Monthly Archives: March 2012

What’s on your “Wish List”?

My Wish List for the Immediate Future
Today I am going to make three wishes for the immediate future as relates to teaching in my world.
What’s on your wish list?

1. A continued greater emphasis on and sharing of 21st Century skills – kids developing real world skills and making real world connections. We are global citizens.

2. A conscious shift from current classroom configurations, toward more child-friendly spaces (e.g. furniture, floor plans, accessories, lighting, etc.) that allow for greater movement, alternative work spaces and choice …. that cater to a range of learning styles, and that foster creativity and collaboration.

3. A regular time scheduled into my work week for reflection upon teaching practices and to stay current with regard trends in education and resources. I would love for example, more time during the work week  to collaborate with and benefit from the expertise of teachers, administrators and in-house specialists. I wish that I had more time and resources to take full advantage of on-line learning opportunities by attending webinars (which often take place during the day), reading blogs, participating in online forums and otherwise connecting with professionals.  Currently, this all happens outside of work hours between planning and marking and parent contacts. I do it (a lot!), I love it(!), it’s necessary and it’s really worth(!) it but it is time consuming. … and even though I spend a lot of time doing the above I know that there’s so much more that I want to share and learn!


Assignment Mash-Up: Math & Literature

Assignment Mash-Up: Math & Literature

If you were a fly on my classroom wall you would notice that I am always striving to ensure that there is some overlap between subjects; that Math ties in with Social Studies, that Science ties in with Writer’s Workshop, that grammar & spelling tie in with a Theme Day, etc.

This week I students will engage in a Math-Literature Mash-Up!

In Language Arts we are reading The Egypt Game. The main character in the novel is a girl named April.
In Math we are looking at measurement & geometry.

The assignment:
Design a amazing bedroom for April!

The Language Component:
During their design process consider carefully all that you know about April and apply this to your design. Consider the following (& more!):
•    Who is April Hall?
•    What are her interests?
•    Does she have any hobbies?
•    What does April do in her free time?
•    What are her dreams and her hopes?
•    Would she have a book shelf and if so how big or small would it be? What would be on the shelf?
•    Would she need a big or a small closet for her clothes? What would she have hanging there? How would it be arranged?
•    Would she require a dressing table? A desk? Drawers for special objects?
•    What colour would you paint her room and why?
•    Would you leave space on her walls for posters or pictures? What would she hang there?

The Math Component:
•    Review all that you know about area and perimetre.
•    Your first assignment is to map out/measure your own bedroom – including the furniture within. This will help you to design April’s room to scale.
•    On a piece of graph paper begin to design April’s room to scale. I will check in with you often throughout the process.

I can’t wait to see what my creative kids will come up with!


Grateful Journals

Grateful Journals
Every once in a while I ask my students to keep journals over the break. These journals actually look more like scrapbooks as they include writing, pictures, pamphlets, movie ticket stubs, restaurant menus, tourism guides, etc.  The kids love making them, they love sharing them and they are lovely keepsakes.
This year however, I am switching things up. This year I am going to ask my students to create/keep “Gratitude Journals”.
This week we will decorate notebooks with stickers and glitter and paint … I want these notebooks to be  personal and beautiful and fun.
Over the break they will be asked to record one thing that they are grateful for each and every day.

“March 12th: Today I am grateful for a great friend like Trish. She came over today and we played and giggle and laughed. She makes me feel good.”
“March 13th: Today I am grateful for a mum who bought me a pair of skis and signed me up for lessons. I can’t wait to learn how to ski.”
“March 14th: Today I am grateful that I got to see my grandparents. They live in Ottawa and so I don’t get to see them that often. I love them.”
“March 15th: Today I am grateful that I have such a great book to read. I can’t wait to se what happens next.”

When we return, students will be encouraged (but not required) to share some entries with the class. (Hopefully everyone will want to share one or two.)
We will then use the journal as the basis for some poetry activities.

I am going to keep one as well, & I can’t wait to see what happens.


Fostering Gratitude
A few simple practices can promote the feeling and expression of gratitude among students, thereby building their character, prosocial skills, and positive emotions …
Experiencing and expressing gratitude has many potential benefits for school outcomes, including student’s enhanced character development, positive emotions, and prosocial behavior. Promoting gratitude can begin in the middle level and continue into high school. The use of simple techniques, such as gratitude journals, is an effective and easily managed procedure for accomplishing this goal. By having staff members incorporate a few simple practices, principals can help establish a school culture in which gratitude contributes to student well-being and attitudes and, by extension, a more positive school climate.”