Sunday, December 18, 2011

Book making and the end of term

School is over for two weeks.  One term ended.  I lost my voice last Saturday and spent a quiet weekend in more ways than one.  I probably should have taken a couple of days off work but there just seemed too much going on.  What other job do you have to plan to be away? The planning for another often seems more work than being there yourself and then there is the catching up when you do return.

Other than being rather tired, it was a good week.  The week before, we began writing picture book.  This process starts with the students looking at good picture books (and I have lots) as well as thinking about the stories they liked when they were younger.  Students wrote stories and planned storyboards with their pictures.  Then finally go to final copy.

  The books all were finished more or less on time and we were able to share them with the grade one reading buddies Thursday afternoon.

At the beginning of the year I was a bit bemused by the lack of artistry of my new class.  Although I would never call myself an art teacher lots of drawing does occur in my room, and these books were really well done.  They were really proud of them and were taking them home to share.  All you need is construction paper, card, and wrapping paper, scissors, a ruler, and imagination.  I learned how to make these in a workshop long ago and have helped many classes make books over the years.  It is a very satisfying process!

Having buddy classes is great.  We made up simple presents for the first graders and as you can see they were proudly wearing their bell necklaces.  I made up packages for my class and some of them were wearing bell necklaces the last day as well.  I think this all partly started with my favorite Christmas picture book,  The Polar Express, when the boy only wants a bell from Santa's sleigh as a gift. 

As I may have mentioned due to our job action, we didn't do report cards this term and what a blessing that was.  These take hours and hours of our non teaching time at the elementary level.  We still had to figure out marks just not share them formally.  I keep parents informed if there are problems through the students agendas and meetings if necessary.   I always have my class do their own report cards with comments so I shared my marks and comments with them this week and they filed these in their portfolios.  The students' marks and my marks were quite close, but I think this helped eased some of their anxieties.

We had a party Friday but between recess and lunch as we had a holiday assembly in the afternoon.  We had Secret Santa ( and everyone brought their gifts and all seemed happy-they didn't have to participate if they didn't want to do so), they brought food and drink,  listened to Christmas music, etc., and everything was cleaned up by lunchtime.  Yeah!!!

Students Council had a successful food drive, my class brought in the third highest amount with 187 items (no party unless they had 100 items, always an incentive).  Our class diligently sold Paperblank journals for the last couple of weeks and raised almost 400 dollars for the Nepal Library Foundation.  They were also thrilled to get old leftover day planners and journals as an unexpected reward. 

They have also been excellent Hall Monitors and Peer Helpers.  Kids feel good when they see themselves making a difference.

We had a lovely Christmas concert (in our multicultural school I am not going to worry about labels).  Since the principal does choir with all the students and we have had two more talented musicians join our teaching staff to help with this, everyone gets to participate.  We also had some talented solo and group and class performances.  By the time we got our chairs back to the classroom, it was basically time to call it a day!  I was exhausted and fully planned to leave early and come back next week to sort life out, but a couple of my students wanted to help so I am basically planned and ready to go for January when I left at 5:00 (and I wasn't the last teacher to leave I can assure you).  It was a good first term but I am definitely ready for a vacation.

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