Social Tool Box

Section 1 Unit Plan and Lesson Planning:
1. Teaching “What Makes a Difference” in grade one this resource is extremely helpful. This website has material that can be used over multiple lessons. It directly connects to outcomes that fall under dynamic relationships.
2. Elders
Elders are an integral part of First Nations culture. Elders provide us with amazing stories and great knowledge and wisdom. An Elder can identify the treaty areas and/or bands across Canada and sacred spaces for the First Nations people. In addition, Elders would be a crucial resource for determining and learning about where pre-contact First Nations groups lived, as it would be hard to map due to their mobile lifestyle. Elders are the most knowledgeable people in First Nation’s culture and are easy to access for teachers. Every School division has connections to different Elders. Getting in touch with an Elder or a cultural liaison is a first step that you will not regret.
Elder Mike Pinay – Regina Catholic School Division
Elder Neil Starchild – Regina Public School Division
George Favel – Cultural Liaison for Regina Public School Division

3. Brain Breaks
Brain breaks are a phenomenal tool to allow students to take a break. A few breaks that I think are a great ideal to implement into social studies are silent ball and singing! Silent ball can be played in many ways. One way to play it is have all students stand beside their desk. When they receive the ball they have to say a word that they associate with say geography. This can be used with any social outcome!
When it comes to singing, it gives the students a break from the task at hand and it is fun! Students can sing the continent song, or make up a song about the treat land or whatever they happen to be learning about at that time!
4. Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan
The encyclopedia of Saskatchewan is a great resource and extremely user friendly! It includes everything you want to know about Saskatchewan geography (useful for the grade 4 social curriculum). It includes: place, region & identity, location, the physical environment, historical geography, as well as: human geography à including population, economic geography, culture & landscapes, and a conclusion.
Not only this, but you can choose specific places in Saskatchewan à lakes, towns you’ve never heard of, as well as research findings such as: air pollution, meteorite discoveries, mineral resources, and flood control, among many others (could have been useful this summer).
Though this resource is great for geography, it offers MANY other subjects that would be extremely useful for you and your classroom such as:
Aboriginal (First Nations and Metis) Agriculture, Food Arts, Culture Business, Industry Communities, Geography, Health History, Labour Law, Justice Military, Order of Canada Recipients Politics, Government Population Religion, Philosophy, Saskatchewan Order of Merit Recipients, Science and Technology, Social Policy Sports and Recreation Transportation.
5. Atlas
Atlases are great resource for many reasons. Whether they are conventional or digital, they hold most information a student would need when learning about geography. World Atlas have facts, flags and maps including every continent, country, dependency, exotic destination, island, major city, ocean, province, state & territory, regions, elevation and much more. The Atlas is also a useful tool because it can be adapted to fit any age group. The conventional Atlas is useful because most schools will have them on hand for students to use. If they are not available at the school there are many public libraries that will have them on the shelves. The digital Atlas can come in many forms as well. It is very handy to have a world Atlas online so you can bring it up on a projector while teaching a lesson so all students can see. They are also helpful because the student can access it anywhere, they do not necessarily have to be in school to use this resource.

Section 2 Key Resources:
1. This video displays grade two students singing the continent song. Along with singing the song the students have come up with actions to do with the words so that it is easier to remember. We used this in our grade ¾ class when we were talking about continents. The students loved the catchy song and were able to recite the continents without looking after just two times of playing the song. It would also be a great lesson to make your own class video.
2. This website is a great resource when teaching geography. This website can be used from grade two to grade five when teaching most indicators under the dynamic relationships category. This is a fun tool to use in place of a textbook. Students will be working hands on to learn and they are also building their internet skills by working with technology. There are eleven chapters that are covered on throughout this online textbook. Along with the information there is a wide variety of games to pick from to add to the students learning.
3. Timeline Eons FREE – apple app for Ipads and Iphones
This app has very interesting and informative timelines of important events, going all the way back to 14,000,000,000 years ago! It includes pictures, descriptive text, and bars showing how long certain periods in history lasted. This is a great resource for students to explore to see what they can find. This would work awesome as an inquiry project. This app will help develop the students thinking and understanding. This app could also be used to find information then use it in an English class to write a narrative about what they found.
4. Go Explore Canada– apple free app for Ipads and Iphones
Where to go, what to do, where to stay, where to eat, where to play and just ‘where the heck am I?’
GoExplore Canada gives you a completely different way to see this great country from Atlantic to Pacific, including the great Canadian Arctic. The totally interactive Google Map holds it all together. You zoom out for the big picture or zoom into any city, town, village or spot in the vast Canadian nation. It contains thousands of Canada’s top attractions and natural wonders.
This resource is a great tool for teaching geography at any age. It is easy to navigate for children. It is even useful for adults who are traveling. It has top rated hotels, restaurants, transportation information and much more!
I did my group presentation on geography and I wish I would have known about this app beforehand! I can’t wait to use it with my students in the years to come.
5. Raz Kids
Raz Kids is an online resource that has hundreds of e-books for students to listen to. This site also keeps record of the student’s progress so it is a great tool for the teacher to have. By using Raz kids you are able to hit multiple outcomes from different areas of study. There are books that address issues relates to heal studies, social studies, science, treaty education, and even math. This site helps students with their literacy development.
Section 3: Instructional Strategies
1. Group Projects
Getting students to work in groups is a wonderful way to allow shared learning. The students will compare and contrast perspectives; practice high-level cognitive skills (i.e., application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation); develop meta-skills such as leadership, communication, conflict resolution; strategize and plan how to tackle complex problems and distribute work.
2. Service Learning
Students will work on interesting, real-world problems. They will have opportunities to apply their disciplinary knowledge in new situations where they can help others. If carefully planned students can have a rich educational experience. This is a way of learning that is meaningful and students would benefit
While at the SAFE conference I learned about an EcoJustice program based out of Saskatoon. EcoJustice is a grade 8 environmental, adventure program housed out of Saint Edward School. EcoJustice is an approach that analyzes the increasing destruction of the world’s diverse ecosystems, languages and cultures by the globalizing and ethnocentric forces of Western consumer culture. In EcoJustice, students become aware of important global issues and actively pursue local social justice causes. Their program, through real life connections with the community and environment will develop students intellectually, socially, physically and spiritually while also enhancing their self-esteem and citizenship skills. This program’s relevant and engaging experiential learning helps students to truly understand and critically evaluate real community issues that affect us all individually, provincially and globally as Canadians and Catholics.
I would love to be able to give my students an opportunity like this. I would like to try to implement service learning into my classroom as much as possible. Personally, I learn way better when I know I am making a difference and working hands on.
3. Discussions
Discussions can be an excellent strategy for enhancing student motivation, fostering intellectual alertness, and encouraging independent habits. They create opportunities for students to practice and improve a number of skills, including the ability to express and defend view points, consider different points of view, and evaluate evidence.
While discussions provide avenues for exploration and discovery, leading a discussion can be anxiety-producing (as we have noticed in class). There are many ways that we have talked about to help ease this anxiety. Some of these strategies include: having a talking stone to pass around, leave the question open to the floor, chose questions that allow for expansion, have different people facilitate the circle/discussion and splitting the class up into groups to argue both sides of the posed question.
By using discussion based learning students are able to develop their thinking by thinking contextually, thinking creatively and thinking critically.
4. Case Studies
Case studies are stories. They present realistic, complex, and contextually rich situations and often involve a dilemma, conflict, or problem that one or more of the characters in the case must negotiate.
Case studies can be an effective teaching tool in any number of subjects. They also give students practice identifying the factors of a problem, recognizing positions, evaluating courses of action, and arguing different points of view. Students are also develop their social responsibilities by using moral reasoning.
Case studies can be used at any age level. When teaching younger grades the case studies can be simple and the use of role playing can be implemented for students to understand fully. As the students age and mature there is room for more complex case studies. The stories can be current events for students to be exposed to social justice issues.
5. Writing
By implementing writing into lessons students are not only working on social studies, but they are also working on their EAL skills. This ensures that you hit two outcomes in your lessons. Writing also develops systematic relationships among ideas; application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Writing allows students to reflect on own thinking.
When students write throughout the lesson they will develop their Literacy skills. They will build their knowledge related to various literacies, explore and interpret the world using various literacies and express understanding and communicate meaning using various literacies.
Section 4: Classroom Management Strategies
1. Give me 5
I used this strategy during my pre-internship. I liked using it because our cooperating teacher used it too so the students knew how to respond when we did it. I would stand at the front of the class and say “give me five” with my hand above my head. I would slowly and quietly count from five to one and then expected the students to be quiet and listen.
5- eyes on the speaker
3-be still
2-hands free
2. Rain Stick
This is the only strategy I did not try during my pre-internship out of this list. I think it is a creative idea to use. It can also be used for lessons about the origin of rain sticks and even make rain sticks with the students. Throughout my pre-internship I noticed that our cooperating teacher didn’t use a rain stick, but she did use bells. She would use them when it was time to switch from one centre to another.
3. Clapping
This was mainly used by my intern partner and me in the classroom. Most times we would stick with the Give me 5 strategies, but when the students were doing group work sometimes it was a lot easier to come back as a group by clapping a pattern. Because we only used this occasionally the students really responded well to this. They really like to make up their own rhythm too so Kristi and I would let different students make up the rhythm for the class. It was a great way to grab attention, but yet keep students engaged and keep them from feeling scolded for talking.
4. Levels of voice
This strategy is used in my inter classroom. There is a poster at the front of the room that has a scale of 0-5 on it. Each number has an explanation of how loud it should be in the classroom. Throughout each class our cooperating teacher will tell the students what level she expects it to be at while they are working.
0-1: Minimal noise, silent for the most part. If you need to talk to a partner you must whisper.
2-3: Talking to a group member or doing an activity where it doesn’t need to be silent, but at a reasonable volume.
4-5: Outside voices
I really like this aspect because our class does a lot of centre work and that can become loud quickly. The students are very responsible with their volume control because of this rule. It is easy to bring the kids back to a certain level too if they get off task.
5. Non-verbal hand signals
At the beginning of the school year my cooperating teacher, Nina implemented many procedures. One of these procedures was the three finger rule. 1- bathroom, 2- drink and 3-question. Nina posted this rule on the front white board for all students to see.
I really like this idea because Nina can dismiss students without opening their mouth. This helps keep the lesson flowing and she is not interrupted multiple times throughout the lesson.
Section 5: Misc Items
1. Emotion Wheel
This activity is good to break the ice with students. It is also an easy “check-in” to find out how they are feeling and the issues he/she is dealing with at this time in their life. After creating a pie chart with 8 sections, the student gets to choose 8 emotions and then color in the pie pieces with those emotions.
2. Calm Down Jar
Calm down jars can be any jar filled with a simple mixture of glue, glitter and warm water. You can also add in a toy, for example a LEGO man. Any time a student needs a break, give the jar a shake and then watch and wait for the glitter to settle. The wait can take anywhere from 2-5 minutes.
A calm down jar has multiple purposes. They are pretty and inviting. The jar can be used for more reasons than just to “calm down”. They can be even considered a piece of art. This is an activity you could do with all of the students. They could each make their own and when they feel they need to take a breath, they could shake their jar transforming this into an independent regulation strategy.
3. (picture of a humorous global warming poster)
Having posters and cartoons posted around the classroom can help students relate what they are learning to their personal lives.
4. Guess Who?!
Using the classic game “Guess Who” is a great tool to use when remembering important people. All you have to do is print out important peoples pictures and glue them to the pre-existing cards. Students can take this and practice quizzing each other in a fun way.

5. Biography of a historical figure

This is a fun idea to use when money is tight in the classroom. Instead of dressing up as the person, the students can create a cut out of what they look like. This would add multiple subjects to learning about historical figures. This will help students think creatively and help them put a visual to what they are learning about.


My Personal Learning Network

At the beginning of the semester when we were told that we had to create a blog I was very worried. I never had an interest in blogging before this semester. As the semester went on I found it difficult to keep up with the blog posts because it felt forced. I became self-conscious about what I was posting and felt scared to continue. I feel that it would have been more beneficial if we would have created the blog, but were encouraged to write about what we thought was important. Below is a link to my blog where I posted about a situation that had occurred at work when one little boy said to another “you cannot come into my fort unless your skin is black.” By blogging about this I was able to get feedback and tips and was able take a lot away from that situation.   As I work to develop my personal development plan I will continue to try to work up my blogging skills because I know it can be a very positive tool to have in my future career.

My twitter account has helped me in multiple ways throughout this semester. I follow influential people, fellow students, and educational/motivational sites. I am to able retweet and favorite tweets that I think will be a good resource later on. When having guest lectures we were encouraged to follow along with twitter to voice our opinions and raise questions while the presentation is going on. I found this to be very engaging and beneficial to my learning. By doing this I was able to remember key points of the lectures because I now have tweets, retweets and favorites of these points jotted down. I do not have to look through pages of notes; I can simply scroll down my twitter feeds to look at what was said.

 Kelsey Lipp ‏@kelseylipp  Mar 31

“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” -Dewey #ecs210

By using twitter I was even able to stay connected to lecture when I was unable to attend. I was able to sit in the doctor’s office and read my twitter feeds to stay up to date on lecture. It was in the doctor’s office that I realized how big of an impact twitter has on my personal learning development. I am able to stay connected at all times which is an outstanding tool to have.  Below is a tweet from the class I missed that helped me to stay tuned in.

 Retweeted by Spencer Mack and 1 other

Taylor Audryanna ‏@tayloraudryanna  Mar 24

Standardized assessments have not been demonstrated to improve teaching or learning in any significant manner (Hout & Elliott, 2011).#Ecs210

8:45 AM – 24 Mar 2014 · Details

The Inquiry Project that we did in our seminar groups was an excellent way to work together to create resources for all of our learning. My group chose to do our project on Gender Equity. We made up multiple lesson plans, activities and resources for grades ranging from preschool to grade three. We put all of these experiences and lesson on a wiki space for all of our classmates to access. By making a wiki each of us were able to further our personal learning network. By creating these different tools we are better preparing ourselves for our future classrooms.

Finally the last tool I have been using in my personal learning network is Pinterest. I have been using this in my ECS classes, but also in other classes and at work (College Park Retirement and with the YMCA). It is a fantastic resource to post ideas and save links for later on. On the link that is posted below there is a diagram of the cardiovascular system. I was able to use this in my ESCI 302 unit plan By using Pinterest we are able to collaborate with other students and even other people around the world. It opens us a door for learning from many different people. It is a great tool to explore and incorporate into a personal development plan.  

 Creating a Personal Learning Network has helped me branch out to create networks and to be apart them. By creating this network it will help me become a teacher who is involved with 21st Century learning. I am not the most comfortable with technology, but it is never too late to start learning and exploring. As I continue my education I will continue to explore these different learning networks to add to my own.

Learning experience

Throughout my time at the university we have learnt a lot about different ways to integrate anti-oppressive education into the curriculum, but we never really learnt how to deal with the situations that can arise in the classroom.

When I was at work one day (in an after school program) the students were making forts out of the big blue mats. One of the students went and knocked on the door of a fort and asked if he could come in. The boy who made it said “you can only come in if your skin is brown.” I was shocked as to what he had just said and was caught off guard. I immediately thought about class when we talked about these situations, but realized that I wasn’t taught how to actually deal with these situations. I was able to think quickly on my feet and tried to explain to the boys why it was important that we all play together regardless of our skin colour. As I think about  the class where we watched a video where these types of situations came up I realized that even if we were taught ways to deal with these situations it would not make a big impact of an impact that actually going through it in real life. We can talk about this until we are blue in the face, but until we experience it first hand we won’t truly know what to expect.

 I am grateful for all of the learning experiences that my job provides outside of school. I am fortunate enough to learn about different things in school and then implement that learning into the way I deal with the students I work with. It gives me an opportunity to really understand what we are learning and to see how it reflects on my students. I am excited to keep learning and implementing new things in my practice every week. 

Cooking with the residents

Cooking with the residents

Working in a retirement home has taught me many things. These people have so many stories to share and if you are willing to take some time out of your day they will share them with you. There are many men and women who were teachers before they retired. Some have very valuable lessons and tips to share. These residents are still making a difference in peoples lives even though they are not teaching in the classroom anymore.
Needless to say I have the job of my dreams while I am working towards the career of my dreams.

Teaching in the Undertow

While reading this story I really connected with the message that it was trying to get across. I also saw a connection from the story to one of our guest lectures Claire Kreuger. During the lecture Claire explained that we are all treaty people. Being involved in this lecture helped me see the importance of implementing treaty education into our schools in every subject. When I was in elementary school we did not talk about treaties at all. I really want to change this for my future students because it is such an important part of our Canadian history. Claire mentioned that she had made a bulletin board that she thought might stir things up, however to her surprise she was wrong. There was no backlash to having this bulletin board pose thought provoking questions. Being able to use a bulletin board as a tool to create awareness is a very fun and exciting way to get things on the table so to speak.

 In the story Teaching in the Undertow it suggests to start small. When you start to lose your footing and the undertow starts to pull you just swim with it and don’t lose sight of the spot on the shore. The shore is your end goal in a sense. It is easy to lose your footing as a teacher so having a connection with colleagues is important. Also the curriculum is important. If you get overwhelmed pick one subject and commit to making it come to life for your students. That way the students will enjoy learning and you will enjoy teaching!

 A bulletin board can be a wonderful resource when teaching about social justice. A teacher can use this as a tool for empowerment. We can use these to pose questions, make statements and also to speak out on certain issues. All three of these tools are expressed in my visual representation. By leaving paper and a marker on the bulletin board students, parents, teachers and community members are able to contribute to something that started with one person. One small question can spark a wildfire of conversation about certain things that may not get brought up otherwise. 



Walk and Talk Story Time


During our ECS 210 seminar class we were to pick an object that was on our table in front of us and to tell a story about something that object made you think of. The object I picked is in the image above. It was a snake-like plastic toy. The first story that popped into my mind was one that took place many years ago on my grandparent’s farm.

One afternoon my grandpa and I were cutting the grass out at the farm and we happened to run over a snake by accident. He proceeded to calm me down by making a joke saying it was now fertilizer for his grass. After telling this short story to a classmate of mine I stared to remains about different memories that involve my grandpa.

It is funny to think that so many emotions could come out of one assignment. Having the opportunity to reflect on something as simple as a plastic toy really helped me see that sometimes it is the small things that make the greatest impacts.

I really enjoyed this small exercise, and I am thankful to have had such a wonderful man in my life to influence me to be the person I am today.