Monthly Archives: January 2011

How to Deal with a Bully … well, it’s a start.

How to Deal with a Bully … well, it’s a start.

If you were a fly on my classroom wall you would see and hear me giving the following advice on how to deal with a bully.

… well, at least it’s a start.


Steps …

1. Act brave do your best. Hold your head high. Ignore a bully. 

2. Act as you always do don’t appear sacred, unnerved, or upset.
Stay strong. Act as though a bully’s words/action don’t hurt you.
3. As best you can, stand up for yourself. Don’t shout, but use a strong voice.Tell the bully that you don’t like what he/she is doing.
4. Don’t bully back. Don’t try to win.

5. Walk away.

6. Keep your friends close those who will stand up for you, and make you feel safe and secure.

7. When possible avoid a bully. Avoid places where bullying occurs.

8. Find someone you trust (a parent, friend, teacher, etc.) and tell him/her what’s going on.


>Writing & Delivering a Speech (Grade 5)


Writing a Speech

So the process has begun … it’s that time of year again in my classroom: We are starting the  process that will lead up to the school’s “Public Speaking Competition”.

As we embark on this rather daunting adventure there are a few general concepts that I try to keep in mind … and share repeatedly with my students. A few of these ideas are as follows:

(A) The Recipe:
There is a recipe to be followed when writing a speech:

1.  The Headline – To hook or catch the audience’s attention – to tell them what your are going to be talking about. 

2.  The Main Body – Main facts and supporting details

3.  The Echo – To revisit your Headline. 

(B) How to Introduce & Conclude Your Speech:

1. Introduction
– Share a story
– Share a surprising/shocking statistic 
– Ask a question, share a riddle
– Cite a popular quotation

2. Conclusion:
– A quote
– A profound thought or statement
– leave the audience with a question or a challenge
– A summary
– A literary device
– Encourage a smile, share a joke

(C) Delivering a Speech: Some Tips:

– Remember, as my father always said, “You are the expert!”. Be confident! 

– Be natural – be you! Let your personality shine through! “How” the speech is delivered is certainly as important as what’s being said!

– Take your time – speak at a natural pace – don’t rush

– Speak clearly – Enunciate every word

– Stand tall – use deliberate gestures (but don’t over do it!)

– Avoid reading from your notes. Make eye contact – engage your audience.

– If you make a mistake just move on … No one else knows that you have made a mistake! Just keep it your little secret.

– Don’t chew gum!

– Don’t fidget!

– Dress the part.

– Enjoy being the centre of attention

P.S. A a teacher I also save some of the speeches from years gone by to share with my students. I also show videos of individuals (children and adults) delivering speeches on the Smartboard (you can find many examples on YouTube!). I try to do this daily.


Encourage Reading at Home – Raising a Reader

Encourage Reading at Home

The other day a parent asked to speak with me after school. Her child has yet to become a reader and it is breaking her heart.

While it is true that some children love reading and others do not (just as some children enjoy soccer and others do not) reading is a gift as well as a life skills and ought to be encouraged.

I made the following recommendations.Hopefully one or two will prove helpful!


Ways to Encourage Reading at Home

·     Make sure that there are plenty of books, magazines and comics lying around the house for your child to pick up at a moment’s notice.
·     Create a special place for your child to read. A place just for him/her.
·     Read to and with your child a lot! Snuggle up and enjoy!
·     Create a fun book club for your son/daughter and his/her friends! A monthly book party!
·     Find out what other kids are reading. Find out what’s hot (and what’s not!).
·     Play board games that require reading.
·     Read recipe books and choose a favourite recipe — or two. Read the recipe and bake together … then enjoy the fruits of your labour! (This is a great way to focus on math skills as well.)
·     Movies can be a great starting point! Read a book based on a favourite children’s movie.
·     What are your child’s interests? Find out more! Buy, borrow and suggest books, articles, magazines, etc. that relate to the topic(s). 
·     Before going on a family trip supply your child with magazines, books and pamphlets based on where you are headed to. Encourage them to take on the role of tour guide, and suggest activities as well.
·     Recognize “readable moments”, e.g. reading menus, instructions, directions, invitations, postcards, birthday cards, CD covers, food labels, etc.
·     Be a good role model. Your child should see you enjoying good books and magazines.

Home Journals: Authentic Writing & Communication Between Home & School

Home Journals:  Authentic Writing & Communication Between Home & School

I was speaking with a colleague of mine who was both looking for additional opportunities for authentic writing in her Grade 4 classroom as well as ways in which to foster greater communication between home and school.
I was so excited! I told her that I had just the thing!
In fact, if you were a fly on my classroom wall you would see students writing in their Home Journals every Friday. Every Friday students write letters home to their parents about their week. Home Journals help to answer the age-old “dinner table question”, “What did you do at school this week?”. These journals also provide parents, students and teachers with weekly examples/snapshots of individual writing skills development.
The process is as follows:
Home Journals
1. As a class brainstorm a list of the week’s events (e.g. assemblies, Spirit Days, class parties/celebrations, field trips, test, presentations, guest speakers, etc.), classes and topics/concepts addressed, and so forth.
2. Using proper letter writing format students write a letter home about their week. They are reminded that we write to entertain as well as to inform. We want to draw our readers in and tell them all about our fabulous week.
3. Students end their letters by writing: “P.S. Please write back”. Parents/guardians are expected to respond by writing a letter back to their child over the weekend.
1.  I use Hilroy notebooks. I keep the notebooks and hand them back at the end of the school year. They are wonderful keepsakes! It’s also interesting and entertaining for students to take some time at the end of the year to reread their books and reflect; reflect on their year as well as their development as writers.
We always manage to share a giggle or two as well!
2.  Although Home Journals are never graded (in fact as their classroom teacher I do not touch them), they can be used as one more means of assessing student writing skills as the year progresses.