私は最善を尽くします (I’ll do my best!)

This past week I have been focusing on learning larger phrases in Japanese.  After learning who, what, when, where and how last week, this week my focus was on larger sentences containing those words such as “What is your name?” and “Where are we?”.  I’ve found this approach helpful because instead of trying to learn how to pronounce all the words in a phrase I am able to recognize/pronounce a few and find myself only having to learn one or two new words to complete the phrase.

I’ve updated my voice thread, where I’m keeping track of my progress, so check it out by clicking the image below:


Grade 7/8 Phys Ed.

This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to teach a physical education class to the Grade 7/8 split I have my ECS 300 field placement with. My field placement partner and I decided to split the class into two where I took half for 20 minutes and then we had them switch and so I then had the other half for another 20 minutes.  We decided to do a volleyball class because this was something that a couple of the students had mentioned they were interested in this subject.  Co-designing a lesson plan provided me to use some of the things I have been learning in ECMP 355, particularly the use of Google Docs to collaborate.  Working together we came up with this lesson plan:

Teaching volleyball falls right into my comfort zone as I’ve had numerous experiences both playing and instructing in my time with the Huskies.  In hindsight this experience was a little different compared to past experiences.  In the past I’ve ran teams or camps where students attending wanted to be there and get better at volleyball.  In this environment I had a mix of students who wanted to play, others who wanted to watch, and others who had a hard time staying focused.  I found myself adapting the drills as best as I could on the fly in order to keep everyone as engaged as possible, definitely more intensive than my past experiences.

All in all it was a positive experience and I look forward to more experiences in the future where I can apply what I am learning about myself and education.

Global Learning

Last week we had Sylvia Tolisano into our ECMP 355 class to talk to us about global learning.  She shared with us the importance of expanding our students as well as our own perspectives on a global scale.  One example she gave was her Teddy Bears around the World.  This project provides an opportunity for students to learn about other students cultures in their own words.

As Sylvia emphasized it is extremely important to understand the world in a more global sense, especially as the world becomes smaller every day.

I realized just how little I know of other cultures when she shared a tradition in Argentina where a empty bottle is placed on a vehicle to show it is for sale.  It is traditions like this that often lead to misunderstandings between different culture groups, misunderstandings that become understandings when we widen our gaze to a broader, more global view.

I intend to focus more on global issues both in my own life and in my classroom.  I hope to accomplish in a variety of ways from reading the global section of the newspaper to connecting my classroom to other classrooms in the world (ie. Around the World in 80 Schools).

Thanks Sylvia.

Learning Project (Four Shiis)

I’m going to just keep updating the Voicethread that I created as a means of updating my progress with the language of Japanese (thanks to Dean for the suggestion).

This week I added some emotions (the four shiis) as well as who, what, where, when, how.

The way I’ve been learning has been by seeing the word, hearing the word, then repeating the word or phrase an extreme number of times so that I never forget it ever again.  I’ve found recording what I learn has also been extremely useful in solidifying it in my brain.

Here’s the link to my voicethread where all my updates are kept:

Big Picture Learning

A new video is up on Born to Learn, this time on the topic of big picture learning.  Check out the hyperlinks and learn how this…

lead to this….

This video got me interested on the topic of big picture learning and eventually lead me to this girl, Ariel Wilburn.  It’s pretty powerful stuff hearing about how broken education is from a student who experienced it firsthand.  However it is not all doom and gloom,  it is even more powerful hearing how education was fixed and ultimately successful for the same student.

Rocks Can Be Cool Too!

Today I had the chance to teach a lesson about classifying rocks and minerals in the grade 8 class I’ve been placed in for my ECS 300 field placement.  This was an amazing experience!  I thought classifying rocks could be kind of boring but the way the students reacted was the exact opposite.  I began by holding up one rock after another over a tank of water asking the students, “Will this sink or float?”.  Sure enough every rock sunk to the bottom, they thought I was dense just to ask a silly question like that.  Eventually I reached my pumice rock, dropped it in, and would you believe it floated!

After this the students were hooked.  Not telling them why this happened but instead that some rocks have different propertiesI put them into groups and had them organize the 11 samples I had brought.  I told them they could organize them anyway they wanted as long as they could explain why they did it that way.  This worked out amazing, some groups went by colour, others by size, others used ‘prettiest to ugliest’.

This lead into a discussion about how rocks actually are classified with the students having already discovered properties such as colour and lustre (I was ecstatic).  I also introduced hardness, streak, and cleavage/fracture and had the students examine these properties together as a group.  Finally I had the students re-organize their collection based on what we had discovered about rock and mineral properties (SUCCESS!).  Below is the lesson plan I made for this class.  It would of been nice to have more time in order to cover some topics more in depth however the inquiry based approach I took was very effective in grabbing the students interest and encouraging them to explore on their own.

Learning Project Update

So I’ve found it hard to dedicate a lot of time to my learning project over the last little while with all the projects I’ve been having come due in some of my classes. Using my cellphone and the Speak Japanese App I have been able to practice and learn some short phrases during any spare moments I may have throughout the day.  Below you will find a link to a Voicethread I have made of my progress over the last little while.
Hopefully I can find more time in the coming future and begin to work up to sentences and short conversations. Until next time, matanei.

Tech Task #4

Last class we learned all about digital storytelling from CogDog, Mr Alan Levine.  He introduced us to a variety of different ways to go about telling our story from his 50+Ways project.

For my story I decided to focus on something that everyone is very familiar with, and I am very interested in as a biologist, Life.

Here are two digital stories I created using Vuvox and Photopeach, please check them out and let me know what you thing.  Thanks again CogDog.

LIFE on Vuvox


LIFE on PhotoPeach

LIFE on PhotoPeach




Today was my first opportunity this school year to do something that resembled teaching.  For my ECS 300 lab we were tasked with teaching a half an hour lesson from the Grade 6 to 8 curriculum and today was my turn so I chose a lesson on Currents & Climate.

I taught the lesson to my peers in the lab but I think that is probably more intimidating sometimes than being in an actual classroom will be.  I was very anxious at first and ended up planning and revising my lesson a couple of times making sure I knew the content well.  This is extremely important and paid off because sometimes things don’t work. Today that meant the projector I rented took all class to warm up.  I was able to move on though so no harm done and ended up drawing extreeeeemely rough diagrams on the blackboard instead (I at least intended to use some of the stuff I’ve been learning in ECMP 355).

We were also able to practice pre and post conferencing like it should be done with my coop when I’m an intern.  I found this was extremely useful and probably one of the most important things I’m going to experience over the next year before becoming a teacher. This helped me to relax and tell myself I was actually ready beforehand as well as giving me a set of eyes for feedback to help me improve.

I found this very practical and had lots of positive feedback from my classmates, this only helped to get me even more excited for the opportunities to come.

Here is a video from teacherAJH on Youtube where I got the activity I used in class for a starting, engaging activity to spark discussion.

As a conclusion I used this news story to bring my lesson full circle and provide a real world application.