Saturday, April 16, 2011

back at work...

Well I have been back two weeks and now I am home with a cold... It was a busy couple of weeks.  The second day back I had organized a session with Adrienne Gear on Writing Power attended by about 150 teachers as I finished up with report cards and then this week it was the infamous parent teacher student conferences.  I started sneezing during the first one Wednesday afternoon and didn't stop as I finished off at about 8:00 Thursday night.  Friday we had a pro d day but I slept most of the day. 

Going back to school after a couple of weeks is always a bit of a shock to the system of both students and teachers.  My kids missed being with their friends and admitted they were glad to be back although thrilled to have a holiday yesterday.  Most of my kids were not off on holidays as parents were working.  I think that no one should ever underestimate how meaningful school is to many many students.  We seem to get lots of criticism but school, especially elementary school, is a really happy place for most students. 

One of my students is here for a year from Tofino and his mother and I were chatting about the difference between living in a community like that and a city like ours.  Kids in the city also just don't have the freedom of the never ending play in the neighbourhood that  I grew up with in a small town. 

The kids are now studying Ancient Rome.  Once again they picked partners or elected to do their own projects and chose topics.  With both print and internet resources away they have gone.  I can't describe the enthusiasm these kids have for this research.  They are already talking about what projects they want to do next.  I gave out the research grants for the Ancient Greek projects, one for 100 000 and several for 50 000.  I noticed that several of the "cheques" ended up in their portfolios for their conferences.   It all reinforces my belief that if you can teach kids the processes and give some basic structures but give them lots of choice, an audience, and an element of fun, the best learning can take place.  It also really helps to have a good library, an excellent teacher-librarian, and a good computer lab.

Here's a model of Ancient Athens...

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