Pop! Week 6.

This week in Grade 4 I taught about stress responses in the body.  I started the lesson by inducing a small stress response.  I had the students close their eyes and an take a few deep breaths, to reduce stress.  While we were doing that, I had prearranged with my teaching partner to pop a balloon, to startle them.  It had the desired effect, most of the students were startled.

We then proceeded to have a discussion about how their body reacted to the surprise.  The discussion wasn’t going the direction I wanted it too, and the students weren’t understanding what I was trying to get at.  So, plan B, improvise on the fly like a good teacher does. The students are reading the City of Ember, and were at the part where Lena, the main character loses her sister.  The story goes on to describe Lena’s bodily reactions to stress. I used that as an example of what I was trying to get at and it worked we got on the right track and a great discussion that lead us into a story, with an ebook.

We then discussed rather than read word for word the book Stressed Out by Michelle Prather.  I had planned to read the book but found the students were getting a bit antsy sitting, so I turned it into more of a discussion rather than a story.  We had fun with the discussion.  It was funny when we got to the part about clenching teeth and I clenched mine the students followed right along.  I knew then they were all paying attention.  We ended our lesson using another new to me tool the parking lot.  A good friend explained it to me and I liked the idea. The parking lot is similar to a KWL chart, but for this the students write one take away on a sticky note and put it in the parking lot.  Of course, the kids love writing on sticky notes. I think another good lesson with some valuable learning for me as a teacher and for the students.

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Professional Development Plans

This section includes the PDP’s that our co-op teacher had to fill out for each lesson we taught.  We were given goals to work on for the first 6 weeks and there was prescribed things the co-op was looking for in those weeks.  The predetermined criteria was interesting but I found the comments that my co-op teacher made in addition to be much more useful, in terms of knowing what I did well and what could use some work.

Here is a sample of some PDP;s

Health Stress Responses

Phys.Ed. Dribbling

Social Studies Introduction to the Buffalo

Student Profiles

For this assignment we were asked to choose 3 student we worked with this semester at our placement, and tell about them and where they excel and what they are still working on.  Generally, I think most people choose those students who present a behavioural challenge in the classroom.  The classroom I was placed in doesn’t have any students that present huge behavioural challenges so it was a little more difficult to choose 3 students.

This is the profile, I also left the comments visible from my instructor.  I didn’t have a chance to add or put any of the suggestions to work as the semester ended before I had a chance.  I do plan to review these profiles and try some of the suggestions when I return for my 3 week block in March.

Story Time- Week 5

After a few days off from University classes which included a break from our placement, I was excited to get back to my students.  It feels a bit strange to say “my students” because technically I guess they really aren’t. However, it is equally as strange to just say “the students” because to me that implies there is no connection and that is not true.  I missed being at the school on our days off and as our time with them is quickly coming to a close, I am going to miss them a lot.

The connections with the students are becoming deeper, more than me being just a novelty in the classroom.  Students are beginning to share more about their personal lives with us(my co pre- intern and I). One student, who is very shy, is finding her voice around us.  She sought me out one day to tell me about a book she was reading and this past week even put her hand up to answer a question. That is a good feeling. I find they engage in classroom topics with us at a different level too.  Maybe that is because we are more confident now in teaching our lessons and are finding our groove in engaging the students. Which brings me to the lesson I taught this week.

This lesson was a Social Studies lesson, my favourite subject.  It was a lesson that was new to me in all aspects. It was a lesson that outcome and indicator were from the regular curriculum requirements as well as Treaty Education requirements.  I have never been party of Treaty Ed. in the classroom so to teach it was a bit intimidating at first. I also used a KWL(what do we know, want to know and want to learn) chart, something that was new to me as well.  The lesson was an introduction to the unit my cooperating teacher is starting. The unit is on the importance of the buffalo to First Nations communities.

My job was to introduce the buffalo to the students.  We started with a picture of the buffalo on the smart board and filled in the K(what do we know) portion of our chart.  I, as well as their teacher, was surprised at how much they knew about the buffalo and the importance to First Nations people.  After we finished the K portion we moved on to the W (what do we want to know) and again they had some great answers. There were a couple of times were I had to decipher a bit what the student was getting at but we got to the point.  We then moved on to the best part of the lesson reading a story. I love reading stories to kids. We read Honouring the Buffalo, which is a Cree legend.  Most of the students were very interested and engaged in the story and we had an amazing discussion of the book.  The discussion was so good we had to rush to finish our L(what we learned) on our KWL chart. The contributions were great and there were so many hands up.  So much fun. I can’t wait until next week, because I am sure they are going to tell me all the new things they have discovered about the buffalo while I am not there.

 

A Classroom Lesson- week 4

Today was my fourth week in my pre-internship.  I got to teach a lesson in the classroom today after teaching in the gym and outside my previous 2 weeks. My lesson was on writing a persuasive letter.  The lesson went well for a subject than can be kind of dry to grade 4’s and even this learning teacher.

I chose to do a lesson on writing a persuasive letter because I thought it might be fun and it fits into the curriculum requirements as well.  I knew going into the lesson that it would require a fair amount of sitting and listening from the students and that can be hard to do for adults never mind 9 and 10 year olds.  The students did really well and I tried to get them involved in the “lecture”(for lack of better word) part of the lesson. I had them tell me what they remembered from a previous lesson that was taught on letter writing. We brainstormed together who we could write a persuasive letter to and what we could persuade someone to do.  I also played a short youtube video to explain some of what we were doing. I introduced an organizer for their thoughts and they got to work. The lesson went really well I felt. But….

 

After thinking about the lesson, I discovered I like teaching the fun stuff, like outdoor math games and basketball skills in the gym much more than writing.  I was reflecting on that lesson it is something that has to be taught, and I tried to make it interesting by allowing the students to choose who they would write to and what they were going to try to persuade that person to do. However, I was left thinking if I wasn’t overly excited by teaching the whole lesson, what did the kids feel like.  I was also left wondering how do I make the “lecture” part of the lesson more interesting and engaging. I thought the activity was good. Students need explicit instruction, but does it have to be so dry? I would love some suggestions how to make the lecture part of teaching more interesting. Until next time.

 

Go Big or Go Home- Big Space Teaching Pre Internship week 3

This is the third week at our cooperating schools and second curriculum lesson to teach.  Last week I taught in the gym for a Phys. Ed class, a big space. This week  I was teaching in another big space, outside.  My lesson this week was an outdoor Math game.

I am fortunate that our cooperating teacher has given us our subjects we teach well in advance.  However, I chose math and suggested the outdoor game before I experienced teaching in the gym. After the gym, I was a bit nervous to tackle another large space, the great outdoors, for my math game.  The good thing about taking a game outdoors is that you can give the instructions inside while students are seated. This is helpful in that everyone can hear clearly and there are no distractions that the outdoors bring.  Giving the instructions and grouping the students before leaving the class also allowed me to get the game started right away, so the kids were more focused and it wasn’t difficult to get them on task, they were excited to start.  

The game we played was one that was created by my math group for an outdoor games assignment.  The group had taught the game to peers not children. I had to make a few adaptations to the game to get it to grade and content level, which then caused some minor confusion in playing.  I forgot to include an instruction for one of the requirements, the students brought it to my attention. The mistake was easily addressed and play continued. As I watched the students play I noticed that some were racing up and down the course because it was too easy.  I set a challenge for those groups that when they reached the end they had to add 4 digit numbers before they could proceed. They were up for the challenge. They were concerned that they had no pencil and paper to use. I suggested using a stick or their fingers to write in the dirt.  They embraced the idea and away they went. When they thought they had the answer they brought it to me and eagerly told me how they got it. I loved how they articulated their thought process and could see where they made their mistakes. The total aha moment of recognition of how they got the correct answer or where they went wrong was such a great feeling for me.  It made me realize this why I am here, is seeing the learning and the looks on kids faces when they figure something out.

Their teacher has done a great job in teaching them to think through math and the process, and how to defend their answers. In this class math is much more than facts and getting the right answer, it is being able to explain your process and see what went right and what did not. This is something I definitely want to get good at doing.  It is also really great to see the concepts we are being taught in EMTH in action.

So far both the lessons I have taught have been in big spaces, and have had their own unique challenges.  I think for a pre-intern, I have met the challenge. Up next an actual in the classroom lesson. I am excited to see what challenges and more importantly insights that brings. Until next week.

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Here we go! Pre Internship week 1 &2

Pre-Internship oh! My!

 

All summer and into September, I was anxious and excited to start pre-internship.  There was some trepidation too wondering where I would get placed, who my teaching partner would be, what would my cooperating teacher be like. I was so happy to find out we got to choose our teaching partners.  I was also so happy to be chosen by an amazing person to teach with her.  As it got closer to finding out our placements trepidation gave way to nervous excitement and just plain old nerves.  The morning of our first day I felt so nervous.  It turned out my nerves were unfounded.

 

My teaching partner and I carpooled to the school together so it was a little less nerve wracking arriving together rather than alone.  We didn’t meet our teacher before hand but had some very enthusiastic emails from her, which also helped to ease the nerves.  We were welcomed very warmly into the school that first day. Our coop teacher is amazing and energetic.  My teaching partner and I planned an art type activity to get to know the kids names.  I knew I had the right teaching partner when our instructions/lesson flowed so smoothly with one of us picking up seamlessly where the other left off.  It was great.  The intro lesson was received well by the students. Our teacher has given us the subjects we are teach each week up until the end of the semester.

 

Our second week went equally as well and started with some nerves again but this time because I was teaching an actual curriculum lesson, to actual young students.  My first lesson to teach was dribbling in Phys. Ed. for an hour.  The length of the lesson was intimidating since most elementary classes are 30 to 45 minutes. We are also learning in EPE 310 that the gym space is a hard space to teach in.  Intimidated was the feeling of the day.  Lesson time came and overall I thought for a first lesson, in what I was told was tough space, went well.  I over planned my lesson and didn’t get to most of it.  I was surprisingly good with that and taking my time and going with the students, I have a tendency to rush things.  Handing out and setting up equipment wasn’t something I considered in my lesson plan but I thought I handled it well.  The students are required to run for 5 mins at the beginning of class so I used that time to set up and all was well.  I did forget the “treasure” for the game but put that out as the students were practicing the skill.  The gym is a hard space to keep an eye on 25 grade 4’s but I was mostly pleased with how I did.  I know there is improvement needed but that is what learning is all about.

 

I am excited for next week, bring on place value in Math.  I get to play a game we created for EMTH 310.  I am excited to see how it will work teaching it to the grade  it was created for rather than adults.  Weather permitting we will be in another large space, outside, to play the game.  Nothing like tackling the tough things head on.  I look forward to sharing that big space adventure with you.

ECCU Final project

 

 

Artist statement about the quilt blockEccu pic

Why a quilt block for my project?  Fabric art is my artistic medium.  I have created a couple of other blocks for my classes.  I tend to choose to make the quilt block when I am excited about my learning in a specific class and its something that really resonates with me.   4 and half minutes was not enough to express what was meaningful to me from class and share about the block meaning.

Colours-   When I pick colours for these class projects, it is usually because the colour suits the concept.  Occasionally, though the concept chooses the colour.  It sounds out there but the colour choices are just something that I feel.

White background is common from all my blocks and it represents my white privilege/settler view.  That viewpoint is how I approach all my learning, it is part of who I am.

Pink- I usually choose pink to represent me.  In this project the pink represents my miskâsowin process, my journey.   Pink is my favourite colour and its makes me smile, no matter what.

Blue represents the tâpwêwin speaking your truth.  When I hear the word tâpwêwin, I envision bright, water not sure of the connection for me to the truth.  I had the image of a bright blue fabric for this concept.  When I pulled this blue out of my stash I knew it was tâpwêwin.

Mottled dull green- represents miyo-wìcêhtowin- learning and working well with others.  I am not sure why such a dull colour as I had a great experience working and learning from the others in the class.  It just seemed to fit.

Bright green- represents wìtaskêwin living on the land.  The bright green jumped out at me and I knew it was for this piece. It reminds of summer and forest.  I am not an outdoor person so land doesn’t really resonate with me.  It also represents my coming closer to being able to say I live on Treaty 4 land instead of just Regina.  It is also a reminder when I hear of name changes to buildings, streets etc to look deeper into why.

I chose puzzle pieces to represent the concepts as well as my learning because they fit together nicely, like a puzzle.  Also though each individual piece represents a smaller piece of learning, you can complete the puzzle without those little pieces.  I at first designed the puzzle pieces as edge pieces.  Edge pieces mean it is the border of the puzzle and nothing more can be added outside that boundary.  I felt that meant my learning in relation to Treaty Education was complete.  I changed my mind because my learning for Treaty Ed as well as being a good teacher is nowhere complete.  Each class and interaction I have and will continue to have adds pieces to the puzzle that is my mìskâsowin process.

The quilt blocks like a puzzle takes small pieces and joins them together to create something that is meaning full.  Every quilt and many times the material has a story to go with it.  I hope that all my learning helps me to create meaningful beautiful classrooms and students.  At the end of my journey to become a teacher I hope to be able to display each of these small blocks in my classroom as reminder of my learning, how far I have come and I how far I have to go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the photo of my crew from the video

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Treaty Event Blog #6

Preparing for the Treaty event, and our topic reimaging education caused me to think a little deeper on the topic of Treaty Ed in our schools.  During my preparation for the Treaty event I researched a little on exactly what the differences were in Indigenous education vs the settler image of education.  As I worked through that information, I began to think of challenging questions that may come up, as Tessa and I presented.  Thinking through those questions, which by the way, never did come up, allowed me to see that Indigenous ways of education are beneficial to all students and families.

The Indigenous ways of education seem to focus very much on learning by doing, inquiry or experiential learning.  The learning comes from working along side and observing others who have a higher skill level in a certain task than the learner.  The learning focuses on the process rather than the end product.  Much of Indigenous learning also takes place in nature, on the land.

How do we bring this way of learning into the classroom?  Well we recognize first and foremost that the process of learning is valuable perhaps even more so than the end product.  We as teachers bring in parents, Elders, and others who have knowledge, we allow our students to see that we are not experts at everything.  We acknowledge and incorporate the local Indigenous languages in our displays, books.  We play music that is important to our Indigenous students and we include the ceremonies that are significant as much as we do the settler ceremonies.  In our homes and communities we talk about what our children are learning about Treaty Education in their classrooms and expand on that knowledge. We talk to the policy makers about making Treaty Ed a part of the mainstream curriculum and not an add on hidden at the bottom of the curriculum website. In our communities, we talk about the token pledges and art work, so that those things have meaning and significance not just things that decorate the wall and look good.

These idea along with many others are important in the reconciliation process.  These things begin in a very small way to recognize that education was a Treaty promise.  In order to have reconciliation we need to begin to honour the Treaty promises.  These small ways as they become commonplace ideally lead to bigger ideas and actions.  The end result being that we see that Indigenous ways of learning benefit every child.

Complementary seminars working well together. Blog #5

I thought both the Truth and We are Treaty People seminars were well done.  I also thought both seminars complemented each other well, almost like the seminars were planned together.

I always struggle with name changes to buildings and things like that.  I am a bit of a traditionalist, and I don’t like change.  So, when I hear of proposed name changes for those types of things, I usually have the thought of why waste all that money.  After the What’s in a name portion of the Truth seminar, it has gotten me to reconsider my thinking.  I naively thought that those we honour by naming something after them would be stand out citizens of the time.  It was shocking that Davin was not such a stand out citizen, and still had a school of all things named after him.  As part of my miskosowin process for this class, in the future I will be doing some research into the name changes that are proposed.

During the debrief of the Truth seminar, the topic of the land acknowledgement statement and plaques/pictures recognizing We are Treaty People are being placed in visible places in the schools.  It was mentioned that these are just tokens with no real value, and that my idea of it’s a starting place was another common rebuttal.  During the discussion I wasn’t able to articulate my thoughts, but as we moved into the We are Treaty People seminar it became clearer.

We were asked in the Treaty people seminar to do a mind map of what the statement We are Treaty People meant to us.  Through that mind map and the video the group showed, I was able to sort my thoughts out.

I do acknowledge that the statements and plaques can easily become just tokens and that the it’s a starting place can be a rebuttal, for those that don’t want to do much, or just tick of the Treaty Ed box.  I also see those things in a different light.  I see those statements and plaques in a prominent place as tool to start a conversation, about a very hot topic in this province.  I also see placing those things on the walls in the schools, tells the children that this is important.  Kids are taught implicitly and explicitly at home and at school, that things that go on the walls are important.  In our homes we place photographs, art work that have meaning to us, in the school when things are hung on the bulletin board the children know that it is important  and meaningful.   I also feel that if parents and visitors are seeing these things, it becomes a little easier to ask questions about it or for those who are nervous to brooch the subject it gives them a starting point in non-threatening way.  I don’t believe most people are ready for an in your face approach to these topics and I think that approach will turn people off and they will tune out, then we make no progress. This is most definitely an issue that will not be solved in a few years.  As Justice Murray Sinclair says it will take generations.  I know most us of hope not, but the rift has been growing for generations, it won’t close quickly.  What we can do is start with our young kids and teach them well, and they will teach others.