Wednesday, July 11, 2018

5 Things I Wouldn't Do Again in My Classroom

It's summer time!  Huzzah!  Time to rest, relax and get away for a bit and... remind ourselves of some of the things we maybe could have improved on from the previous year(s).  Which is exactly what I'm doing this week!  I figured I would get this one out of the way where I discuss how imperfect I am so that in later weeks when I discuss what I would continue to do in my classroom that is what you'll focus on and we'll all remember that despite our shortfalls we were all doing many great things in our classrooms too!

1) Flying by the seat of my pants in Social Studies

Have you ever notice that I so rarely post about social studies? Just because I don't care for social studies doesn't mean my students don't. Now that I have many ideas of things that work well in grade 4-6 classrooms I feel like it would require less planning overall... which means I would have (should?) have time to devote to planning out my social studies units. Even if it means finding something on Teachers Pay Teachers it would be better than not having super concrete plans for an entire subject!  In the future I plan to plan for social studies!

2) Poetry Units

I did this with my grade 8's and they HATED it. I figured it was just because it was poetry but I did poetry with my grade 5/6 class the following year and I don't recall hearing many complaints. There are definitely ways to integrate poetry into your lessons that you don't need to have an entire unit on it.  What I would do is incorporate my poetry unit into art and share poems that relate to what we are doing in that class and have them write poems that have to do with their art.  I've talked about this before when I mention the art portfolios I made for my students when I taught grade 5/6 and here is an example of some snowflake art and poetry I did with students while subbing.

3) Ruleopoly

It served its purpose that one year but I think I'm ready to move onto something else (something hopefully better) - Classroom Economy

4) Textbooks

This one is hard for me to write but, if I had other resources I think I would take advantage of things other than textbooks (for the most part). This isn't to say I would never ever have my students crack open a textbook but I think there are so many other great resources out there (I mean, just look at Teachers Pay Teacher's and you'll see what I mean). I believe when I was teaching grades 5/6 we had Math Power and I don't think we used much of the actual textbooks (however, when I taught grade 4 I know for a fact we used that math textbook A LOT!). What we did use however was use the homework book. This additional resource I found super useful because at the top of each lesson it went over what you needed to know quickly and then gave a bunch of questions to answer. Less wordy than the textbook and simpler to look at.

5)  Empty "Threats"

I don't know what to call it because it isn't really a "threat" really... but if I tell a students that I'm going to have a conversation with their mother or father I need to start following through on that.  I never noticed it more than these last few months in grade 7.  Let me tell you, teaching middle school is rough!  A big difference from what I taught elementary school and rarely had to call home.  

Now it's your turn to do some reflecting on some things that maybe you could have improved on this past school year.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

This Week OFF From School

Summer vacation is officially here and here is a glimpse of how I spent my first week officially on break!

July 1st was Canada Day... the park that is closest to us that normally does fireworks is no longer doing them due to some fancy schmancy gardens being  made.  So instead we watched some okay fireworks from the comfort of our home.  We also had a couple of friends over for dinner and played games.

We have a restaurant here that revolves... like it actually spins (very slowly) around so that eventually you've seen out all the exterior windows.  It's also about 30 floors up so the view is pretty amazing.  My husband and I went there for lunch this week and I must say... the views and the food were great.

My birthday was this week. 

The "cake" my husband made for me
I had a free manicure to take advantage of so I went for that (and upgraded to gel so that it would last longer).

First Tuesday of every month you save 10% of your total cost of groceries at a bunch of grocery stores here so it's usually the day we stock up for the month... so I went grocery shopping.

I picked 8 Liters of strawberries at a nearby strawberry patch.

I spread the ones I'm going to freeze out so that they don't all clump together... this was probably about 1/3 of them

I've been using a running app to get me running for a longer period of time.  As of yesterday I'm officially at 25 minutes of running.

I made a bunch of cookies for a family gathering we went to at the park.

We also used up some of those strawberries I picked and made some Chocolate Banana Strawberry Ice Cream.

What I didn't get done was to try to organize all my school stuff into a filing cabinet my husband lugged upstairs months ago... for some reason it wasn't meant for hanging folders and I'm still trying to figure out what purpose this filing cabinet serves if it's not for hanging folders!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

This Week At School

... was the last week of school!

There wasn't a whole lot to do this last week of school.  I would have had my students present their debate topics in the process of an actual debate but they were doing very little in all their other classes it just wasn't working out for them to get much accomplished in ELA.  We did do a couple of them informally though.

I went for many walks to the local 711 with my students.  When one girl walked out with an extra large slurpee announcing that her mom doesn't even let her get a medium I told her that if her mom happened to find out about the size of slurpee she decided to purchase that she should just tell her mom "but mom, you don't let me get mediums"

I even found time to squeeze in a half day personal day in this last week.

I helped teachers stuff report card envelopes.

I helped a new teacher start the process of setting up her classroom.

And on Friday I got appreciated at a staff lunch because I won't be there next year.

For those of you wondering... as it stands currently I don't have anywhere to be next year.  Hopefully a lovely grade 4-6 position opens up in a lovely school that I manage to snag soon... hopefully it's also permanent because then the classroom is actually mine.  Boy would it feel great to have my very own classroom where all my teaching stuff can just stay for forever instead of always having to come home with me at the end of every school year.

But anywho, I hope all the teachers reading this have a lovely and well deserved break... and remember... I'm available to sub for you!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

How I Get Teaching Jobs

I'm not sure how it is where you reside but where I do it's not too easy to land yourself a teaching job.  I blame the fact that we have 3 universities here with education programs which means we get way too many graduates looking for jobs than there are jobs available.

Anyways, I have now held terms in 3 different school divisions and 1 private school.  In total I've had 6 terms... and nothing permanent.  So how did I get those 6 terms?

2 of them I interviewed for and was the best candidate for the job in the principals mind... those would be my position as a grade 4 teacher and my short term as a phys-ed teacher.

1 of the jobs I got because I was finishing up a term in the school and was available to start a new term.  The principal knew I had applied for the position and gave it to me.. this was the year I taught grades 5/6.

The other 3 terms that I got simply by being in the right place at the right time.

The first of these was a term I did teaching kindergarten.  The teacher was sick and just kept booking me for another full week every Friday... eventually it went so long that the division had to offer me a term contract.

The second time was last year when I taught basic French.  I had been subbing in the school frequently and one day the vice principal just asked me if I had any experience teaching French.  Luckily for me I had taken a teaching French program at a local university a couple of summers (and had previously taught grade 5 French) and so I had enough experience for the job.

Finally, this term I got by answering my phone and accepting a subbing job that was supposed to last just 9 days.  It was pure luck that the subfinder system had called me as I had never been at this particular school before and that no one else had accepted the job prior to me.

I have no idea what the likelihood of getting a teaching job in other provinces/states/countries are but where I live it's fairly difficult.  There are probably a lot of us that are fairly "seasoned" subs... my advice to you... do your very best as a substitute because there are people watching and you never know when your next term will come from.
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