Monthly Archives: February 2016

Pork Chops, Asparagus and Calorie Awarness

Part of this Learning Project is about healthy eating.  Trying to convince my daughters to eat a variety of vegetables can be challenging.  I wanted to try and get them to eat some asparagus as well as try and make something work with kale.  My daughters will not eat kale in a salad (I don’t blame them) so I used this kale chips recipe.  I thought that they tasted alright but no go on the girls eating them.  I will keep trying new recipes for kale because every health magazine/ fitness blog says you gotta eat kale.

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For supper I made pork chops, oven roasted potatoes/asparagus/carrots.  I barbecued the pork chops using this recipe.

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There was a complete boycott on the asparagus by both of my food critics but I can attest that it was really tasty.  All you have to do is cook it the same way as the kale from the above recipe.  Here are the girls reaction to the meal.

The other part of this Learning Project has to do with overall healthy eating.  What is unfortunate is that people assume that everyone just knows what is healthy and what is not.  I saw this video on Facebook that shows what 200 calories look like and it is amazing how much healthy food you can eat in comparison to unhealthy food.  This is important to middle years teachers because the health curriculum wants you to delve into this by using Canada’s Food Guide.  Now I have nothing against Canada’s Food Guide, but it is pretty boring and it gets stuffed down students throat in primary years, so by grade 7 I found that the kids were really sick of it.  I found that Kahoot had a lot of quizzes already made which really made formative assessment fun in the classroom and took literally no work.  With the issues of childhood obesity in Canada I really feel that these outcomes need a lot of focus and it is making this learning project morph into something more then just improving my poor cooking.  It is making me think of how I can implement more nutrition and healthy living into the everyday lives of my future students…

 

 

Enlightened and Uplifted

I was at work when I received the email that the plans for #ECMP355 had changed and I was unable to attend the lecture in person. I am glad that I was able to watch the live stream but there are some things that are better to be physically present in and I think that this would be one. With that said, I was watching the live stream in the presence of two young ladies whose communities are still feeling the impacts of the generational trauma left by the Residential School era. I could not help but look at them and wonder do they know: Where do I come from? Where am I going? Why am I here? And, who am I? Unfortunately, I know that they cannot and I will explain why later.

Justice Sinclair’s lecture impacted me as a future teacher, a youth worker, a parent and as a Canadian. There were so many moving parts for me as I listened to him address this topic I do not really know how to write this post without including more then just how it will impact me as a teacher. I guess because how all these moving parts work will be a part of who I will be as a teacher.

My son is Metis. You would not know to look at him. He has blonde hair, blue eyes and could get sunburnt on a cloudy day.   His physical features do not change that his grandfather is a proud Metis person that works developing First Nations curriculum for Regina Public Schools, or that his mom/uncle/aunt are all teachers that are proud of who they are as Metis. I do not know if my son is proud to be Metis. We have never talked about it. I always just assumed that this was something he and his mother discussed or that if he had questions that our relationship was strong enough that he would just ask. It never occurred to me that, due to the system that has been created from colonization and the lack of education that discusses the true history of Canada, my son may not know or even feel comfortable talking to me about his cultural heritage. This is important because his dad, step-mom and sisters are not Metis, they have not been taught about the negative legacy of Residential Schools. More important to this is my lack of focus to promote and foster a connection to his culture in my home. I need to ensure that I create an environment for him that allows him to unequivocally answer the questions that Justice Sinclair proposed in his lecture.

I have spent a third of my life working with at-risk youth from all across Canada. Some of my middle years classmates are probably tired of hearing me discuss some of these experiences but 13 years of working with young people is undeniably the biggest reason why I wanted to come back to school and become a teacher. Listening to Justice Sinclair discuss the current state of the Child Welfare System in Canada was so important. As an audience we were very fortunate that he spent time discussing it. He referenced a system that is taking children away from families and putting them in care of people that in many cases are not improving the quality of life of the children. More importantly, he stated that there is little to know effort to improve the environment of the families and the communities where these children are being taken from. I hope that anyone reading this can make the connection of how similar this situation is to what we as a Nation are trying to reconcile for. I believe Justice Sinclair used the term “broken” when discussing the current child welfare system and I could not agree more.

With that said, I do not feel that what I have done professionally up to this point is part of the problem. The people that I work with and the agency that I work for do exceptional work with the young people that come into our program and I am extremely proud of the relationships I have built personally with these youth. The most common issue that connects to what Justice Sinclair was discussing occurs when these youth are ready to transfer home after they have often been successful in our programs. As an agency we try very hard to incorporate families in the treatment of the youth but often little or no support is being given to the families and communities. Since there is not much being invested to help these families and communities, the young people often struggle and fall back into the same negative patterns that they were facing before coming into treatment. I used to blame the families and communities for the relapses of the youth that worked so hard to get their lives back on track. These past 2 years of education have allowed me to understand that I was projecting blame at the wrong people for these setbacks. Justice Sinclair reinforces this by saying that no amount of money will change the outcomes of communities that are trying to heal unless the system itself changes. I do not know what this system needs to look like, but I know that for healing to occur for indigenous communities the system of taking children away from their families for whatever reasons cannot continue to exist.

As a teacher and a Canadian, Justice Sinclair’s words elevated the importance of what is being taught to us in the Faculty of Education. If we are all Treaty people then that message needs to be delivered to everyone about what needs to be accomplished for our country to become whole. I was not educated about the true history of Canada and its relationship to Residential Schools until now. My parents were not and neither were their parents. These are not excuses to justify the lack of understanding and racial stereotypes that have developed due to a worldview taught through the lens of colonialism, it is the reality of our past. It is unfortunate that it has taken so long for us as a society to realize that we can and have to do better. Schools will be the foundation for where this change will occur and teachers will be the driving force to start this process. If our students are impacted by the lessons we teach, the process of reconciliation can build momentum. This momentum could break down stereotypes and misconceptions that have been built up from limited and misguided education on First Nations issues for generations. Which will hopefully provide Indigenous and non-Indigenous people with more effective ways to build a stronger relationships and communities with one another.

Everything that I have discussed in this post so far brings me back to the young ladies that were with me while I listened to Justice Sinclair. I am hopeful that as I continue to work with them that I can help answer the questions that were proposed: Where do I come from? Where am I going? Why am I here? And, who am I? The reason why that they are unable to answer all these questions is because of the complexity of their situations that has been created by Residential Schools and an inadequate social system that seems to mirror, in some ways, the processes of assimilation that were established in Residential Schools. They know where they are from and they know that they want to go home.  As a person that now has a greater insight into why there is so much complexity in their lives, I need to become a part of the process to help answer the last 2 questions. The only way to do that is by embracing my role as a teacher and go through a process of education with them. I do not think that I can say that I will educate them because I know that as I talk to them about their communities and experiences they will be teaching me just as much as I teach them…Hopefully through time as they discover the answer to “who they are”, I will be someone that has connected to them in this journey. Because they will undeniably be a part of who I will be as a teacher

Learning Project #2 Ribs off the bone

Firstly due to some unforeseen work issues there is a bit of a Goof in the video.  Part of this learning project is suppose to be about having meals prepared so my family does not eat out so much.  I say in the first video that I am not going to be home for supper, but obviously I am. I do not want to taint this learning project with lies so I felt I should come clean.

On the menu is slow cooker fall off the bone ribs.  Another recipe that I pulled off of pinterest. This was definitely the best meal I have cooked maybe ever.

I wanted to provide proof that I am not just hitting up Tony Roma’s after feeding the other ribs to the cat.   Here is the proof.

This is what they looked like in the slow cooker when I got home from class.

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And the reaction from my critics…

I think that they were a hit.  Lucy showing off rib fingers.

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I am tackling pork chops next on the BBQ.  I am really going to focus on calories for the next meal by cooking without a lot of additives.  Hopefully my critics are not to tough on me.

Honey Garlic Learning Project

Well here we go.  I am going to be posting a whole bunch of these all at once because I taped some of these a month ago but forgot how to upload to youtube, blah, blah, blah, procrastination…

My first recipe to get things rolling I got off of pinterest. I have not been to inventive yet with the videos but my daughters commentary on the food is hilarious.

IMG_4944          IMG_4945  This is supper!!!! Here is the reaction and introduction of my food critics.

I am pretty happy with how this all turned out.  I am hoping that after the next couple posts that I have prerecorded that I will have a little more excitement in the kitchen.

 

Valen…I mean Friendship Day

I know this is not a tech related post for a tech focussed class, but I will try and throw in some new (to me) tech stuff like a video or something.  So innovative Andrew, I know…

I am writing this to elicit as many opinions as possible because I am pretty hard in my stance on the issue of changing the names and celebrations of holidays in public schools in Saskatchewan.  I want to know if I am being insensitive or ignorant on the issue, so feel free to let me have it if you think that I am way off base.   I think that this issue presents an interesting topic to discuss because we all have different backgrounds but we all share 2 things in common.  We all want to be teachers (and some of us will teach in the public system) and we are all Canadian.

I will make my points but keep in mind my opinion comes from the perspective of a parent, a freelancing Christian background, a BA in history, a perspective teacher and a public school alumn from Regina.

  • The Christian part is included because I do not want to devalue the fact that a lot of the celebrations in schools are based on Christian holidays.  In the Catholic Shcool system, where I interned, these days were a ton of fun.  There were a variety of student led activities, dances and project base learning around the holidays.  The fact that I am not an avid church goer is important because it does not bother me that these events are being called something different for the sake of religion.  It is that students are not allowed to wear costumes, decorate trees or exchange cards with cheesy puns on them.
  • As a parent and public school alumn, it bothers me because I can remember how much fun it was to dress up, get a Valentine from a crush, get crushed because I did not get one from said crush, miss a bunch of boring subjects because you were making Christmas decorations, etc.  I know that as a teacher these things seem unimportant, but when I was participating with students in these art projects in my internship it was a ton of fun and reminded me of how much I enjoyed them as a student.  I feel that my kids are missing out on some experiences that I cherished growing up.
  • The last point deals with my background in History.  I took my fair share of Canadian History courses and I remember learning a lot about Canadian identity.  It is a very debatable concept because often Canadians sometimes are at a loss at what makes us Canadian.  If you feel I am out to lunch, watch “Being Canadian” a documentary by Rob Cohen.  I would argue that these holidays in our school are an experience that connects us to our national identity.  I asked both my grandparents and parents if these events were going on when they were in elementary school and both parties smiled and talked about costumes they wore and songs they sang at Christmas concerts.

This is not just something that is happening in Saskatchewan or Canada.  There was an article a couple weeks ago in the CBC about a school in Minnesota that has done away with celebrating these events also.  The article talks about how South Park is even taking jabs at this idea by introducing a character called PC principal (have not seen it).

I feel that inclusion is a very important part of school.  All students should feel that their culture and identity is being respected at school without fear of being bullied or excluded.  With that said, I have a story about our daughters first babysitter who was a new Canadian from Pakistan. About a week before Halloween she asked me what she needed to do to get ready for the 31st.  We talked back and forth for awhile and she was excited about dressing her kids up and experiencing this.  I never once got the impression that she felt religion was a part of it.  She knew that it was about having fun, getting dressed up, eating unhealthy food and potentially having to deal with dental bills that are no longer covered in the Canadian Health care system.

So am I out to lunch?  What are our roles as teachers if we feel one way or another about this in the schools we teach at?  I am curious to hear how other people feel about this.  I did not do a ton of research about what other public school systems are doing in Canada, but I assume it is similar.  This is just something that I felt people would have opinions on and that we will be dealing with if and when we get jobs (maybe I will be looking harder for one or converting to Catholicism after this post).

To E or not to E(portfolio)

During reading week I had my first experience about whether or not to share my e-portfolio in an interview.  Due to a lack of technical fortitude I chose to take in a hard copy ( I am such a chicken).  After getting everything organized and ready to present in my portfolio, I felt confident that I would be able to use it to represent my accomplishments and abilities as a perspective teacher.  When I sat down with the interviewer and things started to get rolling, I could tell very early on that the interviewer did not care at all about this majestic black leather binder that I had spent hours on preparing…

This is not to say that I could not have shared some things at certain points from my portfolio or that the interviewer did not care that I had examples of the hard work that I put in during my internship.  I just think that they were more concerned with my ability to answer questions and communicate.  Nevertheless, I was surprised that there was not much focus on it.

The previous post that I wrote was about my non existent digital identity and it was written before I even read that we were suppose to review an article on digital resumes.  Now that I have read the article and I have had this contrasting  experience with my portfolio, I think I am starting to wrap my head around the idea of why I need to be more equipped to speak to the importance of digital identity.

  • I can not refute evidence just because of my experience in one interview
  • The person that conducted the interview may not have cared about as my portfolio as a preference (I do not think it mattered whether or not it was a hard copy or digital)
  • Even if my interview experience is normal today that does not mean that things are not going to evolve to digital format sooner rather than later.
  • As things change and digital identity/e-portfolio/digital resumes become more the norm.  I need to be prepared as a teacher to guide students through this process effectively and not continue to stumble and bumble through as I am now.

The best teachers are ones that can adapt and stay relevant with current trends.  They never seem to get frazzled when a student is off task or there youtube clip won’t work or the mimeo is not projecting.  It is so important to keep up with the times and be current as a teacher, especially when it comes to digital identity or innovative tech in the classroom.  So just because I had a bit of a let down in my interview and lack of attention paid to my black book, I should not devalue the importance of the current trend of making students efficient in all things digital.

Digital Ident(envy)

One of the major themes of this ECMP class is the importance of building a positive digital identity for a teacher.  Since I have already taken a class from Katia I have already gone through my Facebook pics and deleted any inappropriate photos or posts.  Since I was in my twenties long before cells had cameras, I do not have to worry about any photo scandals popping up anytime soon (big sigh of relief).

I did a little research of myself online after our digital creeping session a few weeks back because I was curious if anything would come up.  What I found was alarming.  Apparently I am a big fat zero on Google.  What did come up was someone from Australia has stolen my name and is a programmer of some sorts for Google… This imposter had a vibrant digital identity with youtube clips, images, google+, etc.  I was flooded with jealousy and sadness that I could not even find a picture of myself on google images.

A year ago having digital anonymity would have suited me just fine. Now that I am applying for teaching jobs and knowing that 56% of employers check Facebook pages, I am worried that this computer programmer from Australia might kill me from getting a job.  I may or may not have woken up in a cold sweat after sitting down for an interview and was asked why I no longer had an Australian accent.

I know that this Ident(envy) that I am experiencing can be curbed by posting more to my blog, being more active on twitter and using the internet for more than just searching sports scores.  Time to buckle down and BLOG…