December 18, 2012

I didn't want to leave...

I had to leave early today to go to an appointment of my own. I didn't want to leave. The excitement and energy in my classroom is positively infectious. 

We had thee funniest moment this morning.  We were doing "Morning Message" on the Smartboard (you really must come in one day and see what this is all about. Seriously. Any day but Friday, we'd love to have you, just email me to arrange it.) 

Anyway, I don't know how it happened,perhaps your child recalls how it all got started,  but I think it was Christmas-related or maybe I had made a funny mistake. Anyway something funny had just happened and I was telling the kids how rotten they are and that I couldn't believe I had to spend my day with such rude little rudies.  They thought this was hysterical.  Yes, they laugh out loud at me when I call them rotten.  Yes, I called them rotten. I know. 

So we're laughing about how funny this is because the kids have just finished telling me that I'm the one who is naughty and I'm the one who will get coal this Christmas when sure enough, Mr. Deoni, pops his head into the room. Hearing all this laughter, he wanted to know what was so funny. 

I responded, "Oh good morning Sir.  I was just telling these wonderful children how wonderfully wonderful they all are."  

You should have heard the outrage. The kids all started tell Mr. D about what really was going on. I'll give them this, they know how to stand up for themselves!  I continued, "Please don't listen to them Sir. I was telling them what angels they are and that Santa would be filling their stockings with all kinds of wonderful goodies this Christmas because they are so wonderful."  

They weren't buying it. More outrage and the children were able to repeat word for word what I had said to them. It was not looking good for me.  

Eventually Mr. Deoni had a good laugh and said we were all a pretty funny bunch and that maybe what we really needed was a little more fresh air. 

After he left, we laughed and laughed.  

The other week, I mentioned that I love it when we have moments where we feel like a little family (it was a fellow blogger that uses that phrase, and I've borrowed it) and today was one of those days.  

We felt like a family, laughing so hard at our own little joke.  Poor Mr. Deoni, what a good sport he is.  

I just didn't want to leave.  

Our Plan for the Week

This week we're going to get as much of our Geometry unit completed as possible each morning. We'll have the test for this unit in the New Year. It's not ideal to have a two week break in the middle of a math unit, but I think we'll be a-okay.  

Then in the afternoons, our focus is on Christmas fun! We'll work on our craft, play some Smartboard games, watch movies and work on some other fun little activities.  
So we're business in the morning and fun in the afternoon!  

Our class party will be Thursday. The boys and girls are welcome to bring in any board games or toys they would like to enjoy with their friends. I will provide the goodies and refreshments for the party, but if the kids have other treats they'd like to give out they are invited to bring them Thursday. 

On Friday, we'll cozy up and watch a movie together.  

This is my favourite week of the year and I hope the kids enjoy it even MORE than I do!  

December 15, 2012

What do you say?

I will have an important talk with my class on Monday. We will be reviewing safety procedures and everyone will have an opportunity to ask questions and share what's on their mind. I love my students as though they are my own and as their "Mom at school", I can assure you it will be an age-appropriate conversation that I hope will reassure and bring comfort to all my students. 

In the meantime, I have gathered some information that I hope will assist parents over the weekend in discussing the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut with their children.

Talking to Kids About Violence (printable)

7 tips for parents

There are also many, many resources I found here:

National Association of School Psychologists

I will be using the above resources to assist me in my conversation with my students on Monday.  

December 14, 2012

December 12, 2012

Social Studies Update

We learned a little more about the pioneers today.  Here are the "big ideas" that were taught today: 

  • Joseph Brant was the Chief of the Iroquois tribe in upstate New York
  • during the American Revolution in 1776, he told his people to join the Loyalists 
  • when the Loyalists lost the war, Brant was forced to come to Upper Canada and settled in the Caledonia area
  • Canada did not believe in slavery and when people came to Canada from countries that supported slavery, slaves were instantly set free
  • Many Irish people came to Canada out of necessity, due to the Potato Famine

December 10, 2012

Sunshine Home

The boys and girls finished up their Reading Response With Evidence assignments for Sunshine Home today and they were spectacular! We followed all the steps outlined in the video here:  

How to Write a Reading Response With Evidence

I am so pleased with the quality of the children's work on this, their first fully independent RRWE task. It is very rewarding and exciting to see the boys and girls begin to take what they're taught and incorporate their own "voice" which really puts their personal stamp on the whole exercise, making it a pleasure to read and I would think, more fun to complete. I love these tasks because as each one is completed, my students' confidence as authors soar and our room becomes a factory of creativity! And now, knowing what I have recently learned about the importance of non-fiction writing, I'm even more excited for my kids! 

What's your angle? ;)

You guessed it! We learned all about angles today in Math! 

Right angle...check! 
Obtuse angle...check!
Acute angle...check!

We also learned about finding the vertex(one point) and vertices (more than one point)on a shape.  

We'll continue talking about angles over the next day or two.  By the end of this lesson, students should be able to: 

  • confidently identify the three different types of angles 
  • describe a shape based its angles
  • draw a shape according to a set of instructions (e.g. draw a shape with one right angle and two acute angles) 
  • sort shapes on a Venn Diagram according to types of angles 

December 08, 2012

Great Math Practice!

This site looks like it has all kinds of quizzes and fun ways for students to practice their math skills.  I think the kids will get a kick out of the timed quizzes! 

Fun 4 The Brain!

So guess what we'll be focusing on?

After cleaning this house and getting my Saturday chores done, I went to school and worked in my classroom for a bit (my home away from home). I'm a music lover, but I'll often put a dvd on to "watch" while I do my work. Today I watched one of the Ministry of Education's videos about Intentional Teaching. 

One of the big ideas from this video was non-fiction writing. This would be writing such as tasks where students do the following: 

  • analyze
  • compare/contrast
  • provide instructions
  • describe events
The light-bulb moment was when one of the speakers said that non-fiction writing is the most important kind of writing we can have students do and that when students engage in more non-fiction writing, their performance in other academic areas improves, including math, science, and social studies. This is particularly true for second language learners.It was also interesting to hear non-fiction writing described as "thinking through the end of the pen." 

I did a quick self-check and I'm pleased that we do our fair share of non-fiction writing (RRWEs, Social Studies learning journal, "Explain your thinking", etc.) but I think we can take it up a notch.  

Teaching is never dull, that's for sure. Everyone is always learning. 


December 06, 2012

A 12 Year-old Super-hero

Parents, would you please read this story and watch the video with your child? I'd love to discuss this in class on Friday. 

First, read this article together

Then, watch and discuss this video

Parallel Lines

Most teachers are always "on" and this includes weekends, vacation time, doctor's appointments, you name it. We are the reason the Visitor's Centre is out of brouchures, the free pencils are gone and the garage sales have no toys, books or games.  It seems like no matter where we go, we find ourselves saying, "Hey, I can use this in the classroom."  

Flashback to July, 2012.  
We were in the airport on our way to New York City to celebrate my birthday, when I spotted this unique art that would be a fun way to tell the class about parallel lines.  

God bless anyone that marries a Primary teacher...He has a special place in Heaven for them.   

Don't sign the agenda!

Recently, I had a great conversation with a parent. They told me that if they're child does not do their nightly reading, they will not sign the agenda. I thought this was brilliant. 

In this post, I want to focus mostly on the nightly reading component of the agenda. 

That conversation brought to mind a favourite quote of mine from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

"Reading is the single most important skill necessary for a happy, productive and successful life. A child that is an excellent reader is a confident child, has a high level of self-esteem and is able to easily make the transition from learning to read to reading to learn."  

Each night, students are asked to have their agenda signed by a parent. In the morning, the child checks in with their seat-partner and if they both got their's signed, they add five points to their weekly score.  However, if the homework was not completed or nightly reading was not done by the child, please don't sign it.  

When a parent signs the agenda, we're having a conversation.  I see that signature and figure all is well and the tasks are getting completed at home.  When the agenda is not signed, the child and I will speak about why it wasn't signed. Sometimes it's simply a matter of forgetting to ask Mom or Dad to do so. Other times, like the ones I am describing, it's a matter of not fulfilling responsibilities.  

Each night the students write, "Read for 30 minutes." In January, this moves to 40 minutes. Sometimes, because we write it everyday, it's easy to overlook nightly reading as a priority and instead zero in on the paper/pencil work that needs to be done.  

Nightly reading is essential. Reading is the most important task a child can do each night. In fact, it's the single most important skill I teach. If it's not being done at night, I need to know about this and the quickest way for you to let me know there's a problem, is to not sign the agenda.  

A child will learn a great life lesson (and they'll learn it quickly too) when the parent doesn't sign the agenda and what follows is this: the child and I have a talk about responsibility and how reading is essential for life-long success and happiness. It might be a little uncomfortable for the child for a moment or two, but is usually just what's needed for the child to re-set and get back on track. 

December 04, 2012

The Congruent Club

Today in Math, we continued our lesson on three-dimensional shapes made up of congruent shapes. 

The boys and girls are reminded that for  shapes to be congruent, they must be the same size and same shape. 

A cube and a triangular pyramid are examples of solids that are made up of congruent shapes. 

Sunshine Home by Eve Bunting


We read this very real story about a boy who goes to visit his Grandmother in her nursing home for the first time. Eve Bunting is one of my favourite children's authors. Her books never disappoint and present opportunities for very rich, meaningful discussion. 

The story is a very honest depiction of how families often put on brave faces to make it look like everything is "okay". It's the boy who encourages everyone to open up and share their fears and emotions.  

The boys and girls began working on a Reading Response With Evidence related to this story. They are asked to write about how Timothy shows love and respect toward others. Some students may choose the more obvious ways such as, he is polite and respectful toward his Grandmother.  Other children may want to challenge themselves and read between the lines to find different ways he demonstrates love and respect. 

December 03, 2012

It's Presentation Time!

Once again, the boys and girls are asked to present the Poem of the Week to the class. This Friday, all students are asked to present their interpretation of "The Duke of Dodge-Ball" to their classmates.  

We will do most of the memory work at school so that all that needs to be done at home is fine-tuning, prop-finding and overall character development. 

Students are encouraged to bring props or dress up as the Dodge-ball Superstar! 

The boys and girls are expected to use their feedback from their previous presentation for "There's Something I Need to Remember" and apply it to this one. I am also asking students to consider performances they admired and to think about ways they could incorporate new ideas into this presentation. Sounds a wee bit like copying doesn't it? But hopefully you know what I'm getting at.  

The kids are asked to bring this character to life, to act in a way that makes the audience believe they truly are the Duke of Dodge-ball!  

We will not have a POTW test this week so that students can focus on their presentations. 


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