Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Looking back at December

I got busy in December and didn't blog here.  I have been doing a bit of catching up as you can see.  One question that one asks when one has a blog is why?  Is it worth the effort?  Why am I doing this?  When I first created this, I wanted to learn how to blog and it provided a more efficient way to convey information I thought in my work as a later literacy consultant (grades four to twelve) to those with whom I worked, rather than endless e-mails.  It became a place to keep track of my reading and my experimenting as well. 
It changed as I moved back into the world of full time teaching and since I was a grade seven homeroom teacher for the first time at a new school, again it reflected my learning.  And I am just one of those people who if I go to the work of learning, am happy to share, for what it is worth.  I also found it was a great way to keep a record of that learning (and may I note, often constant re-learning). 
Along the way I also started a blog for my class where I tried to keep a picture journal of our learning adventure as well.  And I get behind with that as well.  I sometimes just forget to take pictures.  I also created a moodle site for the class, a moodle site that totally crashed this year (no fault of mine I swear) and had to start all over this year where I post assignments and links and the class can comment, ask questions etc.  And yes, sometimes it all seems a bit much.  So one of the other sites may slip or slide, but that's okay, we are human. 
Because I don't just teaching reading, the scope of what late literacy may mean got a bit wider.  I have had to teach science again, learn about the Ancient World, get my head around grade seven math etc.  And because I could have technically have retired while I was still a consultant (if not on full pension) I have known that this stint teaching wasn't going to be a long one, I think I have truly valued it more.  I used to wonder why people didn't retire when they could but I have understood that now. 
Teaching doesn't pay well as a profession and often seems to be the least respected, but there is magic. 
I look back over the last term and it wasn't always an easy term nor an easy class but there has been magic.  Maybe it was appropriate that our last field trip just before the break was to see The Wizard of Oz.  
I love Carousel Theatre productions and this was no exception.  The kids particularly loved the Munchkins who walked on their knees. 
So many fun memories the last week.  Our primaries did a musical and of course who can resist those real munchkins? And as is typical of my school, all the intermediate teachers were there to help the night of the concert without being asked.  My class sensed an entrepreneurial opportunity so that they sold hot chocolate and chai and snacks to the adult attendees at both the afternoon and evening performances, making almost 100 dollars to donate to the food bank. 
This class has raised about 1100 dollars this fall for a variety of charities plus participating in the Me to We penny drive and a couple of food bank donation rounds. 
We have continued reading aloud the amazing book, Almost Home, by Joan Bauer, about a girl who becomes homeless but always maintains gratitude and generosity of spirit and I think Sugar has truly inspired the class.
They also did amazing cut paper video stories on the ipads with Videolicious, thanks to our great teacher -librarian/art teacher!
And as always time with our buddies was really special, exchanging cards and small presents.  And I don't think any of us will forget Harjot's baking cookies in "his" cafe.  We did have one mishap with Dwayne getting injured walking one small dog.
Looking back at 2012, I thought, "What did I accomplish or how was I different than I was at the beginning of the year other than older? Well I sure know a great deal more Spanish than I did before thanks to a trip to Spain and the completion of Spanish One at Langara.  And I walked 111 kilometres at the end of the El Camino and have a certificate to prove it.
Someone asked me recently if I was changed or had great revelations doing the El Camino.  And I had to say no, not really although it was meditative walking like that, and some of it was hard, some of it was easy, and there were few flat surfaces and an awful lot of ups and downs, a great deal of beauty, and times when I could hardly see at all due to rain, but there was  a feeling of great companionship, and it was deeply satisfying.  And you know, teaching seventh grade has many similarities to walking the El Camino except no certificate at the end of course!!! 

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