Treaty 4 Gathering- It’s About More Than Fun

What a wonderful experience. This past Wednesday myself, professors, and fellow pre-interning classmates in the University of Regina Education Faculty had the opportunity to travel to Fort Qu’Appelle for the 31st Annual Treaty 4 Gathering. We were advised to attend this gathering with the thought in mind to expect to give not to go expecting. Now, this doesn’t mean you literally HAVE to give something (though you could if you wanted to) it could simply mean that you are giving an open mind that is ready to learn; it’s open to interpretation. So, off we went!

When we first arrived at the gathering it was simply amazing to see all of the teepees, people, vehicles, etc. but what really stood out to me was how open everything was. You were free to explore and do your own thing, you were free to go at your own pace with no real specifically set times. How wonderful! There was also this lovely bulletin board to tell everyone what was happening in each of the different teepees.


Let me tell you, the morning went by WAY too fast! There was just so much to explore, so much new learning to take place, it was wonderful. So, with the (what seemed like little) time we had in the morning I checked out three teepees in specific. The first was the Treaty 4 Cheif Gallery where there was either a photograph or painting of some sorts with a description of each of the chiefs that had signed to create Treaty 4. While viewing the gathering there was a discussion where I learned that when Treaty 4 was signed not all of the chiefs signed at the same time. In fact, because of the varying lengths (interruptions/delays in travel), certain chiefs actually signed the treaty at different times.

The second was a display of different beadwork. Which let me tell you is simply amazing! Especially when you start to think about some of the time and hard work that goes into making each item. Each design seems to be different, yet also seems to follow a pattern. Beautiful!



The third teepee I checked out was one about Indigenous math where we learned about different games to help teach students to learn how to count and such. At this time, I learned two of these games, the first being referred to as stick game and the second, hand game. The first (stick game) relies more heavily on going with your gut instinct, this game teaches children to rely on their natural, or first, instinct. Traditionally, this game would be played over the winter months. This was an exciting game to play, as it can be competitive (some schools even have competitions where the whole school gets together and plays against each other from grades 1-12). The second game, hand game, relies more heavily on luck and counting. Vi, did a wonderful job explaining and helping us to understand how to play and teaching us some of the rules while explaining the meaning behind the different actions and what they symbolize. I would for sure, LOVE the opportunity for myself or my students to learn more about hand game again!

During lunch, while there was still numerous events going on at each teepee, there were events going on in the middle. On site, there were numerous food vendors (I had an Indian Taco for lunch YUM- and for those that do not know, an Indian Taco is basically bannock on the bottom with the ingredients for taco salad on top! – I don’t think that could get any better!). While lunch was being eaten and socializing was occurring the M.C. began and there was a drumming circle followed by a powwow! How wonderful! After a few performances, everyone was even invited up to give it a try. Hope no one was watching my feet too carefully (sometimes I am certainly not the most coordinated)!

Into the afternoon I attended my second Blanket exercise. I would highly recommend doing so if you have never done one before! I would even begin preparing my students (if I had any) to participate in a blanket exercise as it is such a wonderful learning tool for what can be a very emotional thing to learn/experience. The University of Regina, U.R. S.T.A.R.S. group does different sessions and often facilitates blanket exercises. I would certainly look into having or doing this with your student’s classroom teachers!

After this, I had another opportunity to go and explore the old grounds for the Residential school in Lebret; which is approximately six kilometers away. What a feeling! There is such history that has taken place on those grounds (as well as in many other places in Saskatchewan- well all over Canada really). It is crucial we, especially as educators, recognize what has taken place. Along with the effects of traumatic events, such as Residential schools, that have taken place and continue to affect the lives of Indigenous peoples everyday.

So, for this post, I would like to conclude that this journey each one of us takes in learning about treaty education is endless. There is so much knowledge out there and it is our responsibility, as educators, to continue to learn, grow and teach our students the knowledge we have learned to the absolute best of our ability because it is crucial. It is crucial because treaty education affects every person, we are all treaty people and it is time to take responsibility for that.



Bring on Year 3

Photo Credit: wuestenigel Flickr via Compfight cc

Once again the leaves have started to turn and change color and with that marks the beginning of classes. Meaning that this year is year three for me already! Crazy! It also means that this is the year for Pre-Internship, which I am beyond excited to begin. While actual teaching doesn’t begin until October there are many exciting professional development opportunities to be had before then. Keep an eye open for more posts in regards to the different experiences Pre-Internship will bring!

And That’s a Wrap!

I can’t believe how fast these past weeks have gone by. It still feels like there is more painting to do. I thoroughly enjoyed painting landscapes as my learning project. Even though it is technically “school work” it didn’t feel like it at all. Between working full time, blogging, and having class painting was a nice break where I was able to relax and focus on one task and not the million and one other things.

For my last post, I am going to break down each week of my Learning Project, mentioned some key learning that took place, resources that I learned from, and show an image of each week’s final painting.

Week 1 (Introduction to Painting Landscapes with Acrylic Paint):

  • Provided a current status of where I was at in terms of my prior experiences painting.
  • Focused on what direction I wanted to take my learning in.

Week 2 (Painting Begins! – ‘Smokin  Oakin’):

  • Learned how to paint Oak trees from a YouTube tutorial
  • Practiced in sketchbook before going to a canvas
  • Learned about tones & Highlights found in trees from Mark Waller
  • Learned how to paint grass
  • Followed this tutorial for my ‘painting’ of the week


Week 3 (‘Painting Clouds… It’s harder than you think’)

  • Learned the basics of painting clouds from this tutorial
  • Practices three times on the basics on a little canvas first until I felt I was ready to tackle a big canvas.
  • Followed this Youtube Tutorial to show what I had learned about clouds and to see what I could learn about painting a canola field

Week 4 ( ‘Time, Paint, & a Lake’)

  • Followed this YouTube Tutorial
  • Attempted to do my first time-lapse but found out there are a few tricks to getting it right.
  • Learned that creating good art takes time and that it can’t be rushed.
Lukas Vermeer Flickr via Compfight cc

Week 5 (‘Progress with Time-Lapse’)

  • Shared my learning regarding numerous ways to create a time-lapse
  • Some advantages and disadvantages of different programs
  • Provided an example of a time-lapse


Week 6 (‘The Night Sky’)

  • Learned from this Youtube tutorial
  • Learned how to paint stars
  • Learned how to make spruce trees look natural with a fan brush

Week 7 (‘The Sea is Calling’)

  • For this week I followed Katie’s YouTube tutorial
  • I learned about how adding multiple layers of paint adds to the overall quality of a painting.
  • I also learned more about her online community of artists through her YouTube channel, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

All in all, I really enjoyed this project and the opportunity it gave me to learn about something I was interested in. For that I am thankful. It was a pleasure to take ECMP355, and to all of my classmates of future ecmp (or related subjects) students keep learning and enjoying it!

Summary of Learning

In the blink of an eye, these past two months have flown by, as did our ECMP355 class. While I thoroughly enjoyed this course (and learned lots from it) I find myself at a standstill. I feel like there is still so much to learn! It must be an Ed. Tech class thing! But in all seriousness, I must say ECMP355 was an amazing course that I would definitely recommend because not only did we go over tons of tech. tools to use both in and out of the classroom we also tackled challenging discussion that surrounds educational technology.

Like I mentioned earlier, I learned a lot this semester and how great is it that I get to show off some of what I learned? Needless to say, our final project was to create a digital summary of learning (that either has us or our voice in it). So off to the races I went. I kid you not I probably tried out about thirty different programs/apps before settling on one. I decided to go with the video editor tool

razgriz2520 Flickr via Compfight cc

Filmora (along with a few other tools for voice recording and whatnot).  While this program allows you to create/edit wonderful videos it does a flaw that comes up when you have finished editing your video and are exporting your video. With the free version of Filmora you can export your video to YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, you name it. However, when you export the video it leaves a watermark in the middle of your video. Which, as you can imagine, isn’t ideal. I chose to pay for a year’s subscription only because I had already created/edited my video, but if you had an iPad I would recommend considering using the app iMove. While there aren’t as many video editing options as Filmora, iMovie offers an effective program the produces very nice videos while remaining user-friendly and cost-free.


Over the duration of this course, we went over many topics. We talked about the importance of participatory culture and what it means to be a participatory citizen. The problematic issues of public shaming and sextortion were brought forth. It was from this that I learned that we must deal with online altercations with the utmost care, kindness, compassion, and empathy towards others. For myself personally, I took away many learning experiences in regards to digital citizenship. Not only does digital citizenship include topics like safety, security, having a balance when it comes to screen time, cyberbullying, sexting, copyright, plagiarism, access, and etiquette but also means speaking out against the injustices of the world. One of the bigger takeaways I have from this course is that individuals (especially teachers) should not remain silent out of fear of being ridiculed for not remaining neutral, we must speak up.

Overall, I am quite happy with how I’ve progressed through this course. Here is my ECMP355 Summary of Learning (I apologize for my singing voice in advance):

The Sea is Calling!

For the final week of my learning project, I decided to paint a seascape. Once again I turned to YouTube for some good painting inspiration. Without a doubt I found exactly what I was looking for, a beautiful seascape tutorial with soft gorgeous colors. The artist’s name is Katie and here is her YouTube tutorial on how to paint a seascape:

I must say that Katie’s YouTube channel is an excellent source to learn from. At the start of her video, Katie directs you to the description box of the YouTube video and tells you what colors she’ll be using through the painting and provides a link to the image she is painting. Katie also recommends having some type of copy of the image you’ll be using near you so that it’s easy to refer back to once you have started your painting. Katie does an excellent job of explaining what she is doing, why she is doing it, and how she is accomplishing her final product. Which is great to know when you are trying to learn. Thanks, Katie! For more information, Katie can be found on the following social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

After watching her video a few times off to paint I went! The first thing I did was break down my painting into a couple of sections as you can see here. As Kim and I were discussing on a previous blog post, nature is imperfect and when you are trying to recreate it you have to be careful not to try and make everything look “perfect”. Nature is random, and maybe that’s what makes it so beautiful. My point here is that in this image you can see the two sections coming together at random points and it is important to do so in order to keep the painting looking like the original image.

Next, I started blocking in the shadows and hills, Which starting to give my painting a bit more structure in that there is now a solid background and skyline.Which prompted me to start on the next section… the addition of clouds.


With the clouds beginning to fall into place we start to see more variations of color brought to life. The clouds are wispy and blended into the background. It is in this stage where we flip the image of the clouds onto the water, keeping in mind the mirrored image of the clouds should be a little bit darker.

Next, I started to bring more colors into play, specifically to the clouds. This would be the more pinky and yellowish tones. These colors are added to the canvas with a scuffling method.



Lastly, I went and did some eye detail, adding more blue back in and defining a few areas with lighter colors. Along with darkening up the shoreline in the distance and creating a shore along the bottom of the canvas.



Overall, I am quite happy with how this piece and this weeks learning went. Here is a time-lapse of my painting from start to finish:


Contributions to Others Learning

Part of our ECMP355 class is based on how we help one another and aid one each other’s learning. This takes place on our Google plus community, twitter, blog comments, creating resources, etc. To show all of my interactions I took a variety of screenshots, provided links, and inserted tweets into this blog post. For the remainder of this post, I will break down the different sections of my contributions to others learning.

Google Plus Community:

Google Plus is an online community where members can share, ask questions, post etc. I contributed to others learning in a  number of ways from answering questions, as seen in the images below…

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To sharing resources…

To providing Screencasts:

Please click the link for the following screencasts to view-  How to change a hyperlink’s color on WordPress, How to upload a screencast to WordPress without uploading to YouTube, Where our Twitter list to subscribe to is, How to upload a legal picture, and How to use 1-click timer.


Every day since the start of class I shared at least one-five tweets. These tweets were educational resources to do with educational technology in general, specific tech tools or pertained to our discussions in class. To see some examples of these tweets please check out my twitter account here. Along with this I reply to various classmates tweets and engage in meaningful discussion.


As part of our post requirements, we are to be blogging weekly, multiple times per week.  In saying that, we also are supposed to make comments on each other’s blogs. Here are some examples of my comments I have made on some of my classmate’s blogs:

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All in all I think contributing to the learning of others has helped myself gain a better perspective into what this course was all about. As well, has helped put into perspective what teaching with tech integrated into the classroom would be like.

What is right or wrong? You have to speak

Digital citizenship, online activism, slacktivism, privilege, marginalization, racism, discrimination, social justice, human rights, and silence. These are all topics we must consider throughout our everyday lives. As we sit down with our morning coffee and complete our morning ritual of the Facebook scroll, we must consider these topics. Why? You may ask. Because it is a privilege. It is a privilege to be able to scroll through Facebook and have that morning coffee without being attacked. How many times have you scrolled through your news feed and saw/read something unsettling or aggravating? I assume pretty often. But how often to you make a response to this? Do you share this unsettling or aggravating thing? Do you reply or respond in some way? Or do you remain silent and just keep scrolling? If you just keep scrolling you are most likely pretty privileged. Is your newsfeed full of cooking videos or funny memes? Or is it full of political injustices in the world? These questions in itself are indicators of how you use your privilege.

We keep scrolling because it is comfortable. We want to remain silent because then we are not judged, ridiculed, or even questioned. Instead, we remain neutral. But are we ever really neutral? I think not. There is a definite line between what is right and what is wrong. Take this video that appeared on my Facebook newsfeed this morning for example. Was this right? I think not.

Yes, this mother in this video probably wanted what was best for her child. I understand that. What I don’t understand is how race comes into play. Why are these Doctor’s being marginalized for their race or ability to speak English (Heck maybe some of these Doctor’s first language was English, but again why was that questioned? Because of their race?).

If we remain silent on issues such as this what does that show? Does it show that we are appalled by the inequities of the world? No. Now, I’m not saying if you don’t share or respond in some shape or form to these inequities that you are a bad person. I am saying that by not sharing or replying you are guilty. Guilty of being silent. Of not giving the marginalized your support or agreeing that they were wronged in any way. You were simply remaining neutral, but there is never neutral when it comes to right and wrong. No, liking, sharing, or responding on social media doesn’t change the world but it does help get rid of the stigma. It starts a conversation, it starts an opportunity to learn.

The Secret Code

CraigTaylor74 Flickr via Compfight cc

Coding. An interesting part of educational technology. For some, it is scary but for others, it’s exciting; it’s a new way of thinking. In class, we were introduced what is referred to as the ‘hour of code’. When implemented in the classroom students are given a device where they can practice the skills required to code or even practice coding!

For this blog post, I chose to do what is referred to as the “Hour of Code” for a few reasons. One because it is FUN, two because it makes you think, and three because it is something I would really like to do with the students in my classroom. So needless to say I started playing around with this website. It is terrific, both student and teacher friendly! Watch this video to see how anyone can learn to code.

To show my progress I took a screencast in student mode. While I did do a full hour of code these screencasts are only snippets of my overall learning. The screencast of the beginning of my hour of code (click on the link to view my screencast) is Puppy Adventure in student mode.  During this I learned as the student progresses, more options will be made available. Such as unlocking new puzzles or coding scenarios to try out based on the level they are at. Which is both neat and somewhat disappointing. If you are anything like me then you always like to finish what you have started, which could be an issue for some students. On the other hand, it is also good because you want your students to be improving their coding skills as they do their ‘hour of code’ instead of staying at the same level.

Underneath is a YouTube video the is an introduction to coding for the Frozen Hour of Code scenario:

Through this website, I also learned that students are able to create their own profile and save their learning! How great is that! Not only are students able to save their learning and track their progress but they are also able to personalize their account, save projects, and most importantly learn to code! Also, when you are first deciding which coding scenario you wish to go on there are categories that help you to find what you are looking for, for example, what grade you are in, what subjects you are interested in, the length of time you will be coding, what classroom technology is made available to you etc. Overall, this is an excellent resource to introduce to your class to get them started on coding. Happy coding everyone!

The Night Sky

This week I out my focus towards painting the night sky. While I have tackled other forms/variables of sky (i.e. painting clouds, sunsets, etc.) I have not yet tried painting the night sky, up until now. This week was also the week where I wanted to try and form my own timelapse. Some parts went well and others, well, I learned from them. As for my inspiration this week I followed this YouTube video by MarsupialPudding:

I absolutely loved this artist’s technique! I definitely learned a few tricks! For example, how the artist in the video uses a fan brush to form the tree tops.  By using the fan brush in this way the artist is able to manipulate the paint in a way that makes it look like real trees with ease and efficiency. If you were to use just a really tiny brush the paint each branch of the tree it would be very difficult to get the same effect in that the branches would be very defined, looking either like they don’t belong or ‘too perfect’ for what a real tree actually looks like. A real tree isn’t uniform, it is perfectly imperfect. Secondly, I learned that when painting a night sky it works the best to paint your background first and add in color afterward, as it is easier to make a picture lighter and more colorful after than it is to make a picture darker while trying to keep the bright colors. Thirdly, I learned to make stars it works well to dab either a fan brush or a smaller brush in white paint and tap the end of the brush (as shown in the video) to create tiny specs (STARS!) over the desired area of your canvas… p.s. wear something you won’t mind getting tiny white specs of paint on.

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to create a timelapse for this painting. So, I did my research and tested out the time-lapse option on my iPhone and everything worked out well. I was good to go! And then I ran out of storage… once again finding out after I was already into my painting. ARG! Another learning experience I suppose. So for all of you people out there that are about to create a time-lapse make sure you have enough storage! Anywho here is a glimpse of my painting getting started in a time-lapse format (click on the link to view).

Overall, I would say I am happy with my progress this week. I learned some very useful tips; as well I learned to make sure you have the right amount of storage. Here are my final results for this weeks painting:


Sextortion and The New Culture of Public Shaming

fmgbain Flickr via Compfight cc

A few decades ago the idea of public shaming was basically limited to three things the newspaper, TV, or radio; as mentioned on Monica Lewinsky’s Ted Talk. Today, public shaming can be everywhere, especially if you are the one targeted. With social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Instant Messaging etc. it is no wonder that the battle to get away may seem endless. Then there is the topic of kids. The access to the internet and all it contains is easier to access than ever before. All you have to do is enter in what you want to look up into a search engine and almost instantaneously you get results.

Then incorporate the topic of kids. The access to the internet and all it contains is easier to access than ever before. All one has to do is enter in what one want to look up into a search engine and almost instantaneously you get results. One can see how easily this may become a problem especially with the sexualization of children, teens, adults, etc. that is apparent in the marketing, and media, these days. As mentioned on the documentary Sext Up Kids (there is sensitive content), this market is targeted directly at kids and their desire to look ‘older’ and ‘sexier’. Younge children go from wanting to be the ‘prettiest princess’ to the ‘hottest girl’ in a number of years. It is the effects of marketing, such as these, that pressures and influences are surrounding our students at ages as low as nine to things such as watch porn, sext, or a variety of other things. Ultimately, those acts when noticed online can lead to detrimental effects on children, teens, and adults through things like sextortion and public shaming. Which makes it so crucially important to address the situation if it ever occurs. Teachers and parents must teach their students and children what is appropriate/not appropriate, but most importantly how to be safe online.

As educators, it is our responsibility to be aware and to teach kids about the dangers of being online and what protective measures we need to take to ensure our students are being safe online. In order to do this, we must talk about subjects that are ‘taboo’ or uncomfortable to talk about. But if we don’t have these difficult conversations with our students we are basically telling them to deal with it on their own. It is our responsibility to teach our students to make smart decisions, that it is okay to make mistakes (article thanks to Kim Thue’s, twitter handle @thuekim), and how to be safe online.