Sunday, September 29, 2013

This Week At School

-  My grade 8's got on their blogs and some of them (dare I say most of them?) are loving the concept!... although so far all most of them have done is left a comment.
-  My grade 4's made math games.  Hopefully by next weekend these will turn into weekend take home games to practice their multiplication
-  I had my first substitute in the classroom (just for Friday afternoon).  He said the kids were good!  Phew!
-  My grade 4's didn't end up finishing their optical illusion art projects... guess we carry it over to another week.
-  Went to my first cross country meet on Friday.  The good news?  One of the grade 5 girls I coached came in first!!  Another one came in 5th.  One of my grade 8 students also came in first (but I didn't coach him).  It was a little chilly but not too terrible... until it started raining and there was no shelter.  We all got a little (a lot) wet but I think for the most part we had a good time.

Since their art project didn't get finished I don't have many pictures to share.  In fact I only have one

Have I told you that I teach my afternoon classes in a portable classroom that we call "the hut"?  Well, that's my hut.  It goes a decent ways back and is a nice size.  It isn't located too far from the school (when I took this picture I was almost at the schools door) but I can tell that it might not seem so great come winter or a down pour.  Also, on most days, I'm the only one out here.  There is one other portable classroom beside mine but it is used only one day of the week as a daycare (and I've actually only seen someone go into it once).  If there ever was a problem (like a lock down) I would feel kind of a alone out there.

This weekend I'll be working on:
-  A handout for my grade 8 students on how to make a blog post
-  Planning math (lots and lots of math)
-  Making up questions for the grade 4's math journals (these will go home on weekends with their games)
- Marking some grade 8 work
-  Getting together some lessons for my grade 4's on legends (we are using them to help us learn about adaptations in animals)
-  Figuring out what I want to be for Halloween (at school)!  I work at a fairly religious public school.  I'll have a few of my students not even show up on Halloween because of the concept but those that will are allowed to dress up (nothing scary).  I'm assuming there will be a lot of super heros and animals maybe?... hmm.. maybe I should challenge my class to come as an animal so we can use it as a learning opportunity in science.  Anywho, I REALLY want to be a peacock but I don't know about finding that costume.  If you have any suggestions about peacock costumes let me know ASAP!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Take the Kids Outside

Everyone loves extra recess time but in a middle school they don't even get recess which is why going outside during the class time is awesome no matter what.

On this particular day I was teaching health and no one wants to sit inside learning (or teaching) sex ed or anything (although sometimes I think it might be kind of funny to teach it just because kids can be so awkward).

Anywho, I obviously opted to take the kids outside instead.

Some of them played football, some baseball, some brought a book. Who really cares. I basically set them free and started working on my tan.

Just kidding.

When a student who is all by himself challenges you to a game of horse you do not turn it down. It doesn't matter that today you are wearing an adorable dress and flip flops. You always accept an invitation to school someone half your age at a game you may not even win.

The game obviously took all class because we both sucked pretty bad at it.

And we obviously added a bunch of extra letters

"Oh you've already spelled horse? How about we play horsies instead?"

I'll admit it was touch and go for basically the entire game. That is until I found my sweet spot from which I dominated the last 5 minutes and came out a triumphant winner.

PS. I am now retired from the game of Horse so don't even ask me to play.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Talk of the Hallways

Ah yes.
This will normally happen once you hit middle school/junior high.
One student pokes his or her head into the classroom sees you at the desk, beside the desk, under the desk, on the desk (ok, hopefully you aren't under or on the desk) instead of their teacher.  They ask if you are their substitute teacher (I'm assuming at this point you say that you are or you know you could come up with some hilarious made up story as to whom you are) and they run out of the room to spread the word to all their friends, friends friends, and even their biggest enemy.

Suddenly you became Ms (or Mr) popular.  
You are the talk of the hallways.
You are all that.
And a bag of potato chips.


Wondering where I found the cartoon?  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

This Week at School...

-  Continued with cross country (only one more practice to go!)
-  I signed my teaching contract for the year!
-  We are learning about bears for our Habitats and Communities unit in science
-  We did the Terry Fox run... Terry Fox is a Canadian Hero
-  Discovered that my grade 8's have a free computer class... so I'm making them each a blog to keep up with.
-  Slugging it out with basic multiplication facts in math
-  My grade 5's learned (and memorized) the days of the week in French in order!

And... I managed to take a few photos...
My Grade 8's Blogs... Only the class will be able to view them so I won't bother posting a link.  But I created the blogs here.  So far it seems like it will be really great.  Stay tuned for updates on how we are doing with it and tutorials.

I only see my grade 4's in the morning and for the most part only teach them Math and Science.  There is one ELA class that I have with them on my own (without my teaching partner) so every day 4 we have a new Star of the Cycle.  My amazing, talented, and awesome boyfriend made the template for me!
  I might be willing to share...

Remember that amazing, talented, and awesome boyfriend of mine?  He also made us a job poster.  The kids picked these jobs at the beginning of the year and we will switch jobs every Monday (those who did not have a job this week will all get one next week)

This was our art lesson from last week.  You can find the tutorial here (I pretty well just followed the on screen instructions - we have a projector in the class so I was able to pull up the website and show it to the class)

It's hard to tell just how large this mug is but it's pretty large.  That boyfriend of mine gave it to me along with a bunch of treats to stash away in my desk when I first got hired... anywho, the mug finally made its way to school and my classroom on Friday.

When I went to sign my contracts I was given a present from the school division in the form of a book!... I'll stick it in my pile of books to read.
Stay Tuned for.. 
- a tutorial on an optical illusion lesson I did with my 4th graders in art. They enjoyed the lesson so much that some went home to look up more optical illusions and many are making second and third art projects on the illusion we did. Hopefully we will finish the project on Friday.
- A tutorial for how to use Kidblog and what we are doing with it
- A substitute teaching book!  What it's called, who it's by, and where to find it will all be coming shortly!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Just The Size of Montreal

I was subbing in kindergarten and had been there one day a week for about the past month prior to this particular day. Anywho, on this particular day the kids came in saying "trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat. Not too big, not too small, just the size of Montreal." You can imagine that it got really annoying really fast (luckily they pretty well forgot about it once O' Canada was finished playing).

But it got me thinking. Do kids in other countries say this? For those of you who don't know, Montreal is a city here in Canada. So maybe in the states they would say "just the size of Saint Paul (Minnesota) or Sioux Falls (South Dakota) or Lowell (Massachusetts), Centennial (Colorado) It's not a new thing to say... I know I definitely said it and heard it a lot growing up.

The weird thing about this day? It happened in June... nowhere near Halloween.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Come Prepared

This isn't a post about what I think you should bring substitute teaching (such as mad libs, stickers, a picture book, or a ball.
No, no, no
This is a post about knowing what you are getting yourself into.

I'll admit it.
I turn down jobs.
I've heard horror stories from certain schools of how the kids treat their substitutes and to be honest it terrifies me to go to those schools.
If I suspect that the school/class/grade will be difficult to teach I simply just do not accept the job.
Subbing can be a hard gig when the kids are having a good day... so I figure why set myself up for disaster.

Having said this there are also times when I full on know the class will be difficult (because I've been there before or because I am in the same class for multiple days).  Honestly, sometimes, in these cases, I just go in expecting my day to be terrible.  Then if it is the slightest bit good I come out not so sad/tired/frustrated.

There have also been times that I've gone in not knowing what to expect (mostly because they are high school) and been terrified of the unknown.  Likely, the only reason I've accepted this jobs is because I got requested for them (I do love being requested for jobs).  Thankfully, these days also turn out not nearly as horrible as I've imagined they would.
You can read about a couple of these days here and here.

Luckily, my financial situation has always been okay and if I absolutely did not want to work a day it was never going to put me in the red.  I know this is not the case for everyone and many substitute teachers have to take whatever jobs come their way.  If this is you then there are things you can bring to make your life (day) perhaps a little bit easier.  Remember at the top when I told you this was not a post about mad libs, stickers, picture books, or a ball?  Check out those links... hopefully you find some information and ideas that will help you when you are having a not so great day.

And finally, I found the cartoon at the top here

Sunday, September 15, 2013

This Week At School

Where has the week gone?!?

-  I booked my first substitute (for the end of the month)... actually the principal booked the sub for me.
-  I helped out with cross country club
-  I THINK I taught my students how to count to 10 in French (we will continue to practice this at calendar time)
-  I took my grade 4's outside one morning to search for habitats
-  I signed up for my first conference as a full time teacher (the best part is... it' within walking distance from my house... no 40 minute car ride for this girl that one day!)
-  I did not take any photos (I barely have time to eat people, I PROMISE I'll take pictures for next week!)

I have 2 classrooms and to be honest, they are maybe still a bit of an embarrasssment.  I need to figure out a bulletin board for my habitats and communities science unit.  The teacher left stuff for one behind... I just don't know how to make it.  I think I want my students involved in it somehow.  I do have student work up in both rooms now which is a major plus.

I've come up with of somewhat of a plan so that I can still have a life outside of school.  My plan is to only do marking outside of school on Tuesday's, Thursday's, and weekends.  This way I know I won't be as busy on Monday's and Wednesday's and maybe I'll be able to get together with people again.    On Tuesday's, Wednesday's, and Friday's I plan to be leaving the school by 4:30.  I have a prep last period every day which means I'll have an hour and a half at the end of the day to get any prepping, marking, or decorating done.  Decorating I'll save for Friday's... I just feel like it will maybe be a good way to end the week.  And finally, over the weekends I plan to organize my next weeks worth of lessons.  Write it all down into my daybook so that I know what I need to photocopy and am not rushing around the morning of (hopefully eventually I'll also be able to get my photocopying for the week done ahead of time too).

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

French Music

In one of the school divisions that I regularly sub for I once somehow labelled myself as the go to girl for a French Music sub. I'm not quite sure how I did it. I guess I accepted one too many subbing jobs for that area. But yes, I Christine, became a hot commodity when it came to not only a music sub but a French one at that.

Now there is something you should know about this. At this point in my subbing career I had yet to take any French classes (other than from when I was in grade 9 which was my last year of French). I've also never been particularly great at music (I was in band until grade 12 - but let's face it, I knew enough to get great grades and was in it for the trips to Valley Fair and Canada's Wonderland).

So, what does the substitute that has little knowledge of French and music do when she goes subbing in that exact class?

We play games.

There is this one janitor game that the kids love. basically everyone stands still and the janitor tries to catch the 'statues' moving.

Bingo with prizes is always a hit.

Then someone always suggest I just play the piano and they will move to the music.

Errm... I cannot play the piano beyond "Hot Cross Buns" and that chopsticks song... and by song I mean I just know the part where you play with your knuckles.

Luckily, the kids always like it when I pick a well behaved boy or girl from the crowd (at this point they are probably more like a mob shouting "we want you to play the piano, play it now or we will light pitch forks on fire, do it, Do It, DO IT!!" it's a scary situation). Anyways, I pick a boy or girl from the crowd hand them a tambourine and tell them to go to town.

The angry mob dies down and we have a pretty successful French music class where not a lick of French was spoken (unless it's by the students OR the students as me if I even know French which is when I pull our my favourite saying "un petite peu" translation: a little bit - learn that phrase if you are going to be doing French.

Sidenote: Never, and I repeat NEVER, resort to pulling out the recorders unless you have a good pair of ear plugs.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Teaching Certifcate

I'm sure this doesn't happen too often...

But can you believe it has happened to me?!?
The student in question wasn't quite so demanding... in fact he was just trying to figure out my first name.  What he did know was that I was required to carry my certificate (which is actually more like a card - think birth certificate) and that if asked to show it I was required to show it (although I'm pretty sure this doesn't apply to having show it to my students).  

Anywho, I showed it to the student.
Told him to see with his eyes and not with his hands
And covered up my name with my finger.

Also, I found the cartoon here

Sunday, September 08, 2013

This Week at School

- Things have been A LOT hectic (please keep in mind that I only got the job last Thursday and visited the school for the first time the following Friday)
- I'm learning my students names (I'm having a really hard time with this... I see 4 different classes throughout the cycle though.  I'm not at all sure how gym and music teachers manage!  If you have suggestions I would love to hear them)
- I put up some posters!.. honestly I was just tired of looking at boring classroom walls with nothing on them.
- I also stuck up some student work!
- I volunteered my services to help with a running club.  Looks like I'll be getting my first sub in the classroom before the end of the month.
- Ok, this doesn't happen at school but it happens on the drive home... I started listening to The Outsiders on my drive home... it will be my students first novel study (hopefully in about a month) so I decided I would use my 40 minute drive home wisely.  I started it today and got through the first chapter.

Things have almost been too crazy to take pictures.  But I quickly snapped some after school today (next week I'll get a picture of my actual "hut"/Grade 8 classroom)
On the 2nd day of school I got my first present from a student.  German chocolate (and mints)!

I have limited wall space in my Grade 8 classroom but managed to get myself a bookshelf (not all the books fit on it... I figured I would switch them out in a couple months)

I made 3 hand in bins for the class' that meet in the hut.  This way I just have to grab the bin and bring it home.  The really low table is leaving my room and we are getting computers over there instead of the shelf so I'll have to find somewhere else to put the hand in bins.

Friday after school I started looking through the collection of posters and just putting stuff up.  And by stuff I mean one poster... It's a start!

I put one classes All About Me posters in here.  I thought they were a little personal and therefore will not be putting a photo of them on my blog.

When I walked into my grade 4 classroom after school I somehow almost missed this.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Swings and Tears

I was at an elementary school and had the unfortunate task of recess duty (I must admit, it was a beautiful spring day outside on this particular day so it wasn't all that unfortunate). Anywho, the teacher that I was in for had informed me that her spot for duty is usually around the swings. Great I thought, I won't have to worry or watch kids running and tripping and scrapping their knees on the structure, swings I can do, swings are easy.

So we are having a great time swinging away. Then one little girl whom I'm pretty sure I hadn't taught all day (this was an unexpected phys-ed day) took a shinning to me and held my hand while I watched a bunch of well behaved kids swing away. Then a swing opens up and the little girl takes off for it. Telling me that I must push her.

Now, before I continue with this story I told her I was going to give her an under duck. I asked her if this was ok. Pretty sure I didn't get a response so I went for it. I mean, who doesn't love an under duck?!?

Sidenote: For those of you who don't know what an under duck is it is when you pull the swing way way back above your head and then as you push off the child you run underneath it sending the swing soaring through the air... or decently high. Much higher than a regular push would ever get you.

So little girl gets an under duck and about one millisecond into the swing of her lifetime she is balling her eyes out.


I stop the swing.

She jumps off.

Whatever we had I ruined by under ducking her.

Lesson learned.... no more under ducks.

In the meantime... I was nannying over the summer and we would frequent the parks. The kids I was usually with were 3 and 5 and naturally loved the swings and loved being pushed higher.

Having learned my lesson of the under duck catastrophe I did not under duck them. I just kept pushing them (clearly I am unaware of my own strength or how quickly I can get the kids soaring). Yes, it happened again, I made a kid cry on the swings.

Ever since that day the kids I nannied for would tell me "more, more, more, stop" so that I wouldn't over push them.

Swings, they are a complicated science.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

School has Started!

Labour Day long weekend is officially behind us and children everywhere are heading back to school.
This means you can start looking forward to some T.W.A.S posts on Sunday's again (probably not this week though)
And we can all get back to inspiring young minds again!

and to kick it all off... a video.

This guy had a lot of intelligent things to say.
and I would have to agree with him...
"Packets" are no fun (I just call them worksheets though).
I don't even like handing them out as a substitute teacher (ok, maybe some days when I am just not feeling like doing much teaching they are alright.  But most of the time I would much rather be teaching the kids in a really exciting way).
Having said that... I can definitely understand why teachers leave them for substitutes to hand out.  It is not always a guarantee that a substitute is going to know how to teach the lesson.  If everything the students need to know is in a worksheet then the teacher doesn't have to worry about whether the substitute is able to teach the lesson or not.

This guy was clearly passionate about his education and I think that is super cool and great.  I'm glad he said something.... I wander if the teacher re thought her teaching methods after this.  
I hope that if I'm giving out too many worksheets a student would have the courage to approach me about it and we could discuss what could work better... but I would rather him (or her) approach me one on one.. I might get a little defensive and taken aback if the student did it in this manner.

Whether you are a teacher or a substitute teacher you are still a TEACHER so let's teach!
Let's inspire some young minds this year!
Be exciting
Show that you love what you do

Let's "touch some freaking hearts"!

Monday, September 02, 2013

Change is in the Air

You may have noticed one teeny tiny change to the blog.
This teeny tiny change to the blog means big changes in my life!
Can you spot this teeny tiny change?

Alright, I'm just going to tell you.  On Thursday I landed myself a little full time, full year job!  It's very exciting and super overwhelming!

So big changes are coming my way this school year.
Which means some changes for my blog as well.

Since I landed this job last minute (tomorrow is meet the teacher and school starts on Wednesday!) you can assume that I am just super busy and swamped to the max right about now.  Which means that until I feel like I am at least keeping my head above water the blog is staying as a substitute teaching blog.

Oh, and because I am sure you are dying to know....

I'll be teaching Grade 4 in the morning (mostly math and science).  Then in the afternoons I'll be teaching grade 8 ELA and grade 5 French.

Perhaps once I have some work up on the walls I'll post a picture or 2.  Don't expect any classrooms themes (unless the theme is tidy).

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Telephone Pictionary

Games. Kids love them, adults love them, and sometimes they require little more than some paper and pens... this is one of those games. 

I'm willing to bet most of us have heard (and likely played) the game Pictionary. It is pretty simple. You pick a word or phrase to draw, you draw it, and your team (hopefully) guesses what you are drawing. Telephone is similar to this game but (in this substitutes opinion) way more entertaining. 

First I would like to say that Pictionary is a great game to play with students. Write down a bunch of words or phrases on pieces of paper and let the kids use a class (because they were really good and deserve a free period) to play it. But that might get old fast. Why not spice it up a little by including everyone's favourite childhood game... Telephone! 

This game is best played with a small class. As in a REALLY small class. 

Was it -50 outside and the school buses weren't running so you have a class of only the brave souls who walked (or got a ride with their parents)? Perfect. 

Is half the school out with the flu? Perfect. 

Is it senior skip day and you only have the 5 students who no one bothered to tell? Really perfect. 

Whatever the case may be you have the smallest class known to man and since you aren't teaching anything and have already watched 2 movies you need something to fill the after lunch lull. 

How it works: 

1. Cut a bunch of pieces of paper in half. 

2. Every student will need a certain amount of pieces of paper. There is a really simple formula to figure this out. How many students are participating? Cut that number in half and that is how many papers everyone needs. So if 10 of you are participating then everyone will need 5 pieces of paper. 

3. Everyone starts by drawing a picture on one side of a piece of paper. The picture can be anything but since you are playing this at a school you should make sure they keep it PG. I would say set time limits otherwise you might have an artist in the crowd who holds up the process. 

4. Once everyone has drawn a picture everyone passes their entire stack of papers (including the one they drew on) one person to the left. 

5. Once the papers have been passed the new person will look at what you drew and write out what it was on the back of the piece of paper with the picture. They can use as much description as they want. 

*sidenote: This could also be a great lesson on using descriptive words* 

6. Once they are done writing they pass everything one more person to the left. 

7. Now this person is only allowed to look at what the person before them wrote. They are not allowed to look at the picture on the other side. Based on what they read they are to now take a new piece of paper and draw what they have read. 

8. Everyone passes it the left again once they are done drawing. 

9. And once again, after only looking at what the person before them drew on the back of that piece of paper they write what the picture is. 

10. You keep passing the papers and drawing or writing depending on the round until you end up with your original stack of papers in your hand. 

11. When you get your original papers back everyone takes time to share the progression of the drawings and the writings. Usually laughs are had and someone has to take an emergency trip to the bathroom because they almost pee their pants. 

Now I know you are dying to see an example of this... here is a set of the drawings and writings from the last time I played the game. 


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