Regina Trek School

Today I had the opportunity to observe and participate in Regina’s Trek School Program for the afternoon!  Regina’s Trek School is run by Regina Public Schools and based out of Cochrane High School.  Trek School 2013 is a 3-credit program where students receive Physical Education 20 or 30 credit and then two of the following: Social Studies 20/30, Biology 20/30, Geography 20/30, or Journalism 20.  Trek School offers a unique experiential learning experience for grade 11 students for second semester in the afternoons only.  Trek school’s goals include inquiry-based learning, experiential learning, academic/emotional/physical challenge, student-centered.  To learn more about the philosophy of Trek School and the program, you can visit the website: Trek School

Yesterday, the focus was on Physical Education and we had a day trip to White Butte Ski Trails where we went cross country skiing.  I really enjoy this type of program because it integrates science, physical education, journalism, and geography through an authentic setting.  This cross-curricular way of teaching is so unique and I am glad I had a chance to experience this alternative school.  This might be something I am interested in doing or starting up when I am a teacher.

Changes in the Secondary Science Curriculum: Stay tuned!

Being a science major, I have been given some information about what is happening in the next couple of years with the high school science curriculum.  Dean Elliott, from the Ministry of Education, has come to speak in my Science methods classes (ESCI) twice in the last year about the upcoming changes.  His team is currently working on writing some new curriculum for the new science courses.  I have included his PowerPoint presentation as the following link:

Proposed Secondary Science Courses

This PowerPoint is from 2012, and there is an updated 2013 version, but I do not have my hands on it yet.  Most of the information is the same, with some updated information about the new courses.

After reviewing the PowerPoint and having a couple hours of discussion with Dean Elliott, I have extracted a few key points and thoughts it raises for me.  We need to shift to an inquiry-based model for learning science and introducing these new courses should help us do that.  Current grade 11 science courses are Biology 20, Chemistry 20, Physics 20, Computer Science 20.  The new science courses that are currently being worked on are Environmental Science 20, Health Science 20, and Physical Science 20 (Computer Science 20 will remain).  The following slide illustrates how they will feed into the 30 level science courses.  However, the updated version does not have Earth Science 20, and the Environmental Science 20 and Health Science 20 are prerequisites for Biology 30 and Earth Science 30 in the updated version.

new science classes

This Fall 2013, there a few schools/school divisions piloting the new courses and then in Fall 2014, they will go into full implementation in the province.  To read more about each new course and what it will entail, read through the slides on the PowerPoint.  For me, this means that I will have gone through my internship and then one year of teaching with the old curriculum, and then in Fall 2014, have to tackle this new curriculum and new courses!  Although I am kind of caught in the crossover, I am excited for the new courses.  I think these new concepts like geology, geography, geosphere, human systems, medical diagnositcs, nutrition and metabolism will spark a lot of students interests.  I think it is a great idea to start introducing these topics to high school students to help them understand what their interests are and perhaps help expose them to more career paths for after high school.  We want to enable students to develop scientific literacy, develop scientific and technological skills, construct scientific knowledge and be critical thinkers.  Secondary science students should be able to identify scientific questions, design and conduct scientific investigations.  As a teacher, I understand the goals and what I want my students to achieve, but I am still unsure EXACTLY how my learning plan (activities, resources, and adaptations) will all come together.  I hope the new curriculum has very clear outcomes and indicators (like the new Science 3-9 curriculum) that is almost centered around inquiry to help teachers integrate that into their classes.  I am excited to teach these new courses and I think they are a positive change in the current science curriculum, but I just hope I have enough resources and time to figure out how to teach them!  I know there will be backlash with teachers, parents and students (as with any large change), but I think I am on board for trying out the new courses!  An interesting fact:  the U of S and U of R has examined the proposed curricular changes and they said they look good and this will not have a negative impact on any student who plans on studying science at the university level.  My question is, how long until they change science courses and the way science is being taught at the university level?

I just made a new Voki. See it here:

My Online Learning Experience (full text version):

Last Wednesday we used a chatroom as an entire class as well as Skyped in individual groups to work on an assignment on Google drive.  I actually really liked having the class on the chatroom and via Skype as opposed to just sitting down by myself on Wednesday mornings and sifting through the material for the day.  The chatroom was cool because Milissa could address the whole class and for what we needed it for, we didn’t really need to respond, so one-way communication was fine.  I liked the chat box in the corner where we could type anything if necessary though.  The Skype calling worked for the most part…one of my group members never did sign in, but as far as connection and background noise, everything worked quite well.  I really liked having my group on Skype while we were working on the article reviews.  Being able to all type on the same document at the same time was a very neat, collaborative tool I found very practical for using with students in the future.  One of the main reasons I don’t like Wednesday classes as good as Monday is because I have no one to ask (in person) about the task at hand, but with my group on Skype, I could ask them anything right then and there!

E-Portfolio and Career Decisions

Miss Little’s Portfolio – link

This is a link to my online portfolio I started in my third year of university.  I have kept my e-portfolio updated and I handed out the URL on my business cards at the Education Expo on Monday, January 28.  I think that having a sample of my work online is very handy for potential employers to view.  I have linked this wordpress blogfolio to my e-portfolio as well because I am not quite sure what this one will end up looking like at the end of the semester and which one I want to use for my “portfolio”.  Last year I had to learn how to use Google Sites in order to make the portfolio and it was very user friendly!

The Education Expo was exciting, as I was able to set my eyes on my ultimate goal of becoming a teacher.  The only thing about getting job applications, resume, portfolio, cover letters, IPPs, ready to go is that’s all extra work on top of the 5 classes + homework I have!  The next big step in this process is the interviews to come in the next few months.  It’s all a little surreal and overwhelming…but in a good way.

Gillian Nowlan Library Presentation

Gillian Nowlan Library Presentation

This is a link to Gillian Nowlan’s library presentation.  In my first year of univeristy in English 100, we had a similar presentation that helped us with how to search databases for online journal articles.  I remember feeling very overwhelmed with all of this knowledge but I managed to navigate ProQuest Journals and ERIC journals quite a bit in my first year.  It seems like recently I haven’t had to use them so I have almost forgotten how to!  I still don’t really like that the Boolean operator is sticky with what you type in quotations, AND or OR because if you mess that up, the whole search will most likely be unsuccessful. I am so glad I have access to her presentation in case I am working on a paper that requires journal articles and I get stuck (which is likely to happen!).

My Newest Piece of Technology

My Newest Piece of Technology

This is my new phone (my contract was up) that I got yesterday and I have yet to figure everything out on this little gadget! I was hesitant about getting this phone because I felt I didn’t need all the capabilities it has! Once I am familiar with a piece of technology, I use it quite a bit but only for certain functions. I find that if I don’t take time to learn how to use a function, I will never use it. So far I have figured out the basic features, but I would like to become more familiar with using apps and other settings like dual alarms, etc. It seems like the options are endless with this little thing! It makes me wonder, does the average person like myself really need this magnificent of a phone?

Layering – Part 1

This video showed me some great ideas for making my SMART lesson by using the “layering strategy”. It shows how to do basic layering, as well as advanced layering using text reveal, reveal using eraser, pull tabs, and target reveal.

I found Milissa’s presentation on SMART boards to be useful, even as a post-internship student.  Although we’ve been exposed to SMART boards during our Education degree, I have had very minimal time to actually play around with the SMART board.  It just so happened that the schools I was at for pre-internship and internship did not have SMART boards in my classrooms either.  Prior to making my SMART lesson I had to watch tutorials to find out where important tools were and how to even create an interactive lesson.  It took me a long time to make my Chemistry 20 lesson, but I think I can actually use it next year for the first unit: Safety in the Lab/WHMIS.  I am not sure if I will use SMART lessons as my entire lesson in the classroom, or just to enhance it.  I think I have lots of options seems like a good “review” or “formative assessment” tool.

My learning curve so far…

The past week has been a huge learning curve for me with learning how to navigate word press and Google+.  I think I have mostly figured out the basic functions with word press, and how to post, edit and upload.  Learning a new program takes time, which is what I am finding out!  I found my educational article on Technology in the Classroom, but instead of having it show up on my main page as a post, I wanted it to be a page/link under “Education Articles” that I could click on.  Then I would do my summary and reflection right there on that page.  But I think I can only put a link under the Education Articles tab, and not all my text.  Therefore, I simply had to put my summary/reflection and link to my article all on my home page. If anyone knows how I could put all my text along WITH my article on a page under my “Education Articles” menu tab, your help would be greatly appreciated!

I have found that doing the Wednesday online classes are harder than I thought because I have no one to ask my questions to!  I really appreciate being in the classroom with a teacher and peers so that if I have questions, I can ask for face-to-face help.  It is somewhat frustrating to figure something out on your own, and when you have exhausted all your ideas for making something work, then you almost feel defeated.  Today I taught myself through videos a bit about Google+ and the basic uses of it.  I am glad I have Facebook background knowledge as it seems to be set up similarly.  I like how you can have circles of friends and share things with certain circles…that’s a step up from Facebook!  I haven’t found any of my friends on Google+ because I think it will be a while before people convert to it, but the idea of “hangouts” seems handy if dealing with an online group.  Again with any new tool I use, it takes time to figure out how to use it and I have spent more time than I anticipated doing the tasks today for class.  It’s hard to get things done quickly when you are learning something new and don’t have someone to ask in person!


Google, Google, Google!

Today I learned a lot to do with Google.  I have used Google docs before, but I did not know Google had so much to offer!  Making the survey took longer than expected and I had to finish after class, but it’s  great tool to use in my classroom.  I have heard about Google calendar before, but I still have not converted to the online calendar idea yet.  I just find that it would take some time to put everything into it, and then I would have to commit to updating it.  It would be handy and quite useful, but I am attached to my day planner which I take to all my classes still!