Within our ECS 100 class, we had the wonderful opportunity to have field experience – our “placement” within a school. I was placed in a Grade 6 classroom – Mrs. Crawford’s class at Wascana Plains school. To be able to have this experience within your first year in education is amazing; it confirms that I want to be in education and this is where I see myself in the future. The age group/grade that I was placed in was perfect for me because I am in a Middle Years program, being in a grade 6 classroom is where I wish to be in my actual education career. I also enjoyed that you were able to experience this placement with a partner. During the experience, you were able to have someone to lean on (that was your age) in times of need and you were able to talk about your day (etc) with someone (again) your own age. I had my placement with a good friend of mine: Ty Parisian. I have been friends with her since elementary school and we were able to be comfortable with each other and relate these experiences with our own elementary experiences.
Our ECS 100 professors made a list of questions that they wished us to think about while in our placements, I will answer some below:
Who are your learners? What does the learning environment look like? Does this remind you of your own schooling or is it very different? How does this space make you feel?
- My learners are 27 amazing grade 6 students. Mostly boys in this class, which is interesting because most of my classes growing up there was always more girls.
- My learning environment is an open concept school, but the classroom has a garage door that you can close for privacy (when I was there it was always open).
- It was different to my own schooling for most of my life because we always had separate-closed off classrooms – never an open concept. Until we moved into the new school they built in my grade 8 year at Douglas Park elementary school. Then it was a completely open concept, the “classroom” I was in didn’t even have any walls!
- This space makes me feel very free and comforted. You aren’t confined to one space or even one chair, they had couches even in the classroom! And different styles of chairs for what the students wished to sit on – such as rolling chairs, chairs that rocked, stools that moved, couches etc. The room was also very bright with large windows and many colors. It wasn’t messy because there was storage for the children’s things.
Who are the people in your school? How would you describe the school and surrounding community?
- Within my placement, I stayed in the grade 6 classroom the entire time. Ty went into the grade 8 classroom on a day that I was out of the city. The people (teachers, staff) that I met were all lovely and amazing people. The staff were kind and caring towards us and were always there to answer our questions to the fullest extent when needed.
- The surrounding community is a new area of the city, so it is still in the process of being fully developed – there is construction on many buildings in the surrounding area. The community is full of many newcomers to Canada so the families and students in the school are incredibly diverse. The surrounding area is full of beautiful brand new homes and a large park area, along with a grocery store and a gas station coming soon. This area of the city will be great for new families.
- If you would like to take a look at the school’s website click here.
How do you see teachers honoring different ways of knowing? What are the key supports that teachers rely on?
- The placement teacher I was with (Mrs. Crawford) is very open to the idea of students learning about what interests them and building on their own knowledge. While we were in her class she taught: EQ (Essential Questions) which is an accumulation of many subjects (career ed, history, health etc) and relies on the students completing tasks assigned during the given work time. Within one of the tasks assigned the students had to come up with a “big problem” within the world today and write about what the problem is and how they would try to solve this big problem. Another task assigned to the students was one about planes – the students had to research a question they had about planes and make a presentation on it (ex: where does poo/pee go on a plane, how heavy is a plane and how does it fly with all the weight etc.)
- I think teachers rely on each other and previous teachers and the internet or book resources. When in the teacher workspace you often hear the teachers talking amongst each other about projects/subjects that they are currently working on – and most of them bounce ideas off of each other or offer to help when necessary.
What are the different forms of diversity you observe within the classroom and school? What may be some forms of diversity that are not visible? In what ways do you observe the school, classrooms, and teachers honoring inclusive practices?
- Because the area of the city our school was in was a newer build community – there were many forms of diversity within the number of different cultures within our classroom. In our classroom, there were few Caucasian students.
- The diversity that I did not view personally in the school were children or students with physical disabilities such as students in wheelchairs.
- We had a student in our room that was just learning English. I saw on one occasion Mrs. Crawford taking the student around the school with English picture cards and teaching him certain words (ex: she taught him where the office was and who the secretary was etc). The other students always included him in their projects and during recess.
How is your school community honoring diversity, equity, and human rights for all students (including sexual and gender diversity) within their schools and communities?
- This school was brand new and opened its doors in September of 2017. In this school, the bathrooms are gender diverse. There is not one bathroom labeled “boys” and “girls” but instead there is a “corner” that has 4 urinal individual bathrooms (with a door) and 4 individual toilet bathrooms (with a door) and a row of sinks. Each student is able to choose which toilet they would like to use and it is private-individual little rooms.
What is being taught? How are students learning? Do students see the meaning and relevance in what they are learning? What are the stories of learning?
- On the Monday afternoons, we had our placement we got to see Numeracy, Arts Ed, Phys Ed, and EQ being taught.
- WIthin Numeracy the students are taught a short lesson on the subject and then given time to work on questions in a textbook – none complained and often knew the answers of the subject when asked. During EQ time (as explained above) students are given tasks to complete – many enjoyed what they were learning about and used their time efficiently. During Arts Ed, the students were in the middle of a dance presentation project but we had the opportunity to see a few of them performed. During Phys Ed, our class often worked with the class next door – Mrs. Kadwell’s 4/5 class. We had the opportunity to view a group project on creating gym lesson plans. The students had to work on a warm-up, game, and cool down. It was interesting to see what each group deemed as fun for Phys Ed.
- I believe that in the EQ learning students experience more of the relevance of the subjects. As they are set out to create their own individual projects and learn on their own time. One of the tasks they also had to create was a career ed task in which they had to research a job/career they may want to do when they are older and how they can get there (schools they have to attend, salary etc). This knowledge may help the students understand the relevance.