I accepted a part-time teach contract at Georgetown District School teaching one section of grade nine drama while continuing to work with Pathways to Education. I wasn’t sure how I was going to cope except to continually remind myself that July would come sooner than expected!
February: Questioning Why
In September 2011, a student I worked with at Banting Memorial in Alliston drowned with his older brother while on an annual camping trip with friends. His death was shocking and I had a difficult time dealing with his passing.
On February 6th, an acquaintance of my husband and I was killed in a bizzare accident on the Gardiner heading east into Toronto. She was only 19 years old. Although I did not know Katie very well, I did learn from her at a dinner one night that she had dreams of being a mother and that she loved looking after children. I also met her mother, a kind woman who cared very much for her daughter. Katie’s death was so unexpected and untimely, just like Gavin’s death only 6 months earlier. I questioned what it all meant and had a difficult time finding any sot of comforting or rational thoughts.
March: Learning Alone
I had an opportunity to attend a TEDx conference in Waterloo. I went alone and enjoyed every moment of it. I had the entire day to reflect and to listen to a number of interesting speakers. It was a refreshing escape from the stress of 15 hour days.
June: More Confusion
June 4th 2012, Marcus Husbands (a young man from Regent Park) opened fired in the Eaton Center food court killing and injuring several people. This event grabbed worldwide media attention and shook Torontonians to their core. The shooting effected the youth of Regent Park in a different way, many felt that they were under the media microscope. This was a difficult time for all of the community members. My thoughts continue to be with the victims and their families.
September: Bills and Puppies
Bill 115 was passed into legislation. Although the unions agreed to wage freezes, the “illegal to strike” portion of the law wasn’t sitting too well with teachers.
After leaving Pathways in Augusts and having some trouble securing supply work (partly due to Bill 115) I decided I needed a change, I needed something new in my life to distract from everything. So, my husband and I began fostering wiener dogs! Best decision I made all year!
The teaching unions enforce sanctions which cause many extra-curriculars to be put on hold such as field trips. Tensions were growing over Bill 115…
December: Steps to a Fresh Start
Even with the mess that continues to battle on over Bill 115, I was hired for a fulltime LTO starting in January 2013!
2012 was not an easy year, but my fingers are crossed for the start of something fresh and new in 2013. My hopes are that something can be negotiated for teachers and for the students, that the memory of those lost are remembered with love and that everyone can find inner peace and the motivation to make the most of 2013.
It is no surprise that parents with primary aged children want to participate in their schooling. Most parents I have spoken to tend to use workbooks because that is what is available, and they do have good exercises for children to practice the skills they learn at school.
The thing is, parents can be using items around the house to support their child’s literacy and numeracy development in a more meaningful way that simply using work books. Here is my suggestion:
At Home Lesson Plan for Parents Supplies needed:
a variety of items that are a solid colour (balls, toys, cups, socks, boxes, paper clips, crayons, ect.)
Pencil and Paper
Graph Paper and Crayons
*NOTE: Only focus on one s
Place all of the items on a table, make sure all of the items are mixed up.
Engage in a number of sorting activities:
Sort the items by colour
Sort the items by size
Sort the items by shape
Sort the items by texture
Sort the items by weight
Counting and Graphing:
After sorting the items into a category (for example colours) ask the child to count each of the categorized items.
Questions to ask: How many items are red? How many items are blue? Can you tell me which colour has the most items? Can you tell me which colour has the least items.
Using the graph paper and stickers, create a simple graph using the squares to represent each of the items in the sorted categories.
Choose one of the categories and work together to create a list naming each of the sorted groups and practice writing the words on lined paper.
Using a variety of texts (books, newspapers, magazines, packaging, ect) ask your child look through the texts and find the words on the list created in the writing step.
When they find a word, read the sentence together and make personal connections to the context of the sentence.
(For Example: In The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown, one section reads, “It is yellow in the middle, it has long white petals…” When your child spots the word Yellow, read the sentence out loud together. Ask your child what they think the sentence is about? Ask them to look at pictures and take a guess. Read the sentences before to clarify and ask your child what they know or understand about, in this case, daisies, or flowers. What other colours can a flower be?)
Once you get into this activity you will experience a number of authentic teachable moments where you can engage your child’s curiosity and discover they’re strengths and challenges!
Try it out! Let me know how everything went by commenting below!
As a new teacher, I find it incredibly difficult to find useful resources, let alone resources that demonstrate their practical use in a real setting. Today I discovered Mrs.Jump’s Class, and amazing blog with cool resources and images of classroom activities and centers.
While searching Pinterst I came across the image below. What an excellent idea! So I clicked on the image and it led me to the Mrs Jump blog. The site is full of ideas like this, so be sure to check it out!
You don’t need expensive educational toys to engage and educate children. Making opportunities for purposeful conversation and learning through everyday tasks is more meaningful and fun! Remember; monkey see, monkey do.
Try these activities with children to support their continuing development of reading, writing, and math skills…
Find objects around the house that start with any chose letter of the alphabet (Ex: “C” – couch, cat, car, chair, clock) Discuss the phonetic sounds that the chosen letter can make).
Find objects around the house that rhyme (Ex: Cat, Hat or Lamp, Stamp or Bed, Red)
Identify a few sight words (the, is, are) and have your child circle the words in the newspaper.
After grocery shopping, sort foods by colour, size, weight, food group.
Sort, count and roll coins.
While washing dishes, fill a cup with water and have them guess whether or not the next cup or bowl to be washed will hold the same amount of water.
Measure how long a piece of furniture is by counting their “feet” (toe to heel), have them guess if a table is longer or short by their “feet”. (Do the same with perimeter)
Cut out sticks and half circles from construction paper and ask your child to create different letters using the shapes (EX: one stick and two half circles make a “B”, or three sticks make an “H”.
Read with your child everyday. Ask questions such as, “How would you feel if you were this character? Is it fair that ‘this’ is happening the character? Why or why not? What is your favourite part of the book and why?)
Count the days on the calendar. Ask questions like, “How many days until the end of the month?”
It was one year today that Gavin and Zachery Marengeur were tragically taken from us. My thoughts are with the Marengeur Family and all of the students from Banting Memorial who loved him so much. Many of those students are going into their first year of University, and it hurts to know that Gavin would have enjoying the same luxury as his peers. He was planning on going to University for theatre arts.
Today is a reminder of how grateful we all should be for the lives we live and people who love us. To the Banting students, I hope you make the most of this new post-secondary experience and that you stay safe.