Bus

 

It has been hectic over the past few weeks. A thoughtful student in third grade inspired a bake sale with the funds all going to  help the Humbolt Broncos, I went to my first EdCamp and we made crystals for science in my class.

The bake sale was so inspirational as the student got lots of last minute donations as soon as the word spread. It is wonderful that the spirit of community touches everyone far and wide.

The Edcamp was amazing with people from all around coming together, in the spirit of self-education. I was so grateful for the experience and it made me see how much we have to go to get on board with what other schools are doing out there. We are sadly behind without being part of the whole Google Classroom and all its documents, extensions and add ons available – for free I may add. Educators were all discussing the various applications they are using and how they like this and that and myself and my one colleaugue that joined me were totaly out of the loop. It was sad and an eye opener! First off that only one person of the staff of thirty at my current school came out and second that we advertise 21st century technology but we don’t teach with it nor do we have students that are using the currently available technology to produce some amazing work. My friend and I saw documents created by first graders that made our jaws drop. It’s amazing what kids can do when provided with the technology. It makes learning fun, meaningful and useful to the students to be able to compete with the other students out there that are all doing these amazing, easy presentations. The students are engaged while they are making the presentations, collecting data and having fun!! I don’t know how to get the administration on board to register so we can all begin using the available technology that Google classroom offers to school. Did I say it is free? I sometimes feel like I am opening a giant treasure box and trying to share it with my fellow educators and they keep looking at the items in my treasure box, don’t know how great they are, so they shut the lid and ignore my offers. Any suggestions please leave in the comments. I am frustrated by the lack of enthusiasm and support. I am grateful one other teacher came to the Edcamp with me. It was fabulous to have the support of even one person. A big thank you to all that made the Edcamp possible and donated food and door prizes. It was a wonderful experience!

Lastly, from the photo gallery, my class is currently in a rocks and minerals unit so we made crystals from boiling water and salt. The photo is from day one when we first made them. I will add photos to show the crystals, next week. The orange eggs are making lots of crystals from the salt, however, the baking soda crystals (pale blue) are much slower to form. I showed the students today, after one week and the blue eggs have very small crystals, whereas the orange ones are abundant. I predicted this as the baking soda was so dense that it was like sludge. I will leave them and see if, and how long it takes them to form crystals.

That’s all I have for now. Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there!! May the gift of learning be with you and surrounding you daily.

Yours In Education,

Miss.D.

 

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Great Week-End & Weekend

Friday was a professional development day. It was one I was so glad for as I had a cupboard I wanted to clean out for months. I don’t like clutter and started unpacking the cupboard Thursday after school. I got it done!! I threw out a lot of stuff I intended to use but never did. It felt good to organize, clean and get rid of the unused items. I see so many videos and books about cleaning out and getting rid of unused stuff to feel better and have a better outlook for the future. I am excited to see my students when they notice that I cleaned it out and organized it.

It was a cold weekend and I went to an edCamp at a local school on Saturday. It was great! I realized I need to add more technology to my curriculum and it was a bit disconcerting. We recently got an iPad cart and we can book it to use them when we want. I really feel like I am responsible to teach these kids more technology than I have been, as other schools teach. I will keep you updated with the technology input as I add as much as I can these last 8 weeks. I can already see where I can change an assignment into an iPad assignment so it is much more exciting and engaging for the students. I can see how this weekend will benefit the students to have more engagement during class and get more from the curriculum. I loved my first ever edCamp and am so grateful to my twitter peeps for bringing it to London. If you ever get an edCamp near you I encourage you to go. I almost didn’t and am so glad that I did!! Stay tuned…

Yours in Education, D.

Party!

I am glad to have had my first in-class pajama party. So enjoyable and relaxing.

It was a lot more fun than I anticipated and I didn’t die of embarrassment when everyone saw my pajama outfit. I wore cotton pants under a long shirt and my Disney housecoat.  It was the cute, but childish housecoat that was hard to wear publicly- but I felt like I had to support my students and be part of the pajama party. Of course, we had people visit from a distant country to see what school is like in Canada! They were surprised when I said it was mostly a fun day and we watched a movie, shared food and played games. My students are very well behaved and I thought they deserved a break so Friday the 13th was a fun day. I came home and had a whopper cold, all that food sharing was not a good idea. I hope the event builds a bond between the students and they will remember what a fun pajama party they had one time in fourth grade. The students wore their pajamas and were very relaxed and got along so well all day – it was amazing!

I definitely recommend a pajama party once a year!

Yours in Education, Ms. D.

Spring

It’s like we’re suspended between late fall and early winter – cool but not really cold, and yet still needing all the winter gear while sporting dark shades against a glorious sun. I thought March Break would be warm by the end of the week and was disappointed it didn’t work out. Perhaps Hades can’t bear to let Persephone go just yet? The week off went by like a flash and here we are at Friday, again, with the first week back to work/school behind us now. The students were louder than I remembered them and much more rambunctious after a week which was surely some chaos. I only put on snack videos once as they all had to catch up with one another and bolster their egos of who had the best fun and captures the most attention with their stories. It’s fascinating to watch the social norms of nine-year-olds that have known one another (for the most part) since kindergarten. Being with them for the second year has actually been a good learning experience for me too, to see how they evolve and grow with maturity, changing values and friendships that dissolve and grow elsewhere as they grow themselves into more individual people and less as passive followers of the crowd. One that would cry all the time has turned into the first one to laugh at anything, another blossoming from shy and ignored to loud and popular, and still a third from a follower to a drifter, playing with everyone and nobody particular. I like the way they hold one another accountable, as I hear them comment, “If you were in the real world that would get you fired” or “We need to get this done now so we don’t have any homework” and “We got our books ready”. All I can think of is I am amazed and know not what to say. (Shakespeare)

Yours in Education, Ms. D.

Wishing you all a wonderful, restful, warm weekend!

So Much Love!

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These little furballs made me so happy!! I got to look after them and just fell absolutely in love! I almost cried when they went home. I have never had my own rabbits but after having these guys for a few days I am sure they could be the next pet -not any time soon – my dog was not impressed!!

Just as we have children in our classes that are so cute and we love them with all our hearts, we always have more love for sweet darlings that come along.  Then there are the students that act up because they are jealous of the new kids getting the attention that they want. Kids and pets are very similar! My dog didn’t act up, he just put his back to me when I was with the rabbits. I have had the same students for a year and a half now as I moved up with them from grade 3 to grade 4. I know them, love them and missed them when we had the winter break for 2 weeks. When a few new children came this year it was just like these little bunnies; I took them in and now I love them too. I know the other kids better, but I love them all. It is an amazing career to love so many children and to be with them so many hours a day that you really develop a bond and, at least me, I miss them when we have long breaks. I pray a lot and ask God to help me to be a good example, and show the love I feel in my heart for them.  I used kind, soft words when they were arguing last week.  I spoke softly and explained with tenderness that it is not what God would want for them to be unkind to one another, or argue and call one another names.  I teach in a school where God is the focus of all our actions and we are encouraged to always live by His example.  We teach that we are all brothers and sisters and should always help one another, not argue. Sometimes the students’  answer to me that that’s (arguing) how we treat our brother or sister at home, to which I try to hide a smile and say something like, “Well then leave that for when you are at home.” Our school has bullies, troubles, and upsets like any other school, but if the teachers can be leaders, showing love and acceptance of all the students, perhaps we will create a more loving and caring student body.

Report Card Time…

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Breathe, stay calm and remember what we tell our students – You can do it!

Pairs and small groups of teachers walking the halls with their laptops balanced atop other things, mumbling quietly to one another.

It’s a somber time for the teachers, and students’ are complaining about multiple tests. It must be that time again – report cards! We know where they are and what their strengths and weaknesses may be but when we have to put it into eloquent words it just takes so much time and careful consideration. We want to say it so it sounds pleasing to those that read it. It takes many rewrites and editing by a team of troopers that have done this many, many times before.

In the end, I hope all the care and attention is important and kept for years in a box somewhere. One day, years later perhaps, the owner of the report card will read the comments from their old report cards and remember their teachers loved them very much and did their best to teach them the skills and lessons they need for a wonderful lifetime of meaningful experiences.

Yours In Education, D.

First Week Back

It is hard to get up so early that first day, but here we are Friday evening and I find myself grateful and happy to be with my students again. Monday I awoke to a ton of snow and it was still blowing. I turned on the radio to hear all school buses for every school board in the area are cancelled. I relaxed with my dog and my coffee in my pajamas, believing I had one more day to relax and walk through the forest with my buddy. Just at the time I should be leaving I got a message that work is a go!  I rushed to get ready, and off I went with a loaded bag of supplies for the week. Exactly half my students showed up and we had a wonderful, playful day as we couldn’t start anything new with just half a class.

Later in the week I had a visit from a substitute teacher from last year and she tells me she got on with the local public school board for a teaching assignment – I am truly happy for her!! Deep inside though I wonder, “Why not me?” Why am I not getting on with the public school board? What does she have that I don’t? A fluent second language! She is fluent in writing, reading and speaking a second language, which is what she was hired to teach. I am still very happy for her and hope she gets on full time. If God means for me to be on a public school board again, it will happen. (I lost all seniority when I changed provinces and have to go back to substitute teaching interviews – not even assignments – just a hope for a call in)

I had my plans done for the first two weeks so I felt good about the first week and confident that I wouldn’t be feeling stressed or unprepared. It was a good week. Planning is important.

This weekend I will work on the next weeks’ plans, which will keep me with two weeks worth of planning again when I go back Monday. Starting with two weeks, and always adding a new week at the end of the week, so you always  have two weeks plans, may be the secret to sanity nobody told me.

Another good way to keep yourself and your students’ on track is to plan all the quizzes, tests and assessments on a monthly calendar that you send home to the parents at the beginning of the month. If you see that you have to test on unit 3 by next Tuesday then that keeps you on track so that the class is ready for the test. It doesn’t always happen but at least you are usually close to the designated day when you know the parents are expecting the test as well as the students. There will be units or concepts that your class takes longer to grasp, and then there are ones that are easier and you find yourself ahead a day or two! Just go with the students as they need you to so that everyone can learn. It is not enough to have them written in your plans, it is the giving the parents the calendar that is key to staying on track.

If you have gifted or struggling students make adjustments so that they feel important and part of the class too. I have asked for help from the resource teacher to take some of my students for a short small-group session. It really is helping them, and the success spreads to confidence in other areas too. It just takes a little teamwork and planning (again with the planning) to figure things out.

That’s all for this week, and I pray that I keep my goals of writing this year, not for me, but for those of you that want an inside eye on teaching. I had no idea being a teacher is this much work, for so little pay and almost little to no recognition or appreciation. You really just become a teacher because you love children and care about them, it’s my fuel!

Yours in Education,

Miss D.