Week 6

A bit of a unique post for me. I wasn’t in class this week and instead of writing about the presenters I wasn’t there to see, I’ll write about my week.

WestCAST. WestCAST (Western Association for Student Teaching) is an education conference held annually by the Faculties of Education in the western provinces of Canada. This year it was in Nanaimo British Columbia on Vancouver Island. There were over 400 students and faculty memebers together engaging in conversations that are relevant in today’s world of teaching.

Shelley Moore. Shelley was one of the keynote speakers who talked about inclusion and special education in classrooms. She gave many everyday scenarios that we think are inclusion classrooms, but in reality are not. This video she made about her PhD focus is a fantastic 3-minute summary of her talk.

Escape Rooms. I’ve always liked the concept of escape rooms. The puzzles. The techniques. I went to a session by Charlotte Dobson from the University of Winnipeg where she talked about encorperating escape rooms into her classroom. (She did this during her placement). She then divided us into groups and we all had the opportunity to participate in one of the escapes she had set up during one of her placements. I definitely want to do this in my classroom. I feel that it could be a fantastic summative assessment for a unit!

Thinking outside the books. This was a session by Peter Bjornson that encouraged us as teachers to think outside the books. He challenged us to take some risks and create  lesson plans to engage students in experiential learning. His focus was on history. To get his students to catch a glimpse of homelessness he had them build their own shelters by gathering material from around town (Gimli). He also created an archeological dig site for his students in his backyard. He shared many more. In the end he asked us what we noticed about all of these activities…none of them required any technology. I liked that. We focus a lot of time on how to use technology in our classrooms, but it’s hands on activities like these that create great learning experience as well. It’s all about balance.

3 thoughts on “Week 6

  1. Suzan, It sounds like the conference was really awesome!! That escape room idea would be a really cool idea to use in a classroom. I have done one before with buddies of mine and it was amazing. You could even incorporate technology into doing this. First have your students listen to a podcast that you made that has a hint for the next puzzle they have. You could have an I pad open with a translator program that you will need to decode a message that is in Spanish for example. Have a digital frame cycling through different pictures that have clues that you need. Maybe you will need VR glasses to look at a historical place to count the amount of windows, or stairs, etc. All of these things can be shifted to what ever the content is that you are teaching in class.
    I hope you had a great trip and I will see you Tuesday.


  2. I have done several escape rooms and really enjoy them. I have never thought about using them in the classroom but it is a really good idea. The escape rooms I have been in have a theme and really make you feel like you are in a different time and/or place. I could see this being a really interesting way to teach history, as you could create a room based on that period in history. The clues that students use to try and escape could be the knowledge that you want them to have. I like Nolan’s idea of incorporating technology as well. I have done the escape rooms in Brandon and Winnipeg and the ones in Winnipeg incorporate a lot more technology, it really adds to the experience. Great idea thanks for sharing.


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