Practicum Lesson 1 Review

Today we did our first lesson. We taught one and a half full days but there was something different about teaching our own lessons. We were both very surprised to find that instead of having too little times, we had far to little material! We had been expecting to have to possibly cut our parts here and there, but that was certainly not the case.

I talked a lot more than my practicum partner, in fact I out talked her most of the lesson. Rambling was also an issue for me. I end up talking about things not relevant to the lesson at times. Also, my practicum partner and I had agreed that if I talked to much, she would poke me. She poked me a few times, but I had forgotten about the agreement and just thought she was a nervous and uncoordinated.

Our practicum teacher also pointed out that we shouldn’t try and talk over students. At times, we would be talking and some of the students would be mumbling to themselves to whispering in small groups. There posture was also indicated that they were not always focused on the lesson.

We thought it might be a good idea to create some worksheets for most of our lessons so that students who worked ahead could have something to do to keep them busy rather than distributing the people around them.

I would like to create more Prezi’s to help illustrate our points. As well, my practicum partner thought it might be a good idea to have circle time during some of the discussions to help encourage discussion.

We both found that it was hard to assess the students who were not vocal about their learning. We are hoping to ask our practicum teacher for suggestions. We also wanted to find ways to make transitions between activities smoother as we found that the switch between activities often descended into chaos.

As a method of addressing time managements, we agreed that creating disposable activities might be a good idea. That way if we fly through an activity faster than expected we have something agreed upon to do.

We talked about having students create their own poems as much as possible. We thought it might be a good idea to create a jar of topics for students who need a little push.

In general we thought the lesson went well. There was a lot of room for improvement but we started off fairly strong.


Pre-Practicum Travel and Thoughts

My family has a bit of a flying curse. Inevitably when traveling with my old man at least one of our flights will be delayed. If I’m traveling with my aunt, then someone will lose their luggage. If traveling with me, there will be a baby within three seats and it will not be a happy baby. This has culminates to some very trying family trips, but I had thought that maybe this trip things would be different.

It was different in the sense that not only was there a fussing baby on my flight to Vancouver, but there was also one on my flight to Whitehorse. I love children, I do. I just prefer to not have to deal with them on flights particularly if they aren’t in a good mood. Ah well, such is life.

Anywho, for the three people reading this who aren’t in my cohort, I am in Whitehorse doing my first practicum this April. Scary stuff right!

I’m in a grade 3 class teaching poetry, which should be fun I hope, but I am a little intimidated. When I think grade 3, I think tiny little human beings, but when I think age 8 or 9, well that seems like a fairly competent age to me. I don’t know how to judge the abilities of a grade 3. I’m pretty sure that’s why we start off working with a mentor teacher though.

I am hoping to make a few blog post this month with some of my experiences, if for no other reason than to have something that I can go back and laugh at once I’ve figured this whole teaching thing out.

Word Choice in Writing

Word Choice is next on our list of lessons to teach.

Lesson 4 looks at Dead words. These are words so overused in writing that they have lost their special touch. Therefore, we do away with them and students must pick alternative words to reach the same meaning. For example, hissed, sputtered, yelped, growled, instead of the overused said

Lesson 5 focuses on Point of View. Students are challenged to both speak and writing in each point of view throughout the lesson. Real glasses are used to help students visualize the different points of view

Lesson 6 combines point of view and dead words in a reflective lesson on the two concepts. Students start with a class walk. They choose a found object then in a very short story tell the experience of the found object in a random point of view (first, second or third).

Lesson 7/8 both focus on dead words and point of view as well as Art and Music. Student imagine a scene ,write about it then draw it in lesson 7. Lesson 8, students change descriptions and drawing. They then write a description to match their peer’s drawing and paint a picture to accompany their peers description.

Lessons on Voice

For My first three lesson, I focused on teach voice to students.

Lesson 1 I already introduced in previous blog post, but basically students learn what voice is then find examples of voice when they are doing their silent reading. These examples are rated by the individual who found them based on the rubric on voice handed out earlier in the class. Students then pair up to discuss the examples they found and how they rated said examples.

Lesson 2 students listen to a ‘how to speak like a pirate’ video. As a class, the students and the teacher then construct a letter written by a pirate. Afterwards students are given a chance to write their own letter using a pirates way of speaking. The students mark their own work then hand it in for the teacher to give feedback

Lesson 3 students get their letters on pirate speech back. The teacher then reads “The True Story of The 3 Little Pigs!” to teach about sentence length and how it relates to voice. Students then reflect on the feedback give on their last assignment and apply both the feedback and what they learned about sentence length to write a letter from the wolf to the grandmother based on how voice of the wolf in the book.

        Next, we’ll be jumping into Word Choice.

Passion Project Introduction and Lesson 1

I have started three passion projects now. I have and abandoned project that I started, what became my side-passion project and now my third passion project.

My first passion project was going to be a unit plan that taught grade 7 students about nature. It was heavily influenced by the ProjectWILD and ProjectWET seminars that I went to with a friend from my cohort. I still intend to finish the project, but I realised that it would take a lot more research than I was anticipating and I don’t have the time or inclination to do that now. Feel free to check out what I have stated though and leave feedback or comments.

The second project I did can be found on my blog. I started painting ever couple days or so as a way to destress. I decided to write a short blurb on each painting and reflect on what I had learned. The result, as you might have read, is interesting but very short. As such, I decide to do another passion project.

The final project I started is a unit plan to teach the 6 traits of writing. I have been learning about the six traits in depth in my EDCI 302 (English) class and I thought I would like to create my own unit plan to teach the traits.

Without further delay, My first lesson can be seen here.


Fellow preservice teacher and blogger Carmen Chandler gifted me an awesome new book,”Minecraft in the Classroom: ideas, inspirations, and student projects for teachers” by Colin Gallagher and nine other authors and editors.

        I haven’t had a chance to start reading it, but I intend to (when homework isn’t trying to eat away the last strands of my sanity). In the mean time, several of my colleagues have shared some amazing teaching resources for minecraft that I now want to pass on you you, the three or four people who will read this.

Britney Allen suggested the article MinecraftEdu: From game room to classroom. The article talks about several different ways to integrate minecraft into the classroom. The excerpt below is just one suggestion among many for teachers.

“New York City teacher and now-founder of TeacherGaming, Joel Levin … uses [Minecraft] to teach “digital citizenship” to his second graders. It’s a topic that encompasses ideas like internet safety, privacy, communication, and the lesson that actions have consequences, not only in the real world, but in the digital world.”

I followed the TeacherGaming link and came to a very useful website for teachers looking to integrate Minecraft into their classroom. TeacherGaming focuses on two main games to bring to the classroom. MinecraftEdu: “school-ready remix of the original smash hit game Minecraft, played by over 30 million people worldwide”, and KerbalEdu “lets students build rockets and explore the solar system with rockets they build, using the indie hit Kerbal Space Program”. I have seen my younger brother play with Kerbal but I have never given it a try, namely due to the fact that it doesn’t work on my computer (silly google chromebook, you’re hardly a computer at all).  Obviously I have tried MinecraftEDu as it would be a little silly to have done all this reading and research and not have given it a go.

Under the heading of MinecraftEDu there is a website link, which I naturally had to follow. The about page had this to say, “MinecraftEdu provides products and services that make it easy for educators to use Minecraft in the classroom”. There is a whole tab for resources for teachers which includes forms, wiki and live chat option. The creators seemed to have focused on the community aspect which is so strong in the original Minecraft and brought it over to the new Education platform.

Valerie Irvine recently suggested an article by John Miller “Literacy thought minecraft- Lesson design model”. The article looks at using Minecraft to encourage ESL students to work on their writing. Scripts that detail historical events are used and then played out in the game. Then students explore the game for a while and learn more about the scene through  non-player character (NPC). This is then written about in their journals. It is an amazing unit idea and I highly suggest you all go check it out!

MinecraftEdu ‏on twitter recently posted an article that featured Sara Richards and her experience, as a teacher new to minecraft, bringing the game to the classroom. She talks about her experience with her 3rd grade students as they explored the game together. The picture I liked most was what looked to be a class photo. To me, it illustrated the community feeling of minecraft which is often brings into the real world after a group plays together.

The last article I will talk about is Georgina Pazzi suggested article from BBC “Should parents ever worry about Minecraft?”. This article is several pages long but definitely worth reading as it outlines and addresses some of the major concerns of parents.

I am sure there are many more fun articles out there to check out. If you’ve written one you want to share or if you’ve stumbled on one and you want others to read it, leave the link in the comments and I will check ‘er out.

Passion side Project 13

I know I said I wouldn’t paint until the end of semester, but my best friend got me a tabletop easel and new paintbrushes for my birthday and I couldn’t very well just leave them to collect dust until May, Sooo between opening presents and going for dinner, I sat out on my desk with my roommate and painted for the afternoon. I would post pictures of me painting, but my roommate is in them and she is *gasp* not wearing makeup so am banned from sharing them. I can show you the fruit of my labour though.


This evening I procrasta-cleaned (procrastination obligations by cleaning, very common around exam season) and then baked banana bread and apple crisp but I still had time in the evening. I could have worked on my actual passion project for my tech class, or my upcoming final in PE but it was far more fun to paint, so I worked on clouds.


I mean they kinda resemble clouds … vaguely. It is definitely an improvement compared to some of my other attempts. The clouds don’t really flow though, there is no movement. They just sit there all BLA. Like I just slapped them on where ever, which I suppose I did.

Anyways. I may or may not post more blogs before May, it depends on how motivated I am to do my real homework.

Personal Side Project: Part 12

I really did like the white bark trees. It caught my interest and my imagination.


I think this painting lacked a lot of detail. I would have liked to add more colour to the leaves and a bird in the space hear the right hand side of the middle of the painting. I was tired though and left the painting as is. I suppose I could go back to it at some point and perhaps I will.

I like the white branches and the pink leaves. There is something fun and magical about changing the colours of nature into something more fantastical.

I thought I would try and add a white tree to a grove of fall, fading trees.


I watched a tutorial on clouds and the top most one turned out alright but I still don’t like them. The mountains turned out alright, but the cabin picture had better ones. I like the variety of height better in the cabin painting. The white tree itself turned out fairly well. I like the contrast between it and the rest of the work. It captures the attention more than the faded background.

Anyways I may do more painting before the end of March, but I doubt it as I really do have a lot of homework due in the coming weeks so this is probably where the blogging will end. The painting will go on though.

Personal Side Project: Part 11

At some point I knew I’d have to try and make a proper flower. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea though. Flowers, like clouds, are simply beyond me. I would like to be able to sit in my garden and paint one day and I really don’t think I’ll have a garden devoid of flowers. If I want to be able to paint my garden, I’m just going to have to suck it up and learn how to paint a good flower.


Well that went as well as a youtube-free attempt could have gone. I like the white bark of the tree, definitely going to use that in the future. Flowers though will need to be added to the ‘learn how to create’ list. They aren’t all bad though. I could probably pick out five or six flowers I like.

It’s a little hard to see at this size but there are butterflies all over the tree as well The one on the lowest left hand side turned out the best. I found it really hard to be precise when making an image that small. It was annoying to find that my hand shook a lot, with a lot of practice I will probably develop far more steady hands.

Personal side Project: Part 9

When I next sat down with my paint I was a little tired of the trees so I thought I’d give something else a go. Rock came to mind. They are another important feature in nature that are hard to ignore. So I started by creating a sky. Then I gave another shot at creating passable clouds.  I made a rocky background and a calm green and blue sea that lead to a blockade of rocks.


considering I didn’t even bother to watch a tutorial on how to make rocks they turned out surprisingly well. The grass is a little choppy and I think the sea probably would look a little better with at least one or two waves. The clouds are terrible but I am starting to think I will need to spend a whole day on clouds to create something passable.

Anyways, I had a lot of leftover paint so I thought I’d try making rocks again. Only I was cooking dinner as well at the time so it really didn’t turn out as well.


The river has not dept and the water doesn’t really flow. Also the rocks don’t look as nice as they did the first time. The picture is alright, but I liked my first one better. Ah well, you win some you lose some.