My obsession with baby feet started long before the boys were born… I remember reading DH Lawrence’s Baby Running Barefoot in a first year poetry class in University and agreeing wholeheartedly with his obsession over white puffs in the grass; I’d already discovered my attraction to the sweet little niblets and soft puffs of baby feet that I had encountered in public by then, and was pleased with the poet who so obviously shared my appreciation for this special gift small humans had to offer.
Imagine my delight when I was blessed with twins – TWICE the baby feet to enjoy! And of course, as they outgrew the baby stage, the feet continued to enchant me… toddler toes sticking out from under the blankets, little kid feet pounding the pavement as the boys trundled up and down the sidewalk outside our house with their push toys…
I wondered at what point cute little feet turned into big ugly feet.
This morning I wandered into the boys’ bedroom and discovered Alex’s feet sticking out from under his covers. I was overcome with the magic of the moment, and had to grab my camera.
Admittedly, I may a little biased about these feet in particular. But it’s still nice to know that at nearly 8 years old, these little feet still do it for me!
Demonstrating understanding of flips, slides and turns... through the creation of amusement park rides!
One challenge of the Fountas and Pinell "Readers Notebooks" approach I use as part of my Grade 3 Literacy Block each day is that if I don't keep on top of responding to my students' letters about their reading, I often end up with a stack of 15-20 notebooks to "mark". (Although I do consider the strategies used and insights made by students in their letters about their reading, in generally, this "marking" more typically involves basically reading the student's letter in each notebook, and responding to it in a meaningful way, since a timely letter back from the teacher or other adult is one way of ensuring that students stay motivated to write about their reading on a regular basis!)
Periodically, when I am feeling overwhelmed and am lucky enough to have a spouse, student teacher or other willing adult victim around, I enlist their help in reading and responding to the notebooks. I figure, it's always fun for the students to get a letter from someone other than their boring old teacher, and it also allows adults who might not necessarily have a chance to interact with children's writing in a meaningful way to do so.
This evening we had several people over for dinner, and then Tats and I were hoping to play hockey at the local rink.
Ahhhh... but the imposing stack of Reader's Notebooks that had been accumulating on my desk while I planned out my Point of View unit over the past several days at school was beckoning in a menacing voice.
So, I enlisted the help of all several of our dinner guests to each read and respond to a notebook or two, and then we went to play hockey!
Tomorrow morning, my students will get letters from a flight instructor, an e-bay specialist, a retired violinist from the TSO, a visiting Maritimer and a special ed teacher from another school.
A few of them will also get a letter from their boring, old teacher. Ha!
Valentine’s Day, far from a sappy occasion for romantic love in most classrooms, tends to be filled with excitement and organization in early primary classrooms.
I clearly remember my own experiences as a Grade 2 student or thereabouts... there were valentine’s cards to be purchased and filled out for your favourite friends, then “delivered” into the decorated bags your teachers had killed several periods making with you over the past week... there was always an unspoken contest over who got the most valentine’s cards, and embarrassment for those poor schmucks in the class who got few or none.
Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since then; most teachers set the expectation that if cards are brought in, they are to be given out to the whole class, rather than selectively. Nevertheless, in my own classrooms, I tend to largely ignore this holiday, being far too busy with “important” curriculum to observe any cheesy holidays – such a waste of time... or so I thought!
My Grade 3 students had other ideas: This morning, they arrived ready to deliver meticulously crafted valentine’s cards to all their little friends, many of them handmade (the cards, not the friends), and several including little treats like chocolates or pencils. One student even brought me a box of "Black Magic".
How could I say no?
An impromptu valentine’s party broke out, as students hugged each other and said kind and wonderful things to one another. We played cheesy love songs, read the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Langston Hughes (selected highlights!), and wrote love letters to moms, dads and grandparents.
They say if you can’t beat them, join them. So I did. With a little curriculum connection – music and writing – thrown in. And it was FUN!
Check out the poems, chart and special paper we used to write our own love letters this morning... Click below to download the word doc. (Feel free to share, modify and/or use as is.)
This year in my classroom, I’ve been instituting The Daily Five into my Literacy Block. During the “Read to Someone” portion, students help one another with words they are stuck on by – rather than blurting out the word if they know it – asking their stuck partner if s/he wants coaching or time.
Recently, I’ve instituted this methodology at home, too. Having twins means often one will interrupt the other’s reading by blurting out a word which the latter may be stuck on but which the former knows. Now I just explain to them that in order to become good readers, people have to struggle with new words and think about them, sometimes with a little coaching (“sound it out”, “read the whole sentence to see what word would make sense there”, “check the pictures for clues”, etc.) if they so choose.
Coaching or Time has greatly improved the quality of life in our home when it comes to reading with the kids!
I am reading sort of a book about science – physics, specifically, although it is conveniently arranged as a series of short stories with science woven in throughout. Easier to digest, perhaps, for those who prefer fiction.
I am reading this book for a number of reasons: First, my girlfriend recommended it, and I trust her judgement. Secondly, I know that my understanding of science is pathetically lacking, and as a Christian, it seems to me prudent to familiarise myself a little more intimately with the way in which our Creator set things up on this pretty planet and beyond. Finally, I figure it’s high time I gain a little more insight into the craft that formed the basis of my late father’s profession and probably his way of thinking in general (he was a nuclear physicist with Atomic Energy Canada).
But as I begin reading this morning, I cannot help but wonder if the logicians are missing the point…
As teachers, we sometimes struggle with the concept of “Differentiated Instruction”. It seems everyone has a different perspective on what DI looks like in a classroom setting. Does it mean
Not sure what I am more taken with, the giant, golden moon I observed hanging over the city on my bike ride home from work tonight, or the "stars", a million twinkling lights, I saw from the left seat of a Cessna 150, as we glided overhead the city the other night on my first flight in months...
Life is Good.
It is not often that I as a teacher get to see “the other side”. Granted, I am also a parent, but only of two kids, and other than being twins, they are pretty “normal” so far, when it comes to school.
So at school, I merrily send home reams of
After writing for several teacher and multiple birth publications, including ETFO's Voice Magazine, Multiple Moments, and the Bulletwin, Vera turned her written attention to prolific blogging for some years, including BiB, "Learn to Fly with Vera!" and SMARTbansho . Homeschooling 4 was her travel blog in Argentina. She now spends more time on her Instagram (@schalgzeug_usw) than her blog (pictures are worth a thousand words?!)
The views expressed on this blog are the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the perspectives of her family members or the position of her employer on the the issues she blogs about. These posts are intended to share resources, document family life, and encourage critical thought on a variety of subjects. They are not intended to cause harm to any individual or member of any group. By reading this blog and viewing this site, you agree to not hold Vera liable for any harm done by views expressed in this blog.