Stories from the Field Blog

Week One: Students & Learning Environment Core Questions: Who are our learners? What does the learning environment look like? Spend some time talking with students to get to know who they are. If possible, join students on the playground at recess or break times and have informal conversations (and let them get ato know a bit about you too as they’re always curious as to who the new ‘teacher’ is). Take a photo of the classroom (empty) or draw a sketch of what the classroom looks like. Does this remind you of your own schooling or is it very different? How does this space make you feel?

The school that I was placed at is Spruce Ridge in Estevan in the grade 5B class. It is the newest school to Estevan and the largest with over 400 students. It was built within the last 15 years. It is a unique building in that it has an open concept library. The hallways make up the library. They have a theater style space where teachers can take their students to read stories and it is somewhat enclosed. They have an open computer area that is available for all the students to use and for teachers to book for classroom use. Spruce is the largest school in Estevan and each grade is split into two different classes A and B. The classes are together in pod like formats for grades 1-5 with a tutorial room separating the classrooms. Grade 6-8 is treated like a junior high with the students rotating classrooms for each different class.

I attended a variety of schools in my time as a student, and this is the only school I’ve ever seen that is like this. I really liked the environment and found that it was incredibly well set up and encourages learning. I loved the open concept library and the tutorials that separate the classes. This is definitely a school I would love to teach at.

There are a variety of students and needs within the classroom. My cooperating teacher is a firm believer in integration and we have one student in the class who is special needs. They participate in the classroom for most subjects, but have an EA with them at all times to take them to do other things and to help support them.  Because routine is so important to all students, but especially those with special needs, the routine is always the same. ELA and French (every second day) and MATH in the mornings. Then after lunch they alternate the rest of their classes between days 1-6. The students all learn in different ways and I saw a small glimpse of this. I think everyone is a learner at some point. Today I learnt that as teachers sometimes we have to work on the fly. We may have the day planned out, but that we need to be flexible and learn to adapt.

Week Two: School and Community: You will become familiar with the school environment; the students, teachers, administrators and other staff members as well as the community. Core Questions: Who are the people in your school? How would you describe the school and surrounding community? What and who do you see as creating the links between school and community? Have someone take a photo of you standing in front of your school – great keepsake to add to your Professional ePortfolio. Inquire as to if your school has a school website – spend some time becoming familiar with your school community.

Week two at Spruce Ridge was a lot of fun! There are lot of people in my school. It is the biggest elementary school in our community  and the newest. There are a lot of students that live on farms or rural communities, as this is the school they are all bussed to. Students who live in this particular school district also attend the school. The school is kindergarten to grade 8 and each grade has 2 separate classes. The school itself is a beautiful building, with lots of classroom space, tutorial rooms and other open areas that teachers and students are free to use. The library is an open concept library so the hallways are basically just shelves lined with books, which I think it really cool.

There are a lot of people who create the links between school and community, but I think that parents and teachers and administration staff are primarily responsible. There are also a lot of other people who build the relationships between school and community, such as volunteers, coaches, and other schools.

Week Three: Teachers & Knowledge: Core Questions: How do you see teachers honouring different ways of knowing? How do you see teachers promoting knowledge in the classroom? What are the key supports that teachers rely on? How do teachers continue to build their own professional knowledge?

I wound up being sick for my scheduled week 3 placement, however, I was able to make up the time later on in the week. This week in English class we worked on a few different things. The first was spelling words. The students did a self- assessment. Mrs. Risdale read the words, the students had to write them down then they were given their worksheets for the week and had to write the words correctly. They then had to come and have their words corrected by either myself of Mrs. R. If they got the word wrong they needed to write in on the back of the page 2 times. I really liked that instead of just having the kids copy their spelling words from the board she got them to first see if they knew how to spell the word correctly or not. It was a great way to challenge the students while still promoting a healthy learning environment. We then corrected our grammar fun Friday pages. Finally to finish up English the students worked on their postcards. Then it was snack and recess.

Mrs. R. and I were on supervision. It was neat to see how the students interact when they are not in class and the activities that they are drawn to. As we were walking around I got to see how Mrs. R interacts with not only her students but the rest of the students in the school as well, and they all really seem to adore her and have a relationship with her. She knows them all by name. Throughout recess and early morning supervision, I got to know a little bit more about the different students in our class as well as the school. As we passed students Mrs. R. would often share a little tid bit about that specific student.

After recess, we continued with Math. As a class, we corrected our previous work. Mrs. R. has all the students names on popsicle sticks that she pulls from a jar and when she calls your name you give the answer. If a student doesn’t have the correct answer, she will say to the class “ok who wants to help our friend (insert name) and then chose from someone with their hand up. I really like that she uses the popsicle sticks, it allowed for correcting to go by quickly and each student felt like they had a chance to be heard and give the right answer.  We then moved on to the Math lesson for that day which was converting fractions to mixed fractions and then again to decimals. I had the opportunity to sit with one of our students who forgot his glasses at home and couldn’t see anything. I wrote his answers for him and was able to work with him one on one. Had I not have been in the classroom that day, this student would have missed out being able to do his work and would have fallen behind for the day, as teachers don’t always have the time to sit with students one on one.

For me, math is my weakest subject and before whenever students would ask for my help in math I was always hesitant because I was so unsure of myself. I still don’t feel very comfortable in the subject, but after spending some time listening to Mrs. R. teach and working so closely with the students I can confidently say I understand fractions! As a teacher, we are constantly building on our professional knowledge. We do this through taking classes, teaching classes, observing and self-assessing.

 

Week Four: Inclusive Education-Diversity & Difference: Core Questions: What are the different forms of diversity you observe within the classroom and school? What may be some forms of diversity that are not visible? In what ways do you observe the school, classrooms and teachers honouring inclusive practices?

                 Week 4 at Spruce Ridge was another great day!  Being that the students always have English and Math in the mornings I arranged with my co-operating teacher to go in for the afternoon so that I could observe some different subjects.  We started with science where we got to do a fun experiment about simple machines. Next the students went to music class, this is a prep period for Mrs. R., and I went with the students. In music they are learning to play recorder using recorder Karate (something I also learned about in my EDMus class). I enjoyed listening to the students play and observing how the music teacher taught. Once the students returned from Music they had Health. In health class, Mrs. R. is reading them WONDER by R.J. Palacio the story is about a boy named Auggie Pullman who was born with severe facial deformities who was homeschooled his whole life until his parents enrolled him in fifth grade. He has the love and support of adults, but one bully temporarily turns the class against him, with the good winning out in the end. “It’s a rare story with the power to open eyes and hearts to what it’s like to be singled out for a difference you can’t control, when all you want is to be just another face in the crowd.” While Mrs. R is reading aloud to them they are encouraged to work on their art work projects. Periodically Mrs. R. will stop reading to debrief/ ask questions. The students love when they get to listen to Mrs. R. read wonder. They are fully engaged and it really seems to resonate with them. If you get a chance to read the story I highly recommend it.

As I mentioned in week 1 my co-operating teacher is a firm believer in inclusivity and integration and we have a student with special needs in our class. As for diversity within the classroom and school I didn’t observe many students who were of visible minority, however there is still diversity. Some students live out of town others in town. Some students come from 2 parent homes, others from 1 parent homes and others from 4 parent homes. Some students are visual learners, while others are kinesthetic, and others are auditory learners.  With there being 2 classes in each grade, you can also see the diversity amongst the grade 5 students as a whole. Just as there is diversity amongst students, there is also diversity amongst staff members. Some are young and recent graduates, while some are older and have more experience teaching. Some of the staff members are full time while others are part time or support staff, or filling in a leave of absence. One thing I did notice however, is that there is not a lot of diversity when it comes to gender amongst the staff. It appeared that the majority of staff members were females.

 

Week Five: Inclusive Education-Diversity & Difference: You will continue to focus on diversity, difference & inclusiveness in the school and classrooms. Core Questions: How is your school community honouring diversity, equity, and human rights for all? students (including sexual and gender diversity) within their schools and communities?

Week 5 at Spruce was another great week! Again, I had the opportunity to observe afternoon classes as opposed to the mornings. Again we did Science, however this time we had the opportunity to teach the grade 5 A class. Mrs. R. teaches science to both classes and Mr. _ teaches Phys. Ed. It was neat as last week when we did the science experiment I didn’t get a chance to see the results and today I did, but this time with a different set of kids.  After Science the students had social studies then recess. After recess we had Art. The students were able to continue working on their art projects while Mrs. R. read to them. This time Mrs. R. was reading Auggie and me, a sequel to WONDER.

The Administration at my school is fairly open to minded and easily approachable when it comes to diversity topics, however, they tend to tread on the conservative side when it comes to having a presentation or even a discussion. This is fairly common in this area, as South East Saskatchewan is a very Conservative area.  I was encouraged to hear that they had Camp Fyrefly present at their youth conference last year, however it was met with some opposition. Spruce Ridge does have a gender neutral bathroom, and at the moment there are no self identifying students. Mrs. R. is the safe space at the school for gender and sexual diversity. She addresses diversity within classroom discussions, especially in social studies and health. Mrs. R. is the safe space at the school for gender and sexual diversity. She addresses diversity within classroom discussions, especially in social studies and health. Mrs. R. is also currently working towards her Masters and the topic she has chosen is gender and sexual diversity, because the South East is so conservative and the reality is gender diversity is alive and well.

 

Week Six: Curriculum & Instruction: You will focus directly on curriculum & instruction as it is lived by the teachers and students. Core Questions: What is being taught? How are students learning? Do students see the meaning and relevance in what they are learning? What are the stories of curriculum? What are the stories of learning?

                The school runs on a six day rotation and the students have some classes every day and others on a specific days. Classes that students have every morning are English and Math. In English they work on grammar, spelling and they work with textbooks that contain stories and then they do an activity that goes with it. For instance, they read a series of anecdotes and had to create a postcard that represented that.  The students really enjoy their funky grammar Fridays and have gotten better on their spelling assessments. In math class, the grade 5’s are in a new pilot program called JUMP math. When I asked Mrs. R. about it she said that there are some things she likes and other things that she feels need to be improved upon, but such is the case with any math program.  On my first day of Observations, the students gave a feedback report on what they feel is going well and what they want to see improve. They really like that their textbooks and workbooks are all the same and they don’t have to carry around a big heavy textbook. In the afternoons the students rotate between a variety of different classes like science, social studies and health, physical education, art, music. For the two sciences classes I was able to observe, the students learnt about simple machines, in social studies they were learning about of government. I did not get a chance to observe a Physical Education class. In art they worked on a couple different projects one of them was the 3D hand art and another was a geometrical dot art. During art Mrs. R. also reads to the students. During music class the students are learning how to play the recorder. They are doing a program called Recorder Karate where they earn different colored belts for different song difficulty levels. At the start of the class they all work through each level together (if a student can’t play the higher levels that is alright, but it gives students who can play it a chance to play together). Once they are done working through the songs as a group, they get individual time to practise their songs and if they feel they are ready, they can play for the teacher to get their belt color. I thought this was a really neat way to get students to practice, as it puts the learning in their hands.

I was able to observe the ways in which students learn best. It was obvious that some worked better in groups, whereas others worked better alone. Some learned better by simply listening, while others needed the physical experience of actually doing the activity.  Some students needed more one on one help. As a teacher, I think it’s difficult to meet every students needs at all times and it was a good eye opener to me to see how to do some classroom management to be the best teacher that I can and help to meet my students needs.

Week Seven: The Role of Technology: Core Questions: How is technology used in your classroom? Take note of the technologies you see in the classroom and school. Visit the school library…what technology is available for student/teacher use? How are students engaging with technology (in school and outside the school)? Have an informal conversation with 2 or 3 students to see how they use technology, how they think technology helps them in their learning & ways they would like to use the technology. Have a discussion with your cooperating teacher to see how he/she uses technology in their instruction, assessment & professional knowledge.

Week 7 as Spruce threw me for a bit of a curveball as we had a substitute teacher today. It was however a new experience that I was happy I got to observe. It’s true that students act much differently around a substitute teacher then they do their regular one. They tested the limits a little more than they would have if Mrs. R. had been there. Mrs. R. left a subplan for the teacher and it was slightly different than how she would’ve normally taught the day, but that was ok! Teachers learn to flexible and substitutes really know how to do that.

Coming into the classroom 10+ years after I graduated high school it is a culture shock to me to see the amount of technology that is being used within the classroom. I remember back to when I was in elementary school and computers were just being introduced and we spent time using Mavis Beacon Typing.. now it seems like the kids are far more technologically advanced than I am! Most classrooms are now equipped with a smart board. Even though I have kids in school and they have them in their classroom, they are not something I have ever seen in use or had the opportunity to use. I think they are a great addition to the classroom!

There are also a variety of other ways that technology is integrated into the classroom. For instance there are Ipads that can be signed out of the library for students to use in the classroom, teachers can book the computers for their students to use. During my observation periods the students have used the computers to research images for their postcards, play games related to simple machines and to fill out questionnaire about their JUMP Math programs.

I had some time to talk to students about ways that they use technology outside of the classroom and most of them had the same answers. They use ipads or laptops  to play games, watch youtube videos, help them with their homework (ie research or math websites). Some of their favorite things to do on the ipad are to play games such as Minecraft or Pokemon Go, watch youtube videos (usually about Minecraft or funny videos). One student talked about how they use the ipad to read stories on an app called EPIC, another students said they used the ipad for a timer to brush their teeth and another student said they like website like IXL or Mathletics that help them in a fun way with their math. When talking with the students there was a general consensus that they would like more time on the computers/ ipads at school but nor for educational purposes.

Week Eight: Overall Reflection: Looking at the Big Picture: Interconnectedness of Knowledge, Schooling & Society Immediately following your final day of field experience, take time to look back at the experience as a whole, look at the ‘big’ picture and write one final posting on your blog and respond to your peer blogs one last time. Be sure to include this as a part of your Professional ePortfolio. Reminder: Blog exchanges will disappear at the end of the course so save now. You may want to copy/paste some quotes from your weekly field reflections. Core Questions: As you observed and interacted in your field experiences, how did the focus questions connect with one another? What connections did you make personally and/or professionally to the ‘interconnectedness’ of our weekly topics, field experiences and assignments? How does this experience affect your journey to become a teacher? What do you need to learn more about? What questions do you now have? What are 3 professional goals that you are setting for yourself for your next leg of your journey?

 

My last day at Spruce Ridge was a bittersweet. I know that my time there had to come to an end so that I can continue on my studies, but I really enjoyed the grade 5 class. Before being assigned my Observation I had wanted to be placed in a junior high setting or early elementary, so I was a little bummed when I found out I was being placed in grade 5, but I was surprised at how much I LOVED gr. 5 They were a great group of students and I was very fortunate to get to spend the time with them that I did. Mrs. R. was an amazing co-operating teacher and I learnt so much from her. As a thank you to my co-operating class, I brought doughnuts for the students as a

Being a full time student, wife and mother has been challenging, but being able to spend the last 8 weeks in the classroom with some hands on experience has made me confident in my professional choice and while I have doubts some days, I know that teaching is what I am supposed to be doing and that one day, I am going to be a great teacher because of the challenges I have faced to get here.

There are lot of things that I need to learn more about and I know it will happen over time. One thing I need to learn more about is curriculum lesson and unit planning. I feel pretty confident in my ability to plan a single lesson, but I need to learn more about where to find resources for specific units and what is standard for being taught. Something else I need to learn more about is math. It was difficult to help the students with their math as I didn’t always know what they were doing in class. While I caught on fairly quickly in class to what we were working, I still feel that I would benefit from taking a math class or two.

My 3 Professional Goals:

  • Take a math class or two, so that if I ever have to teach a math class (whether it be as a substitute teacher or a common core teacher, that I will have an understanding of what I teaching, rather than just reading off a page.
  • Find a way to get involved in one of the schools in my community (aside from my sons school) to volunteer my time or spend some time coaching. I want to be able to start building relationships now and learning from other teachers and students
  • Find a mentor, someone who has been teaching awhile and ask them if they will be my mentor and help to guide me as I continue to work towards my degree and then eventually become a teacher. I want to have someone to bounce ideas off and go to for guidance when I need it.

Lesson 14- 17: Music Thumbprint

ARTS EDUCATION LEARNING PLAN

 

Lesson Time Required: 3-4 classes (50 mins each)

Grade Level and Conceptual Focus:  Grade 6 Identity

Key Inquiry Question: How can students experiment with music to create their own identity?

Required Resources and Materials:

 

Arts Education Goals Addressed:

  • Creative Productive
  • Critical Responsive

Proposed Learning Outcomes and Indicators:

                C.P. 6.7- Demonstrate increased skills and abilities in the use of voice and instruments

  1. F) Demonstrate focused listening (the students will be encouraged to listen to their favorite songs intently and pick out lyrics that are important to them/ have meaning and value)

C.R. 6.1 – Create personal responses to a variety of arts expressions

  1. B) Recognize that cultural background and experiences affect responses to art expressions and the understanding of symbols and meanings. (Everyone reacts differently to different songs and our experiences and backgrounds can create different responses and reactions to those of our classmates)

C.R. 6.2- Investigate and identify ways that the arts can express ideas about identity

  1. D) Describe why personal and cultural identity is often an important influence in the creation of arts expressions. (When musicians create music they have a specific goal in mind, but when people listen to music they are able to put their own experiences and emotions in that music expressing our different identities)

Cross-curricular Competencies: Developing thinking, developing literacies, developing social responsibility

Connections with Other Areas of Study:

  • Music
  • Visual Arts
  • Language Arts

 

Planned Learning Activities:

  • Explain to the class that songs have different meanings for everyone and bring about different reactions, responses and memories. Some songs make us happy, some make us sad, some songs have a special meaning or memory attached to them.

 

  • Play for the class the song MY BEST FRIEND by Weezer and ask them what they think of the song? Does it remind them of anything? Let the students share their experiences, thoughts or emotions. Then I will explain to the class what it means to me (My best friends are important to me and the song sums up how I feel about them. Also, the song was played at my wedding when my husband and I walked down the aisle after we got married. I got to marry my very best friend)

 

  • Talk to the class about how music can play an important role in our lives and can play an important part in shaping our identity.

 

  • Show the kids the thumbprint that I have completed using songs that are important to me or have a specific memory and how these songs shape my identity and a part of who I am.

 

  • Explain the assignment to them. We will be creating our own thumbprints using songs that are important or have significant meaning to us.

 

  • Have the students pair up into groups of 2 and pass out scrap paper and inkpads

 

  • Have the students make an impression of their thumbs once they are done they will hand them in. The teacher will be responsible for making the thumbprints bigger (use a photocopier to enlarge or you can scan them and make them bigger and lighter in Paint program)

 

  • Once they have done that, have the students wash their hands right away.

 

  • Students will be then be given time on the computer to research songs that are important to them, that have special meanings or memories or songs that are their favorite. They will need minimum of 1 song maximum of 5. * This is a great opportunity to teach students about safe computer research skills). – Would be best to use a specific website such as AZlyrics as there is minimal ad interruption and it is easy to navigate)

 

  • As students find their songs they will print them off and show them to the teacher for approval. Songs must not contain inappropriate content or lyrics.

 

  • Once students have been given approval, they can start writing out their lyrics onto their enlarged thump print. Encourage students to write their lyrics in pencil first so that they can make sure that spelling is correct and positioning is where they want it to be.

 

  • Students can use all the lyrics of the songs or just certain lyrics. They have creative freedom to arrange them in the order that they want.

 

  • Once students have finished writing out their lyrics onto the thumbprint, they will use sharpie markers (or other fine tip markers) to trace over their words. Students may use a variety of colors or just one, the choice is up to them.

 

  • Upon finishing the thumbprints, students will need to write a couple sentences about why they chose each song. This can be done on the back of their thumbprint or on a separate piece of paper.

 

  • Once all the students are finished they will present their final thumbprints to the class and explain at least one of the songs they have chosen.

 

  • Upon finishing presentations students will fill out their self assessment forms and hand in their thumbprints and assessments.

 

Plans for Assessment:

                STUDENT SELF- ASSESSMENT

  • Please go through the following assessment, read the questions and circle the answer yes or no

 

  • I chose at least 1 song YES        NO
  • I had my lyrics checked by the teacher YES        NO
  • I wrote in pencil first and went overtop of my work with marker afterwards YES         NO
  • I wrote about why each song is important to me YES         NO        
  • I used my classtime wisely YES         NO
  • I presented my work to the class YES         NO        
  • While presenting I spoke clearly YES         NO
  • I explained at least one of my songs YES         NO
  • I enjoyed this assignment YES         N0
  • I am proud of my work YES         NO

 

 

TEACHER ASSESMENT

  4 3 2 1
Thumbprint

–          At least 1 song

–          Used pencil first

–          Marker afterwards

Student followed the instruction Student mostly followed instructions, Student struggled to follow instructions Student did not follow instructions
Classtime Student stayed on task and used their classtime wisely  Student stayed mostly on task and used their classtime wisely work was Student had trouble staying on task and using their time wisely Student did no stay on task and did not use their class time wisely
Presentation

 

 

Student spoke clearly and shared at least one of their song choices Student spoke clearly most of the time and shared at least one of their song choices Student did not speak clearly but they did share one their song

Choices

Student did not speak clearly and did not share one of their song choices

 

 

 

 

Self Assessment Student completed the self assessment Student mostly completed the self assessment Student struggled to complete the self assessment Student did not complete the self assessment

 

 

Here is

I wound up being sick for my scheduled week 3 placement however, I was able to make up the time later on in the week. This week in English class we worked on a few different things. The first was spelling words. The students did a self- assessment. Mrs. Risdale read the words, the students had to write them down then they were given their worksheets for the week and had to write the words correctly. They then had to come and have their words corrected by either myself of Mrs. R. If they got the word wrong they needed to write in on the back of the page 2 times. I really liked that instead of just having the kids copy their spelling words from the board she got them to first see if they knew how to spell the word correctly or not. It was a great way to challenge the students while still promoting a healthy learning environment. We then corrected our grammar fun Friday pages. Finally to finish up English the students worked on their postcards. Then it was snack and recess.

Mrs. R. and I were on supervision. It was really neat to see how the students interact when they are not in class and the activities that they are drawn to. As we were walking around I got to see how Mrs. R interacts with not only her students but the rest of the students in the school as well, and they all really seem to adore her and have a relationship with her. She knows them all by name. Throughout recess and early morning supervision, I got to know a little bit more about the different students in our class as well as the school. As we passed students Mrs. R. would often share a little tid bit about that specific student.

After recess, we continued with Math. As a class, we corrected our previous work. Mrs. R. has all the students names on popsicle sticks that she pulls from a jar and when she calls your name you give the answer. If a student doesn’t have the correct answer, she will say to the class “ok who wants to help our friend (insert name) and then chose from someone with their hand up. I really like that she uses the popsicle sticks, it allowed for correcting to go by quickly and each student felt like they had a chance to be heard and give the right answer.  We then moved on to the Math lesson for that day which was converting fractions to mixed fractions and then again to decimals. I had the opportunity to sit with one of our students who forgot his glasses at home and couldn’t see anything. I wrote his answers for him and was able to work with him one on one. Had I not have been in the classroom that day, this student would have missed out being able to do his work and would have fallen behind for the day, as teachers don’t always have the time to sit with students one on one.

For me, math is my weakest subject and before whenever students would ask for my help in math I was always hesitant because I was so unsure of myself. I still don’t feel very comfortable in the subject, but after spending some time listening to Mrs. R. teach and working so closely with the students I can confidently say I understand fractions! As a teacher, we are constantly building on our professional knowledge. We do this through taking classes, teaching classes, observing and self-assessing.

the thumbprint I made

thumbcolor

Grade 6 (Identity) Music Lesson Plan

Here is a Unit Plan that was created by myself and my peers in EDMUSIC 202 together we created 7 lesson plans that span 25 weeks (give or take). We focused on Grade 6 Identity with the following Inquiry Question:

How can students experiment with music to create their own identity?

Weeks 1- 4:  A look into music sampling to create an audio collage (Fair Use Copyright Law). Children would use an editing program to create a short song that includes a mixture of music that they identify with. Lesson plan created by Tara Hanson

Weeks 5-6:  Lesson integrates two forms of art; music and visual art; along with a written component. This teaches our students how to connect with music in a personal way and connect it to their overall identity. Lesson Plan created by Harper Morland

Weeks 7-9: Creating DIY instruments with convenient objects. Lesson Plan created by  Ivy Sheward and Tiana Waldbauer

Weeks 10-13: Teach students how to write songs using popsicle sticks for notes. Using the instruments from Tiana and my additional lesson, play the rhythm for the class and critique them. Lesson Plan Created by Ivy Sheward

Weeks 14-17: Thumbprint lyric mosaic choose 1-5  songs that are important to you- lyrics need to be appropriate choose lyrics that speak to you- write them in thumb shape (different colours, different word sizes) – write description of why important/ why they speak to your identity. Lesson Plan Created by Chelsey Driedger

Weeks 18-19:  Using their DIY instruments, students will explore soundscaping and the way(s) it reflects identity. Lesson Plan Created by Tiana Waldbauer

Weeks 20-25: This lesson will use the process of musical improvisation and visual arts. Students will draw pictures or symbols that convey aspects of their identity and then they will convert these drawings into musical motifs, or longer melodies. Lesson Plans Created by Rebecca

 

Mortimer Music Lesson Plan

I created a music lesson plan based off the book Mortimer by Robert Munsch.  Feel free to use it! It is a fun lesson appropriate for all ages.

Arts Education Learning Lesson Plan 

Lesson Time Required: 20-25 Minutes

Grade Level & Conceptual Focus: Grade 1 Patterns

Key Inquiry Question:  How can we incorporate music patterns into literature?

Pre-requisite Learning: 

  • Students will have been introduced to solfege ( SO, MI, LA)
  • Students will have been introduced to basic music terminology and notations.
  • Students will have been previously introduced to playing different pitched and non-pitched instruments to a steady beat.
  • Students will have previously used body percussion and be comfortable with basic beats.

Required Resources and Materials: 

  • MORTIMER by Robert Munch
  • Assortment of pitched and non-pitched instruments (For this lesson I used to a hand drum and triangle, but teacher may use more than those instruments or different instruments)
  • White board and Markers
  • Piano or computer to play the “Clang Clang” song (this is not required, however if you are not comfortable singing on pitch from memory playing the piece will be helpful).

Arts Education Goals Addressed and Proposed Learning Outcomes & Indicators:

  • P. 1.5 Create music expressions and contribute to decisions about ideas, sounds, instruments and order (e.g. loud/ soft, fast/slow, high/ low).
    1. Experiment with voice and instruments by creating and imitating sound. (We will use our voice and instruments to create sound and sing a song)
    2. c) Play simple pitched and non-pitched instruments and body percussion. (We will use the hand drum, triangle and body percussion).
    3. e) Select sounds with purpose and organize sound to convey particular images or expressive qualities. (We will use instruments to create a Thump sound getting louder or quieter to convey the image of someone coming up the stairs or going down the stairs).
  • P. 1.6 Demonstrate understanding of patterns and the elements of music including: same and different patterns, rhythm (e.g. difference between beat and rhythm, sounds and silences, long and short sounds), dynamics (loud and soft), pitch (high and low sounds), texture (sounds heard alone or together), tone colours (distinguish between).
  1. d) Imitate, create and respond to rhythmic and melodic patterns. ( Use my turn your turn teaching to teach Mortimer’s song)
  2. h) Sing variety of grade appropriate music, matching pitch with some accuracy [SO, MI, LA] ( Sing Mortimer’s song using SO, MI and LA)
  • R. 1.1 Demonstrate understanding that the arts are a way expressing ideas.
  1. c) Examine individual and collaborative problem-solving and decision-making process.

(How can we demonstrate crescendo and decrescendo)

  • 1 Describe the arts and cultural traditions found in own home and school community.
    1. Recognize that there are artists working in own community (and in own country. Give example of Robert Munsch, Canadian author).

Cross Curricular Competencies:  Developing thinking, Developing literacies

Connections with Other Areas of Study:  Drama (students could also act out the different scenarios), Language Arts (Repetition of reading the story will help the students to learn basic reading skills and learn to put sounds together.)

Planned Learning Activities:  

  • Teacher will introduce Mortimer and Robert Munsch to the students. Explain that he is a Canadian author, that there are lots of authors even in our own community, and that literature is an art form.
  • Teacher will read the story Mortimer to the students one time through.
  • Teacher will review Solfege with the students (SO, MI, LA) using the Curwen hand signals.
  • Teacher will play “CLANG CLANG” for the students once through so that they can hear how it sounds using a piano or app. (I used the Crescendo app by NCH software to compose the piece as well as play it).
  • Teacher will teach the students “CLANG CLANG” using my turn your turn. Be sure to use the Curwen hand signs while doing it. Ask the students to use the hand signs as well.
  • Once the teacher feels that the students are comfortable enough singing “CLANG CLANG” while using hand signs, they will read the story Mortimer again to the students. This time whenever Mortimer sings, the students will sing “CLANG CLANG” using their hand signs.
  • Teacher will use whiteboard and marker to introduce the terms Crescendo and Decrescendo to the students. Explain to them that Crescendo means to start quiet and get louder and Decrescendo means to start loud and get quieter.
  • Teacher will ask the students to demonstrate the terms using a “wooo” noise starting quiet and getting louder and then again starting loud and getting quieter.
  • Once the teacher feels that the students have an understanding of the terms Crescendo and Decrescendo, they will ask them for their input for ideas where there could be crescendos and decrescendos used in the story Mortimer. Once suggestions have been made, if it wasn’t offered up, teacher will explain to the students to use crescendos for when someone comes up the stairs (THUMPS) and decrescendos for when someone goes down the stairs (THUMPS).
  • Teacher will assign instruments to half the class. They will demonstrate what a crescendo and decrescendo look like on the hand drum and triangle and any other instruments selected.
  • Students will practice their instruments to a steady beat of 5 or 6 (THUMPS) getting louder and quieter. Students who do not have an instrument can practice using body percussion.
  • Teacher will read Mortimer again to the students. Students will continue to sing their “CLANG CLANG” song with Curwen hand signs when Mortimer sings. This time the students will also play their instruments or body percussion using a crescendo whenever someone goes upstairs and a decrescendo whenever someone goes downstairs. Teacher should remind students when the THUMPS are coming to start quiet and get louder or start loud and get quieter.
  • Teacher can read Mortimer a few more times switching instruments with the students to ensure that they each get to play an instrument at least once. If pressed for time, teacher could also have the students switch instruments after each page.
  • Teacher could record the final time through and add it to the students’ profiles or blog sites if they have one. 

Plans for Assessment: (anecdotal records, observations, rubrics, rating scales, portfolios, etc.)

  • Teacher will observe students throughout the lesson as they work on their solfege (hand signs) singing and use of crescendos and decrescendos.
  • Teacher will take note of student’s ability to use Curwen hand signs while singing “CLANG CLANG”, an assessment rating of 1-4 will be given.
  • Teacher will take note of student’s ability to play crescendos and decrescendos with pitched and non-pitched instruments, an assessment rating of 1-4 will be given.
  • Teacher will observe students on their participation and an assessment mark of 1-4 will be given.

Performance Assessment Rating Scale:

Curwen hand sign skills:

4- The student consistently uses the Curwen hand signs when singing.

3- The student usually uses the Curwen hand signs when singing.

2- The student struggles to use the Curwen hand signs when singing.

1- The student is unable to use the Curwen hand signs when singing.

 

Playing crescendos and decrescendos with pitched and non-pitched instruments:

4- The student consistently demonstrated that they understood how to play crescendos and decrescendos with pitched and non- pitched instruments.

3- The student usually demonstrated that they understood how to play crescendos and decrescendos with pitched and non-pitched instruments.

2- The student struggled to demonstrate that they understood how to play crescendos and decrescendos with pitched and non-pitched instruments.

1- The student was unable to demonstrate that they understood how to play crescendos and decrescendos with pitched and non-pitched instruments.

 

Participation:

 

4- The student consistently participated throughout the lesson.

3- The student usually participated throughout the lesson.

2- The student struggled to participate throughout the lesson.

1- The student was unable to participate throughout the lesson. \

 

Name Hand Signs Crescendo & Decrescendo Participation Total
Katie 4 4 4 12
Liam 4 3 4 11
Sophie 3 2 3 8

 

 

Au Revoir

Over the course of the last 3 months I have had the pleasure of learning about digitail citizenship and much more through my ECMP 355 class. Check out my summary of learning blog post to see what I learnt!

For my learning project I chose to learn how to do the waltz along with my husband. There was a lot of stepping on each other’s toes in the beginning, a few curse words when we couldn’t figure out the next step, but mostly lots of laughs. It was a lot of fun being able to spend some one on one time with my husband. That being said, I wish I would have picke a different learning project (something that was done independently). Between work, school the birth of my son and my husband’s work schedule I found it harder co-ordinate practsie times with him than I originally thought it would be.

Although we didn’t learn as many steps as I would have liked to, I think we did well with the steps we did learn.I would have liked to have posted more indvidual progress videos,unfortunately that didn’t happen.I have blogged and documented each section indivudually. Links to all of my individual learning projects posts are located below:

Dance with me! Sway with me!

A Lesson in Waltz

1-2-3 & 4-5-6

Left Box Turn, Right Box Turn

Change & Hesitations

Review & the Lady’s Left Underarm Turn

Waltz, Waltz and more Waltz

When writting my blogs there were a few websites and youtube channels that I found incredibly helpful, they are:

ballroomdancething.com: This is a blog written by Kimsheard a professional dancer, Her instructions are very clear and I liked that she included diagrams for the visual learners like my husband 😉

dancecentralinfo: I wish I would have foud this site at the beginning when I was researching different dance steps that I wanted to learn. This site is amazing! It lists the dance steps by difficulty level (bronze, silver, gold, ect) and is increidbly detailed. It has videos of practise routines for each different level. If I would have found this site earlier, I would have looked at a silver practise routine and built my learning project around learning the steps in that routine, then using the routine as my final assesment. Take a look at an example here.

ballroomdancers,com: This site had videos for each step however there were only a few that I could access on the free account, the rest you had to purchase a membership for. I thought that the steps I could access were beneficial to my learning experience.

 

Andy Wong  has an incredible youtube channel full of dance videos. He was by far my favorite online instructor. His instructions were clear and easy to follow and very detailed. I loved that he demonstrated the technique and not just the steps. I definitely recommend you check out his channel if you are wanting to learn how to dance!

Another favorite youtube channel was that of Brett Long.He also has lots of great instructional dance videos that were clear and easy to follow.

When rehearding our dance steps, we liked to use Rains wil fall by Kevin MacLeod. It is an instrumental piece, therefore the words weren’t distracting. It is also a slower tempo, which was easy to practise to.

For our final video (which can be viewed at the end of this post) we danced to one of my favorite songs, Open Arms by Journey. There are lots of great songs out there that are great for waltzing to. Just remember that they have to be in 3/4 time. Here is a list if you are wanting some ideas!

That pretty much wraps up my Learning Project. Thank you for following my blog and I hope you enjoyed my posts. I definitely had a blast learning and even though it was a different experience for me learning strictly through online resources, it was a fun one! Keep checking back as I plan to do another “learning project” on my own time. Maybe I will finally learn to play the guitar, or bake.

Check out our final video for learning the waltz!

Here is the Routine we followed for this video:

1 Left Box Step

2 Left Box Turns

1 Change

1 Right Box

2 Right Box Turns

Hesitation (6 counts)

Lady’s Underarm Turn

Right Box Step

Change

Whisk & Chasse

Hesitation (6 counts)

Reverse Corte

 

 

 

Final Summary of Learning

I had the pleasure of working on my final summary of learning with Will Whitten, Alexandra Taylor and Maria Brockman. We did a parody of the game Jeopardy. We all came up with questions related to the different topics we covered in class and used a google doc to share our information back and forth. (Seriously so handy! Way easier than trying to contact each person in the group individually! I didn’t know about google docs until I took this class. Definitely a tool I will continue to use!)

 

googleWe then used a pre-created google doc presentation Jeopardy template and added the questions and answers.jep

We created our introductory videos using flipgrid. We then met as a group and filmed it using Zoom. Zoom has the option to allow you to “raise your hand”, which is how Will knew who “buzzed” in first.

Check out the final project and leave us your feedback!

I have learnt so much in ECMP 355 and have really enjoyed this class!

ECMP 355 has opened my eyes to the importance of technology and digital citizenship in the classroom. As someone who wasn’t familiar with social media and technology I was really intimated by the thought of integrating technology in the classroom and my  personal life as well. Before this class my knowledge of social media went as far as facebook. I though twitter was a boring app used to post useless status updates and blogging was something I was interested in, but never motivated enough to actually do it. Now I am using twitter to further my educational learning, I love blogging and plan to continue to do so both professionally and personally. I feel that this class has prepared me to be a better teacher and has given me different tools to help me teach my students how to use the internet safely. It has also give me new ideas to incorporate technology into the curriculum while still being educational and making it a fun experience.

 

 

 

 

Social Justice and Me

A few weeks ago we spoke about Social Justice issues in our ECMP 355 class. We were prompted to reflect on our class. We could talk about social justice issues in online spaces, our role as an educator in promoting social justice online, etc. This topic was a hard one for me to write about. I have written and re-written this blog countless times and still don’t feel comfortable with the outcome.

When I think about social justice all that comes to mind is AAAAHHHHH….To say this topic makes me nervous is an understatement. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, I do, I just don’t know how to put my opinion and feelings into words that make sense to others. Speaking my mind is something that I have a hard time doing and I find it really intimidating. Therefore, I tend to sit back quietly, keeping my thoughts to myself. I don’t know if I’m afraid of being mocked, or ridiculed or if it’s mostly because I don’t feel educated enough on the subject to really put in my “two cents”.

speak

Even though I feel uneducated and intimidated, I think it’s really important as an educator to be an ambassador for social justice, however, I didn’t really know what that meant. So I took to the internet and found an article called Creating Classrooms for Social Justice that was written by Dr. Tabitha D’ell’Angelo. She made some really great points that I will sum up quickly, but I encourage you to read the article for yourselves.

Summary of the basic classroom practices written in the article Classrooms for Social Justice:

  1. Connect to the students lives. This can be as easy as considering value and building on the diverse prior learning experiences of your students when making curricular decisions.

2. Link to real world problems and multiple perspectives. You can do this by making sure what you teach is relevant to what is going on in the world. Give students the opportunity to ask questions or present a topic they have heard about. This will give them an opportunity to learn high-level thinking skills such as:

  • Discerning fact from opinion
  • Figuring out their own and other’s point of view
  • Interpreting all of this information to decide on their own “truth”

It is important to choose topics that you can feel pedagogically neutral about so you can support your students journey towards being a critical thinker, as opposed to imposing your beliefs on them.

3. Create a Classroom Community by giving students the opportunity for their voices to be heard. Teach them how to participate in a discussion. Teach and encourage them to be “academic siblings.”

4. Include Authentic Assessments which are opportunities for students to students to write for real audiences, share knowledge with a wide audience, and engage in the kind of work that occurs outside the classroom.

From these points and this article, I definitely feel like I have some tools to be an educator for social justice.

Also, check out this youtube video of teachers giving examples where they used specific aspects of the curriculum to teach about social justice.

What are ways that you are an ambassador for social justice in your classroom? Are you following the  basic practices stated above? Do you have any others to add? Leave your comments below!

Before I sign off I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes

change

photocredit: Pinterest

Waltz, Waltz and more Waltz!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about my Learning Project and for that I apologize! Things have been a little chaotic around my house as we welcomed our third son Beckam Rylee Gerard on November 10. How cute is he?!

Now back to dance! In my last Learning Project Blog Post we did a review of all the steps we’ve learnt up to this point and added the Ladie’s Underarm Turn. This week’s post will focus on (3/4) new steps (I apologize it is longer than most of other posts, but I have to make up for lost time, so please bare with me)

The first step we looked at is the whisk and chasse. This step is used at the end of a reverse turn, instead of a change step, or when the man has his left foot free and the lady has her right foot free. This step does not turn, instead it moves you straight down the line of dance. It introduces you to the promenade position which is slightly open, as opposed to the closed position which is what we have done the other dance steps.

For time purposes and so as not to bore you, I will go through the men’s footwork. The lady’s footwork is exactly the same but mirrored ( meaning on opposite feet). You can find the step by step instructions for both the men and lady’s footwork here.

1- Take a small step with the Left Foot

2- Right Foot goes to the side. Don’t put your heel down.

3- Left Foot moves behind the Right Foot and Right shoulder. This will open you up into promenade position. Once you transfer the weight to your Left foot toy can lower the right heel. This will set you up to take your next step.

These steps make up the footwork for the whisk.

The chasse has a slightly different count than the rest of the steps we have looked at, in that it is 4 steps counted in 3 beats. It is counted as follows:1-2-and-3.

Again I will walk through the man’s footwork. Both the men’s and lady’s footwork can also be found here.

1- Step forward with the Right Foot

2- Left Foot goes to the side

and- Right Foot Closes to the Left Foot

3- Step Forward and slightly to the side with the Left Foot (This will allow you to go into any natural turn)

Chasse - m

Below is a video of us demonstrating the steps. If you prefer I also found this step by step instructional video by Andy Wong to be super helpful!

The next step we looked at was the BasicWeave. It starts with a reverse turn, the basic weave then ends off with a natural turn. The man’s part is as follows:

Start off with a reverse turn (1 quarter turn to the left).

Basic Weave (6 steps)

1- Right Foot Back

2- Left Foot Front

3- Right Foot Front ( Go up and turn- land softly)

4- Left Foot Back

5- Right Foot Back

6- Left Foot Turn to the side left.

End with a Natural Turn ( Right Turn)

waltz-basic-weave-1-7

Photocredit: dancecentral.info

Here is a helpful video tutorial!

There is a variation of this step called the weave from the promenade position. It is similar to the basic weave, however, it is continued from the whisk. The first three steps are different however the last three steps are exactly the same. We did not specifically learn this move, however, we did look at it briefly! The video tutorial is found here.

 

 

The final step we learnt was the Reverse Corté which is a fairly simple step.

The man’s part is as follows:

1- Right Foot Back

2- Left Foot close to Right Foot. Don’t put your weight down. Heel turn on the Right Heel and rise on both toes.

3- Hold the position and lower down on Right Heel. Left Foot will be ready to move.

The lady’s part is slightly different and is as follows:

1- Left Foot Forward

2- Right Foot to the side to face center

3- Left Foot Close to Right foot turn slightly on a diagonal.

The  instructional video can be found here.

 

That’s all for today!

Be sure to check out my final learning project post for a video of our progress!

Thanks for reading hope you enjoyed!

5 card story fun

Last week in class we did an experiment using PechaFlickr. You create a story using random slides on a time limit. It was a fun interactive activity. The best part was is that none of us were physically in the same room! I could definitely see myself using this in class to engage my students to be able to think on their  feet Soquickly and promote positive public speaking skills. As a future Arts Education Teacher with a major in theater it would be a great tool to encourage my students to work on their improv skills..

This week our assignment was to create a fivecardflickr story. To start you choose an image our of 5 images, then it refreshes and gives you a new set of 5 images to choose from until you have 5 images for your story. The control freak in me was having  a really hard time with this! After I chose my first few images I wasn’t happy with the choices that were coming up and I was having a hard time creating my story. I discovered however, that you can hit the refresh button and it will give you a set of new images without losing the images you’ve already selected! I was finally able to create the “perfect” story. (side note- I had an awesome story written about a bird named Tino all with using the random photos originlalyl given to me, and then i got clicker happy and somehow backspaced my way out of the story and had to start over :(.. I think that’s why I was so unhappy with all my choices because in my mind nothing could compete with the story I had written!)

So without further ado, here is my story titled RAK’D

13635953744_502cb821bb_m

photocredit Bionicteaching

I was walking to my car one day and I noticed an envelope on my windshield with $20 and a note inside that read “CONGRATULATIONS YOU’VE BEEN RAK’D (Random Act of Kindness). Pay it forward! I was so blessed by this Random Act of Kindness I decided to RAK 4 people myself.

6111048424_29da35795e_m

Photocredit: Bionicteaching

1)I took my elderly neighbors dog Billy for a walk and let him go for a swim in the lake. I then took him home and gave him a bath and returned him to my neighbor.

photocredit: Bionicteaching

photocredit: Bionicteaching

2) I volunteered at one of the local elementary schools to coach their t-ball program! The little kids are adorable and I had an absolute blast doing it!

photocredit: bionicteaching

photocredit:serenae

3) I went to the nursing home down the street from me and spent some time playing scrabble with the residents. I made a new friend named Mabel, and she reminded me of my grandma. She was the sweetest lady. I will definitely continue to volunteer there.

13158557423_159e0441a8_m

photocredit:bionicteaching

4) For my last Random Act of Kindness, I spent 24 hours volunteering at my local hospital.

This whole experience was an eye-opener for me and made me realize the importance of volunteering. Helping others was a rewarding experience and I feel like even though I was blessing other people I was far more blessed than they were.

I encourage you all to go out there and RAK someone!

You can check out my whole story here

I encourage you all to go give fivecardflickr a try! It’s a lot of fun! Post the link to your story in the comments I would love to read it!

 

Scratch Style Dance Off

Recently in our Ecmp 355 class we learnt about coding and one of our assignments was to create our own “code animation” using a learn to code website. I chose to use Scratch. Scratch allows you to create games, projects, stories, music, instruments, animation, media, art and characters. You can then share them in the online communiy.

Here is a fun little video that helps explain what Sratch is!

When I first logged on to Scrath to start creating my animation, I was so confused and overwhelmed. I barely understood what coding was and now I was expected to know how to do it. Thankfully though, Scratch has a wonderful list of step by step instructions for different projects such as learn how to create a game of hide and seek, create a virtual pet and introduce them. how to choreograpgh a dance and many others.After playing around with a few of the different tutorials for awhile, I chose to do dance dance dance (an interactive dance scene).

scratch that

List of steps for Dance, Dance, Dance

A quick summery of the list of steps I did is as follows:

  1. choose a background
  2. pick a dancer
  3. add music
  4. code your music
  5. add dance steps (code them)
  6. add an extra dancer or change the background, ect

This turned out to be not as difficult as I was anticpating, but not as easy I thought it would be either! Everything was going well until my script disapperared from my screen. I remembered reading Madison Osterhout’s post about her experience with Scratch and what she did to find her penguin. Right click and select show. Sure enough that was the same problem I had with my dancing dude disappearing!  So thanks Madison!

While my dance off could have used some more work, I feel like I could have spent hours perfecting it, but it is what it is and I am happy with the result. My final animation can be viewed here.

I think it is important for students to learn how to code even if  it’s just simple animations like the ones done on Scratch.  I think that Scratch is a great learn to code program and it could be easily integrated into the classroom and into the curriculum.