Category Archives: Back to School

I’ve Been Neglectful …

Last year, I was a member of an early learning kindergarten team at A.B. Ellis Public School in Espanola, Ontario. Did I love it? You bet I did. Those wonderful little kindergartners were my pride and joy for nine months, and I feel like I’ve come out of the experience as a stronger, more resourceful and more capable teacher. With that new adventure though, I didn’t use the blog the way that I normally did, because I wanted to wait until I found a good way to use it that would benefit myself, my kindergartners, and their parents, but I never did quite get there, and so, for a year, I neglected my little blog. But boy, was there enough in early learning kindergarten to keep me busy. Getting to know the inquiry program that the ELK model is based on was phenomenal, and I feel like I’m taking all of that with me along to my new adventure in Grade 1.

Tomorrow is the first day of school. And just like I used to feel when I was a kid, I have butterflies in my stomach. I have no doubt that the 17 children that I meet tomorrow are going to be inspiring, original and fun, but rather, worry about making sure that I can be the kind of teacher that these children need. I’ve spent the last several weeks getting everything ready for the classroom, and I know that the classroom looks fantastic. I hope it feels as homey as I want it to. I hope that by lunchtime, the students and I feel like long lost friends, and begin to build up the rapport that is so necessary for classroom families to begin to function.

I know that tomorrow is going to be a great day, and the butterflies in my stomach represent how anxious I am for it to begin. I always feel this way at the beginning of the year, and I think that’s a good thing – I think it keeps me on my toes, and I think it keeps me sharp, but most importantly, I think it keeps me striving to always do better. And I want to do better for these kids.

I’m looking at this as a continuation from last year. Last year, I spent the last three months in small guided groups with my senior kindergartners getting them to a place where grade one would feel like an exciting adventure. Tomorrow, I pick up that gauntlet with a new group of children, but it’s the same idea – these kids are excited for the next part of their education, and I’m excited to guide them through grade 1. Together, we’re going to keep their inquiring minds open, because those inquiring minds were some of the most amazing things I saw come out of an early learning kindergarten classroom. Together, we’re going to take all of the wonderful strategies that they learned in their early learning kindergarten classroom, and we’re going to adapt them to our new grade 1 setting. Together, we’re going to learn from one another, as we embark on this new adventure together.

I can’t wait.

Engaging Students While Learning a Second Language

This is the task that I had given to myself when I decided that working as a French as a second language teacher was my career direction. I’ve learned many things along the way. My first year, I worked primarily as a supply teacher, and was in and out of different classrooms. My second year, I was given the amazing task of leading a Grade 3 French Immersion classroom through the curriculum in a fun and engaging way. I left Chelmsford Public School in June, thinking that I was going to do a completely different assignment: I was off to teach English and Math to a Grade 6 classroom. I was looking forward to the challenge, but secretly worried about whether or not I would miss spending my day in French.

I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

As of tomorrow, I am off to Copper Cliff Public School to teach Core French, grades 4-8. Continue reading Engaging Students While Learning a Second Language

A Bunch of Picassos

My students really enjoyed the project (click here to see the concept). I think that they did a really wonderful job, and just wanted to brag a little bit about how my classroom is full of little artists.

Next up: MIXED MEDIA PUMPKINS, courtesy of That Artist Woman – she’s a genius. Make sure to check out her site – she has many great ideas for classroom art activities that are not only fun, but very easy to motivate your students to do. I often lose track of time when visiting her website, because I have difficulty deciding what amazing art project my students and I will do next!

Third Grade Angels

My students and I began reading Third Grade Angels by Jerry Spinelli today as a read-aloud, and it’s awesome. They’re relating to it, and they constantly beg me to read it to them when we have a spare couple of minutes. We’re just burning through it.

I would certainly recommend it to all 3rd Grade teachers. And it’s now going to be a really integral part of our learning.

Also, I can’t believe my luck that my students are the types of students that like read-alouds. Oh, this is what heaven must feel like. We’re going to read so much great stuff together!