I am with them for five days of the week. I work with them. I laugh with them. I share with them. I learn with them. I get to know them. I get to teach them.
For five days a week, I am with a group of children whose ages range from 5 to 7. I enjoy their individual personalities as they learn to work independently in a classroom situation. My days are busy and filled with movement. I see children learn to read, write independently, gain self confidence, and thrive in the learning environment that I have created.
The five days a week that I am with the children in my class can be tiring, stressful at times, satisfying … and fun. I walk to work with a bounce in my step and unlock the classroom door with pleasure. I am thankful everyday that my path has led me to to a place which not only allows me to help others, but also gives me much fulfilment.
This year I am not the only one teaching a grade 1/2 combined class at my school. Instead, there are two other people who have joined me in the experience. No longer am I isolated and working on my own. Now I have two teachers to share ideas with – and two others who are helping to improve the programme I created last year. As we work together I am helping them not only with activities that worked last year, but I am giving them suggestions on how to manage the grade 1s and 2s. It is a pleasure for me to meet during lunch to discuss what we will teach in the following week. And I love that I am not working in isolation on the long range plans for our classes.
This week I am grateful that I am part of a grade 1/2 team and that I am no longer working in isolation.
Set in the Summer of 1946 in the Wash on the Fenland Coast, Peacetime by Robert Edric is not the type of book that I usually read. At times the action a little slow but I find it interesting to read about one character in particular – Jacob, a Jewish man who experienced the horrors of the concentration camps during the Second World War. The teaser I have chosen are the words he speaks to one of the people who have befriended him, James Mercer:
“In Papenburg perhaps. But not afterwards, nit there. You talk of risk, of those risks worth taking but in that place nothing was calculable; there was no reason, no connection between how one lived and how or why one died. To be in the wrong place at the wrong time was a risk, but who was to know where or when that was? People were chosen at random, the sick and the healthy alike, and they were killed.” (205, Doubleday, 2002).
As James Mercer works on demolishing the gun platforms after the war, he befriends Mathias (a German prisoner of war) as well as Mary, a fifteen year old girl. When her father returns from military prison, the violence he brings with him changes the dynamic of relationships formed in his absence.
I am nearing the end of the novel and I am curious to see whether Mary is able to escape the violence her father has brought into her life.
What are you reading this week? Feel free to share a few sentences from the book in the comments.
During the Summer, my family and I had the opportunity to go to Mexico and see the Mayan Temple. We were in awe of this ancient structure and I imagined it surrounded by the forest with approaching pilgrims who had come to visit for religious purposes.
The structures are now beginning to crumble and the modern visitors come to see what are one of the new wonders of the world.
Good morning! Hope you had a wonderful and fulfilling week. Our temperatures have dropped a little so it is not so unbearably hot. I am thankful for this as we could breathe a little in the classrooms this week.
This year I am one of my school’s PORs (Person of Responsibility). Our mandate (given by our principal and vice-principal) is to create and deliver Professional Development (PD) sessions to the teachers at our school. At the end of the 2015-16 school year, we sent out a survey to discover what was needed. High on the list was the desire to learn the technology we are expected to use in the classroom. We decided to create a PD session at the beginning of the school year so that teachers could begin the school year on a positive note.
We decided to teach those who needed it how to use their Google Drive and create a Google document. The goal was to enable each person to create a document for Curriculum Night which would then be shared electronically with the parents. We wish to go paperless on a night which traditionally sees teachers handing out pieces of paper which are often not read. The PD took place during the entire day and was made up of three sessions. At these sessions, teachers were shown where to find the Google Drive, how to create a Google document and how to share it. In addition, people were given time to practise and begin creating their document for the curriculum evening with the parents.
The sessions went smoothly and the feedback from those who attended was positive. On Monday, our team will be meeting and we will work on what PD we will next offer to the staff. It is exciting to be a part of a change at the school – and it makes the extra work that comes with the position worthwhile.
The rest of my week went smoothly as my students and I begin to get used to one another. Routines are being established in the classroom and the children are getting used to the idea of working at centres. Next week I will add more to what we did this week – I am hoping that they will enjoy the less traditional activities.
This weekend will be spent working on my own Curriculum Night document. I have spent time this past week helping others, now it is time to do my own🙂
In order to learn, we need to listen. Each day I have in front of me a few children who are learning to listen. Learning to listen on the carpet during a lesson. Learning to listen to instructions. Learning to listen to their friends and classmates during worktime and playtime. Take peek into classrooms at the beginning of the school year and you will see teachers, no matter what grade, emphasize the importance of listening. The long summer holidays have encouraged the children not only to forget their Math and French, but also the skill of listening.
But teachers persevere. And children remember – or learn. After a few months, listening attitudes have improved in the classroom and instructions are followed more carefully. My colleagues and I use the phrase “Il n’ecoute pas!” less often and are content instead when classes run with less interruptions.
Yes, listening is important to learn. And I look forward to the day when all of the members of my new class realise this.
This year I have been appointed as one of the PORs (Person Of Responsibility) at the school. The school admin (principal and vice-principal) would like us to focus on doing professional development (PD) for the teachers at our school. Our first goal for this year was to go paperless for our Curriculum Night – which is happening next week Thursday. In order to do this, we organised a day during which teachers attended one of three sessions to learn how to create a Google doc, share it, as well as edit another person’s work. My colleague did the presentation and I helped people with the tasks she set out for them.
So far the workshop sessions have had positive feedback; and I have had a few people come to me for extra help. It is exciting to see people embrace the new concept enthusiastically and wish to take it a step further to enhance their teaching and assessment practice.
This week I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to help organise these sessions for my colleagues, as well as to help teach them. I am also grateful for the vehicle through which I can share my practices.
Yesterday was the first day back to school. It was a beautiful sunny day and the excitement hummed on the playground as parents and children searched the lists to find their new teacher. I saw quite a few smiles as some of my students from SK saw that I was to be their grade 2 teacher :) Understandably the grade 1s were feeling a little nervous as they no longer would be protected within the confines of the kindergarten environment.
The day was spent teaching my students new routines. I gave them the opportunity as well to get to know one another as they asked questions trying to discover who liked snow, who had a cat, who enjoys eating apples, etc.
This week I am grateful for first days, and the chance to get to know new students.
I have enjoyed a few of the novels written by Eric Walters – an author who writes for the younger audience. This weekend I spent time reading one of his latest stories: Walking Home. The story is about a thirteen year old Kenyan boy, Muchoki, and his younger sister Jata. Political violence has killed their father and destroyed their home. Muchoki, Jata and their ailing mother live in an overcrowded refugee camp where they found refuge after the destruction of their home. With the death of their mother, the two children are orphaned. Driven by a desperate optimism, Muchoki and Jata set off on what seems an impossible quest: to walk over a hundred miles across Kenya in search of their last remaining family.
“I had hope too – hope that my mother would get better and we would then leave and her family would welcome us. I had started to realise how powerful hope was. After water and food, shelter from the weather and a place to sleep, it was the most powerful thing that could sustain a person.” (p71, Doubleday Canada, 2014)
This story is one of hope and optimism and can be enjoyed by adults as well as its target audience (children in middle school). I am not surprised that this book was nominated for the Red Maple Award. Not only is it well written, it touches a chord in your heart.
What are you reading this week? Feel free to share a few sentences from the book in the comments.