The Meat and Potatoes

Hey everybody!

Thanks for checking out my eighth learning project post! I am really excited to show you what I have been working on this week. 

Last week, I created the content for the first module and created templates for the presentation. We are finally getting to the meat and potatoes and I am so excited! It is really starting to come together and I am really excited about the positive feedback I have received. 

This week, I worked on the presentation! I finished the slideshow portion of this presentation, but there is still a lot more to be done. I would like the entire presentation to be voiced over, and at some points I think it would be beneficial to have the speaker on the screen. I have not quite started on those pieces yet, so that will be my task for next week! Additionally, I need to create knowledge checks to guide the participants and ensure they are actively listening. As of right now, I would like the knowledge checks to appear at the end of each module. 

Anyway, when I was completing the slideshow, I wanted to make sure there were minimal words on the screen. The participants should not be reading the slides, they should be listening to the speaker! That being said, I would like to make sure that there is an option for subtitles because I know that some individuals need or prefer them. I also utilized the animation function to have my text appear on the screen at different times. This way, participants will not be distracted by the points that are yet to come, but will be forced to listen to the point at hand. 

To document this portion of my learning project, I wanted to create a time lapse! I have never created one before, so I was not quite sure how to start. I looked for a free online tool that would record my screen and automatically convert it to a time lapse, but I could not find anything. After a quick google search, I realized that if I simply recorded my screen, I could upload those videos into iMovie to create the timelapse. So, I used Screencastify to record my screen and then attempted to import the videos to iMovie. 

Screencastify automatically saves recordings to a folder on google drive, and so I downloaded all of my files from there. I have never truly used iMovie, and so I did not know which type of files could be imported. It turns out that the files saved from google were not compatible with iMovie, and so I tried to use multiple websites to convert them to .mp4. That seemed to be taking forever and I could not seem to get it right, so I went back to Screencastify instead of google to see if there was something else I could do. It turns out, Screencastify has the option to export as an .mp4 and so I just used that!

After finally uploading my files to iMovie, I found an article that helped me to adjust the speed on the videos. I followed that and increased the speed of the videos by 2000% because that seemed to be fast enough. From there, iMovie had an option to export directly to YouTube. That was super handy and made the export process much easier. 

Ultimately, I was very confused by iMovie. But like everything, there was a quick tutorial for me to follow which helped immensely!

I am really excited to continue working on this module and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together!

Thanks for reading!

x Paige Hamann

Better Late Than Never

Hey all you cool cats and kittens!

I think I might have seen one too many Carol Baskin costumes this past week, but that’s okay!

Welcome to my 7th learning project post: the one that is almost a week late. This post is very late, but stuff happens and I am learning to be okay with that. Because I posted late, I was able to have more than just my content notes (and those are really boring), so I guess that is a bonus!  The two weeks before reading week are always loaded with due dates, and so I am not going to beat myself up over this… so on we go!

I am finally ready and able to start creating content for module 1 of my course! It is starting to feel like this course is real and that I can really make a difference in the athletic world. 

I started to build my content on Google Docs, because I use it for everything. To begin, I looked over my research a few times to familiarize myself with everything I wanted to incorporate. From there, I picked three major topics: Connecting as humans, deeping the connection, and connecting in the coaching role. After picking the three major topics, I integrated the subtopics. For instance, in the connecting as humans topic, we will cover showing genuine interest in your athletes, listening to your athletes, and respecting your athletes.

My draft of content for module 1.

After choosing the topics and subtopics, I started to write. I wanted to keep everything short and sweet to keep people engaged, and the language simple so that it is not confusing at all. I also made sure to include examples of what coaches can do so there is something for the participants to take away. 

After finishing my first draft of content, I started to share it with people to get some feedback! I shared it with four individuals who have been competitive athletes as well as coaches. I also shared it with my counsellor, who is a psychotherapist and on the nonprofit’s board of directors. I wanted to have multiple sets of eyes go over the content to ensure it captured multiple perspectives and was effective. Knowing that a professional mental health worker, athletes, and coaches all think that this is amazing makes me feel so proud. Of course they provided a few tweaks and suggestions, which I am so thankful for. But all in all, module one is really starting to come together!

After I finished the content and had it approved, I wanted to start making the presentation! Now this is the reason that this post was late this week. I thought it would be incredibly boring if all I had to show for is another google doc. So, I kept working long past the due date. TalentLMS (the LMS that I will be using), has an option to upload PowerPoint presentations and convert them into a video that plays automatically so that participants do not have to keep pressing next. My vision for this module is to have my powerpoint play as a video, but with a voiceover. I would also like for the speaker to potentially be on the screen at some points, but that part I can figure out later on. 

I knew that I wanted the presentation to be aesthetically pleasing, but also clean and simple. I use Canva quite often for school projects and social media posts, and I noticed they have presentation templates, so I decided to use one of those! While putting my presentation together on Canva, I realized that I did not want to have all of my text on the screen at once, but rather have certain points staggered and appear on the screen when it was time to talk about them. This way, participants are not distracted by what is yet to come and they are forced to pay more attention to the content at hand. So, I made the foundation of the slides on Canva, and then decided to move them over to Google Slides to continue working on the final presentation. I saved all of the slides on Canva as .PNG files, and then uploaded them as images on google slides! I like that Canva automatically saves your work so that you can go in to change things later on. I am sure that I will be doing this at some point, but that is absolutely okay with me. 

My templates in Google Slides!

As of right now, I have the templates from Canva waiting for me in Google Slides so that I can start importing information and adding final touches. That is what I will be doing this week!

For the video in this blog post, I used Loom. Loom is another screencasting video tool, similar to Screencastify, which I used in the past. Loom can be added as a chrome extension, which makes it super easy to find. I found it really easy to navigate and use, but I did not go into too much depth. The video itself was super easy to export, as there was a download button right as you finished filming. However, as an avid google user, I appreciate that Screencastify saves their videos to google drive instead. I will definitely have to play around with Loom a bit more before I decide which one I like better!

Thanks for reading my very late post! 

x Paige Hamann

The Talented TalentLMS

Hey everyone! 

I am super excited to share my findings with you this week. 

Last week, I explored different learning management systems. TalentLMS is the online training platform that I am going to use to host my course. I chose to delve into TalentLMS because the website did a wonderful job of explaining the system and its features, and other LMS websites failed to do so. I honestly did not have the time to schedule a phone call with every LMS host that I was interested in, and so I saved time and jumped right into TalentLMS. 

The opening page on TalentLMS after logging in the second time. I really liked the option to take a sample course.

Right away, I registered for a free account on TalentLMS. All that was needed was an email address and a password! From there, you are to create a domain (which is free because it still uses at the end). For instance, since my organization is called Inside the Box: A Mental Health Initiative, the domain is!

After signing up for an account, there are tutorial videos that walk you through the system and its different features. In fact, it has a course that demonstrates how to build a course. I loved this because it helped me to understand how the courses function as a student, but also as an instructor. 

The video I used to customize my account!

I watched this video which taught me how to customize the site a tad. I was able to add our logo, a short description, and change the header colour. For now, I added our slogan as the description: “Because it should not be outside the box to talk about Mental Health”. I chose a dark blue for our header colour because our colour palette so far has been sticking to blues and greens. We can easily change these features at any time. 

The Gamification options on TalentLMS

An aspect of TalentLMS that I found super cool is the gamification. Essentially, learners receive points for different tasks, which acts as an incentive! Administrators are able to determine how many points are awarded for specific tasks. Additionally, there are badges that can be earned for certain things including assignments, tests, and certifications. Students are able to cash in their points or badges for discounts on courses! The discounts and amount of points or badges needed is determined by administrators. 

TalentLMS has multiple payment plans and options. The cost varies due to the number of users and number of courses. As the price increases, so does the amount of features and support. Throughout the creation of this course I will stick with the free version, but as time goes on we will likely upgrade to a pain version!

The payment options on TalentLMS

I really appreciate the options that are available to upload content. This is a list of the different formats you can use to create content in TalentLMS:

  • Simple content 
  • Web content — embed content from external URLs in two clicks
  • Video — embed YouTube videos or simply upload your own directly to the platform
  • Audio — upload an audio file or record a new one without even leaving your TalentLMS account
  • Presentation — choose between uploading a presentation file or embedding from SlideShare
  • SCORM / Tin Can / cmi5 — add more interactivity to your courses by choosing among these three eLearning standards
  • ILT — Use instructor-led training and webinars to stay in touch with your learners even  if they are a million miles away
  • Flash object — of course, we support Flash, too!
  • iFrame — copy and paste any URL and depending on what you want, it’ll either show as embedded or as a pop-up.

TalentLMS will even convert PowerPoint slides and PDF documents into a video so that learners don’t have to keep pressing continue. 

If you are interested in any of the TalentLMS tutorials you can find them here!

I am really excited to start creating and uploading content. 

Thanks for tuning in!

x Paige Hamann

A New Kind of Culture

After watching “An anthropological introduction to YouTube” I became more interested in the culture of participation that Wesch mentioned. In case you don’t know, participatory culture “is a culture in which private individuals (the public) do not act as consumers only, but also as contributors or producers”. For instance, instead of simply watching shows on the television, an individual can create a video and share it for others to watch on YouTube. 

In his Ted Talk, Henry Jenkins described participatory culture as a rich form of informal learning that includes:

  • “relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement”
  • “strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations with others”
  • “some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices”
  • “members that believe their contributions matter”
  • “members that feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have created)”

He also stated  that “Not every member must contribute, but all must believe they are free to contribute when ready and that what they contribute will be appropriately valued”. Now, imagine if all students felt valued when contributing to a class discussion… that would be amazing wouldn’t it?!

Wesch describes the phenomenon of silly dancing videos on YouTube as a “celebration of new forms of empowerment” (4:53). He says this is because anyone with a webcam has more of a presence and more of a voice. I absolutely agree with this. When people post online, they feel they are important because chances are there is someone listening to them. 

I absolutely see the value of the participatory culture. People feel empowered. People feel heard. People feel seen. It is important for people to feel this way! So if this a method for people to feel empowered, heard, or seen then I am all for it. 

However, I think it is incredibly necessary to teach the differences between what is empowering and what is not at a young age. We need to teach about online safety at a very young age, as students are becoming involved online very early on in their childhoods. This presence of the internet can be so incredibly damaging to a young person’s self esteem, and it can be dangerous as well.

In the early elementary years, we need to teach students not only how to be safe online, but how to choose what to engage with. We need to help students to differentiate what makes them feel good and what does not! If we help students to recognize their own feelings, we can help them protect their mental health. 

I definitely think that education will forever be changed after the pandemic and the major introduction to online school. There will always be students that enjoy face to face classes, but we are now more aware that some students are thriving in this online situation. The presence of technology in education will only increase from here on out. 

In the past, the idea of online school seemed completely unrealistic. Today, however, most families have a computer that allows them to participate in e-learning with their teacher. We are no longer stuck in the days of chalk boards and overhead projectors. Most schools now have more than one computer lab, and often have access to desktops, laptops, and iPads.

It is fascinating to imagine what future classrooms will look like.

Doing More with Smore!

Hello everyone! 

My new pal Cruz!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and took some time for yourself. My Thanksgiving weekend was kind of amazing because my parents surprised us with a puppy! We now have an 8 week old mini Labradoodle and a 1 year old mini Aussiedoodle. To say it is a little hectic in my house right now is an understatement.

For this week’s blog post, we were challenged to try a new tool. I looked at the list of tools on our course weekly plans and decided to update you on my learning project through a newsletter! I think that this tool could be super handy for my non-profit or sending updates to parents. Creating a newsletter is also a great alternative to writing an essay and gives students a different opportunity to demonstrate their learning. 

SAMR is a technology integration model that helps us evaluate the use of technology and if it is enhancing or transforming the learning experiences of students. It stands for substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition. 

“File:The SAMR Model.jpg” by Lefflerd is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

At the substitution level, technology acts as a direct substitution with no functional change. An everyday example would be typing notes instead of using pen and paper. A e-newsletter like this could be substituted for a paper newsletter to parents informing them of school events. 

At the augmentation level, technology still acts as a substitution, but there is some functionality added. For instance, students could begin an online journal where others could comment. Augmentation could be demonstrated with creating an e-newsletter as Students could create and easily share them with one another to study from. 

At the modification level, technology begins to transform the learning experience and allow for task redesign.  A general example is using google docs to collaborate with classmates or even another class. An e-newsletter could act as a portfolio to show a student’s work, and could be sent to numerous friends and family members so that it could be shared with numerous people instead of just the people at home. 

At the redefinition level, the learning experience is transformed into something previously inconceivable. For example, students could attend a virtual field trip. An e-newsletter like this could allow this level of technology integration if it was used to create some social change or awareness in the community by being shared on social media or the news. Additionally, students could create a voiceover and share the newsletter with sound for those who are visually impaired or have a difficult time reading. 

I used Smore to create my newsletter because it was suggested on the tool list I chose from. It is very user friendly and easy to navigate. The free version of Smore limits the user to creating only 3 newsletters, but there is a discount for educators if you want to upgrade and use the website actively. 

The template options on Smore.

When you first begin to create your newsletter, you can create one from scratch or use a template. There are templates available for the following categories: Weekly Update, Class, Event, Business, For Sale, and Other. I chose the class template! From there, you can begin to add your text. The pre-made text boxes make it super easy to add your own content. Similar to our WordPress blogs, you can add different blocks for texts, pictures, events, etc. This way you can choose how you want to display your content. 

Creating my newsletter on Smore! The drop down list on the right are the possible theme options.

The customization on Smore is fairly limited, which I believe makes it more user friendly. I also think the lack of customization is perfect for classroom use, as students will be forced to focus on the content rather than endless customizations. When customizing your newsletter, you must choose a theme. Out of the six possible themes available, I used “vintage”. You can also choose your background, colours, and fonts from a limited selection. 

After adding content and designing the newsletter, it is time to export! There are more options for exporting if you are a paid user. For instance, only paid users can download their newsletters in pdf format. As a free user, you are able to email the newsletter, copy the link, and copy an embed code. Because I wanted to display my newsletter on this post, I decided to use the embed code. This is where I struggled. 

Smore has a feature that easily lets you copy the url or code, so I used that. Once I had the embed code, I was a little unsure of what to do since I have really only embedded links before. I tried to use both the “code” and “embed” widgets, but that was not working. I asked my classmates but they were not sure either, so I resorted to Google. It took me a while to find what I was looking for. I found a ton of articles that really just confused me more, and the first four videos I watched were from old versions of WordPress. But then I found this video and it was like the angels started singing. All I had to do was use the “Custom HTML” widget… who knew?! Once I pasted the code into that widget, I was good to go! I mean look at how gorgeous my newsletter is sitting up there. 

Before this week, I really had zero clue what a LMS was. All I really knew is that I would need some sort of online platform to host this course. Now I atleast have a basic knowledge of what a LMS is and some of the differences between them. I started to look at a few LMS online to figure out which one to use. I looked at Canvas, but I had to set up a phone call to get more information so I don’t have much of an opinion yet. I also looked at TalentLMS which I really liked. It seems to be very user friendly and have a ton of different features. I think I am going to set up a free account to see if it is something I will be able to use in the future. 

Thanks for reading!

x Paige Hamann

The one where I make a video and gain an even larger appreciation for e-learning teachers.

Welcome to my fourth learning project post: the one where I make a video and gain an even larger appreciation for e-learning teachers. 

But seriously! Not only is filming yourself speak so incredibly difficult and frustrating, but having to watch yourself back on film? Definitely not my cup of tea… but I have to get comfortable being uncomfortable (and you can totally tell I am uncomfortable when watching my video). 

This week, I started to actively look at the sources I collected and I began to gather information. I created a new document for research on each of the main topics so that it would be easier to navigate when starting to create content for each module or segment. For example, I currently have research documents for building relationships, as well as communication and engagement. 

Because I want this course to be effective, I know that I cannot rush it. Instead of trying to complete all of the topics at once and risk them being mediocre, I have decided to focus on two topics more thoroughly. This means that I will only be creating half the course throughout the duration of this project. I was still follow my outline as normal, I will just have to go back and add after the fact. 

The next step in my outline after researching is creating the learning objectives for the course! Essentially, I have to decide what it is exactly that I want participants to take away and be able to do upon completion. This is really difficult for me as I have never had to do anything like this before. I found a pdf that has a structure and list of verbs for creating objectives. I really appreciated the verb bank and I referred to it with every objective I created. The learning objectives that I created are in no way finalized. I will likely add or remove as time goes on, as well as reword, revise, and rethink to ensure that the most important material is included. As I start to create content, I will send my learning objectives to various people to see if they are reasonable and apt. Perhaps some of my EDTC300 classmates will be able to help me with this!

This past week, I started the Respect in Sport online course. It is a fairly long course, and because I am very busy I have not had the chance to finish it yet. However, I have a fairly good idea of how the course functions. I really like that the modules are broken down into segments, and that the amount of time it takes to complete each segment is visible. This way, if I only have 30 minutes before my next class, I know that I have enough time to complete the 7 minute segment. I feel that it helps me to manage my time more effectively. I appreciate that there is an outline for each segment as it helps me keep focused. Something that I do struggle with a bit is the presentation. The segments that I have completed so far have been a slideshow with a voice over. This makes me feel very disconnected and does not keep my attention. I would prefer a balance of a visual presentation,like a slideshow, and a video of the person speaking to me. I think that this feeling of connectedness would help me stay engaged with the content. 

Lastly, I would like to talk about actually creating my video. I used one of the chrome extensions we discussed in class called Screencastify. It was incredibly easy to download and use! I absolutely love that the video is ready to go as soon as you stop recording, and the fact that it automatically uploads to Google Drive is a gamechanger. I swear that exporting and uploading files can sometimes be the hardest part, but this extension has it all covered! I can definitely learn a bit more about the tools that you can use on the screen, but if I am being honest that was not quite a priority for me this video. My priority was making it through filming without crying. I was going to say yelling, but I did that multiple times out of frustration. I was not frustrated by the program by any means… I was frustrated with myself! I would be on a roll and then just completely blank and stare at the screen, so I had to restart numerous times. Or I would really stumble on a sentence and I would have to refilm it! I do not even want to know how many times I attempted to film this simple five minute long video. It really is not perfect, but at least I did it! Watching the video of myself after was just excruciating (maybe I am a little dramatic). I mean I don’t think there are a ton of people who like listening to their voices on recording. All in all, I started to familiarize myself with a tool that I will likely use again in the future, so really I call that a win. HUGE shoutout to all of the e-learning teachers right now who have had to tackle this! I hope it hasn’t caused you as much anxiety as it did for me. 

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s post! 

x Paige Hamann

I Wasn’t a Quitter & Now I Love Twitter!

Welcome back!

Over the course of this class so far, I have realized that I absolutely love Twitter. I have used Twitter in the past, but I never truly understood it. I think that is partially because I have never used it in a professional setting before, and I only compared it to my other personal social media. My personal social media accounts are more so filled with my friend’s vacation photos (it’s almost like a popularity contest) rather than thought-provoking content. I have involved myself much more in the news, politics, and such and Twitter displays a lot more of this content than my Facebook or Instagram accounts which I really enjoy. It is almost as if Twitter is the most mature form of social media because it can truly be used in a professional sense! 

My Twitter Profile

I think that Twitter is an amazing tool for educators. I am not so sure of my feelings towards Twitter in the classroom setting as I need to explore that more in depth, but it is an amazing tool to connect with others. By connecting with other educators on Twitter, you are able to learn about other philosophies, lessons, resources, crafts, tools, etc. If you are struggling with anything, there is an entire teacher community who is willing to support you and give you advice. It really allows teachers to continue growing and learning from others. 

That being said, Twitter is still Social Media and it is still important to be careful when using it. It is important to be aware of what you post and interact with, but it is also incredibly important to not compare yourself to others. Like any other socials, it can be draining and exhausting, so it is important to manage your time on Twitter in a manner that works for you. 

Last Wednesday, my EDTC 300 class and I were able to participate in a special edition of the Sask Ed Chat on Twitter! For those of you who are not familiar, Sask Ed Chat happens once a week on Twitter, and a moderator will post questions for educators to respond to. It is a great chance to connect with others in the field of education and grow your PLN!

My TweetDeck Account

I am really excited to continue to grow my LPN on Twitter. I have already connected with so many people and learned so much. 

To keep up with all of the questions and responses, I used TweetDeck! TweetDeck allows you to open columns so that you can see multiple things at once. It saves you from having to sort through everything and constantly hitting refresh. For example, I had columns open for my home page, notifications, #saskedchat, and the moderators account. Having my notifications open allowed me to see if anyone interacted with my tweets or replied to my comments. The #saskedchat column let me see all of the tweets using that hashtag, so on Wednesday, I could see everyone’s responses to the questions! This is super important because the purpose of the chat is to communicate with others, share ideas, and learn from one another. Lastly, because I had the moderator’s account open in a column, I was able to see all his tweets– which were the questions! This made it much easier to navigate and find the questions. Having all of these columns open is definitely not for everyone. It is very overwhelming at first because there are so many things to look at and respond to. 

Check out what’s going on in my Twitter!

x Paige Hamann

Coaching Coaches: The Behind the Scenes Work

Hey! Welcome back. 

As a little recap, I am creating an online mental health course for coaches. Athletics often cause excessive stress and anxiety, and helping coaches to understand and prevent this will hopefully have a positive effect on the mental health of athletes!

Throughout the last few weeks, I created and analyzed a survey to understand what it is that athletes are struggling with, and from there I decided the main topics for the course. This past week, I started to research the topics in order to create learning objectives and content!

To organize my research, I created categories based on the main topics I decided for the course. I am currently organizing my research in a Google Doc because it is what I am most familiar and comfortable with. In my document, I have created the following headings: building relationships, communication and encouragement, body image, post-competition, multi-sport athletes, and miscellaneous. By creating these headings, I am able to navigate the portion of the course I would like to focus on. 

Because the research needed for this course will be quite extensive, I have only started to collect article titles and sources that seem relevant to the topics. I have been using the Google search engine to look for articles regarding the main topics. Once Google provides me with a list of websites, I quickly look at those whose titles seem applicable. After quickly scanning and skimming the text, I decide if it will be useful. If it is not useful, I simply return to looking for more sources. If it does seem pertinent, I copy the title and url to the appropriate heading in my Google Doc!

After I gather a few more sources, I will begin to dive into the articles and find quotations and information to use in the course. I need to ensure that I have the proper research backing this course because mental health is incredibly fragile. I will continue to collect more information, but I will also start to analyze it in the coming days as well. 

An aspect that I did not include in my outline is participating in courses that have already been created. Before starting this project, I completed the Mental Health Awareness for Sport and Physical Activity online course from UK Coaching in preparation for creating my own course. I really did not take anything away from this course, and felt the information was too general and is already accessible to most people. Even though I did not learn anything specific to the topic, I learned about what I want to see in my own course and how I would like to communicate it. I decided that I am going to look for other courses similar to the one I am creating in order to improve my own!

This is definitely not the most exciting learning project and I don’t have much to show for it right now, but I am really hoping it will make a difference! Maybe some of you can help to test the course before it launches!

Thanks for tuning in!

x Paige Hamann

Journey to Reconciliation ECS 100

For my visual representation of learning, I decided to truly incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing. As a hands-on learner, I know that I need to immerse myself in the culture to further understand and fully appreciate it. In addition, I am actually a tad frightened to teach about reconciliation. Even though I am extremely passionate and love learning about different aspects of Indigenous cultures, I come from a background of colonization. How am I supposed to teach about Indigenous practices if I have never experienced them? That is why I feel it is so important to become involved in the culture. For these reasons, I chose to traditionally bead a hummingbird. Involving myself in the culture is my own way of putting myself in the shoes of an Indigenous person, which will hopefully allow me to be more accepting and empathetic, and help me connect to my students.

When I was brainstorming what to bead to demonstrate my learning, I really wanted to do something nature-related to represent the importance of the land in Indigenous cultures. The flowers and landscapes I was envisioning had little connection to my own life and seemed like a superficial, cliche symbol. After a lot of consideration, I finally decided on the hummingbird. The hummingbird is an important part of my life. My grandma, who passed away in 2015, absolutely adored them. Since her passing, I have started to notice them everywhere and I feel as if they are a message from her. Although this bird is important to me for personal reasons, I acknowledged that there must be a different perspective and way of knowing. After doing some research, I found that “In Native American culture, hummingbirds are seen as healers and bringers of love, good luck and joy” (What Does a Hummingbird, n.d). This actually reinforced my feelings of being connected to my grandma; always bringing me love. Because I chose this bird I am able to tie in my own grief and healing, and at the same time create new meaning for myself. To my future students, I can be the bringer of love.

The hummingbird was not the only aspect of this piece that I chose deliberately. I carefully chose the colours to emphasize the elements of reconciliation that I would like to focus on as an educator. The colour turquoise represents healing and protection. After learning from many stories, including the powerful stories in Muffins for Granny, I quickly recognized that there is a great amount of healing that needs to occur. At the same time, we need to work on protecting and promoting the culture that is still present. I believe that my beading is a small way to keep the culture present in my own learning. Similarly, I chose purple because it is associated with sacredness and spirituality; two characteristics that are meaningful in Indigenous cultures. I hope that my classroom will be a safe, sacred space for of my students. The purple, however, also represents my own privilege. Purple is often associated with royalty and the aristocracy. As a person with white privilege, I wanted to acknowledge that so I can continue to move forward and away from systemic racism. To me, this is an incredibly important part of reconciliation; acknowledging my privilege and realizing a change needs to be made. 

Throughout the duration of this course, I have realized just how critical borders are in the classroom (Pirbhai-Illich, 2019). I did not comprehend just how I restricted I was in all of my classrooms. As a stereotypical western colonizer, I did not realize the extent to which colonization affected our classrooms. It is my hope that I can set up my classroom so that it is not an example of colonization. This directly relates to my piece as hummingbirds are not affected by borders. They are able to freely move wherever to accommodate their needs. I hope my students feel the same way in my classroom. 

Autobiographical Reflection: ECS 100

My high school experience was in no way similar to those who say it was the best four years of their lives. In fact, it was extremely far from that. Of course, I do have some fond memories, although unfortunately, they do not outweigh the times of unrest. Ultimately, my main objective is that my students feel that they are enough for themselves; that they are capable and strong enough to know that they are not alone. My students need to know that they have the power to decide what is important to them and determine the kind of person they want to be.

Growing up, I was extremely extroverted. This is likely because of my two older brothers, Aaden and Matt. At six and four years older than I am, I was always struggling to gain their attention. Consequently, I talk. I talk a lot. I always had to be chatting, or the class clown just like Matt. I was just a profoundly outgoing young girl. My brothers also influenced me to start playing basketball at the ripe old age of six. Yet another way for me to be just like my big brothers. 

Basketball had an effect on me like nothing ever before.  Starting as a tiny girl who could barely bounce a ball, who would have thought that I would eventually play on three provincial teams and play all four years as a starting point guard on Balfour’s senior team. Basketball taught me some very important lessons that I hope to take into my classroom: teamwork is essential, communication needs to occur, and constructive criticism needs to be met with equal or more positivity. It is quite obvious that teamwork and communication are important in almost any situation, but meeting criticism with positivity seems to be a bit less prevalent. Although other factors had an impact on my thinking when my coach pointed out all of my mistakes or weaknesses without ever praising my successes or strengths, I felt like I could not do anything right and that I was just not good enough.

This idea of not being good enough has played an instrumental part of my life. I have always been the kid that needed to get the highest grades or be the best on the court, and I suppose this pressure that I set upon myself became extremely detrimental when my mental illness began to take control of my thoughts. My depression and anxiety seemed to conquer my brain when I was in grade ten. After leaving a toxic friend group, I found myself becoming increasingly lonely. I also discovered that I no longer enjoyed playing basketball and that I no longer wanted any sort of attention. The old class clown was nowhere to be seen. 

By May of grade ten, I was starting to give up hope, and then I received news that completely changed my life. My teammate Tori had commit suicide. Tori was by far the best teammate I have ever had. She was an easygoing, kind, hilarious girl who always made you feel loved and welcomed. Not only was she an amazing person off the court, but on the court as well. She had the utmost respect for all players and coaches, and she treated us as if we were all the best player on the court. When hearing of Tori’s passing I was numb. Not only did I lose an incredible friend and teammate, but the idea of suicide was no longer out of reach. I remember thinking, if someone as strong as Tori could take her own life, then what is stopping me from taking mine. Later that summer, I was playing on the U16 provincial team. While playing games in both Calgary and Washington, I had panic attacks. I felt as if I could not do anything right on the court, and like I was letting my teammates, coaches, and parents down. The thought that continued to run through my mind was “how am I going to play basketball if I do not even want to be alive”. 

After my panic attack in Washington, we drove to Langley. I felt particularly worthless and sat alone for the entire trip. Once we arrived at our hotel, I sat in the bathroom that I was sharing with my teammates and nearly killed myself. Luckily, instead I texted my coach Jaimie, who happened to coach me when I was teammates with Tori, and she took me for a walk. She reassured and told me everything I needed to hear at that moment. Reaching out in that exact moment absolutely saved my life. Since then, I have taken back control of my life, and with the help of medication and a great support system, I am alive and happy.

When I become a teacher, I want to be like Jaimie. I want my students to feel comfortable enough to reach out to me when they are struggling. I think sharing my own story will help them embrace the vulnerability that accompanies asking for help; it is always easier to talk to someone who actually understands what you are going through. I felt quite alone at my school, as I did not know of any teachers who experienced anything similar. As a result, I was not interested in confiding in them when it came to my mental health.

Despite not addressing my illnesses with my teachers until my junior year, I feel that the relationships I established with them are a fundamental piece of why I want to be an educator. When I felt as if I had no friends left in tenth grade, an incredibly kind senior asked if I wanted to eat lunch in Ms. Clark’s room with his friends. For nine months I ate lunch in her classroom. For nine months I had a safe place to go. For nine months I felt welcomed and wanted. She became one of the most important people in my life, and it started by merely sitting in her room. Each and every day I looked forward to going to her class. Not only did her sense of humour brighten my day, but I knew she cared deeply and honestly. I really hope to be as influential and admirable as her one day.

Alongside Ms. Clark on my list of important people in my life is Ms. Mitchell. I have always had a passion for history, yet somehow my passion became even stronger after taking her class. In elementary, the bulk of my classmates and I were rather reluctant in regards to treaty education. We were taught in such a way that we felt we were being blamed for the mistakes that our forefathers made. As a twelve-year-old girl, I was offended that my teachers were making me feel guilty for the atrocities that were committed before I was born. This resulted in feelings of animosity and hostility towards Indigenous people. Thankfully, I had a change of heart after being in Ms. Mitchell’s class. She taught in such a way that did not make the white students feel ashamed of being white. Instead, she helped us realize that we are privileged, and that is not our fault, but we must make changes in order to make our society equal. Ms. Mitchell eliminated all of the negative ideas I had about Indigenous people. She even trusted me enough to speak about reconciliation on, an all indigenous (excluding me), student panel at an SSBA conference. Ms. Mitchell completely changed my way of thinking, while treating me like a real human being. Her neverending kindness inspired countless students at Balfour, especially me.

There are so many factors that have led me to want to be an educator. I want to be who I needed when I was younger as I know other kids will need that too. I want to be better than the coaches who made me feel like I was not good enough. I want to be as welcoming as Tori, as comfortable as Jaimie, as compassionate as Ms. Clark, and as honest and accepting as Ms. Mitchell.