Though COVID-19 has disrupted plans, here are some stories of a recent graduate and a first year teacher candidate to show how adding music to education can joyfully enhance students’ experience and understanding
Living My Passion
by Pearline Barrett-Fraser, CSH cohort alumna
Teachers in today’s classrooms often struggle with integrating movement into their lessons in emergent, inclusive, and culturally-relevant ways. As a dance educator, I take pride in differentiating my lessons to ensure that my students experience success in an equitable learning space. My name is Pearline Barrett-Fraser and I am a recent graduate from the Teacher Education program from the Comprehensive School Health (CSH) Cohort (uOttawa-comprehensive-school-health.ca). For the past 6 years, I have taught dance workshops to children of all ages, from junior kindergarten to grade 12, each coming from different levels of education and ethnic backgrounds through Luv2Groove, an organization that aligns dance workshops with the “Arts” and “Health and Physical Education” curricula.
Luv2Groove’s mission is to “foster the growth and development of dance education through a blending of our passions in dance, health, and education. Our goal is to enhance the arts curriculum in schools by encouraging students to move, groove and to have fun”(Luv2Groove, 2018). Julia Gutsik, CEO & Creative Director for Luv2Groove and graduate from uOttawa’s M.Ed. program, encourages students to “develop their own movement vocabulary” (Gutsik, 2019) as they learn about relationships, active play, improvisation and tempo while practicing locomotor and non-locomotor movement.
As I powered through my journey of embedding an active and positive lifestyle, I discovered a strength within myself that I did not know was present. The importance of being interactive is key when it comes to my workshops and the Luv2Groove formula. Students are always engaged, and there is no time to lose focus. From mini-movement challenges, exploration activities, and syncing steps, I build rapport quickly with the students while adding in my own flavour and personality. I take each workshop as an opportunity to promote and encourage active and healthy living. We are not focused on getting the moves perfect, but just encouraging the students to keep moving. As a result, improving confidence and fostering creativity in every student. Working with Luv2Groove Dance Education, has amplified my feelings towards physical activity and movement within the classroom due to their effective teaching methodology.
In addition, physical Literacy is essential in today’s technological advancements and ever-evolving society. Students have a constant struggle to move and explore on a daily basis. Students are not only exploring but also learning through these devices and as educators, we must be active participants and role models in teaching through interaction. Using outlets like GoNoddle or Just Dance videos from Youtube are recently observed options to integrate movement into the classroom. However, I believe we must embody our teachings. We must move and groove with our students! Find different ways of exploring through space, expressing your thoughts and moving to the beat!
Luv2Groove is my platform to share myself with others and to show students a new way to be active, strong and confident. Each workshop we focus on elements of dance including, body, space, time, energy and relationship. Building a positive relationship amongst students is key to creating a playful culture in every educational environment. Through our movement activities, and follow-along dances we create a space that establishes unity and eliminates barriers and building physical, social and character skills.
Let’s become active participants in our students’ learning. Let’s change lives through movement, music and transformative practices. It’s simple. Just turn on some music and get moving!
If you would like Luv2Groove to visit your school please check out our website below!
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We’ve Got the Beat
Hello my name is Isabella Ferritto. I am a first year Bachelors of Education student at Ottawa university. I am in the CSH cohort. I have loved my first-year practicum placement. I was blessed and placed at an amazing school with an awesome associate teacher and an incredible grade 5 class. Throughout my placement I taught music. I loved being able to teach music as it got my creative juices flowing. I created lesson plans weekly and I created slideshows to support my teaching. I also invited my 17-year-old son who is a drummer to teach my students how to bucket drum. I created weekly music centers and my students thoroughly enjoyed my weekly music lessons. It was an incredible feeling seeing how my grade 5 students enjoyed my lessons and looked forward to music. I loved that I was able to be creative and share my passion for music. Being a visual learner, I know the importance of visualization. There are many different learning strategies. I incorporated visual, auditory and tactile styles with every lesson I planned. I believe incorporating such an interactive and versatile way of learning has helped to increase my student’s participation in my lessons. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with my students and I look forward to continuing my journey in year two. I also included some of the pictures from my music lessons and activities.
Cupid’s Musical Heart
Clothesline Musical Notes
Go Beats (Homemade Original Card Game)
Adventures of a Year 1 Teacher Candidate
by Kimberly Norris, first year P/J teacher candidate within the CSH cohort
The start of a new school year is filled with nerves and excitement for any student. For the new teacher candidates heading to their Year 1 orientation, it’s no different. Some of us had spent our summers off after completing undergrads in May, while this is the first time back to school in years for others. I happen to fall under the latter category.
For me, starting my first year with the Faculty of Education comes as both a career change and return. After I finished my undergrad here at the University of Ottawa in 2014, I flew off to South Korea as soon as I could. I was ready to travel, to meet new people, and to work as an ESL teacher in Incheon. I spent nearly three years there working in a private school and learning the ins and outs of the kindergarten classroom. At the same time, I travelled as much as I could and got to see some pretty amazing sights. I count myself eternally lucky for my experience while living in Asia, but most especially for the students who touched my heart and changed my life.
After I left Korea for the next adventure, I eventually ended up living in Edinburgh, Scotland. I took a break from teaching and got into recruitment. I learned a lot from this job and I absolutely loved it, but at the same time it often felt like something was missing. When a candidate brought his son in to wait during a meeting, I found myself sitting in the lobby with the boy having a conversation about what he was learning in school and what subjects he liked best. That was a game changing moment for me. I realized how much I missed my role as a teacher, and applied to the Primary/Junior program here at uOttawa straight away. It was time to come home, and it was time to return to the classroom.
It wasn’t long before I found myself sitting in a lecture hall in CRX (where was that building when I was in school—it’s amazing!) listening to Nicholas Ng-A-Fook and Tracy Crowe and a variety of other talented people inspire and welcome their newest group of teacher candidates. You could tell by the buzz in the hall that everyone was excited and ready for this new challenge. We had come ready to make friends and to make a difference. For me, it was my first time living back in Canada in four years, and what a wonderful reintroduction it was!
Now we are almost a month into our first year of school. Our CSL placements have begun, and we know each other’s names and stories pretty well. I belong to the Comprehensive School Health cohort, and my class of nearly fifty teacher candidates has already become like a family. We chose CSH for different reasons, but among the top reasons is a positive focus on mental health. We are hoping to bring mindfulness to our classrooms, which is something I’m very excited about. I know that with CSH and the Faculty of Education, I have found my place.
When I tell people what I study at uOttawa I always get the same responses. “Good for you” or “That’s a very noble profession”, and I’d have to agree. We are starting an incredible journey with some pretty amazing people. The overwhelming feeling of excitement for the next two years is pretty unanimous, and I can’t wait to see where this new adventure leads!
You can follow Kim’s journey on Twitter at @MissKim_uo
Early Successes in Involvement with the Faculty of Education Students’ Association (FESA)
by Andrea Lefebvre, second year P/J teacher candidate within the CSH cohort
I am always amazed by how fast each year comes and passes and cannot believe I have already begun my second year within this program. I had such an incredibly memorable experience last year between classes, placement, and several cohort community excursions and functions that I have been eagerly looking forward to contributing to and engaging in again this year. However, during these last few months as a student, teacher, and leader in this program, I wanted to become even more involved on campus, particularly in student-faculty relations. I decided to join the Faculty of Education Students’ Association (FESA) to help me better understand how we can enhance our relationships among students and staff, bring forth a stronger relationship between first and second year students, build a greater connection among students enrolled in both years of their cohort, and improve our communications among all members of this program in a simpler and more efficient manner.
These networks have become increasingly important to me because I feel that within this profession there should be an open dialogue between fellow students and professionals within the field, as well as a strong sense of community for support, guidance, encouragement, and inspiration. I feel that teaching is such a multifaceted profession that extends far beyond lesson planning and report-card writing that it is actually the level of engagement among one another that will ultimately help us to learn all that we can about the various components of being a life-long learner to in turn be the best and most well-rounded educators we can possibly be.
I already feel as though my involvement in this association has proven to be an incredibly valuable opportunity in working towards addressing these questions and desires I have. This association is grounded in the same philosophies and values I, and many others, possess which has made me increasingly eager to devote my time to actively participate within this program on my own and as part of a team. I feel honoured to work with such passionate, hardworking, and dedicated members of this association and am truly committed to working on continuously improving our program alongside an incredible team of students, educators and leaders. I wholeheartedly believe that this year is going to be one of significant growth and success personally, academically, and professionally, and I am beyond looking forward to sharing this with everyone within this program and faculty.
If you are interested in becoming involved with FESA and/or have any questions or suggestions, I strongly encourage you to reach out. This group has evidently already inspired me in more ways than one and has allowed me to begin (and become successful) in the process of fulfilling my educational goals. I truly believe it can and will do the same for you.
Cheers to another exciting, educational, and memorable school year ahead! Good luck to you all!
You can follow Andrea’s journey on Twitter at @LefebvreMiss