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.


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.

ESCI 310

Why Are We Here? – Journal 5

This question is something that students should never be asking. They should never be asking this question because students should always know the objective or what they should be learning. When students know what they should be learning and how it benefits them, they will be connected to their work and it will be more meaningful and motivating.

This week I have experienced many different activities that my peers have planned. With these activities, they have made me think. I have wondered about what worked and what didn’t, and what I would change. Thinking critically in this way is something that should be encouraged in the classroom. When students think critically, they are thinking deeper and taking meaning from their work.

To connect wth my own practice, I am going to discuss with my students the importance of what they are learning. Students will gain a deeper understanding of what I am teaching, and we will develop relationships through these discussions.

ESCI 310

Observing Worms and Other Things

We were observing worms this week! I picked up some ideas about how to incorporate what I learned into my classroom.

  1. Observations are so important!

Students need to observe and articulate what they see. For students to journal their ideas and discuss their experiences is important. When the students journal their experiences they can see their process and progress. Students will feel pride in themselves for seeing how their thinking evolved.

When students work with others they can build off of each others knowledge. This is something I want to continue using in the classroom. I am a student that can learn so much more when I work with others and hear how others understand the work. We have the ability to make up new questions that we can answer and research with our peers.

2.  Reinforcing Experiential Learning:

I have always loved using experiential learning in the classroom. I love how students can gain a rich understanding on a subject by experiencing it first hand. The activity we had with observing worms and their characteristics was a great example of how you can do it in the classroom.


ESCI 310

Vermicomposting and Exploration- Journal 3

This week was a very fun and informative week. We had a presenter from PV Waste Solutions come and address Vermicomposting, and we used Nature Circles to explore the outdoors of the university!

The Vermicomposting presentation intrigued me. Since last year with learning about composting with worms, I have grown quite the interest in it. From growing up on the farm, I have experienced how humbling it is seeing something grow in full circle. compostingLearning about using worms to compost to create a rich fertilizer for gardening, made me very interested. I took this information and thought about how I could use that in my everyday life and in my classroom. Vermicomposting would be great to use in the classroom to have the students be introduced to a “class pet”. Students would gain responsibility and competence when taking care of their worms. They would also, in turn, physically see the product from caring for the worms. The fertilizer created could be used to plant their own plants, such as a classroom garden. From the garden, vegetables could be grown, and the class could have a “Salad Party” to celebrate their hard work. It would be a great initiative for the students. It would be a project that would connect to the Broad Areas of Learning: Social Responsibility. Students would experience how they interact with the environment and community, and how they belong.

For part of a class we went outside and became familiar with Nature Circles. According to Nature Circle’s website, Nature Circes are:

Nature Circles are an easy way to inspire and empower people to develop joyful, loving, lifelong relationships – with each other and the nature world.

I agree with the statement that Nature Circles gives on their website. I had a great time using the cards with my peers. We found the questions open to discussion and the possibilities for the answers are limitless. Nature Circles are activities not just for young children, but for all ages. Even the most environmentally literate people should get outside and experience the raw, unfiltered outdoors.

It is important for educators to bring the students outdoors and practice these values presented by Nature Circle. We can grow with our students on the lifelong journey of becoming environmentally literate.


ESCI 310

Inquiry Activity- Journal 2

Last week we created a fake mouse. Our task was to fill  a balloon with water and air, and create some sort of jacket or home for this mouse to survive a weekend in Saskatchewan’s weather! It was an interesting activity that I learned from.

Our group’s aim was to create warm layers in hopes that it would survive. SPOILER: it didn’t. We gave the mouse a few layers of some warm fluff. The fluff was to act as insulation. Then we put the mouse in a glove. The glove was meant to keep the cold air out, as the weather can have some nasty windchill! Lastly, we gave the mouse many layers tinfoil. We then buried the mouse in the snow thinking that the snow would act as protection against the outside weather. Although our mouse did not survive (it froze solid), it was a great inquiry activity that was a great way to get to know my new group members.

This activity made me think of many different inquiry activities you could do. Inquiry does not have to take a few weeks to make a final project. It can be an hour to let students invent something! The activity activated prior knowledge. We were applying concepts that we already knew to our project.

Connecting the activity to this week’s reading, Four Levels of Inquiry-based Science Education by Banchi and Bell, we were involve in guided inquiry.  We were given a challenge, and had the freedom to create a mouse that would withstand winter.

I hope to look into more inquiry activities that I could have in my own classroom, even in my pre-internship block that is upcoming!