Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tying the bow on the package...

When my kids are writing reports, I often seem to be reminding them about writing a conclusion, typing the bow on the package... And with this class, this year, we are at that point of typing the bow on the package, wrapping up the year. 

It wasn't hard to know what my kids were going to say the highlight of the week was this week when they did their spelling tests.  Thursday we were off to Playland, Vancouver's amusement park.  I can't say it is my favorite place but I can assure you it is a favorite place of my students.  I have questioned why we should take them to a place they actually probably will go to on their own or with their family, but they have reminded me that they don't get to go with all their friends.  I have to say it is nice to be able to let these city kids have a day with a bit of freedom as well.  We were lucky and the weather was perfect and they all had a wonderful time.  My colleague and I actually got a chance to basically do nothing, a rare occurrence in our teaching lives. 

It was the last of the presentations this week.  The grade sevens did projects on Ancient India and the grade six students did individual city projects.  I had the grade sevens deliver them to the whole class as they were group projects so that we only had five projects to evaluate.  It was nice to see how my two students who came from the Philippines at the beginning of April were now very much a part of this. 

Because we were going to have 15 grade six projects presented I decided to let them use a station approach so that half presented while the other half "evaluated" and then we switched.  Each student has about five minutes or so to present and then we move to another station.  Thanks to the ipads we can actually do this in our own classroom.  Many of the kids had become very knowledgeable about "their" city and most of the class are now very confident doing prezis. 

The 13 grade sevens had lots to do (last weeks survival give them lots to do and you don't have to mark too carefully at this point) so I let them out of viewing the city presentations.  Since the computer lab was booked I let them work in the classroom next door that our Special Education Assistants use.  I was so busy trying to watch 15 projects that I didn't even check on them.  They assured me that they got lots done but I imagine there was  a fair amount of conversation. 

On their return one student told me that this was a really great last Friday afternoon and when I asked was it because they didn't have to put up with me, she was dismayed.  "No, it was just a really nice way to spend our last Friday afternoon at Trudeau..." I should mention that at lunch time there was also a pizza luncheon for all the kids as a thank you for being peer helpers and hall monitors so that may have added to the enjoyment.

Last year when I had a full grade seven I really realized how "emotional" a time this is for kids who have formed a tight bond in their small elementary school and are now leaving for large high schools and will no longer be all day with their friends and teachers in a place most of them have been since kindergarten.  I am also very happy to see how our  new students have now very much become part of the class and the school after only a couple of months in a new country.

I think I keep saying how important our schools are, something I don't think our government really understands.  For my students, in a multicultural school, almost all the children of immigrants, this is very much their real community centre. 

One project the students were doing Friday was making cards for our teacher-librarian and supervision aide who are retiring.  I am always touched by the memories the kids have and what is important to them. 

So next week we are going to finish tying the bow on the package as the roller coaster ride  finally ends.

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