Kirby's Education Journey

new to teaching but old to the love of learning

Feedback for my fellow educators

Unsplash by Jason Leung

Hey Josh! I am so excited to be back in the “classroom” with you and to collaborate and learn together once again! If you check out my first blog regarding the topic of Motivation and Learning theories, you will find that I too had trouble wrapping my head around definitions defined in the chapter 11, Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism reading. The entire topic of learning theories and defining what learning is and is not agitates me. I agree with your idea about learning being an ever-changing process, unique to the individual and to the specific learning situation. I also found myself nodding along with your thought about the biased views of what is the most effective learning theory as stated by the article. As always in past courses, I love reading your opinions and thoughts in your blog posts! I look forward to more to come.

Hey Sam! Immediately upon reading “first-year math courses,” I knew exactly which wonderful, funny, special, kindly, and quirky mathematics professor you were referring to! As an educator, nothing brings me more joy than to see a student (you) realize a love for learning you thought had been lost forever, literally almost teared up a little reading your response. I have been thinking after reading your post about how we can adapt society’s way of thinking about defining and categorizing the way we teach as theories and methodologies and instead humanize the idea of teaching and learning with a focus on the teacher-student relationship? That class and our professor left such a lasting impact on you, myself, and countless others, and I truly believe that we can thank them for our own success as educators. I am so glad to be back in action with you Sam! I look forward to more zooms, blogs, and collaborating with you!

Post 1: Learning, Theory and Motivation

Unsplash by Diego PH

A duo response to the prompts ofWhat is one idea from the readings or videos that you disagree with and why? and “Based on your reading, would you consider your current instruction style more behaviourist, cognitivist, or constructivist? Elaborate with your specific mindset and examples?

Learning theories… why do they exist? Is it because of human nature to produce a reasoning/answer for every question? Or is it because we as a society are scared of what we do not understand? Rather, is the reason “we” have devised these theories because of our constant need to organize, sort, and label everything into neat categories? As someone who is strong-minded, opinionated, and an advocate for individualism, the idea of there being defined “divisions” of how one chooses to believe in how humans learn, irritates me. Understandably, the purpose of said “learning theories’ ‘ is to provide information about instructional components to provide specific technical and strategic suggestions to best meet the needs of the learner (Ertmer & Newby, 2018). That is logical. What is incomprehensible to me and my unique philosophies as an educator, is the need to simplify the complex, heavily individual-oriented task of teaching and organize it bluntly. 

Contrarily, I will give credit to a statement in our reading restating my thoughts on the faults of defining the ways people learn. We don’t have the luxury to restrict ourselves as educators to abide by the philosophy, techniques, approaches, and strategies of a singular learning theory (Ertmer & Newby, 2018). If we did, society would be producing very contrasting educated citizens. Instead, educators must select principles and conceptions based on the individual educational situation. Now hold up… this is sounding very similar to a few key buzzwords in our current educational field including personalized learningdifferentiation in the classroom, student-centered learning, and learning principles taken from The First Peoples Principles of Learning… The creation of learning theories, in my understanding of their development, must have been to 

It is unrealistic to think that there are educators in the field who believe that they solely teach to one category of theory, I can tell you now that if that were the case, we would have a multitude of insufficient teachers in our educational communities. To teach effectively, following the idea that we believe in said “learning theories,” teachers must continuously adjust their teaching styles to meet the needs of their individual students and the need to stay relevant to current educational trends. With this in mind, teachers can not exclusively follow the methodologies of a singular learning theory, they must devote their careers to experimenting, searching, and even failing to find their own unique pedagogies that will give them success as an educator. 

Circling back to the above statement to “if we believe in said learning theories” I would like to leave with a comment about my thoughts on the given classification of learning theories alongside my own opinions to where I could fall in the three categories of a teaching teaching under the influence of behaviorism, cognitivisim, or constructivism. As I am putting thought into my answer I am puzzled of how easily my teaching philosophies can be lenient to each of the three learning theories. Continuously throughout a learning period (whether that be a day or a month) I find myself reflecting on the effectiveness of a learning experiences of each student, this including what form of learning mode (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic etc.) each student is drawn and motivated to, this relating to signs of behaviourism. I am also a teaching who believes in learning as a holistic, exploratory, and reflexive, process where the student should be at the centre of the learning, and their interests are factors in the creation of lessons, a cognitivist view point aligning with the idea of constructivism and its devotion to the learners participation in contextual real-world experiences. Like I said, through my teaching practice I show signs of all three learning theories and their defining “traits”.

On that note, I think a summary statement and conclusion are necessary. My chosen blog prompt was “what is one idea from the readings or videos that you disagree with and why? with a subtopic prompt being “based on your reading, would you consider your current instruction style more behaviourist, cognitivist, or constructivist? Elaborate with your specific mindset and examples? The idea I chose to contradict was the entirety of creating the categorization of learning theories, and my argument for this chosen dispute can be summarized as learning theories being a gross simplification of the extremely complex practice of teaching, with margin notes stating that to be an effective teacher one’s teaching practice must stem from elements of all learning theories.


Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. (2018) Behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design persepctive. In R. E. West, Foundations of Learning and Instructional Design Technology: The Past, Present, and Future of Learning and Instructional Design Technology. EdTechBooks.

A new chapter in this journey

Being overdramatic as usual and reminiscing on past summer courses (Unsplash by Mick Haupt)

I began this blog in 2019… three years ago, in my first year and first semester of my Bachelor of Education degree. Today I sit at a Starbucks in View Royal where I just finished day 12 of full-time TTOC-ing in the Greater Victoria school district (Sd61). Now you may be confused by why a person who just graduated and who has a full-time job is already back at UVIC taking another course… I’ll give you three reasons:

1. $$$ I am working towards my salary upgrade which will require me to have an additional year of coursework up my sleeves

2. Although I am working full time TTOC-ing, and also working part-time as a PARTY LEADER at a kids salon, APPARENTLY I feel still unfulfilled in my extracurriculars so here I am escaping boredom

3. I am in complete denial about the thought of being an “adult” and a “graduate” by taking this summer class it feels as if I am still a UVIC student, and that makes me feel safe and comforted

So here I am, it is the summer of 2022 and I am taking EDCI 335, Learning Design. I should probably get back on track with why I am sitting in Starbucks in the first place writing this blog post…

An introduction to me:

My name is Kirby, I am a recent graduate of the University of Victoria Bachelor of elementary education program, full-time substitute teacher, and part-time student (taking this singular course). A lot of changes have been happing over the past month in my life, I have obviously began legit money-making teaching but another big change has been that this is my first summer I am spending in Victoria (EEEEEKKKK but also WAHHHHH). I am a born and raised island girl from a small town called Black Creek, which is located about 3.5 hours up island. If this had not been such a monumental year in my life (graduating) you would find me working at my past summer job as a kayak instructor, where I would already be tan from working outside all day. HOWEVER, here I am in Victoria, making my own meals, driving my own car, living in an illegal basement suite in a townhouse of 4 other people crying but THRIVING. Honestly that quote pretty much sums up the current situation of my life…

Crying but thriving

Kirby Jarvis 2022

To be completely honest, I am not the kind of person who enjoys big changes, but with everything that is going on, I can say with integrity that the thing that is making me the most upset is missing my cats at home… not too bad for someone who just started a new career. Speaking of my career, it is a dream. I have been struggling with the whole waiting game for years, the jumping through hoops of taking course after course after course. I know I know I know, I needed to learn the practice before I could do the practicing, but when I am in the classroom it has always just made sense to me. I remember at the end of my TTOC interview and my principal asked the final un-graded question along the lines of “is there anything else you would like to say about yourself and you as a teacher that wasn’t listed in the questions” I honest to god straight up said “I just need for them to know how happy I am in the classroom” and so I saw my principal write down “happy” and the next day I got the job. Teaching makes sense to me, working with children is something that I find enjoyable, something that comes easy to me. I know this is the right world for me and I am so excited to see where my career leads me.

I am looking forward to connecting with everyone through our blogging and through our online weekly zoom meetings!

Unsplash by Chris Montgomery

Genius hour lesson plan

Created by Leona Ngan and Kirby Jarvis 

Link to presentation video: Current Events Twitter Ed.

Link to Google Slides presentation: Current Events Twitter Ed.

Link to the full lesson plan: Current Events Twitter Ed.


British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2016). Core competencies.

British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2016). 

What makes a real good and real professional TikTok?

As a past (and now present) TikTok-viewer, audience engagement is huge. When only given 15-60 seconds to persuade someone/make them laugh/tell a story the creator must provide the viewer with visuals, audio, and information that encourages them to keep watching. Part of this audience engagement happens in the first 5 seconds of the video (the hook), this is the time the viewer will decide to either continue viewing or scroll to the next video. What makes a professional TikTok different from a “just for fun” one, is how you choose to present and share your information/visual/self in your video. You must know the audience you’re hoping to reach and display your content in a way that will be responded to positively. Finally, a professional TikTok should be multimodal and contain various modes to ​​convey meaning, demonstrate, explain or represent the given information.

Cyberbullying Lesson Plan

Created by Leona Ngan and Kirby Jarvis

Link to the original lesson plan “Our Digital Citizenship Pledge” from Common Sense Media: Original Lesson Plan

To view our adapted lesson plan, please click here

Handouts and Resources

Written Explanation Highlighting Changes

For this assignment, we chose to adapt the lesson “Our Digital Citizenship Pledge” from the online educational resource Common Sense Media. We were inspired by this lesson’s focus and intersection between community and digital citizenship. Additionally, we recognized the potential to integrate the concepts of empathy and being an active participant through the creation of community norms as well as answer the inquiry question “What do powerful digital bystanders do? Say?”

While beginning the revising process, our goal was to adapt the lesson to increase student engagement, student interaction with peers, and connection with the BC curriculum in a way that aligns with constructivist teaching philosophy. To begin, we analyzed the structure of the lesson and adapted the existing sequence of activities. Originally, the introduction to the lesson, Community Circle, was teacher-directed. We adapted this means of instruction to a community circle format to facilitate a more open exchange and sharing of ideas rather than a traditional question and answer session. 

Following the community circle activity, we adapted the community norms portion of the lesson by revamping the lesson template. As the original template included digital applications that appeared dated, we changed “video sites” to “social media” and exchanged “Vimeo” for “Tiktok” to increase the relativity of the materials for students. We also chose to adjust the language worded in the template to be positive and promote wanted behaviour versus unwanted and inappropriate actions. 

To address the topic of being a powerful bystander, we created a model representing strategies for responding to unmet community norms. We did this through the addition of the RADAR activity into the lesson plan and slides. The acronym RADAR, which stands for Re-think, Adult, Document, Assess, Reflect, helps students think critically about their own and others online behaviours in a way that is both empathetic and contextually relevant. In the RADAR activity, students are shown scenarios of unmet community norms and in the reflection period students share and learn about empathetic responses they can make as powerful bystanders. To make this portion of the lesson more concrete and practical we created a student handout as an accompanying visual of the learning.

For the digital citizenship poster portion of the lesson, we chose to move it from the closure to the body of our lesson as it flowed better with our newly rearranged plan. We decided to adapt the format of the poster to be digital so we could share the document beyond the classroom as well as have the capability to edit, demonstrating how norms can change and be updated as we learn and go through new experiences and contexts. 

As a whole-class cumulative activity to end the lesson, we decided to add a class video pledge. This video’s purpose is to act as a visual binding contract that has the potential to be shared and distributed.  

We opted to adapt the lesson components in order to include relevant teaching strategies. To create a lesson that was more meaningful for a teacher to implement and relevant to the current BC curriculum, we chose to incorporate the core competencies, revise the lesson learning objectives and goals, and include additional key questions and notes to support the inquiry question “What do powerful digital bystander do? Say?” and guide instruction. For example, in the group poster section of the lesson, we connected the objectives of this activity to the core competencies “critical reflective thinking” and “personal and social awareness and responsibility” by highlighting the ever-changing digital landscape and realities of being a member of a digital world.


British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2016). Applied design, skills, and technology. 

British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2016). English language arts. 

British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2016). Core competencies. 

Common Sense Media. (n.d.). Our digital citizenship pledge.

Tikity Tokity

TikTok… where to even begin? I became a member of the social networking app during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic back in January of 2019 (wow that seems crazy to say). Two years ago I too found myself as Langwitches states “in a stage of lurking, observing, curating and finding my way around” the app, these actions led to me deleting the platform from my smartphone due to over-exhaustion of the content. I find myself now three months “sober” of TikTok, re-downloading the app to meet the needs of assignments, and already feeling the craving of what the app offers for mental stimulation. To be very honest, once this class comes to an end I will probably have to once again delete the app from my phone to maintain a somewhat appropriate level of daily screen time, however for now I am enjoying the app’s comfort once again.

I have noticed that now using the app as an educational tool has changed my habits in the sense that I don’t feel the need to scroll aimlessly anymore. After reading through the various blogs and informational sites about TikTok it has broadened my views of what the app is and how it impacts our world. So what is it? Obviously it is a social media platform, truth be told I am still beyond confused about the whole app and the cross over it went to become the now TikTok but that is not the most important mystery to currently solve. LangWitches gave me a few ideas for how to truly define what the app is. In a sense like the blog TikTok states, its content reminds me a little bit of the TV show America’s Funniest Home Videos. Although my reasoning is slightly different from the blog’s it follows their vision of what the app is. The TV show America’s Funniest Home Videos is a series of videos shared from a diversity of backgrounds that exhibit day to day life of people all over the world simply living. TikTok “is like a documentation of our world” (LangWitches). It shows us the lives of people we have never met, whom we have no conception of other than the short 15-60 video of them we are watching. We get to view creators who have lived and are living completely different (or maybe the same) lives than we will ever know. We are exposed to and are given a glimpse of a world that is not our own yet we are now a part of. TikTok is not just a social media app and anyone who says to a kid, adult, ANYONE the older than time saying “stop wasting your time and start living” while they are using the app needs to understand that this is the reality of life and they are living in it.

Skipping ahead, how can TikTok be used as a professional? I am going to take this question and assume that it is referring to my profession of being an early elementary educator. Beginning from evidence taken from the readings, TikTok is an app that promotes creativity, collaboration, sharing of ideas, and connecting with other members of the platform. Notice how all four of those things all relate to key goals of student learning and classroom goals? Using TikTok as a digital tool in the classroom is just another method of showing our students how to utilize technology to learn more about their interests and the world around them. Being a teacher in the 21st century requires us to stay up-to-date in the technology that our students are interested in and using (as Misskirbyjarvis stated). This is because in order to teach meaningfully we need to stay “relevant to their lives and appeal to their intelligence and experience” nicely worded by The White Hatter. As an educator, simply scrolling through the dance challenges, gags, and story times may not be the most educational use of our time and resources, however, the beauty of the app is that we can adjust our search engine and what we choose to watch in order to fuel our teaching.

To conclude, you are on TikTok observing, creating, living, etc., how do you find the community that you belong to? How do you use an app to build your PLN? How do you find the people that intrigue you? Excite you? Share commonalities to you that you thought couldn’t possibly exist in the world you are in? You scroll. You comment. You like. You follow. And you don’t be ashamed of who you are, what you’re passionate about, and what you enjoy learning. It is so easy to find like-minded people and groups on TikTok, the app itself is set to even show you content that it believes you will enjoy based on its algorithm set up. For any professional, by observing or creating you’re able to reach and connect with individuals working in the same line as you. From there you can further connect through commenting, duetting, or liking their video and then further find their other online platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Blogs) where you can further create professional and personal relationships.

I apologize to all who have read and lived through this slightly emotional and disorganized thought chain. However, I also take back that apology because no one should ever have to apologize for shamelessly sharing their wonders in the hopes to enlighten others.

Powerful Blogs in Elementary Education

*Photo taken from 3rd Grade Thoughts

Stephanie Van Horn is the author of the teaching blog 3rd Grade Thoughts which is a fantastic educational resource for teachers hoping or currently teaching in the lower to mid-elementary range. Stephanie’s blog consists of a smorgasbord of classroom management tips, ways to keep students interested and engaged in class. Her teaching philosophy is centred around students’ wellness and child-centered learning which can be found evident in her free resources for teachers including anchor charts, lesson plans, and tutorials.

*Photo taken from Miss Kindergarten

Hadar Hartstein is the voice and teacher behind Miss Kindergarten where she devotes her blog to share a multitude of resources for teachers who work in the field of early elementary education. Her passion is in creating and sharing engaging kindergarten activities that are neatly organized on her colourful blog under the headers math, reading, phonics, seasonal, crafts, and centres. Miss Kindergarten offers teachers materials, tips, tricks, and techniques to get their kindergarten class started!

*Photo taken from Ladybug’s Teacher Files

Kristen is the organizational genius who can be thanked for her creation of the Ladybug’s Teacher Files blog. On her blog, you can see her passion for sharing her knowledge of time-saving tips and organizational hacks shine in her tutorials, lesson plans, and free personal resources. She also is a bit of a math wiz and uses her interventionist strategies to provide her followers with suggestions for meaningful, engaging, and interactive math lessons. Kristen believes that the greatest gift she can give to her students and fellow educators is the gift of saved time through her organizational tips.

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