Health Education- Shout out for ideas

I was on Teachertube earlier today and found an extremely powerful video on body image. This video seemed to be created by teens and for teens and discussed issues around body image, eating disorders and societies expectations on beauty and personal image. This video got me thinking about how discussing, critiquing and learning about these real issues are so important in the classroom (if not one of the most important jobs for teachers).  I still remember what it was like to be in elementary and middle school and how real these issues and thoughts were to my life. I was incredibly unconfident about my body (as most young teenagers are) when I was in junior high and these feelings absolutely affected my experience at school. In grade eight I was blessed to have an extraordinary teacher that took it upon her self to help me work through some of my insecurities. She believed in me, validated my opinions and provided me with ideas and advice on how to improve my body image. And self-confidence this not only impacted my personal perceptions of myself, but also helped me to become more confident and involved.

One of my top priorities as a soon to be teacher is too create the connections, relationships and the classroom atmosphere which promotes acceptance, tolerance and builds confidences. I believe that an important part of this goal can be accomplished through the direct teaching and discussing of prominent life issues (such as issues of body image). The health curriculum provides a portal for these discussions and learning’s.

I feel that health education is one subject that I do not feel that I have had a lot of experience (directly) teaching, or an area that I have received a lot of resources and ideas in. This is an area of professional development for me, as I believe issues in the Health Curriculums are so important in the classroom, and they must be taught and discussed in meaningful and real ways.

So, this is a shout out to all you passionate Health Educators or teachers.

What are some resources and ideas you use to teach health related issues?

What are some ways that you would talk about body image in the classroom?


Out of this world!

Happy Friday 🙂

I always feel so tired when Friday comes (don’t we all), especially this semester because I have had no classes on Friday. This usually means that for the first twenty minutes of the day I “click around” the internet while I fource myself to wake up. This has been beneficial for my blogging because it it is usaully the time where I find the best ideas.

This morning I “stumpled upon” a National Geographic documentary on the universe ( a little nerdy- I am aware!) and uncharted plantets.

The reason why I am posting it is the first 46 seconds are really cool ( I would recomend watching them!) and secondly the video seemed to me as a great resource for us who are teaching upper elementary/middle years science ( especially grade six science!).

It also got me thinking about how much unknown there is. As a teacher I think it is important to aknolwedge that we don’t know everything. This way we are embracing the unknown and embracing the journey of learning for and with our future students and colleagues.

Learning To Draw A Face- Final Project -B

Learning Project- Final Project option B

Four months has gone by and it is time for me to say good-bye to my learning project  ( all 50 + hours!) and to ECMP 355 (which has been hands down one of the most useful and interesting classes in my university career!).

In January I set out to learn to draw. When I first found out about our learning project I instantly thought of drawing ( as I have always wanted to learn, but never thought I had the resources or the time to do so). I originally thought that this was too “cliché” of an idea so I sent a Facebook status SEARCHING for ideas.

This is what I got in reply:

How exciting. All of the responses made me think about how everyone is looking for an opportunity to learn something new, but often feels like “there is no time”, or “I have no reason to learn something “pointless””. This project has taught me that there is always time to learn and that trying new things and learning new skills is important to maintain all through out life.  I think that this type of student driven learning project could be really powerful in the classroom. It is an opportunity for students to focus on WHAT THEY WANT TO LEARN and LEARN HOW THEY WANT TO LEARN.

One thing that I struggled with throughout the project was deciding where I was going to go with it, and motivating myself to keep on top of it. When a project is so open it is sometimes hard (if you have a tendency to be a little bit scatter brained like myself) to consistently work on a given task.

I made a video that illustrates SOME of the drawings that I have created through out the semester. I have decided that although I am handing in the project this is not the end of this project for me because (as you will see through my work!) I still have a lot to learn.

Check out the following links that gives a detailed summary of each of the stages that I took.

Learning Project- description of project

Step # 1 : the Starting Point

Step # 2: locating initial resources

Step # 3- How to draw the eye!

Step # 4 – Updating what I have learnt via this learning endeavor!

Step # 5- Screen Cast on resources and learning!

Step # 6- Gaining Creativity!!

Step # 7- Shading, Value and Perspective

Step # 8 – VLOGS on Value and perspective!

Step # 9- Face Shape

Step # 10- Practicing Shading!

Step # 11- Shading with Mr. Clean!

Step# 12- A Printed Face!

Step # 13 – Revisiting Proportions and Hair!

Step # 14 – The Last Face!

One thing that I would do diffrently next time is linking my posts right after I create them. I feel that because they were in Pages and did not show up in peoples readers, they were sort of isolated from collaboartion and viewing.

I hope you enjoy, and please feel free to comment, share advice or any resources you might have.

Yours in learning and collaborating,

Emily Knowles

A Story About Collaboration!

I would just like to start out by saying I finished my LAST university class yesterday, what a bitter sweet and exciting moment! One week left and I am on my way and about to start my career. To all you soon to be teachers out there, I am sure you know how I am feeling: excited, a little scared, overwhelmed with how much there is to do before finals are over and reflective.  These last four years I have had the honor and privilege to learn from and beside thirty also soon to me Middle Years Teachers (or I should just say teachers cause we don’t know where we are going to end up!) . These thirty individuals have become my supports, my friends and soon to be my colleagues. Last night, a few of us (that could make it) got together to embrace the fact that our classes are over and our careers about to start. It was a bring- your own- meat- barbeque- and -treats kind of affair, which are personally my favorite! As we are all soon to be educators and all quite chatty, we spent a lot of the night sharing teaching and interning stories, tales from our interviews and talked about our thoughts on job hunting and substitute teaching. As I was listening to my classmates share advice, experience and ideas, I couldn’t help but to get excited. What an amazing potential the teaching profession has to collaborate. Here we were, 15 individuals, casually talking about learning and teaching. At the time it didn’t seem that significant. But as I reflect I think it was hugely significant. As a teacher, we have to view our selves as being part of a much bigger picture. We are not simply going to become individuals in a classroom teaching a collection of students. We instead are about to enter a profession that functions off connections, shared ideas and relationships. As a teacher we have the power to use the multitude of teaching networks to engage our future students with ideas and people that they normally wouldn’t be exposed to. As the night went on we began to collaborate with one of our classmates learning projects. All fifteen of us took turns learning and trying our light photography! This got me thinking about what teaching should be and how learning should be presented in the class. One of our classmates had taken the time to learn something and now was taking the time to engage and teach us. Shouldn’t that be what the classroom should be like?

This all got me so excited about the future and about my career. I am so thankful that my ECMP 355 class has provided me with the tools and networks that will help to keep me connected with my classmates and other colleagues around the world. What I need to do is conciously set out to get connected with these netowrks and learns how these diffrent tools and resources with help me in the future.


Time to Reflect- Summary of my Learning

I cannot believe that it is already the end of the semester. I do not think I have ever had a semester that has been so exciting, so busy and so bittersweet. I feel that there has been so much going on this semester in regards to the great teaching job hunt, professional development opportunities and five of the most interesting but demanding classes I have got to take in my university career. I find my self-feeling a little bit overwhelmed and behind, which is a not a great feeling, but is the perfect time to reflect (and catch up!).

One of the most useful and eye opening classes in my five years at the University of Regina has been ECMP 355. I feel that everyday was an opportunity to learn something new, something relevant and something significant to my life as a soon to be teacher. I have created a short video using IMOVIE and Camtasia that begins to outline what I have learnt in this class. I found it hard to cover everything that I have learnt and discovered so I have included a more detailed summary bellow

ECMP 355 has really changed my view on what technology means in the classroom. Prior to the class I used technology as a way to engage my students (such as through the use of video projects, class blogs and YouTube) and as a tool to maximize their success in school and in learning (such as done through the use of the Smart Board and through educational games and videos). After this class I have learnt that technology has the potential to be much more. Technology does need to be used as a tool to aid teaching but also needs to be used as a tool to help connect students to the world. We have discussed how educators have the responsibility to connect and discover with other educators in order to meet the success of all students. Alec has provided me with the theories and resources to help make these connections. I have learnt that social networks such as Twitter, Edmodo, Schoolology, Pintrest and Facebook are places where educators can share, collaborate and connect with each other. I have realized that these tools need to be used as tools for active communication, rather then just passive viewing. This is an area that I need to improve on.

Through the class lectures and Tech Task Assignments, we have been exposed to a variety of different technologies and resources that can be used to enhance classroom experiences. I feel that the tech tasks have provided me with many new teaching ideas (such as way I could incorporate digital story telling and podcasts into the classroom). A major area of discovery for me was in regards to the search giant Google. Prior to this class I only ever used Google as a search engine as an email server. I have now learnt about Google Reader (which is where you can store all of the websites and blogs that you follow) and Google Documents.

Over the course of the semester we have had the opportunity to interact with our fellow classmates blogs. I have received numerous comments from my peers on my blog posts, all of which have been filled with insights and encouragement. This has helped me to continually update and refresh my teaching philosophy and expand my knowledge in a given area. I have also had the opportunity to read and comment other people blogs. I learnt a ton from others and felt that my classmate’s discussions got me thinking about my opinions on different educational topics. I thank everyone for their insights and their discoveries. I was constantly talking about everyone’s posts ☺ I tried to comment on at least two blog posts a week. Please see the following Google doc for some of the comments and insights that I have provided to my peers.


Thank you for watching and reading about all of my learning. Watch out for my future posts (as today alone there will be at least two) and I am dedicated to continue to blog and collaborate long after this class!!

Yours in Learning, Emily

School of Animals!

I was flicking through blogs looking for some inspiration and I stumbled upon a quote that Janelle Law had posted on her page, “everybody is a genius.but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life beleiving that it is stupid”. This famous Einstein quotation made me think about the following short story that we read in my EPHYC class:

 The Animal School

Once upon a time, the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “new world”. So they organized a school. They adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects. The duck was excellent in swimming, in fact better than his instructor, but he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming in order to practice running. This was kept up until his webbed feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming, so nobody worried about that except the duck. The rabbit started at the top of the class in running, but had a nervous breakdown because of so much make-up work in swimming. The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the treetop down. He also developed a “charlie horse” from overexertion and then got a C in climbing and a D in running. The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but insisted on using his own way to get there. At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceedingly well, and also run, climb and fly a little, had the highest average and was valedictorian. The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their children to a badger and later joined the groundhogs and gophers to start a successful private school.

This story and Einstein’s quote made me think about how importance of knowing the students in your class and their strengths and their weakness. I think that sometimes teachers try so hard to “fulfill the curriculum” and ensure “equity” in the classroom, that student’s strengths are clouded by their weakness. As teachers how can we create a classroom that uses students strengths to improve their area of weakness? As a teacher I want to liberate students and encourage their talents, interests and abilities, while also challenging them to try and improve at their areas of struggle. As a teacher I think it is important that students recognize that it is okay if they are not excellent at everything, and it is okay if they might not succeed at something at first. I think this is where differentiation and adaption’s come into play. Who is in my class? What are their learning needs and what can be done to try and help assist them in their success?

I think that the story of the animal school shows an opposite theory to this. In this fictional school all students were treated like equals but were not reated fairly. Their strengths were not valued because they were expected to perform equally well in all subject areas. The teacher of this school did not alow for students to achieve a task in their own way and put great emphasize on the student’s grades. All of the animals stopped exceeding in their areas of strength because they were forced to put all of their effort in their areas of weakness.

What do you think the role of student’s strengths should be in the classroom? How much emphasize should be put on students area of struggle? Do you think that the Animal School was structures for sucess? 


Learning project udate and a shout out to all artists/drawers!

HEY you all 🙂 So I realized that my learning project has been sort of hidden away, so I thought I would attatch the links of my progress here:

The Starting Point

Locating Resources

Learning to Draw the Eye

Learning Update

Screencast on Resources and Learning



Video Blogs on Value and Perspective 

If any one has any imput , sugestions, or expertise in this area or on my efforts PLEASE let me know! I would love to hear it – as I welcome all the help I can get.

Thank you for checking out my learning, I hope you enjoy 🙂