Kind of a neat lot for sale on Hwy 2... had a church on it last year, but that got moved to Lakeside beach. But they left the steeple behind!! All manner of birds nesting in it now, and the lot is delightfully overgrown... we went to check it out... could put a little log cabin in there, nestled among the trees... no? :-) I wonder how much it would cost.... !!!
Three glorious hours exploring the boardwalk, forests and beaches of Greenwhich yesterday… even took a swim in the ocean. (Perhaps the last of the season? Water getting pretty chilly now!) We saw a water rat, a green snake, and several dragon flies engaging in, well, a-hem, you know!
After a few hours in town getting our Internet fix and meeting some work obligations, we stopped by some derelict buildings on the way home, and Tats got creative with her phone camera.
Here's a collection of the day's best shots, mainly taken by the lovely and talented Tatiana Kachira:
Chubby's Roadhouse (Hwy 2) - click to enlarge
The skeeters are ferocious on our beach at dusk... but that didn't stop Tats and the boys from taking a little unplanned dip in the ocean before bedtime one night last week!!!
(Thanks to Devine and Buttery for the pics!)
Who knew that pirates hide their (sugary) Treasure right here in St Peter's Harbour?!
When the boys and I came home from church the other day, we were greeted with a summons to seek and find, posted on the front door. This was followed by a series of pretty tricky clues, which eventually led us to the light house, where we found a bounty of treats, and enjoyed a family swim.
Click photos below to enlarge and see more... Pic of the lighthouse is an old one (no camera at the sandy beach, hehe.)
The dreary day matched my mood as I watched the plane carrying my two little bunnies back to Toronto depart the runway in Charlottetown this morning. They're headed back to Toronto -- their first trip as unaccompanied minors (very exciting for them, though a little nerve-wracking for me), and will be picked up by their dad at the other end.
It's been a busy few weeks, but we've had so much fun -- I feel like they have really grown these past few weeks out here on the Island, and although I am looking forward to a bit of an "adults only" break before heading home myself next week, it still feels kind of funny to suddenly be childless!
We had to be up at the crack of dawn to make the obligatory 90-120 minute pre-flight window (the "roll in a half hour before the flight departs in Ch'town" does not apply when you are sending off unaccompanied minors; all kinds of paperwork to be filled out and such!)
Security went pretty well -- the only thing that didn't make it through was the jam for Grandma. It was over 100 ml, you see, and, as we all know, a jar of blueberry jam in the hands of two 9-year-olds could be life threatening on an airplane, a MAJOR security problem! So, we were left with 260 ml of Island Preserves, as evidenced in the post-take-off photo above.
Thanks to our meticulously-completed paperwork, we got ourselves (minus the jam) through security and waited for pre-flight boarding -- Alex and Simon were first on and last off the plane, along with another 2-sibling set who were also flying from CYYG to YYZ as unaccompanied minors.
Too soon, it was time to give the boys one final hug, and relinquish them to the flight attendant who would see them to their seats and hand them off to the colleague that would watch over them until their arrival and pick up in Toronto.
Just called Daddy to ensure they arrived safely at the other end -- they did.
Now what? ;-P
In my quest for quasi-educational apps for Alex and Simon as they become increasingly consumed with their iPads, I stumbled across a little "book"/app, good for both reading and writing.
Scratch and Sniff are two protagonists in a virtual story written by Richard Clark, available as an app by Story Panda.
Although my boys enjoyed pushing the obligatory "interactive" buttons throughout the story, the real fun started when they re-purposed the pictures in the story to re-write the plot, after reading the original. The app allows young would-be writers to edit the text and even change the antagonist, to customize a variety of stories of their own. More than one story can be written, and completed books are displayed on a special shelf in a virtual bookcase.
My teacher brain immediately went to the classroom: Imagine a common text that allows all students to share the same story, and then work alone or with a partner to re-write the story. A differentiated approach is easy: Some students could re-write the whole thing, others might just change the ending, and so on! Definitely applicable from a bout Grades 2-5.
As a parent, what struck me about this app was that although it was "mom-loaded" and I insisted they try it out, it really didn't need a big sales pitch from me: I actually loaded the app, and then went off to work on something else, thinking I'd come back later and try it out together with them. Within minutes, however, they had taken it upon themselves to explore the app, and an hour later, they were still going strong, writing their own stories!
Nearly a week later, StoryPanda is still one of their favourite apps -- and we haven't even downloaded any of the other books available!!!
(Simon and Alex sharing their stories and tricks with one another)
Below is a summary of Pros and Cons, in the words of my 9-year-old twins boys themselves; since they are the primary consumers here, I figured I'd let them write at least some of this review!
What Would Make it Better:
Whether you are a teacher or a parent looking to get beyond the "game" apps on your child's iPad, I highly recommend StoryPanda, and in particular, Scratch and Sniff by Richard Clark!
PEI is quite beautiful from on high… I feel very fortunate that I get to fly most Saturday mornings while out here. Last Saturday morning, the boys joined us in our airbourne adventures. Selected highlights are below. (Click to enlarge.)
I’m not above bribing my kids, if the end result is one of net gain!
I prefer to call it a “negotiated contract”, actually. The boys are reading for apps, you see. Even free apps. One chapter book with summaries in a journal gets them an app for their ipad, vetted by me.
And guess what? It’s working!! Alex has finally moved on past Goosebumps, and has discovered a new, slightly more literate mystery series. And Simon announced to me this afternoon that “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is the best book he’s ever read Mommy! (Oh, just you wait, my sweet, little baby -- there is sooooo much good stuff out there!!!)
It’s exciting to see the boys consuming books like chocolate, and I’m reminded of my own Grade 4 year, when I realized the magic of reading; I became locked in another world, as I read EVERYWHERE, in the kitchen, on the toilet, at the piano, on my bed, in the car….
We just finished Roald Dahl’s BFG, and are about to move on to CS Lewis. But we’ve also started supplementing the bedtime read-aloud with morning “read-togethers” in Mommy’s bed; the boys come upstairs to hang out with me, and we take turns reading from “Chicken Soup”, followed by a Spanish Sticker book (in preparation for the upcoming Argentina trip).
I am doing my best to model good reading habits myself, too; the boys have seen me devour “Midwives” and “The Reader” this summer, and I’m just starting in on John Boyne’s “The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket”.
One session I attended at the recent CONTACT conference here in Atlantic Canada dealt with Classroom Management.
How to appropriately manage student behaviour in the classroom is one of the biggest challenges teachers face: Many a “perfect” lesson have gone awry due to a lack of concrete consideration of classroom management issues.
Good for Students, Good for Teachers
It’s easy to get complacent after having taught for so long, and although I do manage fairly well with my students, it was good to get a refresher and be able to name the things I do (and consider why it might be better to do some things differently).
Since every job interview in teaching invariably includes a question on this topic, classroom management is a great theme to revisit often throughout one’s career, both for its practical applications with students, but also for self-preservation in an interview!
Four Goals of Misbehaviour
In her session, Laura McCarron, a teacher from Nova Scotia, shared a synopsis of several people’s work with us. In addition to reminding us of the importance of establishing and practising routines and procedures with our classes (a-la- Harry Wong), she also shared a framework for identifying the reasons behind most student misbehaviour.
Knowing why a student may be “acting out” can help us pre-empt some of that behaviour, or respond in ways appropriate to the particular situation, rather than engaging in a power struggle. These goals (and their solutions) can be applied in any context, K-12.
The most common goals tend to be Attention Seeking and Avoidance of Failure
I know these students well, because I was and continue to be one, and now they are my nemesis!! The attention-seeker wants to be noticed by everyone, and keep the teacher's attention. The good thing about these students is that they are motivate; they want a relationship with the teacher.
Ensure you give these students attention for appropriate behaviour, and develop their meta-cognitive skills by teaching them to ask directly for extra attention when they think they need it.
Avoidance of Failure
These students are so fearful of failure, they want to be left alone, lest they make any mistake. This may manifest itself in social isolation, refusal to contribute, or diversion tactics and silly behaviour.
By recognizing students' strengths, and engaging them in low-threat tasks of appropriate (and eventually increasing) challenge levels, we as teachers can help re-frame these students' social stories from "I can't" to I can!"
Other reasons for student misbehaviour might include Power Seeking, or -- more rarely but also more intensely -- Revenge Seeking. Laura reminded us that it was wise to know when to ignore, and when to intervene. Also important was an escalated response model (i.e. you don’t send a kid to the office for a first misdemeanor, or for a minor offence like not bringing a pencil to class!)
I’ve often pulled a student aside, but then not been quite sure what to say to that student. Laura provided some suggestions:
It's critical to remember of course that you have to give respect to get respect. Any of the statements above should be made firmly and confidently, but also politely and calmly. It's not a power struggle, it's an opportunity for positive change.
Encourage Appropriate Behaviour
Laura’s message was about encouraging students; telling them what you want them to do, not what you want them to stop doing. “Working the room” was another way she suggested encouraging positive behaviour; if you’re on hand right from the beginning, things are less likely to get out of control in the first place.
We decided to set out on a fate-based adventure: Each boy had a die, and at every turn in the road, they both rolled the dice, and added up the numbers.
An even number meant a right turn, and odd meant turn left. If they rolled a double (two sixes, for example, or snake eyes), then we went straight ahead.
Truth be told, the first part of the trip was a bit of a bust. After the novelty of huge, endless fields wore off after the third time we had passed them (the boys kept rolling odd numbers), we got lucky with a right turn.
We soon ended up in Cardigan, where there is allegedly an excellent farmer's market -- alas, it is only open Wed-Sat. Today being Tuesday, we set out for nearby Georgetown, which was precisely the right thing to do for two hungry boys; they devoured a "worms and dirt" ice cream sundae at "What's the Scoop?" before we decided to head back home, catching some Internet at the Morell Library en route.
After writing for several teacher and multiple birth publications, including ETFO's Voice Magazine, Multiple Moments, and the Bulletwin, Vera now focuses most of her written attention to prolific blogging, including BiB, "Learn to Fly with Vera!" and, more recently, SMARTbansho and Homeschooling 4. Contact Vera by clicking the photo above.
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.