Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas-y Classrooms!

So I've decided to take the liberty of giving myself some time off from the blog for a little bit (if the kids get a 2 week vacation then shouldn't I as well?).  You can expect me to be back on January 8th though (along with the school buses and extra cars on the road because schools back in session - at least here it is).

In the meantime enjoy some pictures of what some of the classrooms I sub in were looking like during this festive season (is it odd that I have so few pictures... I really tried to snap a picture whenever I saw something Christmas-y... it just didn't happen very often folks!)

Hope we're all happily recovering from our Christmas Concerts (I even attended one as a substitute this year!) and enjoying our break!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

This Week at School

What I thought was going to be a nice slow week before Christmas where I might have lots of time off to get some baking, last minute shopping, and cleaning done turned out to be a much busier work week!.. it didn't help that I've been fighting a cold for the last week and a half now either. I'm sure now that I'm officially on break I'll get hit with the actual cold.

Anywho, my week...
Monday and Tuesday I was at the same school. Monday was easy because I was just there to support teachers and cover for meetings. Tuesday I was left without a plan because the teacher had been absent for a while. Luckily, the kids had gym first thing which gave me enough time to plan an art lesson I had already done when I taught 5/6 on the book "Snowmen at Night". The art part took up most of the day (other than a bit of silent reading after gym and some other stuff that was already scheduled in) so I actually had to plan very little. Anyone that finished their art wrote a story about what their snowmen did at night.
Wednesday I had booked a while ago... turned out that I was covering for a bunch of different teachers in the morning and nursery in the afternoon. The morning was busy because I had a bunch of different classes to visit PLUS recess duty. In the afternoon I played a lot of Lego and rewinded their Christmas songs tape a few times.

I came home from work on Wednesday telling John that I think I was done working for the year so Thursday Friday I stayed home. I had a special project I was working on anyways that needed to get done Friday morning.  However, I did attend a Christmas concert at one of the schools I often go to on Thursday evening.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

My Former Grade 1 Teacher

The other week I ran into my former grade 1 teacher while substitute teaching. She mentioned to me that she still had a number of the ornaments that myself and my sisters would have given to her as gifts at Christmas time. She specifically mentioned an angel ornament made out of pasta of some kind to which I responded "that sounds like something my mom would have made". This all got me thinking though... what are some gifts from my students that I've kept over the years...

Fake Flowers

I just really liked the look of these. I even kept the tag on this gift so I'll know who it was from and that she thought I was a great teacher.


I'm not at all sure of what this actually is but I've kept it. You can manipulate it to look different ways. I still remember who I got this from, the store she got it from, and the grade this student was in when she gave it to me.

Red Star

This is the first gift that I don't recall who I got it from... I do recall I got it from a student the year I taught grade 4 half time though. It comes out every Christmas.

I've also gotten and still have some candles that I've gotten from students, stuffies, soaps, nail polish, tea, and other odds and ends... some of them end up in a giveaway bag and some of them I put out for guests to enjoy (like tea... because I haven't come around to being able to enjoy it myself yet).

Tomorrow is the last day of classes before the 2 week break!
Enjoy your time off (teachers AND students)!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Think Outside the Box

The other week while subbing the teacher had left me this sheet for the students to do as they walked in.  She said they would know what to do with it.  

All they had to do was use their imaginations to come up with what this picture was the start as.  Most kids did something to do with a diamond but then this one kid shared his and said it was an alien with a Christmas door in the back... now that's thinking outside of the box!

It reminded me of when we were in middle school and would doodle in church.  One person would start a doodle and the next person would have to finish it into a picture... so if you don't want to photocopy a bunch of papers with a simple shape on it then just do a random simple doodle on the board and the students could copy it onto a paper and go from there!  

Saturday, December 16, 2017

This Week At School

Busy week this week out and about!

Monday I was a grade 2 teacher.  We wrote letters to Santa, read some Flat Stanley, and made community posters.  It was also wear a hat day and no one told me... I have reindeer antlers that would have been perfect!

Tuesday I was at the colony school teaching kindergarten-4th grade we did a lot of read alouds and after school they were very excited to set up their Christmas tree in their classroom. 

Wednesday I was back at the colony school but this time teaching 5-8th graders.  This means I get to play them on Sumdog for at least a little bit (and I don't always win).

Thursday I was at a school close to home.  We spent pretty much the entire morning in the gym practicing for their Christmas Concert.  A teacher asked me how the day was going and I said I had hardly seen my students in the classroom so I couldn't complain.  At the en of the day we had choice time and ended off the day with having them clean up to find a "mystery mess" (and let me just tell you... I've never had students clean the windows at clean up time before!... they did an amazing job!)

Friday I was back at the school I had started things off with at the beginning of the week (only this time it was a grade 4/5 classroom).   Only the morning this time which was fine by me because I had already worked all the other days this week (plus I had a return to make and some shopping to do in the afternoon when it's slightly less busy).  Today was pj day which if I'm being honest I did know about... I definitely COULD have worn some pj's but I didn't want to have to pack them in a bag of some kind and bring them there and change in and out of them multiple times... plus I wasn't just going straight home after work.  So what I'm trying to say is, the kids wore pj's this day... I did not.

One more week of school left before the much anticipated break!  So far, I've got one day booked... I'm thinking it likely won't be much more than that.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


The other week when I was subbing in an early years class I heard the students whispering about this new substitute teacher they were having.  

One had asked me my name when they were walking in and I guess he had shared it with some of the others and they were giggling and whispering about that - which I'm surprised about... I didn't think it was THAT funny of a last name.  I asked my husband if he had gotten teased about his last name growing up and he hadn't... I guess it just isn't as popular as my maiden name... well that and the first half of the name implies that I have no hair (which I clearly have!)

But other than the whisperings about my hilarious name was that "I hope she speaks English".  Living in a very multicultural city means that we have a lot of cultures in all areas of employment... including substitute teaching.  Apparently the substitute they had the previous day was a little difficult to understand because she had an accent.  Anyways, I guess they were happy when I FINALLY introduced myself (and there was no giggling about my name then) and they could see that I spoke without an accent.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Name Tags

I've done a number of name tag/art posts in the past here's one that I did with my grade 5/6 students and here's one I spied in a grade 6 classroom that I was subbing in.

Name art for a grade 2 classroom

I found these ones in a grade 2 classroom... simpler than ones I've done in the past. I'm assuming the teacher pre cut the paper into those little triangles... otherwise you would have some much bigger triangles and some itty bitty ones. They looked nice all up on the wall together.

Do you get your students to do any name art?  
Post links to what you've tried in the comments!

Saturday, December 09, 2017

This Week At School

Not much happened this week... I'm not even sure why the teacher that I was in for one of the days this week even really required a substitute. I didn't have a class of my own and was to just offer support to a few classes throughout the day. Needless to say, it was a pretty easy day.

But the most exciting thing to happen this week was that I got to go substitute teach at the school my husband went to growing up! I was told promises of carpeted floors, no real gymnasium, and just two classrooms and well the school didn't disappoint.  I had a grand total of 10 students in my class too!
In other news... I spotted this book in a classroom this week.
Home Alone - The book

Now we have the movie AND the book to enjoy!

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Our Community

I saw this bulletin board in a grade 2 classroom I was recently in.

Our Community bulletin board

There's a McDonald's, trees, a lake, people, houses, animals, a bowling alley, and oh wait... what's that.  A minion?.... with a dead dog beside it?  I only live a short distance from the school I saw this at... I'm not in the same community but am within a long walk to it... never have I ever seen a minion killing a dog around (thankfully) but I'm beginning to wonder what goes on in this community!  I later asked the student what that picture was all about it... she told me it wasn't a dead dog but a stuffed teddy bear (one of the minions always carries one but I don't recall the name of that minion).  I also asked her where in their community she saw all of this and she wasn't able to answer that question.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Guitar Class

There have been a number of times when I've been in a position to teach something that I don't have a hot clue about... a high school computer class, French music class, and even a violin class but it hasn't happened in a long, long time!  I guess being around for so long and having my name in at so many schools means I can be a bit more selective about what I'm teaching nowadays.

That is until you end up at a school with a grand total of 2.5 teachers (one only works in the afternoons).  When you're in a school with only 1 other full time teacher you pretty well just do it all... and this includes guitar class. 

Do I play guitar?
Absolutely not.
Did I learn the first couple of lines of "Petit Jean" on the guitar.
You better believe I did!

You see, I've often found that the best way to teach something you don't know is to have the class teach you instead.  In this guitar class I was lucky and only had 4 students which meant I could fiddle around on the guitar to my hearts content pretty well as we were just a small circle of guitar players.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

This Week At School

It was a less busy week this week however...
-  Over the course of the week I covered teaching every grade from grade 1-8 (one of them was at the colony school so that pretty well covered all the grades in one day but I did work other days as well!)
-  Every day I worked in a multi grade classroom this week
-  One day we played lots of math games (they actually begged me to play SNAKE... so we did) 
-  Books I read from include "Where the Red Fern Grows" and "A Perfect Day"

A Perfect Day

-  I left my name and number for one teacher this week (in the hopes that maybe she'll book me to return again sometime - although I find in this particular division teachers rarely put in requests so who knows).... all the other classrooms I had already been in before so one could say that it was a good week of work 😊

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tech Decks

In case you were wondering I was recently informed that there is a new toy that has only just recently come to Canada.... and it's called Tech Decks and no this is definitely not the same skateboard toy we all were familiar with from when I was in elementary (or maybe middle) school.

Or... Just kidding... it definitely is... it's a small skateboard that you can jump from wall to wall with using your fingers as a persons legs on the skateboard. You can also do super cool jumps on your desk with it and you can continue to do them over and over again far after your teacher has asked you to put it away and get ready for music (for like the 3rd time).

So, in case you were wondering... tech decks are still alive and well and considered "brand new to Canada" by a grade 2 student.

Monday, November 27, 2017

French Classroom No More

Can you believe this was the classroom I was teaching in last year?  I was teaching in my old classroom the other week and I got to get a look at the new room.  They actually took down a wall that was where my whiteboard would have been to make one giant classroom (most classrooms in this school are already this size... very lucky!).  So the way I took the picture I would have been standing in the room next to mine last year looking towards my French room (where the blue bulletin board is would have been where I had my desk).  Definitely looks much larger and spacious now!  But anything would look better than how my room was left at the end of the year 
Remember this...

Saturday, November 25, 2017

This Week at School

This week at school...

It was a busy week!

Monday I taught grade 2 where we learned what numbers added up to be 10, listened to Charlotte's Web, and wrote about our weekends in our journals (and yes, we did get side tracked with our sharing when I started it by mentioning the word "Christmas").

I noticed they haven't taken down their Halloween decorations yet... unless this spider is just always out and about. And here I am already decorated for Christmas!

One of my students also gave me a picture of a drawing he did during the day... he later asked for it back which is probably for the best since Pittsburgh is apparently the enemy.


Tuesday I taught in a grade 5/6 classroom. We watched a bunch of videos on why we shouldn't smoke (and voted on our favourites) you can actually watch (or show the videos to your class) here. Yesterday's class had halloween decorations still out and this class was free of all things Halloween. I actually quite liked the set up in this classroom... lots of windows and plants and I liked the counter they had by the windows with taller chairs so students could do work there.

They also wrote a bunch of "Things that are Awesome" on one of the windows. I didn't get a chance to ask them what that was all about but it seemed like an ongoing thing probably.

Wednesday was a half day outside of the big bad city. For the first couple of periods I had only 6 students! We played Go Fish (in French) and other French games online. After recess I had 16 students in my class for ELA and can i just say this teacher's library bins would look perfect in a future classroom of mine.

I also noticed they had a book tweets bulletin board in their classroom which I thought was kind of cool. Here's the general idea behind it

Thursday and Friday I was at the same school and the same classroom. It was one of the colony schools so you already know I had a delicious lunch provided for me. I had about 12 students in my class so it wasn't too rough of an end of my week.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Everyone and their mom knows about Tumble Books already (an online version of a book so that you don't have to actually read your students a book... you can just press play sit back and have a few minutes to yourself) but you need to pay for a subscription to use it (or, I think, you can also use your library card here to access it - but if you're like me it's a quick last minute decision to put on a Tumble Book and you don't have time to find your library card or remember the password that the division you work for has set up for it). 

So for those of us that need an online story now (and don't want to search Youtube for an appropriate one) there is Storyline.  No passwords or subscriptions or library cards required.  I've used it a couple of times in classrooms I've been in.  Also perfect if you have a child/student that requests stories about a million times in the span of an hour.  AND... if you watch closely you might even recognize the reader (the reader changes for the different stories).

Monday, November 20, 2017


I was subbing a grade 8 classroom a couple of weeks ago and learned about different levels of hierarchy in Mesopotamia.

Isn't it fantastic when you have students that put in their very best effort (well, that's me assuming these are their best effort... they look AMAZING)?

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Remembrance Day

I was in a classroom a year ago and they had done these beautiful art pieces for Remembrance Day.

So, I've written this a year ago so that it would be posted at a better time.

The poppies on the ground are made of tissue paper and I'm guessing they just had to make an appropriate scene to go with them.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Colony Schools

A couple of weeks ago was my very first time ever at a colony school and you know what... it wasn't bad at all.

A few things...

- My largest class included 15 students.
- Those 15 students were spanned across 4 grades.
- My smallest class included 2 students.
- When I went to the middle school side of the school it sounded like they must have been writing a test... you could have heard a pin drop. In fact they were quieter than classrooms I've been in where they were writing a test!
- When I went to the elementary side of the school it was a bit crazier. Bingo is Bingo no matter the school... the kids are apparently going to talk after each word and let you know if they have it or not regardless of the school you're at.
- I thought a colony would be pretty sheltered but in reality... they aren't so sheltered. The dab has definitely made it to the colony (there wasn't a fidget spinner in sight though).
- Those colony schools may be small but some of them are fancy. Nice cupboards and counter tops, laptops, ipads, and/or computers for pretty well every student (of course this might be due to the smaller class sizes)
- At one of the colony schools I was at they apparently have lunch provided for them by the colony once a week (and I heard rumours that the second colony school I was at has lunch provided every day... but I was only there a half day so I can't confirm this).
- Yes the girls all wore dresses and bonnets and the boys all had dark pants with suspenders and if anyone was wearing a hoodie it was a dark colour.

I mean... sure the drive out was a little confusing and I had no preps but all in all it was a positive experience... which is good because I'm heading back out there in about a week!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Owl Art

I saw this in a classroom in 2016 but by the time I saw it I thought it was a little out of season so I've kept this blog post save and sound until... well... now!

I couldn't find an exact description for how this was done online anywhere but here are my guesses:

Egg carton for the eyes and beak and my guess is this teacher was going to get the students to paint a piece of construction paper and cut it into pieces to be the feathers.

Monday, September 25, 2017

First Day of School 2017

Subbed my first day last week... FINALLY!... it's been a slow start for some reason.
Grade 4... and there were only 15 students in the class so needless to say it was a pretty good first day back!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Show and Tell

I was substitute teaching in a grade 3 classroom and the teacher in this room has about 5 children bring in stuff for show and tell each day (she had a schedule by her board as to who brought in on Monday, Tuesday, etc).  I was told I could go in any order with the students and if they didn't have anything to share they would pass.

So the first student shares what he or she brought in a couple of them pass and then I get to Tommy.

Tommy is excited to share whatever it is he brought and I mean SUPER excited.

He runs to his bag and pulls out what he brought and scampers back to the carpet where everyone is anxiously waiting for what he brought.

And what did he bring you ask?

A pill sorter.

Yup, Tommy was excited to share with the rest of the class that he had a new pill sorter.  It was colourful... I think each day was a different colour so it had that going for it.... but it was still a pill sorter.

Was he using it as a pill sorter?  I haven't a hot clue... for some reason it didn't come up what he was using it for.

Anywho, perhaps I shouldn't be too harsh on him for loving his pill sorter... I mean... when I was his age I was happy to get one of those little "tables" from a box of pizza to use in my Barbie house.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Math Resources

Get your FREE math resources here (that's right I said free)

A friend of mine posted a link to this on Facebook and I've probably had it bookmarked for well over a month and just now got around to looking at it.

Some of my favourites on this list are ones that get students talking, that don't necessarily have a "right" answer or just get students thinking in a different way!

I probably looked through about half of the sites but some of my favourites (using the numbers at the side) are numbers 3, 30, 40, and 41.  They could be used in a number of ways... to start a class, to end a class, to do for an entire class, to start the morning, afternoon, or after a break... your possibilities are endless!

Which resources are your favourite and how would you use them in your classroom?

Monday, September 04, 2017

What's Wrong With Your....

As the weather gets warmer you tend to have to wear less layers... BUT because of central air conditioning for me this usually means bring a sweater to throw on if needed but feel free to wear sandals.  So through June-September sandals is what I wear complete with some lovely painted toe nails which have drawn the attention of many curious fingers.

The day was not unlike any other... I had the students on the carpet to read them a story and then was explaining to them what we would be doing.

"Are there any questions" I asked the class of grade 2 students

"yes, I have a question" says a boy in front who has shoot up his hand.  "What's wrong with your toes?"

Sure, maybe I don't have perfect toes and maybe they were not like this little boys at all but I didn't know anything was wrong with them.

I actually don't recall how I responded.  What I do recall is that as I was gathering the kids up to head back to their spots this young boy was trying to get his friend to also notice my toes and tell him what was so odd about them likely!

*SIGH* it seems like just yesterday I had a lovely group of kindergartners that were practically fighting over who would get to massage my feet next.

I don't recall how the rest of the day went... I'm sure I never made the mistake of wearing sandals in that class again!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Edgar Degas for Grade 1 and 6

On top of teaching basic French to students in grades 4 through 6 I had a few periods a cycle of coverage. Usually the teachers just asked me to do whatever I wanted with them and what I wanted to do with them was art. So we did art!
You may remember many years ago when I did some Edgar Degas art with my grade 4 class. I remembered getting oodles of compliments on the art (why I got the compliments is beyond me... my art was not up on the wall!) but they had difficulty making the actual tin foil people. So this past year I did it with my grade 6 class and there was a lot less trouble with the couple of additional years.

I had one bulletin board in the front lobby to use as mine for whatever I wanted and so I often had students art up on there. The problem was I often was teaching more than one art class at a time.

Here's a great example of how I had 2 very different grades (grade 1's and 6's) study the same artist (Edgar Degas) but do art that was appropriate to their age level. The grade 1's did the ballerina's (which very few actually grumbled about) and the grade 6's did the tin foil pieces and they all went up on the same bulletin board.

Ta Da!

The process was pretty simple. I Always, always, ALWAYS started off all my classes with the lower grades with a book... I think I found a couple of fictional books from the library that had ballerinas in them. So I read those to them.

Then I showed them what we were going to be doing on Artolazzi and we all practiced our best ballerina pose.

We had already dyed the coffee filters in a previous class (just use washable markers and a spritz bottle... we couldn't do them the day we were doing the rest of the project because they would be wet. I didn't make any colour suggestions or anything... they did whatever they wanted.

For the art the first thing we did was glue down the ballerina's skirt. This helped them to draw the body proportional to the skirt. Then they did the drawing of the person and making a background. 

It was perfect and lovely and quick and easy. Perfect for first graders!

Monday, August 21, 2017

French classroom Before*During*After

Now that summer is basically done why not show you a picture of my fabulous French classroom. 

This was what I walked into... yes the picture is a little skewed BUT the classroom is actually very large.

Here's what it looked like after I put all my fabulous touches in it

And here is what it looked like at the end of the school year

Yikes! What happened you ask!?!

The school was doing a big reshuffling of classrooms to put them in an order/location that made more sense. And... they were actually getting rid of the French room altogether. Well, they weren't getting rid of the physical classroom... how odd would have that been considering it was in the middle of the school. They just weren't having a room for French any longer because classroom teachers were going to teach their own French the following year. This meant that the wall that my white boards were on was coming down to give my next door neighbour a MASSIVE classroom (which is pretty much the size of all the classrooms... lucky kids get to really spread out at that school!). Because of the big reshuffling they needed somewhere to store everyone's stuff and well... my lovely room became the dumping ground for all things to be moved and all things to be garbaged. Lovely.

The nice part of all of this was that I certainly couldn't teach in a room that looked like this... could I?

So from about the 2 week mark before school let out I started teaching from the students classrooms (or the library in some cases) which meant we played a lot of bingo or watched movies in French (with English subtitles)... which gets a lot less complaints than you may think. This also meant that I could take down all my stuff from the walls and pack up my classroom 2 weeks before school let out. 

Let's just say on the last day when everyone else was making lists of stuff to do over the summer and scrambling to get stuff put away I was sitting back with my feet up and my bowl of bonbons (or maybe I was helping them clean up and reminding them that I was on the sub list for next year)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Remember when....

Remember when I thought I would definitely be able to manage my half time teaching position and post here at the same time?  Remember how that didn't happen at all?

*crickets*... is anyone still here??

Well guess what folks!?!  I'm back on the subbing lists as of right now (but maybe, just maybe the right position for me will still come up before the school year starts... we've still got just over 2 weeks to go after all)!  But even if that right job doesn't come up I'm excited for my triumphant return to subbing.  

What's coming down the pipe on this lovely blog?  
I've got pictures of my French classroom!
I've got lots of art ideas!
And hopefully once I start subbing I'll have some wonderfully hilarious stories to share!
Stay tuned... stuff is coming.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Before Christmas break I managed to land myself a half time job teaching French every afternoon to grades 4-6 students.  So despite us just starting our 2nd week back I've been busy with planning and setting up my room (plus I've already had 2 mornings where I've subbed).
Here is a picture of the room prior to me moving things around

In a couple of weeks once I have student work up on the walls and have switched out all the bulletin boards (I've done 2 so far so I have 2 left to switch inside the classroom) I'll snap another picture.

The room is quite large (if you can imagine some rooms in this school are actually double this size!) and does not have any windows to the outside world : (   It does however have a sink in one of the corners which is handy for the odd day that I teach art in the room!  

AND for the afternoons it's all mine (and the students I share it with)
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