Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!!!

Pumpkin art done with our big buddies from the grade 4/5 community!

Ms. Hughes

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I hate being sick!!!!!!

So, I went back to work on Monday after sleeping my weekend away. And two days later...I am home with laryngitis. Ugh!!!!

I hate, hate, hate feeling well enough to teach but having no voice to do it with! It totally sucks! 

So, in an attempt to make myself feel better, I have been surfing youtube finding videos that make me happy and fill my heart. Consider yourself warned...I will undoubtedly jump on my soap box a time or two today!!!!!

I like to think that my being forced to sit at home and get better might result in your enjoying a big smile!

The first one is the Gratitude Dance video that I am planning to show on Friday when we do our Gratitude journals.

This one I love because it proves so clearly that appearances can be totally deceiving.

Here's a video by my favourite band, The Script. This song always makes me think of  my Dad. FYI, there is one swear word in this video (just in case you watch with children nearby!)

And another video that makes my heart full. Anyone who know me, knows that I am fully supportive of inclusion for all regardless of any differences, be they race, gender, sexual orientation or anything else. In my eyes and in my heart, we are all equal and deserve to be treated with the same love.

My brother-in-law and his husband celebrated one of the very first marriages in Ontario, over a decade ago, when same-sex marriage became legal. After many, many years together they were finally able to be legally recognized. How wonderful!

Soon after their marriage, at the young age of 5, my daughter experienced her first run in with homophobia when a parent in her kindergarten refused to let her play any longer with her daughter once she learned that my good egg has two married uncles. 

Today, I look at my beautiful, strong, 17 year old daughter, who sees no difference between gay and straight and feel proud to have raised her to look with her heart. This song gives me hope that, one day, the whole issue of marriage being straight or gay will be a long distant memory. That one day marriage will just be that...a marriage of two people who love each other.

Okay, stepping off my soapbox, now!

And, last but not least, a flash mob that brings a great, big smile to my face! And (to your relief) doesn't send me to the top of another soapbox!!!!!


Ms. Hughes

WWR October 30

from here

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What's your awesome?

Okay, so last week we did our gratitude journals a little bit differently. If you got them at home and were wondering just what the heck was going on with them, I will explain...

I want the class to think about gratitude as being more than just things that they are grateful to have. I mean, there are only so many "I am grateful for toys" that I can handle!

We want to go deeper people!!!!

So, last Thursday we watched two videos on youtube. They are soulpancake videos done by Kid President. Know who he is? No? Well, you are in for a treat!

These videos crack me up!!!! And...they have the added bonus of talking about "bringing your awesome" which is what we wrote about last week.

I asked the kids to tell me what awesome they were going to bring to our school community. What would they do that would make other people grateful for them? 

So, here's a peak at the videos...

This kid makes me laugh, smile and want to be a better person. I love him!

Aside...I asked the students after the song what they thought it meant about the waves being bigger than our boats. I got lots of answers but...

after we were all done and heading off to write in our journals, one of my lovelies came up to me and said, "Ms. Hughes, I think it means that life can be hard but we can get through it if we try." 

Wowzer!!!! My heart got so full! It just about burst! 

Here is this kid who has trouble getting his thoughts on paper, who is struggling in some areas and, yet, when it comes to the really important stuff, the HEART stuff, he GETS it. I mean, he really gets it! It makes me feel so blessed to have moments like that with students.

Anywho, am off to hug my lovelies for another day!


Ms. Hughes

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sleeping the Sickies Away

Hello Friends!

I have been in absentia from the blogosphere the last couple of days. 

I went to a wonderful workshop on Friday (more to come on that at a later date!) and then came home feeling like death warmed over (or, at least, what I think death warmed over must feel like!).

Went to bed at 8:45 Friday night and didn't get up again (other than to go to the bathroom and get drinks) until today (yep, Sunday!) a little after 10:00 a.m. 

Wowzer!!!! I slept over 36 hours!!!!

Still not feeling great but have been out of bed for over an hour and so far am not feeling the huge need to nap. So, thought I'd get in a post while I am still awake!

Not a lot of talk today. Just some photos of life in Lucky Division 13 this past week!

Made "Mummy Dogs" with the class on Wednesday. Well, in reality, Miss Vanessa made the mummy dogs. I just brought in the supplies. 

There are no words to describe how grateful I am to have Miss Vanessa working in our class this year. Beyond the fact that she is an amazing cook (these mummy dogs soooo didn't make use of her considerable talent!) but because she just makes life better. Always positive, never complaining, a beautiful quiet energy and a great heart. How could I ever want anything more?

Some photos of our Math Stations this week. One was pattern blocks (we have begun learning/reviewing what we know about 2 dimensional shapes), another was at the tub station (a roll the dice game that works on addition facts) and the last was our seat work ( a book about shapes.)

And last, but most definitely not least, a page from a student's Gratitude Journal. I had this student last year and, I have to tell you, my heart just about burst when I read what she had written! Her current teacher sent her over to me during Community Centres and I almost cried reading her wonderful words about me. 

And I love how she is so honest saying that I am optimistic most of the time! So true! I pride myself on always trying to see situations and people from a positive perspective. I succeed more often than not, I am glad to say!

This, to me, is what community is all about. Building relationships that last and are meaningful with the students! It helps me to remember why I am a teacher and what I believe in. The bottom line is always about relationships. Math, Writing, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Gym...all are important but, without relationship, are really meaningless as far as I am concerned. I could go on but, since you all know by now that this is one of my soapbox topics, I won't!

Instead, I will bid you adieu and head back to bed. Not feeling too bad still but could probably use a nap (after all, I have been out of bed now for over 2 hours!!!!!) Crossing my fingers that I am well enough to come to school tomorrow!

Ms. Hughes

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Worth Watching...

Saw this on the weekend. Gave me goosebumps. Worth watching for sure!

Ms. Hughes

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A TED Talk For You...

I am a big fan of Sir Ken Robinson. I was lucky enough to see him in person a couple of years ago. No matter how many times I hear him speak, his message resonates with me. Definitely worth spending 19:11 of your life watching. Enjoy!


Ms. Hughes

Monday, October 21, 2013

Keep an Eagle Eye!!!

Our school secretary came in just after recess today and brought us this amazing, sparkly package. What could it be?

It was a package from a reading friend! His name is Eagle Eye. He came to our class and brought us some goodies to help us use our own eagle eyes in our reading!

This is the one of the strategies the students will learn this year to help them beome better readers. 

Eagle Eye is a very important strategy.

Especially for beginning readers because he is all about paying attention when reading and using everything on the page to read words accurately.

For beginning readers, he reminds them to look carefully at the pictures if they get stuck on a word because sometimes (almost always in early readers series books) the pictures will give a clue to the word. 

For the more advanced readers, he reminds them to read carefully and look with their "Eagle Eyes" to ensure accuracy when reading.

To that end, Eagle Eye brought us some tools to use to be better readers. He brought everyone their own "eagle eye" to use when reading. This serves as a visual reminder for students.

He also brought us some magic "reading" glasses. When wearing these glasses readers are able to pay attention to all the details. The glasses are magic!!! (BTW, if you have old glasses or sunglasses you want to get rid of, we'll take them!)

And, last but not least, he brought us some reading wands. See them in the picture above? These glitter wands help students to track their reading and look carefully at each word. These should be a huge hit. Glitter makes everything better, don't you think?

Happy Reading!

Ms. Hughes

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Gratitude 101

Okay, so many of you know that my school is part of a Gratitude Project.

As part of the project we have been writing our gratitudes (you know for things/people/places/etc) on ribbons and then tying them to the fence at the front of the school (I'll get a pic this week. Pinky promise!) It is looking pretty colourful and makes my heart full to see so much gratitude in our community.

We even made it on the news! Seems like every time I turn around Global news is at our school filming something!!!! Ha ha ha!!! Here's the link!

So there have been lots of big things happening around gratitude so far this school year. I love it. I am one of the teachers involved with the project directly and am so thrilled to be doing something about our school's emotional well-being. IMHO, emotional health is as important (if not more important) to academic ability when it comes to learning. Let's face it, happy children learn better!!!!

In our class we are trying to bring gratitude into our weekly (and, eventually, daily!) routines. Last year we did Friday Journals where we wrote to our parents letting them know what we did at school all week. This year we are doing something different.

We are doing Gratitude Journals. 

I am loving this because I can finally justify all the time spent on Youtube looking at videos! (Yay! They aren't just wasted hours! They are hours of research!) I try to find a video to show each Friday that gives the class insight into being grateful or practicing gratitude. 

Anywho, this was the one I showed on Friday. I love it! The kids made some amazing connections after watching this. I wanted to just hug them all and tell them how grateful I am to be their teacher. Hmmm...come to think of it, I think I did that!

Feeling grateful that there are people out there that check in on me and this little ol' blog. Thank you!

Ms. Hughes

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A TED Talk Worth Watching...

I saw this TED talk and it literally gave me goosebumps. It is like she was speaking my heart. I too believe strongly in the power of relationship. I want to be her when I grow up!


Ms. Hughes

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sorting It Out

We've been working on sorting and patterning lately. This has been the assigned task at math tubs during Math Stations. Check out some of the sorting done lately. Can you figure out the sorting rules?


Ms. Hughes

Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving has become a bittersweet holiday for me. 

I am so grateful for all that I have in my life.

And I want the day to be about remembering all the wonderful things that I have - my health, friends, family, a job, books, a home I like etc. etc. etc.

But...the day is also tinged with sadness as my Daddy passed away on Thanksgiving day three years ago. Since then, the day hasn't been the same.

I read somewhere that things never really get better after losing someone you love dearly. They just get less worse. 

I get that. I really do. I still think of him daily. I miss him very, very much. And, well, I just miss him that much more on Thanksgiving day. 

So, today I am going to give thanks for my father.

Ten (of a Gazillion) Reasons I am Thankful for my Dad:

1. He paid for my entire university education without complaint (something I am even more grateful for as I look at the prices for my daughter entering uni next year!!!!)

2. He taught me that it is not only okay, but essential, to carve out alone time each day (for him it was by listening to music - for me it is reading).

3. He taught me to teach for 40 years rather than teaching one year 40 times. 

4. He taught me to learn the difference between doubt and fear. And would always say, "If in doubt, don't" I still live by these words.

5. He spent time each week making my then young daughter a "girled" cheese sandwich and then watching old movies on AMC with her on her early dismissal day. I never had a close relationship with my grandfather as he lived 3000 miles away. Seeing the closeness between my child and my father filled my heart. 

6. He never judged me. 

7. He showed me that if you have a passion (his was Rachmaninoff) you need to follow it no matter what others think.

8. He taught me not to bring work home. (I only bring work home about 2% of the time. Not perfect but pretty darn close!)  

9. He kept his own counsel. He was like a vault when it came to being professional and keeping information private. I could tell him anything and know that he would maintain my privacy. This is a lesson everyone needs to learn.

10. He gave me a love for the South. He was born in small town Georgia and I love all things Southern. Give me some shrimp and grits any day of the week and I'll be happy! 

This song always reminds me of him and the small town, Homerville, where he grew up. She sings of a town in Carolina while he was from Georgia, but, the images she evokes are so clearly a Southern town that it could be any small town in the South. Listening to this song brings back so many happy memories of visits with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. 

I love you Daddy and I know that you are with me always.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ms. Hughes

Sunday, October 13, 2013

'Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving

So, if you know anything at all about me, you will know that I am a bit of a Pinterest junkie!

I found this great lesson at Mrs. Wood's Kindergarten and did it with the class on Wednesday afternoon last week. 

I love doing lessons like this because they are so valuable in terms of observing the students' listening skills and their ability to follow simple step by step directions. Plus, they always turn out so gosh darn cute!

So, first we read this book:

Then, we imagined we were the kids in the story (who save the turkeys on the turkey farm by smuggling them out under their shirts!). 

Next, we brainstormed what we would eat instead of turkey. They had some fun ideas. My favourites were sushi and spicy noodles!

Finally, we did a teacher directed cut and paste craft to go with the story. I love  the way they turned out. So much that I didn't send them home yet. I hung them up in our Quiet Room.

Check them out! They are so cute!

And now I am off to save a turkey and eat the salmon salad my daughter and her friend have made us for Thanksgiving dinner! 


Ms. Hughes

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Look Whooo's Learning About Owls!

Check out these cute, cute owls that the grade 1's made for our Owl study covers! 

In Science, we're currently learning about owls. Three times a week I work with the K/1 teacher and take all of the grade 1's in our community and hers.


You heard me right. 

All of the grade 1's. That would be something like 54 kids at the same time.

I am not going to lie.

Some days it isn't pretty.

They talk. A LOT!!! 

They have a lot of energy (that is an understatement!)

They do not all stay on task (bless those little ones who get right down to work!)

A few of them have been known to roll around on the floor instead of working. 


Even with all of that, they are a fun bunch to teach. 

I just keep reminding myself that being 5 & 6 years old is not easy. We expect so much from them and, face it, some days they just can't do it. 

Heck, some days I can't do what is expected of me!!!!

Like today for instance.

After having a headache for 24 hours, I decided to not do what was expected of me (that would be teaching!) and stayed home for the day.

I slept and slept and slept. And then slept some more.

I am happy to say that I am now headache-free and ready to once more do what is expected of me. Teach!!!!

I'm glad because I really like me job and spending my days with all of my little lovelies fills my heart (even when they talk constantly and roll around on the floor!)


Ms. Hughes

Monday, October 7, 2013


It is that time again...

Time to link up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for the monthly currently. 

I am only a few days late. (OK, I'm 7 days late but late is better than never, right?)

Here goes....

listening...OK, I know that apparently the rest of the world has known about this show for forever but somehow it slipped right past me. Was probably on after 9 pm and I was already in bed (how sad is that? I have to go to sleep before my daughter if I want to be able to function the next day. Of course, I do get up at 5:15 and she sleeps in but still....)

loving...I got an extra prep this morning (thank goodness I was in the right place at the right time) and was so happy to see my class all doing what they were supposed to be doing when I peeked in! (Well, most of them! I did discover that 4 of them had not done the work and so they had to do it before they could go home!)

thinking...I have a wreath on our door right now that I made with my friend's daughter. It is egg carton flowers and a cardboard bird. I think it is time to pull out my fall accessories and redo the wreath. Don't you?

wanting...I am sooooo tired of the blue screen on the back of our building. And not having a deck or window sills. And having all our stuff on the dining room table so that it won't fall off the bookcase when they are working. It has been 3 months!!!! Will it ever be done?!?! comment about the gym kind of speaks for itself. 'Nuff said!

trick or treat...I love the app Book Retriever because I can keep track of all my classroom books using their bar codes and find levels if I need to! Totally recommend this to other teachers!

And there is another month (yikes!) done of Currently!


Ms. Hughes

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

I found this awesome video to show the class on Friday before we did our weekly Gratitude Journals. We had such a wonderful talk after watching this. 

We talked about all of the things in our lives that we often take for granted. And about how we really need to be grateful for the little things. Because those little things are really big, huge, ginormous things!

The class came up with some amazing examples.








Just talking with the students about all of the things in my life for which I feel gratitude kind of overwhelmed me. I felt close to tears a couple of times thinking of how very fortunate I am to have the life I have. I am blessed.

Check out the video below.


Ms. Hughes

Friday, October 4, 2013

Foto Friday

Hello friends!

Sorry there were no photos last Friday. To be perfectly frank, I was just glad to get through last week! I didn't take time to do anything other than what had to get done. It was a long, long, long (did I mention long?) week!!!!!

Anywho, here are some photos of the happenings in Division 13 lately!
We started using our math tubs for sorting activities. 
We learned a math facts game called Bump. This is the fall version with addition to 12.
There was lots of K'Nex love during centre time. Some of the kids are obsessed!!!!

We made applesauce in the slow cooker 

Ms. Hughes

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Terry Fox

Hello friends!

Last week we had our annual Terry Fox run. 

It rained.

But, hey, Terry ran in the rain, didn't he? You bet!

So, we went out in the rain and ran.

Thankfully, the decision was made that the primary grades would stay at the school to do the run rather than walking to the park nearby.

The walk to the park and back would have meant over an hour in the rain. And, while I totally respect Terry's stamina and determination to run through anything, coming back to school to spend the rest of the day with a class of wet kids didn't appeal at all! Staying at school kept it under 20 minutes. Phew!

Plus, I can't lie, going to the nearby park is a huge stress for me at this point in the year. I have students who wander off walking from the classroom to the music room. And I am supposed to walk them 8 blocks from school? Without having a panic attack?


Thanks but no thanks!

So, I was quite happy to stay at the school to do the run!

Anywho, the afternoon before the Terry Fox run we did a community activity that tied in to Terry Fox. 

After wandering the shelves in Kidsbooks for over an hour looking for just the right book, I found this book by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanass. (And how nice that it being a book by a First Nations author ties in so nicely with our school goal regarding First Nations education!)

The Little Hummingbird

It is not about Terry Fox but I think speaks to the spirit of Terry Fox. It is about doing what one can to change something that is seemingly unchangeable. It is about bravery and courage in the face of adversity. It made me get goosebumps the first time I read it. 

I dare you to watch this and not feel something!

After reading the story and watching the animation made by the author, students wrote and drew a response answering the question "What small action can you do to make a difference?"

Now, this is a pretty deep question for adults much less 5-7 year olds! But by tying it back to our school community, the students were able to come up with lots of great answers. Things like turn the lights off, pick up garbage, help each other, plant more trees, clean up after yourself, recycle, the list went on. 

I was proud of my group for all the great ideas they had. Now to put those ideas into action!

And, on an aside, at last count our school had raised almost $8000 for the Terry Fox Foundation. Now that is generosity! I feel so blessed to work at a school that has such a giving heart.

Ms. Hughes