ECCU 400, ECCU 400

What resonated with me?

I was incredibly intrigued in the Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Children presentation. I have followed the REDress project for quite some time and it always impacts me on a different level. I appreciated the red dresses on the tables and sharing the stories of the different women. It is so important to talk about the women as people with lives and identities instead of numbers and statistics. These women need to be remembered in an honouring way. Too many times we see in court cases or stories of these women, they are labeled and dehumanized. This presentation provides a look into how these issues should be confronted.

I was impressed with the presenters sharing their own privileges and the ideas they shared being based on that. I thought that this showed effort and intention. Overall, the presentation was incredibly respectful.

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ECCU 400, ECCU 400

#3- Participation in Pipe Ceremony

This week we participated in a Pipe Ceremony. I have witnessed a pipe ceremony before but was not able to use the pipe. This time around I was, although I chose to acknowledge the pipe. To defend myself, I have hay fever and was worried about how these natural elements would affect my insides. Alma made me feel comfortable and confident in my decision when she stated that she understood different reasons for acknowledging a pipe. I was so worried to offend someone by not smoking the pipe. Throughout the Pipe Ceremony I battled with myself, because I so worried about offending or feeling the need to defend myself. I can transfer this to everyday, as I will come to something that is uncomfortable or I am unsettled, and I need to become aware of why and figure out how to be balanced again.

After reading Chapter 27 of Indigenous Writes by Chelsea Vowel, I felt some clarity on my understanding of treaties. As mentioned before, it helped settle my anxiety of unfamiliarity with something I do not know.  She explains that we should avoid looking to Treaties for explicit and static rules and guidelines (pg.249). Like others I have done this personally, wanting to explicitly teach each rule or promise in Treaty 4 to feel like I rightfully taught Treaty 4. During the pipe ceremony, Alma noted that we cannot do this, because when treaties were written the meaning and promises made in oral communication was lost. This made me realize that I can teach about Treaty 4, but maybe part of the teachings is in part with spirituality. I need to approach this teaching from a holistic and less object-based Eurocentric way. I need to provide my students with experiences that connect to one another, build relationships, before they can come to understand the complexity of Treaties.

ECCU 400, ECCU 400

#2- miskâsowin & tâpwêwin

On the previous post I shared my identity as follows:

  • Mothers side: Scottish, Irish, German, Russian
  • Fathers side: French & English
  • Treaty person
  • Granddaughter
  • Daughter
  • Sister
  • Auntie
  • Girlfriend

Identity is a very personal and evolving element of life. I previously shared that ancestry doesn’t play a part in my identity, but when reading Indigenous Writes I quickly realized that it does play a huge part in my life. In Indigenous Writes, Chelsea Vowel supports being complex with your identity by saying, “For example, I’ve been asked to just say “Canadian,” but Canadian is a category of citizenship and is so general as to be useless when we’re trying to understand the history of this country.” (Vowel, pg.15). For me to not include my ancestry would make my identity very simple. Whether I like it or not, my ancestors came to a land that was new to them, and with that “settler” became attached to me. What is also important with that is since I have this diverse background, it helps build what we understand as Canada today. What is important to me is presenting myself in a positive way that I do not get a negative connotation attached to my settler identity. I was not the one that came to new land, but I can be a difference. I can have settler identity and still decolonize my classroom in a meaningful way.

To extend my identity and make it more complex, I am going to add to my list. Ciswoman, heterosexual and Anglican are all pieces of my identity. Being a heterosexual woman who is cisgender has gave me privilege in my life. This is something that I cannot deny and need to include. I also include Anglican as it is very personal to me, but is absolutely part of my identity.

In the discussion after the Blanket Exercise, a fellow peer mentioned the debate of, “Why does this matter to me?” Her answer was that if you have European descent, the content presented in Treaty Education is almost more important than if you don’t. This really stuck with me. It absolutely makes sense, and is hard to deny. You NEED to know the history of where you live, because it defines you. Everything that has happened in some way has shaped or impacted you. I am still in the process of understanding how this has shaped me, but for now I can say that it has absolutely made me be conscious of myself. I am conscious of how I interpret learning and how I share them in my classroom. This has also made me empathetic. Hearing the personal stories after the Blanket Exercise made me try to imagine the heartache my peers felt in these events. I want to foster those feelings into my teaching practice.

Identity update:

  • Conscious Settler
  1. Mothers side: Scottish, Irish, German, Russian
  2. Fathers side: French & English
  • Treaty person
  • Granddaughter
  • Daughter
  • Sister
  • Auntie
  • Girlfriend
  • Ciswoman
  • Heterosexual
  • Anglican
  • Empathetic
ECCU 400, ECCU 400

1-miskâsowin- Who Am I?

Merriam-Webster defines ancestry as a, “line of descent lineageespecially honorable, noble, or aristocratic descent”. I was asked to explain my ancestry and share my lineage to connect with how I am a Treaty person. 

This task impacted me more than I thought it would. I expected to do this in passing, but something stuck with me.

So here it is:

  • Mother’s birth side: French, German and Scottish
  • Fathers side: French & English

When I shared this with my partner in class I instantly felt troubled. My mom is adopted, and whenever I am asked to share my background I always give my answer tied to blood. I suppose that is the whole point of ancestry. I feel unsettled to automatically side with a set of people that I do not know and have absolutely no ties to. Why is there such a push to identify ancestry? I do not follow any of these cultures in a specific way when it comes to culture or practice. To be honest, I do not even know what those might be. When someone asks about my background, I promptly list off these labels but I do not truly identify with them.

In Indigenous Writes, Chelsea Vowel brings up the point of some Indigenous people not identifying as Canadian. I completely understand this. And I can empathize with the inner reflections or turmoil that this could cause for an individual. Relating to myself, I do identify as a Canadian. I also identify as a Treaty Person. But this is a new addition to my list. I am on my own personal journey about what this might mean and how I make sense of it. Through this class I hope to better understand and develop this part of my identity. To understand it in a better way so I can embrace it. Identity to me is like a working document. It is fluid. Ever changing and developing.

My last question for myself is why do I identify as a treaty person (when my ancestry is not from Canada), yet I identify with my mother’s birth side before my raised grandparents side?

For 21 years I have provided my list like the one above. Here is my updated version of my own identity:

  • Mothers side: Scottish, Irish, German, Russian
  • Fathers side: French & English
  • Treaty person
  • Granddaughter
  • Daughter
  • Sister
  • Auntie
  • Girlfriend
ESCI 310

My Participation- Journal 12

This reflection is about my participation in the ESCI 310 course. I always find it difficult to rate myself on participation, because participation has many different meanings to others.

When I think of participation, I think of these traits:

  • Actively participating in group discussions
  • Contributing ideas
  • Supporting others
  • Collaborating with others professionally
  • Submitting work in a timely matter
  • Thinking and reflecting deeply about content

That is how I envision participation, but I don’t necessarily meet the ideal criteria. I am not the type of person to express my feelings out loud or share with a whole class my ideas. I learn better when I listen to others in discussion. Just because I am not sharing verbally, doesn’t mean that I am not listening or participating. I am an active listener. I hear what other people say, and work it through and connect it to what I already knew.

In participation, I work others well and I contribute ideas in small groups. I enjoy working in small groups because it allows deeper level thinking. Having the base groups was a great way to allow that deep thinking. In my base group, we worked well together and we all had connections to share. When we were discussing why we liked group work, she said that it is away to share success, and I agree. It is a great feeling to create something with peers that you are proud with, and you get to share that success with. Not only success, but experience making mistakes, because that support system is there to help move in a new direction. It was great practice creating a resource package with others and learning how a professional dynamic works.

Thinking of an explicit mark was difficult, instead of having an explicit mark. I have a heard time with giving a final mark like this because I believe that we as educator are never done learning, we can always keep learning and adapting. Below is the list from the syllabus:

  1. Arrive on time, be in your base group, name tag on, something fascinating to share / contribute to our collective learning.
  2. Have written 2- 4 major learning from the previous class.
  3. Have read any assigned readings.
  4. Have had a conversation with someone outside this class about one of the issues or insights from the class.
  5. Have consciously done or not done something for the well being or benefit of others.

I feel that the three of us achieved these 5 things throughout the course, if not every class. We were always contributing ideas and discussing what we learned in class, and how it connected to a previous class. After each class, I would find myself thinking about what I learned, and sharing with others. For example, the experiential activities led a lot of discussion with myself and peers because we would discuss where we found the activities and how it would work in the classroom. We all kept up with our journals and submitted them on time. As a group, we collaborated well, and was a group that achieved what was expected.

ESCI 310

My Pre-Internship Experience- Journal 11

I wanted to share with you my experience with pre-internship. I taught in a grade 5 classroom, teaching social studies, with outcome: RW5.1 Explain the importance of sustainable management of the environment to Canada’s future. Although I taught a social studies unit, I incorporated concepts that we learned from this class. What stood out to me was the part of the curriculum that is sometimes overlooked- the Broad Areas of Learning. It is important to me to help students be the best versions of themselves in my classroom- and with that, comes being an engaged citizen, a lifelong learner, and having a sense of self, community, and place. Thankfully, this curricular outcome I used was a great way to start to use the BAL’s and see who I am as an educator.

Teaching this unit, I took a social justice and scientific based approach. I really wanted the students to research and educate themselves. I incorporated these values into my unit and I am proud of what the students accomplished. For the final project they created Digital Storytelling, and I felt that the connections they mad and the knowledge they shared with me was extremely valuable. It gave me confidence in taking chances with my teaching so it can better student experiences. I am confident that the unit helped the students’ journey on their way to becoming lifelong learners.

ESCI 310

Learning from Others- Journal 10

This week peers shared their curriculum resource packages. The presentations that stood out to me were the presentations on the four seasons, sound, and fossils and erosion. The reason I liked these presentations so much was because the resource packages were incredibly useful. I liked the content and the thought that was put into the resource packages. Fossils and geology is something that is dear to my heart. I have worked in a museum for years. With that, knowing information and reporting it accurately is important for museum work and educators. The presentation on fossils and erosion was well researched, and that is something I respect and appreciate about the group. All the groups planned exceptional packages that are factual and great foundations for solid units for teachers to use.

All three groups had useful links to the 5E Learning Cycle. The activities were well connected to the 5 E’s, and are associated in a way that can fit together in different levels. The groups showed an understanding of how to incorporate activities that heighten students senses and activate their prior knowledge. Through pre-internship, I learned the importance of incorporating activities for students to help richen their learning experience. Learning should be fun! Having a inquiry-based foundation for a unit is a good start for letting students be responsible for their learning, and ensuring it can be enjoyable.

ESCI 310

Native Prairie and Me – Journal 8

This week we had a guest speaker come in and speak to s about different environmental projects with Wascana Centre. What stuck with me was her talk about native prairie.

I have always been very passionate about native prairie, which is something that I talked about before. I have constantly been thinking and trying to incorporate this passion in my classroom and teachings. In my unit on Sustainability of the Environment, I plan on discussing native prairie and the importance of it for the sustainability of the environment.

The pictures below are pictures of native wildflowers that I identified this summer for my job. I will share these experiences that I had with native prairie, and I will share with them my experiences with practicing stillness/meditation. I will also use practicing stillness and meditation with my students.

purple-prairie-clvoerimg_6203

The presenter shared different activities and ideas to help with binding environment and education. She helped emphasize that there are so many experts and people that are excellent resources in our city that we can use as teachers. I never realized how many resources there are to help educators in what they need to teach the best content that they can.

ESCI 310

Why Curriculum? – Journal 7

This week we looked at the curriculum and conducted a class quiz. What I got out of this was more than regurgitating what the curriculum says, I tried to be thoughtful about the lesson that could be learned from this. This quiz was a good reminder that curriculum is not just about strictly hitting the outcomes, it is so much more. The curriculum has ideas and guidelines of a holistic perspective that sometimes teachers overlook.

An example of this and what I learned about are the Cross-Curricular Competencies:

Developing Thinking

Developing Identity and Interdependence

Developing Literacies

Developing Social Responsibility

These competencies are very holistic. The way I see it is that it is that teaching is not just about core subjects and concepts. It is also about teaching a person how to be a thoughtful and engaged citizen of the community. I believe this is important as an educator to be sharing with the students. The class should be a community where you practice these values. For example, with developing social responsibility, you can organize projects or small efforts to help with others (thus being an engaged citizen and developing the sense of social responsibility)

Whether teachers know it or not, they are likely including cross-curricular competencies in their lessons, classrooms, and teachings.

ESCI 310

Interests in Practice- Journal 6

This week I have been thinking about the way our experiences have changed us and how they will effect the way we teach. In this class and others, there has been a lot of reflecting on our pasts and how it has changed our ideas and challenged us. Whether it be a positive or negative experience, it changes you and how you teach. It is important to reflect on your experiences and determine how it may have effected you. I can think of many experiences that have upset me, but they have made me a more thoughtful and understanding person. And I know that this will help me when I teach.

I have been thinking about how my experiences in nature will effect how I teach my unit on sustainability in the environment. I have had very positive experiences with the environment. I have experienced practicing stillness in a peaceful environment, hearing the birds sing and the warm breeze flow through my hair. Although it is important to hold these moments with me, I need to keep in mind that others may not have had that experience. I want to provide my students opportunity to have these positive experiences with the environment.

I recently learned that when you want to teach about saving the environment and the world, the students need to feel connected and have a relationship with the environment  before they want to help save it. Instilling guilt in students for unhealthy environmental practices will not be beneficial. When thinking of this, I want to introduce practicing stillness or mediation to my students. I want them to have the experience of sitting in silence and focusing on peacefulness. I think this would be beneficial for teaching about maintaining balance in the environment.