Monday, June 17, 2013
The class put on the last lemonade sale-running out of freezies so profits weren't as great but $124 is still rather good for a day's work! All in all my class made over 1800 dollars for various charities and foundations this year! I think that is kind of incredible! This afternoon they get to give cheques to Sharon from Room to Read and Luella from Compassionate Eye. One secret to success I have learned is let the kids do the planning and basically stay out of the process as much as possible so that it is their project not yours.
Big excitement this week was that the Grade Sevens got to plan (with the help of our wonderful PE teacher) and run the Sports Day stations. This was new for our school and I think all the teachers were very grateful! Other than a couple of small problems it all went very well and the Grade Sevens had a great time as well! My retiring principal and I got to (had to) lead the parade on to the field. Our school really knows how to celebrate endings. I think most kids love Sports Day far more than the teachers! Almost as soon as Sports Day ended we were all mainly all trying to get report cards written.
It was a strange feeling Friday as I put things together for this week, knowing there were many tasks I will never do again. Usually this time of year, I am thinking how much better a job I am going to do next year, looking forward to that clean slate. I can honestly say I feel as if I have made the right decision but it is still all a little strange. What state will I be in September? Well if I am lonely, I know that there is no end of volunteer work available right at my school!
This weekend I finished my last set of report cards and I can't say I will miss writing those. And now it's on to the usual end of year tasks and preparing for the final real week of teaching. I have a French unit to speed finish. I want to at least touch on chemistry. And there is one more math unit that we at least need to try to glance at. And today I think it's the day that we are going to finally read on the roof!
Posted by meredyth kezar at 6:57 AM
Monday, June 10, 2013
Time is slipping away or more accurately running away. Three more weeks and this year will have ended and I will say good-bye to my last class! Wow! I am now into report card writing and I figure that unless I get busy this morning this post won't get written.
In June I think many of us just feel as if we are keeping a lid on a boiling pot especially if you teach Grade Seven and it's the senior class in your school. They are very excited about going to high school but also in a bit of a state about saying good-bye to their beloved elementary schools and of course most importantly to their friends as even at 12 and 13 you know that things just don't stay the same (and that can be both good and bad).
For me, there is the realization that there are just things I won't get finished. Once again chemistry just hasn't been taught yet, and we probably won't get to do their presentations on their collections in French. We didn't really have time to do a proper job on Ancient Rome projects! And I have lots I have to get done like valedictorian speeches and I would at least like to expose them to circle graphs! But I don't feel too guilty because there is way too much curriculum and I think we have been doing a lot of learning that hopefully they will take with them to be successful in high school.
Our intermediate teachers' book club this year chose a book called Classroom Habitudes: Teaching
Linchpin I had to go read that book as well (okay that's enjoyable and I have it as an e-book so that I can read it on my ipad when I feel like it)
But somehow I couldn't quite let this book go and decided to start trying to teach some of the lessons and at least get my class mindful of what habitudes are. Okay, what are they you ask! The idea is that to be successful in the 21st century you need the following habits and attitudes and they are imagination, courage, passion, curiosity, self-awareness, and adaptability. Note I start doing this in May as we are finishing the book club.
Well I have to say it is turning out really well. And I decided to let them do projects of their own choice for the end of the year and these projects have to demonstrate how they have used these "habitudes". This could be interesting. We began as she suggested by defining the habitudes and then I had the kids decide which one they thought they already had and which they needed to work on. Many wanted to work on self-awareness so we started there. They completed surveys on what and how they best learned etc. and then asked what they discovered. Here is a link to some of these black line masters. They loved how I recently learned when Pharman and Brandon had to help me with my new wireless speaker when I couldn't get it to work despite reading the instruction booklet but then after their help, I was able to successfully operate it on my own.
This has also been going perfectly for the other project we are involved in currently, a series of four one hour workshops entitled, Coping with Life's Ups and Downs, given by two facilitators from the Crisis Centre. I have to say my class sitting quietly in a circle for an hour at a time isn't the easiest for some of them but they all are really appreciative of the experience and are finding it very helpful. They like trying to be mindful and practicing STOP (Stop, Take a Breath, Observe, Proceed) before reacting. I am finding it useful as well. Many teachers in my school have attended workshops on mindfulness but I hadn't so it has been interesting. I look forward to seeing what we are doing this week.
And yes, we were back at fundraising (well I wasn't, they were). They were selling lemonade and freezies Friday and some baked treats as well. They are back in business Monday. I am not sure about the nutritional content but I figure the money is going to a worthy cause. They made about 245 dollars on Friday. So now they have over 500 dollars to contribute to Room to Read Girls' Education fund. I think they are selling for the Compassionate Eye Foundation today.
When the day started with pouring rain, when the freezies didn't stay frozen they had to use some
Well I must go back to writing report cards but just wanted to reflect a bit on the last couple of weeks. I notice that learning and teaching work best with a little help!
It was our principal's retirement party on Friday and I thought I would share the beautiful card they made. The hearts contain their favorite memories or what they have liked best about him. Most of them have known him since first grade and they adore him!
Posted by meredyth kezar at 7:06 AM
Thursday, May 30, 2013
There are books that you just have to share and Baking Cakes in Kigali is one of them. This book by Gail Parkin is set in contemporary Rawanda. Like many people I have seen the movie, Hotel Rawanda, and read the various reports, and the big question is how do you build a country after such bloodshed. How do you forget, forgive, move on? What is it like to live in such a place?
The heroine.of the book, Angel, is married to one of the many people brought into the country to help with the rebuilding. She too is African but from Tanzania. One reason her husband has left his university position to come to Kigali, is due to a bigger salary, which they can use. as they have been left to bring up their five grandchildren as both their own children have died. I bet you are thinking this already sounds depressing. They live in an apartment complex populated by a wide variety of foreigners who have come to help, most paid and some paid.
Angel has a profession, she bakes cakes. She ends up baking cakes for the other residents of the complex but also for a variety of Ugandans. She also won't bake a cake for you unless you tell her your story. And these are fascinating interwoven stories. In a way it's a tricky concept considering the setting, but I think with the author's knowledge of Africa she pulls it off. I kind of also love the fact that my friend, Val, lent me the book and she was given it by a woman, working in the German consul in Rawanda, whose son was staying with Val while going to school in Montreal. I totally recommend this book to all!
Posted by meredyth kezar at 7:11 PM