It’s Not Goodbye, But See You Later

Today was the final day in the classroom, for now. 8 weeks went by in the blink of an eye, I was not prepared for it. I have created a bond with these students, and it felt like I was creating a pretty great rhythm in the classroom. Now, when Labeeba and I go back in March we are going to have to create or restart that rhythm. Of course, I am happy I do not have to create lesson plans for a little while, but I felt like our pre-internship was a great introduction into the teaching world. I am very excited for the three-week block in March.

Today, I taught a health lesson. It may sound odd but creating a health lesson is more difficult than one would assume. I wasn’t sure which topics to discuss but I finally decided on healthy relationships. Some of the students felt that the article I gave them was kind of strange, but then I related some of the topics to my life telling them that this stuff actually occurs in real life. They were very surprised, but they also then saw the importance in what I was having them read. I am so happy I related the lesson to my life, as it tells the students that what I am teaching them is actually useful. It is applicable, I am not giving them a BS lesson, as I know that it sometimes may feel like that.

Labeeba and I made our class cupcakes for our last day and of course, they enjoyed them. When we handed them out some of our students did not even realize it was our last day. They were sad, and so were we. Labeeba and I also got more hugs at the end of the day. Going back in March is not going to be stress inducing at all and I am so thankful for that!

Here is the link to my Healthy Relationships lesson.

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More Lesson Plans…

To be honest, before we did this lesson plan I thought, “Really, she is going to make us create another one! She knows how much stuff we already have to do.” In all reality, though, what is the best way to learn how to create a lesson plan? By creating more and more lesson plans. Sure sometimes it is agonizing, tedious and just mentally draining to come up with new lesson plan ideas, but it is the best way for me to learn. Thankfully I am surrounded by such amazing people in my middle years cohort, and I had an amazing group to create the lesson plan with.

We had some great, big ideas that related to our outcome and indicator. We actually came up with a lesson plan that would be better at the end of a unit. We would utilize it after lessons regarding major historical events were enacted such as; The Indian Act, The Signing of Treaties, Residential schools, the Fur Trade, First Contact, etc. Students would also be exposed to the terms assimilation, decolonization and colonization. These concepts and historical events do not come without their own complications. They are hard concepts for adults to comprehend, and can be related to many other outcomes and grade levels. The lesson plan we created would be a base line or an introductory lesson to such things. This is not to say that Grade 5 students would not be able to comprehend such concepts, but exploration and deeper thinking regarding such concepts will be continuous and ever-changing throughout their learning experience. This may have been one of our challenges when creating the lesson plan. We did not know if these concepts were too much for Grade 5 students to fully soak in, as it is difficult for many adults too. I think it is still important to teach such concepts as they are a part of Canadian multiculturalism and why Canada presents itself as a multicultural society.  Similar to every lesson, every student will take something different from it and I think it is better to challenge students and have them critically think, then have a lesson be too easy.

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I’m Gonna Miss Them… Thank Goodness There is One More Week!

Today was a day of a first, the first time being a pre-intern with a substitute teacher. It was a lot easier than I expected, but kind of overwhelming at times because the students would ask me if they could do something or questions before the substitute. This, of course, is lovely because I know that they trust me and must respect me enough to ask me, but I am surely still not the person in charge of the classroom, the substitute was. When a substitute would come into the classroom when I was in school, we were far less respectful students, we did not respect their authority, which is ridiculous. The students I work with showed less respect than usual, but I thought it could have been way worse. I was actually quite impressed that they listened to the sub so well and Labeeba and I, without the presence of their regular teacher.

This week I taught a lesson on plant and animal cells. This was the first week I presented the students with a worksheet that they had to hand in. I specifically told them it was going to be for marks and it was necessary for them to do. I heard many moans and groans as if not all of the work they do is mandatory and worth some sort of mark. I also had some students who asked if they did more than what was required of them on the sheet would they get an even higher mark. This showcased to me that they know what is expected of them and sure enough every single student finished the worksheet. Some of them not to the best of their ability, or to my highest standard, but they still all finished it. This is quite impressive as students at the university level do not always finish all of their assignments. My lesson ended way quicker than I expected and I did not have other material for them to work on, so I simply told them to get a book, some homework or something to do quite before the end of class. The students responded quite well to this notion. I then asked them all one word they would use to describe today’s lesson for a closure and I thought it was an effective way to end the class as I figured out what some of the students truly thought about the lesson. I was pleased by many of the answers.

I am very sad that last week is our last day in the classroom. I know that my students are sad too, as Labeeba and I received a hug today and other students have said they will miss us. I do not think I could have been placed in a better classroom to do my pre-internship in!

Here is the link to the Plant and Animal Cells lesson.

Do Museums Cause Problematization?

The Royal Saskatchewan Museum is a place of rich history, showcasing many aspects of Indigenous past; their lifestyles, traditions, possessions, tools, etc., but does the museum tell all aspects of the past? The good, bad and the ugly? What is the point of having artifacts or displays full of history, when it doesn’t showcase everything about such histories? I am also wondering who created all of the exhibits? Who decided what was going to be displayed in the museum and who’s opinion was hardly considered, if even considered at all? I want to know if some information was eliminated on purpose or is it possible that it wasn’t even known to the curators of the museum?

I have many issues with many displays in the exhibit, particularly a display that is showcasing a trade between Indigenous people and the Hudson Bay’s Company chief trader. Now, I do think it was most definitely possible that there were positive looking exchanges, but I do not think this was always the case especially considering language barriers and other barriers regarding trading. I want my students to question such displays. I would ask them why the term residential is nowhere to be found in the museum. I would have them question the relationship that is displayed between European peoples and Indigenous peoples in the museum. Is it a proper representation? Does it tell the entire story? Will we ever know the entire story or history? Is there a correct side of this history?

I would also have my students question other parts of the museum and hope that they bring up concepts that I did not even consider. I do appreciate the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, because I will be able to use it as a tool in my lessons one day. Maybe not in the way the creators of the museum hoped for, but in order for social justice to occur and changes regarding what is showcased in museums; the good, the bad and the ugly parts of Canadian history.

Take 2 or 3

Today I taught 2 lesson plans and I also assisted Labeeba when she was teaching her second lesson as we taught the same lesson at two different times. My first lesson plan was a silent drama lesson. All of the games we played had to be performed in silence and for middle years students, they did pretty well. Of course, they talked when they were told not to, they instructed other students to do certain actions, but students at the university level do the same thing. By the end of the lesson, they realised the importance of cooperation and being aware of other people’s facial expressions and body movements, which is exactly the main goal of the lesson. I realised that this group of students really like to talk, a lot. I think it was a good way for them to develop or realise the importance of silence and being aware of the people around them (eye contact, paying attention, having minimal distractions).

Labeeba and I created our second lesson plan together but taught it separately. If I needed her help during the lesson plan our coop teacher most definitely encouraged the assistance. I also taught a new group of students during this lesson, but they were very receptive to the task and did not question the lesson, and I felt very comfortable teaching these students. I read the students the poem Son of the Sun By Willie Dunn. The students then had to create a visual regarding what they heard in the poem, a feeling they had while listening to it, or basically anything as long as they were able to explain why they drew what they drew. The students responded well and all of their drawings were so different. At the end of the lesson we discussed different perspectives, how different perspectives are okay they are not wrong and they may also change our initial perspectives. I was quite impressed with the students’ comprehension of such concepts.

Overall,  it was a very successful day and I am yet again impressed with the capabilities of the student’s I have had the privilege to teach and learn with.

Here are the links to the lessons; Silent Treatment and Visual Response to a Poem.

Art Filled Day

Yesterday was so slack. Labeeba and I were supposed to teach an art lesson in the morning, but our class had to go to the Remembrance Day Ceremony rehearsal, as they all were a part of the ceremony. After that, the actual Remembrance Day Ceremony occurred. Our kids rocked it! They were focused, professional, and poised. I was super impressed. After lunch, we then went to the Mackenzie Art Gallery. The students were able to draw their favourite art piece, then they drew each other while not looking at each other’s faces and they also painted their faces. At the museum, there is an exhibit to do with German Expressionism and The Caligari Project (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari), which are both things that the students have been learning about. They were really into the face painting and they were really good at it. It was a really great experience to join the class on a field trip. It was nice to see how the students are outside of the classroom atmosphere.

Phew, Classroom Management: Easy or Difficult?

My goodness, sometimes classroom management is difficult, but sometimes it is easy. This all depends on what a teacher classifies as classroom management. At times, having the class engaged means they will be yelling or talking loudly and other times it means they will be working at a minimal volume level getting their work done. Sometimes I’m afraid I have it all wrong, that the way I see classroom management is not the wat others see it and sometimes when I think wow I have his classroom management thing down pact, something unexpected happens and I have to rethink it all. I have now realized that this is going to happen, I’m not going to have full control in every single class I teach. Sure it is very frustrating when students are getting out of hand and not listening or are being disruptive, but sometimes I am disruptive, sometimes I don’t listen. I also realize that this is not always acceptable, I realize that there are discreet and non-discreet classroom rules put into place to avoid what is viewed as wrongful behaviour, but sometimes during the disruptive behaviour the most successful learning is occurring. I’ve seen it in the field. When my students were playing jeopardy and yelling out answers, they were learning, they were absorbing knowledge. Sure it didn’t go as I expected it to, but what lesson will? It made it more enjoyable. I am surely not saying that rules and values of a school are not important, but sometimes we need to consider what is more important, always following all of the rules or a successful learning environment? Sometimes the rules impede on some people’s learning and this is just not acceptable in my classroom. I think the way classroom rules are presented in the classroom needs to be done a little differently and the students need to be aware of what is expected of them. Nothing should be hidden from them.

I am not sure I am for students marking other students for classroom management purposes. I think it would most definitely depend on the group of students I am teaching and the relationships that the students have with each other. I am not against this method, as long as it is anonymous, I have just never considered it to be a viable option before.