February 13

Practicum Reflection: Week #1

Here we go… My first week of practicum has arrived!

While getting prepared for this week, I was super nervous. More than anything, I was hoping and praying that after 18 years of telling myself I wanted to be a teacher, that teaching was in fact for me. Luckily, I chose myself the correct career!

My main goal going into my first week of practicum was to establish myself as the classroom teacher, both in a professional and approachable way. The students have seen glimpses of me throughout the community service learning portion of the placement, but once I started full-time teaching, it was going to be an adjustment for the students.

One of the ways that I established myself as the classroom teacher was by including the students in the formation of classroom rules. I handed out sticky notes to each student and asked them to write something that occurs on the classroom that distracts them from learning. The students were very candid and truthful, writing things such as student wandering around the classroom and talking over the teacher or other students. Next, I had the students write an appropriate consequence for that action. With this information, it allowed me to create a poster that was reflective of the students’ expectations for their classroom as it pertains to their ability to learn.


Since my students have known me since September, there was a base-level of rapport that I had established. They knew that I am approachable and fun, yet I have high expectations. By building on this foundation, I was able to incorporate high-energy activities and lessons into the classroom without running the risk of the students’ being unaware of my expectations of them.

One of the many lessons from this week involved creating a puzzle piece representing what “community” means to each student. Next week, we will be beginning our novel study of “The Giver”, which is based around the good and bad aspects of a community. With the completed puzzle pieces, I created the following bulletin board for everyone in the school to view:


IMG_6763On Friday, I had the opportunity to go to my first ever Professional Development (PD) day! And what a PD day to have as my first experience… All 3000 educators from the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board were in attendance! The highlight of the day for me was listening to Michael Landsberg (TSN’s Off The Record) give his keynote address. Lansberg spoke publicly about his personal battle with depression in an attempt to help reduce the stigma of mental illness. I’ve always seen him as the Bell Let’s Talk ambassador, but listening to him in person was incredible.

This week was definitely a transition for me and my students, but I can only expect next week to be even better!

December 18

1 Year and Counting…

Happy 1 year of blogging to SpencerBurton.ca!

A lot has happened since I started up this website: I got accepted to uOttawa for a Bachelor of Education, I graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Bachelor of Arts in Honours Psychology, and I officially began my journey of becoming a teacher. With all of those milestones comes many moments of learning, and since this website is focused on “learning about learning”, I figured I would share some things that I learned with you all.

1 Year

  1. Teaching is a lifestyle; it must be something that is in the back of your mind at all times. I can’t even go to the dollar store anymore without thinking of a teachable moment for everything I pick up.
  2. There’s a lot more to the field of education that I could have ever imagined. Students, the system, curriculum, and teaching methods are topics that only scratch the surface of the magnitude of education.
  3. First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities are an important aspect of Canada’s education system. These cultures must be represented and emphasized in our lessons.
  4. It’s not always easy keeping up with blogging. Thankfully, some of my classes have me writing blog posts which keeps me up to date on reviewing and commenting on education-related topics.
  5. It’s a challenge going from a lecture-oriented education system (university) back into a student-centered learning environment (elementary school).
  6. Making students want to learn is just as important, if not more, than what they are learning.
  7. Classroom management is a huge part of teaching, more than I ever expected.
  8. The more you can make learning fun for the students, the more they will be engaged and retain what is being taught.
  9. Learning about teaching allows me to reflect on my previous teachers and what they did that was either extraordinary or lackluster.
  10. Teaching is most definitely still my dream job!

Thank you for following me on this journey for the past year. Here’s to many more years of learning about learning!

November 10

Lessons Learned from LOCUS

I wanted to speak a little more about my experience through the LOCUS program, with hopes that you might be able to see yourself in many of the lesson’s I’ve learned.

The first thing I’ve learned through the LOCUS program and how to step out of my comfort zone. Believe it or not, facepaint and teal rainsuits wasn’t always my regular attire. This program provided me with an opportunity to get involved on campus, making Laurier feel more like a home than a school. Through the committee events, I was exposed to so many different opportunities, including outreach initiatives, which most students our age fail to fill their time with. But the most important thing stepping out of my comfort zone taught me is that it feels natural when you have a supportive, accepting, and passionate group of people surrounding you.

Hawk Weekend2
The second lesson I learned was how to ask for help. Through the academic support this program offers and the willingness of its staff to help, I’ve become more comfortable with talking to professors and asking for academic help. I’ve also been provided with an amazing group of friends that I could not thank enough for the advice and support they’ve given me throughout the years. They’ve all kept me motivated and positive during the wild times of university. Lastly, I’ve become comfortable seeking help for personal matters as well. Whether it was acknowledging that I needed help or the fact that I actually followed through and received the help I needed, I owe it all to the confidence and support that the LOCUS program has provided me with.

Hawk Weekend4
Lastly, I’ve learned how to love. In the past, I was always the type of person to take friendships for granted, but I’ve honestly come to love each and every person I’ve encountered through the LOCUS program. As a LOCUS student, I’ve lived at home the last 4 years with my parents. I am so grateful for all of their support and guidance, and I love them more and more each day. Funny enough, I’ve meet my life partner through the LOCUS program. We share the same passion for the program and I couldn’t thank her enough for the LOCUS love and legit love that we share. Lastly, I’ve experienced the true feeling of LOCUS love. Whether it’s a smile between two LOCUS students as they walk past each other on campus, a group of students going full out doing a cheer during Hawk Weekend, or a new lifelong friendship being formed, we’ve all felt how amazing LOCUS love truly is.



November 9


LOCUS was one of the best experiences I had while attending Wilfrid Laurier University. LOCUS (Laurier Off-Campus University Students) is a program designed to aid the transition into university for first year students living off-campus and attending Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo campus. The program provides first year students with academic, social, and personal support to ensure that off-campus students do not miss out on the on-campus experience if they decide not to live in residence.

I held four different roles while being involved with the LOCUS program:

  1. Vice-President of Finances and Administration on LOCUS House Council (2011-2012)
  2. Off-Campus Advisor for a community of 27 students (2012-2013)
  3. Community Advisor of LOCUS’ House Council (2013-2014)
  4. LOCUS Coordinator (2014-2015)

Being the LOCUS Coordinator for the 2014-2015 academic year was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I had the opportunity to instill and develop leadership skills into my staff team, as well as lead them in a direction that best meets the needs of the first year off-campus student population. This position taught me so much about myself; about my own leadership capabilities, my ability to lead a group, and my passion for teaching others. There is no better feeling than helping first year students with their transition into life at Laurier, and the LOCUS Coordinator position really opened my eyes to how amazing it is to be a Laurier Goldenhawk!


November 8

Aviva Community Fund Submission

A few weeks ago, I started my Bachelor of Education placement at Pinecrest Elementary School in Ottawa. Two years ago, grade one students wrote a letter to the principal to persuade her to look at the primary yard and consider their dreams to replace the old play structure. The following September, the same students and all their primary friends were shocked to come back and discover that the condemned play structure and the beloved monkey bars had been removed over the summer and they were left with only sand. It was a very sad day for Pinecrest primary students. Since then, the primary students have had nothing but some wooden “soccer” posts and a giant area of sand.

A large number of Pinecrest families are not able to participate in extracurricular fundraisers, as many of the families live in apartments or public housing surrounding the school. They rely on the safe space at school to play and explore.

When I first heard about this issue, I knew I had to get involved in some way. I worked with the staff at Pinecrest by taking some photos and creating a video that we have submitted for the Aviva Community Fund. This was all in an attempt to receive a grant that we could use to provide these young students with the play yard that they deserve. Here is the video that I created for the submission:

What’s even more incredible is that my video was featured in the Ottawa Metro! Check out the screenshot below:

Metro Article
Unfortunately, Pinecrest Public School was not chosen as one of the finalists for the Aviva Community Fund. However, it was incredible to see the school and the surrounding communities really come together to support this project. We also learned a lot about this grant process and hopefully we can use this knowledge in future submissions so that we can achieve our goal of building a safe and fun playground for the deserving primary students.