Let's Talk - Learning, Discussing, and Growing together

Month: October 2023

EDDL 5111 Blog Post #5 – Design Perspectives: Indigenization

          I acknowledge living on Treaty 6 and 7 lands in Red Deer, Alberta. This land is the traditional territory of the Blackfoot, Tsuu T’ina, Stoney Nakoda nation, and traditional Métis, Cree, and Saulteaux peoples. I strive to honor and transform my relationship with this land’s traditional people as we move toward reconciliation. It is also important to acknowledge the lens through which I approach reconciliation and my role as a teacher as a Canadian-born, white, Catholic, British woman from a middle to upper socioeconomic class. I understand that these social locations surround me with power and privilege and, in turn, implicit biases that I may not be aware of. Research shows that most preservice teachers are like me, and these teachers reported that “many feel unprepared to adequately represent Indigenous perspectives or fear being accused of cultural appropriation (Milne et al., T., 2023, p. 56). Without this knowledge, how can teachers truly adopt an indigenization lens that is meaningful and not just tokenistic?

          In order for one to see through a different lens, one must be willing to listen empathetically to learn. An Albertan study by Milne and Wotherspoon in 2023 was designed to look at how “ Indigenous students and their parents see themselves represented and supported through educational initiatives to foster reconciliation and how these initiatives are understood by teachers who work with these students” (Milne et al., T., 2023, p. 55). The researchers spoke to various stakeholders, including parents, children, and school staff, to determine what indigenous initiatives were working in the school and what areas needed more support. The findings were that the school had developed “designated spaces where Indigenous programming took place and Indigenous students gathered” (Milne et al., T., 2023, p. 59) for learning and celebrations. Moreover, there were added “initiatives such as Cree language instruction during lunch breaks, Indigenous or Aboriginal Studies courses, and weekly Elder facilitated sharing circles” (Milne et al., T., 2023, p. 59). All of these initiatives were regarded as positive steps towards reconciliation. However, the findings also suggested some systemic issues, such as“the lack of adequate support and preparation for teachers, relatively superficial incorporation of teaching about Indigenous peoples, and discomfort that many Indigenous peoples feel with the education(al)” system. (Milne, et al., 2023, p. 64). Consequently, what was happening seemed to be more tokenistic than authentic learning to promote reconciliation.

          In the second article by Wallin and Tunison (2002), the researchers review a provincial initiative in Saskatchewan called Follow Their Voice. The core purpose of this program is to “foster community engagement in education, transform teacher practice, and improve the educational achievement of Indigenous students in particular” (Wallin et al., S., 2002, p. 77). This initiative encourages all the stakeholders in an indigenous child’s education to come together and discuss “what is needed in order to be successful as a First Nations or Métis student in school” (Wallin et al., 2002, p. 78). Once determined, the plans are actualized through a train-the-trainer model, and “school-based indigenous facilitators work with cohorts of teachers over a four-year cycle to support, observe, monitor and provide feedback to their teacher colleagues as they learn about and implement a range of discursive, culturally responsive instructional strategies (Wallin et al., S., 2002, p. 78). The strength of this initiative is that all decisions, programs, and actions are built on the voices of the indigenous community to inform the teaching and learning environment, making these authentic experiences for potential growth toward reconciliation. By following the people’s voice, empathizing, and being willing to work together, it seems that this is the real road to true reconciliation.


Milne, E., & Wotherspoon, T. (2023). Student, Parent, and Teacher Perspectives on Reconciliation-Related School Reforms. Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education, 17(1), 54–67. https://doi-org.ezproxy.tru.ca/10.1080/15595692.2022.2042803

Wallin, D., & Tunison, S. (2022). “Following Their Voices”: Supporting Indigenous Students’ Learning by Fostering Culturally Sustaining Relational Pedagogies to Reshape the School and Classroom Environment. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 32(2), 75–90. https://wrap2fasd.org/2022/08/02/following-their-voices-supporting-indigenous-students-learning-by-fostering-culturally-sustaining-relational-pedagogies-to-reshape-the-school-and-classroom-environment/

EDDL 5111 Blog Post #4 – Evaluation of ‘ReadWorks”

ReadWorks is a free web based reading comprehension site which has been developed on the science behind what makes readers successful.  It offers a variety of different texts to support students in building their comprehension skills and is used by more than five million educators and 30 million students. The passages are aligned with the scope and sequence of the United States of America’s curriculum standards which allows teachers to create a class and assign individual reading texts based on the core reading standard while addressing the reading level of each student. The assignments can automatically be graded upon completion and the teacher can offer highlights to sections, provide direct feedback, and track student progress using the dashboard.  https://www.readworks.org/# 


Question Comments
The technology supports student engagement, collaboration and collective learning amongst students. YES 


  • Students are unable to collaborate with projects on books they are assigned the same book and are working together face to face in a group discussion.
  • There are a variety of topics that are engaging for all readers including fiction, non fiction, poetry
  • Book studies can be assigned to a group to discuss and work on together.
The technology is accessible, time-efficient and the navigation is user-friendly.  YES
  • There is some time needed for professional development on the teacher’s end to fully understand the potential of the program and set up their class.
  • Students are assigned texts by the teacher and can easily find the materials in their student libraries.
  • Easy log in for both teacher and student
  • There are student tutorials available in video format
  • There are teacher 1 page tutorial pages with instructions for login and access already developed that can easily be shared with the student.
  • Offline mode so students can access materials and work on them if they do not have wifi capability
The technology is internationally accessible, and considers the cultural background of students. NO
  • This site is intended for the United States
  • All data bases are located in the United States
  • All texts are available in English
  • There is access to a variety of languages on the site such as Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Arabic, Haitian in translation mode.
The technology meets FIPPA privacy guidelines YES
  • No individual student information is collected on accounts. Information is saved from educators setting up account at a school level
  • ReadWorks does not collect geolocation data, biometric or health data, or behavioral data
  • Student use is stored anonymously 
  • Users cannot interact with untrusted accounts
  • Profiles are not shared for social interactions
  • The laws of New York govern this site
The technology aligns with UDL and is adaptable for IELPs YES
  • Listen to assignments with audio that is in a human voice or a computer based voice for multiple texts
  • Highlight and annotate as student works through an online book
  • Build student background knowledge
  • Ability to choose any grade level from K-12 and set the Lexile level to match your student’s ability.
  • Specific texts developed for ELL learners
  • Distraction free tools built in which allows students to expand the text, removing the clutter from their screen to focus on the text and questions. 
  • Text magnification allows students to enlarge text and the reading strip helps tracking
The technology has built in tools for assessment and evaluation. YES
  • Use built-in alignments, levels and differentiation
  • Automatic grading and view assessment data
  • Integration available through Clever Library and Google Classroom 
  • Students can see their progress and results as they move through each book
  • Data sets prepared for teachers on an individual and a class level
The technology can be adapted to all K-12 learners.  YES
  • Access more than 5000 high-quality texts
  • Texts available in fiction, non fiction, and prose for K-12 learners and adults.
The technology accommodates neurodiversity. YES
  • Build students’ knowledge through listening-level comprehension with Article-A-Day, while helping them practice decoding with meaningful, continuous nonfiction texts.
  • Webinars are available to help teachers understand how to use Readworks for neurodiversity
    • Differentiation through content
    • Differentiation through supports
    • Hybrid and remote learning
  • Teachers can create groups of students based on similar educational learning goals
The technology is used for higher order thinking skills as well as innovative and creative problem solving.   YES
  • Increase reading stamina with Article-A-Day
  • Deeper Dive Book Studies excite students with engaging topics related to the books.
  • Challenge texts available at K through 12.
The technology helps to provide evidence that students have met the learning outcomes.  YES
  • Knowledge Book Studies build deep knowledge around key content
  • Theme Book Studies inspire thematic reflection and discussions
  • Support core curricula with Book Studies
The technology is reliable and cost effective.  YES
  • Non profit run organization
  • Membership is free for educators and students
  • Free professional development sessions are available to support teachers personally or at a school level.
The technology is user friendly for the instructor and problem solving support is available.  YES
  • There are a variety of teacher support pages available with free webinars that walk a new teacher through the process of using ReadWorks;
    • How to use ReadWorks
    • Understanding the use of the variety of tools available such as articles a day, vocabulary lessons, decoding, paired texts, and word detectives.
  • Provided suggested models to run a reading program for new teachers but it is flexible to meet the needs of the teacher or classroom.