This year was the third year that I had butterflies in the classroom. I have found that it is a wonderful way for the children to observe the life cycle of an insect and for them to observe the changes that the insect goes through.
Each morning as they enter the classroom, many of my students rush to the table where they are set up to see if there have been any changes overnight. Some will sit and watch the caterpillars (and later butterflies) for a while, observing their movements and looking at the way they are built.
A few days after the butterflies have come out of their chrysalis, we take them outside to set them free. The children love watching them fly free. This year the butterflies would not leave quickly, giving the children a chance to hold them in their hands. The children were so excited to hold them, and were surprisingly gentle with the insects.
This week I am grateful for butterfly kits as they enable me to bring a little bit of nature into my classroom.
What have you been grateful for this week? Share your post in the comments below.
The last couple of weeks I been been focused on writing report cards. I have been:
Assessing my students’ writing and reading.
Flipping through my students’ portfolios to determine their level of skill in Math, Science, and Social Studies.
Refining comments and inputting them into the reporting system.
Spending many hours in front of the computer.
And now they are done! I have submitted them for revision and next week I will make corrections, sign, copy and place them in envelopes. The end of the school year is almost here! Certainly something to smile about as I look forward to relaxing and recharging.
Good morning to you and welcome. A cup of something warm would be appreciated as it is still a little chilly outside. Afternoons are warming up and some brave people – and many children – are going outside in their short sleeves.
The past week has been busy and yet fulfilling. I am getting everything ready so that I can put a final mark next to the work my students have done during the second half of the year. I have read with most of them, given them their final writing “test’, and organised all their work. In the upcoming week I shall listen to them speak with a view of giving them a mark, and complete the final Science activity for the report card. I am hoping by the end of next week to have all of the marks recorded so that on Friday (the PA day set aside for reporting), I can complete my report cards. If everything is in place and I focus, I know that I can do it!
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I tried a new activity with my students during the past week and it worked very well. For our inquiry on animals, I took out non-fiction books on a range of creatures from our school library. I asked the children to choose a book to do research on an animal of their choice. With the help of sentence starters, they took down notes to record the information they had found. With this information, they wrote a paragraph which I then corrected.
The fun part of the activity was when the children worked on their neat copy. They typed their paragraph into an app using the iPad. I had previously taught them how to use Piccollage and many of them were able to work independently.
They chose their background, font, and searched on the Web for appropriate pictures. I enjoyed reading their final copies as much as they enjoyed making them.
Next week, we will move onto the life cycles of animals. Once again, children will be researching their animal as well as using the iPad. But that story will be told next week.
Today the sun is shining and the skies are a beautiful pale blue. I am going out now to buy some groceries, pop into the library, and then go to my Zumba class. I look forward to the rest of my day (which will include some time relaxing and reading). May you have a wonderful day too.
It is currently report card “season” as teachers begin to complete the assessment of students for the term, and work on generating the sheets of paper that will be sent home at the end of the school year. As always, this time begins with the decision on what comments to use in the report card that will encapsulate the learning that has taken place in the classroom.
Currently I am thankful for the people that I work with. Together we are working on creating appropriate and relevant comments that reflect the programme we have taught this year. Next week will see us working together to determine the levels of our students’ French writing. As we refine our comments and determine the level of our students’ work, I am grateful to have colleagues this year with whom I can collaborate.
What have you been grateful for this week? Share your post in the comments below.
One of the activities at the Math centre this week in my classroom was all about area. How do you introduce area to 6-8 year olds? The grade 1 and 2 curriculum encourages teachers to introduce their students to this concept using non-standard units; that is, blocks and other manipulatives. I have found that the children enjoy this activity (which they do in pairs) and eagerly measure the surface of books, their journal, the seat of a chair, and a book shelf.
A few surfaces are covered by many blocks and the children need to work out some strategies to count up to large numbers. This necessity leads to one of those moments when the grade 2 partner helps the grade 1 student The students’ collaboration often leads to both grades understanding the basics of area and measuring it.
Which photo do you prefer? The colour? Or the black and white?
Correcting my students’ work is not always easy. Often I find myself sounding out their words and reading what they have written aloud. There are times when I am unable to figure out what they have written and call the person to come and read for me. I need no help, though, in ‘reading’ their illustrations.
Yesterday I was correcting some work and I could not help but smile at some of the detailed illustrations that I saw. It is easy to understand why some children are so proud of their drawings.
Good morning to you and welcome on this sunny day. Yesterday the day was bright and the temperatures a lot warmer than we have had. The air coming through the windows today is a little cooler – but at least we can still see the sun shine. 🙂
If we were having coffee, I would the week began with news that we had almost expected – the school board delayed, once again, the decision on where the school is going to be located next year. The result? Two more teachers have decided to leave and have found positions elsewhere. We are sad to see them go but we can understand why they have made the decision to leave. Maybe we will know next week what the decision is to be regarding the school?
Mid-week I had the opportunity to spend some time outside when I attended a workshop at an Outdoor Education facility. I was introduced to a number of ideas on taking inquiry outside; and was inspired by the motivational speaker. The best part? I spent time outside in a piece of forest that exists in the city. I wrote about my experience in more detail when describing my Weekly Smile. (You can read the post here).
On Thursday we had the Shoestring Opera come to the school to present an adaptation of the opera Carmen. The children loved the interactive theatre – and I enjoyed listening to the music. Carmen is, after all, my favourite opera.
The story appealed to the children as the storyline was one they understood – a new girl in a new school and the experience she has on her first day.
On Friday I definitely felt the expression TGIF! I am feeling tired even though it is the final hurdle before the Summer break. I am starting to think about report cards and am sorting out my students writing and reading abilities. But on Friday, we were not thinking of report cards. Instead the school participated in a school wide activity for Jump Rope for Heart. Our school community normally raises a substantial amount for this charity – and the kids love the activities that the gym teacher plans. The bonus was that the weather was perfect – not too hot nor too cold. It was lovely being outside and watching the children jump rope.
Saturday I woke up early to bake a cake to celebrate my youngest daughter’s sixteenth birthday. She planned to celebrate her day with her friends and I had plenty to do organising the food and cleaning our place. My husband went off to Chinatown to buy spring rolls and the dumplings while I chopped the vegetables and cooked noodles. My daughter had a wonderful lunch and afternoon with her friends. I will make a special meal for her later on in the week on her actual birthday.
During the week I prepared Mother’s Day gifts with the children in my class for their mothers. I collected the glass ‘petit pots’ that my yogurt comes in, bought some beads, and made sure I had enough glue sticks for my glue gun. I worked with two children at a time and guided them to create and decorate a pencil holder for their moms.
Not only was the gift pretty and useful but making it also encouraged the children to work on their hand-eye co-ordination and to strengthen their fingers.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is time to go. My children are kicking me out the living room so they can get lunch ready for Mother’s Day. If you are a Mom, enjoy your day. And if not, I hope you get to spend the day with your mother.
Yesterday I left home earlier than usual to go to a workshop on outdoor education. The goal was to gather ideas on how to take learning outside. I was excited as I looked forward to learning new things and spending some time outdoors.
I loved being surrounded by trees for most of the day. I walked a bit in the forest – and had my sessions surrounded by trees. I enjoyed smelling the fresh air and listening to the sound of the trees whispering in the wind. Rejuvenating!
In addition to being surrounded by nature during our sessions, we were introduced to some nifty ideas that we could implement with our students. I loved the idea of an outdoor inquiry toolbox for children to use while outside.
The day ended with a motivational speaker, Kathleen Lundy. I have heard this experienced educator speak before and both times she has spoken to the heart. Yesterday she put up a cartoon that encapsulates what a difficult task it is to teach.
As always with the group of people who run the workshops in the Beginning Teachers department, we received a gift of books. One, Natural Curiosity, I have been wanting to read for a while. And the other? I am always on the lookout for ideas on how to integrate the curriculum in my programme. And even though the picture book we received is in English, I can use the pictures to talk to with my class.
Yesterday was a lovely day and one that caused me to smile all day long.