Sunday, November 22, 2015

What can I say?....

It is amazing to me that I have not sat down at this computer to write a blog post in almost 3 months. For those of you who thought I had fallen off the edge of the Earth, I'm still here!

Since September, there has been a lot going on! I got a straight grade 1 class for the year (yippee!!!) and am very, very happy to be teaching just grade 1 curriculum for this year. Covering curriculum for two grade levels in one classroom is tough stuff, y'all!

I totally heart my new group of lovelies. They are sweet, eager to learn and all around a nice group of kids. I had forgotten, however, what it is like to teach one grade level, in that there are no older role models in the classroom to speed things along. As a result, it has been a rather slow start to the year and I have to keep reminding myself that it will all work out in the end. We will get there!

On the home front, my hubby is still recovering from his stroke and learning to live with atrial fibrillation, we moved my mother (who has dementia) into a nursing home and we are currently in the process of emptying out her house which is filled with 51 years worth of love and treasures. Whew! I'm tired just reading all that and I've been LIVING it!!!!!

I thought I'd start back on the blogging bandwagon by joining up with the Teaching Trio for their Sunday Scoop. Here goes!




So there you go! I am back! I promise to try to update more often but, have to say, that sometimes life just happens and the last thing I feel like doing is working on the computer. 

Hope you all had a happy Sunday!

Cheers!

Olwyn

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Currently….September 2015!!!!

Yikes!

I have not posted here since last month's Currently. That's craaaaaazy!!!!!

I am really not sure where August went but I am happy to welcome September!

Once again I am linking up with Farley for her fun Currently Linky Party. (I don't know what I will do if she ever decides not to do these any more. I so look forward to them!)

Anywho, here goes September!



Listening….. to the sound of lights humming 

I am doing this month’s Currently at school because I killed our computer at home. It was an unintentional killing but it is dead all the same. 

sigh...

Until the hard drive is returned to life or a new one is purchased I am computerless at home. Oh well…there are worst things to be!

So, I am at school in our teacher’s office typing away. It is veeeeery quiet. Well, except for the buzzing lights!


Loving… My hearing aids 

(hence the reason I can hear the buzzing lights!)

I’ve had them about a month now and I am hearing sounds I had totally forgotten about it. For the most part I am happy to hear better. When it is the baby crying in the apartment above ours, not so much!

The real test will be using them in a classroom full of kids!

Thinking… I’m ready to go home… 

I have been here at school every day this week. (And a whole lot of other days prior to that!!!!) 

Today I’ve been here for almost 5 hours. I am so done. My classroom is still a mess but I am out of here as soon as I finish this post!

Wanting…. my classroom set up to be finished!!!

See above! 

It will get done by Friday but I am pretty sure that there are a couple more looooong days ahead of me. Sigh….

Luckily, the sun has disappeared this week and rainy weather has arrived so I don’t feel like I am losing the last days of my sunny summer break!

Needing… to get up earlier every day… 

During the summer I stay up late....like 1 or 2 a.m. late and sleep until 11 or so each day.

During the school year I have to be up at the disgusting hour of 5:30 in order to get in a workout before going to school. (Trust me working out after school does not work!)

And every year I say that I am going to start getting up earlier every day in the couple of weeks before school opens so that I won't be exhausted as my body clock adjusts.

And every year I don’t do it!!! 

Then I work the first few days on something ridunkulous like four hours sleep each night.

This year, I am doing it. Got up at 7:30 today. 

7:00 tomorrow!!!!

3 Goals...

Running… I have been running all summer at the gym and I want to keep it up. Don’t want to lose the momentum I have going!

House…I need to start making some decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of at home. In a month or so, we’ll be emptying out my mum’s house and I need room for some of the things I want to keep from there!

Cooking…I need to dig out my heart healthy cookbooks and start planning fall menus that are good for my hubby (and me!) I want his post-stroke health to keep getting better and good nutrition is a part of that!

And there you have it! I promise you’ll hear from me more now that school is starting (well, in 6 days, but who’s counting?!?!)

I am super excited about this coming school year and that I have a straight grade 1. So, so, so excited!!!! I can't wait to blog all about my lovely new class and all of our adventures in learning. Stay tuned!


Cheers!

Olwyn

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Currently...August

Yep, it is that time again! Time to link up with Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade. I am a little late to the party this month but I got here!



Listening…Spark is all about how images and words get changed and reattributed across the web with the proliferation of social media sites. It is interesting and touches on copyright, artistic ownership, reality of images… I didn't turn it on to listen particularly to this show. Just turned on CBC1 and that is what was on. You learn something new every day (especially if you listen to shows that normally you would not turn on!)


Loving…I go in about 45 minutes to get my new hearing aids. They are apple brand and bright red. I think it will be super duper cool because my hearing aids are controlled by my phone! I can answer the phone, listen to music and hear better without having to have any wires or headsets beyond the hearing aids themselves. How cool!

Thinking...the engineer is currently working on our community. Hopefully it will all be cleaned and floors waxed before next week. I went on a shopping spree at IKEA and got some new area rugs. I have a new vision for my classroom. Stay posted!

Wanting...I have been feeling really off this past couple of weeks. I am hoping that soon I will get some energy back. My husband called it ennui and I suppose he is right. It is most likely a result of being on holidays for so long. I enjoy the break but don't do well without a routine. 10 weeks is way too long for me. I think I would probably do very well in a year round schooling type situation where I could teach, then have 2-3 weeks off before teaching again. 

Needing...we are taking part in a garage sale this Saturday. I still have to figure out what I am going to sell! I know what I'm doing later today! I plan to be brutal. I'm going to purge like crazy and if it doesn't sell, it is going straight to the Salvation Army. It is NOT coming back in my house!!!!!

B2S RAK...I really don't know what to call it so just called it Office Bucket Filler. Basically, I plan to leave encouragement in the way of notes (and the occasional chocolate!) for teachers and staff in my school. It is something I have done in the past as well. It really is true that giving fills your own bucket. 

Well, there you have it! Another month gone and another month started. Time sure does fly, doesn't it?!?!

Cheers!

Olwyn


Friday, July 17, 2015

School Supply Love

I'm not sure if there is anything better than the sight of an aisle of school supplies. Weird, I know! But I would rather be shopping for school supplies than clothes. I just love me some fresh pencils and post it notes!!!!

Anywho, was at Costco yesterday and just couldn't resist the allure of snapping some shots. Here's a taste of September in July!





Cheers!

Olwyn

P.S. I restrained myself and only bought one of these items. Can you guess which one? But I did buy a few other school supply items that I didn't photograph. It was just too tempting. I mean, a box of 24 black Sharpies for less than $15! And rainbow Sharpies for under $10! How is any teacher supposed to resist that?!?!

P.P.S. Yep, you were right! I bought the pencils. Because "I have enough pencils" was said by no teacher ever!!!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Currently...July

Crazy as it seems, it really is July. And, we all know what the start of a new month means....

It's time to link up with Farley!!!!



listening...silence is not something I get very often at my house. Or in my job for that matter. It seems I am always surrounded by noise. Both my hubby and my daughter love noise - talking, the tv, the radio, iPods, iPads, computers, you name it and it is making noise! I, on the other hand, relish the silence. Especially after a busy and noise filled day at school. So, now I am enjoying being in the office with no music on. Just the slight white noise of the tv playing upstairs!!!

loving...there is something so wonderful about not using an alarm, isn't there? I am just listening to my body and getting up (and taking naps!) whenever it tells me to!

thinking...today is Canada Day. It is after 12:00 pm and I am still in my pj's. There are lots of events happening and I am thinking about going to one. Haven't made any definite plans though. While I love my country, I do not love crowds and am not sure I am up to one today. Maybe for the fireworks tonight? Hmmm...We'll see...

wanting...I am the only person in my family who likes things organized. I am the one who has a drawer for shirts, one for shorts, one for pants etc. While my hubby and daughter literally throw their clothes in their dressers willy nilly! It would drive me crazy!!!! When I am working, the house organization kind of falls apart. I have pretty much given up on organizing either of them but I do want to spend some time this summer organizing the parts of the house I spend the most time in: the kitchen, office/sewing room, my studio, the bedroom and the bathroom. I think I'm going to have to pull out my trusty Flylady book and get busy!

needing....to start back to yoga...and the gym....and swimming...and generally taking care of myself. I have been saying this for a few months now. I'm not entirely sure what happened this year but I have definitely not been making my health a priority. That is going to change this summer. No excuses!!!!

all-star....I have been sewing for 33 years. Yikes! I have recently gotten back into it and have been doing lots of upcycling of men's dress shirts. I cut them up, put them back together by mixing different shirts into one and come up with a one of a kind piece of clothing. I am enjoying doing this. I really don't know that my sewing would fall into the all-star category but there you go....

Okay...so why are you still here? Head on over to Farley's and check out what other people are up to Currently...

Cheers!

Olwyn


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Out of the mouths of babes...


I got a kick out of this the other day. One of my grade one students wrote this in his journal. 

Truer words were never spoken. 

Which is not to say that some of the work isn't fun but, still, he's got the right of it. 

Now, if only I could keep them working until the end of this last week of school! I'm not holding my breath!!!!

Cheers!

Olwyn

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Currently...June 2015

I am pretty sure that, in 1386, when Geoffrey Chaucer first penned what has become the phrase "better late than never" , he wasn't thinking about being late in writing blog posts!!!

However, I am going to avail myself of that phrase today and do the Currently for June!!!!



listening...I've been hunting songs to use in my year end slide show. I think this one has made the cut!

loving...I am so ready for summer. This year has been a long and difficult one for me with many challenges in all areas of my life. Not to mention, that it started with a strike for most of September (oops! wasn't going to mention that!) I am ready for summer. 14 days to go....

thinking...I really need to get going on my report cards but I somehow managed to leave my flash drive at school on Thursday (I didn't go in on Friday. I slept all day. Literally, ALL day!!! The bug going around the school finally caught me. Sneaky germs!!!!) They are due on Friday this week so I am sensing some long nights ahead of me. Sigh....

wanting...I know, I know, I'm about to be on summer holidays for 10 weeks. Isn't that a vacation? Well, I would just love to go on a real honest to goodness vacay where I physically leave my hometown. It isn't going to happen this summer but I want it to!!!

needing...I've been working on this for a few weeks now. Just downloaded 642 pictures I've taken lately. Yikes! I need to do some major editing or it is going to turn into my year end documentary!!!

summer lovin...
...sleeping in is the best. Doncha think? I am not a morning person AT ALL and love the days of rolling out of bed around 10 to enjoy my coffee on the back patio.
...organizing my classroom. OMG, I am looking forward to doing this SO, SO, SO much. If you aren't a teacher you probably won't get this but the time I spend in my classroom over the summer is crucial to my sanity from September thru June. Losing the time last summer and not being able to clean, purge, sort and reorganize (because of the strike) was horrible!!!!! It made my year so much more difficult. I NEED those summer days to get my room set up. I know that technically I am not expected to work in the summer and that coming in is my choice (and unpaid) but if I don't put the time in on my physical space, it is so hard to get my head on straight and feel ready to go in September. It makes the time given to work in the summer so worth it when my stress level is lower for the other ten months.
...lazy days. What's there to add to that?!?!

Cheers!

Olwyn

p.s. I hit 20,000 views today. Woot! Woot! That isn't much by blog world standards but it is A LOT by mine! So, thanks for stopping by and I hope you come on back to see me soon!


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Scoop - May 31, 2015



I am linking up again with the Teaching Trio for the Sunday Scoop. Here's mine....


I am happy to say that I have already done one of my "have to's" and have repotted and planted all but two of the plants I bought yesterday. (I bought around 16 so there was a lot of gardening going on early this morning!) I am about to go for a walk to finish the other two. Go me!!!

As to the hopes, I have a bit of hand sewing to finish on the top. Just wish my fingers wouldn't go numb while I am sewing. It is very frustrating!! If it gets done, I am wearing it tomorrow!

And, I'll see how I do today with blog posts. If you read here regularly you'll know that I haven't exactly been prolific in my posting lately. I'll do my best to write a couple of posts but don't hold your breath!!!

On that note...I am off to do my happy...puttering about the house!

Happy Sunday!

Cheers!

Olwyn 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Scoop May 24, 2015

Hey everyone!


 I am linking up today with Teaching Trio for their weekly Sunday Scoop. It has been forever since I wrote (sorry, about that but I do have a good reason this time!)

Here goes!


Most of the above is pretty self-explanatory. And a lot of the things are things I didn't get done or stopped doing this month when my husband had a stroke. Yep, a stroke. At the age of 47. Let me tell you, May was a scary, worrisome time for me and I am very glad that it is going, going, gone!

My life has gotten a bit out of whack as a result of being away from work for a week when the stroke first happened and then just not having my head in the game since I went back to work two weeks ago. But, I am happy to say, life is settling into our new normal and I am more than ready to get my head back on straight! 

So, there will be more posts, more often (I promise!) in the coming weeks. Only 24 teaching days left! Wowzer! Where has this year gone? There is still so much to get done and the time is ticking away faster than I want. I know I probably won't get everything done that I want to but I am going to give it my very best try!

Cheers!

Olwyn

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Currently....May

It's that time again! I am linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for this month's Currently...


listening...I went a little nuts on iTunes the other night. Bought a bunch of new songs (including a few of Meghan Trainor's) but my fave purchase is the new album from The Script (one of my favourite, favourite bands ever!!!). I am loving their song called "It's Not Right For You" all about going after what you love in your life. Great song!




loving...I have been to four church rummage sales in the last two weeks! And found great stuff. I must admit that I mostly bought for my classroom (board games, writing paper and more) but I did find a few things for home. I love this time of year when there are rummage sales and the garage sales start up again. I love thrifting and hunting for treasures!

thinking...we had a death in my husband's family this weekend and it has just brought forth to me, yet again, how important it is to show my husband and daughter how important they are to me. This life is uncertain and I don't want to ever let a day go by without them knowing how much they mean to me. 

wanting...this one goes with the rummage sales above! As I bring more stuff home, I need to start sending some stuff out!!!! Luckily, my neighbour wants to do a yard sale this month so I'm going to start culling soon.

needing...I haven't been eating right, sleeping enough or working out lately. And I can tell in my moods both at work and at school. If I am going to be at my best in all areas of my life then I need to make myself a priority and take care of me. I know I have said this before. It is an ongoing theme in my life. Ironically, I wrote the same exact thing for my needing in April. Clearly, I didn't follow through very well...Maybe this month I'll get it together and do better at taking care of me. Fingers crossed!!!! 

summer...
yes...Well, we are putting my mother into care this June. She doesn't really know (we tell her but, of course, with her Alzheimer's, she forgets) and it is not going to be pretty. I expect I'll spend much of the summer emptying out her house and getting it ready for sale.
hope...I keep having ideas for clothing I'd like to make but never have the time. Hopefully, this summer I can get in some serious sewing.
dream...I really, really want to go away with my hubby for a long weekend at least. It is unlikely that we'll manage it this summer but I'm not giving up on the dream!

And, there you go! Another Currently completed!

Cheers!

Olwyn

Friday, May 1, 2015

Board Games Galore!!!!!

Do you like board games?

In my personal life, I am not a board game player. But, at school...now that is a different story.

I teach using games all of the time!

When it comes to board games, I think you either love them or hate them.

My class LOVES them. I mean, they really LOVE them!!!!

I have been going to all of the local church sales lately and stocking up on board games.

So far I have 2 of Battle Ship, 3 Chess sets, 2 cribbage boards, 3 Snakes and Ladders, and many more.

I have been slowly getting students, who know how to play the game, to take on the teacher role and teach their peers how to play.

Yesterday we had our first Board Games time. It was so much fun! Every single student in the room was on task, engaged and learning through play. How can it get better than that?!?!

Here's a bird's eye view!





It was such a great learning time. Lots of learning game strategies, improving listening skills, building relationship skills, I could go on. But my favourite part? There was not a single piece of 21st century technology on anywhere! No screens. Just good old fashioned games and a lot of love for learning going on. It was awesome!

I have decided that this is going to be a weekly event for the rest of the year.

I can hardly wait to hit the next church sale and see what I can find!!!!

Cheers!

Olwyn

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mea Culpa! Mea Culpa! And moving on....

Ok...I confess...I have stopped doing the book study. Just not into it for some reason. Plus, I feel pretty good about the dendrites I am building in my classroom right now!

So, no more guilt about not posting my chapter responses (hence the long absence from posting since I figured I should be posting about the book study!!! Aaaah...shoulda, woulda, coulda...) and moving on to new things...

I have recently started reading the book The Secret World of Og by Pierre Berton to the class. Have you ever read it?

Image result for the secret world of og
click here to find it online

It is a true Canadian classic written in 1961. It is the story of four children who go on an adventure to rescue their baby brother who went through a trapdoor in the floor of their playhouse. The trapdoor leads to a secret underground world filled with mysterious little green people.

I am loving reading it again and am really enjoying watching the faces of the students as the adventure progresses. One of these days I am going to get them to draw what they are visualizing as I read since I know that their imaginations are in overdrive listening!

This book holds a special place in my childhood memory. In grade 5, I found myself  in a new school, that I really didn't like, with a teacher named Mrs. Gordon whom I didn't really like all that much either! I think she might be one of the reasons I went into teaching as I seem to recall the teachers I didn't like more than the ones I did. I guess I was inspired to NOT be like them!!!! But I digress....

One of my only positive memories of that year is of Mrs. Gordon sitting in the front of the class on a stool, reading to us from her copy of The Secret World of Og. Back then it had only been around for around 20 years (do the math and you can figure out how old I am!!!!) After she read us the book, we wrote letters to the author and Mrs. Gordon sent them off to his publisher. I will always remember the day the reply arrived. A letter for us! Written by Pierre Berton! On bright Og-green writing paper with a little drawing of a man from Og in the bottom corner. Oh! The excitement! 

The only other late elementary memory that comes close to topping my Og one is when Gordon Korman came to talk to our class about his book This Can't Be Happening at MacDonald Hall. He was only about 18 years old and had already written a chapter book (at age 12!) and published it! Wow! But that is a story for another day....  

Anywho, if you have never read The Secret World of Og then what are you waiting for? Go read it!!! And, if you have read it, go read it again! You won't be sorry. I promise!

Cheers!

Olwyn


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My bad....Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites Chapter 9 Mnemonic Devices & Chapter 10 Movement


Okay, clearly I was on some other planet when I thought I was almost caught up with these. They are on Chapter 11 today people!!!! Seems I might have been only 2 chapters behind when I wrote the post for Chapter 8 on the weekend but, in the meantime, two more chapters have been done! Yikes!!!

So, I am going to do a combo post about Chapters 9 & 10 (note - I just double checked the schedule and EVERYONE did chapters 9 & 10 together! Seriously, I think I need my brain examined. It seems to be on the fritz lately!!!) AND...I am going to remember to link up. I keep writing the posts and then forgetting to link up to the hosting blog. Double Yikes!(note - just tried to link up and the linking system isn't working! Isn't that just the way?!?)

This will be short and snappy. I'm not even going to fill in the cutesy form for these two chapters. Mostly because I pretty much don't know what I would put on it!

Hmmm...Mnemonic Devices....Can't really say I use these much. In fact, can't really say that I use these at all. See wasn't that an easy chapter to write about?

I'll have to hop over to some of the other blogs participating to see what kind of mnemonic devices they use in grades 1 & 2. Honestly, besides good old Roy G. Biv for teaching the colours of the rainbow, I am at a total loss on this one.

On to movement!!!!

I do incorporate movement a lot but know I could do more. Some of the things we do are things like brain breaks (I am still trying to incorporate Go Noodle more in my room. Still need to work on this!) You can check out a little of it here in this youtube video...

We also have impromptu stretching times (usually in the middle of a lesson when the class is super squirmy) and impromptu dance parties (usually during Community Centres on a Friday afternoon). I also do things like put on boppier music when kids are working on something that does not require vast amounts of concentration. Like today the grade 1's were doing a very simple cut and paste on the seasons. It didn't require as much brain energy as writing or reading would have so I popped on my marimba cd and the kids took dancing breaks when they needed one!

I do want to add more yoga into our routine. Especially the parts of yoga that will help with focus and calming down (things like breathing techniques). 

Anywho, there it is..short and sweet today. Now I'll do another chapter tomorrow and be all caught up. Yay me!!!!

Cheers!

Olwyn

Monday, April 6, 2015

Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites Chapter 8: Metaphors, Analogies and Similes



OMG! I was sure I was at least 4 chapters behind in this study but turns out I just missed two! Yay me! Catching up won't be nearly as hard as I thought =)

So, backtracking to Chapter 8: Metaphors, Similes and Analogies.

Here's my thinking...


I think I use this strategy more than I think I do. I know that I use metaphors, analogies and similes in daily conversation a lot but also know that I could stand to improve on using these strategies deliberately.

So, here's what I know I do:

Reading strategies...I use the Beanie Baby strategies for teaching the different reading tricks for solving difficult words. These trading cards for six of the strategies are from Let's Get Fancy in First. She has strategy bookmarks that you can send home to parents. I am so going to do that this year!
I love using the animals to help the kids connect to the strategy. It really does help them to remember all of them! As with so many things this year, I haven't taught it as in depth as I have other years but we are currently reviewing all of the strategies during our Daily 5 mini-lessons. 

I also like to use the PB&J Sandwich analogy for teaching reading. I tell the kids that reading is like a sandwich. One side is the reading of the words (decoding) and the other is the understanding (comprehension). In the middle are all of the parts of the writing (story, plot, characters, setting etc.) I tell them without both sides they just have a one sided sandwich and that they need all three parts for the reading to be meaningful. This always works! What kid doesn't know what a PB&J is?

Making connections...we do this ALL OF THE TIME in our Literature books. We connect to our own lives and other stories. We are beginning to work on connecting to the outside world as well. I love to use good literature to help the students make meaningful connections. It improves their understanding of the story and also helps them to remember it!

Poetry writing...we are doing this right now. And I use the same book recommended by the author for one of my poetry lessons. It is called Quick as a Cricket and is by Audrey and Don Wood. 

QUICK AS A CRICKET(pb)

It is a great way to get the kids to think about all the parts of themselves that make them unique. 

Another book I use every year is called The Very Lazy Ladybug by Isobel Finn. It is perfect for the start of the year since it is about a ladybug who doesn't want to do what it should (fly) and so hops rides on other animals only to find that none of the other animals works out for her. It is about doing it yourself and finding your own strength. After reading the book, if a student is not doing their best I tell them not to be "a lazy ladybug" and they know exactly what I mean. Works like a charm every time!

Behaviour strategies...this is one where I do a lot of verbal use of this strategies. Like telling the class if they are "as quiet as mice" when they come to the carpet they will get a smilie on the board (not sure mice is the best example here since they often come to the carpet squeaking!!!) 

Ways to improve...too many!!! I don't really use this strategy for teaching concepts (or at least I don't do so consciously) and know that this is an area in which I can stand to improve.

Especially given that the author makes a point of saying that this strategy is one of the most effective of all 20 strategies. So, I have some learning and practice to put in where this one is concerned...

Cheers!

Olwyn


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Currently...April

I am a few days late linking up but here is the latest Currently link up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade!


listening...I have a bunch of playlists on iTunes. The yoga one is a favourite of mine. Unfortunately, I have been listening to it but NOT doing the yoga part! See my comments on needing below....

loving...I was so darn tired all last week and am so glad that it is a four day weekend! I slept all of Friday and much of Saturday, too. Now I get to have two days of weekend while I am awake!

thinking...I have been participating in the book study Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites and am falling so behind on linking up for each chapter. This week will be a bunch of catch up posts. Stay tuned....
bookstudy

wanting...I hate allergies!!! I especially hate that I didn't get any of them until my 30's. I was doing just fine without them, thank you very much! It's bad enough dealing with the dust allergy all year long but throw in the pollens etc in the Spring and I am one unhappy camper. And they are especially bad in our home office right now so I avoid coming down here to use the computer, hence my not posting as often! Ugh!!!

needing...this one is pretty self explanatory. I have been feeling sluggish, blah and generally not good for awhile now and I know that it is in part due to my self care (or lack thereof!) I haven't been exercising enough, getting enough sleep or eating enough of the right stuff. So, this month I am going to get my act in gear and get back to taking care of me.

Eggs-plain my name...well, the blog one, anywho. Many, many years ago (in my last school) I had a wonderful colleague who would hide turtles all over my classroom for me to find. I was going through some tough times and the turtles were meant to remind me to persevere. You know, that whole slow and steady wins the race thing...To this day, when I see a turtle, I think of her and what a strong, steadying support in my life she was during those early years in my teaching career. I used to call her my "other mother, mentor, friend" and know that I am a better person (and teacher) for having had her guidance and support during my first 8 years of teaching. I still miss teaching with her!

Well, then students started giving me turtles as gifts and, before I knew it, turtles had become my "thing". The funny thing is that everyone always assumed that turtles are my favourite animal. I like them well enough but am not sure they are my fave. Not really sure I have a favourite animal...

When I moved to my current school, my classroom got christened Turtlepond, and I found myself with a turtle shaped swimming pool (a class gift one year) filled with turtle fabric covered pillows, a multitude of stuffed turtles (over 40 by the time we moved to the new building) and more metal, glass and wood turtles than you would believe.

The move to the new building (and the community model of teaching) got rid of my themed classroom but I kept the blog name and still have a few special turtles around my current room. But my classroom is no longer known as Turtlepond and I very rarely get turtles as gifts any more, though I did get two beautiful Swarovski crystal turtles for my birthday this year from one student (her older brother was in Turtlepond a few years back so her family knows about the whole turtle thing!)

It's funny, though, because the primary monitors working in my class this term were all reminiscing about Turtlepond and all we did there when they were in Grade 1 in the old building. And I had a parent tell me that the turtle shaped name tag from grade 1 still hangs on her grade 4 son's door AND he still sleeps with the stuffed turtle he got from me (I let the kids in the class the year we moved buildings each take a stuffed turtle home with them) on his bed. So, while the pond doesn't exist anymore, it is still living on in the happy memories of former students which makes me feel great!

And there is another month of Currently for you!

Cheers!

Olwyn

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Channeling Kandinsky

So, some art projects come about because they are a natural fit with something we are currently studying. Others (like the one I am sharing today) come about because I have too much stuff!!!!

My student teacher had a bunch of left over felt from a project she did during one of her Social Studies units. Then I got another donation of fabrics from the quilting ladies at a local church. Fabric overload!!!!

So, I decided to do a textile art project. A very, very simple art project that was inspired by my love of all things Kandinsky and, especially, his use of circles.

The inspiration:

The project in process:

The finished project:



They look so pretty and a spot of colour to our windows. I love how they sway in the breeze when I open the windows. Such a simple project. I love it!!!

Cheers!

Olwyn

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites Chapter 7: Manipulatives, Experiments, Labs & Models

bookstudy

It is time for Chapter 7 of the book study. I'm linking up today with Deanna Jump to talk about the use of manipulatives, experiments, labs & models. 

Using manipulatives in math is as familiar as breathing for me. We do tons of things with them. From explorations at the start of the year...



To using them to play math games...




To using them to create questions for worksheets...like Domino Addition (wish I had a photo!) where they pull a domino to created the question to complete. 

I use manipulatives a lot in math and I am very comfortable doing so. I wouldn't teach math any other way. Besides the benefits to using manipulatives, doing strictly pencil and paper work would be way too b.o.r.i.n.g!!!!

But, I have to be honest here. I do not do nearly enough of the other parts of this stragtegy. I do not comfortably lean towards the experiments, labs and models part of this strategy. The subject that should naturally lead to these strategies is science and, I have got to say that, science is not my forte. Plus, when it comes to our Science curriculum, it seems that some units lend themselves more to experiments than others. 

For example, we are currently studying the seasons. I am sure that there are some experiments I could come up with but I don't know what they are! We will be integrating art into this unit and I suppose I could try to have them create a model. But, to be honest, it would be a huge stretch for me to figure out how to do that and, with time constraints already on me to complete the unit, it probably won't happen. Who am I kidding? It won't happen!!!!

Whereas, our last unit on Force & Motion just naturally lent itself to doing experiments. I wish I had some photos to show you but we did all sorts of ramps and made things slide down them. We added friction to see what would happen. We made predictions and then, after the experiments, we observed what happened. I wished I had gotten more photos but I was too busy running around trying to help 48 students do experiments at one time. Yep! I was teaching both classes AT THE SAME TIME!!! (Note to self: never try to do that unit with 48 kids at the same time again!!!!!)

So, I definitely have room for improvement in this strategy. I'll keep you posted if I try something new and let you know how it goes!

Cheers!

Olwyn