Compassion starts from the top

It’s often said that a goal of education is compassion and care. I personally believe a goal of life should be compassion and care. I’m currently in week 3 of my final internship as an Education, and this morning, the staff was called into the staff room and given grave news about the medical prognosis of one of its staff members. In the midst of this situation, I  could sense that every staff member was affected. There were tears, hugs, and offers to cover one another’s workload as we process this news. This staff has become like a family, and cares for one another as such.

I’m really impacted by the depth of care these professionals have for one another, and it inspires me to not just see my work as a “task to get to done” but as a place where you can foster an atmosphere of compassion and care.

You better believe that the students pick up on the way the staff treat one another – from what I’ve heard from the more senior teachers, the morale in the school has never been higher. When the leaders in the school set a healthy tone, the students feel safe, secure, and want to come to school.

Teaching is about modelling lifestyle and relationship, not just delivering information.

Contributing to Others’ Learning: ECMP 355

As a future teacher, I get excited when I can help other people learn!

Here are some ways I helped others learn throughout this semester of ECMP355:

In Class

I tried to be as “present” as possible (which can be difficult in an online course!) and contributed to conversation and the chat feed as often as I could.


I regularly checked the  blog hub to see if there were any learning projects to which I could contribute. I often contributed to the learning project of Cassidy Oesch, as I am a fellow knitter. Usually once or twice a week I’d find somebody’s project to give suggestions and comment on their progress. I tried to ask questions of them rather than just saying “Great!” or “Wow!”.

Sharing Articles
Whenever I’d come across a thought provoking article I’d be quick to share it on social media, with my own thoughts added usually. I found it very interesting to see who would grab on to the article – sometimes totally random would comment and share the article and before I knew it it had been re-tweeted a few times!

Twitter Participation
Often people would post Google forms, or ask questions on Twitter and if I felt I could add something to the conversation, I would reply.

Group Project
Having previous experience with Google docs, it was fun to show other members of our group how Google docs works. We made a lot of use out of this platform!

Learning Project
In my learning project, I tried to not only showcase my learning but also to make my videos and posts in a way that others could learn Hebrew along with me. I found myself teaching Hebrew at some points!


Click to view slideshow.

Languages are Portals to the World: Final Learning Project Post


When I was in between grade 11 and grade 12, I went on a summer exchange to France. Essentially, I went to immerse myself in the French language. What I actually gained from that trip was so much more than the language itself. Not only did I learn French, but I also developed a cultural awareness that has shaped my mindset.

I learned to see the world from a totally different lens and consider that others may actually think differently than me!

Oh yes, I also gained a best friend! Her name is Mathilde, and since becoming friends, we’ve cheered each other on as we’ve become adults, professionals, wives, and mothers! (We still FaceTime regularly and travel “across the pond” when we can…we still laugh about how they took me to the Eiffel Tower and we took her to the garbage dump to watch the bears come and eat trash.)


Mathilde and I in a Parisien restaurant, May 2011

This is why I love language learning. It opens up a whole new world of relationships,  understandings, and adventures. That’s part of the reason why I chose to become a French teacher – I want to help students develop a cultural awareness and deepen their understanding and respect of others’ viewpoints. This is of utmost importance in our multicultural nation.


That being said, to summarize my Hebrew learning project, I feel that I learned more than just a vocabulary list. At the outset, I kind of thought that’s what I might end up doing: drilling vocabulary flashcards for 50 hours. Very quickly though, this project shaped up to be a wholistic cultural lesson. As I learned the language, I learned about the people, the traditions, the culture that is totally different than my own.

I learned that you have to let the language sink in and become a part of you, in a way.

Once I gave up on memorizing and gave way to exploring, this project became a lot more fun. I learned aspects of the Hebrew language that were important to my everyday life. I also learned about how I learn!

I also learned that you can learn almost anything with technology and access to the Internet! Living in a small town in Manitoba, there are no Hebrew speakers here that I know of. It was really great to be able to access Hebrew speakers online and learn from them!

To access my series of blog posts in chronological order, follow this link:

Another thing I learned was to not limit yourself to one educational tool. I was tempted to stick only to my Hebrew for Dummies book, but am I ever glad I didn’t. That would have been SO BORING. To name a few, here are some tools I used to learn Hebrew:

  • podcasts (ex. Hebrew Podcast)
  • connecting with people on Twitter
  • local resources (friends!)
  • books (ex. Hebrew for Dummies, the Bible, The Sabbath Table, HaYesod)
  • YouTube videos (ex. videos in Hebrew with English subtitles, language learning tutorials)
  • apps (ex. Ma Kore Learn Hebrew)
  • blogs (ex.,
  • making my own videos – hearing myself speak helping me adjust my accent

Overall, I’m left with a well-rounded foundation in the Hebrew language. I can say a number of phrases and words. I can sound out most Hebrew text. I can listen for key words from a native speaker. But really, overall, I am left with a desire to keep learning and exploring this beautiful language, this beautiful culture!

Shadowing and the Shabbat

About a month ago, I watched this video about a language learning technique called “shadowing”.

A basic breakdown of beginner shadowing (for those of you who don’t want to watch the video!) is as follows:

  1. Get a book that has your native tongue on one page and the translated version in the language you are learning on the other page.
  2. Access an audio version of that book in the language you are learning.
  3. Read the text in your native tongue, and also follow along with the audio version, practicing the words, in the language you are learning.

When I first heard of shadowing, I kind of giggled (yes, giggled) because this is how my mom taught me how to read! Apparently, I was an ambitious 3-year old, and my mom would sit me down with taped (did I just age myself?) versions of Disney books, and I’d follow along with the written words in the book. She said eventually I just started matching words on the page to words in the story and before she knew it, I was reading! Shadowing seems to be a lot like this. The only thing is you need the book and audio in both languages, which was something I didn’t have at the time.

Lo and behold, yesterday, my friend randomly gives me a gift…and it’s a Hebrew-English Shabbat (English: Sabbath) prayer and blessing book.

This seems like a strange, random gift from a friend so here’s the back story: A number of my friends, as Christians, have begun to “Remember to observe Sabbath and keep it holy”, which is the 4th of the 10 Commandments.   (It’s basically a day of rest, which is really awesome in my opinion.) I guess she found this book on the internet as an example of what Jewish people do to honour the Sabbath, thinking we could learn a thing or two.

To my surprise, this book would work perfectly for shadowing. There is also an audio component I could order.


A page from my new book The Sabbath Table, from a Messianic Jewish group called the Vine of David.

Another cool thing about this book as that it further opens up the culture of the Hebrew language, not just the language itself.

All that being said, I now have a new tool in my tool belt to expand on my Hebrew! I haven’t begun shadowing yet, but as I paged through the book, I was encouraged to see that I knew a few words already and could start matching up English words to their Hebrew translation.

If you are reading this on a Saturday…Shabbat Shalom!



Which tool to use? The Pedagogy Wheel

In taking ECMP355 as part of my Bachelor of Education, I’ve been exposed to so many great tools that I’d like to use in the classroom. Sometimes though I find it almost overwhelming to decide which tool to use for what purposes. This little graphic that I’ve shared will hopefully help me as I enter my internship semester and attempt to provide a well-rounded education to my students.



Laryngitis + Strep throat = GRAMMAR LESSONS

Since I’ve been struggling with having to talk in a barely audible whisper, I decided to dive into the Learn Hebrew Easily lessons. I’ve done 3 lessons, and WOW, I love this website.

My favourite part has been the challenge of listening to a word, and then writing it down using the correct letters, jots and tittles (phonetic symbols). I’d say at this point I have about an 85% success rate! It’s super exciting to be finally grasping the core of this language.


This website has also started walking me through verb conjugations, which in a previous post I shared how I was struggling to understand conjugations in Hebrew. From what I’ve learned so far, most Hebrew words have 3 root letters, and the vowels change according to their tense.

For example, the verb to cheat or betray has BGD for its root consonants and can take the following forms:

Masculine Singular: BoGeD
Feminine singular: BoGeDet
Masculine plural: BoGeDim
Feminine plural: BoGeDot

Apparently this is one of the basic patterns verb conjugations follow in Hebrew.
Hopefully my voice will return in the next day or so and I can post a few videos of vocabulary I’ve been working on.


Media in Society

I thought this writer made a good point about how many people use cell phones as a “social crutch”. If a situation gets uncomfortable, check your phone. If you are bored, check your phone. If you feel insecure, post something on Instagram and see how many “likes” you can get.
Going into my internship semester this winter (yay!), I’m challenged to set boundaries in my classroom regarding cell phone usage. Thankfully, the school I’m placed in has a strict policy regarding cell phones – they are not allowed in the classroom unless they are being used for educational purposes. I think I’m going to strictly define what those “educational purposes” are. As a science educator my hope is to engage students, help them live in the present and explore the world around them. It’s hard to be “present” when you are torn between the digital world and the real world.
I think it would be really interesting to see what happens in a classroom (ie. a social situation) where nobody has access to their cell phones.

Mackenzie Partridge

Recently supermodel/tv personality, Kendall Jenner deleted her Instagram and the internet is raging over it. A Google search showed 12.7 million hits on this topic. Here is a link to just one website talking about it. In an interview with Ellen Degeneres she said, “I just wanted to detox,” Jenner told DeGeneres. “I just wanted a little bit of a break. I would wake up in the morning and look at it first thing, I would go to bed and it would be the last thing I looked at. I felt a little too dependent on it so I wanted to take a minute.” I thought this was really interesting that such a high profile person on social media decided it was too much. I have often considered taking a break from social media. Sometimes I stop and observe how many people in my class are on their phones and 9/10 everyone…

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Connecting with Hebrew Blogs and More

I found two really awesome resources online to help supplement what I’m learning with my Hebrew for Dummies book.

Learn Hebrew Easily  – Basically a full blown course you can follow systematically to teach yourself Hebrew. It is a 4 week intensive course, with a lesson they expect you to do everyday. The second option is an 8 week course, where you do a lesson every other day. They make some pretty big promises regarding how proficient you’ll be at Hebrew by the end of the 4 or 8 weeks.

Based on my experience, I think the 8 week course is more reasonable since it takes time for certain words to “sink in” to my brain.

Teach Me Hebrew  – The most valuable part of this site I’ve used so far is the BLOG portion. The author gives links to videos and tutorials that I’ve been making use of, as well as connecting me to handing language apps such as Forvo, where you can hear any Hebrew word pronounced properly.

Also encouraging to me is the fact that Hebrew is a Category 4  language according to the US Foreign Service Institute.

This helped my high-achieving self come down to reality. I have to keep reminding myself that it took me 15 years to get to my current level of French. If I am to continue with Hebrew, it’s going to be a long haul journey, not a short sprint!

Either way, at this point, I feel I am learning lots of interesting things: the language itself, the culture surrounding the language, and the dynamics of language learning!

Picking out words from videos

In high school, I did a summertime student exchange to France. My French wasn’t great at that point, but one way I really worked at it while in France was to watch movies in French with English subtitles. To take it further, I would watch movies in French with FRENCH subtitles.

I thought I’d give this technique a try with the following YouTube video, recommended by the blog

I was actually able to match words to what he was saying and found that I was able to pick out words that I already know. Really encouraging! This was like an “ear training” session for me and is something I will do more often for this project. I also found it really helped my prononciation of words. I wonder if there are any Disney movies in Hebrew…?

Another cool realization is that no language is disconnected from culture. I not only learned the Hebrew language through this video but also discovered the cultural context in which the language lies.