Teaching Wellness 10

This past week was an interesting one! I spent my days teaching Wellness 10 to 12 grade ten girls.  The first day I was so nervous, I didn’t really know what to expect.  I thought since I was introducing a unit on relationships, that it would be a good idea to have a lot of discussion about healthy versus unhealthy relationships, and how conflict affects our relationships.  Little did I know, this was not a chatty class and they are not fans of discussion.  I have to admit, my first lesson was quite awkward; there was a couple of minutes where I could definitely hear crickets!

I had quite a few moments of frustration throughout the class.  It seemed that the students part of sports teams or performing arts groups had troubles talking about relationships.  As someone who had always been part of a sports team, I thought talking about conflicts with teammates or coaches, or opponents would be easy to talk about.  However, these girls were just not into discussing these issues.

Tuesday got a little better: they were more talkative.  We broke into groups and discussed the different types of violence/abuse, and roles people can potentially play in violent situations.  We then discussed the Penn State sexual assault case.  Half the class formed a group and read the article out loud, while the other half worked on the article and questions individually.  I told them it was fine by me if they wanted to work with a partner, as long as the work was getting done.  Again, the room was so quiet.  I know that most of the girls have a friend or two in the class, so I was really surprised when even they weren’t chatting.  I guess, I’m just not used to that quiet of a classroom, and I remember I always learned best when I could at least chat with someone else.  So, for me, I was caught off guard at how silent these girls were.

Wednesday was a bit of a heavy lesson.  We watched a video called, “Telling Amy’s Story“.  This video is a documentary about domestic violence.  We watched the video, and then discussed certain aspects of the video.  There was one girl who showed up today that I haven’t ever seen before, and she was by far the most engaged student today.  That really surprised me, but all I kept thinking was “holy crap, is that going on in her life right now”   I guess I kind of put myself in that situation when I chose this unit to teach.

We continued the week talking about violence and abuse through media and sports, and how these aspects can affect our perception of healthy relationships.  We then watched a video of a female soccer player who was suspended indefinitely for player misconduct.  The girls were appalled at how this girl was acting throughout the game.  We then ended the week with talking about bullying.  We talked about Mean Girls and how there are numerous types of bullying in that movie.  We discussed what the main character did, versus how the main character should have done.


“To This Day…”

Before my pre-internship, we watched part of this video.  Now after seeing the full video through Facebook, I am taken aback.  This presentation is so moving; Shane Koyczan somehow finds a way to add humour to such a serious topic.  While watching this video today during my prep at Balfour, I could not shake the feeling of seeing some of my students in this video.

I have to say, I haven’t heard or seen that much direct, or even indirect, bullying at Balfour over the past couple of weeks.  However, I can’t shake the feeling that people in that building are feeling that way.  It breaks my heart to see a man of his age still get so passionate choked up about his past.  I think this video truly illustrates the long-term affects bullying can have on someone.



Tech Task #8 – Week One

I’m using this post to kill two birds with one stone by blogging from my phone! So, week one of my pre-internship is complete! Woot! As tired as I’m feeling, I have to admit I’m having the best time. Balfour Collegiate is treating me well… The students are so much fun to work with, and the staff are so accommodating and constantly willing to offer up their time to discuss our internship.

Thursday was Diversity Day. It was really interesting to see how diverse Balfour really is! They represent 36 different countries and speak 33 different languages! Holy Cow! There was cultural trivia during the day; delicious taste testing at lunch; and endless entertainment. It was apparent the choir teacher worked really hard with the ELA students in working on a song half in their native tongue and half in English. It was quite impressive.

The Shirley Schneider Centre was another part of Balfour I was exposed to on Thursday. Diversity Day was held in the auditorium, so over the lunch hour a few of the girls brought their kids down to check it out. I was shocked at young some of these girls were, but how some of them were so responsible and trying their best. I felt better knowing there was a place like the Shirley Schneider Centre for these girls.

This week I begin teaching a full class! Last week I just taught in small groups, but tomorrow I’m given an all girls Wellness 10 class, and could not be more excited. We’re going to learn about relationships, so I hope the girls are interested in this topic, and involved in what I have planned…. Back to planning these lessons I go!

Orientation Observations

Last week I spent the last two days getting to know my LRP classroom at Balfour Collegiate. I must say it was quite an experience!  I went in not knowing what to really to expect, and was really happy with my first two days!  The morning of the first day, my co-op teacher took me on a tour of the school.  My, was I ever surprised!  The teachers here are all so interesting!  It was apparent that they really care about their students, and have put a lot of time and effort into making this school accommodating for all students.  One hallway took us to the EAL classrooms, that is”home” to over 150 students.  We then moved into massive and well equiped Practical and Applied Arts areas.  I struggled at art in high school, but going into that art studio really made me want to spend time in there!  Throughout the day, I met the Aboriginal Advocate, the AP Chemistry teacher, a teacher from the Shirley Schneider Center, and the other LRT.  It was so neat to see that this school literally has something for everyone.

Throughout the day, I met students as they came and went from the LRP classroom.  Most, just gave me funny looks, but as the second day progressed, some of them actually came and sought out my help.  The students in this classroom were so much fun to work with.  I learned so much in just two days about how different students are, and that this classroom comes with a great deal of patience.  For some of these students, this work is a struggle; for others, they are fully capable, their priorities outside of school are greater than school.  As I began to learn background information on a few students, I began to realize I can slightly understand where they are coming from.  For some students, they use school as their safe place, and use it as a distraction.  For others, they don’t enjoy school because of their struggles.

Day three was quite a day.  It didn’t take me long to realize there is never a dull moment in this classroom!  There were students and teachers coming and going all day long.  This boy was having troubles getting his story going, so his teacher sent him up to the LRP to get cracking.  Him and I made a deal that I would scribe for him as he created the story.  Within no time the story was complete and he had exceeded the minimum page requirement!  Seeing how happy he was to have the first draft of his story complete made my day.

Later that day, I scribed in a math class for a young boy; I was caught off guard at how smart this boy was.  The LRT explained to me that this boy regularly finds his way to her room as he tends to act out in class, and the teachers get fed up.  She then explained that he has a written expression disorder and gets easily frustrated when he is given a task that he can’t conquer, so he chooses to act out.  It was interesting to see how easily he can read, and and well he comprehends math; however, his writing is just not there.  It made me question the adaptations that were being made for him; could he answer through an interview, or audio and/or video recording?  I showed my teacher the app, SocialCam, and explained this may be a great tool for him, as he is quite a social person.  I look forward to working with him over the next few weeks and seeing what other supports are in place for him and other students like him!

How do we assess understanding?

What Ed Said is one of the blogs I chose to follow for a previous Tech Task.  I’m glad I did!  I was looking through my blogs the other day and found an interesting post about assessment.  Creating rubrics is something that has been discussed in many of my classes, and something I have experienced with Room 209.  In one of my ECS classes, we worked together on creating a rubric for our one of our major assignments.  My oh my, was it ever a task!  I guess I never realized how big of a process it is to create rubrics with students.  I also noticed this when I worked with Room 209 to create a rubric for their Substance Abuse/Addictions project.

One thing I noticed about the rubrics posted on the What Ed Said blog was that numbers for assessment were replaced with words.  I also noticed this when working with Room 209; they used terms such as “Neon Green; Green; Yellow; and Red” instead of a score.  I thought that was an interesting way of looking at assessment.  Having “student friendly” language in the rubric I noticed was also key.  Room 209 is big on calling things “juicy”, so I noticed that if you achieved a neon green, you had some real juicy information to share with us!  By using this language, the students seemed more involved, and I have to admit, I quite enjoyed the process as well!

Another interesting part about the rubrics on the What Ed Said blog was that the rubric was phrased in “I can” statements.  I’ve heard about the importance of these in some of my other classes, but to see it on a rubric really helped me to grasp the relevancy “I can” statements have for students.  I’ll definitely keep those statements in mind as I plan my assessment unit!