Thursday, 27 September 2012

Come to Our School's Science Program!

     This week we had an assignment in our Science Methods course to create a presentation that could theoretically be used during an open house to draw potential students to the school and enrol in the science program. My partner, Tyler, and I created a fictional school called the "Why? School" where all of our science curriculum was inquiry based and designed to answer the question, why.

     Here is a prezi that we used in conjunction with the verbal explanation of our program as well as an in-class science demonstration. Our presentation was meant to showcase some of the topics that students would explore during the first year in our science program.

** This prezi was created by Tyler as he is WAY more creative than I am!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday! Integrating Aboriginal Perspectives into Curricula

     One of the classes that I am taking this year for my education degree is Teaching of Aboriginal Studies, which I've posted about previously over the past few weeks. (For my followers who are from other countries, this course has actually been a Provincially-mandated requirement for all educators in Manitoba since 2008.) Today we discussed Understanding the Integration of Aboriginal Perspectives through Theory and I was especially intrigued by our highlight of the traditional Aboriginal view of education. As I will be entering the workforce (fingers crossed) within the year this discussion really encouraged me to examine specific aspects of my teaching style to see how it fit in with this traditional view.

     The following is a self-reflection of how some of the Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) strategies that I am drawn to compare or contrast with the traditional Aboriginal view of education.

traditional aboriginal view of education, aboriginal education, aboriginal perspective in education
Photo Credit: Manitoba Education & Youth. (2003) Integrating Aboriginal perspectives into the curricula: A resource for curriculum developers, teachers, and administrators. Winnipeg, MB: School Programs Division. *Used with permission from Circle of Courage, Inc. Lennox, South Dakota. Artist: George Blue Bird.
     As it is with any society, education has always been an important part of Aboriginal culture. One of our main discussion points in class today centred on The Circle of Courage. The following is an explanation of The Circle of Courage provided by the Manitoba Education Career Development team:
     "The Circle of Courage is a model of positive youth development first
     described in the book Reclaiming Youth at Risk, co-authored by Larry
     Brendtro, Martin Brokenleg, and Steve Van Bockern... The Circle of
     Courage is based in four universal growth needs of all children: belonging,
     mastery, independence, and generosity."
As seen in the image above, The Circle of Courage, includes Generosity, Belonging, Mastery and Independence. This model indicates that there are many interconnected factors that can impact a child and, as such, it is important to take all of this into account in order to set up a positive and effective learning experience for that child. Through this self-reflection, I would like to take a closer look at each of these areas of The Circle of Courage to examine the traditional Aboriginal view of education and how WBT would fit in with this view.

"The child learns to consider generosity as a highly virtuous trait"

It is important for all children to recognize the importance of generosity and the impact it can have on themselves, their peers, their community, and, on a larger scale, the world. With my background in Social Studies I am especially conscious of the importance of encouraging generosity, understanding societal obligations and working collaboratively for the betterment of your community. Unfortunately, the portions of Whole Brain Teaching that I use function as classroom management strategies and I do not feel as though there is one specific strategy that encourages generosity.

There are, however, WBT strategies that contribute to a student's sense of belonging in the classroom community. I believe that these strategies provide a good foundation for the encouragement of generosity as they require the student to understand that their contributions can positively affect those around them. With this foundation, I would hope to encourage generosity through the ways in which we approach content in the classroom and the types of assignments we complete.

"The child is given a sense of self-importance within the general context of his or her community and learns that all members of the community belong and have a role and valuable contribution to make."

Everyone wants to know that they belong and are a valued member of their community. This community can be their classroom community, their school community or their hometown community. It is important for students to recognize that they are an important member of their classroom community, that their contributions are valued and that they are respected. One of the wonderful things about Whole Brain Teaching strategies is that they require full participation from all students in the class. For example, the WBT strategy of "Teach-Ok" has every student actively reviewing and teaching material to a partner. Most traditional classroom discussions feature a handful of students who contribute to the conversation. While group discussions do often bring up many wonderful points, there will always be students who do not feel as though they can speak up and have their opinions heard. By using "Teach-Ok" the teacher is implying that every single student in the class has valuable insight on the topic being discussed and can be an active part of the learning process.

Other WBT strategies that I believe contribute to a sense of belonging are the "10-Finger Woo" and "It's Cool". The "10-Finger Woo" is a quick public acknowledgement of something a student has done well. For example, if a student brings up an important point in class that furthers the learning opportunity the teacher and each student in the class acknowledge that by wiggling all ten fingers at the student and saying, "woo". Essentially, this acknowledgement is a fun, silly variation of giving a thumbs-up. In the aboriginal community, "... superior skills of an individual were the possession of whole community rather than the individual. So, if one individual developed extreme prowess at hunting, then the whole community benefited from the game obtained by the individual."(pg.15) By using this strategy the students of the classroom see that their contributions are of value and that their actions positively impact the rest of the students in their classroom community.

On the flip side, when a student is unable to answer a question or answers incorrectly the teacher and the other students say, “It’s Cool!” While some students may feel embarrassed when they cannot answer a question, this strategy emphasizes that the learning process is way more important than just having the right answers. Additionally, some of the best learning opportunities stem from completing something incorrectly so it could be that a student's incorrect response can lead to in-depth learning opportunities for the entire classroom.

"The child is given the means and opportunity to become the best he or she can in various skills and in acquiring knowledge."

When I read this description I immediately thought of  a discussion we had in class about equality vs. equity. Do our students benefit the most if every single student is treated exactly the same or is it better to treat some of our students differently based off what they need to succeed? As teachers, we should strive for equity as some of our students may only require an opportunity to show up to class for them to succeed where as other students may require assistance outside of class time to succeed. If both students were treated equally one student would not have the means and opportunity to become the best he or she could be.

Whole Brain Teaching does a wonderful job of providing easy opportunities to differentiate instruction and provide different types of learners with opportunities to learn in a manner that best suits them. Proposed by Howard Gardner, the theory of multiple intelligences speaks to the idea that there are different platforms of intelligence and that material can be understood and manipulated by people differently based on their specific intelligence. For example, a child who can recreate musical compositions by ear (musically intelligent) may not be able to effectively multiply (mathematically intelligent). In the aboriginal community, elders would educate the youth of the community through oral traditions (linguistic intelligence), artwork (spatial intelligence), and discussions (inter-personal intelligence) as well as encouraging the child to explore their personal interpretation of a lesson highlighted in a story (intra-personal intelligence). Whole Brain Teaching strategies also provide students with the opportunity to interpret content visually (images, presentations), linguistically (discussions, written text), kinesthetically (gestures), and inter-personally (group discussions, teach-ok).

"The child is given appropriate opportunities to develop independence."

While a sense of community is incredibly important, a child must also have the necessary skills to function independently. Our in-class discussion on independence today centred on Vygotsky's model of the Gradual Release of Responsibility and the phenomenon of "helicopter parents" who may not allow their children to develop a strong sense of independence. I was fortunate enough to be employed by our university's residence for four years and I saw many students who had just moved away from home for the first time and had not had the opportunity to develop independence beforehand.

     In similar fashion to my discussion on generosity, I do not feel as though there is one WBT strategy that specifically works on developing independence. This skill, however, would be developed through the way the classroom is set up, the assignments/projects that we complete and the overall expectations of the students.


     Whole Brain Teaching is just a small aspect of who I am as a teacher but, after reflecting on newly acquired information, I can say that there are some aspects that appear to mesh well with the traditional Aboriginal view on education. While there are some Aboriginal values that are not specifically represented through the use of WBT strategies, I know that I will strive to integrate Aboriginal perspective into my classroom through all aspects of my teaching

To read more about Aboriginal perspective and Whole Brain Teaching, visit:
Manitoba Education & Youth. (2003) Integrating Aboriginal perspectives into the curricula: A resource for curriculum developers, teachers, and administrators. Winnipeg, MB: School Programs Division

Whole Brain Teaching website

Monday, 24 September 2012

Resources to Start Off Your Week 36

     This week I found a really neat resource thanks to a fellow student teacher as well as a great science resource that is developed for the Manitoba Curriculum! As always, I will be adding these to my lists of resources on my Fav Websites page.

1 ) Sporcle
- Sporcle is an online database of fun quizzes and trivia games on a multitude of
  different subjects. There are many educational quizzes that could be a great
   in-class activity to put up on the SMART Board, an activity for those students
   who are done early or even be used as formative assessment.
- The great thing about Sporcle is that you can create your own quizzes so
   you can have an online quiz perfectly suited to your classroom. You could also
   have students create their own quizzes to demonstrate understanding of the
* Big thanks to a fellow student teacher, Tyler, for sharing this resource with me!
online quizzes, online trivia, create your own online quiz, create your own online trivia game
2 ) Manitoba Curriculum Science Resources: U of M CRYSTAL Project
- As part of their research project on "Understanding the Dynamics of Risk and
  Protective Factors in Promoting Success in Science and Mathematics", a team
  lead by Dr. Robinson at the University of Manitoba has put together a great
  list of science resources for teachers.
- This extremely comprehensive list provides detailed resources for EVERY
  CLUSTER of the Manitoba Science Curriculum from Grade 5 through Grade
  10 as well as Grade 11/12 Chemistry and some Physics. If that wasn't enough
  it also has specialty resources for Nunavut.
* So far this is the BEST resource I've found that follows the MB Curriculum,
  thank you to everyone who is involved in this project!

manitoba science curriculum resources, manitoba science curriculum resources, science resources for the classroom

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Science Course Outline

The following is a theoretical course outline developed for my Science Methods class. It is designed around the Senior 1 (Grade 9) Manitoba curriculum.

grade 9 science course outline, science course outline, course outline example
Available on Google Docs:

Some things I tried to incorporate while creating this outline:
- "Backwards by Design" planning
- Assessment breakdown that follows the new MB Provincial Report Cards
- Incorporating information that speaks to views similar to those in the division
   I am student teaching in
- Creating a culture of respect in the classroom

This is the first course outline I've created so I would love feedback!

** It is important to note that I DO NOT have a background in Science and, because this was a theoretical assignment, you'll notice some areas have "..." as I was unsure about what would be the best information to include.

UPDATE: Sept 24, Sept 27
(some general points after course outline discussion in class)
- Remember that information on course outlines is not JUST for students but
  also for the parent/guardians 
- Provide approximate dates for tests and major assignments
  (important for our accountability and so students and parents are aware beforehand)
- Plan for your course to finish 1 week before the end of the term/year to provide
  time for students to revisit material 
- Do not take away responsibility from your students, provide information &
  hold students accountable
- Provide choice for students
- Student friendly language
- Discuss grading schemes with your admin beforehand
   (ex). To receive credit, student must have an average of 60% of better in all
           course material.
- The most important thing you want to convey needs to come at the beginning
  of the outline
- Think about what you are putting on the outline
   - Does it need to be there?
   - Why did you include it?
   - By including something, what does it portray to your students/parents?

Saturday, 22 September 2012

200 Follower Giveaway Winner!

After a whirlwind few days my 200 Follower Giveaway is officially over!

I was fortunate enough to have the love and support of some amazing ladies who sponsored this giveaway and offered up some wonderful prizes. Please check out their blogs if you haven't already.

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Uncommon to the Core, giveaway, freebie
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Little Miss Kindergarten, giveaway, freebie

Our winner is...
Congrats Silvia, I am sending an email your way :)

Thank you to everyone who entered and supported me through this!

Friday, 21 September 2012

8th Fire Documentary Series Wordle

     The following is a Wordle completed for my Aboriginal Studies course which summarizes some of the main topics, issues and people discussed on the 8th Fire Documentary series.

8th fire, wab kinew, aboriginal perspective

I've also written a Learning Log on 8th Fire as well as attended a talk at our university by the series' host, Wab Kinew.

WBT Blog Bug Highlight: WBT Classrooms!

     I think it is safe to say that us teachers are back into our regular school routines at this point. My American followers have been at school for over a month already while my fellow Canadians have now had a solid two weeks back in the classroom. As some of you may know I am in my LAST year of university before I become a certified teacher and, as such, I am living vicariously through all of you as you posted beautiful pictures of your classrooms. (I even posted about my "Dream Classroom" because I was feeling left out).

     Well now that everyone is back and in full swing I wanted to share some amazing WBT classrooms from some of my favourite WBT bloggers.
- Didn't have time to finish up that last project before your students returned?
- Wasn't happy with how one of your boards turned out?
- Want to switch things up now that you have met your students?
     These classroom pictures sure provided me with some classroom decoration inspiration and I hope they do the same for you!

super improvers wall, SIW, whole brain teaching improvers wall, wbt improvers wall, how to track student behaviour

Liann over at My Whole Brain Teaching Blog has shared some great photos of her classroom. Here is one part of her amazingly organized Super Improvers Wall setup. She uses this wall to personally record student behaviour and has a separate, super colourful, Super Improvers Wall for her students to post their sheets once they've passed a level!

super improvers wall, SIW, whole brain teaching improvers wall, wbt improvers wall, how to track student behaviour

April from Wolfelicious has truly committed to creating a cohesive Rock & Roll theme in her classroom this year. Here is a close up of her Rock'in Improvers Wall which is her play-on-words of the WBT Super Improvers Wall. Super cute!

whole brain teaching, wbt rules, the five rules of whole brain teaching, how to use the whole brain teaching rules

Dana over at Fun in 1st Grade really has some great bulletin boards and displays throughout her classroom. Here are her WBT Classroom Rules. I really like the loose leaf background of the posters, perfect for the classroom!

whole brain teaching, whole brain teaching genius ladder, wbt genius ladder, how to teach sentences with wbt

Farrah from Mrs. Shipley's Fabulous Firsties put together an AMAZING classroom set-up series on her blog over the summer. Here is a photo of her classroom Genius Ladder. I love how the use of texture to really make it stand out.

whole brain teaching power pix, wbt power pix, power pix boards

Deanna from A Year of WBT in a Third Grade Class has put together a great set-up for her Power Pix Wall. My favourite part is the cohesive look of the coordinate grid around the bulletin boards, so organized!

Want to read more from great WBT bloggers? Check out the WBT Blogger Master List via Google Docs!

To learn more about setting up your WBT Classroom, check out the FREE e-book, WBT Model Classroom.

whole brain teaching, wbt, whole brain teaching blogs

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday! Road Block

     So I have to admit that I have been conflicted over the past few weeks regarding what to post for my Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday posts. With the Whole Brain Teaching Certification program beginning this summer there was a huge jump in forum activity about a variety of topics as well as new activities and strategies being introduced by the WBT team but yet I still couldn't figure out what to write about. If you have checked out my Whole Brain Teaching Certification tab at the top of the screen you'll notice that I have previously written almost 20 posts about various WBT strategies and I feel as though I am now hitting a road block.

     Here is my challenge: as a high school teacher there are many WBT strategies that are unnecessary in a high school classroom where you teach your students one subject for one period of the day. If I was in an early years classroom or even middle school they would be perfect but in a high school setting, for my specific students, they are unnecessary. The strategies that I do use regularly and that work wonderful are:
- Class-Yes
- Teach-Ok
- The Scoreboard
- 10-Finger Woo
- It's Cool
- Mind Soccer
- The Super Improvers Wall
- Power Pix (to an extent)

     I've now posted about all of those (sometimes one or two times). I feel as though I am much more drawn to the management aspects of WBT as opposed to some of the instructional aspects such as the various SuperSpeed programs, Genius Ladder, Red Marker-Green Marker, etc. Although this will vary year to year, the students that I am working with are already coming into high school with the skills that many of the WBT instructional strategies are teaching so it makes sense that it is the management strategies that appeal to me. If this is the case though, what should I post about?

Bloggers Block, writers block comic, whole brain teaching

     I have been trying to brainstorm new post ideas, however, and here is some idea I've come up with:
1 ) Stories of how I've been using WBT in the classroom
     - Although I am not IN the classroom until mid-October
2 ) How WBT strategies fit/don't fit with various Manitoba curriculum documents
     - Here is an example of one I've wrote previously
3 ) Some of the theory behind WBT strategis
     - Here is an example of one I've wrote previously

     My question for you is, which one should I go with? I've hit a block and need some inspiration! :) If I had my own classroom this would be a lot easier I think!

P.S. Remember to enter my 200 Follower Giveaway!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

200 Follower Giveaway!!

I can't believe that in only two short months I've gained another 100 followers and I'm now at

     With my education degree finishing up in a little over seven months I am finding that I am wanting to blog more and more to share what I'm learning in my last classes. I've also been able to share my blogging experience with other students in my faculty, which has been very rewarding! Each day I am able to network with more teachers from all over the world and I have learned so much about the field of education from teachers with various backgrounds. I can't wait to see what the future brings!

     To celebrate this milestone I am pleased to announced that I have teamed up with some incredibly supportive teacher bloggers to offer an amazing giveaway!

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$10 iTunes Gift Card courtesy of Karla at Technology Tailgate

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$5 Starbucks Gift Card courtesy of Nicole at An Uncommon to the Core Teacher

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TPT Store items courtesy of Stephany, Stephanie and Kathi at Primary Possibilities.
One item from Stephany Dillon's TPT Store.
One item from Mrs. Vanmeter's TPT Store.
One item from Berry Creative's TPT Store.

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Number Word Interactive Emergent Reader Book courtesy of Maria at Kinder Craze.

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iStudent File (All About Me book with a tech feel!) courtesy of Kate at EduKate and Inspire


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Classroom Community Building "Bucket Filling" Activity Packet
Crisscross Rules For Good Listening Posters, Poem and Book Printables
courtesy of Laral at Little Miss Kindergarten

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Grade 6 Electricity Unit Plan courtesy of myself!

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A BIG, gigantic, thank-you is going out to all of the wonderful blogs sponsoring this giveaway!!
Contest closes Friday, September 21st and the winner will be announced on Saturday.
Good luck! 
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Monday, 17 September 2012

8th Fire Documentary Series: It's Time

     The following is a Learning Log completed for my Aboriginal Studies course on "It's Time", a portion of the 8th Fire documentary series.

To the approximately 80,000 living former students, and all family members and communities, the government of Canada now recognizes that it was wrong to forcibly remove children from their homes and we apologize for having done this.”
- Stephen Harper, June 11, 2008

As I watched the T.V segment “It’s Time”, from the 8th Fire documentary series, I found myself experiencing a wide range of emotions. I laughed along with Howie Miller’s comedic approach to some of the absurd stereotypes Aboriginal people face in our society and I watched with curiosity at the people’s strong reactions to John Lagimodiere’s focus group in Saskatoon. What impacted me the most, however, was how emotional I became during the discussions of the child abuse that occurred at residential schools and how emotional I still become even as I write this log.

            During my first student teaching placement I taught a unit on First Nations People and the Treaty Process as part of the Grade Ten geography course. Being a history major with a specialization in Western Canadian Prairie History in my undergrad, I was familiar with the content of the unit because I had learned it through the many courses I took while at university. What is important about that statement, however, is that I learned that content for the first time at the post-secondary level and not while I was attending public high school. As such, I put a lot of effort into that unit to ensure that my students would leave with a well-rounded perspective on issues such as treaty negotiations, reservations, residential schools and the impact that these issues had on Aboriginal communities and culture.  Although it crossed my mind that these were issues that are sometimes seen as controversial, and contradictory to what some Canadians were taught in the past, it never once crossed my mind that it should not be included. 

            As a teacher with a Social Studies background I put a great deal of effort into presenting information from all sides of the story and staying away from the “Hidden Curriculum” that has so often plagued our school systems. It is my passion to see students enjoying school and being engaged in their learning and I think that this is a statement that is true for most teachers I have come across. As such, the conscious assimilation and abuse that occurred at residential schools is not only profoundly upsetting to me but infuriating and disgusting. Not one teacher in our program would ever imagine interacting with their students in the manner that those teachers interacted with their students and I am deeply saddened for everyone who was involved in the residential school process.

residential schools, residential school impact on aboriginal culture, treatment of students at residential schools
Thomas Moore, 1897.
Student of the Regina Indian Industrial School.
These photos were included in the Department of Indian Affairs Annual Report as a means of showing the "progress" that could be made on Indian children if they were part of the residential school system.
*Photo Credit: Shaping Canada Teachers Guide
residential schools, residential school impact on aboriginal culture, treatment of students at residential schools

            If I were to discuss the T.V segment “It’s Time” with someone else I would definitely recommend it as it approaches Aboriginal issues in a frank manner that is not only informational but it paves the way for good quality discussion of the issues. As a teacher, I was immediately drawn to the piece on residential schools but it also discusses Aboriginal portrayal in the media, treaty negotiations, stereotypes and economics. “It’sTime” and the 8th Fire documentary series as a whole is a must watch for Canadian citizens; from the elderly who grew up with a very different viewpoint than what is blossoming today down to the most impressionable child who is the future of the new relationship between Aboriginal people and Canada.

*See my post on Wab Kinew, the host of the 8th Fire Documentary Series.

Resources to Start Off Your Week 35

     Today is a very exciting Monday because I just reached 200 Followers, yay! I am currently working on a great giveaway celebration that I will post about later this week (probably tomorrow because I am pretty excited). In the mean time, here are some neat resources I just found this week. As always, I will be adding them to my lists of Fav Websites.

1 ) Go Social Studies Go
- G.S.S.G is a website that has content organized and developed by
  actual Social Studies teachers as a means of engaging the different
  types of learners we find in a 21st Century classroom.
- Information is broadly organized into topics such as World Religions,
  Geography, World History, etc. Each topic features various images,
  maps, videos, text, and activities. As this website was designed by
  teachers, it can be used to find info for your class or you can send your
  students right to it and they can explore individually.
* I found this website took quite a while to load, but it may have just
   been my connection.
social studies resources, social studies in the classroom, social studies webquest, social studies resources for students, social studies resources for the classroom
2 ) Chem Reference
- This interactive periodic table of elements displays detailed facts about
   the various elements simply by clicking on them. Not only can facts be
   found quickly but students can also look at the structure of elements and
   easily link up to a corresponding Wikipedia article on the element.
- This would be a great reference to share with your students as an easy
   way to access information.

chemistry, periodic table to elements, chemistry resources for the classroom, chemistry resources for students, chemistry tips

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

A Post Not Related to Education At All! Engagement Photos

Since I started blogging ALL of my posts have been about education: my university courses, student teaching, substitute teaching, curriculum, lesson planning, etc.

Today, however, I'm just so excited that I can't resist sharing something with you that has nothing to do with education! 
As you may know, I am engaged and my fiance is also in the same year of his education degree as me. We have been together for five years and he is truly my best friend. We just finished our engagement pictures that were all taken in our yard which is a three generation farm where his grandparents and parents have previously lived.
Here are some of our favourites.

** These photos are under copyright agreement and are posted here with permission from PhotOGGraphy by Vicki. They may not be reposted without permission

Our photographer is absolutely amazing! Vicki did an amazing job and is so easy to work with. It was raining the day of these photos (you can't tell though can you) and she showed up in rubber boots and jeans and was ready to do whatever it took to get great photos for us. I can't wait to work with her again for our wedding in June :)
Please check out her website and facebook page.

PhotOGGraphy by Vicki Official Website
PhotOGGraphy by Vicki Facebook Page

WBT Blog Bug Update!

I have been trying to re-organize and update our WBT Blogger Master List on Google Docs over these past few weeks!

whole brain teaching, whole brain teaching blogs, wbt blogs

Here is whats new:

- I have updated to include recognition of our new Social Media Intern positions!
- Some blogs have been upgraded from "dormant" to "active" status now that 
  they have started blogging again, yay!
- Some blogs have lost their "active" status :( Make sure you visit these ones and
  get them back on the blogging bandwagon!
- Some blogs now have more information available to fill in those sections that may
   have been listed as NA (thanks for sending me your info!)

** There are FOUR Social Media Interns that I don't know if they have a blog or not. If you do, please let me know so I can add your new position to our information.

** If you have completed your WBT Certification please let me know. I want to add a new section in the next few months to recognize this as well.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Wab Kinew

     It takes a specific set of skills in order to be an effective public speaker. I'm not talking about the teacher who stands in front of their classroom kind of public speaker, although that takes some skills as well! I'm talking about the kind of public speaker who can stand in front of a diverse group of people, deliver a powerful message on what can be a controversial subject area and have the audience hanging off their every word. This is exactly the type of public speaker Wab Kinew is.

     Last night my fiance and I were lucky enough to attend Wab Kinew's talk at our university. As the host of the documentary series 8th Fire, a reporter/producer for CBC News Winnipeg and a celebrated hip-hop artist, Wab Kinew addressed aboriginal stereotypes, the importance of education for all youth and the new relationship that needs to occur between Canada and the Aboriginal community. I cannot begin to write a full break-down of Wab's presentation as he covered so many good points that I know I can't explain as eloquently as he did, but here are some of my thoughts:
     Wab spoke directly and openly about many of the stereotypes surrounding Aboriginal people in our society: lazy, don't pay taxes, criminals, outcasts, etc. Growing up on the Onigaming First Nation Reserve in northwestern Ontario, however, Wab's vision of his people was that of a proud, hard-working, determined people. How do we address this drastic difference in perspective? Wab's personal stories strongly reminded me of Chimamanda Adichie's TED Talk on the "Danger of a Single Story" and the misunderstandings and discrimination that can occur when we are only presented with one story about a person, or group of people.

 This video is a bit on the long side, 19 mins, but I strongly recommend it!!

     With a background in history and geography, I recognize how important perspective is when it comes to teaching any subject, but especially social studies. For example, did you know that after graduation Aboriginal women earn more, on average, than Aboriginal men with the same education? Did you also know that Aboriginal people are entering entrepreneurial opportunities 3x faster than non-Aboriginal people? Those stats definitely do not mesh with the common stereotypes of Aboriginal people as lazy or not able to positively contribute to society.

     It is our responsibility to educate ourselves and our children on the importance of seeing the world through other people's eyes and learning history from all sides of the story, not just that of the victor. George Santayana stated that, "Those who cannot remember their past are condemned to repeat it". If we, as teachers, do not address Aboriginal perspective in our classrooms we are being as close-minded as our descendants who placed Aboriginal youth in residential schools.

     As I start my last year of my education degree I realize that I will soon be approaching certification and, hopefully, getting a teaching position. That means that I will be a part of the team that is responsible for teaching the youth of Manitoba, many of which are coming from Aboriginal backgrounds. As such, it is increasingly important that I consciously include Aboriginal perspective/culture into my classroom as opposed to presenting information solely from the perspective of the Europeans, which is historically how our education system has been set up. In addition to attending talks such as Wab Kinew's, I am also taking an Aboriginal Studies course this semester which I hope will assist me in this area. I know that I will definitely be following Wab Kinew as I move forward in life and whole-hardheartedly recommend that you attend one of Wab's talks if you have an opportunity!

Wab Kinew Building Connections, aboriginal perspectives, Wab Kinew in Brandon
Photo Credit: CBC
Thanks for your insight Wab, I left your presentation feeling inspired!
To learn more about Wab Kinew and follow his projects:

Monday, 10 September 2012

Resources To Start Off Your Week 34

     My first (VERY short) stint of student teaching is now completed and I am back at university for regular classes until mid-October. It is a really exciting feeling to be starting my last year of school before I become certified as a teacher... in EIGHT shorts months I will be graduated and can start searching for teaching positions!! Hopefully, I can then use some of these great resources that I found. As always, I will be adding them to my lists of resources under the Fav Websites heading.

1 ) Science Bob
- Science Bob is a fun website that houses a lot of neat science
   information including videos, experiments, science fair ides,
   featured science questions and more. This is a great website
   to add to your science resource repertoire!
- I really like that Bob is committed to making science appeal to
  students and parents. He even has a "Random Act of Science"
  initiative which is a great idea!

science videos, science fair ideas, science fair projects, science resources for the classroom, science lesson plans, science resources for students, science for kids

2 ) Creswell Crags: Virtually The Ice Age
- The Creswell Crags Museum & Education Center has put together 
   an online learning resource to help students learn more about
   The Ice Age and the Creswell Crags archeological site in Northern
   Britain. This resources covers everything from virtual survival tests 
   and geological timelines to excavation techniques and cave art.
- This website could be a great subject to include as a specific case
   study about the Ice Age or even as supplementary material. 
   Designed with education in mind, the website offers a lot of great
   learning resources that can easily be implemented in the classroom!

creswell crags learning resources, ice age resources for the classroom, ice age resources for students, prehistoric resources for the classroom

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Student Teaching Schedule

     Today was the first day of school for student's in our school and it was a busy one! During the first 3 periods of the first day of school, our entire school does a "trial run" of a full day's schedule so I met all 125-ish of my Cooperating Teacher's students in about an hour! To say it was a bit overwhelming would be an understatement but it definitely was interesting to see how our school began their first day with students.

     I also had my schedule change THREE times today... which makes that a total of FIVE times this week! When I first posted that I was student teaching again I mentioned that my cooperating teacher, taught History and French. Since I don't speak French, I sat down with the principal and we came up with a schedule that would give me plenty of experience with different grade levels. I now officially have FOUR cooperating teachers and will be covering four different subjects and five different grades.

Here are my teachers:
"Ms. R" - She is actually my fiance's cooperating teacher (he is teaching
                   Phys-ed when I am with her) who has taught for over 20 years
                   in Canada, China and Africa.
                 - I will be with her in Periods 1-2 to teach Grade 11/12 World
                   Issues. We are still determining what units I'll be teaching when
                   I return. 
"Mr. L" - He has been teaching Industrial Arts for over 20 years and is
                  now teaching an ICT class as well.
                - I will be with him in Period 3 to teacher Grade 9/10 ICT and
                  will be covering Publisher software.
"Mr. O" - My original cooperating teacher who has been teaching for
                  about 18 years.
                - I will be with him in Periods 4-5 to teach Grade 11 Canadian
                  History. When I return in October I should be teaching
                  Canadian Confederation and the Metis Resistance.
"Mrs. P" - In her third year of teaching, I hope that she can provide me
                   with tips on the hiring process since she has just gone through it!
                 - I will be with her in Periods 6-7 to teach Grade 4 Social Studies
                   and will be starting with a unit on Nunavut.

     I am really excited because I have only ever had male teachers for cooperating teachers and, with this new schedule, I am now with two female teachers as well. I am also pleased to have teachers with such different backgrounds. I can't until October when I come back and will actually be teaching!!