Author Archives: maplebaxter

Teaching Place Value

The lesson I learnt this week was about rushing. I’ve had some great lessons so far (not to toot my own horn too loudly), but I actually seem to be planning too much, and then rushing to get through it all. This is what happened this day. I had videos prepared for my lesson on place value in my grade 6 math at Ruth M. Buck, and then a lesson, followed by a workbook. To end the whole day I wanted to do a jeopardy game with my class on the subject. I was rushing to get finished and I didn’t allow the kids to play the game fully.

What I would have done if I were to do it again is have the students write a darn good exit slip for me, and then play a game with them because they worked so well– they really did work so well! And that would have avoided any rushing instincts I felt.

This week I’m taking that into account into my next lesson. I still have a “lot” planned, but it’s separated enough so that if something needs to be adapted or cut, it can be. I would like the students to enjoy one activity fully rather than be rushed through three.

This week I’ll be teaching about refugees and immigration through learning about inferring in ELA. This is a tough subject because I do, in fact, have international students in my class. My hope is that this lesson will bring my class together and not give them more reasons to feel different from each other.

The kids that I have in my pocket are in my mind while I make my lessons. This week I’m going to try to pay special attention to these kids even while I’m teaching. I already have specifically made pairs with them in mind.


Week 4: The Solar System

This week, I took on our Inquiry lesson of the Solar System! I was nervous because after doing lots of research, I still felt like a newbie to the information of the solar system… And because my lesson fell on HALLOWEEN. Here’s how I tackled it:

I started my lesson with a Choonbaboon that I’ve used before for warming up the voice in EDRAMA 101. If you haven’t seen this before, the video is provided here. The students surprisingly reacted very well to my interpretation of the warm up, and I would say that this was my method to get all my learners “on board”. Mr.X has discussed with me the importance of getting all the students onboard with the lesson at the beginning, or else they might never be onboard throughout the lesson.

Then, we watched a cartoon about the solar system (sun and planets), and an informative video focusing on the sun. To my surprise, the students were very respectful during the video and it seemed like they were all completely engaged. This lead me to hand out my “follow along” that I made to go with my informative PowerPoint, which we did together.

During the PowerPoint I encouraged students to fill out their “follow-along” which had questions and diagrams. The students also took turns answering questions during the PowerPoint, asking questions, and then reading the PowerPoint for the class when I asked. There were only a few moments where students were “bubbling” with conversation, and I showed them patients and waited for silence before I continued.

When this was done, I did a hot seat. This is a strategy I learnt from my Education Science class this term. I placed five cards on the bottoms of random chairs when no one was in the room. Then, I had students look for the cards at this moment and ask the questions I had written on them. As a class we answered them. I broke the rules and bribed a little bit with gummy worms (in the spirit of Halloween of course).

Next, I showed the students my example of a science poster (what I wanted for an “exit slip”. My requirements were for students to add five interesting facts they learnt today about space, two questions they have, their name, and pictures they draw. I unfortunately did not give students enough time for them to finish, so they used their work period at the end of the day to do so. I ended up with lots of great work from my students and I loved learning from them too!

My student that I keep in my pocket (whom is mostly assumed to not be listening in class…) hugged me at the end of the lesson and told me he would see me next week…. Another student gave me a drawing… Mr. X told me that he saw a student almost burst out of his share of excitement during the video… and my advanced learners were completely engaged. Today was a successful day.

In two weeks I’ll be teaching literacy, wish me luck!


Week 3: Phys. Ed Lesson Plan

Today I taught phys. ed, and I learnt that I absolutely love it. Phys. ed was something that I personally loved in elementary school, so I was excited to bring that structured joy to my students. We did a soccer lesson, and to my luck I got to perform my lesson twice, to two different classes! This was a benefit because I was able to take what I learnt from my first lesson and immediately adjust it for my second.

My first lesson was pretty good. I could have done a better job of keeping the transitions smooth a quick. The skills went well but there were a few things that I forgot to mention to them. Lastly, when I had them play a game there was a lot of fighting about who would be goalie, who would get the equipment, and so fourth.

In the second game, I was sure to be clear with my instructions — adding in what I left out before! This made the whole lesson smoother, especially my transitions and classroom management. I used my hook to make sure all students were paying attention, and they were “awarded” with my warm up activity. The second group was much more engaged with the activity, the skills, and the soccer game!

In the soccer game I made it a rule that there had to be a goalie change with every game change so that everyone got a turn, and I looked after setting up the simple equipment. The second lesson was so much better and I had so much fun! I almost wish I could teach Phys. Ed again, but next week we are doing inquiry: Space Edition. Stay tuned!

Week Two: Art Lesson

This week we were instructed to come to school with a lesson prepared for our class. The subject I picked was Art, thinking it was my “safe subject” for the first week. I was wrong. So much of the art’s curriculum for grade 6 expects dancing and drama, something I was not prepared for with my new middle school class. I ended up finding an outcome that intrigued me, however, outcome CR6.3:

Examine arts expressions and artists of various times and places.

This outcome interested me because I immediately had the idea that we could do an art critique of art from around the world and then recreate the art in our own classroom! The art pieces I chose were:


Top row left to right – American Gothic by Grant Wood, Hostel Life by Gurdish Pannu
Middle row left to right – Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, Great Still life on pedestal by Pablo Picasso
Bottom row left to right – London Street Map by David Harper, Polish Girl by Marten Jansen

These pieces actually enticed the children, and they loved learning where they came from in our discussion at the end of class. The square picture above, with the buildings and shoes is actually a map of London from the perspective of David Harper! The students loved this, and they all wanted to critique the Mona Lisa because they were familiar with it.

The students recorded their critiques on a provided worksheet, drew a picture of their artwork, and then did an exit slip for me to formatively evaluate their knowledge. The exit slips were really sweet and I got messages like:

It made me feel really happy that the students were engaged enough to write such deep messages about the lesson. The vocabulary they learnt about critiquing was also very affective, and I saw them use it on the assignments they submitted. I was excited to learn about how my partner and my co-op felt about my lesson.

I knew already that there were points that I should have slowed down, and some points I could have sped up. The most important oversight I had was that I didn’t adapt enough for students who needed diverse teaching methods. One student in particular hardly did anything the whole lesson… this is something, despite my minor success, I will always watch for in the future. This might also be my hardest challenge.

My partner noted that something I could work on would be not using the word “guys”. This is definitely something I need to work on, and it opened a good conversation between the three of us about words that are appropriate and not so much in the school and classroom, and which words we want to quit using. Both my co-op and my partner enjoyed the videos that I chose to show for my hook, and the game of “Hot Seat” that I set up for art vocabulary.

I really appreciated my co-op and partner commenting on my mannerism and voice. They both commented that I have a calm and quiet voice that works to my advantage. I appreciated them saying this because I actually thought that I was louder than I should have been. Lastly, Mr. X went over the five types of instruction to finish up our post-conference:

1. Direct instruction
2. Indirect Instruction/student instructed
3. Interactive Instruction
4. Experimental (student teaching)
5. Independent

I’m excited to take what I’ve learnt and do better. Next week I will engage better and slow my lesson down. This will allow for a calm classroom, calm kids, and more learning! Next week, I’m teaching physical education and I’m ready for the challenge!


First Nations, Metis, and Western Medicine… Advancements that save lives!

Hi Little Leaders!

Welcome to our new unit, medical advancements that have influenced our health today! What do you know about First Nations medicines already? What about Metis medicines? Finally, what do you know about Western medical advancements? All are important!

Here’s my breakdown:

There are many things that people need help with. Emotional help, mental health, spiritual health, and physical health.

Let’s talk about a few here:

Tobacco, sage, cedar, and sweetgrass:


These four are used for smudging. Smudging is something performed by the First Nations people to cleanse people and areas of bad energy and “evil”. This medicine would benefit the mind. Great for depression and anxiety.

Rose hips and wild roses:

First Nations traditions believe bathing in rose petals will protect their spirit and heart after losing a loved one. This is then believed to be for mental health and spiritual health.


First Nations medicine promotes that dandelion leaves and stems support the liver and bile productions. The milky sap is used as a mosquito repellent.


This plant is considered one of the oldest plants on the planet. The plant can be prepared in a tea to treat kidney and urinary tract problems.


Diabetes is a disease where a person’s sugar in the body is irregular. This means that the person has to check their sugar levels all the time! But Western scientists discovered that they could inject insulin into the body to regulate it, and let people with diabetes live a normal life.

Antiretroviral Therapy (ART):

HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system and makes people so weak that they can die from a simple cold or small infection. If it isn’t treated it can turn into AIDS… once a person has AIDS, they’re immune system is so severely compromised that they would almost always have a repeating infection that makes them sicker and sicker.

The Western medicine developed for HIV is called antiretroviral therapy or ART… this can help reduce HIV but it won’t ever leave a body completely.

Hepatitis C:

Hepatitis C affects the liver. This can eventually lead to liver disease, which is very serious. There are many western medicines to take to alleviate the symptoms of Hepatitis C. It depends on the person to find the right medication for them, but it’s important to know that people with Hepatitis C can live normal lives with treatment.

Good luck with your homework!

– Ms. B


Day One – Groove is in the Heart

Our fantastic co-operative teacher leading us this year at Ruth M. Buck gave us a simple task when we started our first day. Throughout the next six hours, we were to observe the students and tell him at the end of the day who you would categorize as gifted, and who you would categorize as being of special needs or having a learning disability. My pre-internship partner and I have worked with Regina Public School Division for some time as Education Assistants, so we felt prepped for the job.

By the end of the day, as promised, we sat down with our co-op and debriefed on the day. We gave him our list of three students with potential LDs and two who are beyond grade level. He was considerate, he listened to us, and then he slapped us with his list. Ten students with LD’s and six high achieving students. Then, two students with EAL “challenges”. Then he adds, this is not out of the ordinary, so be prepared.

In reflection, I think we missed so many outstanding students in the classroom because of our co-op’s impressive classroom management skills and calm nature. He barely speaks above a whisper during the day, and the students reflect this attitude. They get rambunctious at times but still completely respect him during class time. This makes me very excited to spend the next two semesters in this classroom, there is lots to learn and some great leaders to learn from!

Below are pictures from my first day at Ruth M. Buck… Before the show began!

Student-Student relationships: our co-op, Mr.X as he’ll be referred, encourages classroom discussion and cooperative work. Students seem to get along and work together very well for the most part.

Teacher-Student relationships: Mr.X seems to be liked, respected, and obeyed by the students. He is kind to the students while still being fair to their studies. Our co-op does not speak loudly, as mentioned above, and he stays very calm. I would say that this is perhaps key to his success.

Learning is done in this classroom cooperatively. Our co-op does not order the students to do tasks, but instead does tasks with them and encourages completion.

Our classroom is in control because our co-op is in control, he is completely aware of what’s going on at almost all hours of the day. Our classroom also has pod desks which is not traditional for a classroom. However, this allows students to converse more and perhaps enjoy themselves. The classroom is small, but all the students seem comfortable.

Next week I’ll be doing my lesson in the class in Art’s Education! I’m very excited to learn more and more every day.


Learning Project Summary: The Last Shebang

What a whirlwind we’ve been on! I remember trying to decide what I wanted to do for my learning project. It was a stressful time because I wanted to pick something that would be useful to me in the future… My top ideas were 1) Learn to macramé, 2) Learn to play guitar, or 3) Learn to take better photos. My decision was to learn to play guitar, and off I went!

Post #1: Baseline 
In my first post (link above), I discussed where I was starting out with guitar, and what I wanted to accomplish in the next seven weeks. Essentially I decided that I wanted to expand my skills by learning to finger pick, and I discussed how I planned to do so. I knew already that YouTube would be a great resource for me, since it’s known to have “how to” videos, frequently.

Post #2: Week 2 Guitar Post
My second was a bit deeper. I showed a YouTube videos of where I was with guitar before learning to finger pick, and a video of me learning to finger pick. Both videos I uploaded to YouTube, and I sourced the song I was learning, “Hey Mama Wolf” by Devendra Banhart. I also explained in this post that I was learning to read “tabs” which is how someone learns to pick along to a song. This was new to me but it got better with practice!

Post #3: How To Read Tabs
Things began to pick up and I added two audio files of my finger picking to the song mentioned above.

The audio files took me for a loop, and I explained how I eventually overcame this hardship in my post… To me this was a huge learning opportunity and I even ended up asking for help in our class’s Google Community. Lastly, I shared a YouTube resource I found on a classmate’s blog. The video was about reading and playing tabs for guitar, perfect for me!

Post #4: The Switch Up
This is where things get a bit wishy washy… It’s now mid semester and I’ve began to feel like learning guitar on the daily is a chore. I decided to switch my learning project to something that I’m already doing on the regular (and working on) to save myself some time and stress. I decided to switch to running. In this post I explain my reasoning for switching. I really liked learning from YouTube because I can pause and play the video whenever I want. However, the time it took to get results from guitar playing was hard on my schedule.

My new plan was to showcase my learning journey with running through documenting my progress with the Nike Run App. This worked a lot better with my schedule since the app schedules the runs for you. I had already been working with the app for a couple weeks when I started documenting and my goal was to run a half marathon by September.

Post #5: The Running App
In this post I go over what I love and what I’d improve about the Nike Running App that I’m using to train with. I also go over some of my stats, and how to generally use the app. Every week the app has the user push themselves in either distance, time, or speed… Sometimes a mix of a few!

Post #6: Three Things to Help You Move Faster
In this post I talk about three habits I’ve developed that I believe have helped me be a better runner. The three things are: yoga, meditation, and nutrition. In this post I explain how I got involved with yoga and how it’s become part of my morning routine on the daily. This helps me be a better runner because not only am I relaxed physically, I have time to notice if my body is hurting.
I also go over two applications I use to help with running: Headspace, a meditation app, and My Fitness Pal, an app for nutrition. I have a subscription to the Headspace app and I try to use it regularly. This helps me stay calm and focused during runs, and the Headspace team will even guided runs through the Nike Run App. My fitness pal is a great resource for staying healthy while active, as I’ve reviewed in the above blog. The only thing I’d change about the app is it’s tendency to applaud weight loss and gain… I’d rather an app that simply records data and makes recommendation for better health.

The resources I’d used for this blog post were websites, screen shots, hyperlinks, and a time-lapse video of me doing yoga!

Post #7: Progress Post – I Failed Last Week
This was my last post on my learning project. I made a progress post to explain how I attempted a long run and didn’t complete the goal… However, I bounced right back the week after and I was stronger than ever! For this post I used screen shots/screen casts from the Nike Run App to show my progress, as well as hyperlinks to the resources I’m referencing. At the very end I added a blurb about how I chose my running shoes and included many resources on how others could pick theres!

How Far I’ve Come…

I do not regret switching from guitar to running. I’ll remember this moment when I have students do inquiry based learning/independent study with me in the future… You need to be interested in what you’re learning about! I think that’s the biggest reason why I had a hard time making space for guitar in my life, I was already very focused on running.

I’m sad that I’m not required to write blogs anymore, since last week was my official mid-training week! 11 weeks down, 11 weeks to go until race day!
It’s been going by really fast, and I don’t think I’ve ever committed to an app like this so well before! However, it’s mostly uphill from now on — the runs are getting longer, and the app is expecting more speed. I’m up for the challenge! 

I’ve learnt a lot about how to use resources in blogs like videos, YouTube, pictures, screen shots, screen casts, links, and audio recordings. It’s been pretty fun exploring these methods of documenting and sharing! If I were to write a few more blog posts, my posts would be about: The history of women running marathons, what I eat on a regular basis being a non-meat eating runner, and a progress report since the half-way point! I also would have liked to join a Twitter chat on running before ending this project, Twitter chats are a great way to broaden a person’s PLN. 

Thanks for following along with my learning project, I hope that you learnt something, too!