Saturday, December 19, 2009


Well you might find a few more posts from me because I have two weeks off!!!  I might finally do a few book reviews. 
There is nothing quite like the last week (a mix of heaven and hell) before the holidays as excitement mounts as both students and teachers have visions of holidays in their head and for teachers, lots of projects to get done before the holidays come.
I admit it- not much academic instruction occurred this week in my class.  For one thing we were trying to get those picture books completed.  I wish I had taken a good picture of one but you can see my class enjoying them with their grade one buddies.  They were lots of work but everyone was really satisfied with the result.  Considering that we really didn't really begin the whole project until last week they turned out really well. 

For those of you who are interested in the hows... After they wrote sequels to Penguin and the Cupcake, we looked at other picture books, studying plot line and illustration techniques.  They chose a favorite picture book to share with their buddies and then drafted their own stories and did storyboards of their pictures.   A couple of them did use their sequels to Penguin and the Cupcake but most wrote new stories.  After they had drafted, revised, did good copies and edited, they wrote them  or word processed them onto folded letter paper and illustrated them.  The covers were made from card, construction paper and wrapping paper.  I have made books with students for a very long time and it has to be one of my favorite projects (and hopefully, my students' as well)

Thursday was a busy day.  First we went to  see Robin Hood put on by Carousel Theatre at the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island.  It was absolutely fantastic.  We all loved it.  It's on until January 2nd and it's a must see for toddlers to senior citizens.  I was a bit overtired as I had spent a few hours putting together gift bags for my class, and our grade one buddies (normally this project would have been done by students but we were running out of time).  They did complete them with a few complaints about why were the grade one's getting bells and not them.  After a period of art for my class and my teaching French to another class, we went to take our books to our buddies and to inform them that Santa had made an error and left a sack for them in our class.  Of course, they too  had found a sack with the wrong presents as well so that we had much merriment as gifts were exchanged.  All the grade ones were sporting their bell ribbon necklaces as were a few of my students.  Now, by the end of the day when we returned to our classroom, I was once again seriously thinking of retirement and told my students I didn't want to hear a sound for half an hour.

I went home and cleaned my house and turned my attention to my annual end of the term  Christmas eggnog party and again questioned my sanity. 

Friday all books were completed, the class had a period of music with our principal (he teaches music to all our students) to prepare for the Christmas assembly and we spent a period reading and commenting on each other's books and finally I let them prepare for their PARTY.  It was actually all cleaned up by noon and we even had the room ready for the new year by 1:00.  My homework board was redone by one student, another cleaned and reorganized my table (where most of the time is spent, not my desk...) etc.  and so forth. 

We went onto our Christmas assembly which was the usual fun.  Let's face it whatever the grade one's and two's do we will love it.  Now I actually got to leave early thanks to having my prep and a great resource teacher.  My class was in shock.  I haven't been away a minute all term.  Finally, having to prepare for a party for the staff they agreed semed an acceptable reason for me to desert them.  I must say the was a feeling of relief with visions of making eggnog dancing in my head as i drove out of the parking lot (note I am going in a day next week to prep for January). 

Being a classroom teacher is hard work (at least for me-it's not all book making)!  Even at the party yesterday a couple of my colleagues were talking about the feelings of inadequacy you feel when a student isn't happy or you are dealing with his or her anger.  And I teach at a school with generally happy kids and undemanding parents.  And then there are the joys of trying to teach grade six and seven curriculum.... but the holiday is here and although we may be behind in grade seven math, and I am getting a new student with learning disabilities who has been in India for a year and a half...  I do feel happy with my decision to be back in a classroom.  Special thanks to my wonderful colleagues who are dedicated to teaching and working with our students and each other and have made me feel so welcome.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Report Cards and Christmas...

I had forgotten how horrendous doing report cards can be.  Now at least this time I didn't accidentally step on my computer which happened a few years ago.  I forgot that I had left the computer on the bedroom floor and jumped out of bed which shattered the screen of my laptop.  Fortunately the technical geniuses at Simply Computing rescued my data and transferred it to my next computer.
It's been four and half years since I last did computers and now when I retire I will again be happy never to write them again.  I swear it's cut into three weekends as I first tried to figure out my learning outcomes, fought with the latest version of Silhouette which is not Mac friendly and gave up and did them in Word.  Last night the final straw was they wouldn't print.  Okay, I forgot to plug in my printer to my computer... See the state one ends up in...  Also one gets quite grumpy along the way...

But now they are almost all printed  and I can now start thinking seriously of Christmas.  I love Christmas at school but there is never enough time.  As I walked to my fitness class tonight I was plotting what I wanted to do or rather my class to do.  They have already been thrust into a short story contest writing sequels to Penguin and the Cupcake by Ashley Spires which I totally love.  Now I am thinking they could turn those into plays for their grade one buddies who will also be reading the book.  And of course they are producing their own picture books and then they can make the buddies Christmas crackers with little treats including Jooan's origami penguins.  We are challenging the Grade Seven class next door to bring 100 cans for the food drive.  My class only gets a Christmas party if they bring in those non-perishables.  They don't know it yet but they are doing a song at the Christmas assembly.  Fun fun fun... This is when I remember why I wanted to teach again... Christmas just isn't as much fun in a school board office!