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.



Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Wowzer! I can't believe it is already October and I am only on my fourth day with my class. It is such a weird thing starting the year so late.

Anywho, I am linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for this month's currently.

listening...Criminal Minds started tonight and, boy, is it a creepy episode. I'm not a big one for horror type shows or movies but there is something about this show that hooked me years ago. new class is rocking it!!!! I know that we are still totally in the honeymoon phase but so far I have to say I am loving the whole bunch of them.

thinking....well, if you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that there was a little kerfuffle with my blog this week.  My full glass attitude yesterday had a bit of a crack into it. It felt like a big old black cloud came down over me. However, today I got the silver lining. I had a student give me a card this morning. The card was a thank you for myself (and my colleagues) for all we did during the strike. I have to say that reading it made me teary. This family had no idea of the troubles I had been going through with this blog the day before. They just wanted to give a heartfelt thanks to their son's teacher. It filled my heart. It reaffirmed my belief in the basic goodness of people.

(On another note...I have since learned more about the complaint that was made but will wait for another post to get into THAT one! Trust me...I am still shaking my head at what it was really about!)

wanting...since school started up I have been working such long hours that I have not been managing to get to the gym in the mornings. I'm still getting to my after school yoga class but I miss running. I am determined to have my body back on track as far as my fitness routine goes. 

needing...this relates to the one above. While I am working on adjusting I am drinking too much coffee and not getting enough sleep. While I would love to drink more coffee, I think getting more sleep would probably be better for me in the long run. So, I'll be working on that!

trick or treat....TRICK! So, this year I am using a lot of different signals to let the class know when a transition is coming. I am determined that I will not get laryngitis (a yearly affliction in the early fall after a summer of little to no talking!) and so am trying something new. 

So far, it is working brilliantly. Wondering what the signals are? Well, your basic lights on/lights off for the 5 more minute warning before clean up and then my wind chimes for the actual clean up during choosing times. Pretty basic. But brilliant as far as I am concerned. I literally do not have to say a word. They just start cleaning up. It is miraculous!

But, my favourite type of signal by far is using song signals to let them know when it is recess ( a lunch song is coming soon!) When they are working at their desks and they hear the recess song, they know that they have to clean up, wash hands and get their snack out to start eating. I don't have to say a word. It isn't perfect yet but, boy, is it nice not to feel like I am nagging at some kids to clean up and get going already! 

I am loving the song and it was super cute today seeing some of the kids dancing away to it once they had their snacks out. Anywho, thought you might enjoy a listen of the song I chose, so here it is:

If you decide to give song signals a try in your class, let me know how it works out for you! And if you come up with some fun tunes! 

Anywho, I am going to follow my own advice now and go to bed early. Talk to you soon!