One resource to initiate engagement in multiple areas.

ondergedokenAs Christmas break ended and we returned to school, our class finished reading and working with the novel “Raven Quest”. Although this novel looked at over coming adversity, thinking over others and understanding aspects of writing such as setting and sequencing, there was only engagement from all of my students when I was reading the text (Story Time). I wanted a text that would engage my grade six students in multiple areas and in multiple ways – simply put I wanted do do something that was as inclusive as possible.

After some lengthy conversations with my colleagues that I would consider literacy Guru’s, i decided to choose “The Diary of Anne Frank”. There are variety of ideas, concepts and activities you could do in relation to the story. For the students in 6C we will be beginning with the following and hope to hear of some other great ideas which we may try.

To incorporate numeracy we will be looking at the two time lines that exist within the span of the story. The time line of Anne Frank and the time line of World War II. We are then going to examine how the two relate to each other and therefore determine how one timeline effected and influenced the other. This will then be combined with students looking, with their parents help at their parents time line and overlapping that with the events that occurred both nationally and internationally, which may have effected their lives.

In respect to citizenship and community, the students are going to examine the issues between Nazi Germany and the Jewish community and how the role of Nazi Germany effected surrounding communities and countries. This will also relate to Social Studies, looking through the lens of government, national identity and relationships. nazi_flag_581 - Copy

Although we are only in the first forty pages of the story, I am really looking forward to working through this story with my students. We have already had some great conversations about equality, integrity, social justice and right & responsibilities, but I am sure that this is just the tip of the ice berg.

If you have some ideas or have previously tried, please share I would love to make this an expereince my 6’s will never forget. Also please stayed tuned as we progress through the story and display our learning and our adventures.

New Year, New Assignment ohhhh the possibilities.

What an amazing summer.  After three years being in charge of the reins and making sure that everything was always ready to go and that everything was set for the first day,  I was able to and took full advantage of the so called “two months off” during the summer. I must say that it was fabulous. I enjoyed every part of it especially the five days of fishing, twenty feet from my back door.

This however is not the reason for this post, first I would like to apologize to all of my friends and colleagues for my absence, but would also like to pass on the assurance that you will be hearing a lot from me both from this location and others that I will connect you with shortly.

 

blog classroom

This year, I am excited to teach grade six and while teaching my #youngpadawans (Star Wars is my class theme) I will be actively using what I have learned about over the past three years and encouraged other educators to use. I will be working with my kids to tweet out questions and to make global connections to learn and connect using our classroom twitter account.

I am thrilled that I have the privileged to walk my students through their initial trials and discoveries using Google Classroom 

In addition to keep my students parents connected to the classroom and aware of what is being covered, what is expected and the experiences of the students. I will be using Remind, our Rams Class Facebook account and our PSDBlogs class blog.

Please come and join our adventure as we navigate the universe and make memories and connections that will change how we work, influence how we learn and fuel our need to be challenged.

 

Seba Beach Fashion Show

In late December some of my parents approached my stating that they would like to create a student project that would help the community and at the same time work on Citizenship aspects and goals for our junior high students. I informed the parents that I thought this was a great idea. After some quick discussions, it was determined that the students would hold a fashion show and a dinner to raise funds for our communities senior center that was in need of an elevator. The elevator was essential to allow some of our community members access to the second floor of the center.

I am a strong believer in building leadership and that if someone is given the responsibility to undertake a project that they inherently accept some authority. I simply asked the parent volunteers to keep me in the loop and appraised of how things were proceeding and if they needed any help from the school to come and see me. The committee organized a tea and visit for our students to meet some of the seniors that access the center, they also arranged for the purchase of some items from the thrift store for the fashion show. The parents also created the menu, the itinerary, the seating charts and in collaboration with the students that agreed to participate the themes.

Although there were many hick-ups and challenges, at time minor conflicts and the feeling that things were not going to fall in to place right up until the dinner. I was proud of the students and the parents. Everything came together beautifully despite the worries and anxiety. The committee put together a fabulous meal, the food was amazing as was the desserts and was the topic of conversation right up until the fashion show started. The show was incredibly put together and the students did a marvelous job. They were entertaining, got into the roles in relation to the different themes that were presented and when needed were elegant and purposeful in their actions.

I was not only proud of the students, but as well of the parents as the all had gleaming smiles on their faces when they realized that there napkin, coffee planning all resulted in a breathtaking experience. After  the fashion show, I did my small part thanking everyone for coming and supporting our students and their cause, which raised just over $1000.00 for the center. I thanked the students for their memorable participation and thanked the committee for all of their work and that without them it wouldn’t have been possible.

As the evening wore down and people started leaving, I made sure that I was visible to thank them for coming and supporting, and every time that someone stated that I had done great, I was quick to point out that I could take only the minimalist of the compliment that 99% of the credit needed to go to the parents, the students and to the community. I have always believed that credit is given where credit is due. All I did was allow the event to have a date. As a tribute to the evening I did what I do best . . . and here is a summary video of the evenings events.

I hope you enjoy it and if you have any questions or ideas for the future please do not hesitate to share them.

Door Decorating

It is a simple thing teachers do to make their classrooms welcoming and inviting to students and to parents. Decorating one’s classroom door is something that I did at least once a month as a teacher; either having welcome back signs on it with leaves to signify fall or creatively making a Christmas scene when it came to that time of year.

However, this year I was unsure about decorating my office door. Being the Principal I don’t always have students coming to my office and if they do they aren’t always happy about having to come down.

I was, however, pleasantly surprised, both in September and here in October, finding my door already decorated.  It was wonderful to see.  My Kindergarten and Grade One students, with the help of their teacher, have been decorating my door. The best part of it is that the majority of items that are placed on my door are student created, rather than store bought.

It is a pleasure to see the students work, their faces when they come down and show me which item they created and the look on parents faces when I tell them that I had nothing to do with the decorating; that it was all students.

Honestly, it puts a great big smile on my face and I look forward to seeing what the students are going to create each month to decorate my door.

Instead of posting every month with a new picture of my door, please feel free to follow along at http://www.facebook.com/stormSBSprincipal our school’s new Facebook Page.

The need for change in Education

During today’s #edchat there were amazing conversation’s and discussions about life long learning, passion (creating it or finding it) but in addition to this where some great questions and conversations about how education needs to change and why. I would love to say that I have some great and innovative ideas, but I think at present they are works in progress.

I did however want to share this great video, which relates to a speech given by Ken Robinson about Changing how we view education (Changing Education Paradigms) and why the change is necessary.

It is a great video – I hope you take the time to watch it if you haven’t already seen it.

The Excuses

Are comments and phrases that we hear, day in a day out. Some are creative and some are, well boring. I haven’t been all the way around the block yet in my teaching career, but I have hear some very interesting excuses. Until recently most of the excuses I heard came from students. However, since the beginning of the school year I have picked up more coming from colleagues, mostly about becoming more involved and connected. However this post is not going to go into that, the motivation for this post was, stumbled upon after a student sent me a message as a Joke on Edmodo.

With his permission I have provided a copy for you to see.

DEADBORING.

Forget it
You must be kidding
It’s boring
It’s no fun
It’s weird
It’s not fun
It’s dead boring
It’s not me
I’d rather go to sleep
DING
Time’s up? Uh oh!
All I have is a dumb list of excuses.
You like it? Really? No kidding.
Thanks a lot. Would you like to see another one?

Most recently, the best excuse I was given by a friend was that he was that they were at the Hospital visiting his grandma and might be able to come by later. Now, generally I trust my friends, but this one always has something to do when manual labour requests are made of him. He had forgotten that he loaded the Iphone finder app with a friend. We happened to search for his phone and found that he oddly showing up on Nakamun Lake. (hmmm – wonder what he was doing there in the winter) Needless to say, he ended up buying dinner for everyone that night.

I was hoping that you could share some of the best excuses you have been given by a student, staff or colleague. Please keep it appropriate as I am trying to keep this on the lighter side.

Differentiated Learning – The key is?

Monday, I had the wonderful ability to participate in a Professional Development with many of my colleagues from our sister schools. As a colleagues, experts and learners we came together to discuss what differentiated learning is and how this practice impacts and improves learning for the students that we work with.

Through our presentations and our conversations we discussed four major areas:

Planning for Differentiation

Academic Differentiation

Social Skills Development

Resources

In all of the groups and discussions that I was part of, there was one resounding element. An element that many effective teachers and administrators know and do with out having to think about. So, what is this magic ingredient that will help teachers in the classroom and will help students in their learning.

KNOW YOUR STUDENTS

Knowing your students, is  a key element when building relationships, but in doing so you can find out a students readiness, learning style, reading level, personal interests, talent’s and more importantly their academic support requirements and multiple intelligences. Obviously formal and informal assessments will be able to provide some insight, and I am sure that like myself many people have shelves upon shelves of information that could help, but the easiest thing and most beneficial, both to you as an educator and to your students is to KNOW YOUR STUDENTS.