Talking About Race

After talking about race in the lecture, I was shocked about many of the things that were brought to my attention. To me it seems that race can be viewed in such a negative way by people. Being associated with a particular race brings on so many stereotypes. If someone identities themselves as a particular race, people right away have an idea of what that person is like based on what they have heard.  I was shocked to hear how people are wrote about in text books depending on where they are from in the world. I have heard about and talked about racism in classes before, but the readings and discussions defiantly brought to my attention how severe things were and are towards race.

Though I was uncomfortable doing the activity, I think that the “sorting race” activity done during the seminar had a good purpose to it. I was uncomfortable because I felt judgmental during it all, and it made me feel guilty about the reasons I came up with as to why I felt people were a certain race. However, I think that this activity helped us to open up and talk about race as a class. It is important because it is something that we could face as future educators, so by being able to talk to each other about it, we can help find ways to handle certain situations revolving that come up with it. This can also help to find ways that we can bring up this topic in a classroom without being uncomfortable.

One point that I did agree with during our seminar discussion was that there is a difference between race and racism. It is alright to ask people where they are from, or make guesses. To ask someone where they are from is one thing, but to ask people if they like certain things or do certain things because of where they are is another. An example talked about to make this more clear would be assuming everyone from Germany enjoys beer. That is a predetermined fact that people assume they know without even getting to know an individual.

Discussing Curriculum

Through different readings, discussion in the lecture, watching videos, and discussion in our staff groups, we were asked to think about what curriculum is and how common sense falls into people’s personal definitions of curriculum.  As discussed in the lecture, our staff group agreed that the common sense idea of curriculum would be that it is “planned objectives, contents, and assessments offered by the school that may look like a large binder full of paper”. This “common sense” definition of curriculum would be considered the formal curriculum.  However, people do not know all of the other forms of curriculum that exist in the schools. One form of curriculum that people do not think about is the “hidden curriculum”. The hidden curriculum includes “the kinds of learnings children derive from the very nature and organizational design of the public school, as well as from the behaviors and attitudes of teachers and administrators”, as defined by Longstreet and Shane (1993). The hidden curriculum would include learnings such as raising your hand when you have a question, or asking the teacher if you may use the bathroom. One form of curriculum that I had never considered was “societal curriculum”. This is the curriculum that includes the ongoing learnings we gather from family members, friends, the neighbourhoods in which we live in, organizations we are part of, the media, and jobs we have. All of these different encounters help us learn all throughout our lives. It was interesting to learn about all forms of curriculum that even I as a future educator would have never taken into consideration.

After talking with my staff group, I realized that the question I had from the previous week about who creates the curriculum is not uncommon. The other members in my group were also curious as to who created the curriculum and as to how they determined what was considered “necessary for students to learn”.

A full list of all of the forms of curriculum can be found on this website: Curriculum Types 

Another reading we were asked to complete was about teaching for social justice. A specific thought that caught my attention from this reading was “values cannot be explicitly taught, nor should they”. In my ECS 300 class that I am currently taking we were asked to complete a reading called The Heart of the Teacher. This reading discusses how educators teach their classes based on their values and experiences. I think that this is true, this is how educators educate. They learn from their experiences and teach based off of their values and understandings. Now, I do not think that it is wrong to teach this way, but I do agree with the teaching for social justice piece when it says “values cannot be explicitly taught”. I had a teacher in high school that would try and force us to share the same values that he did. It made for an uncomfortable class, and upset many students. I also had a teacher who us as a class knew what her values were, but never did she try and make us value the same things. I think that is the right way to teach. Values are something that an individual has to discover on their own based on experiences. Teachers can teach in ways to share what they value, but not to try and force individuals to value the same things.

Crazy Chemistry

When I was in high school I had a lot of trouble with chemistry. I could not grasp the simple concepts and always had to ask for help. While looking on the TED-Ed website at lesson plans created by other teachers, I came across a neat chemistry one! It is done with a fun video, and someone explaining everything that happens. I think that if my teacher had used a video like this a few times throughout the year, I would have been able to grasp those simple concepts without struggling as much as I did. I would like to find a way to use lessons like this in my future classroom because I think it would excite the students and help make learning fun! I suggest checking out the lesson plan to see what I am talking about!

Atoms from A to Easy!

School Swimming Lessons

Being a lifeguard, one question that I have heard a lot is “why would my kid(s) have to take swimming lessons for school?”. I think that it is a valid question to ask. Why would kids go to the pool and play games when they could be at school learning something? Why would kids be going to the pool to learn how to swim during school time, when they can be signed up for swimming lessons outside of school? What are they learning from swimming lessons? What is the importance?

Being someone who has been in the school swimming lessons, and who is now teaching the school swimming lessons, I think that it is something that is very beneficial to students. The four main benefits I can think of are: it teaches basic life saving skills, it teaches basic swimming skills, it builds relationships, and it helps to build confidence. I think all of these are important because it can help the students learn what to do if they have to call for help, and learn what to do if they are in a water accident. I think it builds confidence because in the swimming lessons the instructors look at the area of strength that each student has, and finds ways to allow them to demonstrate that ability. The chance to attend swimming lessons in schools also provides a chance for those students who cannot take swimming lessons outside of school a chance to learn the basic abilities. The physical education curriculum and health education curriculum of Saskatchewan both have outcomes and indicators that can be taught through the use of swimming lessons. It provides the students with life skills, and physical activity.

The Lifesaving Society has a program that is now being done in the schools that is called the “Swim to Survive” program. The program’s purpose is to teach basic swimming ability in an attempt to eliminate drowning in Canada. The program is primarily based in Ontario, but I think that it would be a great program to implement in schools all around Canada, and even in other parts of the world.

By incorporating swimming lessons into the class, students are learning how to stay safe in the water, and help other people stay safe as well.

Lifesaving Society

Spark with Nora Young

Today I came across a website that I felt would be a useful tool in a class such as ECMP 355. The website is a branch from CBC and is all about bringing you the latest technology and culture by looking at life in the 21st Century. The site gives access to articles, interviews, and videos that discuss how technology is being used, what the latest forms of technology are, and the pros and cons of the ever changing world of technology. It has interviews that discuss topics such as cell phones in the classroom, “sexting” done by teens, and digital cheating, which would be useful in our class because we are becoming teachers and these are things we will be faced with. I have listened to some interesting interviews so far, and suggest everyone taking a look at the website for themselves!


Helping Hand

I am currently working at my friend’s day care, so I spend my entire day with kids. All week I have been hearing from one of the girls that she cannot wait to go to school to find out if she will be the helping hand. Yesterday, she came up to me after she came home from pre-school and told me how excited she was because she had finally been picked to be the “helping hand”. When I asked what that meant, she said she got to tell everyone what the date was, count to 10 for everyone, and help hand out anything her teacher needed help with. The excited that this girl had about these jobs made me think that in my future classroom, if I could have something like this set up, it would make some of my students excited about coming to class everyday hoping that they would get their chance to be the helping hand. This girl showed me that the little things in life really do matter, and as a teacher I can do simple things like the “helping hand” to keep my students excited.