Today was my last day of pre-internship part one. It was full of mixed emotions, I was excited because that means the semester is almost over, but sad because I have begun developing relationships with man y of the students. Being able to see the students grow, and learn was the best part of the semester. Since today was our last day, Amy and I decided to make a fun lesson. We started with a game of Kahoot, which all the students loved. We had questions about everything that we taught the students in the past few weeks. I was pleasantly surprised with all the information that was retained, even the random facts that the students learned about Amy and I during the few weeks we were there. The second part of the lesson was us teaching the students how to play the First Nations stick dice game. The students had a lot of fun learning how to play, and playing the game, and than to through them off we connected it to math. We had the students keeping track of how many times they tossed the sticks and the results they got each time, we took these numbers and turned them into fractions, percents and decimals which is what the grade 8s are working on in Math. Game based learning is something I really want to experiment with more during my three week block. I think I would like to do my unit in Math. The more I work with teaching math, the more I would like to plan lessons, and try new techniques to make math more enjoyable for some of the students that find it useless. On my IPP, the cooperating teacher left comments about how my delivery and speaking has slowed down to an appropriate level which was my overall goal for the semester. I am so excited to go back for three week block, I cannot wait to continue learning new teaching strategies and ideas for teaching.
I have always been torn about going to museums, it seems like a great way to create an additional learning opportunity for students but because I plan on teaching outside of the city, it also seems like an expensive and stressful opportunity for outside learning. The trip to the museum made me realize a few things, while the idea is great to do outside learning, I do not think that the museum is the best place to partake in outside learning related to social studies. Museums are bias, especially the Royal Saskatchewan Museum because it has not been redone in so long. If I were going to spend money on outside learning, I would take the students to Lebret, or the location for the signing of treaty four. Most small towns have their own pieces of historical relevance; like how Craik has an original Sod house that as students we did lots of learning with, such as comparing life now to than, spending a whole day living like pioneers, or how we looked at the structure of the house for a science class. I think that the students can learn more about First Nations from personal experiences and community than from an old museum that focuses more science than on history. The article Social Studies Teachers’ Views on Learning Outside the Classroom has a lot of valuable points about having students make connections to topics learned in class, but it does not mention that these connections have to cost money, or that these connections have to be based on a museum. Outside learning can happen anywhere, especially in Saskatchewan because our province is so filled with history and experience. Students can take hikes to see buffalo rubbing stones, or go to different provincial parks to learn about the history. Museums are boring and condensed; this results in too much value being lost during the presentation, but actually seeing and taking part in the different sites that history took place is very different. Throughout the whole walk of the museum I tried to compare it to small town museums, and while small town museums are all done by volunteers and fundraisers they have so much more meaning that the big ones in the city. Punnichy, Saskatchewan has a huge heritage of aboriginal history because it has four surrounding reserves, and while you get to see the aboriginal heritage throughout the museum, you get to see the agriculture, and pioneers, and new technologies slowly replacing old technologies. Throughout the whole museum are stories of different people from Punnichy and surrounding communities that show the change through generations of people. That is not something you get from a big city museum. The big museums, do not have time or space for personal stories, so I would not spend any part of my year budget taking students to a museum where it shows a close minded opinion when they could have the chance to see what small town communities have to offer.
The Royal Saskatchewan Museum may be great as an idea, but it is not great in practicality and based on the faces of the few Aboriginals that I saw touring the museum at the same time, it is offensive to some aboriginals. It shocked me that the museum had no knew content about Aboriginals, considering all the changes that are happening within their culture, no mention of residential schools, or the Indian Act, Idle no more, or so many other major events that have happened. These events have not only effected Aboriginals but also all Canadians so it seems obvious to me that they would need to be included in the museum. Part of me wonders if there have been no changes because there is not the budget for changes, or if because administration does not see the need to change something that is “not relevant to our future”. Outside learning is important, but not if the outside learning is tainted with misleading information or ideas. The museum needs to be changed, and if they were going to have the majority of a floor dedicated to Aboriginals, it would make sense if Aboriginals had say in the presentation of the display, rather than have people that put little consideration into what is being told about history.
When Nat and I started to fix the lesson plan that we were provided on Tuesday we decided to start with reading and understanding what the outcome was asking. We can up with the outcome wanting us to look at what impact those living in Canada have on the environment. This led us to wanting to focus on a small amount of the indicator listed. The whole indicator was too much to be covered in one lesson, so we shorted it to just focusing on the climate. We liked the idea of using a graphic organizer as a formative assessment piece, but we needed to explain how the students were finding their information to include in the graphic organizer. This seemed like a good research assignment where the students can work in small groups to complete their research in one class. Before the class starts their research they will review the different Canadian regions. The research will be on the climate; seasons, precipitation, changes, normal days. After the research is done (it should only take 30 minutes) they will present to the class about their different regions. The teacher will take the notes made and put them into one chart that has all the regions. THIS LESSON ONLY FOCUSES ON RESEARCHING ABOUT CLIMATE.
Today I taught my first ever English lesson. Surprisingly it went better than I thought it would. I started with a presentation reviewing the figures of speech, was not much of a review since most of the students did not remember anything from it being taught before. One thing that I would have changed in my presentation was the way I laid it out, I had the slides set out with the term, definition and examples. I should have had the term appear first, had the students try to define the term, than have the term appear, have the students think of examples and than have the examples I thought of appear on the board. The next part of the lesson was to have the students find different figures of speech in one of two poems (A Thunderstorm by Archibald Lampford or Hurricane by Callum). In the future I would only use the Hurricane poem, having students work on two different poems created confusions for both the students and the teachers. With these two changes the lesson would have ran much smoother. My target that I chose for the was class engagement, based on the cooperating teachers response I feel that I achieved this in my lesson today. One week left of Pre-internship part one, I am both sad to be done but excited to done another semester.
This week was very different from other weeks because the daily schedule was changed since the students did not have class for 3 consecutive days. This meant that our cooperating teacher taught science for the majority of the day. Amy and I were trying to step out of our comfort zone by teaching a 5/6 class rather than our normal 7/8 class. It did not take us very long to question this decision, not only did we know NOTHING about the class, we did not know what they already understood about the topic. We were to teach about the body system using outcome HB5.3, we did not know what terms they talked about, or how in-depth they went into some topics. Eventually we decided to do stations that would focus on a wide range of understandings. Our first station was watching a short video and answer questions, the video was a good length but their were too many questions for students to answer in 6 minutes. The second station was labeling different bones of the human body, using sticky notes and one of the students as a model. The sticky notes did not sticky to moving people very well, and the students were not familiar with any of the terms that we used. In the future I would have a laminated skeleton, and laminated terms that could be attached with sticky tack. The third station was using the nervous system, students would throw a ball and focus on different senses that they used, these senses were prompted by questions such has what are you thinking before you throw the ball, what is your body doing, what are your eyes seeing, etc. The final station was having the students focus on muscles through doing physical activity and reflecting on how their body felt afterwards. Stations 3 and 4 went really well, it would have been nice to have more room to spread the students out while they were doing the activities. The lesson went overall, pretty good, we wrapped up with a think, pair, share about how could the three body systems work together to kick a ball which a lot of students responded well to.
Besides the teaching of our lesson, I found the day went pretty smooth. At the start of the day the students had to work on their portfolios, where they had to chose one needs work example and one good example for English, Math and a choice subject. Instantly Amy and I noticed the dynamic of how it was set up, with the focus only being with those two subjects. Students found creating portfolios a little frustrating, some of them did not have work that they were really proud of, and some did not have anything to show that needed improvement. For some students a 90 was needs improvement and others a 80 was a good example. Seeing the different connections that students made to their work and the different expectations they had for themselves was really interesting. It gave me an opportunity to see what some students are capable of, which gave me new ways to build relationships with the students.
Math has been one of my favorite subjects since I was in grade 11, for me there has always been something exciting about using numbers to solve problems and being able to relate the math in problems to real life-yes, math is something that you use in real life- is something that makes the world easier to understand. When I start education four years ago, I started with a math minor, however last year I made a decision to go from secondary education to middle years education. Which led me to teaching grade 8s about using estimation to find square roots. It became super clear, super quick that the students had no interest in learning about estimation. Apparently estimating is bad, because obviously it is just like guessing, and in math you cannot guess…said no person ever…except the class I am currently teaching. I thought I had everything prepared, I wrote examples on the board, and provided the students with number lines so they could easily see all the steps that I went through to solve a question. I than answered questions, did a few more examples and allowed the students to start working on the assignment. Even though I asked the class repeatedly the next step, and to explain what was happening, and they all did without issue, the class decided that none of them understood what they were doing. Which was just great, teaching a whole topic in one hour is ridiculous, in most cases I would have used 2 classes to fully do this lesson but because we only have one class a week, I feel that I am trying to cram multiple lessons into one. My time management was better this week, but I still found myself rushing at the end of the lesson to cover everything before they started their assignment. It would be easier if the lessons that I taught, especially math related lessons, were carried on the next day with time to do the assignment, 50ish minutes is not enough time for students to learn a new concept and start an assignment but that is all I have to work with. I think I am getting better at working with the time that I have, and I really like teaching math but sometimes it feels like I am inconveniencing the students.
This may have been one of the worst lessons that I have ever created. It was boring, and when I was writing the lesson plan I paid no attention to the fact that a lot of the terms that I was using were way above their understanding. The activities that I had planned were a little advanced for many of the students and I spent most of the class answering questions. I went through the presentation in half the time I expected but the assignment took way longer than I thought it would. However, none of this was noticed by the cooperating teacher because for the majority of my lesson he was not in the classroom. It is understandable that teachers are busy, but when the only feedback that I received was that the lesson went well and I did a good planning ahead I felt a little frustrated. I received more critical feedback from my teaching partner, which was helpful but I was hoping to get more critical feedback from a teacher who has taught this material before, or some ideas about how he would have taught the lesson. I likely won’t be using this lesson again, unless I do some major tweaking to the PowerPoint presentation and assigned workbook. However, the cooperating teacher did notice that I talked slower than I did the previous week so that was a positive thing. My next lesson is teaching about how to use a number line to estimate square roots, since I started this unit in my second week I am very excited to expand on the topic.
Day two went better than I expected. I was prepared for my lesson to be an absolute chaos, where no one understood what was happening and Mr. Krammer would have to reteach the whole lesson the next day. However, this was not the case, the students seemed to enjoy the initial activity where they got to experiment with the different methods to finding dimensions of the number 36 and 64. Once the numbers started being written on the board the students quickly picked up on 6×6 and 8×8, with the numbers being the same which allowed me to lead into other numbers that could be squared (all numbers can be squared), in my lesson I planned on talking about prime factorization next but skipped it and went right into what was the opposite of squaring, which is square roots. The students seemed to be engaged in the lesson, asking lots of questions, giving me different numbers that I could use to try and find square roots, not all numbers have a square root that is a whole number but any number that the students said I would try to find them a square root, allowing them to see all the steps. I was than going to talk about a perfect square root, but started to run out of time. Instead I gave the assignment, the first problem with the assignment I gave was that #1-5 could have been on two different pages, the first option was 1-4 using explore, and than 5 on practice, the second option was 1-4 on connections and 5 on practice. I chose to go with the second option because some of the explore did not really connect with the material I had went through, but also because the second question on the connections involved prime factorization. I used that opportunity to quickly cover how to do prime factorization, than the class ended. I planned for a 60 minute class, but the class is more like 45 minutes which really threw off my timing. After my lesson Mr. Krammer commented on how my circulation was good, but that at times I spoke a little fast, control the speed that I talk at will probably be a personal goal for me for the remainder of my university experience and likely well into my teaching career. I hope that this is not a lesson that completely screwed up the students understanding of square roots, but I know that it will need to be reviewed the next day, to clarify any misunderstandings or confusion that came from me rushing through the last half of the lesson.
A little bit before 8:30 am, I arrived at St. Jerome school located in the north end of Regina. I had majorly mixed emotion, I was super excited and equally nervous, but I was also happy, stressed and worried. Upon meeting the cooperating teacher I became a little less nervous, but also less excited. He seemed happy to have my partner and I there but he also seemed disorganized and to have minimal expectations of others around him. At first he did not talk a lot about what he was teaching or what he found important to include in his class, but he did talk about how important classroom management is to his class. He did not however, tell us what techniques he uses for classroom management. One of the first things that I noticed was that French was listed as the first 30 minutes of every day, I thought this as odd, until the co-op explained that he disliked French and by placing it first thing in the morning it was easy to skip or replace with announcements, opening work sheets, attendance, other important things that need to be discussed. While I thought this was a unique idea, it is not exactly fair to the students. If he is not comfortable teaching the subject but it is still included in the schedule that means it is important to teach and a requirement for the school. Not teaching the students French places them at a disadvantage if they take the subject in the future.Some of the lessons that he designed had a great idea behind them, but it seemed that they were poorly explained to students. Many students had no idea what was happening, or there was misunderstandings about how much time was being given for the assignments. He would often start with thinking that he was giving a fair amount of time for an assignment but by time he answered all the questions, and than reexplained because most students didn’t understand the assignment the first time, and than once he finally had all the students organized, there was only a few minutes to work on the actual assignment. He talked about using inquiry method to teach but when I watched him teach there was less inquiry and more providing answers, I think that he had some great ideas but that he was not sure how to implement these ideas. One thing that I found really interesting was his work with Genius hour, this is something I would have liked actually witness in the class. I know that I will learn a lot from him, but I think it will be more of taking his core ideas but manipulating them into a different way of teaching.
Treaty Education is something that I am conflicted about. I am both excited to teach it and terrified, I know that the whole point of taking the treaty education workshop is to make future educators more comfortable with teaching treaties. I am not sure it accomplished that with me, I do not think I will ever be able to feel 100% confident in teaching about someone else’s past, especially a past that until recently was pushed to the side. That doesn’t mean I won’t include treaty education in my classes, it just means it will take more than making connections in outcomes. Treaty education is more than just treaties, it includes Aboriginal history, residential schools, and Aboriginal traditions. Those are not something that I could teach without the help of Elders, Knowledge keepers, storytellers, and others that practice Aboriginal traditions. While the workshop did not make me feel as if I could go into a class and easily teach a lesson, it did make me feel that I can find the resources that would help me teach a lesson. The workshop was great for resources, and being able to have two different Elders, with two very different experiences provided a real eye-opener. Noel Starblanket talked about his healing process from residential schools; Lynda Francis told a very different experience of residential schools. Lynda humanized the experience, and she also gave it credit for allowing her to be a successful part of society. Residential schools are often thought of as cold, scary and evil places but Lynda gave the class an opportunity to learn that not all schools or teachers took pleasure in cruelty, that many of them were providing proper discipline rather than abuse. Hearing about a positive experience in residential schools made me want to hear more positive things, it is important to teach about the horrors that occurred to many; but hearing the positives restores some faith in humanity. The workshop was great for making connections to other curriculum subjects, and demonstrating how to integrate treaty education into other subjects. I think that treaty education is something that I will just need to start teaching before I ever feel truly comfortable teaching it, and I am prepared that my first few times teaching the outcomes will be a struggle, even more so if treaty education is something that the students are not familiar with, but I like challenges!
I think that pre-service teachers need more than a two day workshop to learn about treaty education. Treaty education should be treated like all other subjects and have its own class where we learn about the curriculum. Instead of learning how to integrate treaty/Aboriginal education into other classes we could learn how to integrate other subjects into treaty education. The University of Regina has always been very social justice focused, it surprises me that we do not have a class dedicated to learning about treaties, Aboriginal traditions and residential schools. We have classes on everything else related to education, why not have one that will help us better incorporate a large part of Canadian history and population.
why not one to help us be better prepared on things connected to Aboriginals. how to integrate treaty/Aboriginal education into other classes we could learn how to integrate other subjects into treaty education. The University of Regina has always been very social justice focused, it surprises me that we do not have a class dedicated to learning about treaties, Aboriginal traditions and residential schools. We have classes on everything else, why not one to help us be better prepared on things connected to Aboriginals.