Category Archives: Pre-Internship

Day 7: Biodiversity

Today was quite the adventure. Why is it that things can never go the way you plan? Is it because when you plan it, you plan it in a way that you know will never occur? Today was such an amazing day, and a great day to end on — but it was not what I expected!


I had made a lesson plan with Prezi on biodiversity. Inquiry was the last class of the day, so I much time to wait when I got to school. I prepped my handout, my backup handout, my activity, my write-up, my reflections…. I cut, I photocopied and I stapled… I went to all the classes, talked to students, watch many lessons. And then finally it was time for me! Not feeling the nervous feeling I was expecting all day, I jumped into action and started prepping for my presentation on living things and biodiversity.

Now this is when things turned. I first go to find my lesson plan in my email and it’s completely messed up — now how did that happen?! I really need to start doing things on google documents… Finally, I get the document formatted and find my link. The link goes to the website’s homepage! WHERE IS MY PRESENTATION?! This is when my stress gets high.

In reflection, I think that my teaching partner and co-op could feel my stress as I’m trying every combination of email and password I can think of. Finally, I quickly pull up the raw resource that I got my information from, put it on the slideshow, and hand out the worksheet. All in all the kids couldn’t tell the difference, and the resource was actually visually appealing. The kids had a great lesson and I think they took away a lot!

The hardest part about today is thinking about how much work I did on the presentation I didn’t use… But there was a learning lesson in that! Be flexible, have backup, and go with the flow. I think that considering the situation I did a pretty good job of being malleable, and in the future I would be even quicker to act on the fly! If anyone would like to see my presentation (maybe you could use it?) you can find it here. 

The best part of my lesson was seeing my students enjoy the drama-game that I planned for them. This is something I got from a teacher friend who did it before. Every student got a role, and we acted out a bee-themed scenario that left the “world” without bees, beekeepers, or (eventually) people! The kids loved it.

Another great moment was while we were comparing vertebrates and invertebrates. I encouraged a student who never speaks up to answer the question. I practiced wait time and he finally answered, “Spines?”….. YEEEEESS!! I clapped for him and bowed, he deserved it! That made me feel a lot better about losing my prized presentation earlier ❤

Looking forward to teaching science for three weeks at this school in March! I already have ideas of how I’d like to grow: be more personable, encourage more inquiry/discussion, and have more fun with the kids while teaching! And I’m already thinking of how I’d like to teach it: cross-curricular wit drama, hooks from How to Teach like a Pirate, and be more like Miss. Frizzle (hands on every day!)!!



Week 6: Literacy

Can you believe week six of my pre-internship has come and gone, and here we are at week seven? I sure can’t! I would like one more week I think to collect my thoughts, hug my students, play with them outside, and maybe read a book or two about how I can improve! More time is really not a reality for teachers, however, so this is what I’ll work with:

Last week I taught my first lesson on literacy. I found a really great book from Pernille Ripp’s blog, Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini. Being from Afghanistan, Hosseini frequently writes about war and refugees. This book in particular is a picture book about a boy lost at see travelling from Syria to Europe. It’s derived from a true story.

My lesson was an hour, before lunch, and I decided to try a few things that I hadn’t before. Firstly, I started the lesson with having a gift box at the front of the room. As students were coming in from recess they were noticing the box, shaking it, and guessing what was inside. When the lesson started I asked for some ideas, based on what my presentation was titled, could be in the box.

The presentation I did was on Prezi instead of PowerPoint, which I was hoping would captivate my students. You can take a look at my presentation here. They weren’t as impressed with the platform as I was, but they were still very engaged. The next thing I tried was to read to them. I only had one copy of the book, so I only had the option to read to them or to have them read in turns to the class. I decided I would read to them because Ripp says that even older kids benefit from being read to– they can focus better on the meaning.

So I read to them, and it was good (not great). I think that being read to actually takes some practice, and older kids might actually be out of practice. But it let me test the waters for what I can do with middle school kids, and they did follow the meaning of the story. I added sticky notes into the book with inferences that I made every so often, practicing that skill with a think aloud strategy. The students then made their own inferences throughout.

I then had a worksheet for them to work on with a partner. For partners, I divided the class into two groups (students who focus on question-answering work, and students who do not) and I had the students who don’t focus on this kind of work pick names from the other side, which I put into a bowl. This strategy worked very well. I wanted to make sure that the groups were even, and that the students didn’t just go with their friends. Every group did some work, and I would say that the students enjoyed the activity quite a bit.

Next, I invited my teaching partner, Khadar, to talk to my class about being a refugee from Somalia. They had lots of questions for him and it was a great way to summarize the importance of the lesson. We learnt about what a refugee might want out of the new country, to make them feel more welcome. This brought us to opening the box from the beginning of class. I had in the box a stick, which was to be a talking stick! If I were to do it again I would talk about how if you are not an Indigenous person in Canada, you are a settler… So we all (except Indigenous people) immigrated at some point.

Instead, I talked about the tradition of the talking circle, and the First Nations importance of it. The students did the activity very well and respected each other while talking. If the students didn’t want to talk they wrote their take-away on a sticky note and put it on the board. This week I take on inquiry, and it’s my last week to teach!

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!


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.