June 26, 2014

Thank you.

It seems so hard to believe that it's the night before the last day of school. This year has gone by faster than ever. I think it must be age-related, because the months fly at lightening speed and oh my, before I know it, it's June again. 

And here we are.  

I loved being your child's teacher this year. I think I laughed more than I ever have. In this crazy, complicated, fast-paced life we grown-ups live, it was such a joy to spend my day with such kind, light-hearted, easy-going and positively hilarious kids. We were always focused on learning and getting our job done, but we did it with humour. I think we have more little inside jokes than any group of high-schoolers you could find.

Grade Three is not an easy year for kids. There's an awful lot to cover in a short period of time. Teachers are charged with fitting ten months of curriculum in just nine in order to have students prepared for EQAO. After almost ten years in the grade, I'm only now feeling as though I have a really tight program that accomplishes the learning goals and leaves time for fun.  

And boy did we have fun!  When I look back over the Winkflash photo albums from our time together, I can't get over how much we did. We played games galore, sang songs, read incredible stories, and learned all kinds of new lessons.  

Imagine having a job where your work-space feels like home, your teammates are kind, thoughtful and respectful, they are exceptionally hard-working and they all shake your hand every morning with a big smile on their face. Teaching is truly the greatest and most rewarding job in the world and everyday this year, I was reminded of how lucky I am to be a member of this wonderful profession.  

Thank you for all the hard work you did from your end. Our year together was a tremendous success and I know this would not be possible without the loving and supportive homes my students come from. 

I hope all of my students and their families have a very memorable and safe summer. Off they go to Grade Four in the Fall, but they'll forever have a place in my heart. 

208 is truly great.   

June 24, 2014

What a great day!

We had a spectacular day today on our trip! The rain held out and it was just a fantastic experience for everyone.  

One thing I heard over and over again today by our bus driver, the staff at the park and my mother, was how polite the children are. All day long, everyone kept commenting on how well behaved boys and girls are and I couldn't have been more proud. I was reminded of how blessed I have been this year to work with such a great group of kids.  

Country Heritage Park Trip Photos! 
(click here)

June 23, 2014

Happy Birthday Mark

Today's blog post is dedicated to my late brother-in-law, Mark Mihalides.  

Mark would have turned 50 today. He passed away tragically five years ago and we are still very much trying to find our "new normal" without Mark.  

Sometimes it's good to talk (and write) about difficult things. Sometimes it takes some of the pressure off. After someone you love dies, suddenly their birthday, holidays, even Mondays, take on a whole new meaning don't they? On what would have been Mark's 50th, I'd like to take a moment to share with you a special memory about him and ask a favour. 

Mark was a high-ranking Paramedic with Niagara Region and you couldn't help but love him. He was a terrific person with a heart of gold and a warm personality that I'm sure brought a sense of calm to every emergency he responded to. 
Mark was a complimentor.  I know that's not a real word, but Mark had a gift for finding kind things to say. He always had something nice to say when he greeted you. He might notice your new glasses, the colour of your sweater, or that you got a haircut. And he was sincere about it too. "You look nice" didn't cut it with Mark. He paid attention and it showed. In his work and his personal life, he made people feel better. 

In honour of my wonderful brother-in-law on what would have been a milestone birthday, would you give a 5-star, Mark Mihalides compliment to someone today? The Focus on Faith theme for Grade Three is "Community and the common good" and nothing builds community like making others feel great. 

I think it's a great way to restore some of the sparkle that was lost when Mark passed away. 

June 20, 2014

The best Fun Friday ever!

We had a wonderful visitor this afternoon! Kristen came to speak to the boys and girls. She told us some stories, had Fido do a few tricks and answered all kinds of questions. 

It was a terrific way to end Week 39. Thank you to Kristen and her mother, Mrs. Cameron, for coming all the way from Whitby to spend time with us today. I'm sure the boys and girls will fill you all in!

Please be sure to have a look at the photos from Kristen's visit! 

June 19, 2014

Beautiful Line Art!

After a beautiful Mass this morning, we returned to school to finish up our art work from yesterday. 

Have a look at the finished product!

June 18, 2014

Lines, lines, lines!

The boys and girls have been learning about lines, shapes and balance as part of our Visual Arts work.  

We're currently working on a task where students are to trace odd shapes, demonstrate balance and then colour them in a manner that also shows balance.  

This is my sample. It's not quite finished yet. I've told the boys and girls we have one more step after colouring to make our work even more visually appealing.  

I'm looking forward to sharing the photos taken during our work periods. The students really understand how shape and colour can be used to create balance.  

June 16, 2014

New Photos!

We had lots of fun during Friday and Monday's art lesson! Check out our latest photo album here! 

June 13, 2014

Happy Fun Friday!

We had lots of fun this afternoon enjoying art lesson about lines! 
The boys and girls learned about how lines can speak and move! We didn't quite get done everything I had planned, so please check back on Monday. We're going to continue today's lesson then. 

In the students' agenda, it indicates to "Check out new photos on blog".  I took a few photos, but I'll post them on Monday when there will be more to share.  It was a lot of me talking and assisting today during the art lesson, which makes it hard to take photos! 

June 11, 2014

Quite a conversation this afternoon!

What started out as "Hey, let's get rolling on our Father's Day cards kids!" ended 20 minutes later, with an hilarious conversation that covered the following topics:  

  • what the classroom dads looked like in the 80s 
  • which dads had *HUGE* hair as a teenager
  • which dads won costumes at Halloween parties
  • why were eyeglasses so big back in the 80s and 90s? 
  • every one of us comes from love
  • there's nothing quite like a fresh sour key 
  • why do moms take apart Lego projects just because company is coming?
  • the Tooth Fairy and how moms have to sign a letter that tells the Tooth Fairy if she should take the child's teeth with her, or leave them so the mother can collect them 
So much fun! 

June 10, 2014

Today's Math Quiz

Unit 10 is all about patterns in numbers and geometry. This morning, the boys and girls had this quiz pictured below. 

I'm headed to a workshop this afternoon, so I will finish marking the quizzes tonight and send them home on Wednesday. I thought this was an interesting question that really gets the kids thinking about the same pattern presented in two different ways.  

Some possible answers might include: 

  • a pattern in a line can still be a repeating pattern but there's only one pattern 
  • the order remains the same in a line pattern and on a grid
  • on a grid, more patterns begin to develop (e.g. the shapes repeat diagonally or in the columns) 
Pictured below is a sample of a level four (4/4 score) provided by one student (click on the photo to make it bigger). 

June 09, 2014

What a bunch of characters!

I was telling Mr. M tonight about the incredible job the boys and girls did reading through their "News Report" scripts this morning. I mean it! They were just fantastic! They not only read with great expression, but they also have this comedic timing that you'll just have to hear to believe! 

We all had tears in our eyes from laughing so hard this morning while we were doing our first read through. It was that good! 

I can't wait for us to record our show in the next few days and share it with you here. You're going to love it! 

We're working on something big!

As our end-of-year project, we're working on something super-terrific! The boys and girls in Room 208 are working on a news report that we're going to record and share with you here on the blog as a radio show! 

The boys and girls will learn all kinds of important skills from this project, but most importantly, they'll hopefully come to appreciate the importance of reading with expression and accuracy when preparing a recording that will be audio-only!  

The students received their scripts today and they are asked to practice their lines for homework. They know that they are not expected to memorize their lines (in fact, I'd prefer they didn't).  We're looking to start recording our radio show in the next few days and we cannot wait to share it with all our blog visitors! 

Please note this is NOT a video. In keeping with the wishes of parents in my class, this make believe news presentation will be posted on the blog as a radio show and will be an "audio-only" presentation. 

June 05, 2014

We had a great day today!

We had an absolutely spectacular day today! It was such a great way to celebrate all the hard work the boys and girls put into preparing for EQAO. 

Be sure to check out our photos from the day!  
Happy Birthday Garfield!

Thank you to all the boys and girls for a great "Birthday Party"! 

Beat the Cheese!

Wanna join in the Happy Birthday Garfield fun? 
If you're at work, turn the sound OFF your computer and play this game! 

Garfield's Beat the Cheese!  

June 03, 2014

Garfield's Birthday!

We're celebrating Garfield's Birthday this Thursday! All the boys and girls are asked to wear orange and black.

We're going to have a wonderful day!  We've got party games to play, goodies to enjoy and lots and lots of good times ahead of us on Thursday.  

This is all to celebrate our completion of EQAO and boy do the boys and girls deserve it. They've worked so hard all year long, but in the weeks leading up to EQAO, they worked especially hard! 

June 02, 2014

Love is in the details

I had this *brilliant* idea on Sunday night. I thought that perhaps in order to prepare my students for Grade Four, I'd stop cutting their apples. This way, I figured, they will go into Grade Four prepared to eat their apples the good ol' fashioned way and perhaps some of the transition from Primary to Junior would be a little smoother and a little less of a "whoa!".  

For years now, if students wanted, I'd cut their apples for them at first recess. They seem easier to eat that way and a LOT less goes to waste. Uncut, I found that kids would take a few bites and then toss them because they were too large to eat. If parents cut them at home, the apples are often brown by first recess and well, off to the garbage they would go.  So cutting them seemed like a win-win.  

Then, last night, I caught a repeat episode of Oprah from 2006.  She kept repeating, "love is in the details" throughout the program.  And I thought about those apples.  

I'm by nature, both a details person and a bit (okay, a lot) of a worrier. Was telling the kids I wasn't going to cut their apples anymore really a "thing" to fret? Would the kids care either way?  Was it even a big deal whether I cut them or not? "Who cares Patti!" I said to myself! Just cut the apples...or don't.  

Love is in the details.  

So I told the kids I wouldn't cut their apples after today. They seemed okay. No one really said much. I think someone might have sighed, but the window was open, so it could have been the breeze too. Then we carried on with our day.

Love is in the details.  

But on the drive home I realized this: part of what makes me feel like a good teacher is cutting their apples. It makes me feel connected to my students. It makes me feel like I'm taking care of them. I feel like when I cut their apples, trim off any brown spots and put them in these little plastic bowls we have, they know I love them.  It's this little thing we do that makes us feel like a little family.

Love is in the details. 

Decision made: I'm sticking to cutting the apples. They'll have all summer to figure out how they want to eat their apples in Grade Four. 

Love is in the details.  


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