Ms. Paysen's Teaching Portfolio

A collection of teaching tools, inspirations, & reflections

Author: Ms. Paysen (page 2 of 2)

Painting the Weather

In a lot of our courses so far, our teachers have discussed the usefulness of having ‘soft starts’ in your elementary classes to help calm the kids and get them ready to focus and learn. Some suggest silent reading, others suggest quiet, calming activities such as painting, kinetic sand, and playdough.

Another morning activity that has been discuss in class, is alternatives to the typical ‘going through the calendar, days of the weeks, and weather visuals.

I thought, why not combine both of these classroom morning routines into one, and make a soft start activity of Painting the Weather. Each student could have the option to come in in the morning, grab any supplies they need, and break into the school day slowly by painting whatever they feel inspired from outside that day.

So, here is my process of today’s soft start of painting this beautiful fall day.


And the finished product:

Autumn Wreath Craft

This week’s craft inspiration was from the beautiful changing fall colours we’re all seeing outside, and a little trip to the dollar store.

When I was shopping for craft supplies at Dollarama, I found a wooden wreath that I thought could serve as a great inexpensive craft to do with students. I initially thought the craft would be good for all ages, but once I dove in, I quickly realized it would be best suited for older elementary or middle years students.

I decided to incorporate some outside time into this activity, because who doesn’t love a brisk fall walk on a beautiful sunny day?! I went through a path near my house and scavenged all the ‘supplies’ to decorate my wreath with.

I then just jumped right in and began shoving sticks in the nooks and crannies of the wreath, pinning branches and leaves under the wood to stay in place, using hemp to tie certain branches in place, and using a hot glue gun (another reason this would be best suited for older children) to put leaves, pine cones, and acorns in specific spots.


What I liked most about this project was the outdoor component of it, to get kids outside in the fresh air; and that the finished product is something that the students can display at home, and *hopefully* keep for years to come.

Here is my finished product, all ready to be hung on a door to welcome fall! 🙂

Jesse Miller Guest Speaker

Today in class we had the honour of having Jesse Miller join us for a presentation on Social Media & Mobile Technology: Professional responsibilities,  Personal meets Public. I found it to be a whirlwind of heavy content, and left my head spinning with a lot to consider as I move forward in my career as a teacher.

I thought I had a distinct plan put in place for creating a separate “professional” online presence that could be accessed by any students, parents, employers, or coworkers; but after today, I find myself questioning this entire decision. Is it best to just cut myself off from social media in my professional setting altogether to protect myself. Not that I necessarily post anything that I wouldn’t want to be public anyways, but the way that things can be shifted by the perception of the public is a very very scary thought to me.

This will be something that I will personally have to continue to consider and decide what approach I feel is best for my professional career vs my personal freedom. Definitely a lot to think of moving forward…




These are my notes from the presentation in their raw form.. Feel free to peruse them, or not. They’re here just for my own personal reference.

  • Finished highschool and didn’t know what he wanted to do — internet didn’t exist then like it does today
  • First job was with Vancouver PD – Bait Car Program
    • Then went on to working in sex crimes
    • Then at the emergence of facebook, shifted to giving presentations in schools
  • Masters work — technology in education
  • Social Media & Professional Responsibilities
    • @mediatedrealty (twitter)
    • Capchas – 40 million times per day instances of confirming you’re not a robot — google what captures do
      • helps with self driving cars
    • malahat introducing photo radar next year – tickets in the mail based on time to take to get to point a to point b
    • funny videos online – why do videos of gym people exist on the internet – FIPPA
    • People do things on the internet without knowing why they’re doing it: ALS ice bucket challenge
    • “private accounts”: all your followers can still screenshot and pass along
    • Networked Citizenship:
      • What is your digital identity?
        • multiple versions of yourself
        • facebook
        • primary instagram account
        • Things on the internet that you dont want your students seeing, or your employers, etc
    • Digitial rights: someone screenshots something and sends it to a thousand people, do they have a right?
      • up until 2014 no laws against sending on photos or messages that people send to you
      • now sending someone else’s pictures is a punishable offense
    • Digital Literacy: 1/4 of all US relationships started on social media last year
    • Security of self: are you actively maintaining your personal accounts to ensure you’re keeping your personal and professional life is separate
    • Should your child have a social media account?
      • gender biases
      • media biases
      • targeted to moms – pinterest
      • Tween brains are not ready for navigating this 24 hour communication/life of affirmation
      • Headlines are designed to get people to click
        • Videogames cause violence: data does not support this — most kids that are violent in schools have domestic violence in their homes
    • Has social media shifted society: for better or worse? both? double edged sword
    • Kids who enjoy sports never think about checking their phones — need to make classrooms engaging so that they also feel the same way
  • Amy Orben : emerging data on kids going back to face to face needs – have experienced being ignored by parents on their phones, so dont want to continue that cycle.
  • — erase bullying
  • Social media & youth
    • need to know the policies around appropriate communication between teachers and students–each school district has different policies and are changing all the time
      • ie. having students phone numbers
      • texting students
      • having students on social media
      • opportunities for success vs. opportunities for conflict
      • need to balance your wanting to be empathetic and help children, also need to keep proper boundaries with students for professionalism
    • Entitlement piece attached to your phone – because is like our modern diary
    • All struggling with communications balance – use of personal phone for school vs. getting a phone from the school district
      • district has access to what you do on your personal phone when on the wifi
  • 3 potential critical audiences for media use by educations
      • public – ie. parents
      • staff/coworkers – do you need to befriend all coworkers on your facebook/instagram
      • students – if they somehow get access – what they see and what they can do with it
    • Teachers must not share student info/image on personal social media accounts
      • Make sure any content with students remains within canada
      • make sure you delete photos right away
      • FreshGrade is hosted in BC
      • Fostercare **
      • Uploading any negative pictures online
      • be wary of crossing lines – boundaries
  • E-sports
    • Highschools now have e-sports teams
    • nation building – diverse group of competitiors
    • competitive e-sports players will have the same resting heart rate as a person playing 90 min soccer game
    • gaming interest into art design, computer science, etc
    • 3D opportunities
    • Shouldn’t be shaming kids based on interest – based on cultural norms
    • need to have a diversity of extracurriculars
    • can get a business degree in e-sports
    • forest fires – can dig trenches

Collaboration in Teaching

After yesterday’s Link 2 Practice Professional Development seminar hosted by SD 62 & UVic Teacher Ed, there was an excited buzz about our inquiry questions from all Teacher Candidates. The seminar helped to shape and focus our inquiry questions, and to really get us on our way to prepare for our November Inquiry Gallery Walk.

One thing that has been stressed time and time again by every experienced teacher that speaks, is the importance of collaboration in teaching. Not only in lesson planning or ideas for activities, but also in teacher’s own inquiry projects. Two heads are better than one, and will always give a more well-rounded outlook to any wondering you’re looking to answer.

Student Assessment File Folder

For this week’s craft, I’ve decided to make my own version of the file folder for assessment we saw in our ED 407 class.

I really liked the idea for a quick way to go through your class list and make comments day to day on each student. Then when it comes time for reporting, you’re able to quickly flip through the sticky notes for each student to find proof for their evaluation.

Here is a picture of the sample that was shown in class:

Here is the process of me creating my own:

And last but not least, the finished product:

Video Class

In today’s class we went over ways that video can be useful to help our teaching. We went through Rich’s blog to discuss different programs to use for visual and audio (see link below), and worked on creating our own videos.


Some notes from class:

First Video ever created: A horse running – 1878

  • helps to see what the naked eye itself can’t actually see

Other ways video helps with this:

  • slow motion/time-lapse

Ways we can use video to replicate what we do in the classroom

  • like writing on a chalkboard : Khan Academy


Rich created a very useful blog to help us in our Video ventures. Click here.


Lastly, here is a copy of the video that I edited in this class:

Open Educational Resources Class Notes

Some notes from our class on Open Educational Resources. Lots of open resources listed below to check out!

  • Used in remote areas (South Africa)
  • Embeddable content (youtube/tweet)
  • Wed resources
    • some have copy rights
      • copyright is applied by default
    • fair dealing — for teaching
      • for the purposes of education
      • can share a single page of a book, but copying an entire book would fall under copyright
        • can look at the guidelines through class slides
  • Public Domain – copy right no longer held after a certain amount of time
    • ie. Moby Dick
  • Creative Commons: a licencing tool for people who want to share materials
    • Content with the CC logo is openly allowed to be reused and copied WITH proper attribution
      • Wikipedia – just need to cite where you got it
      • Phet: downloadable interactive simulations for students
      • flickr
      • Vimeo
      • Internet Archive
      • Khan Academy
      • OER Commons (
      • Curriki
      • Siyavula (entire textbooks)
  • Teachers Pay Teachers : teachers create resources and sell them to other teachers
    • not open technically
    • curriculum
    • lessons
  • Movement in BC towards creating free opensource textbooks
  • (see slides for video)
  • For google searches, you can go into Settings –> Advanced search –> Usage rights –> free to use, then will bring up openly licensed resources

Free Inquiry: Teaching Arts & Crafts

For my free inquiry I am going to be completing teacher-related arts and crafts as both a resource for me to draw on in the future, and also just for a nice relaxing little study break. The projects will be a mixture of crafts that I would have students complete, as well as useful tools for myself to organize student assessments.

Throughout the last few weeks I have been collecting some inspiration for this inquiry from the classroom I’ve been visiting, as well as from examples shown in our classes. Here is a little preview of a few of my soon-to-be projects:

Stay tuned for Ms. Paysen’s Arts & Crafts Extravaganza!!!

‘Most Likely to Succeed’ Movie Notes

I’ll start by saying if you have not seen The Most Likely to Succeed movie: 1) go watch it. Especially if you have any interest at all in the long overdue shift in our current standardized educational curriculum. 2) To give some brief context, the movie is about a high school in San Diego (High Tech High) who’s entire purpose is to teach with project based learning, instead of the traditional standardized “subject-based” curriculum.

Overall, I found the movie extremely interesting. I was skeptical at first, as it showed many people (specifically parents and some students worried about getting into College and University) were when first being introduced to the idea; but as the movie progressed through the school year, I definitely found myself jumping on the bandwagon. Actually being able to see the real progress the students were making in not only their projects, but also in what was referred to as their “soft skills” really pulled at my heart strings. I loved that soft skills were the main focus of teaching, and all the factual and memorization-type materials were more so just expected to fall into place. I agree with the idea that soft skills are ones that are much more useful to students once they enter the workforce, than ‘solving for x’ has ever been in my personal experience.

I was still left with some questions on the actual evaluation process, though. The boy that they followed throughout the film that was trying to execute his very elaborate contribution to the project, never actually completed in time for the exhibition. Although it was great to see that he  persevered and took the time out of his summer holidays to get his part done, the film did not mention at all what his evaluation would look like because of missing the deadline. Although I feel for the student, I do believe that to foster proper learning and responsibility, there would need to be some sort of repercussions to his lack of organization and time management, wouldn’t there?

My final thoughts related back to my own time in the K-12 public system. I reflect back to how much I missed out on because of a lack of self confidence. I used to get doctors notes to excuse me from P.E. because I was terrified of being judged and letting down my classmates in team sports; I would avoid speaking up in class unless I was pretty much forced; and the thought of any sort of presentation in front of the class would almost cripple me with fear. It makes me wonder now, if I had had the opportunity like the director of the play got to let her true self shine through in such a trusting environment, would my experience have been totally different? Unfortunately, time travel is not yet a thing, so there is no concrete way of knowing forsure, but if our curriculum continues to progress as it has been for the past 2 years, I have faith that we, as Educators, could one day drastically reduce those negative student experiences.

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