Professional Development 2021

STEM teacher Summit 2021 Ashley Squires

The STEM teacher Summit 2021 was a very good workshop! They had fantastic keynotes discussing all of the different concepts of STEM. This year focused on using STEM to teach SEL (social emotional learning) as well. My favorites in this were the workshops around specific anchor books and how to use them to teach SEL as well as with STEM challenges! Really great integration. My favorite presenter was, by far, Erika Sandstrom (her handle is Green Screen Gal) and she was talking about using Green Screen tech to do all sorts of awesome activities to promote mindfulness within the STEM program! One other aspect of this training is that it is all online, and is available all YEAR with the purchase of the summit. So for myself, I only took one day (of the 3) off work to attend, but I am still able to access all of the other sessions online, in the same manner I would have live, for the year and I can work through them one a week, or over the summer! Really great bang for the buck!

~Ashley Squires

Canoe Instructor Intermediate Tandem Course - Matt Koebernick, Derek Konga, Christine Ravenis, Mackenzie Graham and Sarah Beer

The Lake Canoe Instructor Intermediate Tandem Course was an exciting opportunity for the group to learn how to be a confident, canoe instructors. We learned how to teach many useful skills such as: sculling, sweeping, the j stroke, cross bow jam, pry, etc. These skills can be used to help the canoe turn, go straight, move sideways, quickly turn before hitting an object, correct the course of the canoe, etc. During the course we practiced our skills and discussed the vocabulary that can be used to explain the skills to students/adults, especially those who are struggling.

We also reviewed a variety of games we can use to help children/adults use their skills without them realizing that they are practicing the skill. This is vital when working with children because doing drills can seem monotonous and cause students to lose interest.

Any opportunity to get together with other teachers and share our techniques and discuss teaching styles, helps our students. All of us teachers were from a variety of locations in the North, so we do not always receive the opportunity to get together for peer networking. This was a great opportunity for us to conference with the help of an instructor from Paddle Canada. Since we are from a range of Northern locations in Saskatchewan, we are bringing back the skills to different communities. This will have a wide impact that will ripple out in our communities.

By being canoe instructors, we can help encourage children and adults around us to live a healthy lifestyle. This is vital to ensuring that our students live long, healthy lives. Having a healthy lifestyle, can help ensure our students stay away from substances and help them escape unhealthy situations. By canoeing, children learn to connect with the land and water, which is good for their spiritual wellness.

Overall, the experience was very useful to help us become independent, skilled canoe instructors. This will help in all our Outdoor experiences as educators and provide insurance through Paddle Canada to us as instructors. The value from peer networking and learning how to be an instructor is long-lasting to all of us teachers.

Indigenous Trauma Liberation Certificate from Think Indigenous - John Kershaw

March to June 2021

This past Spring, I participated in the ITLC offered by Think Indigenous. This was an eight day on-line training session provided over 4 months. According to the program guide the “focus is on addressing intergenerational trauma, breaking the cycle of residential schools and liberating Indigenous youth from trauma that continues to be a barrier to the success of Indigenous young people.” The 8 sessions were broken into 4 modules that lasted two days each.

During the first module, we talked about the definition and diagnosis of trauma from both Western and Indigenous perspectives, including personal trauma, intergenerational trauma, racial trauma and the trauma of colonialism. During the next module, we discussed ways that we can make our classrooms and workspaces responsive to the needs of our students who have experienced trauma. We looked at the importance of building trust. During the third module, we talked about attachment and the importance as adults of working through our own challenges so that we are more able to be available to our students. During the fourth module, we talked about the power of story and the importance of family connections through the generations. We also talked about the importance of land, language and culture in trauma liberation.

As Chris Scribe, one of the instructors, said near the end of the course “I am never doing this work alone – I am surrounded by my relatives”

This was a very inspiring course and I highly recommend it.