Exploring Science and the Pan Flute

After another crazy busy week/weekend of working on assignments, I am exhausted! Despite this, I had a wonderful day in the classroom with my grade four students once again.  My teaching partner’s and I’s day began as students filed into the classroom at the ring of the morning bell. It was wonderful to see all of their bright smiling faces flushed red from being outside in the new winter air.

My cooperating teacher and my teaching partner both taught their lessons in the morning. The morning went smoothly and by the time the lunch bell rang all of the students were gung-ho to go for lunch and then go back and explore outside, as they were doing earlier during the morning recess. After lunch, the students came in and once they were settled off we went to the library! Before I knew it was time for me to teach my lesson.

I began the lesson by asking if anyone knew what a pan flute was, and I am ever so glad I did! One of my students had an excellent explanation that she shared with the class. In addition, one of the students that don’t usually share, or when he does is not usually relevant to the material we are talking about, shared with the class that he had one at home. For the students that were unfamiliar with what a pan flute looked and sounded like I played a snippet of this video to give students an idea.

After watching this video and having a group discussion we proceeded to the exploration section of this lesson. As a class, each student created their own pan flute. I had written instruction on the board in order to support students construction of their pan flute, provided a verbal explanation, and assisted students throughout the creation process by answering questions and helping students along the way.

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The students really understood the purpose behind this lesson and I was so happy I was able to do it with them! Throughout my lesson I heard students saying things such as, “the smaller straws make a higher sound” or “the long straws make a lower sound” as well as “this is like when you blow on a coke bottle”. It was wonderful to heard the students connections between what we were learning through this activity as that made what the students and I were learning about that much more meaningful!

All in all it was another wonderful field experience once again and I look forward to spending next Wednesday in the classroom again!

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Emotional Emojis

After another crazy week of classes, my Wednesday field experience has come and gone. This past Wednesday I taught a lesson about our feelings/emotions in regards to how it feels when you are included or excluded. The lesson began by students reading books about various emotions such as anger, happiness, sadness, etc. in their table groups. Once they completed their books, we then brought in drama to the day’s health lesson by playing “Emotional Animals” where students would roll two dice (1 die’s faces were all animals and the other die’s faces were emotions) and have to act out the results, almost like charades. The students LOVED this, it is definitely something I will hold onto and use in the future.

Next, in order to relate to students interests and to check their understandings of what emotions/feelings are I gave out a handout that had a few scenarios and students would cut out emoji’s and then glue them to the scenario that they felt fit best…. This is a formative assessment that I will also keep for later in my teaching career. Following the completion of the “Emotional Emojis” handout students then gathered on the mat.

From there we then read an excerpt from a children’s book that talked about inclusion. We then had a discussion about why it is important to include others and how it makes people feel when they are excluded. Which is then where one student asked, “What is autism?”. What a teachable moment! I am glad I had my cooperating teacher there as she aided me in my explanation. But after it was explained there weren’t any more questions as all of the students seemed to understand and were very respectful. This students question was a reminder that, as teachers, we always have to be prepared to answer questions in a student-friendly way.

After our discussion, students then went back to their table groups and were given a sheet of chart paper. On the paper students wrote, “Some ways I can include my peers”. Students then brainstormed and discussed with their classmates some ways that they could include their peers by either writing or drawing on the chart paper.

All in all, it was a wonderful day and I am looking forward to my next teaching opportunity.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Well, after another busy Wednesday in the field the day is done.  Today was a different kind of day in the classroom; which makes sense seeing as the day prior was Halloween as well as having the first big snowfall for teachers, students, and parents to wake up to.  With that being said, the students all entered the classroom happily and excited o start the day. My teaching partner and I even received some huge smiles and hugs before the day began. We started off the day by getting settled and completing the morning ritual of filling out agendas. My teaching partner’s and I’s cooperating teacher then had the students form a circle and did a circle talk about anything they wanted to talk about before the day began.

Following this, it was time for me to start my lesson. It was an interesting start. Originally, we thought there would be access to a piano, which would’ve been a great asset for the Arts Education lesson on pitch, layering, and patterns. I even brushed up on my piano skills so I would be able to play while students were singing along. Click here to listen/view.

Firstly, I had the students watch a YouTube Video of The Lion Sleeps Tonight, performed by Jimmy Fallon and Billy Joel. In this video, Jimmy and Billy use the app Loopy to record the different layers of a verse in the song in a variety of pitches. The app then records all of these and plays them back at the same time. After watching this, we then did this as a class.

Following this, we then explored what other variations we could do with this song by switching parts that people sang, different pitches, etc. The students learned how to layer music in a fun way with a song that was familiar to the majority of the students. The lesson finished off by singing the whole song one last time and then each student proceeded to fill out an exit slip about what they learned in this lesson. Here are a few examples:

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Overall, while there were a few challenges behavioral wise and in terms of having to adapt this lesson, but the lesson ended up going pretty well. All of the students were excited to learn and I can not wait for next week for the opportunity to teach once again!

 

 

 

Telling Time

Well, another great Wednesday has been spent with my energetic group of grade fours! All of the students are excited about the upcoming holiday Halloween; especially since my cooperating teacher did an art lesson with the students that tied into Halloween. Each of the students made a “mumpkin”, which is a pumpkin that also looks like a mummy. Here are some of the student’s final products: 

After Arts Ed, the students went outside for recess. Following the ring of the bell, the students strolled in and I began teaching my math lesson about time. First, I opened the discussion around what the student’s prior knowledge was, regarding time. I did this through asking guiding questions that stimulated and provoked thought, students then shared what they knew about time, some students went up to the board and using the clock on the whiteboard as an aid to their description of time. I was certainly impressed with all that they already knew! I then went over the concepts of time, I.e. The types of clocks, what certain hands on a clock mean, how we measure time, and how we say what time it is; such as how we say, “It is ten o’clock”. 

After this, we then moved onto the development section of the lesson by, firstly, singing and dancing along to a song that helped support students learning about telling time. After this, we transitioned into group work where each group of students had a sheet of chart paper that they then drew a line halfway across the page labeling one side am and the other pm. Students then drew events that corresponded to when they usually occur such as drawing breakfast in am. Here are the student’s results:

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Following each groups completion of the activity, at their own pace, students would hang up their work on the whiteboard with sticky tack and then sit back down and discuss what they would like to discuss or share with the class once everyone was done their work. Once this was done, all of the students gathered on the floor and each group took a turn presenting what they had drawn, why they drew what they did, and how they determined what went in which category. Following the last groups presentation, I asked more questions such as, “Why do you think we learnt about this today? Why is it important for everyone to be able to tell time?” The answers were phenomenal. The students really understood the whole purpose behind why we learnt about what we did. All in all, it was another wonderful day in the classroom and I am looking forward to this upcoming Wednesday!

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

The second day in schools was a BLAST! The kids were great! My day started off wondering if we would have power or not at the school; as the night before there were high winds, trees were fallen, and multiple fires across Saskatchewan. As it turned out there was power, YAY! The day busily began from there as all of the little bodies entered the classroom. The morning flew by, and my teaching partner and I were even able to purchase Menchies frozen yogurt for a school fundraiser during lunch. After the break was over, our class moved onto arts ed where we practiced playing the ukelele. Once arts ed was done the students went outside for recess while myself and my teaching partner set up our lesson, Chocolate Chip Cookie Mining!

The kids were so excited for this lesson all day; which was a wonderful way to end our day with the students. Throughout the lesson, the students were all engaged and knew what they were doing; although there were few times where we clarified what was happening. Overall, the students really understood the significance of why we were doing what we were doing; to quote one our students, “We need to take care of the land and Earth because we only have one”.

And to make things even better, one of our students made us this to give to us at the end of the day; it warmed my heart!

All in all, it was a wonderful day! I can’t wait to see what will be in store for this upcoming Wednesday!

 

Day One

And just like that Pre-Internship begins! This past Wednesday was my teaching partner’s and I’s first day at our field placement. The atmosphere of the classroom was very welcoming. Right away I noticed the Metis symbol on a scarf draped over the door, which I absolutely love! In the classroom, there was lots of natural light streaming in from the windows creating a calm feeling throughout the room. In the room, there was organization evident in lots of aspects of the room. Students were also seated in clusters to support each others learning. As well, there were some alternate seating arrangements in the center of the room.

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I am happy to say we had a very busy/active day with my group of grade fours. The beginning of the day began by greeting our students as they walked through the door. It was so nice to see all of their faces light up when they were greeted either by a “good morning” or “how are you this morning?”.  Following the ringing of the school bell, we proceeded to fill out the agendas in the morning and then my teaching partner and I began our introductory lesson. You can find our activity by clicking here. After our activity, we handed out an All ABout Me worksheet to the kids that they could fill out, clour, or both. As each student may complete this at a different time our cooperating teacher provided bell work that the students could do while everyone finished their worksheets. The purpose behind the All About Me worksheet was that after the students were done we could take in those sheets and read them in order to learn more about the students and what they are interested in so that hopefully, in future lessons, we can incorporate some of the student’s interests into our lessons.

After this was completed our cooperating teacher read a book to the entire class, which is something she believes should be done every day. I will definitely consider doing this in my future classroom! We then moved on to have recesses, students worked on their literacy skills during their daily five, had lunch, and then students ended the day with some guided inquiry about the Earth’s layers.  Throughout the day my partner and I had time to learn about some of the school’s policies and procedures, how to do students reading level assessment, and even did some prepping with our cooperating teacher. Overall, it was a wonderful way to spend our first day in the classroom!

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!