In classrooms with new Canadians in them, the first snowfall is particularly thrilling.
The first snowfall is always an exciting time for teachers. Children rush to the window, mesmerised by the soft white flakes suddenly appearing from nowhere, and covering the hitherto green field or black hardtop outside with a layer of white dust.
In classrooms with new Canadians in them, the first snowfall is particularly thrilling.
Folks said his family were all dead.
Planet crumbled, but Superman he forced himself
To carry on, forget Krypton, and keep goin'
Sometimes when Supe was stoppin' crimes,
I'll bet that he was tempted to just quit
And turn his back on man,
Join Tarzan in the forest.
But he stayed in the city,
Kept on changin' clothes
In dirty old phone booths 'til his work was through.
Had northin' to do but go on....
(Superman's Song, Crash Test Dummies, 2007)
Ahhh.... clay! So messy, so fun, so... revealing, it turns out.
As part of our Social Studies unit on Aboriginal Canadians, we decided to try our hand at pottery, using clay, and forming it -- as the the early First Nations Canadians would have -- using the pinch pot and coil methods. Then we decorated our pots using a variety of small tools to apply cross hatch and other designs. It was neat to see how some of the students who might be struggling with other skills really shone during this activity.
One fellow fashioned the most amazing collection of little pots -- 25 of them when all was said and done, lined up along his desk, a smile on his face as he worked carefully and with much focus on each tiny masterpiece!
All hands were delightfully dirty as every student engaged with the clay.
I've been trying to assess in a variety of ways in math... so I was putting together an oral interview to do with individual students at the end of the geometry unit we're currently in the middle of. Trying to field test the questions on myself first, I realised I'd better check my answers! In doing so, I found kind of a neat site online: Math is Fun features a number of mini-tutorials (I stumbled across the one on quadrilaterals), with quizzes at the end.
Both the tutorials and the quizzes included lots of visual support, which made them -- in my opinion -- quite user friendly. For teachers, students and parents, this site seems like a great support.
Happily, I got all the answers to the quiz questions right... but I had to think about a few of them! :-)
Arrggghh, I was determined NOT to succumb to the magazine holder syndrome when I began implementing the Daily Five in my classroom this year. "Too expensive", I thought, "and they take up waaaay too much real estate in my classroom!" Instead, I gave the students yellow "literacy folders" in which to keep their writing journals and readers' notebooks along with their good fit books.
But three months into the school year, the facts could no longer be ignored -- our Literacy Folders were in desperate need of repair, and the bin in which the students kept these overflowing beasts was becoming messy and disorganized, thanks to the tattered folders taking over!
I finally caved the other night after school, and dropped nearly $100 on cardboard magazine holders at Staples.
When I brought them in for the students the next day, the class was delighted! Too bad I can't post kids' faces online -- the "real" evidence of success is the smiles on the faces of the students as they proudly put together and immediately use their new literacy "unfolders" -- awesome!
"before and after"!
Our church family includes a high Mandarin population, and every so often, when one of those members of our congregation acts as Pastor’s Assistant, we are treated to a refreshingly “real” interpretation of various phrases in the English language. Last Sunday was a such a morning; our Chinese-Canadian sister led us through a prayer of adoration in which she proclaimed “Father God, everything we have are from you!”
As I reflected on the probably unintentional “abundance” of the extra plural in the sentence, it occurred to me that many of us do indeed have so much more than we could hope or imagine. I myself have much to be thankful for… two healthy, happy, exciting children, an interesting job and compassionate and engaging work colleagues… a supportive husband, loving friendships and a decent apartment with enough beds for every body to rest in… a spectacular view of the city and the lake, including gorgeous sunrises each morning…. In summer, I get to go to a beautiful house overlooking the sand dunes of Greenwich, PEI, and walk along the ocean, and this morning, I woke up with the usually wagging tail of my friendly (if somewhat high-maintenance) beagle draped lovingly across my neck – what more could I ask for?!
Truly, Lord, everything we have “are” from you!
Did one of my favourite lessons from Teacher's College today: "The Grebigol" is a lesson I learned many, many years ago from the great Larry Swartz, who was our Literacy and Drama instructor at OISE.
A versatile lesson both in scope and grade application, The Grebigol -- I just realised this afternoon -- works really well as an application of the new Ontario Learning Skills that have to be reported on three times a year. "Collaboration", in particular, can be demonstrated:
· chooses to work with a variety of peers
· accepts various roles (leader, member)
· does equitable share of work in a group
· responds positively to the ideas, opinions, values, and traditions of others
· works with others to resolve conflicts and build consensus to achieve group goals
· shares information, resources, materials
· contributes ideas & expertise
· helps group make decisions
· solves problems using polite language and a calm voice
The lesson begins with the lights out, and a little "spooky" music (a slection from the "Meet Joe Black" or "Edward Scissorhands" soundtracks works well...)
As the music began, I read aloud the fictional piece in my best suspence-enducing voice, as students imagined what the "Grebigol" might look like. Afterwards, students worked in groups of 3 to create their own Grebigol, using an assortment of materials I had provided in a large envelope to each group. Only three rules applied:
1. The Grebigol had to be free-standing (to tie into our "structures" unit in Science)
2. All materials in the envelope had to be used
3. Students were not allowed to talk to one another! :-)
They rose to the challenge, although at first, things didn't look too promising...
Things soon began to take shape, however, and by the end of the 35-minute period, most of the groups had built some pretty interesting creatures:
Afterwards, students took home one of three group work reflection sheets to self-assess their collaborative skills and to debrief the activity.
If I were a good teacher, I could have them do some descriptive writing tomorrow, or discuss equity and such (i.e. was it fair that each group had different materials in their envelope, how did the need for silence impact the group's ability to work together, etc. etc.)
This morning, I had the great privilege of being outdoors just after the sun had risen. A golden ball hung suspended just above the horizon over the lake outside my apt building, and as I stood, mesmerised by the colours shimmering over the rippling water, it suddenly struck me: This sun was the same sun that people all over the world were looking at... here was I in Mimico, a tiny corner of
I had reason to see a dermatologist recently. The fellow I was referred to holds “walk-in” hours out of his home: Sat 5 – 9 a.m. and Tuesdays 9-4. I mentioned his name to my aesthetician, who said, “Oh, I’ve heard of this guy – he’s supposed to be really good!”
Eager to check out this “really good” dermatologist, and keen to discover the source of and solution to my particular skin ailment, I set out at 4:53 a.m. Sat morning.
The waiting room was already full when I arrived shortly after five, and cars lined
Unexpectedly, the highlight of my day was the short ride from one school to another at lunch time today.
I had taken my bike to work, and our morning was spent at a nearby school, learning with colleagues there. It happened that two of my fellow teachers from my home school had also ridden that morning, and we three rode back together, enjoying the fall colours and the shadows dancing on the midday pavement as we sailed down the road in tandem.
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.