Friday, March 4, 2016

...And that's a wrap!

As tech class is coming to an end, I thought I would reflect on some of my significant learnings as a result of both my Genius Hour research and of the course itself.  Ten weeks has not been nearly enough time to explore all the stress reduction strategies I wanted to and so I intend to continue my research into the future. Nevertheless, I have learned a great deal about stress relief throughout this process.

The most important thing I learned about stress reduction for students is that it's individualized. Some things that I absolutely loved, you might absolutely hate. There are so many ways to reduce stress and we're not bound to fall in love with them all. I've shared my personal experiences with a variety of different techniques and I encourage you to explore these and more for yourselves to find out what you like best.

Another significant piece of learning that can apply to everyone looking to embark on a journey of stress reduction is to take time for yourself. Though we all live very different lives and may choose to schedule our time differently, it's essential we take some time for ourselves. As students we tend to get caught up in our homework, house work and part or full-time jobs. Whether you use an agenda, a to-do list or just fly by the seat of your pants... make sure you devote some time to yourself. I'm sure this is something we all have in common.

We live in a world where we are constantly on the go. We are always worried about what is coming next - caught up in our cellphones, e-mails and social media we consistently feel like we have to be in the know about everything going on. I think the key to reducing your stress is not only deliberately taking time for yourself, but focusing on enjoying the small moments we may have to ourselves throughout the day. Rather than become frustrated with the lengthy commute, put on your favourite song and sing and dance your way home. Take the time to sit with your family, roommates or whoever may be around and enjoy your dinner... don't eat it while doing homework, or if you're alone enjoy the silence, the TV show, the music or whatever you prefer. There are so many times throughout the day where we just get a few minutes to ourselves and don't even know it. Enjoy that time and I promise you will start to feel less stressed and more at ease.

Now I am totally aware of the stresses technology can add to our live. Constantly updating our facebook, reading our e-mails and refreshing our instagram feeds. I'll never forget when I travelled to Namibia a few years ago where I didn't use my technology at all. When I got back to Canada my phone was overwhelmed with incoming texts, e-mails and other notifications... I felt immediate stress. But this course has really showed me just how beneficial technology can really be. In reality, I would have gotten nowhere in my Genius Hour project without the use of technology. Technology has opened the door to millions of free resources. We can look up anything with the click of a button. As you know I've focused on inexpensive or free stress reducing strategies for students and many of the resources I have provided for you are available right here online!

As a teaching tool, you can do so much with technology if you have access to it. There are so many apps, computer programs and tools to communicate using technology. You can reach your students, their parents, the school community and even our global community in a number of ways. As long as technology is being used in meaningful ways the learning can be limitless. I could really go on and on about the different ways you can use technology in the classroom. You can check out my pages to the right for a few technological artifacts I have created along with a way you can use them in your own classroom.

Another great resource to check out through Scholastic is 50 Fab Apps for Teachers. It's a great place to start to find some apps that you can use in your own classroom. Or you can check out this fantastic video on Edutopia and see how integrating technology is transforming today's classrooms!

Thank you for following me along my Genius Hour, it has been great sharing the journey with you. I hope you were able to learn and grow with me as we not only reduced our stress together but also learned how to integrate a number of technological tools into our teaching. 

Though my focus will now be on teaching grade 6 rather than my Genius Hour, keep up with my journey on twitter (@Miss_Hatfield) or on my teaching blog, Confessions of a Teacher Candidate.