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.

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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.

Do your words SAY what they should?

We use words everyday to communicate with people around us and those that we interact with digitally. Although I try to convey my message thoughtfully and clearly, I often hear from my students “I don’t understand”. Even though this can be frustrating and trying at times I understand the importance of it. The words that we choose to use effect our message.

This is best portrayed in the following video which was shared by @TheHomeworkDog on Twitter.

An cousin of mine shared a great comment with me after I shared the video with her:

Words/language define our society and culture. Words describe cultural codes about how things are and what is said indicate our views about the society we live in. By changing our words; the language used, only we can change the dominant ideology and make positive changes.

, and in my opinion her comment was dead-on in relation to the importance and power of words in creating positive change in the lives of people.

How do the words you use effect the people you share them with?

All Hope is Not Lost…Little Leaders Guest Post

I have been posting about the adventures of my own classroom during the year about the growth of my students when it comes to being leaders, but recently I had the pleasure of hearing a heart warming story from @aram_aristotle. After hearing the story I suggested that she write a guest post so that I may use it to show how students of all ages, display and a capable of being leaders. So without making you wait any longer here is @aram_aristotles guest post and story of her students displaying citizenship, community, caring, friendship and leadership.

Our small rural school hosts a fairly regular group of students, of which it could be said suffer from the same ailments of degenerating manners and work ethic as much of the current generation of preteens and teenagers are labeled with. However, this winter we saw the kindness and consideration that is still living and breathing, but is often not recognized in these young individuals.

Our high school hosts a complement of approximately 50 students on a good day,  but they showed an enormous  heart during this last Christmas Season. One of our students, who unfortunately, comes from a troubled and rough family life with a fairly low socioeconomic status, was going through a very rough situation during the winter.  The situation regretfully degenerated and he was required to leave his home to move in with a friend’s family. The student is a kind and determined person but has some neurological issues, relating to academic and social deficits. This aside, the student would be labeled as a gentle giant, always looking at the brighter side.

As we live in a small community many of his peers were aware of his home situation. During December, his fellow classmates decided to give him a sense of family and community and put together their money and purchased a genuine Oiler’s jersey for him as a Christmas present.  They knew he would not be spending it with his family nor was he accustomed to recieving presents.

The day his peers intended to present his gift to him, he was having a terrible day academically which was compounded by a heart breaking, negative phone call mid-day from his social worker. He returned my class frustrated and on the brink

3D Full Spectrum Unity Holding Hands Concept

3D Full Spectrum Unity Holding Hands Concept - http://www.lumaxart.com/

of tears.  His classmates, aware of the issues presented him with their present and he broke down crying tears of love, care, appreciation and gratitude. The troubles of his day appeared to fade away and he was such a joy to see for the rest of the day proudly sporting his jersey. His mood and outlook improved due to the caring and consideration of his friends reminding him that to them he mattered and was important.

I know that we, as staff, were all touched when reminded how kind and considerate our children can be. It truly does encourage the heart…and remind us that our student can and will meet the challenges and struggles faced by each other together.

It is always great to hear about the stories and success of students in other classrooms and schools. I would also like to thank (Asha) @aram_aristotle for taking the time to write the post and share her story.