pre-internship day 1 snapshot

Day 1 was a success! I am just happy to get to hang out with students all day and soak up their vibrant personalities. Schools have always felt like such welcoming, warm places to me, so it’s awesome to get to spend the next three weeks there with a fantastic co-op and a group of 25 wonderful students (who keep me on my toes, teach me TONS, and help me improve as a teacher every single MINUTE). Here are some of today’s highlights:

Best Thing About My Lesson: The students really enjoyed the hands-on music tasks (which is good, because they are part of every single lesson in my unit!). Yet another reminder that music works magic with kids!

Uh-Oh Moment: YouTube videos wouldn’t play with sound! Stay calm, think fast, ALWAYS have a back up plan (and time fillers).

Something To Work On: Relax. Keep expectations high and students accountable.

Something New I Tried: “Around the World” engagement strategy: Teacher moves around the room while talking to students and they have to continually pivot to stay facing the teacher. Will have to practice this a bit more so all students are following me with their eyes.

Quote of the Day: “Is Superman real?”

What I’m Excited for Tomorrow: Playing my guitar and singing with the students! Wish me luck!

-KKF

third semester eye openers

I can’t think of a better reason to stay up than to do a blog post! Here are some of the interesting tidbits that have happened in the past few weeks…

1. My Field Experiences/Practicums This Semester

I have had two sessions at Balfour Collegiate working with ESL students and have really enjoyed it! One big realization I had was a result of talking with the cooperating teacher (that is so graciously letting 30 pre-service teachers into his classroom this semester), who was in the Elementary program, like me, when he was in university. He told my two other classmates and I that you can end up getting offered a Grade 11 Chemistry job right out of university, and you take it! I always find it interesting when teachers end up in different grades and subject areas than they were trained for. While I think it is beneficial in some situations to have the flexibility of a BEd. giving you the certification to teach any grade, I also feel that I would feel uncomfortable, unconfident, and totally out of my element in a high school. I suppose sometimes that is the best way to get your foot in the door and try something new and challenging, though!

However, volunteering in a mixed Grade 9-12 ESL class has really opened my mind to the possibility of ending up working with high school students at some point in my career. I feel that if I did, by some chance, end up in a high school, I would like to teach ESL students because, like Elementary, the teacher for the tutorial sessions works with all subjects, not one specialized area.

Another thing that I’ve been pondering lately… Why are there so many different acronyms for students who speak English as an additional language? ESL, EAL, ELL, oh my! Can’t they just pick one to use? haha

2. I am part of the Ambassador program at the U of R and I just got an e-mail from the head of the Ambassador program yesterday asking if I wanted to have a Campus For All Ambassador buddy. I was so excited and honoured to be given this opportunity! As an Education student, we are always ecstatic to get the chance to work with others and add these wonderful experiences to our resume. We keep hearing that all resumes and portfolios look the same, so it is really the additional experiences you have that will make you stand out and get you a job. There are hundreds of Ambassadors at the U of R, so I was tickled pink that the coordinator thought of me as a candidate! I’m sure I will have more to tell you about this once I get to meet my buddy and do some events with him!

If you want to learn more about the Campus For All program at the U of R, check their page out here!

3. I never posted some pictures of activities I did during my final tutoring session, so here you go:

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This is a reading board game I whipped up! It turned out really well and I’d love to use it again someday (sorry the image is so small. The spaces read: “Pick up a new word,” “Use your word in a sentence,” “Move ahead 3 spaces,” “Say a word that rhymes with yours,” “Read 2 new words,” “Spell your word,” “Move back 2 spaces,” “Act out your word,” “Make a new word using letters from yours,” “How many syllables in your word?,” and “How many vowels in your word?”). The only thing I would change is maybe making corresponding piles of word cards to pick from for certain spaces, because not all of the word cards I made could be easily used for all of the space tasks. For example, some of the words were very short, so you couldn’t arrange their letters to make other words; or some of the words were abstract terms that couldn’t be acted out.

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This is a fun little drawing activity that I linked to the online resource Bembo’s Zoo (check it out – I LOVE it!). It is a fun way to incorporate language into art.

4. Today in my ECE (Early Childhood Education) class, the instructor was teaching us the Waldorf ECE approach by actually treating the students like we were Kindergarteners, and I absolutely LOVED it! Some students were hesitant and embarrassed to sing the songs and perform the actions, but I thought it was a nice change of pace from the normal university class. This just affirmed for me how overjoyed I am to be heading towards a career that will let me sing songs and dance and fingerpaint and tell stories every single day! I truly am blessed! My work with the ESL students has opened up my eyes to the possibility of working with teenage students, and now my ECE class has me considering all the awesome aspects of working with Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students as well. Don’t get me wrong, Grade 1 will probably always have my heart, but I am finding, more and more every day, that it isn’t about the age of the students to me, it is simply the act of teaching and fostering a love of learning that draws me to this field. It’s a nice epiphany to have and it makes it easy for me to say that I can enjoy any Grade that I may teach in the future.

This semester is shaping up to be a very busy (but wonderful!) one, so I am sure I will have more things to share soon! I hope whoever and wherever you are, you have a splendid day!

does school kill creativity?

Well, it’s official – this is my first brand new post on my WordPress blog (all of my previous posts from my old Blogger blog have been brought over now – glad that’s finished)! And what a great way to start fresh!

I came across this TedTalk on We Inspire Futures and absolutely loved it! Sir Ken Robinson gets his point across very clearly and peppers his presentation with his sweet sense of humour, making the video both informative and entertaining. It also led me to question my views as a future educator.

I think with all of the debates about standardized testing, the issue of creativity is often brought into question as well. I remember someone on Twitter saying “Is standardized testing producing standardized thinkers?” or something to that effect. This video gave me a similar question. Can our artistic students truly flourish in the education system we have set up for them? And how can we ensure that our future choreographers and filmmakers and actors/actresses are being properly stimulated and engaged in the classroom?

As I think more and more about it, I realize that Arts Integration is going to be  HUGE part of my future classroom. Some statistic somewhere said that children who play an instrument are more likely to do well in school, and I truly believe that we can’t focus entirely on Math formulas and English concepts to educate our children. Their education deserves to be much more enriched with creativity and opportunities for artistic expression and discovery.

I have loved music as long as I can remember. I always made up songs and sang them to myself when I was playing outside as a kid. One Christmas, one of my cousins got a miniature electric keyboard and one of the pre-set songs it played was “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic and I was maybe 5-ish at the time and was just belting it! haha My uncle ended up telling my parents that I had a future in voice and that led to me being put in piano lessons and, later on, I took up voice AND guitar lessons instead, which I am sorely missing this year! I also loved being part of the Drama club at my old high school. And while I don’t consider myself a good dancer or artist by any stretch, I still find these types of art beautiful and a wonderful way for people to express feelings that they can’t elsewhere (and I am VERY jealous of people who are good dancers or artists, because I would LOVE to be!). That is what music feels like to me and I would never want to stop a student from developing these amazing talents.

Because the arts are so near and dear to my heart (which is kind of surprising, seeing as I am also a very analytical and organized person, not your typical artist personality), I really want that to show in my future classroom. I smile when I picture myself, guitar in hand, singing with my students and I insist that this future become a reality someday!

This topic also gave me a lesson idea…

I am in Art 100 this semester and one of the things that is clearly stressed to us over and over is that art, while primarily considered to be made primarily for its aesthetic appeal and visual beauty, is more modernly geared towards expressing one’s opinion. So I think it would be great for students to pick a side of an argument or a controversial issue that they feel very connected to, and turn it into art. Whether they want to make something out of clay, draw a picture, write a song, choreograph a dance, it doesn’t matter! But expressing their interest in a topic in a medium outside of a report or powerpoint could really help them deepen their thinking (and also, it’s way more fun, am I right?). This may be a bit difficult for a Grade 1 class, but I never want to underestimate the creative capacity of kids these days (seems like kids in school know WAY more than I did at their age – kind of scary! haha) and there are many ways you could adapt this for younger students.

I am sure that I will have WAY more posts about fostering creativity and integrating art into other subject areas, so stay tuned! I think I’m gunna go dance crazily around my room and sing into my hairbrush for a while – haha! :p