Last week the administration at my school gave me a gift of five iPads. The tablets are brand new and have been given to me for use exclusively in my classroom. Apps are being added to our selection as the staff come across interesting ones that may be useful.
The children explore an app on the iPads in small groups. They enjoy this way of learning and cannot wait for it to be their turn. I am pleased to have another way for them to hone their skills in Math and in French. One of the iPads have been given to me for documentation purposes and I am grateful for this as my personal one kept running out of space!
Practising spelling can be tedious – especially when 6 and 7 years old. In my classroom I give my students an opportunity to practise every day but each day they work on their words a little differently. The week begins with practice on the white board or on the chalk board:
The second day of the week, I take out the play dough. I ask parents to make a batch for me when it is needed. Not only do the children enjoy “writing” with it, they enjoy manipulating the dough as well.
On Wednesdays, the letter stamps come out:
Thursday I bring out my trays filled with salt. The children enjoy running their fingers over this texture and they find practising their spelling is over quickly.
The end of the week spelling practice is done with magnetic letters on baking trays that have not been used for baking.
Witing out the words on paper is how the spelling is practised at home. At school, the tediousness of writing is alleviated by visiting the Dictee center.
How did you practise spelling when you were at school?
Area E48 had been cordoned off, preventing curious bystanders from discovering the truth. The middle-aged woman had been taken quickly and effortlessy. All that remained of her presence was an unmatched shoe and her hysterical daughter.
“Aliens took her! Their long arms pulled her into their ship!”
“Yes, ma’am. I am sure that is what you saw.”
Those at the top of the city’s bureacracy knew there was truth in the woman’s hysterical ramblings. The alien presence on earth was a long kept secret which they intended to keep. The daughter would be dealt with quickly.
I try not to dwell on things that will upset the rhythm of my day – instead I try to focus on the positive. There are times, however, when my thoughts circle around the same occurance. Over and over and over again.
When my thoughts get stuck in a never-ending replay of a moment in time, I speak about it. My husband listens and says the same thing everytime: “Don’t let it upset you. It is not worth it.” He does not realise that I do not need him to fix the situation – all I need is for him to listen while I vent. I have come to appreciate my daughters for their listening ears. Now that they are teenagers, they realise that mommy also needs to express what upsets her.
I try not to dwell on things too much as I have learned that it can lead to feeling depressed. I have learned, instead, to reflect on all the good that is in my life. Thinking of the positive has certainly led to a certain contentment in my life.
What do you do to prevent yourself from dwelling on the negative?
When I moved from Johannesburg to Toronto, a friend of mine gave me a parting gift:
The gift remains unused but brings a piece of Africa into my home. I love the colours and the handpainted designs on the salt and pepper shakers. They have a place on the shelf in the living room and I see its beauty each time I pass by.
This weekend was the annual Toronto Santa Parade. I attended the event on Sunday along with many young children and their parents. The weather was warm and sunny so families were out in full force.
I attended this year because my daughter was participating in the event: she is in the marching band for her school. Before searching for a spot among the crowds, we went to find her to wish her well. During our search we stopped to watch a few bands that were playing their tunes.
We finally found a spot where we could see. The crowds were definitely larger than last year (last year the wind was icy and it was snowing). When the parade finally began, I enjoyed the music of the marching bands.
The Santa Parade is the one time I hear Torontonians shout out “Merry Christmas” and not the politically correct “Happy Holidays”. It is a pleasure for me to hear these traditional words.
I recall this costume from last year and I am still amazed by the fact that she is smiling while pushing the skirt. I am sure that by the end of the parade she is sore and tired from pushing that contraption along! Not all the costumes were the same as last year though – and there were many new floats. There were some that caused cries of delight from the little ones; and the adults roared with approval when the float for the Blue Jays (Toronto’s baseball team) rolled by.
After the parade had passed by, people dispersed – and left behind their litter! The streets were strewn with paper cups, paper plates and candy wrappers. The City had thought of clean-up though. Once the streets had cleared a little of people, the barricades were taken away and the cleaners came to pick up the garbage. The streets were also swept clean by specialised trucks. Within half an hour, it looked like the parade had not even happened.
This week I am grateful that the Santa Parade still happens in spite of decreasing profits and budget cuts. The event brings so much joy to so many children – and it is always a pleasure for me to see my daughters participate in this community event.
I needed to relax a little and picking up T.B.Markinson’s latest novel, The Miracle Girl, was a good choice. The lighthearted read allowed me to enjoy a few hours on the sofa with my feet up and a warm cup of rooibos tea.
The protagonist of the story is JJ Cavendish, the miracle girl who works for a newspaper company. She returns to Denver after many years away from home and reconnects with the person who caused her to leave her hometown.
This story is about a woman who not only reconnects with the love of her past; but also about a woman who comes to terms with her past actions. The Miracle Girl is a romantic story between two women who learn to take a chance and believe in their love. In the writing of JJ’s story, the author makes reference to the changing role of journalists and their need to change the way in which they report the news.
I enjoyed this read. It is fast-paced and leaves no time for the reader to get bored. The well-written pages kept my attention for the entire afternoon until I had read the last paragraph. If you enjoy romance then this story is definitely one to pick up. (Note: As the novel is part of the LGBT genre, the sexual encounters between the characters are described as such.)
On Saturday morning I walked through the park and realised that all the leaves had been blown off of the trees. Thursday and Friday had been bitterly cold with an icy wind that seemed to go through our Autumn jackets.
As I walked through the park, I noticed how dreary the place looked. Even though it is still Autumn, the area has the feel of winter about it.
Even the bench I shared with Jude a couple of weeks ago no longer looks inviting:
I saw the sun rising behind the buildings but even the little bit of colour in the sky did not take away the threat of an approaching winter.
The branches of trees reach up towards the sky as Old Man Winter slowly creeps into our lives.
(This post is inspired by Cardinal Guzman’s Monthly Challenge: The Changing Seasons in which bloggers post pictures of the same location throughout the year. The location I have chosen to focus on is the nearby public park.)
As I sit here in front of my keyboard ready to write a blog post, my mind keeps returning to the events that happened last night in Paris. My first thought is one of horror and incredulity that this beautiful city has been attacked once again. I think of the terror people must have felt when they were attacked – innocent people that were enjoying themselves on a Friday evening with their friends or family. I shudder to think of the pain of those who mourn their loved ones. I imagine the panic that must have ensued when trying to find a sister, a brother, a best friend.
I am saddened by the knowledge that a country which has historically fought for freedom and that has upheld liberty in our modern times, is now under attack by the Islamic State. I pray that France will have the strength to continue to uphold their values; and that they will have the wisdom needed to combat the threat. I pray too that those Parisians who are Muslims and hope that they do not suffer from a backlash because of their religious beliefs. May those who live in Paris have the wisdom to know the difference between extremists and those who wish to live their daily lives in peace and freedom.
I pray for Paris during this time. And for our world. May all people learn to live in tolerance of one another’s religious beliefs.
(If you have missed the details of this horrific event, the article in The Guardian gives a good summary as well as the French president’s response to the attacks)
I look at my board and see that 47 teaching days have passed since the beginning of the school year. And I am weary. Days have melted into weeks giving me a sense of a neverending string of days. I work continuously on combining two curriculums (grade 1 and grade 2) and on creating interesting lessons and activities that will have meaning for the children in my class. There is so much I want to prepare – and yet there is so little time.
Today is a PA day – a day for teachers to work on report cards and to spend time in their classrooms. I am glad of it as I will take the time to catch up on my assessment, tidy up the mountain of paper on my desk and shelf, and work a little on my report cards. I am weary, and I have too much to do.
And yet I am content. I am enjoying the opportunity to put into place what I believe in: centres in the classroom; using inquiry as a way to create interest in the children; the importance of making the curriculum relevant; giving the child the opportunity to self-regulate; individualised and personal assessment. It is hard work in the beginning and yet I know the results will be worth it.