Tag Archives: winnipeg schools

Some Things Are Working Well

I just made my rounds of all the elementary school classrooms where I have been a regular visitor over the last six weeks.  I was getting the final reports for each of my student teachers signed and ready to hand into the university.

children's art school yard

Mural on the wall of one of the schools I visit.

I caught up with one of my student teachers in the gym where she was running a noon hour skipping club for students. dioramasA grade five and six teacher showed me the dioramas her class is constructing illustrating the climate, geography and lifestyle of one of Canada’s indigenous nations.   A grade one and two teacher let me read some of the letters her class had penned to their city councilor telling her about the changes they thought needed to happen in their community. I found another one of my teachers in the library where he and the students in the photography club he has been running at the school were setting up for a show displaying their work.


Sign on the window in one of the classrooms I visit

In another upper elementary class my student teacher showed me the crankie her class had made about the solar system.  A crankie is an old storytelling art form. You start by creating a long illustrated scroll that is wound onto two spools. The spools are loaded into a box which has a viewing screen. Then the scroll is hand-cranked while the story is told. In another class the kids were redesigning Canada’s coat of arms to include symbols that would represent our indigenous communities. In a grade three and four class my student teacher was busy preparing for a fairy tale tea her class is hosting where they will read the fairy tales they have written and illustrated. 

As Manitoba’s education minister Kelvin Goertzen introduced the review of the Manitoba education system his government is currently conducting he said our education system “is not working well.”  I hope the people on the commission he has appointed will take the time to visit Manitoba school classrooms as I do on a regular basis, and see that there definitely are some exciting postive things going on in our schools, things that are “working well.”

Other posts………….

Improving Education in Manitoba- Someone Thinks They Have All the Answers

Imitating Emily

Words To Live By

Persuade Me


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Popping in and Out of Schools

children's artBy the end of this week I will have made 32 visits to school classrooms in my neighborhood. I’m doing observations and meeting with the eight education students I supervise for the University of Winnipeg.  For the last month I’ve been popping in and out of three different schools where my students are working in classrooms. I get to see so many interesting things happening.
school yard artFirst thing in the morning I might be watching grade fives make paper mâché planets or going along on a walk with grade ones to find different circles, triangles and rectangles in their school building. After lunch I could be learning how to do cartwheels or listening to a group of junior highs discuss how they would define feminism .
children's art 2I’ve seen lessons on learning basketball skills, lessons on giving fractions common denominators and lessons on the problem of child labor.
paper and cardboard mooseI’ve watched kids go on an imaginary trip to the zoo with their gym teacher stopping to imitate all the different animals they see. I’ve seen kids writing letters to their parents to tell them about an upcoming class trip to the Manitoba Museum. I’ve had children show me the giant moose they made with their art teacher out of paper and cardboard.

aboriginal valuesI’ve listened to kids give presentations on the rotation and revolution of the earth and moon using models they’ve made. I’ve listened to kids discussing a movie they’ve watched about Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai. I’ve listened to kids read journal entries they’ve written about making decisions that will lead to healthy living.   

welcome to our school different languagesNow I need to get ready for the day. I’m off to see kids write limerick poems, learn about the Holocaust and make posters to classify animals into different groups.  The past month has been a whirlwind of popping in and out of schools and I will breathe a sigh of relief when I write the last of my 32 reports and hand the final ones in to the university on Friday. But it sure has been fun and I’ve learned so many things. 

school front artNote: The art in this post was all photographed at the different schools I visit.

Other posts……..

Learning Cool Things

Oh the Things You Learn

The Fab Four Learning More

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Learning Cool Things

Marijuana, monarch butterflies, a Manitoba hero and movie magic! I’ve been learning about them all. I am supervising university education students practice teaching in elementary and junior high classrooms. They are doing such a variety of lessons and I am learning so much from them. Here are just eight of the dozens of cool things I’ve learned in the last couple weeks.

“Bioluminescence” I whispered loudly to my husband poking him during the movie Life of Pi. He wasn’t too happy with me interrupting his film watching experience but I was excited. I had just learned about bioluminescence in a grade eight science class and knew that what I was seeing on the screen was bioluminescence; the production of light by a living organism caused when a chemical in an animal’s body reacts to oxygen. 

Did you know Qatar, the country where 200 nations are meeting this week to discuss global warming has the highest per capita emission of green house gases in the world? I learned this in a junior high social studies lesson about the impact human beings have on the environment. 

I didn’t want to believe it but monarch butterflies are poisonous! A grade one class was studying the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. I discovered monarchs taste terrible and are poisonous due to the presence of a steroid in their bodies which they ingest as caterpillars when they feed on the milkweed plant. Their poisonous taste provides them with protection from predators.

 “60% of all human communication is non-verbal body language. 30% is your tone, so that means 90% of what you’re saying ain’t coming out of your mouth.”  

This quote is from a speech Will Smith makes in the movie Hitch. I was visiting a junior high drama class and the students were presenting monologues. Several boys did a monologue from the movie Hitch that included this quote. Smith plays the role of a professional dating advisor and tells his client that communicating with women is far more subtle than just what you actually say to them. 

I wasn’t surprised to learn alcohol is by far the most common addictive substance used by Canadian teens. I was surprised cannabis and not tobacco was second on the list. Cannabis is the number one illicit drug used by Canadian youth. Marijuana use is more common than cigarette smoking among junior high and high school students. I learned this in a grade nine health class. 

I’m almost embarrassed to admit I didn’t know the smallest part of a pattern that repeats itself is called the core. I learned this during a math lesson in a nursery school and kindergarten class.  

One of the schools I visit was kind enough to sponsor a luncheon for all the student teachers from both universities and their faculty advisors. The principal gave us an inspiring speech in which he told us about the life of a Winnipeg hero I’d never heard of before. Percy Haynes was a noted local musician, a singer and piano player who teamed up with his wife to become one of the city’s most popular jazz acts. He was a gifted athlete; a member of the Winnipeg Stellars Basketball team, the city’s amateur welter-weight champion in 1933 and 1934 and an accomplished fastball pitcher. He was also the first black man to be accepted into the Royal Canadian Navy because he petitioned the Naval Secretary in Ottawa to let him enlist during World War II. After the war he worked for the Canadian Pacific Railroad and was instrumental in improving working conditions for black union members. 

Provencher Bridge- MaryLou Driedger

Provencher Bridge- MaryLou Driedger

Is that a truss bridge, a cantilever bridge, a beam bridge,  a suspension cable bridge or an arch bridge? Yesterday I was observing a grade seven science lesson where students were drawing blueprints. They were preparing to build models of one of the five kinds of bridges out of newspaper.  Now I find myself looking at bridges in a whole new way!

Bridges, bioluminescence, butterflies, a conference on global warming, a local hero, teen drug use, non-verbal communication and math pattern terminology. I learned about them all just by visiting three Winnipeg schools. There are lots of exciting things being taught to Manitoba’s young people. I can hardly wait for my next round of visits!

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