As it comes to an end.

As it comes to an end.

As I am writing this, it is my second to last day of the Canisius 4 Kids summer camp.  The week flew by!

After about 2 weeks of planning it was finally time to put our unit into motion.  I really think the first 4 days went great!  Our theme was animals, specifically habitats.  The first day we introduced habitats and talked about the different ones that we see.  The kids enjoyed that day for sure. Tuesday we talked about ocean animals and the ocean habitat.  One of our professors has a life size fin whale that you can sit inside!  So we blew it up and took the kids in there.  They absolutely loved it!!!! We read a book and talked about how whales eat.  We also made jellyfish, which turned out really well!  On Wednesday we talked about rainforests.  The one thing the kids really liked was making rain sticks.  They enjoyed decorating the stick and adding the ingredients needed to make it sound like rain.

My favorite day was Thursday.  We took the kids to the zoo!  The kids were amazed with the different animals we saw.  From giraffes to zebras, the kids loved seeing every animal.  We walked through the zoo, and took a long time in the rainforest falls.  It was a beautiful view and the kids were thrilled to see the turtles and colorful birds!

Tomorrow, we are planning on learning a little bit about the tundra and then create an animal all their own.  We are hoping that talking about different animals will help kids really think creatively about what they would want to create in an animal.

With this camp being just about over, I now move on to think about the final paper I will write for this class, as well as my college career.  I can’t believe how quickly this year flew by.  Last August I was beginning the journey for my masters degree and now I am here, ready to be done.  This program has been amazing.  I have learned so many new strategies and ideas to implement in my own classroom!  I hope that if you are reading this you really consider doing this program.  It’s worth the work, and worth the summer classes.  Good luck!!!!! -Melissa

Whoa, We’re Half Way There

Whoa, We’re Half Way There

So, summer classes are in full force.  With three classes you can imagine the work load.



The classes that I am taking in relation to the program are going great.  My group and I have just submitted the draft of our unit.  We are doing a theme of animals with K-2 grade students.  We have so many great events planned like taking campers to the zoo, making a jellyfish, as well as creating their own animal.  It has been so much work to put together this unit, but as we see it coming together, we are really excited for camp to begin next week.

With the camp, we are given a classroom in Old Main to call our headquarters.  We get to decorate it on Friday and I am excited for that.  We want the kids to make a paper mural on the wall, and just give it a fun touch to it.  With 9 kiddos coming in next week, I want the classroom to look great and be something the kids love going to.  However, as much as I am excited for the classroom, I am really hoping it is nice out so we can do some activities outside! After all, it is summer.

The other half of this class is the research paper portion of it.  In years past it has been a group paper, but things have changed a little.  I won’t get too much into it because it’ll be confusing and won’t make sense, but we essentially get to pick a topic that we would like to work on so it impacts the student’s learning.  My group and I have chosen to do the same aspect, which is great because we can help one another get the information, artifacts, and notes we need to complete the paper.  At the end we get to do a presentation, without actually doing one.  We can project our information onto our computers and our classmates get to walk around and read what we did and what the students got from it.

Honestly, I hope this doesn’t sound like much.  I mean, it is a lot of work, but in the scheme of things, it is not too bad.  It is wonderful being able to do this in a group.  My group members are all people I worked with in undergrad so we all know each other and can bounce ideas off of each other really well.  Being in a positive, hard working group is the biggest thing to me, and these girls sure are hard working and positive.

My other class that I am taking this summer is for my special education extension.  This class also requires practicum hours, which my partner and I (this partner is also doing the summer camp, so yay!) have really enjoyed.  We are in a 6:1:1 at the south towns BOCES location, which I may have mentioned.  In this classroom, we are learning so much.  The children are 18-20 years old, which was a shock and new experience for both of us.  We are growing closer to our students each time we are there.  They have such a great sense of humor and it’s interesting to interact with people a few years younger than you who are functional students.  Part of our practicum hours were located at the Lion’s Club, which the students travel to in order to have a picnic, ride boats and horses, as well as eat lunch and get faces painted.  It was such a joy to see our students to happy and enjoying life!

My summer has been taken up by these classes but it is absolutely worth it.  I am learning so much and I would not trade this experience for the world.  Enjoy your free summers while you have them, but be prepared to have the summer of your life while you are here. 🙂

Hot Buffalo Summer

Hot Buffalo Summer

So it’s summer.  And it’s warm.  And I have summer classes.  With my summer classes, I have to do two field placements.  One is for my special education extension.  The placement is through BOCES Summer School and I actually start tomorrow.  I am excited to meet the 6 kiddos I will be working with, but also nervous because they are students that are in real need of the offered extra school year.  The students here are 18-20 years old with severe disabilities, a group with whom I have never worked with.  I am definitely excited to get to know them and learn amazing things from them.  I am positive that I will be learning more from them then they will be learning from me.  The second placement is a summer camp through the D.I Program and I am also really excited for that.  We get to create our own theme so my group has chosen to do animals.  We are excited to be taking them to the Buffalo Zoo and hopefully doing many other activities with them!  They are a younger bunch (first and second graders) so I know they will love it!  I start planning with my group on Thursday and I cannot wait!


Summer classes usually sound like a bummer.  I know my brother is taking one online class and he is already unhappy.  I am taking three, and as much as I am starting to get stressed, I know it will totally worth it.


However, since summer classes have only just started, I do not have much of an update of cool things I have learned.  So until then, I just want to tell you about Canalside.  Seriously, I am in love with that place and if I could build a house there for the summers, I probably would (because who wants to live near the lake during winter with lake effect…….seven feet of snow anyone?!?).  Canalside is an extension of the Erie Basin Marina, which my family and I would go to ALL the time when we were kids.  We would walk and listen to the music, even get some ice cream.  But I will admit that the EBA got old after a while.  There was nothing new happening, and as a child, that’s boring.  Now as an adult, I can go there, relax and love it.  Its simple ways made me appreciate it in a way that I have not before, so definitely check it out!  But anyways, back to Canalside.  So this extension is simply amazing.  There is a restaurant, a small ice cream stand, as well as a small area that serves alcohol (perfect first date spot, all areas in one :)).  On top of that, there is a sand pit area for kids, kayak rentals, as well as a sea of colorful adirondack chairs.  A short walk away there is a new area that contains an ice rink in the winter, but a “pool” in the summer which you can rent paddle boats and water bikes.  This new area is also home to Shark Girl, a Buffalo favorite.


See how much there is to do there?  And that isn’t even everything.  Each Thursday they hold a concert series that is hugely popular with Buffalonians.  Also, this past weekend they held an amazing 4th of July event with record crowds.  There was food, music, and an amazing fireworks display.  I have been to other local displays but this one is by far the best with literally a half hour show of beautiful fireworks.  They also host a variety of other events including different workout classes.  Don’t you want to move there now?  Thought so.

Buffalo is a city that is up and coming.  There is so much to do that wasn’t there when I was a kid.  I am so happy to see it getting better instead of worse.  Attending Canisius and being so close by is awesome.  Canalside is a hop, skip, jump away!  When you attend graduate school here, make sure you take time to see things like Canalside as well as events like the Allentown Arts Festival, Taste of Buffalo, and so much more!

Crushing Minds One Day At A Time

Crushing Minds One Day At A Time

I cannot believe this semester is finally over.  It has honestly been a tough semester for me with all of the work, but I am proud that I was able to accomplish everything that I did.  One of my classes, EDDI 515, was a class that I really enjoyed.  One of the awesome activities that we were able to do over the course of the class was to plan an activities night for students in the 4th and 5th grade at Windermere Boulevard School in Amherst.


The night that we were planning for all started back when we first visited the school earlier in the semester.  Our professor, Dr. Julie Henry, wanted us to see what a gifted program was like, and the teacher Lindsay, was actually an alumni of the program.  She was great!  She showed us many different things that her students have done as well as some of the things she was planning on doing with them.  It was actually really nice to see some of the things that can be found in a gifted classroom.  It wasn’t necessarily hands on, but it was first hand experience that I am sure eased a lot of minds in the room that night.  Everyone, including myself, were learning about gifted children throughout the semester in this class and EDDI 520, but none of us never really had the experience of working with gifted students.  We didn’t really know what a gifted classroom should look like or what type of work a gifted teacher has to do.  It was really nice being able to see these different things so we do not enter an environment like that blindly.


After that day, the teacher at WBS came back to Canisius help us out with the case study that was a course requirement.  Without getting too much into detail, each of us had to watch a student for a few days and then create a plan for that gifted student.  Lindsay was giving us the option to come back to WBS and observe a child from her class.  While she was there, we started talking about doing a night at her school that would give her gifted students, as well as other students in the school, a “Mind Crushers” night.  This night would have us all creating high level games for students to come in and try.

From then on out, we spent some time each class thinking about this idea.  What would it be called?  What would we do?  What grade levels would we include?  How long would it be?  We decided to call it “Mind Crushers” and include students in 4th and 5th grade for an hour.  The graduate students would create puzzles or different activities that would push children to think more creatively and critically.  Most of us paired up and we began to create the activity we would bring with us that night.  Our professor even got her husband and his science methods class involved from Buff State.  This was great because it gave the children more options to choose from!


That night, I was not sure what to expect.  I was not sure if a lot of parents would bring their children or if the children would have fun with what we provided.  In that hour, we had a line of students that were waiting to try our activity.  We also notice lines at every other station around us.  It was full!  Many parents decided to bring their children!  I was so happy to see so many families there.  And on top of just bringing their children, they were super involved with what was happening.  Many of the parents decided to sit with their children at each station and actually participate with them.  Often times during nights like this, we see children that are participating in the activity while the parents gather in a corner and talk to one another.  That was definitely the opposite situation here.  Personally, I loved seeing the parents and children working together!


Overall, I think it had been a successful night, as did my fellow classmates and teacher.  I think the children and parents enjoyed themselves as did we.  I hope this is something that my professor continues to do.  What an enjoyable way to end the semester!



The end is near! :)

The end is near! :)

So there are only a few weeks left in the semester!  It feels awesome to have completed so much work and to be weeks from summer vacation. 


I think that completing my masters in one year has been difficult but well worth it.  The classes were tough in a way that I have not experienced before while also being so full of information that I didn’t even care about the work I had to do.  Each class in this program is amazing.  They have each taught me so many things that I can take with me when I am graced with my own classroom.  If you are reading this and have any doubts about getting into this program, don’t, because whatever you learn will help you no matter what grade level you teach.  I think getting the degree in DI is so beneficial to anyone as a teacher, and if you pursue the certification in gifted education based on the degree, it benefits you even more!


Summer is going to be an exciting time.  I will have the chance to work with other people in my major to create the theme for this years summer camp.  We will have the chance to create it, and be a part of it.  I think this is a great opportunity because it will give me that chance to put to work everything that my teachers have taught me.  Plus, it is giving me a chance to work with children on an informal basis, something that I think all teachers should experience.  It’s amazing how different students can be in schools versus summer camp.


If I haven’t mentioned this before, I will now (and if I have mentioned it, here it is again).  On top of getting my masters in Differentiated Instruction, I have been working to get an extension in special education to further my certification areas.  Taking these extension classes at Canisius has been perfect because it has given me more experiences and strategies for my future classroom.  I advise you to truly consider adding an extension on top of your major, whether it be early childhood, special education, middle school extension, or secondary education.  More times than not, it’s only a few classes and it will really help to make you more marketable.  Imagine going into into an interview saying “I have a certification in childhood education as well as special education and gifted education.”  Those additional certification areas mean a lot these days, especially with the tough job market.


So as I near the finish line of the Spring 2015 semester, I just want to say that as much as graduate school can be stressful, just know that it is all completely worth it.

Why Canisius?

Why Canisius?

What brought these students to Canisius?

…Was it fate?

…Was it the people? 

…Was it the program?

I asked a couple of our bloggers the simple question: Why Canisius?


Bryan M. - Sports Administration

“The first thing I looked for in applying to Grad School was the Sport Administration program. Did the school have one? What was it like? My goal is to coach hockey at the high school or college level, and if that’s going to be my full-time job I knew I needed a program which prepared me to manage people, budgets and facilities. I also wanted a school that would accept me with a journalism degree. Some MSA programs require a kinesiology background, which I don’t have. Last, but not least, I wanted a school with a true Catholic identity. The best times of my undergraduate career where when I was involved in an active campus ministry program, and I wanted to find that in grad school, too.”

~ Bryan M. – Sport Administration – Napa, CA







Christie - Applied Nutrition

“I went to the college graduate fair on Rhein Ordinance Barracks in Germany. Canisius College won my heart. Their entry requirements for the graduate program did not require a GRE or GMAT and they had online graduate programs. Another plus to Canisius College is that they are a “yellow ribbon” school. They are dedicated to veterans and military service members.
I am in my spring semester with the Applied Nutrition program. All my classes and teachers have been outstanding. I could not have selected a better school for my masters because Canisius College has opened so many doors for me already. I am waiting to see if I was selected for a peer review journal at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and also waiting to see if I got into an internship program at the military hospital here in Germany. None of this would have happened without the connections I have made here at Canisius.”

~ Christie. – Applied Nutrition – Germany


Melissa - Differentiated Instruction

“When I attended Canisius College’s graduate open house, I was nervous that it was finally time to be looking at graduate schools.  Will I make the right decision for which major I pursue?  Will I love Canisius as much as I loved my undergraduate school?  These were just some of the questions that were swirling around in my head.  Throughout that morning, I heard the different things that my major had to offer.  Not only was it a year long program, but there was no individual research paper, it was a group one!  The Differentiated Instruction program at Canisius was also pretty unique to the WNY area, being one of the only schools to have this program.  It was also an up and coming major for education students to pursue, because many schools were beginning to implement different D.I strategies in their schools.  After the information session, I was given a tour of the beautiful campus, reminding me even small schools can be located in the city.  I knew right then and there, this is the school I wanted to attend for my graduate studies.  So why Canisius?  Well, I think that when you find that perfect program, located on a beautiful campus, you just don’t turn that down.”

~ Melissa L. – Differentiated Instruction – Orchard Park, NY


Brandi - Clinical Mental Health Counseling

“I was looking for a program in counseling that was close to home and that I could finish within 2 years. When choosing between Medaille and Canisius, I ended up picking Canisius because the program was set up traditionally in that classes were offered full time and in the evenings. This would allow me to maintain my job (at the time) in Research and Development at Upstate Niagara Dairy Cooperative. When I got to Canisius, I found out that I was very lucky to have gone with this choice as the mental health counseling program at Canisius is CACREP accredited (unlike at Medaille). I know it sounds silly that I did not realize this was a factor until I came to graduate school, but I am very happy that it worked out this way! I would advise anyone looking into graduate education to be sure the programs they are considering are accredited by the appropriate bodies to ensure that their education counts! I’m very happy with the faculty and the quality of the education here at Canisius, and I’ve never looked back- I’m exactly where I want to be!”

~ Brandi S. – Mental Health Counseling – Buffalo, NY


“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller

Come be a leader at Canisius!