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)?

Sunday, February 07, 2016

#1 Substitute

A couple weeks ago one of my students gave me a medal.  When another student asked why I had it I insisted I was the number 1 substitute.  This student insisted that I wasn’t because I didn’t do magic tricks… but I don’t see Mr. Magician with a #1 medal in his hands (for the record I left the medal behind… just in case the following day the student was full of regrets about giving it to me and wanted it back).  Until I hear of any other substitute teachers being handed #1 medals I'm going to assume I still hold the top place.  Huzzah!

Friday, February 05, 2016

What I've Been Up To...

My apologies for my month long absence.. I've been busy working every single day (after the first week back) last month.  But that's not all...

I've been working on creating some teaching resources of my own.  A long, long time ago I thought to myself "Christine, what is it you wish you could have improved on in your last year of teaching?"  I knew the answer right away... I wish my Social Studies program would have been better.

I'm not sure how it is the states but here in Canada education is provincial... which means that things that grade 4 students learn in Manitoba may not be what they learn in Alberta.  For most subjects this doesn't matter much when you are searching for resources because the topics in math and science are still very simple... is anyone really going to notice if you are giving your grade 4 students grade 3 resources that someone in Ontario developed?  Probably not.  I just feel like Social Studies is different.  First, much of the stuff people in the USA put out isn't what we teach here in Canada and second... I'm just not that into it.

And so here is what I've been doing... I've been creating an Interactive Social Studies Journal for grade 5 (Manitoba Curriculum)... and it's slowly coming together (not that I've even gotten through the first unit or anything though).  When I do have it completed I'll be sure to let you know though as I think I'll be looking for someone that currently teaches grade 5 to test it out in their classroom next year to give some feedback and what needs to be changed or added.  IF I happen to go about creating a Teachers Pay Teachers store for it I'll be giving the first few copies away for free in exchange for the feedback.  So stay tuned if that at all interests you!

I've also been writing guest posts!  Well... guest post... I've only written one.  But one is better than none!  If you want to check it out it is on Squarehead Teachers.

If you are ever looking for someone to do a guest post on your blog I may be interested and you should probably contact me (or, if you want to ever do a guest post on my blog I could also be interested).  Let's collaborate on something!

You can always leave a comment or send me an email at
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