Saturday, April 26, 2014

This Week At School

I had a really awesome Friday that is causing me to forget a lot of what happened at school this week... but Friday was amazing.  I'll tell you why at the end of all of this too.

-  In math we started time.  The kids are understanding it (every last one of them).. although we have really only just talked about changing dates into numbers.  But still... I love it when we all get it.  So I introduced calendar and time and the on Wednesday I had PD in the morning and planned this awesome tangram lesson for my students to do with the substitute to get them used to talking about fractions (because it will be coming up).  They apparently loved it and I'm kind of sad I wasn't there. So sad that I had us do more tangram work the following day and then for the last 30 minutes I had races with students to see who could figure out how to build different tangram shapes first.
-  I also planned an awesome Science lesson for that morning I was away.  The students had been working on making instruments that could change their pitch.  Some got it, many brought in maracas (and didn't get it).  But the truly awesome thing?  Their instruments!  We had some really amazing instruments (some of them brought them home so I never got to see them).
-  We are wrapping up our unit on Family in French
-  We are in the middle of our poetry unit in ELA (this coming week I'll have them actually start creating poems now that we have read and thought about a bunch of them).
-  Last week in Health we talked about coping strategies for when bad things happen to us.  This week we talked about coping strategies for when we are stressed out.  This coming week students will show me what they learned by making a short comic strip that shows a character getting stressed out but then shows a positive coping strategy to deal with that stress.

I'll leave you with some photos of some of the instruments my grade 4's created 
(I think some of them had A LOT of adult help with them)

OH, and that interview?
Well I didn't get THAT job.
But that's okay because after hearing what the job was exactly I didn't know if it was right for me.
Then on Friday I found out that I got a different job anyways (I won't give too many details just yet but I'm really happy about the term).
HUZZAH to getting to take a summer off!

Friday, April 25, 2014

What I Wore

This weeks weather has been all over the map.  It's been nice, it's been rainy (we even had indoor recess a couple of times), and yes, it has even been snowy.  Luckily it isn't May yet... otherwise we could all cry over the fact that it snowed yesterday!

Sidenote:  I won a bet with one of my students because it snowed.  Apparently we bet $2 and I have zero recollection of any of this but I do remember telling this class that Friday was not going to be nice and so we would have their outdoor celebration the following week sometime.  No, I won't collect that $2 from him.

I also had an interview this week so I had to show up to school fancy (even though I was only at school for a half day because I had PD in the morning).

Check back tomorrow to hear more about this interview I went on

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


It all started a few weeks ago when one of my grade 8 classes would try to prank me.  Their attempts were mostly putting a stack of chairs in front of one of the doors to my room (I have to doors to my room though).

I guess the other class found out and so now EVERY TIME they try to get to the room before me (I see them right after lunch so if I have a lunch meeting they will always beat me there).  

What have they done?

  1. They've put 2 stacks in front of the door along with the recycling bin (they've done this twice now)
  2. They've taped down everything on my desk (this I actually thought was pretty good)
  3. They've left sticky notes on my chair so that when I sit down it would stick to me... the sticky note always advertises "free hugs" and I always see it
  4. They put tape between my desk and a table so that when I walked by it I would get it on my pants (to make sure I would walk that way they also put a chair beside my desk so that I would choose to walk around the other way rather than move the chair - another good one).
  5. They stacked tables in front of BOTH doors... I was able to push them out of the way
  6. They put tape all over my white boards.

By number 5 I had had enough and I talked with them about it.  It's okay to do it every so often but when you do it EVERY SINGLE CLASS it becomes too much.  Plus, now they are wasting school supplies and that isn't cool with me.  Hopefully they got the message.

BUT myself and the other grade 8 teachers are on a mission to get those kids back.  We just need to come up with the perfect prank... that class told me that I should make them cookies as their reward for good behaviour and I told them if I made them cookies they were going to be vinegar cookies for everything they have done... they thought it was funny... but it has to be something else.  Something much, much better.  

So, did your teacher ever play a prank on you or your class?  What was it?
Are you the queen/king of playing pranks on students/children/others?  Fill me in on some of your better ones!

I leave you with this video on a prank that some university/college students played on their professor.  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

This Week at School

I hope everyone is enjoying their Easter weekend!

My body seems to know when there is a holiday more often than not and so I've been dealing with a cold.  Hopefully I'm better by Monday!

In my tired, sick state it's hard to remember exactly what we did this week at school but here's what I do know...

-  We FINISHED number sense!  Hallelujah!  (I still have their division tests sitting in my school bag to mark.
-  We started making instruments to wrap up our unit on sound.  One of the criteria (that we even put a star beside) was that the instrument either had to be able to change its pitch or play different notes.  So I have about half the class making maracas... I guess that half of the class is choosing to forfeit those marks.
-  Flamingos are up (see below).  I think I called those flamingos peacocks at least a dozen times... I should really have them make peacocks sometime.
-  Speaking of peacocks I had someone put peacock feathers in my school mailbox.  I've since figured out who it is... now to think up something to do with them (until I think of something to do with them I'll likely add them to my peacock wreath
-  We started poetry and I am [mostly] over the horror that was my first lesson (okay, be saying it was a horror makes it seem REALLY bad... it wasn't that awful).  I'm having the kids do some higher level thinking while filling in poetry journals, answering questions about poems, and writing reflective responses.
-  We are wrapping up our unit on Family in French by making books about our families AND we will be doing a short presentation on our families as well.  I also gave them their Etre and Avoir test.  I wasn't entirely sure if we had talked it to death yet or not... and I was definitely expecting about half the class to get it and half the class to not get it... judging by their tests that was about right.
-  Nicer weather has FINALLY arrived and I'm thinking we need some spring type art project for Monday (I'm thinking something to do with tulips in Holland) stay tuned to see if I come up with (find) anything.

Stay tuned for the lesson on flamingo drawing!

My grade 8's have handed in their comic books and some of them look AMAZING!

I made it into this students comic... but is that really what I look like?

Friday, April 18, 2014

What I Wore

I feel like I've been putting up a lot of photos of me wearing jeans.  
I promise I have other clothes that I wear to work!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Music in the Classroom

.. But not music class

Another teacher at my school sent out a link to Focus at Will

You have to create an account (they have a free trial which as far as I can tell lasts for ever just with limitations) to be able to access the music but apparently it is supposed to help you (or your students) sharpen your focus on whatever task you are doing and keep you on task longer.

I haven't used it much in my classroom (only when my grade 8's are requesting music and then groan when I turn this on because it isn't the radio).  So I can't say how well it works but the research seems to be legitimate.  I'm going to make more of an effort to use it in my classes over the next couple of weeks and report back with more thoughts.

With the free trial you get 60 minutes of listening time.  I think after those 60 minutes you just have to restart it and it will no longer be new music (so basically it will be a repeat) but classes generally aren't much longer than 60 minutes anyways AND they have about 10 options under the free trial so if you have the same students all morning (like I do with my grade 4's) you could just play a different theme.

Others should try it too and report back their thoughts.  You could also use it at home (the teacher who used it at my school used it while she was writing report cards and says it seemed to help her) but it is suggested that you don't use it as background music while you are eating dinner or chatting with friends for example because that is not what it is intended for.

What are your thoughts on Focus at Will?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Day in The Life of a Pickle

a long, long time ago I talked about how my grade 8 students challenged me to do the same amount of writing I was having them do and I accepted their challenge.

What was the challenge? Well they had to write a story from an inanimate objects point of view (they could choose from about 6 objects) but I let them choose just one object for me to write my story on... they decided it had to be a pickle.

Well, here is that pickles tale

*Sigh* Another day. Day after day I sit on the shelf sitting next to hundreds of others who look just like me. Some look a little different on the outside, but on the inside, we are mostly the same. I am crammed in this tight space with so many others. Every day I wonder “will today be the day… will I escape this prison and fulfill my purpose?”. The thing is, I’m not sure if I want to live out my purpose as it most certainly means death. 

Today has started out the same as any other. Lights are turned on and I grumble a good morning to the mustard on my left and the ketchup on my right. All of us on this shelf wish to serve the same purpose to be picked up and placed in a cart, basket, or bag and break free of this aisle, building, and store. By midday I have seen hundreds of men, women, and children pass by. Sometimes they slow down, look directly at me but pick my slightly cheaper neighbor to bring home. Once, I was even lucky enough to be picked up. Yes, it is true, someone picked my cool, clear jar off the shelf, examined my insides, glanced over my green and red label only to pick the container behind me! So Close! I was left questioning: what’s wrong with me? Why was I not good enough? I’ve been sitting at the front for weeks now! The lights outside started to fade and with a sigh of frustration I began to get ready for another night on this dusty shelf. But then, then something different happened. A man who couldn’t have been than 30 stopped right in front of me. He didn’t look at any of the others and I quickly joined the few other items in his basket: a loaf of bread, some meat, boxes of prepacked dinners, and some cans of Coke. This is it!

I sat next to my new friend on the ride home.  He had a fancy, shiny black automobile and the seat was comfortable compared to my cold, hard shelf.  We listened to a much louder and harder kind of music than I was used to in the store.  He takes me up to his warm and small one bedroom apartment and makes a sandwich out of the meat and bread.  I hear the snap and fizz of his drink being open and he carries us all ot the living room for a night of television.  Then just as I'm thinking "ah, this is the life" I see his big, greasy, unwashed hand unscrewing my lid.  With a twist and a pop he allows me to take a breath of fresh air... my first in weeks.  Then I panic.  But wait, this has all happened too fast, I'm not ready to fulfill my purpose, I need more time!  His fat fingers root around in the jar ad he pulls out a long green friend of mine.  Poor him I think... 3 crunches and he is gone.  The fingers are back and I can't escape this time.  As I'm being brought closer and closer to that big black hold I can't help but think that I could have been something more.  I could have gone in a potato salad, sliced up on a burger, or made into relish.  But no, I se his yellow stained teeth, feel the first tear in my skin, and a crunch and it is all over.  The pain only last a second.  I've fulfilled my purpose of a pickle... I've satisfied this mans hunger.

You can find the lesson this was used in here

Sunday, April 13, 2014

This Week At School

-  I took one last stab at division and taught my students long division.  It was a miracle... pretty well every last one of them understood!  You have no idea how excited this made me.  Not only do most of them get it but they WANT to do it.  They are going to write their division test on Wednesday and we will FINALLY be able to move beyond number sense!
-  Honestly, it wasn't a very good first week back from break.  Let's just say do not trust technology.  Especially on a day that you are being observes.  Your USB will stop working and so will the projector.
-  For some reason it is always in computer class when we talk about speaking German.  Naturally, this leads to us (me) talking about Mennonites... and I told my students how I made paska over the break and they had no idea what it was!  So I printed off a recipe for 2 of them and they convinced me to make it for them for this week.  It's currently rising.
-  We are almost done our unit on Sound in science and let me tell you... my students are excited to make their own instruments!  A lot of them are already starting at home.  I love that they are excited about what we are learning.
-  We started our poetry unit in ELA by talking about where you can find poetry (hint: you can find it in a lot more places than just poetry books).
-  On Thursday we talked about coping strategies in Health.  I was a little worried that someone might cry (we were talking about pets and people passing away) but we all held it together and had a group hug at the end *cry* (I didn't actually cry)
-  Prank wars have begun.  Stay tuned for a post on this.  I WILL get them back.

What we believe a respectful classroom is

We finished some flamingo art (stay tuned for the lesson)

it looks like we have a pond in the middle of our play ground!  Spring is FINALLY here!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

I Teach

... What's Your Superpower?

My cousin (who also happens to be a teacher) found this online.
It's only $40 (plus shipping I'm assuming) which is a good deal for a hoodie!

Anywho, you can get it here.  But only for 2 more days!

What I Wore

Spring weather officially started to arrive this week!
So I'll (hopefully) be tucking my warmer clothes further back in my closet and letting my spring/summer wardrobe take center stage!

But... I haven't quite started that yet

Confession:  I'm kind of over this dress but I don't know if I want to part with it yet (and so I continue to wear it.. occasionally).

I heard from some friends that Ardene was the place to go if you are looking for a wide flat shoes collection (and not spend much on them).  So I was at the mall today and wowzers do they have a lot to choose from! I'm excited to start replacing all my well worn (loved) flats!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

In Other News..

 I don't hashtag.  
I don't have instagram
I don't have twitter (I'm not even sure if you hashtag on there either)
I do have Facebook
But I don't hashtag on Facebook

Phew... it feels great to get those confessions off my chest.

So what do I think of the above link?

#1 is adorable
#5 is unfortunately true.  Well... I don't usually have stuff all over my face but when I'm doing work I don't want to be doing I put it off my stuffing my face with chocolate.  My best combo?  Pretzels, milk chocolate chips, marshmallows, and peanut butter chocolate chips.  Try it.
#8  I make sleep close to a top priority.  I have only taken one sick day so far this school year and it can't be because I eat the best* (see above).  But I'm rarely up past 11.  I don't care if I still have marking or don't have a plan for the next day. My sleep is important and I can throw something together while at school.  If you know what you did the previous day you should know where you are planning to go.  Get your sleep.  It's important!
#11 is true in my English class.  But we are getting A LOT better.  Thankfully.
#14 I let me students watch movies but it isn't because I don't feel like teaching (okay, sometimes I just need a break) but it definitely isn't because I'm hungover.  I hope that is a joke.
#16 I also hope is a joke
#19 I used Justin Bieber's arrest as a teachable moment in ELA.  I printed off an article on it and we practiced writing a response to it.  Does that make me at least somewhat cool?
#21 You need to read about my experience with recorders.  I could never teach music!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

French Stories

We spent a lot of time in February reading stories in French class.  I thought it was a pretty great way to introduce sentence order and I picked some REALLY easy and basic readers for the students.

At the end of the month they were required to create their own story (somehow creating their own story took us until the end of March though).  Together, as a class, we came up with what they had to include in their books based on what the books we read were like.  The thing that we noticed about the books I had them read was the last page was ALWAYS a little different from all the other pages (so for example in "Nos jeux preferes" every page was about something a person would like to play with but the last page was about how they do not like to play with fire).  I told them their books could be VERY basic... but the last page had to be different (many books were about colours or family).  
They also noticed that only the first word in the title was capitalized in French so that was also something they had to do.
Other than those things they had to include an author and illustrator, colour their book, do a neat job, have it spelt mostly correctly (they have French/English dictionaries), and have the sentence order mostly okay.

Here is one of my students final book

We are working on reading them to the class and then they go up on our board.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Last Week at School

Since it was spring break I decided to take a break from everything.... and by everything I just mean school and my blog (since I blog about school was it really just school I was taking a break from?).  But let me tell you what our last week of school before the break was like!

-  We pretty much finished up our division unit.  This week will be a review and then a test and then move beyond number sense!  Yay!  I'm excited.
-  It was starting to seem like the snow was never going to leave us so we started doing some summery art to brighten up our classroom at least (not that we have windows to the outside world in my classroom so we can pretend there isn't snow out there all we want).  The art involves flamingos on beaches.... I forgot to take pictures of our work in progress though.
-  We wrapped up our comic unit in ELA.  One person handed in their good copy of their comic so I hope everyone else devoted some time to it over the break.  We start poetry on Monday (I didn't completely take a break from school stuff over the break... I planned the next 2 months of ELA which makes me feel really great).
-  We started talking about family vocabulary in French and we started making family trees.
-  We also started sharing the stories we created in French class and let me tell you I'm pretty impressed (stay tuned for what we did).
-  In science we continued our investigations on sound.... they are starting to come up with ideas on what kind of instruments they would like to make at the end of the unit.
-  In health we have been talking about what a respectful classroom is (I think I've mentioned this).  We made a poster and everything... I'll try to remember to take a picture of it and share the lesson.
-  I did an impression of my grade 8's early in the week before spring break.  Telling them how they would whine to me how they didn't have enough time to finish their comic books because I didn't give them class time (even though I was... they were wasting it).  Apparently my impression was spot on and they told me I could be a grade 8 student.  My dreams are coming true!
-  My grade 8's asked me if I had stopped growing after grade 8.  I told them I wasn't sure but don't most humans continue to grow until about 20 something?  Then they told me why they were asking... "but we are just as tall as you".. apparently 5'4" is too short for my grade 8's.  I then ran out of the room crying, telling them that they were just a bunch of crazy giants who would never be able to fit in small spaces.  Okay, so I didn't say that (or run out of room) but it makes for a better story if I had!

One of the pages in a students French book.  I was confused by it... I think she was going for "I am me" but I wasn't sure so I looked it up and according to google it translates to "I have an ego"

At the beginning of our sound unit I had my students create posters.  Each poster was of a different busy place and they wrote out all the sounds a person would hear.  I suggested to this group to add a mouse. 

"We Love to Read"
I'm hoping when students are done their work they will go up and take one of the books off the wall and read it.

I take in their problem solving books at the end of each week and this is what I found on the back of one of them.

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