Week 6 Reflection: Supporting All Our Learners

Shelley Moore

This past week we had the opportunity to listen to Shelley Moore’s TED Talk, and her story about Daniel.

The message of the video emphasizes the importance of presuming competence within our students. We need to trust that our students are competent learners and that they can learn. The student that Shelley was sharing about in her TED talk was able to communicate by using the dictionary’s page numbers to show math competence by flipping through the dictionary to answer math flashcards.  As educators, we need to avoid the language and thoughts that a student is “Way too disabled” to learn.  That it is our job to find what works for the student and how they can demonstrate their learning.  As educators, it requires that we listen, and pay attention to our students. If not we become ignorant and too assuming if we believe that students cannot showcase their learning, we must get creative.

This was not the first time that I have been introduced to the knowledge of Shelley Moore.  A colleague sent me the video above a couple months ago, and I believe it tied in nicely to our conversation on lesson planning last week. “Dr. Baked Potato: How Can We Scaffold Complexity” highlights the importance of scaffolding and Universal Design for Learning and how to efficiently utilize our support teams for our students.  I have linked the Baked Potato Planning Pyramid that Shelley uses. She discusses the importance of the following goals. 

  1. Get to know the students and identify what supports they need to meet the goal.  This needs to be established before the lesson takes place.
  2. Make sure that all the students understand the most important part of the goal.  This needs to be tied to the concept of the lesson and not the activity of the lesson.
  3. Teach the different challenge options to ALL the students. This is called scaffolding complexity.
  4. Let ALL the students choose their level of challenge about how they meet the goal.

If we design our lessons this way we focus on what the students can complete rather than what they cannot complete.  This student-centered approach will allow students to take control of their own learning. 

Decolonizing Possibilities in Special Education

In Yee and Butler’s article, Decolonizing Possibilities in Special Education Services I thought that the research question of how to (re)imagine special education and inclusive education practices to address the needs of Indigenous students tied in with the Shelley Moore video and with culturally responsive pedagogy.  This article highlighted four themes to better support ALL our students.  

  1. Critical self-examination
  2. Holistic assessment measures
  3. The use of decolonizing teaching approaches,
  4. Decolonizing special education delivery service models.

Looking at themes three and four, the article highlights that using a strength-based approach and building relationships provides successful opportunities for our students. By building off student interests provides allows students to engage in learning that is relevant to themselves. Universal Design for Learning or a model such as Shelley Moore’s Baked Potato Planning Pyramid provides students autonomy and allows students to oversee their own learning. Furthermore, the article highlights the significance of relationships as a way to decolonize special education delivery service models.  Relationships with the community, schools, families, and agencies work to support all students. I believe that these relationships honour the different ways of knowing that Indigenous communities bring and work in partnership with western ideologies. Through a combination of mutual respect and relationships can we begin to honour to goals and successes of Indigenous students and all our students.

Building Off Your Thoughts: Treaty Education and Minecraft

*This post has been cross posted with Raquel Oberkirsch.

During EC&I 834 last week, Dr. Couros put us into breakout rooms so each person could share the first module of their course prototype and we could give feedback on each other’s courses. We received both positive and constructive feedback, which is already helping us rethink decisions and adjust our planning. Thank you to everyone who shared their questions, comments, and suggestions with us! 

Positive Feedback and Affirmations  

Some of the positive feedback we received included: 

  • Having students represent their learning in Minecraft Education Edition seems highly engaging and fun. 
  • Including detailed notes in the lesson plans is helpful for teachers who don’t have an in-depth knowledge of the Treaty outcomes themselves. 
  • Teaching this course as we construct it is a great way to test out the lessons and build challenges so we can improve the course as we go. 
  • Creating the build challenges in Canva is visually appealing and provides another resource for teachers to take and use. 

Constructive Feedback 

Re-Evaluating our LMS Choice  

As other people were commenting in the class Discord, there seemed to be a common theme of difficulty sharing with our school division’s preferred LMS. Many groups using Microsoft Teams were having difficulty sharing their course with the class, including us.  Although it is possible to add a guest to a Microsoft Team, we determined that the steps required to access our course are difficult to navigate if the user has limited Microsoft Teams knowledge. We were recommended to use WordPress to provide easier access to the people we are sharing our course with. WordPress will allow us to share our course openly at the National Congress on Rural Education when we present at the end of March.  We were also recommended to purchase the domain for our website but have decided to hold off until we establish the site further. 

These are some of the main reasons for the inclusion of WordPress:  

  • Easier navigation, 
  • Visually appealing and clean, 
  • Easier to openly share the resource, 
  • Provides ability for others to download and use the resource with their own classes 

However, because we are currently using the course in three classrooms that are comfortable using Microsoft Teams, we have decided to continue to use Microsoft Teams/Class Notebook with them.

Re-Structuring our Modules  

We are currently teaching these lessons to three different classes: a Grade 6/7 and Grade 7/8 classroom in Carievale and a Grade 7/8 classroom in Bienfait. The classes have different levels of experience with Minecraft Education Edition and different levels of prior knowledge about the Treaties, so we will definitely need to differentiate for each class. 

After teaching Lesson 3: Intro to the Treaty Relationship to one of the classes, we realized we might need to slow down and break topics down more. We decided to restructure our modules to ensure each lesson and corresponding build challenge focused on one topic at a time. For example, instead of teaching a lesson on Reasons for Making Treaties for the First Nations and the British Crown, we broke it down into two parts:   

  • Reasons for Making Treaties – First Nations Peoples 
  • Reasons for Making Treaties – British Crown 

Here is what we came up with for our re-structured overview:  Learning Plan PDF 

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Content  

Currently, this is a blended course with synchronous instruction along with recorded instructional videos for students to access if needed. So far, we have created two Minecraft tutorial videos for students, which can be found here

One question we asked for feedback on was: Do you think we should include some instructional videos on the Treaty Ed/Social Studies lesson content?  Or is it okay not to since we are planning to teach those lessons synchronously?  

Dr. Couros said we could include some Treaty Ed/Social Studies lesson videos as a scaffold for teachers if we wanted to, but he cautioned that we wouldn’t want teachers to just take an entire course of video lessons and use that content with their students. He reflected that this content is something teachers need to dig into and teach themselves, as it is much more impactful for students if these lessons come from their own teacher.  

We agree with this feedback and will continue with our plan to teach the lessons synchronously! We might record one lesson or part of a lesson just to share an example, but most of the recorded videos will be tutorials that walk students through different Minecraft skills. 

Extension Opportunities  

Some of the feedback we received is how we can provide extension activities for our students. Dr. Couros gave us a suggestion of looking at the Mojang Commercial Usage Guidelines. These guidelines would provide excellent opportunities to discuss Digital Citizenship, the importance of looking at data privacy, and terms and conditions.  

Another suggestion was the opportunity to explore literacy connections through Minecraft and Treaty Education. Minecraft has become increasingly popular and has extended passed just being a game. There are numerous books that have been written with Minecraft characters and Minecraft worlds as settings.  Students could explore Treaty Education and Minecraft in fan fiction writing.  

Students could also learn how to code using the code builder within Minecraft.  These coding skills could be applied to help students build their creations more efficiently and learn 21st century skills.  

Authentic Representation 

Another suggestion from the class was that we need to be aware of authentic representation.  Within Minecraft it will be difficult to represent an authentic view of Treaties due to the characters that can be used in the game.  The image below highlights some of the choices of characters to be used as NPCs (non-player characters).  

In our search to find characters that could be better to reflect diversity in Minecraft, we stumbled upon this post in the Minecraft Education Community. 

I want to give feedback about the character options (skins?). Most of my students are Black and/or Latino and there is a very limited selection of characters who look like them. There are a few non-white characters in most of the skin packs but a few, including “Town Folk” and “City Folk”, are all white. Characters like the judge, lawyer, pilot, and scientist are only available in the lightest skin tone. I’m wondering what message this sends to my students and other Minecraft players. 

Emma Wingreen

Similarly, we want our students to be able to build representations that avoid stereotypes and reflect accurate, respectful portrayals of Indigenous peoples and Treaty negotiations. 

We are looking into adding more Indigenous representation in our Minecraft worlds, including Indigenous languages and animals, plants, and trees relevant to our area in Saskatchewan.  We know this is possible due to the recent world, Manito Ahbee Aki, which was released by Louis Riel School Division and Microsoft Canada in the middle of February. 

They created an amazing immersive learning experience that celebrates Anishinaabe culture with extremely accurate representations of Manito Ahbee, “a site located in Manitoba’s western Whiteshell area, before European contact in North America”.  

Thank you to everyone who provided this helpful feedback. If you have any comments, questions, or additional suggestions, please let us know in the comments! 

Week 5 Reflection: Gender and Sexual Diversity

Since our last class, we had the opportunity to attend a gender and sexual diversity workshop put on by URpride called “Building Positive Spaces for Gender and Sexually Diverse Students.”  As a cisgender, straight male, I have not experienced oppression based on my gender and sexual orientation.  However, teaching and growing up in rural Saskatchewan, I have witnessed gender and sexuality oppression.  Much of the oppression that I have seen in schools revolves around the lack of education on GSD. This includes improper terminology and the use of slurs often by male students as a form of toxic masculinity. I reflect on one experience regarding diverse books purchased for our schools on the topic of GSD. For the fear, of what I presume, of parent backlash, the school was reluctant to put the books on the shelf. This situation brings to light the resources we use and how we privilege the mainstream, the status quo, and continue to oppress those who do not align with the status quo. 

As an ally there are steps that we can take regarding supporting members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Including:

  1. Respect people’s privacy.
  2. Respect people’s identities.
  3. Use proper names and pronouns.
  4. Stand up for gender and sexually diverse youth and colleagues.
  5. Be visible in your solidarity.
  6. Value, respect, and push for gender-neutral environments.

I believe these six steps are not strenuous things to accomplish.  As educators, we have a responsibility to support and provide safe spaces for ALL our students. As Meg discussed by not discussing gender and sexual diversity in the classroom it then becomes part of the hidden curriculum.  When this happens, we are privileging the dominant narratives. 

As a former elementary school teacher, one thing that I made sure of is to ensure that I had a diverse classroom library collection that featured voices from oppressed and marginalized groups.  I continue to choose books for our school division’s online library that represent these voices. However, I believe more needs to be done to ensure there are safe spaces for our students.  This includes mandatory training for teachers on a workshop like “Building Positive Spaces for Gender and Sexually Diverse Students” and a willingness to have open conversations and dialogue on welcoming and supporting all students.

Let me “Explain Everything”: A Screencasting Interactive Whiteboard Tool

Explain Everything an Overview

Explain Everything is a digital whiteboard platform where teachers can present information to students in engaging ways.  Explain Everything would be a staple app in a flipped classroom setting. There are two different versions of Explain Everything.  One is Explain EDU, and the other is Explain Everything Whiteboard. For the sake of this post, we will be looking into Explain EDU because it is currently the version that I have access to.  However, some key differences are explained in this video.

Key Differences Between Explain Everything and Explain EDU

Explain EDU is a one time cost of $13.99 a device, whereas the standard Explain Everything App has three plans.  $0 with limited features and only able to produce 3 projects. $24.99 a year for individual teachers and small groups, and $8.99 per user per year for the EDU Group package has additional features but requires a minimum purchase of 10 seats.

When exploring a new app, I often refer to Commonsense Media for ideas of how to use the tool and how other teachers are using it.  Be sure to check out their review of Explain Everything as well.

Strengths of Explain EDU: 

  • Ability to embed photos, websites, videos, equations, audio easily into the project.
  • Ability to import content such as documents, images, videos, PowerPoints
  • An essential tool for presenting content.
  • Record your screen and export it as an MP4 file, and easily added to an LMS.
  • Interact with the recording, and do minor edits right within Explain EDU, such as fading in and out the audio.
  • Enhance Explain EDU and app smash with another app such as Edpuzzle to create even better interactive content for students.
  • User friendly – I was able to navigate the basics of the program very easily.
  • Great “Quick Tips” section.
  • A “From Our Blog” section that highlights content about Explain EDU: check out the post on Explain Everything and Edpuzzle! (Be sure to check out these great analyses of EdPuzzle by Trevor and Catherine)
  • There is a free Explain Everything Academy – Screencasting and Whiteboarding course through Udemy.
  • Extensive helpdesk.
  • Pair the app with a stylus or an apple pencil and get students to showcase their learning.
  • Ability to create multiple slides.
  • Create GIFs

Potential Downfalls of Explain EDU:

  • Costly – Explain Everything is a costly app.
  • Other tools such as Microsoft Whiteboard, Seesaw, and/or Flipgrid could replace Explain EDU and are free alternatives.
  • Some time needs to be invested in learning how to properly use the app.
  • Many of the examples of projects look professionally done. (Teachers don’t have time for the graphic design that goes into creating a screencast!)
  • A free version is limited to 3 projects.
  • Very few template options

Potential for Use in Education

Explain EDU can be compared to an easy to use PowerPoint alternative easily accessible on the iPad. I would strongly encourage that teachers check out Explain EDU for its ease of use.  This tool would be extremely beneficial in a Flipped Classroom or other asynchronous learning environments.  Teachers would be able to produce content and upload the content to their LMS.  In a classroom with multiple iPads with Explain EDU, students could explore the tool’s use as a presentation tool.  A way to make tutorial videos for students, or even just as a formative assessment tool to highlight student voice in the classroom.  The two examples that I show below are from the Explain Everything blog and deserve to be highlighted again.  This third-grade teacher shows a great example of an introduction of forces of flight in Explain Everything.

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Teachers can use Explain EDU to provide feedback on student work.  Record short, constructive feedback videos and sending them to students.

I have seen teachers utilize Explain EDU in a high school math class.  The program’s ease to record exactly what is written and said by the teacher and share that accordingly.  This provides an opportunity that is not available with a regular whiteboard. Within the Explain Everything (Not Explain EDU) their are further opportunities to collaborate and work on the content together on separate devices in live time.  Similar to how Google Docs would operate.

Final Thoughts

Explain EDU provides educators with a tool that allows them to create explainer videos, constructive feedback, visual presentations, and formative assessment opportunities.  This tool would be a great all-in-one tool for the creation of these types of videos.  However, if I was in the classroom. I would use Flipgrid, Microsoft Whiteboard, or Seesaw tools to explore many of the options available in Explain EDU for free.

Week 4: Gender Inclusivity

This week the articles read were Welcoming Gender Diversity in the Early Years by Timmons and Airton, Can We Learn Queerly?: Normativity and Social Justice Pedagogies by Loutzenheiser, and lastly the section on The Gender Politics of Curriculum Reform by Pinar.

Reading the work of Timmons and Airton highlighted the responsibility that early childhood educators have regarding providing an environment free of gender identity and gender expression discrimination. It addresses the guiding documents in Ontario ELEC, Early Learning for Every Child Today, and HDLH, How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years. I thought that it was interesting that the articles did not address childhood gender diversity directly. I began to question what resources that Saskatchewan has in regards to gender diversity. Saskatchewan Ministry of Education in 2015 had created the Deepening the Discussion Gender and Sexual Diversity, a document developed to “support individuals and communities to engage in meaningful discussions and actions to respond to the experiences, perspectives and needs of students and families who are gender and/or sexually diverse” (Saskatchewan Ministry of Education, 2015, p 1). However, with these documents both in Saskatchewan and Ontario, we need to ensure that teachers know these documents and provide support for implementing gender-diverse and gender-expansive practices into the classrooms. We need to work towards what Loutzenheiser states, “uncover and analyze how the classroom is already sexualized, heterosexualized, and racialized” (p. 135).

This article provides excellent suggestions that I believe ALL educators should refer back to for gender-expansive teaching practices. Timmons and Airton suggest:

  • Provide accurate information.
  • “Go with it” when children are exploring gender in playful ways.
  • Affirm children’s gender identities and gender expression.
  • Find teachable moments.
  • Examine material through a gender-expansive lens.

Loutzenheiser analyzed tolerance, how tolerance reinforces the dominant norm and can only exist if there is another (p 123). Further, tolerance continues to center the dominant narrative and promotes a utopian view of society resulting in “sweeping otherness under the carpet” and providing a good society view.

A Look at Gender Politics and Curriculum Reform

Pinar addresses some interesting points regarding gender and physical activity in the height of the Cold War. This section of the textbook, discussed is a physical fitness program put in place by the Kennedy administration. This program promoted physical activity and the need to have “hard” American boys, as there was growing concern that the American population was becoming too soft. However, Pinar highlights that this program was directed towards the white male, as the concern was around manhood. However, black males and the stereotype of aggressively were considered “hard” enough. There was great concern for the feminization of boys in the Cold War era. Even Batman and Robin were said to pose a threat to masculinity.
I would like to assume that this Kennedy-inspired mindset rapidly spread across western countries and continues to play out in the lack of gender-diversity that we see in society and in our schools. The article highlighted the subtleness that gender roles and stereotypes are embedded within our society.

Week 3: World Travelling, Science as a Humanity, and Art and Culture

Playfulness, “World”-Travelling and Loving Perception

The article Playfulness, “World”-Travelling and Loving Perception by Lugones discusses the importance of cross-cultural and cross-racial loving. I will be honest this article took me a lot to get through.  I often found myself going back and rereading parts to try to understand exactly what the author was addressing.  The paper addresses the experience of “outsiders” to mainstream society.  Lugones, highlights that women need to “learn to love each other by learning to travel to each other’s ‘worlds'” (1987, p. 4).  It is important to identify with people by travelling to each other’s worlds.

To me, the article highlights the racial differences among women in our mainstream society and the importance for women to see themselves in other women.  However, Lugones highlights the cases of White/Anglo women who are not able to see the “loving perception” of other non-White/Anglo women and continue to be complacent. This is an area that needs addressing as we move towards racial equality.  The concept of world-travelling emphasizes the importance of empathy and beyond. It requires truly understanding from another worldview.

Legitimating Lived Curriculum: Toward a Curricular Landscape of Multiplicity

The chapter Legitimating Lived Curriculum: Toward a Curricular Landscape of Multiplicity, by Aoki highlighted something of interest to me.  “Science must be taught as a humanity” (Aoki, 2005, p. 199).  This came as a response to a report of highschool graduates and the dropout rate of these students in science programs.  What needs to be done is to disturb the landscape, listen to the reasons why students are dropping out of graduate-level science programs. In Aoki’s conclusion, they state,

Curriculum developers and curriculum supervisors should head thoughtful practicing teachers who already seem to know that the privileging of the traditional C & I landscape that offers possibilities by, in part, giving legitimacy to the wisdom held in live stories of people who dwell within the landscape. (Aokim 2005, p. 214).

This quote puts teachers in the position to use their understanding of the curriculum, and dwell between the curriculum to address the needs of the students and finding appropriate ways to engage them in the content. By including the humanities in STEM fields teachers are able to address important issues facing education, such as democracy, and citizenship.  This article ties in nicely with the next chapter on the Harlem Renaissance.

Chapter 3: The Harlem Renaissance

This chapter highlights the need for creative action and ties in with the previous article by Aoki.  The chapter highlights the Harlem Renaissance including African-American intellectuals and artists that used art and culture as a form of cultural revolution.  The chapter ties in from the previous chapter and discusses the enemy of democracy, “the habit of fixed and numerically limited classifications that are ‘quantitative’ and ‘comparative'” (Pinar, 2020, p. 39). Tying this into the commodification and economization of education, where corporations and big business continue to exploit education. However, for there to be change we must address the power relations that reside in education that allow it to stay status quo. There was a powerful quote comparing the teacher’s role to change in education to a midwife. “We teachers can – subtly, indirectly, over generations – midwife a cultural renaissance. That is the progressive project of public education” (Pinar, 2020, p. 41). In the work of Du Bois, the cosmopolitan culture was to create a raceless society without erasing the historical experience of racism that unites all Black and colonized peoples.  In addition, Locke advocated for a community in which peoples of colour could enter into conversations about colonialism and White supremacy. From a K-12 education perspective, I believe that this model of a classroom provides opportunities for culturally relevant pedagogy, and safe spaces to have these conversations with students.

In addition, the article addresses the tension between STEM and the liberal arts. This tension is an interesting dynamic that of chapter authors argue the quantitative nature of STEM fields does not address the humanities and arts central to learning. In the end, Western society is privileging STEM thinking,  as compared to the arts and humanities.  As a result in education, we see politicians and profiteers benefitting from education, and driving policy and the curriculum, leaving behind teachers’ input into these crucial areas.

Course Prototype: Treaty Education and Minecraft Education Edition

Here we go! Over the past few months, I have been trying to determine how to incorporate Treaties and Minecraft together. Needless to say, I am very excited to develop this course! For this course, I am teaming up with Raquel Oberkirsch. Raquel and I have had numerous opportunities to work together in previous classes and also have the opportunity to collaborate and co-teach often as well.

Image from: education.minecraft.net

A Brief Overview

This course draws upon the passions of both of us. Raquel has a strong understanding and focus and understanding around Treaty Education. For myself, I can easily draw upon numerous forms of educational technology in our course, specifically Minecraft Education Edition. We are designing a Treaty Education experience that will allow the students to showcase their learning in Minecraft while providing assessment choices and a safe environment to learn 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. Furthermore, students will be able to continue to develop their understanding and knowledge of the spirit and intent of the Treaties and learn how to become better Treaty partners.

This course can cover a wide range of outcomes in grades 7 and 8 the Treaty Education outcomes, social, math and ELA.

Be sure to check out our full plan below!

Course Overview: Treaty Education and Minecraft Education Edition 

Blended Learning and Online Learning with Special Guests: Dean Vendramin, Matteo Di Muro, and Daniel Dion

Personal Experience with Online and Blended Learning

Looking and reflecting on my role back in March 2020 and the switch from face-to-face instruction to emergency remote teaching, was chaotic and stressful.  As an Instructional Technology consultant whose position is to support teachers with implementing technology in the classroom, I knew from the announcement of school closures that our team was going to be busy.  I remember waking up being excited to support many teachers and encourage teachers to find their comfort zone in the stressful situation. My job became supporting teachers in the transition to online teaching.  This mainly included the startup and assistance of setting up of Microsoft Teams and the training of teaching utilizing Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 for emergency remote teaching. I know the technology well and have the skills and abilities to show teachers how it works. However, as someone who has not physically had my own classroom for the past 3 years and has limited experience teaching online or blended learning it is difficult.

When I was teaching I would run small group instruction for both my math and my English Language Arts classes.  These classes would often involve technology that was weaved purposefully into my lessons. We utilized in small groups Mathletics targeting specific math skills, and those skills would be tracked to determine growth. However, we never had the opportunity to run something like a Google Classroom, Class Team, or even a Seesaw Class that provided more opportunities rather than just the posting of content as a way to inform parents.

What is Blended Learning

When we were posed the question of what is blended learning?” in our recent ECI834 class. I immediately thought of kids learn face-to-face at school and then they use technology at home to engage with the class further. However, this definition was quickly altered and changed after our discussion on Tuesday night.

Blended learning is flexible and can take on many different forms.  As discussed in class, Wikipedia provides this definition of Blended Learning:

An approach to education that combines online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online with traditional place-based classroom methods. It requires the physical presence of both teacher and student, with some elements of student control over time, place, path, or pace.

The picture that was shared with us showing the spectrum of blended learning, as it falls in between the face-to-face and fully online teaching.

This week I had the opportunity to have a  discussion with some of my former colleagues from other graduate courses. A shout out to Dean Vendramin, Matteo Di Muro, and Daniel Dion on a great discussion regarding blended learning.

 

Technology Integration into Blended Learning

We all know of the vast amount of technology that we can incorporate into blended and online learning environments.  It is important that teachers find technology tools and techniques that work for their teaching model and style.  Dean, Matteo, Daniel and I discuss various technology that we have seen teachers use successfully in blended learning environments.

  

Be sure to check out Daniel’s post for more of our discussion, and be sure to check out my Twitter on our most recent podcast further discussing blended learning.

Week 2: Curriculum and Connection to the Land

We Are All Treaty People

Cynthia Chamber’s article, “We Are All Treaty People”: The Contemporary Countenance of Canadian Curriculum Studies explores her family’s connection to the land, impact on the land, and the perpetuation of colonialism.  The past semester, I took a class on culturally relevant pedagogy that really focused on the importance of the issue of land rights, and treaty rights.  One of the questions that were asked was to situate ourselves and to think deeply about how we are connected to the land.

I listened to Jerome Cranston deliver an online lecture regarding systemic racism in education my last semester.  He shared something that stays with me, “There is a need to discuss the importance of developing a sense of one’s own identities to understand what it means to be white and how whiteness has been privileged”. I grew up on Treaty 4 land my entire life.  Currently working in Estevan, and living in a small rural town in Saskatchewan. In my summers I enjoy existing on the land and exploring the land. I began to question, how have I benefitted at the expense of Indigenous peoples through my violence of the land, and though the violation of Treaty rights. This is still something I am continuing to work through. My family was an oil family.  My father worked in the oil field and made a living that allowed my mother to work part-time and stay at home to take care of my brother and me. My grandfather on my mother’s side was an elevator agent, and my grandfather on my father’s side was a farmer.  I have benefitted from the exploitation of the land and through a system of meritocracy that has ultimately resulted in much of the success and experiences I have had today.  I am just starting to learn more of the history of my family to truly understand the relationships with the land and how I can continue to educate myself on how to become a better Treaty Partner.

“I do not want to take for granted my treaty rights and my treaty responsibilities; and I do not want this for my children, or my grandchildren either. I do not want to take for granted this opportunities I have been given to live differently than my ancestors”

– Cynthia Chambers

What is Curriculum Theory?

William Pinar’s What is Curriculum Theory provides an understanding to those in education learning exactly that Curriculum Theory. Pinar defines curriculum theory as, “the scholarly effort to understand curriculum”.  Furthermore, curriculum theory “provides emphasis on what is one teaches, rather than on the how“. Of course the how is important, however, Pinar explains the importance of the need to move away from practices that such as standardized tests and measurements that lead to the lack of creation, critical thinking, and originality (all of which are 21st-century learning skills).

One key connection that I made between these two chapters is the importance of truth-telling. As Pinar states, “Curriculum theory speaks from actual individuals subjective experience of history and society”. Without the integration of our own experiences combined with others’ experiences, or alternative worldviews we exist in a world where systemic racism and colonialism thrive.  The curriculum needs to move from a system that focuses on the emphasis of outcomes to a system that promotes skill-building and experiences through social learning.

 

A Bit About Me, Curtis Bourassa

I am a white settler currently living and working on Treaty 4 land in southeastern Saskatchewan. I grew up in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, where I went to school, and then moved to Regina to take my undergrad in Education to focus on middle years.  After my degree, I moved to the small rural town of Ogema, Saskatchewan (home of the best Italian style wood-oven pizza and delicious barbeque food).  In Ogema, I taught grades 4/5 and 6/7.  Then moving to an Instructional Technology position I have been in now for the past 3 years.

Working as an Instructional Technology Consultant for South East Cornerstone Public School Division. I like to tell the students that I work with that I think I have the best job in the school division.  My job varies from day to day but often allows me to communicate, support, and collaborate with teachers learning how to best implement technology in their classes.  One of the big things that I am working on in our school division is rolling out a new gradebook, attendance, and communication system. Outside of work and grad studies’ busyness, I like to try to unplug and spend time outdoors.  My fiancée and I love to camp in the summer and are excited to continue to explore our country and our province.  We are trying something new and have decided to invest in some backcountry camping.  Throughout the pandemic, we have also planted a garden from seed, which we are also looking forward to starting in the upcoming month.

My goals for ECI834 are as follows:

  • Engage with each other to a greater extent through the reading of everyone’s blogs.
  • Collaborate with those within the course and outside the course and share the materials found for our courses that we are creating.
  • Learn strategies and techniques to provide engaging learning experiences for students through online/blended learning.

I look forward to learning from everyone this semester! Be sure to connect with me on Twitter.