Monthly Archives: June 2013

What a Fun Day at Fundy – Time to Recharge Those Batteries!

Teachers, the really good ones, are such passionate and hard-working professionals. They go above and beyond in so many ways for their students. They try their best to differentiate lessons, to try to get the most from each student. They put in extra hours on the weekends and the evenings, without a second thought, to find materials, activities and resources that will make their students more engaged in their learning. Even when they are not in the classroom or “on the clock” (as if there was such a thing) students are on their minds, as they try to think about ways to help students live up to their full potential. To put it simply, teachers go flat out for 10 months of the year, each and every day.

It is a blessing and a privilege of our profession to have the summer time off and I do not take it for granted for one moment. The summer time needs to be a time to recharge our batteries after a year of learning, teaching and growing with our students.

This is my last week at school, the students being done on Tuesday and the teachers on Friday. Our grade 7 graduation will be tomorrow evening and so I’ll be working hard tomorrow to get everything set for the ceremony (our school is a K-7). I was lucky though, to start recharging my batteries a little early this summer by heading with Hubby (sans kiddos) for a weekend get-a-way. Even though I was a little under the weather with a summer head cold and a touch of motion sickness, we had a lovely two days together. Looking at the pictures, it was just a reminder that we need to remember to take more time for ourselves, our relationships and suck every single second out of the summer we can. It goes by so fast and it’s the fall again before we know it. Of course, I also do “work” in the summer by way of planning for the next school year. This summer for instance, I’ll be looking over some new curriculum as I take on a course I’ve never taught before, in the fall.

Anyhow, my stress-free weekend just got me thinking about how important it is for us to take some well deserved ME time – especially in the summer. I have more energy right now than I’ve had in a month!

I hope that you all had an amazing school year and have some fun plans to regain some energy that may have been lost during the last 10 months!

 

Some pics of my “pre-summer weekend get-away” to the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick.

Bay of Fundy recharging your batteries

These waterfalls are the reason I must go back this summer. We don’t have anything like this on PEI – again amazing!

Bay of Fundy recharging your batteries

Hubby and a (sick) me at Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick.

Bay of Fundy recharging your batteries

Walking on the ocean floor – simply amazing!

Bay of Fundy recharging your batteries

Check out that hair! Can you say wind-blown? A good shot of Hopewell Rocks behind me, though.

Bay of Fundy recharging your batteries

Celebrating 9 years of marriage (we’ve been together for 14 years though) hiking at Fundy National Park.

Bay of Fundy recharging your batteries

A little rain toward the evening time – but that just brought on a beautiful rainbow.

So fill me in! What are your summer plans?

bullying video

Accessible Mathematics – I Got The Power!

 

accessible math

I had mentioned this book Accessible Mathematics: Ten Instructional Shifts That Raise Student Achievement
in a previous post and I had also mentioned that I would be following up with my insights as I read the book, throughout the summer. (Thanks for the inspiration Andrea @ For The Love of Teaching Math.)

I just read the introduction, which was quickly curtailed with, “Mommy…Mommy…Mommy…you play Legos with me?” How can I say, “No” to that?

So, I’m only three pages in, but I’m loving the common sense feel so far. This is what I have surmised. It really is the instruction of each teacher in the classroom, that will determine much of the success of the students in the room. If we engage them, or bore them; teach at them or to them; consider their learning needs and our delivery of the material. It’s our job and it truly is all up to us! No pressure…

When you stop and think about it, a teacher really could mess up a class of students, without too much trouble! I know, it’s a scary thought – but stay with me. Just imagine for a moment, that you are not the forward-thinking, best practice seeking professional that you are. What if you made your class copy out each problem, word for word, from the book before answering it? Think about all of the time wasted with this “instructional choice”.  How much more success would your students potentially have if more time was spent on instruction, rather than copying?  It’s a simple example, but I think that you catch my drift! So, I’ve come up with an “instructional mantra” if you will, to remind teachers of their part in determining the success of their students,  “I Got The Power!”

Okay, I can’t just drop a line like that without a musical interlude – so here you go… Let’s meet back here in 5!

Seriously though, we do have the power! I know, that so much of our students’ success lies with them – their efforts, their attitudes and their aptitudes. However, you can’t downplay, the fact that we set the stage for learning and it is up to us how each and every minute in our classrooms is spent. Personally, I do think that I make the most of my instructional time – to the best of my ability. I am human, of course, but I always try my best. That being said, I also know what I need to work on. I need to focus more on problem solving strategies and giving time for students to actually struggle through problems. I find it frustrating, because they get frustrated so easily and shut down at the drop of a hat. I need to figure out a way to instill some perseverance in to the youth of today! I also know, that I need more time built in to my lessons for review.

So, what do you think?

Are you using the most of your time, each and every day, to the best of your ability? Do you feel as though you are using adequate time for instruction? How much weight do you believe should be put on to teachers’ instruction, in determining the success of their students? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

bullying video

 

 

Freebies, Great Books, New Blogs – Oh My!

I am very proud to be a part of Reading With Mrs. D’s “Booking Across Canada” event! Bloggers from almost all provinces and territories have chosen a book that represents some aspect of where they live and have provided a freebie along with their blog post.

Thanks so much to Mrs. D. for putting this whole blog hop together. It was a fantastic idea and I hope that everyone gathers up LOTS of great titles and freebies to keep in their back pocket for the next school year!

When I was trying to decide what book to choose for this event, there was one very obvious choice, making my decision quite easy. If you’ve ever heard of Prince Edward Island, chances are you may also have heard of a feisty red-headed girl named Anne.
Anne of Green Gables was written by Island author, Lucy Maud Montgomery in 1908. The story is that of Anne Shirley, a spirited and talkative young girl, with an amazing imagination and way with words.

Just in case you’re interested here are two links for you. The first is a link to Amazon to purchase the set of Anne books: The Complete Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set (Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne’s House of Dreams, … Rainbow Valley, Rilla of Ingleside) This second link will give you 3 of the Anne books, including Anne of Green Gables, as a free download for your Kobo.

anne of green gables freebie

(Picture from www.cbc.ca/books)

 

Anne, a young orphan,  has never felt truly loved by anyone – not even herself. That is, until she goes to live with the Cuthberts, a brother and sister who needed help on their farm at Green Gables on beautiful Prince Edward Island. They had intended to adopt a boy from the orphanage, but were sent Anne instead. Matthew, the brother of the pair, is very kind hearted and convinces his sister Marilla, that they should keep Anne.

Various antics keep the reader engaged, as Anne finds herself constantly getting into lots of sticky situations – none of them actually her fault, of course. Through the story, Anne learns about friendship, love, hard work and accepting herself for who she is. Anne has lots of struggles and successes along her path, as she grows and matures. Of course the Cuthberts come to love the fiery redhead, and call her their own.   I won’t give away any more of the details, or how the novel ends, but I will tell you that you will enjoy the twists and turns of the plot and may need a tissue by the end of this classic Island story.

There are many teaching points and themes that Anne of Green Gables could address in the classroom – voice, sentence fluency, word choice, setting description, new vocabulary, figurative language etc. I have decided to focus on voice.

The way that Anne speaks is filled with passion, theatrics and spirit. This 11year old is not afraid to speak her mind. She uses her imagination to make herself feel better and to bring excitement to her life. Almost any passage in which Anne speaks, could be selected and used as a mentor text, to highlight her imaginative and energetic voice.

The freebie that I have attached would be great to use with this Island classic. Of course, I’m practical and know that not everyone will want or be able to use this exact novel. Therefore, although this freebie was inspired by Anne and her imagination, it can be used with other books from your classroom library.

Anne of Green Gables Freebie

Of course, like many great classics, Anne of Green Gables has also been made into a movie. Truth be told, it’s one of my favorites! Here’s a short trailer of the film.

Make sure to visit as many of the blogs in this event as you can! There are lots of amazing resources out there to be found!

booking across canada

bullying video