Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Pledge to be Good

A few weeks ago I was in a classroom and over the recess 2 of the boys in my classroom had an altercation and got suspended... I told my husband about it because then I had 2 less kids in the room and sometimes your day just goes better with 2 less kids in the room!

The next day I was in a different school in a different division and the boys started the day off by writing this on the board

I wasn't sure what to expect.  
Was it going to be a terrible day because they knew they might not listen well?
Was it going to be a slightly better day because at last 3 of the 13 boys had signed?

Well, as it turns out I didn't have that difficult of a time with this class because this was the day nearly every boy in the class got in trouble at recess and had to spend part of the classes they had with me apologizing to all of the classes that were below them.

I'm not sure what happened... I was just happy to lose half of my class to it!

Then the next day...
I did not have any students in my class get in trouble.

And here we all thought I was on some kind of kids getting trouble with school administration streak.

Friday, December 16, 2016

This Week At School

Here are 5 things that happened this week at school:

I taught kindergarten and they were practicing for their Christmas concert.  We Will Jingle was the best song they sang.

Probably because they were wearing sunglasses and looked kinda cute and also kinda cool.
Oh, and they knew all the words.

A pink Christmas tree


I taught dance class!
And yes we used the barres (sp?)


The day I taught dance class we also had an evacuation of the school.
It was not a drill.
It was below -30
We went to the church next door so we wouldn't freeze.
Also, you know how they tell you to leave everything behind in the event of a fire?  I definitely took everything with me (and took the time to put my boots on because we weren't allowed shoes in the dance studio)


Finally, I attended one Christmas concert in the afternoon. 
 The highlight was this song:

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Name Art

I found these pictures in a classroom a while ago (my guess it was likely one of their first art projects for the year) and thought they were nice.  I looked up how to make them and it seems super easy.  AND I've always found the art projects on this blog to go over really well.  AND, if you don't want to do the name the post is about abstract art and they look great too!

Look through the comments and read the post for more great ideas

Wednesday, December 07, 2016


Sometimes even the substitute gets a snow day
3/5 of the divisions I work for have cancelled classes today
5/5 divisions I work for have no buses running today.

the view out my door

I for one am glad I have the day off as I have a long list of things I want to get accomplished today.

At the top of the list is to attempt to revive this blog because it is no longer the beginning of the school year!...we'll see how long I'm able to keep this going.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

First Day of School

Today was my first day of school (kids have only been in school 4 days as of yesterday so I'm saying this is really great for me!)

Here's what I wore

I added some black flip flops to complete the look (because my nicer black sandals are still caked with dirt from when we did our engagement photos)

Hope all my teacher friends have had a successful first week back at it!

Friday, September 09, 2016

Five for Friday

I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching once again to bring you another Five for Friday post.

About a month ago I shared with you what I had been up to this summer.. well here is some more of what I've been up to this summer..

Going to the lake.

John's parents own a cabin so that's usually the lake we go to.  Every September long my family has a family gathering at a different lake though... so we headed out that way last weekend.


I didn't end up catching a single fish this year.

Marriage Counseling.

We've been meeting with our pastor every couple of weeks and going through this book together.  One more meeting left and then it's practically wedding time!

For anyone who is debating on whether to do marriage counseling I would highly recommend it.  At the very least find a book for you to work through together. I found the book has a lot of questions that I wouldn't have even thought to talk about (until maybe it became an issue in the marriage)

Lots and lots of wedding planning.

According to our gift registry we only have 35 days left!

Horse Racing.

My sister got married yesterday in Hawaii (so only parents went) but for her bachelorette party we all got dolled up and stuck a big hat on our heads to go place some bets on some horses.  

My horse betting look

School started back up this week (which is apparently later than most) and my first day back in a classroom is on Monday (it will actually be multiple classrooms to cover meetings the teachers are attending).  It's at a school I frequented and I'm thankful I managed to get a couple of days within the first week back!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Teacher Raps

I found a news article about this (under top news stories) teachers creative way to welcome his students to 4th grade.

I'm sure his students are just in awe of him.

Good luck Mr. Reed in your first year of teaching!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Five for Friday - More Wedding Stuff!

I'm linking up with Doodlebugs teaching for her weekly link up party this Friday!

A few weeks ago I told you about some stuff that I had been working on for our upcoming nuptials... well we are now down to just 2 months so things are pretty well planned...

The colours!

I can't believe I forgot to mention these in the last post!  The colours are Purple and Orange.

This is not our actual guestbook but it's how we got the idea for ours.


I haven't seen the silk mock up of the flowers but I'm sure it will look gorgeous.  I wasn't at all sure of what I wanted when I showed up to the florist... all that I knew was that our colours were purple and orange and my favourite flower was a calla lily.  You'll have to stay tuned for another couple of months to catch a glimpse of the actual flowers.

The rentals

So far all we've had to rent is the napkins.  I've got some purple ones ready and waiting!

The favours

Yes, we are giving out favours and in my opinion they are pretty great.  I REALLY hope people take them!

My goal was to have most of our wedding stuff done over the summer (it helps that I have a pool and friends that want to use it... they just have to commit to helping me with some wedding stuff afterwards!).  I have about 150 circles to cut our of cardboard (for our favours) that I'm aiming to get done before September starts... I'm sure there are still plenty of nice pool days left though!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Five for Friday - Engagement Photos!

Once again I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching for another Five for Friday post

So a while ago our photographer took us to get our pictures taken so that we could use one of them for our invites... it was a hard choice because she gave us so many beautiful pictures... here are 5 that we wanted to choose but in the end didn't.

We took all our photos at a local park (it's actually where to got engaged) on 2 different days (day number one was sort of rainy but day number 2 was definitely rainy!)

This one was John's favourite for our invites.

I don't know what it is about this one... I just love the pop of blue from the umbrella amongst all the green


This one was taken on the first less rainy and I think it looks beautiful (this one was my first pick for our invites)

This one wasn't really an option we considered for the invites but it's a great shot of the ring!

Which is your favourite?

To see the picture we actually used for invites click here

Friday, July 29, 2016

Five for Friday

This week I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching to bring you another Five for Friday post

Summer is half over for me and so I decided that today I would talk about 5 things I've done this summer so far.


zip lining

On Father's Day (which I guess wasn't technically summer yet... my sisters and I took our parents zip lining... and a fine time was had by all.

a bunch of strawberries ready for the freezer!

I went to pick strawberries with John's sister.  So far, I've made some dairy free ice cream (that's delicious), jam, and a bunch of smoothies (the rest of my berries are now frozen).


I had a birthday and celebrated other people's birthdays.... but there are no pictures from those events.

Canada Day fireworks

I went to see the fireworks on Canada Day


I attended a friends wedding (with a bunch of other friends)

What have you been up to this summer?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Five for Friday - Wedding Stuff!

Where have I been?

I've been busy planning a wedding folks!  

But today I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her 5 for Friday Posts

We are down to 3 months before John and I tie the knot so here are 5 things that we've already planned...


I'm actually going for my first fitting in a couple of weeks!
But I'm not posting a pretty picture of my dress (or what I liked or what I didn't like... it's going to be a surprise for nearly everyone!)


Our venue is beautiful with lots of outdoor options to have our wedding at.  Unfortunately, the weather might be chilly in October so we may end up having it inside anyways... but I like that there is options.  The garden location is the location John and I have agreed is our favourite

The date.

It's October 14 
(from start to finish it will have been 5 months of wedding planning!)


My sister is making it and I'm confident it'll look great... neither of these is exactly what we want but it's close!


This is John's domain.  We were cutting pieces of wood at the lake a couple of weeks ago for the table numbers... we need some larger pieces of wood for the bases of the centerpieces still and are waiting on some charms for them too (these are not our actual centerpieces... just where we got some inspiration from)

psst... I wrote out our engagement story here and click here to see the ring or click here to see a more professional picture of the ring.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Winged Distractions

Birds used to (and likely still do) fly into the big living room window at my parents place often. They just thought inside looked super inviting I guess. Never have I ever been in a classroom when a bird has wanted to get in there though. What this says about my classrooms I'm not sure... I guess they weren't very bird inviting?

That is until the other day.... I'm going to leave out the grade level and we can all play a fun little game where we try to guess what grade I was teaching.

So we are all quietly doing our work when all of a sudden we hear a bang at the window. A couple of heads turn around and I ask "did a bird just fly into the window". That's when nearly every student in the room instantly got up and dashed to the window. The window in this particular room wasn't even very big.. so kids were sitting on the counter, standing behind the counter and then standing on chairs just to catch a glimpse of the outside world and the bird that may still be there.

Turns out it was a bird that flew into the window... or at least they found one on the ground (I'm assuming the two instances are related). Of course, when you see a bird on the ground your first instinct is to go out and help it out. Numerous students then asked me if they could go outside. I told them they couldn't because I didn't want them picking up the bird. They also asked if they could bring the bird inside... I definitely told them no to this because I didn't want to be the one responsible for a bird flying around the school. Eventually though a couple of very concerned girls didn't care and rushed out there... the rest of the class looked on from inside.

About a minute later one of the students from inside told me that one of the girls was now holding the bird... great I think to myself... so I go outside and see her stroking the tiny bird's head. Eventually the vice principal happened to walk by and I told him what happened and he convinced the girls to put the bird back on the ground (apparently it fell right over as soon as they put it down) and we all got back to the classroom.

This was when everyone had to share their bird stories.

"Once a bird flew into our window"

"Once a bird flew into our house!"

"Once I had a pet bird"

It went on and on... in typical grade 1 fashion. Only this wasn't grade 1... it was grade 8.

I guess you are never too old to share related stories when something exciting happens.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


It's that time of year..

When I start recieving lots of flowers every time I go subbing!
... well... 
when I go subbing in an elementary school

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Tornado Drill

This week, while I was substitute teaching, we had a tornado drill.

First, let me start off by saying that it is pretty rare that we would get a tornado here.  So rare that when I was a student not even once did we practice a drill in case one did come.  But now we practice them.

A number of years ago one of the schools I was in had a tornado drill and we all went to a windowless hallway and sat facing the lockers (I believe) but the school I was in this week had a basement that we could go into.

sidenote:  This was my very first time ever being in a schools basement

Anyways, they let us know via the intercom that we are going to be practicing a tornado drill and that it is just a drill.  They tell us which classrooms will be going downstairs first and everyone else can wait for further instruction.

So eventually what the administration assumes to be everyone is down in the basement and they start telling us why it is so important (apparently in the next couple of days we are supposed to be having some crazy weather around these parts) and right in the middle of their speech... another TWO classes come down the stairs.  That's right... everyone was safe except those 2 classes.  Later on I heard a rumor that there was a third class that never even bothered to go downstairs.


I guess they still have time to work out some of the kinks.

Hope we are all having a safe and tornado free weekend!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Portraits (round 2)

Last week I showed you a drawing one of my students had done for me (of me) and I thought it was a pretty good representation of what I look like.  Then this happened...

I feel like it's actually a doubly bad photo of me.  I look strange in the actual colour photograph of myself and I look strange in the drawing.  In the defence of the girl that drew it... the scarf and badge combo was likely a hard one to draw.  She did well on my hair though... I actually think she did a better job on my hair than I did that morning.

Ah well, you can't win them all... a lesson I learned many years ago when I received this drawing of myself with a giant tenhead... yes my forehead is so big in that drawing that I don't think it could be called a forehead.

Sunday, June 05, 2016


This was new.

When I was teaching grade 8 I went through a month of pranks with them (as in them pranking me on Friday's by pushing tables up to the door of the room so that I couldn't get in... except I could because there was a 2nd door, they also strung tape across from my desk to a counter at ankle level so that when I walked by... and I did... I would get tape on my pants. They thought it was hilarious). But I digress.

My grade 11 Social Studies class almost got me.

It was a quiet class with about half of them missing (likely due to the fact that they were writing a test). Anyways, at the end of the period one group of boys decided it would be funny to take the cap off their water bottle (their water bottle still containing water) and turn it upside down (so that when I grabbed it the water would spill everywhere).

Unfortunately for them they never even got to witness me discovering their little prank because I never did. What they weren't counting on was another very helpful student that noticed the prank and cleaned it all up for me.

Better luck next time!

Wednesday, June 01, 2016


When I go subbing one of my students favourite activities is to draw pictures of their new favourite substitute *ahemMEahem*.  Sometimes they turn out great.. and well sometimes you begin to wonder if that is actually what you look like.  I've been holding onto one of each of these for a while now and I went back and forth whether I wanted the more flattering one up first or not and I've decided I do.  So come back next week to see another portrait of yours truly done by a student!

You can't tell in the picture of me but that cardigan has elbow patches and she nailed it!
She even had me giving the peace sign... one of us was Asian.

To see other examples of pictures students have drawn of me click here (he even included the car I would drive and it's pretty cool).

Don't forget to come back next week to see the picture(s) that make me question what I look like

Saturday, May 28, 2016


This week I was in a kindergarten classroom and we had a lock down to practice.  For those of that aren't familiar with this one would call a lock down at a school if an intruder entered the school and you needed to not run into them... or even if no one knew who it was and wanted to keep everyone safe.  I've never actually been to a school where we have actually had a lock down (and I'm quite thankful for that).

During a lock down the typical procedure is to lock the classroom door, turn out the lights, and close the blinds.  All the students sit against the wall that the door is on (typically).

So anyways, I knew about the lock down ahead of time and was instructed that I could tell the class about it because they were in kindergarten.  So we went over what we would do and that it was very important to sit quietly because if we were hiding and the person in the hallway could hear us there would be no point in hiding at all.  I told them the principal might come and check to make sure the door was locked and it would likely only last a few minutes.  They got a little worried about it but I just told them that we practice fire drills and none of us have been at a school where a fire has happened and so we have to practice this too... just to be safe.

Anyways, when all was said and done they did an alright job.  Some started to make noises and some started to hold back laughter (unsuccessfully) but over all it was okay.  Then one little boy comes up to me and says "Ms. Penner, do we practice lock downs in case a raccoon gets into the school?"  I thought about it for half a minute and decided that we might have a lock down if a raccoon was on the loose inside the school... although we likely wouldn't need to hide from it... just stay in the classroom and not let it in!  He then asked if we would do one if a bug got in... we decided probably not... because bugs get in all the time and don't pose as much as a threat.

The things kindergarten's come up with!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Message From the Principal

About a month ago the sub clerk called me with a job.  It was for grade 6 and I happily accepted the job.  Then just as we are saying goodbye she goes "oh wait!  The principal wants the substitutes to know that if any of them have hockey equipment they should bring it for the students versus teachers hockey game"

Well, I own figure skates (I also own a hockey stick so I feel like I was partway there) but I highly doubted the teachers were looking for a figure skater (that doesn't actually figure skate) for their team so my response was "so... no".

When I got to school I found out that it was the grade 12 students versus the teachers so I'm assuming I would have gotten hurt out there.

And, because you are dying to know... turns out the teachers didn't need my non figure skating skills to win the game.  They won 6-2.  But more importantly, a fine time was had by all.

Have you ever had any exciting or odd requests from your sub clerk (or a principal)?

Sunday, April 03, 2016

These Things Happen

I came across this BuzzFeed article about Embarrassing Things That Can Happen While Substitute Teaching

Based soley on that list... here are my list of offences...

1) I've been doing a lot more high school subbing over the past month and it is not uncommon to be mistaken for a student by other staff.  I do usually dress nicer so that this doesn't happen though.  Once, when I was just starting out as a substitute teacher I got mistaken for a student in middle school... that's just how young I look.

2)  I can't think of a specific time that a student mistook me for another student but I wouldn't doubt that it's happened before.

3)  I mispronounce names wrong.  It happens... I wouldn't say I horribly mispronounce names though.. there have been a handful of times when I've had to use the last name so they could figure out who I was talking about.

4)  I was confused about the sending a student to the office with the attendance.   This is common practice... is it not?

5)  I've likely let 5 kids go to the library at once.  BUT, if I have done this, it is because I know it will be okay... so it would have likely been at my old school where I know the students and the librarian.

6)  Once again I can't think of a specific time but I'm sure I've given the students the wrong assignment... or explained the assignment wrong.  Once it was an art project and I didn't really understand how to do it so I did it the way it made sense to me... turns out it was a little wrong.

7)  I've definitely tried to help a student before and really messed the whole thing up.

8)  Have I ever told you the time my students were writing love letters about me in the form of Awesome Stories?

9)  I'm sure I've made jokes that the kids don't get.  No big deal.

10)  I've come in late.  This is usually in the morning because I very rarely ever leave the school for lunch.  I've walked in with the kids waiting by the door, I've walked in with a resource teacher watching the class, I've walked in with a different substitute covering the class... I've come late (but not because I over slept... sometimes I just don't have enough time to get there on time!)

11)  Recently, I was so hungry after my 2nd period class that I just had to have some of the crackers that I knew I had in my bag.. there were somewhere between 5-10 minutes of break time in between classes so it wasn't like I would be munching on them while everyone else was working or even in the room.  The thing is... these high school kids are such eager beavers to learn that they don't take advantage of their break time and come right to class!  Whatever, I enjoyed the crackers anyways and I crunched them loud (I'm sure).

12)  I've never felt sick as a substitute teacher and had to leave to go to the bathroom but once when I was student teaching I felt super nauseous all of  a sudden and like I was going to faint.  I was standing at the front of the room reading my grade 3 class a book and I just couldn't get through it.  I passed the book off to the EA in the room and got out of there.

13)  BUT I never actually threw up in the school bathroom that time... I did however go home and rest.

14)  I leave things behind all the time in classrooms.  Picture books and water bottles are the big 2.  Luckily it isn't anything embarrassing.

And there you have it... my list of offences.  Do you have any?

Friday, April 01, 2016

April Fools

I saw this article a year ago and decided to save it for this year (hopefully the link still works!)

I personally enjoyed the slideshow at the end... Finland seems to have the best deal for students who don't want to be in the classroom.  Shorter school days, 75 minutes of recess, and don't go to school until age 7.  However, from this humble teachers perspective I'm not sure on the starting at age 7.  There is so much learning that can happen before then and lets be honest, not every parent is cut out to be a teacher.  Also, if lunch time is included in the 75 minutes of recess then wouldn't most schools actually get more recess time?  I guess they weren't getting into specifics (for the record I think we have a good amount of recess time here).

I had no idea that in some countries kids went to school 6 days a week!

Kids in Chile get a looong summer break.  I'm wondering if they are expected to work during that time... 12 weeks is a big gap in my opinion.

Want to know my opinion on the April Fools joke?

I actually don't hate the idea.  EXCEPT... I'm guessing there wouldn't be a Christmas break (well there would... it would just be tied in with the 2 weeks off between terms) or Spring Break.  So would that mean students only get 8 weeks off throughout the year total?  
I guess 8 weeks still seems like a very generous amount anyways.  

If this actually did happen in my province I'm not sure I would complain too much... it would be nice to have more breaks that aren't quite so long (I would probably work through my breaks more so than what I already do though).

Here is another article I found to support year-round school.
It's an interesting read.

Did I get pranked today?
Stay tuned and I'll try to post later today with any prankings that happened.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Lesson in Map Reading

I would never say I'm an elite map reader. If I had to read a map under some kind of tremendous pressure I would likely take us (assuming you my dear reader are coming with me) in the wrong direction. Sometimes I think South is North and North is South.... but I usually eventually figure it out... this may be because I usually have somewhat of an idea of landmarks because I'm fairly familiar with the city I live in.

But I digress...

This is a story about the first time I subbed in the big bad high school (which wasn't actually bad at all... but big it definitely was).

Anyways, when I got there they gave me a map of the school because I didn't know where anything was.. but a map should make things a little more clear (they said and I thought).

Well... the thing is it didn't. The secretary pointed out where we were (at the office) and where I was going for my first class (which I found no problem - perhaps because I didn't use the map). I even found where my other class was located on the map. It was all working out just lovely.

Until I needed to find the staff bathroom. I went the way I thought the map told me to... but I did not see a cafeteria or a staffroom along my journey... so I turned a corner and there on my left was a door that just happened to be labelled staff washroom. So I used it. Something about it just didn't seem right though but that didn't stop me... I used it and found my way back to class no problem (and because I was a little concerned about that not being a bathroom I should be using I managed to sneak in and out undetected... I think).

So I'm back safe and sound in an area of the school I'm familiar with... the classroom I've already spent a few hours in. Here I am consulting the map to see where I went wrong in my journey to the staffroom washroom and I couldn't figure it out but now I needed to head back downstairs to go to my last class of the day (just to leave a note on the door). So I walk downstairs and go past the office where I'm assuming turning left will not take me outside (even though I'm quite certain it will)... when it does. At this point I decide my time would be better spent consulting with someone at the office about where to find this other room where she pulls out a bigger (just as confusing) map of the school. Luckily, she uses some hand gestures and left and right directions and I find my way there no problem.

Before I left at the end of the day I consulted the map again... I needed to find my way back through the school to where I had left my car. The map still didn't make any sense so I just figured there was some kind of misprint and the map was backwards... looking at the map as if it were backwards made more sense to me... and I meandered my way through the school to the doors I had not entered through. Ah well... at least I was on the correct side of the school my car was parked (I can only imagine how long walking around the perimeter of the school would take).

Or, to make a long story short. Sometimes maps don't make sense and I survived a day at the big bad high school!

FYI: Since writing this post I've returned a couple times to the high school. The map suddenly made much more sense the second time. By my third visit I was fortunate enough to not need the map at all (of course, if one day I teach a course in a different area of the school I'll be needing that map again!)

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Substitute Student

"Ms. Penner is it possible to get a substitute student"

Said a student that didn't want to do their division work.

I told him it was highly unlikely... as that student would likely be going to school for himself or herself anyways and not able to sub for anyone else. He assured me he was going to try to find one for the next day anyways.... I suggested he not put all his efforts into the task.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

A Search Engine for Kids

A while ago I mentioned KidRex (a search engine for kids) and last week one of the EA's at a school I was at showed me Kiddle... another search engine for kids!... just in case you forget about the KidRex one.

Once again, it is pretty visual... a picture accompanies most (if not all) links that come up.

One thing that I didn't notice about the KidRex search engine (but was told this one had) was that Kiddle filters inappropriate language (I should note that I did try putting some inappropriate language into KidRex as well and it filters it too).  Then I tried something that a kid would try to look up but might not be considered an inappropriate word... so I searched "butt" nothing inappropriate came up on either search engine but KidRex wouldn't let it load at all... an "Oops! Try again" came up instead.  Kiddle loaded some things about Brent Butt and tv shows.  Later, I tried searching Brent Butt on KidRex and it still wouldn't let it load (because of the word "butt".

Kiddle also has an image search, news, and videos tabs... in fact it looks a lot like Google.

I don't have much a preferences either way with which one of these search engines I prefer BUT because Kiddle offers an image search I might be swayed that way... sometimes kids need to look up pictures to add to projects and this gives them a great (and safe way) to do it!

So, do you let your kids or students use Google to do searches?
Have you ever tried KidRex or Kiddle?
Do you think you will now that you know about them?

I personally think it will be hard to make the switch... and hard to get students to make the switch as well (they are so used to using Google!) but I would like to see it happen... even adding a bookmark to Kiddle could be a great start!

Friday, March 04, 2016

Five For Friday

I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching for another Five for Friday post

Here are 5 things that happened at school this week

I taught Grade 11 Math and knew what I was talking about!

Okay, so I only became confident in what I was talking about AFTER I found the teachers notes (which is likely when we all became a little more confident in what we were doing)... but it counts... right?

I taught Grade 10 Dance

That's right, dance.  A Mennonite teaching dance in a Mennonite community.
Confession:  We watched a movie and no dance was taught.

I've been making the rounds at a new (to me) school

Huzzah for a new school that regularly books me as their sub!
Huzzah again for it being a really quick commute!

I left a book behind

This has happened a lot in the past... sometimes it's a water bottle.  Luckily, this is only the 2nd book I've left behind (and one was at my old school so I eventually got it back).  This one I'm not so sure I'll be back to collect... and I'm not from the area (or town for that matter) that the school is located.  *sigh* "What's With This Room" may not be my go to read when I go subbing anymore.

School wide breakfast!

I got to bring a class I was subbing in for a school wide breakfast with the local hockey team.  Muffins and cheese strings were devoured and shirts were won.  A fine time was had by all (and I didn't have a class to teach for the first period!)

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

It All Adds Up To Zero

I was subbing in a grade 5/6 class and the teacher had the students playing a very simple dice game to get them to add negative and positive numbers.  I tried to search for it online (she was calling it "It All Adds Up To Zero") but I didn't find anything... if you do know of a link add the link in the comments below!

Anyways, here is what you'll need (for each pair of students)
- one deck of cards with the kings, queens, and jokers removed
- one pencil
- 2 pencil crayons that are different colours
- 2 dice
- a piece of paper to draw out the board (or you could make one and print it off for them)

The board game would be simple enough to make (they could even use graph paper) just print off a sheet with squares on it and have them block of a playing area and an area to keep track of their scores.

How to play:

When it is your turn you turn over 2 cards.  Red cards are positive numbers and black cards are negative.  Also, a jack is 0 and an ace is 1.

You look at the 2 cards and decide which number you would like to write down (using your pencil) on the board any where you like (for the first player it really doesn't matter where you write your number).  Just make sure you write down the negative sign if it's negative!

Second player turns over 2 cards and chooses one to write down... this one doesn't really matter where you write it either (you'll see why in a minute)

Now it is back to the first player and they turn over 2 cards and choose one to write down.  The point of the game is to get 3 or more numbers in a row that will add up to 0 (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally).  So say you had a -3 and -4 already beside each other written down on the board and you happened to turn over a +7 (or a red 7) if you write it down beside the other 2 numbers you could circle them (in the colour of pencil crayon that you want to be yours) because those numbers all add up to 0 and get 1 point.  

Now that those 3 numbers are circled you cannot use all 3 of them again to make a longer set of numbers that add up to 0 (say you got a jack which is 0... even if you placed it beside the already existing chain you couldn't count it as another one).  You could use one number from that chain again in another one though.

You don't have to only make sets of 3... but the minimum number of numbers you need are 3.

When the space is filled up with numbers you can count up your points and see who won!


(boy I hope this made sense... if it didn't let me know in the comment section and I'll do my very best to answer all of your questions).

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Secret Bathroom

I've been subbing at this one school a lot lately. It is one that I had never been to before (unless going there for meetings or for a track and field event counts). Anyways, during those things I had never used the bathrooms at this school. Here's the thing, I'm convinced there must be a secret staff bathroom in this school and I haven't been privy to this information yet.

Why do I think there is a secret staff bathroom?

The bathroom that they have is located in their staffroom. Perfectly normal, the abnormal thing about this bathroom is that there is only one for all the female staff and one for all the male staff... which in a small school that could be okay but this school isn't too small.

I know what you're thinking... okay then... so you've had to wait to use the bathroom because there is only one.

Not at all, never once have I ever had to wait to use that bathroom. Not only have I never had to wait but I've never had anyone waiting on me either. How does this happen... I'm not sure. In fact, there is only one reasonable explanation. Secret Staff Bathroom.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wear Pink to Stop Bullying

Today (February 24th 2016) was the day we were pink to stop bullying.  Luckily, I heard about it on the radio when my alarm went off this morning so I did a quick rethink as to what I could wear so that I could show my support to end bullying and this is what I came up with.

If you missed it it's never too late to teach your students about the effects of bullying.
Here is what I did last year (there is link to a free resource that went over really well in my classroom too - AND my administration liked it too!).  I used it in grades 5 and 6 but I think it could be used from grade 3-8.


Did you wear pink today?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

An Important Announcement

Last Friday right smack dab in the middle of our fabulous Valentine's Day party a student (whom had just returned from delivering some of her treats to other teachers) begs me to make an announcement.

"But we are in the middle of watching a movie.... can't it wait?" I responded.

It apparently was so important that it most certainly could not wait.

So this student makes her announcement without me even having to pause or turn down the volume of the movie "Ms. K is getting a baby!" She excitedly announces to the whole class.

There wasn't much of a response... as I said everyone was busy watching the movie and munching on snacks... all except one person somewhere near the back that had a very important question...

"Is the baby hers?" this student asks

Hmm... interesting question. I guess with all the medical advances these days the baby doesn't have to be hers... she could be a surrogate for someone else after all... but it seemed like a bit of a silly question (apparently I was the only one who thought this though... or no one else was paying attention to that question to question it further).

Friday, February 19, 2016

Five for Friday

I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching for a Five for Friday post all about 5 things from this week!

Dot Art

These reminded me of the Aboriginal Dot Art I did with my students last year


One school is big on the Tootles this month!  I one of the teachers why everyone as doing them and she told me it was for I Love to Read Month... by the end of the month they will compile a book of Tootles for each student (other students are writing them for classmates... in the end everyone will likely have about 10 of them).

Valentine's Day!

Ok this one is from last Friday but the class that I was subbing in made me a bag to put Valentine's in AND the class made me so many!  So touched!

A Poem

I thought this poem was pretty awesome

A Card

With the simplest of messages?
I was subbing in nursery/kindergarten and one of them gave me this 

Hope we all had a great week!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Drawing

This lovely piece of art showed up on my desk a while ago at the end of the day.

At first glance I thought one of the boys in class had drawn an (in my opinion) awful drawing of me!  Here I thought we had a fantastic day together full of laughter, learning, and fun and how am I repaid... with a not so nice drawing of myself.

But then I remembered those boys had been playing a drawing game where if they rolled a 1 they had to draw the body a certain way and if they rolled a 5 they had to draw another part a certain way.

"phewf" I thought to myself... this isn't a portrait of me... just 2 innocent and lovely kids sharing their artwork with their favourite substitute teacher!

Even these drawings students did of my years ago are more accurate than this one!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Five For Friday: Five Types of Portfolios

Five for Friday's are a once weekly link up party with Doodlebugs Teaching and I'm back at em!

I did a tiny bit of research for this one folks and today I'm talking about 5 types of portfolios you might find in a classroom (or you might want to include in your classroom).

Art Portfolio

Last year I had my students do all their artwork on paper of different sizes and varieties... why?  Because I noticed that from my previous year of teaching a lot of their art ends up in the recycling bin when I hand it back.  To avoid this after their art was taken off the walls I collected it all and put it in a folder in my filing cabinet.  At the end of the year I had them create a book cover for their art portfolio and I gave it to them as one of their end of the year gifts.  To make it more durable I had (most) of their artwork laminated (anything that was really large I didn't laminate and to include it in the book I just folded it in half but made sure to not let the binding catch both sides.. otherwise it wouldn't open!) and then I binded it all together for them.  Now they each have a collection of the artwork they did in grades 5 or 6!


This is an example of a brown paper bag book... the concept is the same for a portfolio... you'll just probably want to use larger paper bags. I saw this idea in a grade 4 class that I was subbing in the other week...

This one shows the pocket and that this student has started quite the collection in there!

Perhaps not the best photos to get an idea of what I'm talking about but you should definitely check out the links and make this project to suit your needs!

Why do I like these?  I just love the pockets that you can store things in!  One section could be for artwork, another for writing they are proud of, another maybe of photos, things they did well on, etc.

here are some instructions for how to make them:

Electronic Portfolios

You could get students to make a blog and every time they do something that you want them to include in their portfolio they could take a picture of it or scan it and do a short write up on it. This way parents can easily see what their children are up to.

Kidblog is a good, safe website for students to do this

Folder Portfolios

I feel like these would be a little too unorganized for me to want to use in my classroom. But I recall using them when I was in elementary school. We made our own out of huge pieces of cardstock like material. We folded them nearly in half and stapled the edges. Then we would randomly put stuff in there throughout the year. You could also use a regular folder and have students put stuff in there... I feel like in either one of these things will likely get crumpled, fall out, and go missing.... not my favourite portfolio option.

Binder Portfolios

Use a binder. Students can easily take them out and put them on their desk for any parent teacher student conferences that may come up. You can put in some folders into the binder rings to store papers that can't be hole punched (or use page protectors - it's what I use in my professional portfolio). I would definitely include some kind of goal sheets for each term... there could even be one for the teacher to fill out, one for the student to fill out, and one for the parent to fill out. At the next meeting you could go over and review all of the goals.

I'm sure I've left out many kinds of portfolios though... which ones do you find useful in your classroom?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

My Ideal Classroom

Often times when I walk into a classroom (or when I have a little down time during a prep or recess) I look around the room and imagine how I would organize it if it were my room.

Some things that I would definitely want to have would be:

1)  A classroom library... near a window
2)  A table for group work
3)  If possible (and if space allows) another table to put near the boards for me to keep my stuff for the lesson on (if space doesn't allow for this I would just try to organize the room in a way where the group table would be near the board)
4)  Tables or desks for students that can be arranged so that everyone has at least one other person sitting next to them (I like the U shape going around the perimeter and then some smaller groupings inside it)
5)  Lots of space for bulletin boards to display student work.  I would ideally want one for art, one for MOLA, one for stuff from either Science, S.S. or Art, and one for T.U.S.C., calendar, time table, Classroom Economy, etc.
6)  Next time I get a full year contract (or permanent) I want to bring a class pet in... I think I would make it one or two student jobs in our classroom economy to take care of it and I would want to display him (or her) somewhere nice... failing anywhere else I would likely choose my desk as it would hopefully be the least likely space for it to get bumped over (I would plan on bringing in a fish).

Other things I would want to include in my classroom but might not happen because of costs and/or space would be:

1)  Carpet in the library area (something bright - like turquoise)
2)  Lots of pillows in the library area so kids can lay out
3)  Failing the pillow option I would want 1 sofa and 2 other kids of chairs (maybe one could be a rocking chair)... suddenly the pillow idea seems much more economical.
4)  A couple side tables (also for the classroom library)... in case you can't tell I would hopefully be able to use a good amount of space for the library.
5)  In some classes I've been to they've had some built in desk/table areas... I would want to put a lamp on these.... this way occassionally you could dim the lights and read somewhat in the dark... maybe?

Well... the other week I was in the largest classroom I've ever been to!  All my dreams could easily come true in this space... I mean... just look at it!

Giant Classroom!
Seriously, all that was left on the other side of me were the coat racks but this place is massive!  On the other side of the shelves tat are just past the carpet area is where they would sit and have their lessons (it's hard to see because it's so far back there!)

What would you need to have in your classroom (and what are some of your wish items)?
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