Saturday, June 23, 2012

I blogged a bit about our final Healthy Living project a couple of weeks ago. Pretty much all of the students finished it. One or two are still in process and (fingers crossed) will finish before school ends next Thursday!

I was so impressed with some of the character traits and skills that students recognized within themselves. And, equally, saddened by the students who struggled to think of something to write down about themselves. Having a child get to the end of the year in my class and still not recognize all the talents I have seen and encouraged all year makes me feel like I have failed them. I know that I have done my very best but, still, it hurts me to know that children at the age of 7 and 8 don't think that they are the bees knees.

It makes me wonder if some people are genetically predisposed to not see their positive attributes or if it is all a learned behaviour. After all, I know many adults who have trouble coming up with a list of things they like about themselves and they have had many more years to gain skills and insight into their personalities. I don't suppose I will ever know the answer to that question though, huh?

In any case, I wanted to show off all the completed projects. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Where Do They Get These Ideas?

For the last week or so I have been letting the class have about 30 minutes of free choice at math tubs each morning. As one of the kids put it, "Ms. Hughes, this is just like Choosing time only with Math!" Yep, pretty much!

A group of students took a bunch of different math tubs and combined the contents to create the Appleberry Mining Co. For a few days, they were building and dismantling each time we had math. A huge undertaking believe you me! Then last week, I let them leave it and they have been adding to it since.

It has offices, a cafeteria, a smelter, a museum, bathrooms, a computer lab and its very own cave! There is also a railroad (run by a different student) to carry the ore to the mining company. I have no idea who came up with the idea but it has been super cool watching them all work together to create and run the mining company.

Especially interesting was how two of the head mining honchos dealt with the number of students who wanted to play last week. It started to get a little crazy with so many kids wanting to be in the same small space so, what did they do? Well, they laid people off, of course!!!! The laid off employees were sent off to find new work (i.e. play with a different math tub). Then, when one student was sad to be laid off, they promptly told him that the company was rehiring! (Oh, if only life was really like that, huh?)

Anywho, I took a video of the mining company and had them talk me through the space. So, take a minute and check it out. The minds of grade 1 and 2 students never cease to amaze me!

p.s. Sorry about the picture quality. I was trying to zoom in and out without getting any faces on the video. It got blurry in a couple place. My bad!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ten Ways to Avoid Writing Report Cards

1. Take a nap

Wish it was taking a nap in a place like this but, no, I have to deal with my messy bedroom and a cat and dog vying for position on the bed. Still a nap is a nap!

2. Play with the kitten

I mean, awwww, who wouldn't want to play with all that sweetness wrapped up in a little furry, cuddly bundle?

3. Read a book
Heartwishes: An Edilean Novel

Just finished this one. It is one of a series that Jude Deveraux has written about a little town named Edilean and the people that live there. A simple, sweet, happy ever after kind of read.

4. Surf the web

kylie jackes.



I can never get enough of design blogs. The first two are new ones to me but the bottom one is a personal favourite. I long to create that house by the sea look in our apartment. Hmmm....maybe this summer?

5. Pin images onto Pinterest

My kind of bedroom!
source unknown


Pinned Image

6. Go on itunes and listen to the latest songs. Then buy a few!

7. Answer emails. This one is especially good because most of my emails are from Pinterest Logo letting me know that someone has repinned a pin of mine. This means checking out that person's board and, before I know it, hours have gone by!

8. Put together new itunes lists for my ipod. Again hours and hours of report card avoidance!

9. Take a bath

I am fortunate enough to have a clawfoot bathtub and all I can say is....pure heaven! Ours is white, not yellow, but we do have ruffled shower curtains like that. Only in a deep turquoisey colour. We have lived here for almost 6 months and I bathe every day. So far I have only used the shower twice! I love, love, love the tub!


10. Spend all day writing this post!

p.s. believe it or not but in and around all the avoidance tactics I used this weekend, I actually got all of my report cards written! Well, draft 1 at least. Tomorrow I will print them out and edit. I still find that I do better editing on a hard copy, you know? 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pete the Cat

I originally started this blog as a way to communicate with the parents of my class. But, as I get more into the teaching blogging world, I am discovering so many cool things happening on other blogs. There are a number of teaching blogs that I follow religiously. One of them is Heather's Heart. I actually have her blog posts sent to my email so that I never miss one! I am very interested in her Conscious Discipline book study and plan to participate this summer. I have used some of Dr. Becky Bailey's ideas in the past but never really dove into the thing whole hog.

Well, over on Heather's Heart right now there is an awesome giveaway happening. You know Pete the Cat? I mean, doesn't everyone know Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin?
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes

Over at Heather's Heart you can enter to win a fantabulous Pete prize. There are 6 blogs and one etsy store participating. There are three chances to win. So what are you waiting for? Get on over to Heather's Heart and enter already! Just click here!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

It never seems to fail. The one child who is the most challenging, the most difficult, the most frustrating, the most pull your hair out crazy making, is also the one child who will turn your heart to mush.


This week I had the kids spend a little time each day thinking of friends in our class or in other classes that they feel they can work well with next year. I try my best to make sure that each child ends up with at least one name on their list (although that is not always possible due to a multitude of reasons). So, I am reading the papers last night as I think about possible placements and I come to the page written by my biggest challenge this year.

I am pretty sure that every gray hair I have gotten this year can be attributed to this one particular child. If you look really closely you can probably see this little's one name written at the base of each gray hair! To say that I have been challenged is really understating it. I used up my entire bag of tricks and then some working with this little one.

So, there I am reading these lists and when I get to this child's list, I see the expected names. All the students that I fully intend to separate this child from because they do not work well together! No surprise there!

But then whose name do I see at the bottom of the list with a big circle drawn around it making it stand out from the rest?


My heart just went plffff!

Is there any greater compliment?

I have spent much of this year feeling like I was making zero progress creating a connection with this little one and seeing my name on that list has just reaffirmed for me all the reasons why I keep trying every day to reach each and every child...even the crazy making ones!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday Odds & Sods

It has been a busy weekend for me. We have a new family member as of yesterday at around 2pm. We drove out to Surrey (yes, Surrey. Seems like here in town we get our cats fixed more often or something because there was not a kitten close by to be found!) to pick up a kitten for our daughter. Yes, you heard me right! A kitten! Meet Simon...

He weighs next to nothing and I think was the runt of his litter as he was by far the smallest kitten there. Having Simon join our family was a very long journey which involved having a so called friend of my daughter's giving away the kitten that had been promised to her for the past 6 weeks (with friends like that who needs enemies, right?), a lot of tears and then hours of kijiji hunting to find a likely replacement candidate. When we first got a look at this little feller, we were sold! Luckily he is as sweet in temperament as he is cute. Ostensibly he belongs to our teenage daughter but we all know that I will end up doing some of the care. But I'm okay with that so long as he keeps curling up on me and purring like a lawnmower!!!!

As to school, the year is winding down. Only 19 more teaching days and still so much to get done. Yikes! Last week we had a couple of pop quizzes in math, worked on our plant projects and went on a fieldtrip to the Children's Festival that was a lot of fun (but exhausting...)

In class we have been working on our plant study. Each of the students has diligently done observations of their bean seeds on the windows (see last post). Only...not much has happened.  A couple have sprouted but most have stayed the same. I am not sure what is up with it. I have done this exact same project on the exact same windows at the exact same time of year for 4 years and it always, always works. All I can think is that it hasn't been warm enough - we did have pretty crap weather in May - and so they just never got started. Anywho, as any scientist knows, not all experiments turn out how we expect. That is part of the fun of science! So, tomorrow we are going to start again. This time we will try putting the bean seeds in a small cup filled with soil. Fingers crossed that it works this time!

In Health & Career Education we have been working on Self Esteem projects. The students have had to identify 20 character traits or skills that they like about themselves. I have learned a lot about the kids through this project. Here are a few of the ones that I hung up in the hall.

There have been students who quickly whipped down a list of 20 things and others who struggled and struggled to come up with things. One because he didn't want to seem like he was bragging - how sweet is that? But others really could not think of anything that they like about themselves. Or, at least, couldn't seem to find the words. I hate that there are 7 and 8 year olds who already see their faults more easily than their skills and talents. It makes my heart hurt. I look at each of them and see so much to like (way more than 20 things per kid! And yes...that does include the ones that drive me crazy on a consistent basis with their behaviour choices!) and, yet, their focus is on what they don't do good enough.

When you are a kid you are supposed to believe that you can leap tall buildings in a single bound, conquer the world and be anything, anything at all, that you want to be. At least, when you are as little as the kids in my class are. My daughter didn't start to really find fault until she hit those terrible pre-teen years. And while it was difficult to get through, it was at least developmentally normal (if you can really call what our society does to young girls and their self image normal. Ooh! Don't get me started. That is a whole nother post.) It just feels so wrong that a child in grade 1 or 2 can easily tell me all of their faults but not one strength. Even when I pointed out some of the amazing talents and skills that I see in this child, they still didn't believe me. That is just wrong. Break my heart wrong.