Monthly Archives: March 2014

Let’s Start Climbing Together

So last week I posted about how people view disability. I am feeling really inspired lately and thought I would write another blog post. I invite you to check out the following video. In the video you will meet Spencer West, a young man who was told he would never walk. He was told he would never be a functioning member of society, but made the choice to never give up. Spencer has no legs, but he does not let that stop him from having a vision and to pursue something he is passionate about. He and his friends decide to climb the largest mountain in Africa and through this process she learns different important lessons. One big lessons he learns is to ask for help. He explains that asking for help is not a sign of weakness ,but rather a characteristic that makes a strong leader. Everyone needs help, we are not expected to know everything. We all need supports from different people. Check out this video. I pretty much smile during the entire video. Leave a comment or two about your thoughts. 


Here’s an Idea or Two

So I am reading some blog posts about how people are communicating with their mentors. I am going to borrow some of those ideas and suggest them to my mentor. I thought I would share a few things I have done. I have had a couple Skype dates with my class from Ottawa and I recently created a survey using a google form for the kids to complete. After completing the survey I shared it with their classroom teacher on the good drive and the kids were able to complete it during school the other day. Here is what the survey looked like. Since we all know how to make a survey using the google form, why not try creating one for your virtual students.



Let’s Make Some Music

So I have to apologize for the late tech task. Sometimes I start thinking about different ideas and blog about those and the unfortunately my tech task has to take a back seat.

So I decided to try out UJAM. Some people said they found this easy, but I actually felt I had some difficulty with it. I was able to re-jam a song. I slightly struggled with making changes exactly where I wanted them. Can anyone maybe give me some advice on it? I might be asking some of your blogs. Other than the fact that I wasn’t able to create exactly what I wanted I, I think it is a very neat site. I think it would be great to use in a classroom with middle years students. It might be more difficult with younger students. If I was to use this in a classroom, I would probably use it in an Arts Education class. It allows for creation and creativity. I also think students would have lots of fun creating different songs. I think I am going to continue to play around with it and see what else I can do. Here is what I created using UJAM. Check it out.



How Do You View Disability?

Today was a great day! It was actually a great week. ALthough I am still taking classes to finish up my degree, I have the opportunity to work as a substitute Educational assistance in Regina Public Schools two days a week. This week I got to go Grant Road and work in the Development Centre. It was wonderful. First I love Grant Road School. I did my internship in grade 5 there last fall so it will always hold a special place in my heart. The staff and students are amazing, but more importantly is the relationships that are formed.

The children in the DC (Development Centre) all have a form of disability. Some having multiple disabilities. They range from Autism to Visual Impairment to Physical disabilities. I want to share with you a story that one of the EA’s in the DC at Grant Road shared with me. She explained that one afternoon the DC students and staff were swimming as part of their weekly programming. She said that as they were leaving there was a young girl and her mom in the lobby. As all the kids from the DC were waiting to load the bus this little girl was starring and looked scared and uncomfortable. When her mother saw this reaction she put her arm around her daughter and simply stated ” You know what sweetie, some people just need more help than others.” As soon as her mom said that, the little girl relaxed. She didn’t need a big explanation. That was all she needed to hear. She was scared because she had never been around a group of kids with disabilities before, but all she needed to hear was that they needed a little extra help. They are still kids with personalities just like her, but they just need a little extra help.

I think this is a common reaction for children, and sometimes adults, but why do we just state it simply like the mother did the day at the swimming pool. It is ok to feel uncomfortable and it is ok not to know how to react, but remember they are kids and the more you work with students with disabilities the more you will realize it.

I thought I would share a video with everyone. I hope it makes you think about how you view disability and how you can help others to understand children with disabilities. Enjoy. Feel free to leave a comment or two as well about your thoughts.


Let’s Take a Stand

Tonight I was moved by a conversation that took place in my 400 level Educational Psychology class. The central theme in this class is inclusive education. Tonight  some of my classmates did a presentation on relationship building in the classroom. The topic of Bullying came up and a discussion was formed around cyber bullying. Everyone knows that cyber bullying is a huge issue. It is becoming more of an issue with the amount of technology available and easily accessible for kids and youth. Now we know that cyber bullying is going on,  but the big question is how do we stop it? Although I do not have a definite answer to this difficult question I would like to share what I took away from our class discussion and where I stand on this issue. 

Let’s look at who is involved and ask some big questions. 

1) The bully- Why is the child bullying? Why do they feel they need to make fun of someone else? Are they insecure themselves? Do they have friends? Does putting someone else down make them feel better about themselves? 

2) The victim- Why are they being bullied? Does anyone know they are being bullied? Do they have any friends? Are they different from everyone else? Are they afraid?

3) The bystanders – Why do they not stand up to the bully? Are they afraid? Are they friends with the bully? Are they friends with the victim? 

These are all big questions that I believe are important to ask when trying to find a solution to cyber bullying. Now you may have noticed that in each category a question revolving around friendship or relationship with others was mentioned. Why is this brought up for all three parties involved? Because relationships matter. Our professor, Carrie Dutkiwca, raised the idea of rather than trying to “stop the bully” why don’t we focus on building relationships within the classroom. Everyone needs friends, everyone needs healthy relationships. If you have good relationships then you know you are important.  You know your valued. You know someone cares about you. 

Let’s Take a Stand and end bullying by building relationships. As a future teacher I am learning the value of relationship building and how it can have an incredible impact on the dynamics of a classroom. Teach your students to see the good in each other. Not everyone has to be best friends, but in my classroom everyone needs to respect one another. That is non-negotiable.

Everyone check out this video about cyber bullying.

Also thank you to my classmates for their great presentation tonight. Good job Laura Shepard, Derek, and Lacey! 


Controlling Your Classroom

One of the biggest challenges when teaching is classroom management. There are a variety of different strategies for classroom management and each individual teacher has their own way to manage their classroom. Today I am going to talk about one approach towards classroom management that I think can be very effective.

Today in my ELNG 326 class I had the opportunity to teach a grade 6 science lesson to my peers. Before the lesson began I had the students move to different locations where they remained for the rest of the activity. As soon as I started the lesson I made sure the students (in this case my peers) were paying attention. Rather than passively asking them for their attention I looked at a peer and said “It is my turn to talk, not yours.” As soon as I said that it set the standard. Students knew that when I was talking I expected them to listen because what I was saying was important. As I began teaching the lesson I spoke with a great deal of volume (but not yelling) and confidence. This sent the message to the students that I was prepared and ready to teach them a lesson. Students were very tentative. They listened and did not talk to their peers or play on their phone. I had the students complete an activity in small groups. For the activity I set a timer that was displayed on the projector screen. This allowed students to see how much time was left to complete the activity. As soon as the timer went off I said “I need everyone to put their supplies down and have their eyes on me in 5-4-3-2-1.” As soon as I started counting down students immediately put down what they were working on and turned to listen to me. As I began to talk I noticed that a few students were chatting. I stopped talking and simply said, “I will just wait until your done talking.” They instantly knew I was talking to them and stopped to pay attention to me. I was then able to give my instructions for the final activity. Before I taught the lesson I wasn’t sure if I should use this approach with my peers because I was treating them as if they were 10 years old, but the great thing was that it worked!


I understand that every classroom is different and some classes will be more challenging than others, but I would argue that outlining clear expectations, being organized, and being consistent are key factors in classroom management. As a teacher you set the standard of what will be tolerated in your classroom. If you want students to pay attention when you are talking then you need to enforce that rule from the beginning of the school year and  not let them get away with talking when you are talking. Second make sure kids can see that you are organized and ready to go. I know as a student if my teacher is unorganized from the beginning I will probably talk to my peers more than if I see that my teacher has all their materials ready to go and  they are ready to start the lesson as soon as class begins. Finally make sure to remain consistent with both your expectations as well as your consequences. When students know what the consequence for an action is and they know the expectations of the classroom they are more likely to behave. As a teacher you deserve respect. Although you may not always receive it I think it is important to let students know that you deserve and expect respect from them and they deserve respect and that is what you will give them.


Classroom management is not easy, but I challenge you to take control of your classroom. Set the bar high, outline expectations, be organized, and be consistent. It works in primary classrooms all the way up to University classrooms so why not test it out.


Hands On Learning

During my internship I tried to do lots of lessons that included hands activities. Students loved this. Often students would say to me, ” Miss K. you always make Inquiry so much fun.” I am not trying to make it sound like all my lessons were the best lessons ever planned, but most of my Inquiry lessons were hands on and had kids learning through experimentation. Our Inquiry learning times were broken into three week blocks were we would focus on one or two outcomes from one of the following subject areas: Science, Social, Health. I am going to share with you a couple of hands on activities I did during my internship that the students really enjoyed and a great deal of learning occurred.

1) The Human Body. Science has lots of opportunities to do hands on activities. The link to the Science 5  curriculum is below.

To start off the unit we (my cooperating teacher and I collaborated to create the unit) decided to do some formative assessment to see what students knew about the human body. We placed students in groups and had them make a body poster by tracing a group members body onto a large piece of paper and then labelling parts of the body. Students really enjoyed this activity. They knew the body parts such as stomach, heart, lungs, and small and large intestine. They had some difficulty identifying the diaphragm and the trachea. Here are a few pictures we took during the activity.

Human Body Poster #1



Human Body Poster #7



Human Body Posters together

Later on in the unit I thought it would be fun to learn about the human body by looking at and playing around with some real organs. No I did not bring in human organs into my grade 5 classroom, but I did however bring in pig organs. I did this because pig organs are very similar to human organs. It was a blast and the kids got to pump up the lungs with air and see the air sacks fill up when filled with air. I would advise anyone who is teaching about the human body to try it out. Here are some pictures from our day with the pig organs.

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Pig Organs #1


Pig Organs #3

2) Health. In our first Health Inquiry block we learned about healthy eating. It was a good transition from our science unit about the human body and learning how to keep the human body healthy. In this unit we learned how to read food labels. We started by reading a food label as a large class. Then to practice students worked in groups where they rotated through stations of the four different food groups and they would read a variety of food labels to learn what they were eating. The students had lots of fun. Here are some pictures from our afternoon of learning.

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Milk #1


Sugar #1


Sugar #2


If you have any questions about the activities I did let me know. Leave a comment about how you have used hands on learning in your classroom.


Cool Coding

This week our tech task was to practice some coding. To be honest coding is a foreign language to me. I did however try a few things out on the Computer Science Education Week website. The first thing I tried was Write your first computer program. It is a basic coding program where you have to create a series of steps for the angry bird to get to the pig. I can see this having a variety of purposes in the classroom. First off Angry Birds is a huge buy-in for middle years students. Secondly it is a simple way to learn about coding in a fun way. It gives them a chance to play around and learn about coding in a hands on way. Finally it forces students to follow steps to accomplish a goal. They need to work on developing a sequence of steps that will ultimately help them reach their desired destination. Here is level five.

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The next program I tried out was Create a Holiday Card. This could be used in the classroom  around holiday seasons or just for the sake of creating a card for someone else to make their day. It gives students the chance to be creative and expressive by creating their own card using a computer program rather than traditional marker and paper. Here is what I did today when playing around with making a card. It doesn’t look very pretty, but the program gives you potential to make it appealing to the eyes.

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Check out the website to learn more ways to use coding to experiment in your classroom.


Wanna Hear a Funny Story?

For my second assignment from the DS 106 site I decided to complete another visual assignment because there are so many cool ideas. This second assignment is called “Emojis IRL”. The assignment tells you to create a story using emojis by having self portraits that recreate the emotion of the emoticon. I think kids would have a blast with this assignment. You could easily tie it into a Literacy class where you could read a short story or a poem and have students recreate a scene using only self portraits. I think it would allow students to be creative and have fun. I created a story using self portriats based on emojis I hope you enjoy it. Big Shout out to my friend’s Travis and Becky for doing a photo shoot with me. Also a big thank you to Mr. Wimbleton (cat) for letting me wake him up to take a few pictures of him 😉 Here we go….

Once upon a time in a far away land there was a handsome young man.
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He had many girlfriends in the past and it soon got to his head and he thought he was the most charming man in all the land.

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One day he was in the mall and he saw a beautiful girl.

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He wanted to get her attention so he decided to make a funny face at her.

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She noticed and made the same face back at him.

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He blew her a kiss.

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She blew him a kiss back.

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He decided to ask her on a date. She told him that the only way she would go on a date with him is if he passed the cat test. “What is the cat test?” he asked. “I have a cat and he has good judgment. I will go on a date with you if he likes you” she replied.

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“Not a problem” said the man. “Come over at 6 o’clock to meet Mr. Wimbleton” the girl explained. The man was so excited he made another silly face.

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When 6 o’clock came the man arrived at the girl’s house. She welcomed him into to meet her cat. The cat was sleeping on the couch.

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When the cat woke up he seemed to like the man.

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The man smiled at the cat.

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But the cat got very angry.

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The man got very scared.

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The girl shrugged her shoulders and said, “I trust my cat’s judgement. I guess I will not be going on a date with you.”

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The man was shocked that she would turn him down because her cat did not like him.

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He was very angry and ended up going home with no date with the girl.

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The End.


To create this story I used Emojis and pictures of friends. You can get an emoji app on your phone. I had lots of fun creating this story. I hope you enjoyed it and I encourage you to try making one too.


Putting a Twist on a Picture

Hey everyone so I finally got around to completing my tech task from last week. I decided to choose two assignments from DS 106. There are so many cool ideas for visual assignments and I had lots of fun creating some pictures for this week’s tech tasks. I think this would be a great site to allow students to use for different projects. It gives them lots of ideas and choice and allows them to be creative. The one thing I did have trouble with was finding programs that would allow me to complete the assignment. This may be a challenge teachers would find as well. I know there are several photo editing programs out there and depending on what one your school has purchased you could probably complete lots of these assignments.

The first assignment I completed was all called “Focus on One Colour”. The assignment asked you to take a picture of a room and make it black and white, but keep one colour. I thought the example picture looked very neat so I decided to give it a try. It was much more difficult than I thought to find an app to help me complete the project, but eventually I found Color Splash. Through this app I was able to make what I think is a pretty cool looking picture. The assignment says to take a picture of a room, but I decided to use a picture from my recent trip to Cuba. Here is how it turned out.

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Here is the original picture so you can compare the two.

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