Winnie’s Training Assessment!


Since the end of the semester is near, I decided to do an assessment of Winnie’s training and the skills she’s learned since I began this journey.

I tested many of the skills that I have listed on this blog, such as:

  • Sit
  • Leave it
  • Touch
  • Turn
  • Look

She’s continuing to get better and better each day and I’m looking forward to keep practicing, help her learn new skills, and watch her improve as she gets older.

Learning “Touch” and “Turn”

Hello everyone!

After a phone call with our group trainer to check in on how Winnie’s been doing, she mentioned two things we could teach her: “touch” and “turn.”

Touch is when you put a treat in between your fingers with your hand flat beside your body. The idea is that when you say the word “touch,” your dog will go to your hand, put their nose up against it, and grab the treat. Eventually, you can slowly move away by not having a treat in your fingers, and your dog will put their nose up against your hand, and then you give them a treat. This is another great way of getting your dogs attention, like “look” or “come.” However, this skill is different since the dog is not looking at you, but instead is physically coming to you and touching your hand.

Here is a video of me trying this skill with Winnie on a walk the other day.


Turn is when you put a treat in front of your dog and move it around them so that they turn in a circle. This is a little bit more of a fun trick than it is of an important skill. Although, having your dog always listen to you is very important, so continuing to implement tricks that enforces them to listen is great practice. Eventually the hope is to move away from putting the treat in front of her, and instead have her do it just from the command of “turn.”

The video below is my mom practicing this with her during the more early stages of learning this trick.

Communication Through Mattermost

selective focus photography of person using smartphone

Hello everyone!

Today I am going to be talking about a communication app called Mattermost.

I was introduced to this app through my EDCI 336 course at UVic. Mattermost is a self-hostable online chat service that brings all your team communication into one place. As a class, we are able to talk together through our course back channel. It really helps us to chat about class work and other relevant information pertaining to our course.

Additionally, as a cohort, we have set up other channels for each of the classes we are in this semester. Using Mattermost has been such an effective way of collaborating with each other and discussing assignments, courses, etc.

Using Mattermost has also been an efficient way of managing group projects. We have found ourselves having so many group projects this semester and we are able to keep track of them all by creating private channels with members of our groups. Here, we can discuss ideas and plans for our projects in one confined place.

Because of the effects of COVID-19 on this school year, we have all of our courses online. As a result, we have not been able to all meet up all together as our cohort. Some of us see each other on Wednesday’s during our school observations, however, this is only half of our class. Mattermost has been our cohort’s way of building a community with each other. We will continue this in the new year with creating additional channels that align with our next courses.


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Winnie’s Group Puppy Walk!

Hello everyone!

This week my family took Winnie on a group puppy walk. This walk is put on every Saturday by the trainer who did Winnie’s group training. We decided to enrol Winnie in this group walk because she LOVES to play with other dogs. However, she doesn’t know how to just be around other dogs without wanting to play. So we thought this would help.

We met at Mount Tolmie and had a brief chance to let Winnie meet all the other dogs. Then the trainer led us on a walk around, ensuring to keep 6 feet away from each other. Unfortunately, Winnie pulled a lot and really just wanted to play with all the other dogs. She did not heel very well because she was incredibly distracted by everything around her. This is why this group walk will be very good for her I believe.

Another dog owner talked to my mom after and mentioned how her dog came the week before and was acting a lot like Winnie. But she said that this week when she came, her dog was so much better!! We hope the same will be true for Winnie next week!

Winnie is still just 5 months old so we are continuing to work on her training with being around other dogs when it’s not play time. Hopefully this group puppy walk will help her improve in that aspect!

Week 10 Reflection

colored pencil lined up on top of white surface

Today’s class started off by debriefing and sharing our thoughts about last weeks EdCamp.

After listening to each other’s experiences, we transitioned into our week 10 topic which is Inclusive Education Assistive Technologies. Linked here is a blog post one of my instructors created on this topic for lots of additional information.

To lead us through this topic, we had the pleasure of listening to Tracy Humphreys talk with us about her experiences. Tracy is the founder and chair of BCEdAccess. This started as a private group of Facebook and is completely volunteer run. The purpose of BCEdAccess is to serve the families of students with disabilities and complex learners all over the province of BC.

Tracy started off by telling us what her group hears from parents. These include:

  • Denial of tech – can’t get FM systems, won’t allow students to use AAC
  • Tech is always outdated
  • Access to tech is hard and still problematic
  • There’s no central keeper of knowledge around tech at a school or in the district, usually. 
  • There’s no supports to learn how to use the tech for parents, especially a bigger issue now with COVID but always important

Tracy shared her own personal story about her son’s struggles and mentioned how difficult it is for family’s to access support. She talked about how parents always try to advocate for their children, but it’s hard to do that if you don’t know everything going on with their child.

She then talked about the things we can do to assist a student’s needs?

  1. Read IEP
  2. Ask family
  3. Ask student
  4. What do you have available? What can you get? What will you need to advocate for?


Photo by Jess Bailey on

How to use AHA Slides in the Classroom:

Hello everyone! For my EdTech Inquiry, I chose to explore how to use AHA slides in the classroom. I was first exposed to this wonderful tool when one of my professors in my Post-Degree teaching program used it in many of her lectures. It was a great way to get the entire class engaged in the topics we were discussing and I thought it would be cool to use in future teaching!

Overview: AHA slides is a fantastic website for teachers to create fun and interactive presentations for their lessons!

  • There are so many different formats to use, including: Polls, Q&A sessions, Quizzes, Open-ended questions, and many more!

Pro:  A pro of using AHA slides in the classroom is that it provides a great way for student interaction. Kids can easily do this on their phones or computers during class time. AHA slides also provides anonymous questions and answers so that all students can feel comfortable contributing.

Con: The downside of using AHA slides is that maybe not all students have access to a phone or computer. This could pose as a challenge. However, the schools I’ve been in recently all have Chromebooks that students have access to whenever they need them, which is great!

Risk: A risk of using this tool might be the inevitable inappropriate nature of some students. With answers being anonymous, it may cause some people to give silly answers. However, you can combat this by establishing certain ground rules prior to using AHA slides in the classroom.

Please see the resource I created below that walks you through some of the strategies and tips for how to use AHA slides!

Practicing “Leave it”

Hi Everyone! This week I decided to take some time and work on perfecting Winnie’s skill of “leave it.”

We have practiced “leave it” quite a bit since the training session where we learned it, but recently, we have needed her to really listen when we ask her to leave something. Since Winnie is a Lab/Shepherd cross, her nose is constantly up against the ground sniffing and trying to eat everything in sight. Last week, Winnie must have ate something not so good because she had an upset tummy for a few days.

This is why perfecting Winnie’s “leave it” would be very beneficial. So that if we see something on our walks, we can tell her to leave it before she ingests something bad again.

Here are some pictures that I took of Winnie practicing “leave it”:

This first picture is the easiest since she can’t see the treat in my hand. She nails this every time.

This second level is more challenging but Winnie has pretty much mastered this as well.

The last step is the toughest since the treat is on the ground right in front of her. Winnie is pretty good at this. Sometimes the very first time we do it, we have to say “leave it” more than once, but overall she’s very good. Especially since she looks up at us until we say “take it.”

Week 9 Reflection

Today in EDCI 336, we participated in an EdCamp. An EdCamp is where you can move from room to room when you feel like it, and participate in the topic you choose. Linked here is the post about our EdCamp with all the rules and room topics. 

people sitting down near table with assorted laptop computers

The room I decided to go to first and ended up spending my whole time in, was about “how to use group work in the classroom.” 

We started off not really knowing what to do, talk about, or the process of how this EdCamp worked. But eventually, one person stepped up and began the conversation by asking a question about our experiences with group work. This was the starting point of our conversation that carried on very nicely through many different topics in this category. 

Here is our rooms google doc that we contributed to, and below I have listed the notes I took regarding group work. 

How to use group work in the classroom:

  • Cons:
    • Easy to do what you’re comfortable with and not help with every aspect 
    • Ensure an even workload
    • Can’t split off and have 2 people focusing on different topic
    • Hard to talk with interrupting and talking over since it’s hard to hear online
  • Ways to combat these: 
    • Frame group work that everyone’s in it together, and work as a team (unit) 
    • Have an open communication line between group members
    • Assign each person a different role in the group – all contribute equally 
  • As a teacher, would you use group work?
    • Group work is a good way to build soft skills (leadership, teamwork, etc)
    • Build connections
  • How to grade group work? 
    • Base on group, but individual assessment – anonymous
    • Not all people work well together – get feedback on group members and on self assessment 
    • Could have groups could create a document on what specifically each person contributed to the project
    • Ensuring to allot time for group work to be done in class – observe and talk with students on what they’re working on and where they’re pulling their weight
    • At the start of a project, have each group create a plan/document where students can identify what each person’s role is in the group 


Photo by Marvin Meyer on

Practicing “Recall”

Since Winnie’s last training session, we’ve been practicing her recall. We continuously practice this everyday when she goes out in the backyard to pee or play. We always call her into the house after instead of going out and getting her. We stand at the door and say “Winnie come!” and clap our hands to make it a really exciting event. Usually, she comes bounding inside right away and she gets a treat. Other times, it takes a little bit of time before she comes, but we just keep encouraging her with claps, and always reward her no matter how long it takes. 

We’ve also been practicing “recall” by playing “hide and seek.” Our trainer told us this was a great game to help reinforce the skill. 

  • The way you do this is by leaving your puppy in a room, and going to a different room in the house, and then calling your dog to come. If they are struggling because they are confused as to where you are, you give them an extra call, whistle, or clap. You can start by even hiding behind a couch or a chair in the same room. And then progress further to hiding in a different room in the house. 

We’ve tried this game multiple times with Winnie and she does a fantastic job! I caught one of the attempts on video to show you guys. 


Week 8 Reflection

people sitting on grass field

In today’s class, we experienced a dialogue circle for the first time for many of us.

Dialogue circles can be used in classrooms with everyone sitting in a circle facing each other. Today, we did it over zoom and it still worked very well. In most cases, there is some sort of a talking stick that goes around person to person, which lets everyone know who has the floor to talk. For us, we just had everyone else muted while the main person was speaking. The purpose of dialogue circles is to facilitate open and and direct communication in a safe place.

For our class, we used it as a way to check in on a scale from 1-5 of how we were feeling and to share any thoughts we had in general, and about our 336 class. There was no pressure to self-report which was nice and calming. I was initially planning on sharing my feelings with my classmates, however, as more and more people went, I felt as though I shouldn’t. This is because a lot of people said they were feeling like a 2 and were very overwhelmed with the amount of work we have. For me personally, I feel very close to a 5 right now, and I have pretty much felt this way the entire semester. I have managed to stay on top of all my assignments and due dates that go along with them. I can understand where people are coming from because it is a lot of work, but I just don’t feel overwhelmed with it like most others. This is why I didn’t feel comfortable sharing since I didn’t want to make others feel bad about where they were.

I did really enjoy the concept of dialogue circles and hearing about how everyone was feeling. It definitely brought the class together with people realizing they aren’t alone in how they’re feeling.

Since the class, I have been trying to brainstorm of ways I can incorporate dialogue circles into my future physical and health education classes.


Photo by Ben Douchac on

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