Reconcilation is… giving a voice to ALL Canadians

This past June,  I had the honour of volunteering at the inaugural event – a graduation Pow Wow at the First Nations University. Some schools were represented in great numbers, others only had a few graduates. Regardless of numbers, they all had reason to be proud of their accomplishments. As I made sure that every school represented had their banner, it was wonderful to witness the pride of the graduates as they were announced by the MC.

Afterwards, myself and the other UR S.T.A.R.S. volunteers manned activity stations for children inside the University. There were many children that participated, and it was packed! Many more adults and teenagers sat a nearby tables, mostly talking in small groups. We had lots of colouring pages available for younger children, and I thought, “Why should the kids have all the fun?” This is exactly what I said to everyone as I circulated and offered the colouring pages to families and friends, grandparents and graduates alike.

It was a joyful day, and sometimes we laughed together. Other times we discussed “To me, reconciliation is…”, as they completed the thought. As one woman wrote, “reconcilation is getting together and having respect.” For me, that’s what this experience allowed us to do, and we need more of this! We should all provide a safe place to hear our FNMI voices in Canada.

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This Pow Wow was an important celebration of success and achievement, one that needs to spread exponentially across the country – with more graduates and more ceremonies. Respecting these traditions and restoring the balance of voice and presence of our FNMI in Canada is a necessary step in moving towards full reconciliation.

As we head into a new school year, I will strive to celebrate Canada’s diversity, honour our First Peoples, and foster empathy and understanding in my students.  If you have any experiences, stories, or suggestions, please share them below!

 

You can read the full article of this event, with my photo credit, here: Treaty Four grads celebrate at powwow | Communications and Marketing, University of Regina


To My Parents On Celebrating 25 Years of Love

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My parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary a few weeks ago – no cake, no party, nothing fancy. Just the two of them, reminiscing the years scattered with countless moves, hurdles, and years spent apart while they worked to establish their roots in a country so far from home. I watched silently as I listened to them laugh over how they remembered to bring useless things when they immigrated from Pakistan, but forgot some of the important things. I watched their eyes crinkle up as they revived over 25 years of memories they created together. I watched the lines on their faces deepen as they talked about their three children and how all the accomplishments, injuries, and tears mixed together and created the best years of their lives. I saw a sort of bliss on their relaxed faces; they were content.

My parents are two of the most resilient and determined individuals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. They have dedicated their entire lives to make sure their children are safe, happy, and healthy – even before any of us were born. Here are some of the things I am endlessly thankful for. To Ammi and Papa:

  1. Thank you for leaving everything you’ve ever known behind so your children could have a successful upbringing. Despite the fact that you’ve left behind years of memories created throughout the early years of your lives, you also left behind loving parents, siblings, relatives, and friends. You left behind everything that represented home for you, all for us. You missed birthdays, weddings, important milestones, and most importantly, spending time with those you love. You weren’t able to spend the last few years with your parents as they grew old and eventually returned to the Earth, and although I was very young, I saw the tears spill out of your eyes as you blamed yourself for all the years you could’ve looked after them, but were unable to. All for your children.
  2. Thank you for spending years and years working jobs that were not what you spent countless years in school studying to be. Thank you for working long and hard hours at the numerous gas stations and convenience stores so your children could have all that they desired. Thank you for never letting your children see how worn out you were, despite walking blocks during the coldest nights in winter just to put a smile on our faces. Thank you for never giving up even after the overwhelming amount of letters that outlined your lack of experience working in your field in this foreign country. Thank you for returning to school after more than 10 years of convocating so you could upgrade and continue to provide for your family. I cannot imagine how it must have been to work numerous hours and then leave for the long evenings at school just so you could better provide for your family. Even after sleeping no more than three hours a night, working, and attending school, you’ve always made time for your children, whether that meant taking us for walks around the block or discovering new parks with us and missing out on sleep – you did it all and I cannot thank you enough for all those tough days that you didn’t make obvious to your children.
  3. Thank you for both of my very annoying siblings. Not only have you provided me with the absolute best friends I will ever have, but you’ve also taught me patience, love, and responsibility. Thank you for keeping us so closely intertwined as a family. I know how tough it can be to raise three kids with everything you’ve had to go through, but you’ve always prioritized your family first. I know at times things were tough, but thank you for always trying and for deciding to put your family first. No matter what has happened, thank you for always, always, always putting our dysfunctional and crazy family first. Although I never acknowledged the importance of family for the majority of my life, I definitely appreciate all the memories we’ve created together and for all the tough times where we’ve all been there for each other.
  4. Thank you for always thinking of what’s best for me. I know that as a parent that comes as a guarantee, but I still cannot thank you enough for all the moments in my life that you’ve supported and guided. From letting me run barefoot through the hundreds of parks and trails we adventured throughout my childhood to teaching me to pick myself up after mean words had been hurled at my nine-year-old self. Thank you for all those nights spent talking me through the process of creating a friend as I struggled to do so all those years of my life. Thank you for holding me as I cried after seeing my first “not so great” mark in high school, and reminding me that my grades do not determine my intelligence. Thank you for all the times my voice wavered and you encouraged me to speak louder, to stand up for what I believe is right, no matter how many people stood by me.
  5. Thank you for pushing me. Thank you for forcing me to do all the things I managed to convince myself out of. Although i’ve probably said some very rude things through teary eyes about how you don’t understand what i’m going through, I am so very thankful you’ve pushed me. Thank you for pushing me to stay in Regina for school, although I called every hour the first month i lived alone crying about how I couldn’t do it. I know how tough it was for you to see your child move so far away, especially when we’ve all been so closely intertwined all these years and you were reminded of how your parents must have felt when you moved away from Pakistan, but you remained strong and encouraged me to remain strong as well.
  6. Thank you for always reminding me that I am capable of achieving everything and anything i’ve wanted to, no matter how crazy my goals were. I remember how encouraging and supportive you were as I claimed I wanted to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research (although we both knew how capable I was attempting that at 11 years old). You still encouraged me and let me try, something that I will always carry forward with me throughout the remainder of my life. Thank you for supporting me as I made the decision to pursue my career in education even though so many people around me were very discouraging. Thank you for reminding me that money is never the goal, but rather happiness and fulfillment were, as I embarked on my journey through life.

 

Of course, the three children that gave them so much heck over the years had already planned a celebration with some of their closest friends, but that was unknown to them. And at that point in time, none of it mattered. Nothing but the look of pure bliss in the eyes of my parents mattered as they acknowledged their biggest accomplishments: successfully raising three children to encompass all of the morals and values they hoped to. I am eternally grateful for everything you have done for me; for all the words of encouragement, for all the times you’ve stopped me from doing something destructible, for all those late night talks and long drives exploring the world: thank you.

I remember hearing my parents talk about how blessed they were to be where they are today, despite the many struggles, but the only thing I could think of was how blessed we all are for being your children. All the words in the world cannot amount to all you’ve done for us. I hope I am even half as amazing of a parent as you both are. Happy 25th anniversary, Ammi and Papa. May you see many, many, many more.


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Teaching philosophy

Education is a fundamental building block for life. While education teaches, learning is a lifetime process in which one attains knowledge and values. Education in school should be a motivation for higher learning. It should be a stepping stool and encouragement for more knowledge. Student and teacher collaboration and involvement is a foundation for a positive learning environment and continuous growth.

Part of learning is to discover one self. Outside of educational curriculum, educators should cater to the needs of individuals rather than to a broad spectrum. We are all different and have different needs, therefore educators should remember we do not necessarily learn the same way or at the same pace. Educators should consider having student participation in lesson planning. Students are more likely to be engaged when their ideas are heard and feel a sense of ownership in what they are learning. The teacher should serve as a role model rather than an authoritarian role. There should be a level of openness in communication where students can freely ask questions without fear of prosecution. Growing minds are curious minds and therefore educators should take time to enhance those minds through positive interactions. A positive student-teacher relationship should be established with every individual child. Alongside parent-teacher relationship are just as important. With a cooperative parent involvement teachers are able to communicate any needs to encourage a home

As a future teacher I believe in strengthening a students potential. It takes a good teacher to be able to listen to the needs of a student. By empowering students with not just the ability to learn but, the ability to problem solve beyond the walls of a classroom is an important skill. I do believe that every child wants to learn but it is up to the teachers to foster that learning.


Coding Whaaaaaaaaaa?

Wow. I’ve got to give it to people who are talented with coding or choose to code for their career. You all have some crazy patience levels. I attempted to make a super hip man dance on my Scratch  project for a good hour and a half but ended up physically face palming at least 9 times (not exaggerating – ask my sister!). Here is the documented failed attempt of me pretending like I knew what I was doing!

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It seemed fairly easy at first. Scratch had a bunch of really thorough tutorials and I felt very confident. Until I reached the last stage and played back what I created. Total chaos. I had music that ran for four seconds and then stopped for the majority of my project but continued again. My character had very awkward pauses and when I attempted to get him to say hi the speech bubble floated so far above him it looked like a bird. Safe to say I will NOT be changing my career path!

I’m not sure how I would integrate coding into my future highschool english class but I know i will definitely integrate technology and creating blogs and websites to present material students have been working on and I know for a fact that there are always options to create your own website or alter the themes via html coding. I think it’s an important skill for students to have if they are interested in said career paths.

I went into this assignment thinking that learning how to code was only beneficial if students were interested or wished to pursue a career with coding, but after doing some research and reading some of my classmates’ blog posts, I agree that it is beneficial to teach (to some extent. I’m still a little iffy!) Coding can help with problem-solving and definitely patience! I also know from job searching that many employers are now seeking employees that have at least basic knowledge with htmls, coding, and technology in general. As a future teacher who is very dedicated to ensuring that her students are prepared for the real world and all that it brings, I definitely think that teaching at least the basics of coding will be beneficial, as its already becoming integrated into our society and will most likely encompass a larger part of it as the years go by.

 


Learning and Teaching from Teachers to Teachers

ECMP 355 has been by far the most different class I have ever taken – different in a very good way! I remember signing up for this class and thinking “an online class…probably no interaction whatsoever.” Boy was I wrong! The twice a week meeting times definitely made sure we all interacted amongst each other! Not to mention all the various outlets that I was able to use to explore and ask for help, should I need it, made the experience of an online classroom seem so much more real.  Here are some of the ways that I have contributed to my classmates’ learning throughout the past few weeks!

To begin, I started a Twitter account and utilized it to tweet to my fellow peers! Here are some of the interactions i’ve had using the #ECMP355 hashtag.

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And here are a few of my interactions on Twitter!

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In addition to Twitter, I also used the Google Plus Community Space to respond to classmates’ questions and polls. Here are a few of my interactions there!

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Lastly, I used the WordPress/Blog space to read up on my classmates’ thoughts and learning project progress, often commenting and responding to comments on my own posts. Here are a few screenshots of those! The pictures below are comments from Angela, Rhandi, Amie, Fadzai, Shelby, Amira, and Amy’s blog posts!

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These were just a few of the examples of ways I contributed to my classmates’ learning during ECMP 355. I hope I have contributed to my classmates’ learning in a somewhat positive manner! Thank you for all the help and guidance you all have provided me these last few weeks and for all the supportive friendships i’ve made!


Summary of Learning

ECMP355 is a helpful course. Below is a quick summary in some of the things I found important.

I have to emphasize on allowing students in the classroom to be open with what is online.  By that i don’t mean exposing them to dangerous sites or showing them things they shouldn’t but allowing an open conversation within the classroom.  We realize students learn from outside the classroom also and we should use our position to correct some of the things they may hear from outside sources.  Yes it may be difficult to get through some students about not posting inappropriate things online but a try is better than not.  Reaching out to all students in the classroom may just save someone from a regrettable mistake. Yes children are the future teach them well and let them lead their own way.  Teach them how to think critically not what to think.  Teach them what to question not how to question.  Teach them where to search for help and not how to feel helpless.

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p.s my imovie would not upload so I made a quick adjustment to a power point instead until I am able to figure out what went wrong.


Learning Project Final …. (for now)

From exercising to sewing, youtube  can teach you how to do almost anything.  The amount of videos are ridiculous. When asked to learn something new using my internet resources, I though it was time to conquer a not so get skill of mine. I decided to learn to draw. Like I mean I can draw but I cant really draw.  In other words I wouldn’t call myself an artist or anything.  I can be creative but the end result may be confusing. My first thought when i started drawing was just try it and hope for the best.  The project isn’t about perfection, but more about the ability to learn using the internet. I can still confidentially say i am not an artist but I have improved my drawing skills.

MY first attempt was to raw eyes.  On my first progress review post I explained that drawing the eye wasn’t the hardest part but the shading aspect of it.  I would not go back on my word on that statement. One of favourite videos were by Circle Line Art School in which I subscribed on youtube. I enjoyed his narration of each step although at times I didn’t have the patience, but loved the end result. The below is the video I constantly replayed.

From there I went to drawing the mouth.  At this point I was all about trying my best to imitate but perfect.  I actually kind of enjoyed drawing the lip.  There were so many choices on choosing which lip I should focus on and some were cool looking but hard to even start to attack like from Art Channel.  Besides that the basic lips I chose from Mark Crilley were easier and gave me less of a sweat.  I would recommend him for anyone trying to learn to draw.  His narration are very helpful.   When it came down to the nose it was challenging. I got over it by the help of my little cousin. But just a nose is more work than just a nose. I managed to get over it but to be honest I wouldn’t suggest a beginner to start with drawing noses because its discouraging.

Some of the things that didn’t work out for me was the drawing app and some videos.  I didn’t like the app because it was more like cartoon drawings.  The animals and flowers were more like story book looking rather than realistic picture drawings. Before I decided to draw faces parts I had told myself I was willing to draw just about anything.  I pushed myself to go with the realistic face features.  Next time if I was to redo the project I would start with maybe cartoon like drawings because they are more flexible and can be easily manipulated. Also some youtube videos were either too fast or too slow with just not so great narration.  They were also some with really light pencil markings which were hard to follow. I would suggest looking at more than one video when or if yo14665725987571257056635u start drawing.1465524372535181766980013288676_10153658690557896_955728429_o

After all the for my final project I decided to be creative.  I realized  I wasn’t quiet ready to draw a fully realistic face.  I definitely have to work on my shading first before I can do that.  My final project for this was to draw all the things I learned but not necessarily draw a face.  I came up with the idea of drawing an eye looking at frame of a nose and a mouth.  I’ll be honest when I started I thought I was a genius because everyone expected me to draw a face by now but there you have it my creativity comes out.  This project wasn’t meant for a product but for a great process that I can genuinely say I appreciated.

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Unfortunately my final did not come out as I envisioned.  The thought was there but maybe not the skill.  Im okay with it because I know I came a long way from where I was before.

 


ECMP355 final post

During this spring semester I really enjoyed learning about technology in the classroom and more from ECMP355. From learning shortcuts on bitly to digital citizenship, ECMP355 has been a valuable course for my growth a future teacher. Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 7.56.32 PM

Through interactions with other students via Google plus, twitter and wordpress, the course allowed a lot of self expression and a lot learning.  With the many ideas and thoughts of the students it was enjoyable to be able to read different sides of the same topic.  Whether it was blaming the victim of sextortion to the progress it took to learn to code, students allowed me to learn with their individual inputs.  Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 8.08.10 PM

During the course I also helped student learning my posting stats on google plus in which I thought were interesting to view about social media and class.  I was also able to slowly get use to twitter (@fadzaiam) and tweet some valuable iScreen Shot 2016-07-05 at 8.02.47 PMnsights and personal thoughts.  I finally learned to retweet and began to retweet  tweets I thought were interesting from my peers.  Through the blogs I was able to comment on others work and also engage in conversation on comments about my own work.  It was uplifting to be able to have people comment on my blog and knowing that there is an audience in which I am writing for.

One of my favourite part of ECMP355 was learning about tweetdeck.  At fScreen Shot 2016-07-05 at 8.05.46 PMirst it was complicated but now it is something I would try again.  Participating in #saskedchat was actually pretty interesting.  The fact that a lot of people are able to respond to the same question at once was overwhelming. Trying to follow at first was hard but once you get the hang of not having to completely follow everyone’s response it got easier.  I’m glad I learned this because I would use it in my own classroom just to spike up a conversation with my students.

I would suggest all teachers to take ECMP355.  It is very modern and very informative. I learned more about the internet and the things we have access to and how others may have access to our things also. Digital Citizenship is a definte must to learn in schools. I will be passing on my knowledge to others as I join the work field and also as I continue my education.

 


And So It Continues…

With the completion of #ecmp355 comes the end of my learning project…or is it?! First, let me recap those who haven’t been able to catch all my posts. I began my learning project with high hopes of wanting to get back in shape and spend loads of time outside. You can view my very first learning project blog/vlog here!

I threw myself into it, starting with walks in the early morning (oh god) and walks home after class. In total, I was walking approximately 11 kilometres each day, maxing to around 15 kilometres on a good day – and that too, just my exercise! Things were going very well. Until school and Ramadan fell within the same week. You can view the post about my laziness and busyness here!

I was then recommended by my doctor to not do much physical activity while fasting due to prior health concerns. So I slumped around for a week, not sure how I would go about my learning project. I documented my feelings about this decision here.

Although I couldn’t do much in terms of actual physical activity, I did a ton of research on how to stay active for Muslims that were interested in staying active during the month of Ramadan.

So does this mean my learning project is complete? NOT AT ALL! Ramadan ends tomorrow for me so guess who’s back at looking at ways to stay active outdoors? I have already been camping twice and plan on camping almost every single weekend from now until the third week of August! I’m also planning on visiting the outdoor gym that i recently came across here in Saskatoon fairly regularly! You can get more information on that by clicking on the link below.

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Although this project didn’t go exactly the way I planned, i’m so happy that I had a chance to work on it for a few weeks. I’ve definitely discovered a lot of things around this city that I didn’t know existed prior to this project and i’ve also been able to push and flirt with my limits. Thank you to everyone who has supported me or has encouraged me along the way! You have all made this learning experience an amazing one:)