Archive | April, 2012

School for the Homeless

14 Apr


I absolutely LOVE Ellen and watch her videos on YouTube every once in a while when I miss the show. The other day I came across this video and was completely inspired. All the children at this school are homeless in some way, shape or form. This is a huge risk factor that children have to deal with and a lot of schools do not take the time to help the students in the way they need. Even worse, a lot of school may not even know if a child in their class is homeless. However this school is different from the norm. They provide needs such as clothes and food for the children so that they can have the opportunity to have an education without having to worry about where they will find their next meal. This school is so amazing and I hope that in the future there will be more like it.

Tech Task #7

14 Apr

Hello everyone – I know, I know, this is very late! I made it a month ago and forgot to put it up…oooops!! Anyway, it is VERY silly and goofy!! Don’t feel that you need to listen to it unless you have to!!

Final Review of My Learning Project

11 Apr

This learning journey was a lot harder than I expected it to be…learning a new language is no piece of cake! I am nowhere near fluent in Spanish, but I am so glad that I chose this as my learning project because I now know basic words and phrases that will help me on my trip to Ecuador this summer which was my goal! I am also taking a Spanish Emersion class which I found out about on the internet in the first week I am there which will help me increase my ability to speak Spanish. Anyway,  as a final post about my learning project, I want to list everything I have learned thus far!

At first of course, I started with the most simplest of things: The alphabet! Spanish uses the same letters as us but they have different pronunciations. This was an easy first step into Spanish.

I then learned my numbers. This is also a pretty basic step, but very important especially when I will be buying items from the local merchants in Ecuador. Here are the numbers I learned:

  • 0 – cero
  • 1 –uno
  • 2 –dos
  • 3 –tres
  • 4 –cuatro
  • 5 –cinco
  • 6 –seis
  • 7 –siete
  • 8 –ocho
  • 9 –nueve
  • 10- diez
  • 11 -once
  • 12 -doce
  • 13 -trece
  • 14 -catorce
  • 15 -quince
  • 16 -dieciséis
  • 17 -diecisiete
  • 18 -dieciocho
  • 19 -diecinueve
  • 20 -veinte
  • 21 -veintiuno
  • 22 -veintidós
  • 23 -veintitrés
  • 24 -veinticuatro
  • 25 -veinticinco
  • 26 -veintiséis
  • 27 -veintisiete
  • 28 -veintiocho
  • 29 -veintinueve
  • 30 -treinta
  • 40 -cuarenta
  • 50 -cincuenta
  • 60 -sesenta
  • 70 -setenta
  • 80 -ochenta
  • 90 -noventa

I also learned a lot of general phrases I would be using on my trip such as hola (hello), adios  (goodbye), por favor (please), gracious (thank you), de nada (you’re welcome),  lo siento (I’m sorry), esta bein (it’s OK),  buenos noches (good night), buenos dias (good morning), señor (sir/mister) señora (madame), señorita (miss) and hablas ingles? (do you speak English?).

My one online lesson taught me a bunch of Spanish adjectives. These can be useful when trying to describe something in my volunteer work or during the adventure part of my tour. I cannot yet remember all of them on the spot, but I have posted them around my house so that I get better practise! These are the ones I have been practising…

  • antipático- unpleasant
  • bonito- pretty
  • bueno- good/well
  • cómodo- comfortable
  • contento- happy/glad
  • enfermo- sick, ill
  • feo- ugly
  • grande- big
  • limpio- clean
  • malo- bad
  • nervioso- nervous
  • simpático- pleasant, nice
  • sucio- dirty
  • tranquilo- calm
  • viejo – old

During my stay in Ecuador I will be staying in a local families home for a week. I thought because of this that it would be smart to learn a few names of places and things in la casa (the house) so that when they are showing me around I will be able to recognize the names or in case I need to ask directions to a certain room like the bathroom. I learned la cocina (the kitchen), la cuarto de bano (the bathroom), el telephono (the telephone), la mesa (the table), la peurta (the door) and la silla (the chair).

I also learned colors in Spanish! This was more for fun than anything! The colours are as following:

  • negro- black
  • blanco- white
  • verde- green
  • azul- green
  • cafe- brown
  • gris- grey
  • rojo- red
  • rosado- pink
  • amarillo- yellow
  • anaranajado- orange

Although all these words are helpful, they do not help me to make a complete thought. In order to do this, I had to learn verbs! The first and most important one I learnt was estar and ser. Both these words mean “to be”. You must be thinking what I first though when I saw this…how can two words mean the same thing! Even thought these words mean the same thing in English, they have distinctly different meanings in Spanish. Ester is used when describing temporary aspects of objects whereas ser is used to describe things that are more permanent. The conjugations of the verbs are as following:

  • ser – to be

  • yo soy -I am
  • tú eres- you are
  • usted/él/ella es -you (formal)/he/she is
  • nosotros somos- we are
  • vosotros sois- you (familiar plural) are
  • ustedes/ellos/ellas son- you (formal plural)/they (male)/they (female) are
  • estar – to be

  • yo estoy- I am
  • tú estás- you are
  • usted/él/ella está- you (formal)/he/she is
  • nosotros estamos- we are
  • vosotros estáis- you (familiar plural) are
  • ustedes/ellos/ellas están-you (formal plural)/they (male)/they (female) are

After learning these complicated (for me!) verb forms, I was ready to make sentences! I was so excited to do so that I was texting my mom and sister Spanish sentences for the rest of the day! Of course this is only the present tense so my sentence making abilities are limites, but I now know enough to be able to get across simple thoughts to the local people  in Ecuador which was my goal! Here are some of the sentences I like to use the most:

  • Hola! Yo soy Brenna! – Hello! I am Brenna!
  • Soy de Canada. – I am from Canada.
  • Mama, tú eres bonita! – Mom, you are pretty! (My mom especially liked this one!)
  • La ceuro de bain está en la casa- The bathroom is in the house.

This is not everything, but a basic run-through of a few of the things I have learned. I hope to keep increasing my Spanish vocabulary slowly by steadily.  I know it will expand greatly while being forced to use Spanish in Ecuador! This was a great idea for a project and I am so glad that I chose to do option B because it helped prepare me for my trip plus I learned skills on where and how to self teach using technology. I want to thank Alec for this awesome opportunity!

Below are a few of my favourite resources. I guarantee they will help you if you would like to learn a few new Spanish words!

Summary of Personal Learning

2 Apr

So here it is; my final project for ECMP 355. I decided to use a program called Dipity that we were introduced to in class. Dipity allows you to create timelines that include pictures, videos, maps and even links to websites on your topic. I would recommend this website to anyone. It would be a great resource to use in the classroom when assigning a timeline project because it allows children to use a lot more than just pens and paper.

In this final project post I would also like to state how amazing it was to be able to learn with the help of my classmates in this class. his blogs really gave us the opportunity to share our knowledge with each other in a new and exciting way which is great for teachers in training. For example, I commented on a lot of people blogs to help share my knowledge with them. I asked questions to expand their thinking on their posts. I commented leaving my opinions on knitting patterns and recipes on people’s learning projects. I also led people in alternate directions of other resources when I felt that they were misinformed about something. Of course, I always left my opinion on people’s posts as well. In return, my classmates commented on my posts to help me along my learning journey. Thank you so much to everyone that took the time to read what I had to say!

Please take the time to go through my final reflection and leave some comments on what you think!

Race Controversy in “The Hunger Games”

1 Apr

I’m sure that if you have been watching any sort of social media lately that you have heard about the hit book trilogy turned into a movie called The Hunger Games. I am a HUGE fan of the books (yes, some of you may roll your eyes!) but these books are more than just a teen craze. These books teach a lot about how society and media can control us and puts the topic into an interesting perspective that children and adults alike can understand. I have even heard of some schools using them as a novel study in the classroom because of these reasons. If you have read the books, please feel free to comment on how you think these books could be either detrimental or helpful teaching resource in the classroom.

What I really want to talk about however is the recent controversy that has come up over the movie. One of the most sought over scenes of the movie was when Katniss and Rue become alliances and Katniss tries to save Rue from an almost inevitable death. This scene is definitely a tear jerker, but apparently the casting of  Amandla Stenberg made it not so much so. After watching the movie, the following was tweeted on a Hunger Games fan page: “Kk call me racist but when I found out rue was black her death wasn’t as sad. #ihatemyself.” Yes. That’s right. This girl is saying that a twelve-year-old girl being killed by the government by the hands another child is not sad because she was BLACK!! This was only one of many other comments made about the movie casting black actors, even though the novels clearly states that the characters have dark skin and eyes.

I know this is just a movie, but it shows the racism that is still rooted so deep in many individuals. This makes me so sad to think of my future students who will be of many backgrounds, races, cultures and beliefs. I want to create a classroom where everyone feels welcome, but this task seems to be a huge one with comments like this floating around in the air. I know that everyone has stereotypes. It is something that we are raised to believe, however posting these racial comments publicly takes the hate to a whole different level. What is your take on this issue? If an issue like this was brought up in class how would you handle it?

If you would like to read more about the issue, I would suggest reading the article in the link below.


Connected Learning

1 Apr

So I have finally gave in and got Twitter!! (Better late than ever) One reason I finally decided to get twitter was the help it gives me on my learning project! I am following Learn10Spanish which tweets ten new Spanish words for me to learn every day! Unfotunetly it stopped tweeting a while ago, but I still have lots of words to catch up on.I wish I would have done this sooner, but I am glad that I have done it now! If anyone has any other Spanish pages for me to follow let me know!

For now, here are my 10 words of the day!

no:no (wow, good word Learn10Spanish…..)










My Volunteer Experience

1 Apr

For my ECS 200 class, one of the requirements was that we do twenty hours of community service at a local agency. For my volunteer experience, I was placed with COPE.

For those of you who don’t know, COPE (Community Parent Education Program…I know, the acronym doesn’t match up but that is what it stands for!) is a program run through the Regina Child and Youth Centre for parents who have children with behavioral disorders such as ADHD, CD and ODD. The program works on improving the relationship between parents and their children by focusing on topics such as listening skills, anger management, giving compliments, etc. COPE is split into two segments; the parent portion and the child portion which run simultaneously. The parent portion is run by professionals such as Social Workers, psychologists, mental health therapists, school councillors, etc.  The child portion is run by a coordinator and volunteers. Each week the parents and children would concentrate on a particular topic such as giving compliments, listening, following directions, or anger management in their portion of the program. I was placed to help out in the children portion of the program.

My first day at COPE, I was nervous to say the least. I had never worked with children with behavioral disorders before and I did not know how I was going to handle 12 kids who had these disorders running around in a gym. How was I supposed to keep their attention? What if they did not want to learn? Even worse, what if the kids became violent? I was prepared for the worst.

As the children came in one by one, I started talking to them and discovered something…these children were not scary at all! They were just normal kids! Each child was eager to introduce themselves to me and engage in play. When the lesson portion of the program started, the children all sat around the circle and were excited to participate. Sure, some of the children did have some trouble paying attention at times, but this did not mean that they didn’t want to learn. They just got distracted easily! As soon as we changed the pace, we could get back their attention easily. After getting to know them, I adored every child that walked in those doors.

It makes me extremely sad to think that so many teachers in the field today probably have the same stereotypes about children with behavioral disorders as I did before I got placed in COPE. They believe that these children do not want to learn or are not capable of learning just because they learn in a different way than the norm. These teachers could not be more wrong! Once these children are given our full attention and encouragement, not only are they capable of learning, they are extremely eager and excited to learn! Society has built this huge stereotype around anyone who is different and tells us that we should be scared of these people, when in reality these children are no different from any other child. Every person learns in unique ways and COPE has taught me it is no different for children with behavioral disorders. All they need is patience and commitment.

Volunteering was a great experience. I encourage every teacher to get out there and experience new things through volunteering. It really opens your eyes to things you never realised before. What volunteer experiences have impacted you?