hands on is, hands down, the way to go

Internship is drawing (very quickly!) to a close – only four days left 😦  I realized that I have a lot of recapping to do. Here are some pictures of my lovely little learners engaging in some of the activities I have planned over the past month… (Never again will I put off posting this long – lesson learned!)

One thing I am extremely proud of is creating this Word of the Day program during my internship. This idea was taken from a Kindergarten teacher from Kindersley (check out @PamelaSawatzky‘s Twitter handle – she is a wonderful K teacher!) during a Phonological Awareness PD event at the beginning of the school year. It involves breaking down simple CVC words into their individual sounds and then placing a dot into a box (these are called El Konin boxes and are great for students to visualize the breaking down of words into sounds) for each of the sounds heard.

In the above example (“tack”), students identify the sounds they hear:

/t/  /a/  /k/    Then, Leaders for the day get to drag a dot into a box. We then practice pulling the sounds apart and putting them back together to create the original word. We also discuss which letters make the corresponding sounds.

Nest Making

As part of our Bird Inquiry unit, I was constantly adding to and changing our authentic nest centre. It ended with this evolution, where students had the chance to create their own nests. It was so interesting to see what students came up with and what strategies they used to make their nests. On one of my observation days, some of my students were eager to teach my faculty advisor how to make a nest. Such a cool thing to see! Nest Making 2

Here are some of the finished nests:

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 8.42.55 PM

Another endeavour that was on my internship bucket list was Outdoor Winter Centres. These were a lot of work (and took up a lot of freezer space – haha) but SO MUCH FUN! Take a look…

I filled spray bottles with coloured water for students to ‘spray paint’ the snow with. This was definitely the biggest hit. I wished I had had more spray bottles!

Winter Centres 8

Students also used the cookie cutters to create coloured shapes in the snow.

I also made ice cubes in every colour of the rainbow for students to create snow castle creations out of. This was also very popular. The spray bottles also become a tool for decorating the castles (of course the students thought of something I didn’t).

The students above are trying to save some ‘frozen’ animals (plastic figurines I froze into clear water) using warm water. Students also tried to refreeze the animals by adding snow into the water.

Frozen Animals


This is a fun activity that can cover a lot of Science outcomes, but those icy animals melt a lot faster than they freeze, so have A LOT on hand.

Winter Centres 2

I thought a frozen treat was appropriate for our ice and snow themed centres. Some apple juice, ice cube trays, and popsicle sticks did the trick real quick!

Winter Centres 3.png

Lucky for us, this December has included GORGEOUS weather, so it was cold enough to keep the snow on the ground, but still nice enough outside that mitts could be taken off for periods of time without frozen fingers. The perfect medium!

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I loved doing centres in my Math Patterns unit, so tried to do some hands on work for our Number unit as well. Some of the centres pictures in the slideshow above are:

  • putting the correct number of eggs into nests (to tie in with our Bird Inquiry unit)
  • putting the correct amount of coloured tiles into a ten frame
  • counting objects and finding the corresponding numeral to match up
  • building block towers of a specific height
  • playing a board game with a partner and moving a specific number of spaces using 10 sided dice
  • counting the number of stars in a ‘parking lot space’ and parking a car with the corresponding number in that spot

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I also added some centres to our letter learning work. Students could choose if they wanted to do work in their ABC books, draw items that started with the designated letter, make that letter out of play dough, or trace that letter on sheets in page protectors. Although this made Learning Time pretty hectic, I think it really affirms that students all learn in different ways and that these different learning styles are represented and planned for. This also gives students choice to try several centres that suit their interests, or hone in on a specific one.

One other cool thing we did for our Bird Inquiry unit was research on the iPads using QR codes that I created for websites, photo galleries, and videos all about birds. We were lucky enough to have the Grade 6 class come in and buddy up with our K’s, who loved this! 21st century learning at its finest!



To learn about the colour Blue in November, we discussed Picasso’s blue period and tried our hand at creating masterpieces using only shades of blue.

Picasso Blue Period


And just to end on a sweet note, here is an adorable Snowman and Reindeer cupcake that we all had (messy) fun making.


Stay tuned for a post in the future that sums up my internship experience.

Yours truly,


summer reading

In my 19 weeks of summer, I read 20 books. Here is the full list:

Under the Never Sky – Veronica Rossi
Through the Ever Night – Veronica Rossi
Into the Still Blue – Veronica Rossi
City of Fallen Angels – Cassandra Clare
City of Lost Souls – Cassandra Clare
A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness
City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare
Starters – Lissa Price
Enders – Lissa Price
Don’t Go – Lisa Scottoline
Tithe – Holly Black
Valiant – Holly Black
Ironside – Holly Black
Silverwing – Kenneth Oppel
Sunwing – Kenneth Oppel
Firewing – Kenneth Oppel
Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
About a Boy – Nick Hornby
The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

infinite blessings to count

Hello everyone! I haven’t blogged in quite a while and just thought I would share this quick post with you.


Today, I noticed my aunt had a list of three things she was thankful for as her status on Facebook. Shortly after I read this, she had another status nominating myself and three others to do the same.

When I went to make my status of 3 things, it was a wonderfully welcome reminder of the infinite blessings I have in my life. Life can get hectic and become monotonous sometimes, which can make us forget how the little things in our lives are actually so momentous (like growing up in a country free from war, or having free healthcare and education, or simply the family and friends that you have missed out on saying “I love and appreciate you” in a while).

I just hope this little post can get you to stop and think about all of the great things you have in your life for even a minute. Such a simple exercise can make a world of difference in your attitude and outlook on the day. I know I feel refreshed, peaceful, and appreciative – can’t wait for the next 2 days to come so I can continue to feel this little happiness boost.

I encourage anyone reading this post to share this little slice of positivity with others! I am thankful that social media can be used to brighten others’ days. Now, go forth and be thankful!


P.S. After the three days, I will be sure to put my nine thankful for’s at the end of this post!


  • Growing up in Canada and never knowing the struggles of poverty and war
  • Having a healthy body and mind that have never held me back from opportunities that I would like to take
  • The education that I have received and never had to fight for or prove I am worthy of, unlike females in other parts of the world
  • Never having trouble finding great jobs that I genuinely enjoy
  • My family and friends who have shaped me into the person I am proud to be today
  • All of the priceless life experiences, knowledge, and friends that my amazing university career has given me thus far
  • Good books to keep my mind sharp and occupied
  • Chocolate to keep my soul soothed
  • Smiles to keep my heart happy

bits and bobs

Hi loyal blog readers or any newcomers who have just stopped by for the first time!

I have been saving up a list of things to chat about and finally got around to it! So brace yourself for a bunch of totally unrelated items that have crossed my mind since I last posted. Warning: LONG POST!

1. A little preamble: I am currently working at the Affinity Credit Union in my hometown this summer (more about this under item #3)- and I LOVE it! All the staff there are unbelievably friendly, welcoming, and all-around nice people! That’s what makes it so easy to go to work every day.

Anyways… One day, one of my co-workers (let’s call her Rachel) mentioned that a member (let’s call her Miranda) told her she got a job interview at a financial institution. Rachel noted what a friendly young girl Miranda is, but said she almost wanted to tell Miranda to take her lip ring out for her interview, otherwise she surely wouldn’t get it.

This encounter made me, as my ECS prof would be proud to hear, go “Hmmm…” And not in regards to what Rachel said, because I can agree that she’s right: people don’t associate piercings with professionalism. And THAT is what made me go “Hmm…” Why does society automatically look down on individuals that have rainbow-coloured hair, dark makeup or piercings (and I can’t lie, I myself do this because it is so far from my personal style, not to mention piercings make me cringe because of my intense fear of needles – haha)?

All of the labels like ’emo’ and ‘goth’ have given society as a whole a negative view on people who sport these personal style choices. When you think about it, it’s a bit silly to think of people as unsuitable for a job simply because of a nose ring or their purple hair. It’s like not hiring me because I chose to wear a necklace that day, or a green shirt.

These choices have no effect whatsoever on how hardworking, trustworthy, etc, etc, etc a potential employee is. And just because hair dye and eyebrow rings didn’t exist ‘back in the day’ we think that they are inappropriate for a job interview? That, my friends, seems just a little bit wrong. If I choose to keep my hair brown and my face unpierced, that is my choice, but it doesn’t make me better suited for a job than someone who didn’t choose the same. I wouldn’t want to get a job based on that fact. And we shouldn’t expect people to change their appearances in order to be accepted. I am not going to dye my hair blonde and start wearing lipstick to get a job. And someone with green hair and a tongue ring probably doesn’t want to have to change their appearance, either!

What do you think? Why does society have such a bad view of piercings, dyed hair, etc?

Note: I can understand having to take your piercings out when it is a safety hazard. For example, I used to work at Subway and employees couldn’t have their facial piercings in while working because they were considered ‘an open wound.’ But in a job outside of the food industry, why does it matter?

2. This item is about a comment I got on my Ten Tree Apparel post (see my last post from May 22, “ten tree gets a zero out of ten from me”) that sparked my thinking in a different way.

I won’t quote anything the commenter said but the gist was: You made a good point until the very last piece where you used the word ‘twig’ to describe the models. Derogatory terms should be eliminated for girls who are slim as well as curvy.

I had to admit, I was a bit disheartened that someone had something that wasn’t purely positive to say about my remarks, but I can also admit that this person was 100% right. While I meant the line “just because your brand is named 10 tree doesn’t mean your models all have to be twigs, because all women aren’t,” to be a play on words with the company name, it truly is derogatory towards thin girls.

It isn’t just the girls that are larger than the models in magazines that are negatively affected by the fashion industry: it is also the slim girls! They get called names like ‘anorexic’ simply for being naturally thin, and that isn’t fair anymore than a girl who can’t help being larger than celebrities on the television. I was frustrated that someone had criticism for my post, but I am glad that this person spoke out and made me realize that I was being a hypocrite in an unintentional way. I won’t turn down a chance to learn and expand my horizons! So thank you, to my critic. You have helped me grow as a person!

Just to finish off, it’s interesting to note that one of the most famous models was named “Twiggy.” It kinda makes you think what the fashion industry is all about and seeking to promote…

3. As I mentioned previously, I am working at Affinity Credit Union as a summer student. I am a Member Services Representative (MSR, or, as most people know us as, tellers) and so far, it is going really well!

And while I really like my summer job, it has also reinforced my passion for education. I can truly say that even after trying out a compelling job, I wouldn’t change my future plans for the world. A couple of people on staff have asked in passing if I will end up working at ACU forever, and I just have to smile because, while I can truly say it’s a desirable work environment in every aspect, nothing can sway me from my plans as a teacher.

It’s especially funny, too, because in the very beginning, I was worried that I would end up liking it so much that it WOULD sway me! haha That’s the honeymoon phase for you, I guess! Don’t worry, though, nothing is stopping this girl from achieving her life long dream of looking out into a crowd of 30 little glowing faces sitting in desks. 🙂

4. One of my coworkers has a young boy who has some learning challenges and struggles with reading. She mentioned one day last week that she was hoping to hire a tutor this summer and I immediately said “Pick me!” because I have tutored a boy the same age for the last two summers and loved it!

Thankfully, she agreed to entrust her son’s precious little mind to me, and I am already super excited to get started! I have been in contact with his homeroom teacher and am going to meet to chat about his needs. I always like to have a little get-together with their teacher to talk about any resources they may suggest, or get activities that the child was working on in class time and could be continued throughout the summer, as well as any general comments or suggestions.

If anyone reading this has any suggestions, I would gladly soak them up, so chime in, please! It would be greatly appreciated! I will hopefully post some of my plans/ideas later on when my schedule is a little more solid, so stay tuned!

5. As a last little, fluffy, feel-good piece, I thought I’d tell a little story of what happened to me just before I sat down to write this post…

I am staying at my grandparents’ house in Saskatoon tonight as I have a 2-day training course here for ACU. We were just coming back from supper and a girl was knocking on their door. After one glance, I realized that I recognized her from a volleyball camp we both attended 4 years ago! I didn’t want to say hi in case she didn’t recognize me (which happens A LOT to me – once I meet you once I won’t forget your face! And I creep a lot of people out because I know who they are, but they don’t know me haha). Fortunately, she recognized me right away and we had a really good chat, which totally made my day!

The whole experience just left me thinking what are the chances that… she was working for Sask party and knocking door-to-door in Saskatoon, she was at my grandparents’ house just as we got home, I just happened to be in town ONLY for tonight because I am working at Affinity and had my training in the city?

It was just one of those moments where you have to take a step back and go… ‘Wow!’ Life is truly so amazing because its twists and turns can work out in such mysterious ways. It makes me so excited to see what life has in store for me behind some crazy twists and turns!

Wishing everyone reading this a blessed day! 🙂

the “mine” monster

 I can recall multiple incidents when I was volunteering in Elementary school classrooms in my Grade 11 and 12 years when a student would come up to me, claiming that another classmate had taken something of theirs and wouldn’t give it back because “it was theirs.”

This is an age old problem for young children. It happened when I was that age, it clearly still happens today and, unless some technology comes around that tags your personal items to you genetically, it will happen in the future. It is also difficult to address because you can’t accuse either child of lying.

I have come up with a way to solve this dilemma through PREVENTION, so that rather than having to deal with it, you can hopefully discourage it from happening altogether. It is called the “mine” monster.

I imagine the introduction of this concept to the kids to go something like this…

“Has anyone here ever heard of the mine monster? No? Well, let me tell you, he is a sneaky little creature that likes to take children’s belonging and call them his own. And once he steals something from you, you will probably never get it back.

Has anyone heard the word “envy” or “jealousy” before? Do you know what it means? Yes, you’re right, it is when someone wants things that other people have. That is what the mine monster has – jealousy. He takes your things and then squeals “IT’S MINE!” (in a silly voice) and he runs away to his hiding place and you can never get your stolen item back! He is very sneaky, so you have to watch out for him!

Did you know that people can become mine monsters sometimes? Yes, it’s true. When we see someone else has a sparkly pencil or a brand new ball cap that we like, we may want to take it from them so we can have it. But that is NOT right. That is jealousy. And we can’t take other people’s things and call it our own. Because we don’t want to be a mine monster, do we? No, of course not!

So how can we stop the mine monster? First, we can make sure that our name is on our things, so everyone knows who it belongs to. Second, if we like something that someone has, like a special box of markers or a toy, we can’t take it from them, but we can ask them nicely if they would let us try it if they are not using it. That is called sharing, and it makes the mine monster VERY mad because he hates sharing, because it is a nice thing to do.

If we do these things, we can stop the mine monster from striking in our classroom! So does anyone remember what the first rule is? Yes, it’s PUT YOUR NAME ON EVERYTHING. And what about the second rule? You’re right, it is to share and ask first before taking something from someone else!”

I just thought this was a cute little idea that you could do with your class to prevent kids from taking things that aren’t theirs. Maybe you could even ask the class if they wanted to see what the mine monster looked like and have a little sock puppet or something you could put on your hand and go around the classroom saying “I’m on a hunt, what will I find? A _____________ (ex. red pencil case, box of crayons, etc, etc, etc.) that is mine!” (and take something from a student’s desk in the mine monster’s “mouth!” That would be sure to get your point across).

Let’s all fight the mine monster together!

getting ready to go song

1, 2, 3, 4
Get in line to go out the door
5, 6, 7, 8
Hurry now, we can’t be late!
9, 10, 11, 12
Check my partner and myself
Now that we are ready to go,
Lights, camera, action and on with the show!

I came up with this little chant randomly one day and thought it was kind of cute. When you are teaching the class the song, you can elaborate on the “Check my partner and myself” line so that children look at the person next to them and make sure that they are standing still, with hands at sides and ‘zip their lips’ to get ready for the hallway!