Christina Dionne: Striving to Make a Difference

Recently, one of UMF’s alumna was featured on the Mt. Blue Regional School District website for her exemplary work in building relationships with students and individualizing instruction. Christina Dionne, a graduate from UMF’s Secondary Education program, is currently teaching math at Mt. Blue Middle School and taking strides everyday to better herself as an educator and her students as learners.

Christina has always liked math, and she was in the advanced math classes in high school. When she first came to UMF she was an art major, but after her freshman year she changed her major so that she could pursue a career in math. The UMF methods courses that Christina took brought about a passion for teaching in her.

After graduating, Christina took a job as a camp counselor. Two years later, she became the arts and crafts specialist at camp. On her fourth year, Christina was promoted to being a unit leader and was responsible for managing the four groups within her unit, communicating with parents, and organizing activities and field trips. Eventually, Christina took on a job in early childhood, where she was able to understand child development more clearly and gain an understanding of how to better implement a curriculum with a holistic approach. Christina then took on her position at Mt. Blue Middle School.

Christina has expressed her commitment to proficiency-based education, which helped her to earn the respect of administration. Christina puts in very long hours at school, staying late to volunteer with After School Study and immerses herself in her work and her students.

One of Christina’s goals is to develop a proficiency-based program in math and show her students how to track their own progress in comparison with the standards. Christina would like to incorporate a more hands on approach that requires students to solve real-life math problems, and to implement the skills they learn both inside and outside of the classroom. She loves to challenge her students’ critical thinking.

Along with increasing student proficiency, Christina also makes it a point to create a student community in her classroom. Students often work together to learn from one another, build peer relationships, and increase their self esteem. This approach allows Christina to individualize instruction for those who need it while others are working together.

When asked about the challenges that she faces, Christina said that student frustration and behavior can be difficult. Christina tries to understand the cause of the behavior and work with the student to help them solve whatever problem they are facing. She aims to build healthy, valuable relationships with students. Christina also works at getting students interested in math. She uses various techniques, approaches, games, and activities to make learning math more fun and applicable.

Christina is one of many amazing teachers to have come from a UMF Teacher Education Program, and Mt. Blue Middle School and her students are lucky to have her! For more information about the amazing schools and opportunities in the Mt. Blue Regional School District, check out their website!

 

World Language Education: Preparing Language Educators for a Diverse World

The University of Maine at Farmington is excited to announce that it has created a new Bachelor of Science in World Language Education program to prepare educators for a career teaching Spanish or French in schools. There is an increasing shortage in the state of Maine and across the country of qualified World Language educators in the K-12 classrooms. This new major is designed to address the need for fully-certified World Language educators in the state of Maine and beyond.

A Maine Department of Education World Language specialist reports that all Maine high schools are now required to offer foreign language classes as a proficiency-based graduation requirement, and many Maine middle schools are expanding their language programs as well. Schools need language educators for a variety of reasons, including preparing students for a continuously evolving diverse world, collaborating with families from diverse backgrounds, and meeting college admission requirements.

This major will be offered beginning in the Fall of 2018. This program will provide an opportunity for students at UMF to become certified to teach in the classroom, with a deeper understanding of language and culture. UMF also teaches courses in Chinese and Japanese languages. For more information about the World Language Education major, visit the UMF media release or the  UMF website.

Social Justice Picture Book Display

This semester, students from both sections of Professor Kathryn Will-Dubyak’s Reading & Language Arts K-3 class (EDU 333) created a Social Justice Picture Book display on the third floor of Mantor Library.

As part of a class project, the students were asked to recommend children’s books for the library’s collections, and they decided to focus on books relating to social justice. In order to make their recommendations; they considered reviews from professional sources such as Horn Book and Publishers Weekly, looked at nominations for children’s book awards, and assessed the quality of the text and illustrations.

The titles the students chose have been purchased by the library and are currently being processed into the Mantor Library or Spenciner Curriculum Materials Center collections.

Some of the chosen books are listed below with brief descriptions:

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig- Brian is a quiet boy who feels invisible. None of his classmates make an effort to play with him, invite him to their birthday parties, talk to him, or be his friend. When Brian befriends the new student, Justin, they become an unstoppable pair, and Brian shines among his classmates when he and Justin work on a class project together. This story shows how a small act of kindness and compassion can make a huge difference for children, especially the quiet ones.

All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism by Shania Rudolph and Danielle Royer- Zane, a young zebra with autism, worries that he will have problems at school if the students only notice his “autism stripe.” Zane’s mother helps him to learn to appreciate all of his stripes and all of his qualities, and to learn that he is not defined by his autism stripes but by how he treats others with honesty, respect, and care. The book includes a Reading Guide with additional background information about autism spectrum disorders and a Note to Parents and Caregivers with tips for finding support.

Sparkle Boy by Leslea Newman- Casey is a young boy who likes to play with puzzles, dump trucks, and blocks. He begins to show interest in his older sister Jessie’s things- her sparkly skirt, her shiny nails, and her bracelets. The rest of Casey’s family supports his interests, but Jessie doesn’t think that those things are for boys, so she doesn’t know how she feels about it. One day, Jessie sees other boys in the library picking on Casey for his “girl clothes.” Jessie realizes that Casey has a right to wear whatever he wants to wear and be whoever he wants to be. This is a great story that addresses and respects individuality and encourages freedom of typical gender roles and stereotypes.

For a complete list of stories included in the display case, click on the brochure below! The display can be seen in person on the third floor of Mantor Library. Great job to Professor Will-Dubyak and her class for such an amazing display and selection of books that are sure to touch your heart and make you feel good!

Maria Minor Newcomb and the MAHPERD Conference

Maria Minor Newcomb recently earner her Master’s of Education from the University of Maine at Farmington, and she is taking on a leadership and advocacy role as the President elect of the Maine Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD)! The MAHPERD organization consists of 800+ educators/members and is responsible for cutting edge professional development.

From November 5th-7th, MAHPERD will be hosting their 72nd annual conference at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, ME. Featuring two keynote speakers, and over 70 state and national speakers, this conference is sure to have something that will interest all educators and health/physical education professionals.

The two keynote speakers featured in this year’s conference are Joshua Medcalf and Judy LoBianco. Joshua Medcalf is the president and founder of Train to be CLUTCH. Joshua created the first mental training apps in the world of basketball, soccer, and golf. He is one of two people ever invited to work with the UNC Women’s soccer team, who have won 22 national championships! Joshua has published four books, and every conference participant will receive a free copy of his book Chop Wood, Carry Water: How to Fall in Love with the Process of Becoming Great. Joshua will be speaking during the General Session on Monday from 11:20-12:30 in the Knox County Ballroom.

Judy LoBianco is the president elect for SHAPE America. Judy will be addressing the need for advocacy in professionals at local levels to “take back our profession, one gymnasium and classroom at a time.” Judy will be presenting during the All Conference Session on Monday from 1:15-2:10 in the State of Maine Hall.

 

This is sure to be a great conference, and it is a wonderful opportunity to build on professional development and to collaborate with other colleagues. Information about the conference is posted below, but for a full schedule and itinerary, click here. For more information about MHPERD, visit their website.

  

Hannah and Hannah in France: An Update

As some of you may remember from our post a couple of months back, there are two UMF alumna, Hannah Some and Hannah Carlson, who are teaching English at the university level in Le Mans, France! After having been there for a couple of months, Hannah and Hannah have begun to adjust and have shared some information about their experiences thus far with us.

Both women report not experiencing much of a culture shock when moving to France. Hannah Somes describes it as “such a Westernized country that it really does not feel very different to me in my daily life than the U.S.” Hannah Carlson had already studied abroad in Le Mans during her undergraduate career at UMF, so she was already somewhat familiar with life in Le Mans and in France. There were some tasks that they had to complete when they first arrived, such as setting up a bank account, which was difficult with the language barriers.

The classes that Hannah and Hannah are leading are discussion based, designed to help students improve on their English language skills. The classes are very open and broad, allowing the instructor to tailor the lessons towards student interests. “My courses are very speaking intensive; the students are really engaging in holding conversation and using their oral language” said Hannah Somes. Hannah S. indicates that her classes are large (55 to 65 students) making it difficult to have each student speak. She says, “…in these classes I have students talk in a group about a topic and the group presents on a topic of their choosing.” In Hannah S.’s smaller classes she has students do individual presentations and whole-group discussions.

Hannah and Hannah both have very long, busy schedules throughout the day. Hannah Somes teaches for a couple of hours in the morning and afternoon, taking a lunch break at home in between classes as meals are very important in France. Sometimes, she teaches evening courses as well. Hannah Carlson also has a busy schedule, as she is teaching 17 groups of French students this semester. “I have between 10 to 20 students in each class, so there are a lot of students to remember,” Hannah Carlson explains. “I meet with each group once a week. The course title is expression orale, which means it’s a speaking class. The students vary in level, from L1-L3. French universities only have three years of undergraduate study. So far, I have covered topics such as censorship in the United States and pop culture.”

There are some noticeable differences between French and American universities. Hannah Carlson discussed differences in the structure of classes. For example, if a student at a French university changes major, they have to start all over again and the previous classes completed/credits earned do not count towards the new major. They also have longer days at French universities, students are in class from 8 or 9 AM to 5 or 6 PM. “French students are also less willing to raise their hand in class and share answers or their opinion,” said Hannah C. “Classes aren’t set up for class discussion and are instead often lectures where students take notes and occasionally share answers. In my classes, it is sometimes difficult to get students to share answers and their opinion.” This has been a challenge for Hannah, but she has been working around it. “Some of the students have a lower English proficiency and have trouble understanding me. There is also a stigma towards French students sharing the wrong answer here. I’ve been trying to make my students feel comfortable in the class, which would help them be more willing to talk.” Hannah says that her classes at UMF helped to prepare her for her role as a lectrice by having many opportunities to be in front of a classroom.

While they have been busy teaching, they have also been able to find some time to enjoy all that France and Le Mans has to offer! Hannah Somes’ favorite memory so far was a British themed festival that occurred in September throughout the city featuring a Beatles cover band!

Moving across the world to teach in a new place can be overwhelming, but it is definitely rewarding. When asked what advice she had for those interested in moving abroad, Hannah Somes said “French institutions give less direct, step-by-step directions than in the U.S., so it is necessary to be self-directed and autonomous.” Hannah Carlson discusses the challenge that the language barrier presents when interacting in the community. “One of the biggest difficulties of living in France is the language barrier,” she said. “My language proficiency is slowly improving, but it can be hard at times. When I first arrived, I had to set up a bank account by myself with someone who didn’t speak English.” Language barriers can be challenging, and it is important to be aware of these changes and differences before making such a move, but they can be planned for.

All of us here at UMF are happy to hear that Hannah and Hannah have adjusted and are enjoying their new lives in France. Stay up to date with the ED360 blog to receive more updates about their positions and to learn more about the various opportunities that UMF provides both pre- and post-graduation.

Sweatt-Winter Awarded New NAEYC Accreditation

“The Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Education Center on the UMF campus is proud to announce it has been awarded a new, five-year term of national accreditation by the National Association for Education of Young Children.

NAEYC Accreditation is a rigorous and transformative quality-improvement system that uses a set of 10 research-based standards to collaborate with early education programs to recognize and drive quality-improvement in high-quality early learning environments.

The Sweatt-Winter Center met 100 percent of the criteria in each of 10 program standards and was commended by the NAEYC for its outstanding efforts in maintaining and renewing its accreditation and for its dedication and commitment to continuous quality improvement.  The center fully-met the required elements within the standard criteria and scored highly on the random elements. Less than 10% of early childhood centers nationally attain NAEYC accreditation.

“We are so proud of this national accreditation and what it says about the quality of our programs,” said Julie Farmer, director of the Sweatt-Winter Center. “High-quality early education and childcare have huge benefits for children, their families and the entire community.”

The Sweatt-Winter program has provided full-time care and education to children in Franklin County and the surrounding areas for more than 30 years. The curriculum is based on the interests of the children, and is carried out through the use of age appropriate activities. It offers a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment for children ages 3-8. A preschool program for ages 3-5 and a before-and-after school program for ages 5-8 are available.

The Sweatt-Winter program is located in University of Maine at Farmington’s Ricker Addition. In addition to its value as a top quality child care program, Sweatt-Winter also serves as lab school for UMF education majors where best teaching practices are taught and demonstrated by onsite UMF faculty instructors.

Hours of operation are from 7 a.m.–5:15 p.m. The program currently has openings in its before and after-school child care program. For more information please contact  Julie Farmer, director of UMF’s children’s programs at 207-778-7480.”

Click here to view the complete article.

Makerspace: Creating Spaces to Innovate

Makerspace is an upcoming movement in the field of education. The goal of makerspace is to design a place for kids and students to create, play, and innovate. Johanna Prince, Director of Graduate Programs at UMF, has been involved in helping to educate the public about makerspace and potentially design a makerspace on campus. Johanna oversees the Masters in Technology program at UMF and has an interest in educational technology.

Makerspaces can be implemented and used in various ways. “I have seen makerspaces in kindergarten classes, art classrooms, high schools using high end, high-tech equipment,” said Johanna, “there’s a wide range in who can make use of them.” Makerspaces can consist of a fixed location to work in, mobile spaces in which items are transported to different locations on a cart, or even just a few shelves in a classroom with tools and resources designated for student innovation and creativity. Common tools and materials used are craft supplies, glue guns, small power tools, laser cutters, circuitry equipment, and much more!

3D printers are becoming increasingly popular as well, as people from various fields of study make use of them to design and create various tools. 3D printers can be used to create small or large items, math manipulatives, three-dimensional maps to study geography and landforms, and some assistive technology tools as well, such as a device to help turn a door handle or turn on a light switch. There is a 3D printer on campus at UMF, but it is not easily accessible to the public. If you are interested in making use of the 3D printer for educational and professional purposes, please contact Johanna Prince at johanna.prince@mane.edu

While there is not yet a dedicated Makerspace location on campus, there are various resources in the area that students and faculty can make use of. Everyone’s Resource Depot (located in the Education Center basement) has an abundance of craft materials and miscellaneous supplies at a very affordable price. The Spenciner Curriculum Materials Center (located on the first floor of the Education Center) has a variety of materials as well, including new Sphero Robots (pictured left), which can be controlled by tilting, tapping, or swiping your smartphone. Interested in learning more about Sphero Robots? Come to an interactive session using Sphero robotics and block based coding to play and learn, no prior knowledge or experience needed! This workshop will take place on Saturday, October 21st from 9:00-12:00 in Education Center 012. Spaces are limited to 20 participants, so fill out the registration form soon to ensure your spot!

Are you interested in makerspace, and want to learn more about it what you can do with it? There will be two more makerspace workshops and discussions after the Sphero robotics coding one workshop:

Low Tech and High Tech Making: Saturday October 28th 9:00-12:00 in Education Center 012

Join us for a hands on session to explore high tech and low tech making. You’ll get a chance to play with 3D modeling software,  use a 3D printer,  and create using low-tech repurposed materials. Limited to 20 participants, so fill out the registration form before it’s too late! 

What space is needed for a makerspace?: Wednesday December 6th 11:45-1:00 in Education Center 012

In this conversation we will continue to explore the ideal of making, creating and innovating.  We’ll discuss the ways we already have these spaces in our community and places, as well as how we can leverage them to develop spaces and opportunities for more making.  

At the last workshop, What is a makerspace?, there was an open conversation about makerspaces, what the goal of a makerspace is, and creativity! There was also a discussion about high school students who use high-tech materials in school coming to UMF, which has less tech integration and innovative technology faculty than their high school experience. It was an interesting and interactive discussion, and some small materials were provided to build and manipulate with. Check out these creations!

 

 

 

 

If you have any additional questions about makerspace, contact Johanna Prince (johanna.prince@maine.edu), Kathryn Will-Dubyak (kathryn.willdubyak@maine.edu), or Bryce Cundick (bryce.cundick@maine.edu). Stay up to date with the Ed360 blog to learn more about makerspace opportunities!

National Bullying Prevention Month

Did you know that October is National Bullying Prevention Month? National Bullying Prevention Month is a nationwide campaign founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Educators and communities across the nation raise awareness about bullying and promote bullying prevention.

The Maine Education for Association reported these facts and finding about bullying in their newsletter:

  • Bullying occurs once every seven minutes in schools across America. In fact, one in every three students reports being bullied weekly, in person, via email, or through social media.
  • When NEA surveyed members a few years ago, nearly 100 percent of respondents said it was their job to intervene when they saw bullying occur.
  • Research by GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) shows that vulnerable students, who often are targeted for bullying because of their race, ethnicity, or LGBTQ status, can generally name at least one supportive adult in their schools, but it takes six or more supportive adults to make a difference when it comes to bullying.
  • GLSEN’s Ally Week, September 25-29, is a student-driven program in which students and educators who are LGBTQ lead conversations about what kind of support, understanding, and encouragement they need from their allies.

So, what can you do to stop bullying and promote acceptance in your classroom? PACER’s NBPC provides these and other various ways to get involved in promoting bullying prevention:

  1. Join the cause- Historically, bullying has been viewed as “a rite of passage,” but National Bullying Prevention Month is now a nationwide call to action — providing schools, parents and students with the educational resources and support to better respond to bullying behavior.
  2. Provide resources and reminders to students- PACER offers various resources for students and teachers, including FREE “Kids Against Bullying” bookmarks that can be printed or ordered (plus shipping and handling). A daily reminder of the cause will help children remember the importance of preventing bullying.
  3. Make it a known campaign- Tell everyone that your school and community are participating in National Bullying Prevention Month by alerting news media, sharing on social media, campaigning around town, etc. Get the word out there!
  4. Let victims know that they are not alone-  Make it a priority to promote empathy and compassion for those being bullied. Encourage them to talk about it, address it, and let children know that there are people who are there for them no matter what. Children always need a hero.
  5. Create a communal art project- Allow students to be artistic and work together on a banner, poster, sculpture, video, or anything else that relays the anti-bullying message. Allowing kids to work together on one project will form a sense of community and belonging within all children, as well as allow them to have their ideas and voices be put into the initiative.
  6. Wear orange- NBPC has dedicated orange as the color of National Bullying Prevention Month, and PACER will soon be coming out with a line of t-shirts and other orange items promoting the cause.

 

By working together as a community and nation, we can end bullying among children and teens and promote a more accepting and welcoming environment for all. While teaching and/or interacting with students and children, especially during the month of October, remember the importance of promoting a bully-free environment and incorporate these tools and lessons with everyday experiences. For more resources and to learn more about PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, visit their website.

Meet the New Faculty of Special Education

The Special Education department at UMF is proud to welcome some new, bright, exciting members to the professional team. Kate MacLeod, Dominique Tetzlaff, and Kevin Good are the newest professors in special education at UMF.

Kate MacLeod is joining the the special education faculty in the Secondary and Special Education Division here at UMF. She is completing her doctorate in Special Education at Syracuse University and holds a Certificate of Advanced Study in Disability Studies from Syracuse and a Masters of Science in Special Education from Long Island University. Kate was a high school special education teacher and inclusion facilitator in New York City, and has expertise working with urban adolescents with disabilities. Her research and writing has been published in academic journals such as Educational Leadership, Disability & Society, Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, and International Journal of Whole Schooling, educational magazines such as Rethinking Schools and TASH Connections, and book anthologies focused on inclusive and special education. Her current research agenda is focused on best practices for the inclusion of students with complex support needs; understanding the culture of inclusive schools; and the development of teacher networks to support inclusive education. Kate is also an educational consultant who works with administrators, teachers, and families in the northeast and across the country to support their work to create and improve inclusive practice and culture for all students. She is a new resident of Unity, Maine and when she is not teaching, researching, or working with schools and families, she loves to play music with her husband and friends, and spend time outside with her dog Amelia. Kate is absolutely thrilled to join the UMF community!

 

 

Dominique Tetzlaff has been in the field of education for almost ten years. She started her career as a special education teacher in a middle school serving at-risk students in a high poverty community. Dominique recently completed her doctorate in Special Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and she specializes in high incidence disabilities, using technology for students with disabilities, and methods for teaching English Language Learners. Her dissertation study Using Mobile Technology to Increase the Math Achievement and Engagement of Students with Disabilities focused on the critical design features and implementation of mobile devices to support teacher-directed instruction. Dominique hopes to further expand this research line to develop guidelines for using digital lessons in the core content areas for students with disabilities. Dominique is very excited to be part of the UMF faculty and is looking forward to enjoying the community with her family!

 

 

Kevin Good is an instructor in Special Education.  He holds two master’s degrees and is preparing to finish his Ph.D. His focus in special education has resulted in various experiences including teaching, research, advocacy, and assistive technology consulting.  Kevin is interested in all areas of special education, but his primary teaching and research is on assistive technology, inclusive education, teacher education, literacy, academic and behavioral instructional approaches, and best practices in instruction and technology use.  His primary goal is to develop and mentor future teachers as they prepare to meet the needs of all learners.  He is also excited to work with community members with their assistive technology needs be it related to pk-12 education, higher education, or life.  As the Maine CITE coordinator at UMF, Kevin seeks to help all individuals at UMF learn more about the roles of assistive technology in the classroom and in life. Kevin is excited to be joining the UMF community because of its longstanding reputation in teacher education and its location in one of the most beautiful places in the country!

UMF is very excited to welcome Kate, Dominique, and Kevin to our faculty. If you see them around campus be sure to say hello and welcome them to Farmington. From all of here at UMF, we want to give a warm welcome to our new professors in Special Education!

Praxis Core Review Sessions Fall 2017

The UMF Learning Commons hosts multiple Praxis Core review sessions for students who would like some extra assistance preparing for the test. These sessions will be held as followed:

Writing- Multiple Choice Monday, September 18th 7-8 PM Ed Center 107
Math- Functions & Algebra Wednesday, September 20th 7-8PM Ed Center 106
Writing- Informative Essay Monday, September 25th 7-8 PM Ed Center 107
Math- Geometry Wednesday, September 27th 7-8 PM Ed Center 106
Writing- Argumentative Essay Monday, October 2nd 7-8 PM Ed Center 107
Math- Stats & Probability Wednesday, October 4th 7-8 PM Ed Center 106

Students are also welcome to visit the Learning Commons during tutoring hours (M-Th 12-2, Su-Th 7-9) for individual help.

An excellent online resource is the Learning Express Library. Once you create a free account, you can search for ‘PRAXIS Core’ to call up  4 different practice PRAXIS tests in Writing and Math.