Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It's Tuesday of the last week of school before the Winter holidays.

'Nuff said!

Thought I'd share some of the fun quotes I've been seeing on pinterest lately.

It's about all my brain is capable of doing right now. Click. Copy. Click. Paste. Link. Repeat!

Teach Junkie - 60 Hilarious and True Teacher Confessions
This. Is. So. True!

Give Me Coffee… - Crew Neck Tee



Sunday, December 14, 2014


I know that I am not the only one feeling like this!!! 

Last week was totally cray-cray and, somehow, I doubt that this upcoming week will be any different.

The only big difference is that I am down 3 kids as some have gone on vacation early. 

Somehow, 19 kids with holiday-itis is infinitely better than 22 with the same affliction!!!

So, good luck to all the teachers out there trying to get through the last week of school before winter holidays. May you all be blessed with lots of fun activities and infinite patience!!!



Saturday, December 6, 2014


It is totally cray-cray that it is December already! 

Even crazier is that we have only had 50 days of school thus far because of the strike in September. The late start has made this year feel like it is flying by!!!!

I am linking up again with Farley for this month's Currently. 

listening... do you know Matt Hires? I found his music on youtube through this video from soul pancake.

and have subsequently bought both of his albums. Love!

loving...if you had asked me a year ago if I would ever enjoy reading a digital book, I would have said NO!!!! I love the feeling of paper in my hands, the slight cracking of the spine as I read further into the book, the ability to pick up the same book and reread it again. I love having books in my home and my classroom. So, colour me surprised that the thing I use my new iPad mini for the most is reading!!! I just go online to the public library and borrow a book to read. So easy! So simple! And I don't have to take off my pajama's to do it!

thinking...pretty self explanatory. I never write them until the weekend before they are due since I know that they will already be two weeks out of date by the time the parents get them AND a month out of date before we meet for conferences! A lot of things can change with a grade 1 or 2 in two weeks to a month!! So that gives me two days to churn them out. I know that they'll get done. But, just like exercising, it is the getting started that is the hardest part!

wanting...Only 10 days until I get to hug my baby girl again! Not that I am counting or anything....

needing...I don't know about you but when my shoes start to get old, my feet hurt. Really hurt! Yesterday's treadmill workout was painful in more ways than one. I will be taking a break from report cards later today to go and buy myself a new pair of runners so that I won't miss my workout tomorrow!

giving...this year I got the best present EVER from my class and their families. Check it out!

It is the cutest, sweetest advent calendar I have ever seen! Each student brought a toilet paper roll to our class parent and she created this! (Just by looking at this, you'll probably figure out that she is a pretty awesome class parent!!!) I'm so lucky to have her!

Each toilet paper roll has a sweet little note or card from the student plus a bag of tea. Apparently, there is a little something in the attic as well but I won't be opening that until Christmas Day! 

It is such a wonderful gift! And I love that I get to enjoy it every day until Christmas! The kids love to see me open the roll each day and read out the message. I love it! So, thank you, thank you, thank you to my wonderful class for this lovely gift!

Now, I think I have procrastinated enough. Off to write report cards now!!!



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Scoop - November 16

I am linking up with Teaching Trio for another Sunday Scoop...

Does it seem weird that it is only the middle of November and many of my items have to do with Christmas? Well, not to me. You see I have been doing Organized Christmas through the blog Organized Home for about four years now. They start sending emails in the last week of October with tasks to do. If I follow it (some years I do better at this than others!) I will have everything done for Christmas by the first week in December and can then sit back, sip my eggnog and enjoy the holiday season. Since I started doing this my holidays have gotten so much better! No more shopping at the last minute. No more wrapping gifts the night before! No more being stressed out!!! It is wonderful!

So, back to my Sunday Scoop...

3 things I have to do...

1. Well, I will admit that Christmas cards are not really a HAVE to do but, for me, they are pretty important. I need to get them all done in the next week so that I can mail them out in the last week of November or first week in December. And with my carpal tunnel, I have to start way early so that I can write them a few at a time and not have my hand go numb!
2. Only 30 days until my daughter is home for the holidays!!! I just need to book the ticket!
3. I brought all the math home with me last weekend, too. Did I get any of it marked? NO!!! Luckily, this past week was a three day week (what with the four day weekend around Remembrance Day) and we only did math two times. I have to do it this weekend so that I can see where the students are getting stumped and create my mini-lessons to hit the different areas that need work. 

2 things I hope to do...

1. I know that I will buy very little at any craft fairs simply because I already know what most people are getting BUT I do love seeing the creativity that is out there. And, I need some more crocheted dish cloths which I get at one particular craft fair each year. I am hoping to go to Dunbar's craft fair next Saturday. 
2. And on the handmade note...I have started a project that I am hoping to have done by Christmas. If not, it will turn into a birthday present for the new year. I would tell you more about it but the person it is for reads this blog so you'll just have to wait and see!

1 thing I'm happy to do...
1. My mother started making a special Christmas cookie sometime in my childhood. Can't remember a Christmas without them. The cool thing about them is that they hang on the tree! Now that my mother is unable to do things like follow a recipe, I have taken on the task. I make a double batch of dough every other year and then freeze half of it. I will be making the dough this week. The cookies turn out better if the dough is refrigerated for at least a couple of days before baking. I'll be sure to post the recipe when it is cookie baking time!

Hope you are enjoying your Sunday!



Saturday, November 15, 2014


I wanted to do a shout out for a fabulous organization here in town. If you are needing some great gift ideas for the holidays, look no further!!!!

Have you ever heard of Craftworks? It is an organization that offers adults with disabilities the opportunity to create wonderful handmade items. 

Oh, and I should say upfront, that I am in no way connected to this organization and have not been given any sort of remuneration for this post. I just love their stuff! 

The ornaments are my favourite! I especially love the Richard Scarry ornaments from my childhood. They bring back such good memories. (I learned to read with his books. Check out the link to one of my all time fave books!) And the newer First Nations ornaments are pretty spectacular with all of the detail in them. 

Check it out!

I meant to get this post written while Circle Craft was still on because they had a booth there but, alas, the week got away from me!!

But, wait! You can still get these items at a sale near you! (I always wanted to sound like an infomercial!!!!)

They will be at Candytown on the 22nd. So, mark it down on your calendar and get yourself down to Yaletown for Candyland next weekend!



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lest We Forget

We spent a lot of time this past week talking about peace and Remembrance Day. I wanted to share with you today, on Remembrance Day, some of the wonderful ideas our class came up with.

First, here are some examples of the PEACE acrostic poem that we wrote with our big buddies.

I love the last one where A stands for active helping. Now wouldn't this world become 150% better if every single person became an active helper?!?!

And here are the poppies we made in Community Arts & Crafts...

We did some activities before making these poppies. It was a two day process with all 92 students in our community. 

On day one, we read Todd Parr's book called The Peace Book ( I got smart about reading a book to 92 students at once and photographed all the images so that I could put the book on the smartboard!) and then we brainstormed all the many things that peace can be before doing our own writing. We made the poppies on day two and added our writing to them. I am hoping that they are gracing front doors and refrigerators all through our school neighbourhood!

Here's the book we read. If you haven't read it, you need to. In fact, you can't really go wrong reading any of Todd Parr's books. He is awesome!!! You can check out his website here. And to find out more about the book you can click on the picture of it below...

The Peace Book

I am always humbled by the ideas that children can come up with for these types of activities. Sometimes I think that if all the adults in the world would follow the advice of children, we would have a much happier and peaceful world!

Here are some of their thoughts...

Peace is...
  • being kind
  • having food
  • wishing on a sun
  • helping people
  • having toys
  • skating
  • having fun with friends
  • sleeping
  • school
  • wonderful
  • recycling
  • having dreams
  • planting trees
  • reading to myself
  • watching birds fly in the sky
  • playing with my dog
  • sharing
  • hugging
  • spreading love
  • having a house
  • learning
  • being me
And I have to share one of the Peace is... pieces in its entirety. This kid gets it big time!!!!

Can you read them all?

It says Peace is...
  • giving love to someone you love
  • saying something nice to someone
  • being free
  • having a family
  • being a kind person
  • being a nice expecter
  • having a home
  • being a great friend
  • taking good care
  • giving a present to someone
  • a grateful world
  • giving cards
  • eating food
My favourite one? Being a nice expecter. When I asked her what she meant she said it meant expecting nice things all the time. As in, having a positive attitude, looking at the bright side, having a half full glass etc. I just love how she put it. Be a nice expecter. That's something I can totally get behind!

I hope that you find some inspiration in the words of these young people. Their wisdom far exceeds the amount of credit given to them. 

Wishing you a peaceful and gratitude filled day.



Monday, November 10, 2014

Look what they made!!!!

There are times in our room when one or two children finish ahead of the other and they get to choose a Quiet Time Centre to go to for a few minutes. These centres are reading, writing, drawing or math tubs.

This year I have some die hard math tub kids. They are so into building and constructing. 

A huge favourite is building those long domino chains where you can knock over the first one and they all fall down in sequence. 

But this class is not about the boring, basic domino line. No way, no how! They are all about creativity. Check it out...

And notice that they don't just do this with dominoes. They have discovered that you can do the same things with our sorting squares as well. How cool is that!

Some of the kids just want to do good old fashioned building and balancing. Look at these...

And, then, there are the kids who just explore the manipulative and come up with a cool design like this one...

I love to see all of the ideas that they can come up with using very basic math manipulatives. 

So great to see creativity, problem solving and fun in action!!!!



Saturday, November 8, 2014


You don't have to say it.

I know that Halloween is over and done with...


 I finally downloaded my pictures off of my camera and I just had to share the Frankensteins the kids did!

This was a community wide craft project (that means we taught it to 92 kids at the same time!) during Community Arts and Crafts on the day before Halloween. And they turned out so gosh darn cute! 

Check them out!

Now, Halloween is officially over for this year. I promise!!!!



Sunday, November 2, 2014


How did it get to be November already?!?! And why does every month's Currently post start with my amazement that another month has come and gone? LOL

I am linking up (as per usual) with Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for this month's edition of Currently.

listening... I don't talk about religion or spirituality much since I truly believe it is a personal subject. To each his own and all that. I am not a churchy person. Nor do I belong to any one religion. I am however someone who believes there is more to life than that which we can see with our eyes. To that end, I have a playlist of music that makes me feel closer to spirit. 33Miles is my latest find. Beautiful music. 

loving... I know, I know, I have a quiet house to myself a lot these days what with my good egg off in Toronto for university. But, to have a Sunday to myself is rare. Hubby is off at a poker tournament and I am enjoying being able to use the computer, listen to my music and drink my coffee by myself.

thinking... I am still feeling like a hamster running around in its wheel where work is concerned. I never really realized how vital the time I spend in my classroom every summer is to my sanity during the school year (it is so worth the hours of unpaid work I put in!!!!) What with starting the year with three weeks of being on strike coupled with not being able to clean and organize over the summer, I feel very discombobulated. I hate it. I am going to spend some of my time today planning out the next 6 weeks so that I can get ahead of my teaching (or, at least, feel like I am getting ahead!)

wanting... this one ties into everything really but is mostly about needing motivation to get back on track with my exercise. I was so good over the summer going to yoga or the gym every day pretty much. I just can't seem to get into the early morning exercise routine I had last year. And I know that I need to. I would feel less like a hamster if I was working out regularly. Which is ironic really, as I would literally be on a treadmill if I was exercising regularly!!!!! So, the goal this month is to workout (either the gym or yoga) at least three times a week.

needing... our dining room has become sewing central over the last couple of months. I have started my Christmas planning and need to get it cleaned up in order to enjoy meals etc in the coming weeks. I know it will only take an hour or so but I am very good at avoiding anything cleaning related!!!!


Elizabeth Is Missing

I haven't actually started this but it is next on my list. Just picked it up from the library. Heard it was good and the central character is dealing with memory issues like my mother. I'll let you know if it's any good! 

So, there you have it...my November Currently. Now, head over to Farley's to check out what everyone else is currently doing...



Monday, October 27, 2014

Sunday Scoop...One day late!!!

One of the things that I love to do is follow, read and enjoy other blogs about teaching (and other things). I especially love linky parties. 

Every Friday on my bloglovin feed I get all the Five for Friday link ups with Doodle Bugs Teaching and, each and every week, I think "I wish I did that!" But, who am I kidding? Get a post about the week done by Friday of the same week? I know me and I know that isn't going to happen any day soon! (Fingers crossed that I will, one day, get it done!)

I had to stay home today because the ear ache I mentioned on Saturday finally beat me. I was so exhausted today that I literally slept the day away. Just got up a little while ago and it is 4:30!!!!! I am happy to report that the ear ache is 99% gone and I am ready to be back at school tomorrow. 

Anywho, because I stayed home today and had the last half hour lazing about on the couch, checking my emails and looking up blogs etc., I had the good fortune to come across a new (well, new to me!) linky party that happens on Sundays. Yes, Sundays! Can I get a hallelujah? Sundays I can do. In fact, most weeks I write all of my posts on Sundays and set them to publish during the week. So, yay for Sunday linky parties!

So, here I am, linking up a day late! It is done by Teaching Trio .(Sorry, will do it on Sunday next time. Pinky promise!!!!) Just click on the pic below to go straight to the linky party. If you click on the site name above it'll take you to their home page.

The 3 things I HAVE to do...

These are pretty self explanatory. 

I have some very general reading groups created but I need to check on a few kids to be sure I have them in the right spots. 

And the exercise one is pretty basic. Even before the ear ache I wasn't doing very well keeping up my routine (which is probably part of the reason I got sick!) and know that I need to get my *$%# together and get back to the gym and yoga. If not for me, then for the mental health of all those who have to deal with me every day!!!!!

Probably, the most difficult one there is the Social Studies. We are trying to use the new draft curriculum (which is significantly different from the old curriculum) as much as possible this year and it means starting from scratch in a lot of cases. It seems that learning outcomes have shifted down a grade so now there are all these things the grade 2's have to learn that they didn't before. Can't they ever just keep it simple, people?!?! 

As for the 2 things I HOPE to do...

I haven't seen my mum in a couple of weeks (since Thanksgiving actually) and I am feeling bad about it. Not that she knows I haven't been there. Her Alzheimer's is bad enough now that she doesn't remember if I was there 5 minutes ago, 5 hours ago or 5 months ago. But I know. And it is a tradition (since we had my daughter 18 years ago) to go to her house for Halloween, order in dinner and hand out the candy with her. And, although my daughter will not be there for Halloween (she'll be in Montreal) and even though Halloween is my least favourite holiday by far, I still plan to go up.

And the Whole Brain Teaching (WBT for short) is something I have been doing on and off over the years and just started again in class with our smilies/frownies board. This class is responding really well to it so I am going to do more. Want to know more about it? I've been watching a bunch of YouTube videos of WBT in action and also relearning all the things on their site. Some I know works for me, some I need to adjust a bit and some I just want to try for the first time! Check out their website at WBT! And check out this lesson below done by one of my favourite WBT teachers on the web!

And, last but not least, as for my 1 thing I am HAPPY to do...

I love to read. Enough said.

Catch you later, I've got a book calling my name!!!! (And a hubby making dinner. Is there any better way to end a sick day? Well, except for not feeling sick anymore!?!?!)



Saturday, October 25, 2014

Spooky Skeletons

Today won't be a long post. I'm fighting an ear ache and, so far, the ear ache is winning! 

Just wanted to post these spooky (but, oh so cute!) skeletons we did during Community Arts & Crafts on Thursday. 

As usual I love how the same craft can show so many differences depending on the student who creates it. So much fun!

We have 92 of these spooky skeletons hanging all over our community. There is no doubt that Halloween is drawing near!



Monday, October 20, 2014

Learning About Colour...

In art we have been working our way through the basic elements of art. I told you about the lesson we did on line last week. Before that lesson we did a lesson on primary and secondary colours. 

Once again, I got my basic inspiration from pinterest. (Honestly, HOW did I live before the invention of pinterest? It is a teacher's dream filing cabinet!!!!!) 

I wanted to use Piet Mondrian for the primary colour part of the lesson. But I also wanted to incorporate secondary colours into the final piece. When I saw this image, I had my inspiration!

Keith Haring + Piet Mondrian: I love the idea of combining two different artists.

We started with Mondrian and, using construction paper and glue, created our own versions of his grid-based paintings.

Then we learned a bit about Keith Haring and practiced making "Haring-esque" people. The kids had fun with this as I let them start with stick people (something I usually don't let them do!) to get the body's action. Then they drew a curvy person around it. Their final versions were coloured in secondary colours using crayons and added to their Mondrians. 

Again, my camera phone stank at taking pictures (thought iPhones were supposed to have good cameras?) and most of my pics of the art came out so blurry you can't really appreciate them. But, here are three that worked out!

They looked totally awesome all grouped together on the bulletin board and were a big hit at parent-teacher conferences. 

Next up....texture!



Saturday, October 18, 2014

Learning About Line....

So, we've started learning about the basic elements of art this month. 

Since both last year and this year I am teaching art to two classes it means that some of the students had me for art last year, too. And, that means, I have to get creative and find new lessons to introduce the basic elements.

And that is how we came to be doing line pumpkins this past week. 

I found a wonderful lesson on one of my favourite art blogs, deep space sparkle. Her lesson looked like this...

Click on the picture to go straight to her lesson!
and it inspired this!

It was a great lesson on different kinds of lines (straight, curvy, spiral, thick, thin etc) but ended up also being about colour a bit as I encouraged the students to play with blending when colouring in each section. 

I wish I had more to show you but my darn phone takes the world's worst pictures!!!! (Pretty sure I complained about that last time on here, too!!!!) I need to get with it and start carrying my camera around with me everywhere I go!

Stay tuned for some (blurry) pictures of our colour lesson on primary and secondary colours!



Monday, October 13, 2014

Wishing You Happy....

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I hope that today is filled with good food, lots of loved ones and the making of wonderful memories!

I am at my mother's for Thanksgiving today.  A bittersweet time of year for me as it marks the fourth anniversary of my father's death and, most likely, the last Thanksgiving with my mother in the house she has lived in for 50 years.

The class made turkeys during Community Arts and Crafts on Thursday. Thought you might like a look see. They turned out as individual as each student. 

Sorry for the focus. I used my iphone and I really need to go back to using a camera. The pictures just turn out so much better that way!

Have a happy day!



Sunday, October 12, 2014

Creating Classroom Expectations

Last week we read the book David Goes to School by David Shannon.

David Goes to School

Have you ever read it? It is the perfect book to open a discussion about classroom rules and expectations.

We brainstormed rules/expectations that we thought were important for our class this year. Then the students had to pick the three expectations that they felt were the most important and write about them.

It is really interesting to see what matters to different kids. For some keeping hands to ourselves was a huge priority and for others it was things like being quiet or safe. 

I got a great freebie on TpT (Teachers Pay Teachers) for making a David. It is by Angie Neal. You can find it by clicking on the caption underneath!
David Learns the School Rules Craftivity and Writing
Find it HERE!!!!
We made our David's last Friday. You should have seen the class all diligently working on making their Davids. It was awesome!!! They were so focused, so intent on the activity. I think I see some more cut and past projects in our future!!!!

Anywho, here are what ours ended up looking like...

Aren't they great? What you can't see is the writing that I put with each one. I attached their writing about which expectations are most important to them. 

This coming week we will be tallying which rules got chosen the most and using those as a basis for a class expectations chart we will all sign. This will be posted clearly in the classroom and reviewed daily as part of our Calendar routine. 

I was very pleased with how this lesson turned out. I never like to do the same thing in the same way from year to year and this was a big hit with the class AND turned out some great thinking about how we want our room to look, feel and be. A win-win!

Stay tuned for our expectations chart which should be done and ready to post about by the end of this week.