  • digital law
  • digital rights & responsibilities
  • digital health & wellness
  • digital security (self-protection)

The article is worth reading and mentioned aspects I had yet to think of as being part of digital citizenship, such as access, commerce, law and even health and wellness. Certainly all important aspects of digital citizenship.

For 20 years now, my students in a variety of grade levels (K-8 since the late 90s) have had digital access. Together we have learned about respecting fellow students’ digital file folders when they weren’t password protected, how to share six laptops for 25 students, managed a digital environment with MacBooks for all, and, of course, the never-ending learning curve of navigating the Internet.  In the past and where I spend most of my time as teacher is on Ribble and Bailey’s elements of digital etiquette, literacy, and communication.

Teaching and modeling etiquette in many areas of life are important, I believe, and one of those areas is teaching digital good manners. We can’t let up or leave it to chance learning. It has to be taught explicitly.

Here is a Prezi I made with my junior high students in 2011. I believe it still has a lot of truth about Netiquette (or Internet Etiquette). It was inspired by this online summary of the book Netiquette by Virginia Shea, which is well worth the read.

We spend time on digital literacy and communication in class. My grade 5 students can do a lot already, but I try to take them to a more advanced level of responsible usage. For instance, we learn to use Creative Commons images instead of the ubiquitous Google search and snatch method. They learn to post photos and videos on their digital portfolio to share with their parents. They learn to create and edit Google documents while they write novels. And more.

In addition to etiquette, literacy and communication, there is another important element of digital literacy I model and teach. It is that of digital production. I attempt to inspire my students to be more than consumers. When they are with me, they produce–online publishing, forming connections with world-wide audiences, and adding their voice to make the Internet a better, warmer, friendlier place than it could be without them.

Used with permission from Krissy Venosdale, digital producer extraordinaire.

What do you think?
Is digital production another element of digital citizenship?
Are there other elements not mentioned?

23/Apr/2017
by Denise Krebs
2 Comments

What’s My Teacher Doing Here?

“Miss, I saw you yesterday at City Centre!” my student shyly said to me this morning.

After yesterday’s Labor Day national holiday, we came back to school and I was greeted by two children telling me something very similar about our separate chance meetings at the mall yesterday.

“Yes, I did see you yesterday in the food court! It was so nice to see you and your family at the mall. Did you have fun?” I responded.

It was fun to see my students. I was able to introduce my husband to their parents and see their sweet enthusiasm for seeing their teacher in an unusual place.

It reminded me of when I was in sixth grade and I saw my teacher at church one Sunday. It was so odd. Even though I spent hours a day, five days a week with the man, I remember this chance meeting like it was yesterday. I can picture him coming out of the washroom, and walking down the sunny corridor, smiling when he caught my eye.

We spoke very briefly, but it was so awkward for me. Even as a tween, I still had the idea that teachers belong at school. My compartmentalized life was getting shifted, like the young narrator in Judy Finchler’s Miss Malarkey Doesn’t Live in Room 10.

How about you? Do you have memories of seeing your teachers out of context? Or students seeing you?

This is a post for the Tuesday Slice of Life and from tell a story prompt for #edublogsclub.

18/Apr/2017
by Denise Krebs
5 Comments

Standards and Assessment

Standards and Assessment – A few random thoughts for this week’s #edublogsclub prompt.

I’ve taught with and without standards, but I prefer and believe we need standards-based education.

I also believe we need standards-based grading. We should be able to look at the standard and using descriptive narration tell how the student is and isn’t meeting the standard. It seems simple to me. However, I spend so much of my precious preparation time grading and recording numbers around learning. Sometimes numbers make sense, like recording how many sight words this child can read. More often than not, though, numbers don’t give any added information. For instance, in the following standards, how can a number help us know what the child can do?

Pose and respond to specific questions by making comments that contribute to the discussion and elaborate on the remarks of others.

Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb tense.

Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

I think a number does not show growth. Numbers tend to stop conversation. The student and parent are either happy or unhappy with the number, but not much else is discussed except the number.

Tomorrow we will have Student Learning Presentations, where parents, teacher and student come together and report learning. It’s a beautiful thought, but I know from experience, the numbers will trip us up at times.

This year one of the goals of our School Improvement Plan is “All students at Al Raja School in grades KG-5 will improve reading and writing in English.” We have chosen to measure our success on this goal using the fall and spring scores on our computerized standardized test: Measures of Academic Progress (MAP).

Last year we had only 26% of that age group make annual yearly progress. This year at the winter midpoint, I’ve just stopped to look at the data I had so far. This winter, we had 46% meet or exceed their progress goals.

So, there is an assessment that helps us see if we are growing. I’m pleased with the progress so far, but not satisfied, of course. We have work to do.

Fortunately for us, we aren’t driven by tests. We are new to standardized tests. It’s only our second year taking the MAP. We look at the data, and try to let it help us get to know, teach, and help our students, but it’s not the only measure.

I still hope we can eliminate grades and use paper and digital work, photos, video, stories and other evidence of the students’ learning to report about their learning.

I guess I feel the way we take the MAP test can help in that reporting, as well.

What do you think?

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