Monthly Archives: March 2013

Week 3: A Speedy But Huge Journey Comes to a Close (EPE & URG)

I cannot believe all that I’ve done and seen in these past three weeks. And yet, in the blink of an eye, I’m finished! So, a final summary of the three weeks:

This week the students were supposed to present their safety skits (because the videotaping did not work, as the students that were practicing kept getting in the way of the filming, and outdoors it was too hard to hear and record their voices). However, the first presentation turned into a silly display of goofiness on the play structure, and was not focused or educational at all. The students in the “audience” were distracted and then laughing at their comedic acting and trying to join in on the play structure. I had watched these students practice their skit and it was very good. I believe if I had videotaped them they would not have changed their plans to entertain their peers alone. With all factors combined, we decided to return to the classroom and have students present the findings they had written down to their peers. It was not nearly as beneficial or exciting, and both the students and I were disappointed. In the future I would definitely record the videos ahead of time and individually (my coop teacher suggested inviting an older student or parent volunteer to film while I organized a game in the field for all of the other students). This way they could be monitored more easily, too. Certainly a great learning experience for me, and all in all, I think the students understood exactly what they were meant to. Now I can’t wait for internship—I am no longer petrified of it! image201303300001

On my last day, we had a Dr. Seuss party which my coop and I had worked very hard to prepare. The students had a blast. My coop also had the students (while I was “conveniently” out of the room for an hour) write me reference letters. They were absolutely adorable. One student wrote, “Please don’t hire her away from us! We like her here!” Note in the above I “even help!” 🙂 They also signed a Dr. Seuss book and gave me a bucket filler book. Of course, I also got many hugs. It was such a rewarding experience and I am going to miss each of them! They were the  best class and  best coop a person could ask for!


Posted by on March 30, 2013 in EPE 310, University Success


Fun Filled Week #2 (EPE & URG)

Wow! I can’t believe I’m almost done my three week block already! It has been going so quickly and I am not exactly eager to leave the classroom for the university again.

My exciting part of the week is that I taught from 9:00-3:30 today! My co-op called  me in the morning saying that she would not be there and that I could either share with the sub the day plan or I could just teach all day. So I decided to take the leap and give it a try. I’m awfully proud of myself. As soon as their teacher was not present the students tested the boundaries. However, I knew enough of what the routines and expectations were that they didn’t walk all over me. I don’t think..! The day was a little bit loud and unorganized overall (as I didn’t know I would be teaching, and my coop didn’t know she was going to be gone), but it was an awesome experience and I think I did pretty well all things considered. I’m not sure I would have done anything very differently. The students accomplished a lot and there were no complaints about me or the day the following morning!Group of five happy children jumping outdoors.

This week there were also parent teacher interviews, so I was put into the library to help with the book fair. It was really neat to see the interactions between parents and their children, and where their priorities were in regards to reading. Many parents were very encouraging of their children to choose books that were appropriate to their level and rich in text.

In regards to Phys Ed, I was able to watch my co-op teach. The students had been indoors for recess for two days, and she felt they needed a high activity Phys Ed class. So, she created a “game” where the boys lined up on one line and the girls on the other and called out, “Girls get to do 30 jumping jacks,” then, “Boys get to do 10 pushups,” etc. The students loved it! It was so simple, but the children definitely increased their heart rate for a sustained period and developed their movement skills like skipping and galloping. Besides, they got some great exercise, were constantly involved, and were focused on their own movements, and not those of the other students. What do you think of this simple activity? Could there be alterations to make it more effective or suited to the Grade 2 curriculum? Are there any flaws in it? Have you observed or taught any other high activity lessons that would have been great to use in a situation like this?


One Week Gone Already (EPE & URG)

Well, here’s a recap of the first week! It absolutely flew by, and I love being in the classroom all day every day. The students are accustomed to seeing me every day now, and I’ve become a part of the classroom.

In regards to Phys Ed, this was a busy week! The students only have 30 minutes of gym time every week, so my coop did not really want to take this time away from them, but my faculty advisor was coming to watch me teach during that time, so I took on Phys Ed instead of my unit that day. I had never seen Phys Ed taught, or tried teaching it myself, and had never taught for my faculty advisor either! It didn’t go exceptionally well..!! The game that I tried with the students was too difficult for them. They had not played it before, and even some of their nonlocomotor skills were not developed enough to play it successfully. This caused arguments, frustration, and a slow pace of play. However, I closed the lesson with a short discussion about what we could have done differently (receiving the responses of: listened more carefully to the rules, worked as a team, and made some of the “parts” of the game easier). I couldn’t have agreed with the students more. Next time, I would take at least the week to break down the movements in the game and work on the skills in simpler games or practices, and then add them up into the game at the end. However, my faculty advisor said I had great classroom management, a good voice, and broke the teams up in an awesome way (a random numbering method that broke up cliques). So, overall, lesson learned on my behalf!

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks via Compfight cc

My unit, on the other hand, is going great. It’s an inquiry unit on playground safety and the students had two days of “inspector training” where they learned what risks are and how to reduce them. Then, they designed their own inspection (each table group chose a piece of playground equipment to study) and are ready to go outside to do the inspection. Unfortunately, I planned three days outside and our weather has decided it’s going to be JANUARY again!!! I’ve had to learn the quick “teacher lesson” of being adaptable and changing plans on the fly! J

And finally, a cute story to share: The students were informed that there would be a “special guest from the university” coming to watch me teach, so they were to be on their best behaviour and welcome the guest. A couple of hours later I was walking by a student’s desk and she piped up, “Miss Van Kannel, are you nervous?” I had no idea what she was talking about and asked, “About what?” She replied, “About having someone come watch you teach?” A smile started to spread on my face and I said, “Well, yes, I suppose I am a little bit.” She tried to comfort me by saying, “Ya, I get nervous around new people, too.” I assured her I knew my faculty advisor a little bit already and that she was very nice. She said, “You’ll do great anyway! You don’t need to be nervous, Miss Van Kannel.” I warmly thanked her and was so touched by this surprisingly deep consideration coming from a seven year old.

I hope, to those of you in Section 20 reading this, you are also learning lots and loving teaching, or maybe, for those of you still in your first or second year reading this through the URG, you are getting excited to have this experience, too! Have a great week everyone!


Posted by on March 17, 2013 in EPE 310, University Success


Three Weeks (URG & EPE)

This week’s post is for ALL of you—my EPE friends, as well as my URG friends. This may be the case for the next three weeks, as this is the three week teaching block, which I think you might all be interested in. For those of you that have not gotten there yet, I am going to provide you with a quick look at the whole four year Elementary Education degree because I desperately wish I had this overview in my first year!

Year 1: one semester, once a week, observing and helping in a classroom

Year 2: volunteering 20 hours in an organization that is not a school for one semester; also one hour a week EAL tutoring/additional support one semester (ELNG)

Year 3: Pre-internship (Fall—once a week full day for eight weeks; Winter—3 week block, all day every day. This is when you are asked to teach a full unit, every subject at some point, and a full half day. Both experiences this year are in the same school.)

Year 4: Internship! (Fall—all day, every day, anywhere in SK (well, in certain divisions, as we have to share the province with the U of S students) or an international placement in England)


Photo Credit: Darwin Bell via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Darwin Bell via Compfight cc

I’m very excited to be done school and classes for three weeks and be in the classroom full time. I expect to learn so much this March. My co-op teacher is awesome, the students are fantastic, and my faculty advisor seems great too.

In regards to physical education, I hope to teach at least one lesson, but to simply observe and assist in one, too, would be great, as I have not yet even seen one taught yet! I am also teaching a unit on playground safety, and have tied in some physical activity and Phys Ed. Knowing what was in the Phys Ed curriculum was hugely beneficial, and I knew how to easily include the healthy living and safety aspects. The students are also doing three days outside, and I hope they can get a good chance to get some exercise, too!

Although I’m excited, I’m also very nervous as this will be my first time teaching a unit, and I’m exclusively responsible for everything—assessment, management, time, etc. Here’s to hoping I’ll learn lots, the students will learn lots, and there won’t be too many disasters! I’ll keep you posted!


Posted by on March 9, 2013 in EPE 310, University Success


Marvelous March Monday (URG)

Hey there! How many of you are doing the March Calendar Challenge? If you are not, or were not aware of, have a look at the calendar and maybe choose a few things to do anyway. Although I am participating in the challenge, I am also in the midst of my Lenten challenge for this year, and that started February 13, so at the moment I have more that I would like to share about that.

Photo Credit: Patricia Mellin via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Patricia Mellin via Compfight cc

Normally for Lent, I choose something to help me grow. Some years that has been giving up chocolate, or the computer for enjoyment purposes, or my television shows. Some year it has been a focus on prayer or devotion. Certainly, I have developed from these 40 days of commitment. However, this year I felt I needed to focus my energy in a different direction. I have chosen to spend the season living generously. This meant writing a thank you note to the teacher that inspired my decision to go into education (I had not spoken to him in many years), purchasing a coffee for the person behind me, or giving up something important to me. It also has come to have a global focus in addition to a local impact, meaning challenging me to make informed decisions about where I am donating (my money, time, and prayer support) and checking my clothing labels and brands to then find out if I am dressing in a socially responsible way.

It has been such a beneficial experience so far. I find it challenging, exciting, and a great learning experience. Regardless of if you participate in Lent or not, maybe consider a revolutionary challenge to increase the generosity in your life! You won’t be disappointed.

I am using my own schedule and challenges that I find necessary, as well as 40acts! Check them out.

Have a great week!


Posted by on March 4, 2013 in University Success


The Mess My Mind Is In (EPE)

I have two thoughts for you all today, just because I wanted to touch on both.

Photo Credit: Vegas ER via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Vegas ER via Compfight cc

First of all, I am getting very excited to plan my summer already. Yes, maybe a bit too soon, but I’m okay with that! Regardless, this is the first summer that I will not be working at camp. When I worked there, my activity level was always high. I often ran to clear my head on the dirt roads in the dewy morning, led campers on nature hikes, swam with kids, played games, and raced to a cabin that had a problem. There was no lack of exercise. However, now that I will be working full time at a desk job and taking summer classes, I need to set strong plans or I fear my summer will waste away with inactivity. I intend on hiking some weekends, and canoeing some weekends, but I want some routine exercise, too. I am hoping to find a dragon boat team and do either Aqua Zumba or lane swimming, but am restricted from doing some things due to a knee syndrome I have. For example, I am not supposed to run. Do any of you have any unique suggestions for summer exercise that may be fun to try? I’d love some inspiration!

Also, while completing my Curriculum Understanding assignment, I refrained from including assessment originally, as I did not feel certain of what to include for my lesson. We also discussed it in class, which provided some clarity. Upon further investigation while working on our ECS Creative Assessment presentation, too, I found this neat conversation posed by another pre-service teacher asking, “Should we grade in PE?” The handful of replies that this question receives is interesting. All agree that feedback is the most valuable, but some stress that the “knowledge” in Physical Education needs to be more valued, while another would like to focus on living a “healthy lifestyle,” while still another would like to focus on “attitudes.” Go have a look, feel free to add your opinion on the site, or share with us here.

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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in EPE 310