Beyond the Glass

Reflections on education in a connected world. Jackie Sakatch

Teaching is a Profession of the Heart.

Today I am reminded of what makes teaching different from any other profession.  As a teacher, I teach with my heart.  I laugh and cry with my students.  I am sad when a child moves away from my classroom.  I am ecstatic when a child learns a new skill.  I feel excited when a new baby is born to a family of a child I teach.   As a staff, we support families when a family member becomes suddenly ill by donating money to make sure that the family has food and household items.  I supply children with mittens, toques, glues sticks, and markers so they have the materials they need to be successful.

Today  I asked my son to help make other children feel welcomed and important by attending a birthday party for a child that had just moved to Regina from another province with a relative.   This new student joined my classroom on Thursday and his birthday was Friday.  His guardian let me know about his birthday party on Saturday. I wanted this child to have a wonderful birthday celebration.   My family and I stopped at Toys R Us picked up a gift and went to the birthday party.  The children had a great time!  This is what makes teaching different.  I teach with my heart.  The children in my care become part of me and me part of them.


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A song that filled my heart.

Four years ago my class used the song The First Time I Saw Snow by Jared Sagal as the foundation for our performance at the winter concert.  The words of the song rang true for so many of  my students who were new to Canada and snow was a novelty and a challenge.

I remember contacting Jared Sagal by email and asking if we could use the song in our performance.  He was surprised that I had found it and told me to use the song and enjoy.  He asked that I send a copy of the performance to him so that he could enjoy it.  I was so excited and grateful for the use of this magical song.

I took pictures of my students and created a slideshow that played on a screen behind them.  During the interlude of the song each of my students spoke into a microphone and finished the sentence the first time I saw snow…  Unfortunately,  I do not have a copy of our presentation anymore but it was well received by families.

I had not thought about Jarad’s generosity for a while but after completing #eci831 and exploring open access resources, I once again am grateful to Jared Sagal for allowing me to use his music to share our story.

I hope you take a couple of minutes and enjoy the song.

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My Magic Carpet Ride

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Wesley Fryer

I have just completed the  sixth of the ten required courses to receive my Masters in Education degree from the University of Regina.  A few years ago I could not imagine myself on this educational journey.  For the longest time I never imagined enter a Masters program.  Frankly I didn’t think I was smart enough to get a Masters’ degree and I wasn’t sure I had the time or that I wanted to invest the time into reading journal articles.  I started to consider the possibility when my sister completed her Masters’ degree and my husbands work situation changed and my ability to bring in more income become vital in order to help support my family I needed to get my Masters’ degree. An administrator gave me the final nudge and suggested to me that I should consider getting my Masters and she wonder why I hadn’t already.  I had a lot of excuses why I couldn’t go back to school I was a mom, I worked full time, and I was scared.  Twenty years ago when I completed my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Saskatchewan you had to go to the library, use a big book to find search terms, and go to the shelves to get the journal article you wanted to read.  When you wanted to register for a class you stood in line all night to get a number so that you could stand in another line to register.  I had no idea how to get an article from the library in my living room or to register for courses from my computer at midnight.  I think I was at least two or not three versions of APA style behind.  I was positive I had lost my academic voice and would not have a clue how to write a research paper.

Then My Magic Carpet Ride began.

I took my first class from Dr. Shauneen Pete.  My eyes were opened to issues of social justice and the crisis facing First Nation and Metis children in a way that changed me.  The first two page reflection I wrote for that class must have taken me twenty hours to complete.  The annotated bibliography assignment we had I could have complete fifteen times over with the amount of resources I gathered and look through trying to find the perfect fit.

My next class laid the foundation of educational research.  Thanks to Dr. Paul Hart and my classmates I began to understand phenomenology, grounded theory, narrative inquiry and so much more.

In my next class  I started to believe that I could be successful in the Masters’ program, that I wasn’t faking it.  I did belong.   I must thank Dr. Andrea Sterzuk for helping me become a better writer.  I started to realize what I was thinking did matter and that my teaching experience provided a unique perspective into classroom discussions.  That what I was wondering about and the time I was willing to take to research my question was a valid response to the material being presented.  I stated to realize that this learning opportunity was for me.  I wasn’t interested in playing at learning I was interested in learning.  I had questions that I wanted to examine.

The ECE summer institute with Dr. Patrick Lewis and Karen Wallace changed me personally and professionally.  To be immersed in the process of learning and creating was amazing.  To be free to learn and experience in a risk free environment without the worry of how will I be marked on what I was creating. I did not have to ask myself is my participation worth an 80, 85 or 90 was incredible freeing.  What mattered was the process of being present not how well you could dance, sing or tell a story.

This fall I decided to try an online course which was a new experience for me.  Connecting online with my peers and the world gave me the gifts of numerous professional development opportunities.  I started to synthesize the information from the Summer Institutes and the ideas of creativity and connectedness.   My world change again.  Dr. Alec Couros, someone I had heard so many great things matched and surpassed his reputation.

Now my carpet ride would not be possible without the support of my husband, Keith, my niece, Kelsey and my parents.  Knowing that Ben, my son is well taken care of, loved and developing his independence makes the carpet ride that much easier.  I am forever grateful to you for allowing me the time and space to peruse my educational dream.  Ben, I hope that I am teaching you something about the importance of education, the importance  setting priorities and of making a commitment and sticking to it.  Thank you Ben for waiting that minute while I finish reading an article.  I love when you  sit and watch a TED talks with me.  Your insight always amazes me.

I am blessed to have had wonderful, passionate, knowledgeable instructors to guide my journey.  I am excited to continue my learning adventure next term.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Leland Francisco


I am a Networked Professional


When it came to write this last blog post for the first time this term I felt stuck. It is not the first time in my Graduate program that I have felt like I do not know how to put the words on the page to explain my thinking but it was the first time that when I had felt that way before writing a blog post. I turned to Facebook to help me clarify my thoughts. As I started to comment back and forth I realized that I was living as a networked professional. I was using my network to help me move forward.

How have I become a more networked professional?

Blog Posts that document my development as a Networked Professional

Blog post that demonstrate Getting Help to Connect

I asked Sue Waters to look at my blog and provide me with feedback.

Hi Jackie

Always happy to help!

I’m thinking it is probably worth moving the Subscribe by email option and options to how you can connect (with you) higher on the sidebar.

I feel conflicted about the theme.  This is a very good theme and I like it.  It’s also a popular theme.  But it is hiding your tagline. If you are happy with the theme I would keep it as it is clean and easy to read.

Those are the main things I can spot!  Hope that helps?

On Sun, Nov 10, 2013 at 1:27 AM, Jackie Sakatch <> wrote:

Hi Sue,

If you have a moment I was wondering if you could look over my blog and make any suggestions for improvement.  I would appreciate any advice that you have.  I am looking forward to connecting with you again on Monday.

Thank you

Jackie Sakatch

Blog Posts that demonstrate my connection with others through comments

Blog posts where I explore Open Access and Open Education

Blog post that reflect on course content and explore new ideas and tools.

Examples of my Professional Learning Network

My class partnered with a grade 11 class from Johnson Collegiate this term. My class and I sent a tweet out about our reading buddies experience. The following is what happened on Twitter once I shared our story.

I used the #eci831 hasttag and shared interesting articles and my blog posts on Twitter.  I used the #eci831 tagboard to help me keep track of tweets from my peers.   I asked questions and commented on posts of my peers on the Google + community.

The blog has had views from a variety of countries around the world including Spain, Australia and the United States.  I currently have twenty people following my blog.  My blog stats tell me that my blog has been viewed 629 times and 149 comments have been made.

Over the last few days I have had a conversation with my administrator about starting a school Twitter account. I have used Google Earth to take a virtual field trip. At the beginning of the term I felt that the filing cabinet was closed but now I feel that I have started to integrate technology into my teaching practice. I also feel that I have found supportive connections to help me when I am stuck.  I am proud of my accomplishments and I am excited to see how my teaching practice will continue to transform.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Karl Koenen



Wow – That is Cool!

After summarizing my digital project, reflecting on being a connected educator and providing an overview of my learning throughout #eci831 I realized that I had written some blog posts that where important and I wanted to document that growth as well.

ds 106 Haiku it Up!  – The ds 106 assignment bank provides suggestions for daily creativity.

Playing with Puppet Pal 2 – An app that is fun and easy to use to create stories.

Fun with Makey Makey – An opportunity to explore the maker movement.

Minecraft –  I was curious about Minecraft and wanted to know more about how to play and how violent the game was.

The Scoop on & Flipping with Flipboard – Two different ways to curate.

Reddigifts for Teachers 2013 – My first unboxing video.  I received a great gift for my classroom.

A way of sharing classroom activities – Smilebox

Giving the Greatest Form of Communication –  A powerful video about generosity that I was able to connect to the idea of open access at the end of #eci831.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Petras Gagilas

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Final Reflections on Creating a Digital Identity with Children

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Tim & Selena Middleton

A final reflection is a bit of a misnomer because the work of creating and supporting young learners in digital spaces will be part of my teaching practice from this day forward. My learning journey has begun but by no means have I reached the end of the road.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by daveynin

I am proud and comfortable with the steps that I have taken to become more aware of resources available to support young people online and the actions that I have taken so far to make their learning activities a success. Highlights of these step and blog posts that reflect and document the growth are below:

Updated classroom blog that includes a Twitter account

Teach children to Tweet and comment on blog post.

We made a beautiful painting on canvas. We are proud of our painting. We painted the picture using team work.

— Jackie Sakatch (@MrsSakatch) November 13, 2013

Develop and maintain a YouTube channel with my son.

Curate Digital Citizenship Resources for parents and teachers

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by David Goehring

Next Steps

I plan to continue to use Twitter in my classroom.  I want to expand the number of blogs that my students comment on and work with them to create entries for our classroom blog.  Eventually I would like to connect with other classrooms through Skype.  I am hoping to visit Kathy Cassidy’s classroom in the new year to see first hand how she supports her learners with technology and individual student blogs.    Cory Antonini, our consultant stopped me in the hallway last week and mentioned that he had another teacher who would like to start to connecting their  classrooms through Twitter and that he had another idea for me to try.  I am excited to explore other learning opportunities.  In the future I would like to explore creating individual student blogs or learning portfolios.

My son has numerous plans and ideas for his YouTube channel.  I feel it is my job to support him but to also stay out of his way and allow him to create his own learning path.  He has mentioned that he would like to create a playlist for his videos and wanting to create more videos where he interviews people.  Perhaps he will create his own blog.

The Digital Citizen Resources LiveBinder that I have created is easy to use and I plan to continue to add content.

Final Thought

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Bart Everson


Summary of Learning

My goal for this term was to develop an understanding of how to use social media and open education with children in grade one and two  and to begin to use the material I was using in my classroom and at home with my son.  When I thought about creating my Summary of Learning, I felt that it was important to stay with the theme of working with children online so I decided to have my son interview me about my experiences in #eci831.   Below is the interview outline that I created.

Today we are going to about my mom’s social media and open education university class. 

What did you learn about social media? 

What did you learn in your class that you can use in your classroom? 

  • Updated the classroom blog, added Twitter, and have started tweeting with my class.
  • I am thinking about how I can experiment with the Makey Makey in my classroom.
  • I talk to kids about Mindcraft and other games that are important to them and try to include the things that kids learn from games in my teaching.

How do you help your kids stay safe online? 

  • Model how to be safe
  • Talk about being a good citizen – on and offline – you need to be the same on and offline.  Both interactions are real.
  • Monitor students activities
  • It is important not just to create content but also to comment on other people’s content.
  • Computer equipment stays in an open place in our house.
  • Monitoring and posting Ben’s videos on YouTube

What is open education?

  • Sharing and using materials that have been licensed to be used.  You need to look at the license that a picture or song is put online and be respectful of the person that posted it.  You need to be aware of copyright.  Creative Commons Search
  • Do you know when you brainstorm – and one person has an idea and then the next person adds to that idea – being an open educator means you are part of a community where you add to the ideas of others, you might reuse their materials in a different way and you let others use your materials.  You use pingbacks in your blog to build on and support ideas in your blog.  You are generous with your ideas and materials.
  • MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses – Two types – One that focuses on teaching you content from a prescribe course outline and the other where you work as a community to generate and support each other.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Mary St George

My Commitment to Further Learning

  1. Continue to use Twitter in the classroom.  Develop a 140 square grid to help my children create tweets.  Add a Twitter job to our classroom jobs so that tweeting becomes an embedded part of my instructional practice.
  2. In my classroom follow and comment on other classroom blogs and learning.
  3. Continue to work with my son to develop his digital identity and YouTube channel.  When he is ready, I would like to help him develop his own blog.
  4. Be respectful and mindful of copyright.  Search for and use materials that are licensed through Creative Commons.
  5. When I upload material, I will use a Creative Commons license so that I communicate my intentions for that material.
  6. Continue to be an active community member on Twitter by adding members to my Professional Learning Network, contributing materials and ideas, and participating in chats.
  7. Explore and experiment with new online tools and ideas using my PLN for support if I require help.
  8. Continue to follow and read blogs created by other educators.
  9. Continue to blog.

The Strength of a Professional Learning Network.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Colleen McMahon
Throughout this term I have discovered the power of a Professional Learning Network (PLN) and Twitter. This weekend I have experience the benefits of having a strong PLN. I twitted out my last blog post The Gift of Openness and Alec Couros commented on my tweet

The next thing that happened is that the number of favorites and retweets that I received in a short period of time was phenomenal.

Blog explosion

I decided to check my blog stats and this is what I found.


Thanks to Alec’s retweet more people viewed and decided to follow my blog. The process of developing your PLN may take some time to establish but the more effect that your invest the more opportunities you will have to share and influence.

My classroom twitter account is slowly being used by families. After report cards went home on Friday this was the response I received from one of my families:

My classroom Twitter following is small but for the families that use it powerful. Just like an ant.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by AnnaNakami

Hopefully it goes to many

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Charles Lam


The Gift of Openness


Slide from:

David Wiley will be presenting to our #eci831 class on November 26, 2013.  In his Ted talk, he speaks about openness, generosity, and sharing in education.  David Wiley concludes that the more open we are in education the greater the improvements will be to education.

In the #eci831 class, we have experienced and benefited from the generosity of openness from these presenters:

Each of these presenters has exemplified their understanding and commitment to open education by sharing of their time and talents with us.

I believe another example of openness occurs on Twitter during a chat.  This Saturday morning I participated in #satchat I was looking through the overnight tweets, saw the hashtag and thought it was a great opportunity to follow the conversation.  The topic of the day was how to engage your staff in free professional development.   A few things that I thought during the chat was how consistent the message of the importance of educators being connected.  I was impressed with how open and giving the people participating were.  People shared strategies and blog article freely, and how it was easy to participate.  I think many of the people participating in the chat understood the concept of openness in the advancement of education.

Robert Munch  shares a humorous look at how we encourage sharing in the Kindergarten classroom in the book We Share Everything.  Occasionally I have worked with teachers who view sharing as a negative and wish to keep materials and ideas to themselves. I wonder what happens as we move through educational institutions and potentially become less willing to share resources, time, and energy than we expect a five year old in Kindergarten to share.    During his presentation on Open Education Alec Couros mentioned the website Teachers Pay Teachers a website where teachers can purchase materials created by other teachers.  Alec also shared the Open Educational Resources (OER) organization where content is  Creative Commons licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-commercial-ShareAlikes unless otherwise noted that teachers may access  instructional materials.  I plan to spend more time exploring the resources available on the OER website.

At the beginning of the course Alec Couros asked us to consider how are you contributing to the learning of others?  At first, I thought this meant commenting on other students’ blogs and being active on Twitter.  I think it is broader than that now.  I think what needs consideration is how you will be open and generous as you educate.  What will you be willing to share to advance the education of others?

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Gideon Burton


ds106 Haiku it up!

Alan Levine introduced #eci831 to the ds106 site.  I decide to try a random assignment and the Haiku assignment was generated.   The assignment is to pick an image and create a Haiku.  The Riders game was on TV so I decided to use that for my Haiku inspiration.  I went to The Daily Shoot Pool and I admit entered Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Saskatchewan Roughriders Logo in the Endzone

Chamblin lead the men

For a Trip to the Grey Cup

A cold dream home game

I think that the ds 106 website provides exciting assignments that could be used in elementary school classrooms at the middle years level.  I think this is a great way to encourage risk taking and connect students.  I am wondering if anyone has tried this in their classroom.


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