Tag Archives: saskatchewan

Orange Shirt Day 2018

30 Sep


As a teacher, September is a time that is very busy for me as I begin to get ready for the upcoming school year. September is filled with change – from new classes to teach, and new students to meet, clubs to plan for and events to run. It can be very stressful for me, but it is also a very exciting time as I, and I hope the students, begin to get back into the swing of the school year. Today, September 30th, I am taking time to reflect and remember that going back to school has not always been an exciting time for many members of our society – going back, or beginning to attend, a residential school would have had a significantly different feeling.

September 30th is recognized as Orange Shirt Day, and it honours the story of Phyllis Webstad. If you have not listened to Phyllis’ story, I encourage you to listen below.

The voice of the First Nations people in Canada has been long silenced. I am very fortunate to work in a school where I am able to have discussions on reconciliation with some of the youth in our city. Our school recognized Orange Shirt Day and we participated in a liturgy to focus on the voice of Residential School Students. Last year I had a group of very passionate grade 12 students who began our Treaty 4 group with me and a few colleagues. This year, I was concerned that there would be lack of interest, but our group increased in size. They took the leadership to lead our school and educate them on reconciliation, focusing on how they will use their voices this school year.


Some of the members for the Vanier Treaty 4 club this year.

Our liturgy took place in the gym, and had a much different tone than other liturgies. A main difference was that we seated the students in a circle on the ground, rather than in our bleachers. Taking time in the day to talk about Reconciliation, to share knowledge, and give voice to students who have been long silenced in our country, was a very powerful moment.


I wanted to be able to share our presentation as a resource for other teachers, or anyone who is interested in further educating themselves. The slideshow includes resources beyond the document that can even further your education. You can find this slideshow here.


Some of the staff and students at Vanier who participated in Orange Shirt Day.

The Treaty 4 group made many challenges to the staff and students during the liturgy. They challenged everyone to become familiar with the 94 Calls to Action, and to listen to listen to Read the TRC Report. They also challenged Vanier to fill their social media with facts on Residential Schools, and to share what they have learned with at least one other person. We already had a Twitter begun, which has documented their journey for the past year, but we also began an Instagram page to help spread the awareness further. We challenged the school to use their voice for something important this year, and had them fill orange shirts with how they plan to do this (pictures to come). The last challenge we proposed to the school was to learn 100 days of Cree. We discussed the importance of revitalizing Indigenous languages. Since our presentation focused so strongly on voice, it was very suited to begin this challenge. Taking Cree 100 this semester has also motivated me to help the Treaty 4 group do this, as I myself am focusing on learning Cree this semester. The group made their first video, and will be posting each day to learn a new phrase or word. You can follow our journey on twitter or on instagram!

In closing I would like to quote Justice Murray Sinclair when he stated, “Education has gotten us into this mess, and education will get us out.”


Summer of Math

15 Jul

I haven’t blogged in a very long time. I haven’t been over the top busy, so I can’t even use that as an excuse. I have fallen out of practice, which is unfortunate.

Fortunately, though, I have had some very exciting experiences this summer and want to get back into the habit. First I have been hired as a math teacher at Vanier Collegiate in Moose Jaw. This is the high school that I attended and I am ecstatic to be able to work there in the fall. This is one of the main reasons why I want to continue blogging, as I wish to reflect on my work again the way that I did before.


Math on the Move team 2012 via mathonthemove.uregina.ca

The first amazing experience I had this summer was being employed by Math on the Move for the second consecutive summer. This is a program run from the math department and education department at the University of Regina that takes math workshops to rural Saskatchewan schools for a half of a day. It is very similar to the Math Camp put on at the university every September, but a mobile version.

Through this activity we were able to reach seven different communities working with grade 9 and 10 students. We had jam packed days where, on same days, we did a workshop in the morning then again in the afternoon in a different town. Being able to be a part of this program twice has been extremely beneficial for me. Not only have I been able to visit numerous schools and school divisions in the province, giving me a new insight on how different schools run, but also I have had to think of innovative activities to do twice.

This year we had a program much similar to last years, which I blogged about here. We had four different stations that lasted 20 mins each, and the students rotated to all of them. At each station they were awarded points for their team, then at the end we had a final round to compete for points to see which team won.

All of the activities done this year were well planned out and fun. One station was playing the game of nim and creating a strategy. Another station was a stats baseball game that was made where you used the stats of a baseball player and simulated a game. The other station was a life size version of the app Rush Hour.

My station was also based on an app that I play often called Crossmath. The game is very similar to Sudoku but much different as it incorporates mathematical operations. I made cross math boards by getting two different mobile white boards which were 18″ X 24″. I then used electical tape to make the outline for the board and used white board makers to write in the different problems.

Cross Math Board without problem written on

Some students were able to finish these problems quite fast, and others it took some help. After doing this workshop so many times I knew the problems off by heart, and knew where the kids would get stuck and how to best help them. The problems end up turning into a simple math equation that they can solve, but they use their own reasoning skills to come to the answer. I am going to put these boards in my classroom for students to use! Examples of cross math worksheets I made are below.

Easy Cross Math

Medium Cross Math

Hard Cross Math:

The final activity consisted of many math problems that we had put together that the students had to accomplish. The rules were that they could only have one question out at a time, and if they discarded the question and wanted a new one, they could never get that question back. There was strategy involved with how they chose their questions! An element that I incorporated into the final questions was rebus’. I love them and I used them many times in internship with my students to fill time gaps. They make you think about problems from a different approach, which is why it was the question I started with during the final round. A great website to find rebus puzzles is Fun With Words and an app that I use on my phone is Rebuzzle. Below is the final activity that we used.

Answers to above questions