Pre-Internship

I can’t believe has fast pre-internship has come to an end. It seems only yesterday that it was beginning. I am beyond grateful for the wonderful experience I have had; this included an amazing cooperating teacher, teaching partner, students, educational assistants, principle, support staff, etc. There were so many positive opportunities, learning experiences, and memories that I will reflect on for years to come.

The first day of my pre-internship began and ended as quickly as a flash. I spent the day reacquainting myself with students and classroom routines, setting up my first ever bulletin board, signing agendas, photocopying, supervising recess, and teaching the first lesson of my unit. On the first day, we made a classroom culture book to ensure that all students felt they were safe and that their culture is honored and valued before diving into a unit that is full of history, wonder, and culture.

The second day spent in schools began at the new Harbour Landing School where I attended a professional development day where teachers get together in what is called a Community of Practice. For my cooperating teachers Community of Practice, a roomful of teachers discussed the book, “Teach like Finland” written by Walker. It was interesting to myself, and teaching partner, that many of the topics that were being discussed were already being discussed in our classes at university. For example, incorporating learning outside, building relationships with students, taking breaks, and creating a safe environment for students. During the second half of the day my coop, teaching partner, and I went back to the school and had the opportunity to attend a staff meeting.

Over the course of the next week, we dove straight learning about my unit (First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Figures and Artistic Expressions). In these five days, we explored terms and definitions that would be used throughout this unit, past and present influential First Nation and Metis figures, the significance of music, dance, and art. For the delivery of each of these lessons, I used a variety of instructional strategies such as jigsaw and learning stations. During this week I introduced the classroom Wonder Board and I must say I loved using it and will definitely be using it in the future. Students wrote down such insightful questions, comments, and thoughts that they were having. It was so great seeing each students engagement with the knowledge that each lesson held. Some of the students’ responses on the Wonder Board were:

  • Who writes history?
  • How did the history of the world come to be? Who made it?
  • How does someone become an Elder?
  • Why was Louis Riel so important?
  • Why is there history?
  • How are tipis made?
  • What did Metis kids do when their parents were hunting and sewing?
  • Where did medicine come from?
  • What did people eat? What did people hunt?
Student Recreation of one of Allen Sapps pieces

In the next week, we dove straight into our inquiry. Each student selected an individual and began researching. Once students had completed their research they wrote a biography of the individual they had researched and then once everything else was completed, created a visual to go along the topic of which the students had been researching. While I think learning through inquiry is so meaningful, it is challenging. Though, challenges can be overcome. For example, some students did not complete their research as they were struggling to find information on the individual they had chosen. So, as an adaptation, I researched each individual chosen and put together a document for each individual that students could read and find information that they could not previously find. During the inquiry process, each student learned at their own pace. Meaning that for some students they worked on their biography for a day whereas other students took four; thus creating a wide gap in each student’s progress of their inquiry process. For someone who likes to be organized and order, this was a challenge for myself personally; so, I went outside of my comfort zone in order to be flexible and adapt to my student’s needs. For students that could not write, myself and my teaching partner scribed for our students as they told us what they knew, we then recorded it into their duotangs.

My teaching partner and I then had the opportunity to take part in the student/parent/teacher conferences. I loved this. As previously, we had been the student at conferences and had never been able to experience all of the work, effort, and preparation that is spent on this crucial meeting place between a student’s education and home. It was interesting to see and learn about each student’s parents, home life, cultural beliefs, etc. worked. It was truly a valuable experience to have had.

In the last week, in my unit, students finished up their inquiry projects. Additionally, on the second last day we read a story and then made our very own bannock; let me tell you everyone in the school was poking their heads into the kitchen to see what was cooking. Finally, on the last day, we had a celebration of learning where students shared what they had learned and produced and ended with having snacks and reminiscing about the past month spent together as a class.

I have learned a lot over the course of the past month; more than can be put into words. While this experience has gone by like a whirlwind, I do not think I could have had a greater experience with such a wonderful cooperating teacher. During my time spent with her, she was beyond gracious. Many preps were spent pre and post-conferencing, having heartfelt discussions, photocopying numerous resources for us pre-interns to take home. She did more than support me, she allowed me the freedom to grow and develop to find out what works, or what didn’t work, for me as an educator. I can only hope to one day follow in similar footsteps.

In the past three weeks, I have learned a tremendous amount about the teaching profession. I have built relationships with students that I now hold dear to my heart. Their stories, ‘aha’ moments, and accomplishments large or small. I’ve come to learn that it’s not whether you delivered your lessons perfectly, misspell a word, or if you pronounce a word incorrectly that students remember. Students remember who you are. They remember if you were kind, caring, and loving. This has impacted my educational philosophy beyond belief. So I leave you with the quote my cooperating teacher has left me with; which is reflective of my pre-internship experience:

“If a student learns something along the way that’s a bonus. But if your students walk in and walk out of your room each day knowing that they are loved – then you have done your job – and you have done it well.”

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Missing Nimama

What a day! Today’s classroom experience was one that full of learning! At the start of the day I taught my lesson for the day in English. To start the lesson I read students the book “Missing Nimama”. Before we began reading the book students all made inferences as to what they thought the book would be about, some of the students were spot on! Next, we flipped to one of the beginning pages where the book identified some Cree words that would be used in the book. We then wrote out these words on the board with their meaning written beside them. While doing this, as a class, we sounded out each word; keeping in mind that when speaking Cree the letter k is pronounced as “g” . I then asked the students what languages they all spoke and there was a variety that was shared! As we read the book students were very engaged and asking questions throughout. At the end of the book students then were to take out a piece of paper and summarize or retell the story in some format (via a comic strip, poem, song, paragraphic format, etc.) in addition the students had to include the following in there responses:

  • Title
  • Characters
  • Setting
  • Problem
  • Events
  • Conclusion

I wanted to use this book in particular for this lesson as it includes Indigenous content, such as muddled and missing indigenous women in a child friendly manner. While this was an emotional topic it is valuable as it relates directly to students lives.

Following this we proceeded with the rest of the day. After lunch and I my teaching partner and I read the book “the book with no pictures” and the kids LOVED it! This book is definitely would I would like to have in my classroom library! Later in the afternoon we then had an artist come into the classroom that taught the class about drama, it was an interesting lesson; the artist in her career even acted on the Saskatchewan comedy Corner Gas as the cranky librarian. All in all it was another wonderful day and I cannot believe how fast this semester has been flying by! Only one more field experience to go before our winter break, but I am excited to return to the classroom for the three week block of my pre-internship next semester.

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!

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!

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.

Twitter:

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.

Blogging:

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.

And so it Begins!

Welcome my learning project! For this assignment I have chosen to learn how to paint landscapes.

To give you all an idea of where exactly where I currently am with my paintings here are a few pictures:

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It is my goal to, through this project, to learn more about landscapes and gain some new painting techniques. I want to take my paintings to a new level. Often times after finishing a painting I still feel somewhat dissatisfied, like something is missing. I am comfortable painting most things, with the exception landscapes. I am comfortable with a lake/sunset reflecting on the water paintings but struggle with other scenes. I am hoping to find the solution to this through my #learningproject ! Previous to today I have worked with various mixed media (i.e. gauche, watercolor, pastel, chalk, etc.), but my favorite is acrylic. Acrylic paints drys fast and allows your paper or canvas to be rolled up without the fear of cracking. Acrylic paint can be mixed with water to get a more transparent look when applied to canvas (Acrylic paint when mixed with water is comparable to water color). Acrylic paint is affordable (especially when in comparison to higher quality paints or a different medium, such as oil paints), which is important to take into consideration  for us university students and well as for teachers and students. While I did take these points into consideration when deciding on my medium, I chose acrylic paint because it allows for flexibility and it is durable.

As for what I’ll be painting on, that will vary between canvas, paper, heck maybe even on wood! Who knows!

 

Creative Technology in the Classroom

As we all know technology in the classroom is evolving at a rapid pace. With all of the advancements technology is making we, as educators, must decide what the role of technology will be in our classroom. Some creative technology for the classroom that I have come across so far that allows for communication, instant feedback, and learning (not to mention fun) are the following:

Kahoot:

Kahoot is a interactive, super fun, website that is exciting for a whole class to use. The teacher simply creates short quizzes with answers for the students to choose from (i.e. If you think _______ then click this box, if you think this ________ then click this box, etc.). This website is an excellent way for teachers to have  full participation in a classroom activity.

https://getkahoot.com/

https://kahoot.it/#/

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GoNoodle:

GoNoodle is an app that is full of movement break activities that students can do beside their desks! Movement breaks help students to learn far more efficiently then just sitting “staying still” in their desks; besides physical activity is good for everyone and helps students to achieve 60 minutes of physical activity per day.  Who wouldn’t want that?

https://app.gonoodle.com/

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Poll Everywhere:

Poll Everywhere is a lot like Kahoot. With the exception of it being a more mature version and is run through a mobile device or anything that allows for instant messaging. It is typically used for longer style questions where there are multiple answers for students to choose from by sending a letter (i.e. A, B, C, or D) via text message to a teachers poll. This is a great resource for instant feedback from students or for forming anonymous opinions that can then be used to create a discussion in class.

https://www.polleverywhere.com/signup

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Exploring Photography

During this blog post I would like readers to consider what students can do when given the opportunity to explore their interests. This student, my sister, is in a Photography 20/30 class.  Previous to this class she did not have much experience with photography, other than taking a few pictures here or there. This is a relatively new class that is now being offered at her school, but it makes the point I am trying to get across. If students are given guidelines and then left to explore greater concepts and deeper understandings, you will be simply amazed with the results.

I know I was!

Here are a  few of her fabulous pictures:

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For more check out this link:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/131082301@N07/