Friday, April 24, 2015

#AprilBlogADay

I'm a little late to the game (yes, I know it's April 24th!), but I haven't had an uninterrupted time to sit down and write or I just haven't been in the mood to do so.

As most of you know I am quite active on Twitter both personally and professionally.  I spend a lot of time each day (mostly while feeding or rocking babies) scrolling through the posts and articles online.  Over the last 4 years I have certainly learnt a lot, and reflected even more.  I have found my favourite, go-to posters for when I'm looking for a good laugh, support or to add something meaningful to my day.  Around the second week of this month I was reading a variety of posts and came across the hash tag #AprilBlogADay.  I was instantly curious and had to look it up.  I will confess I haven't had time to read any of the posts any of the participants have made, but I'm more wanting to get my own writing into a routine.

So here's to me catching up on the #AprilBlogADay group.  Please bear with me as I post once, twice or maybe not at all over the next few days.  I'm hoping there's a #MayBlogADay group starting up so that I can give it an honest shot to stay on target each day.

Sunshine & happiness today & forever.

Stephanie :)


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Boy vs Girl Toys. Does that still exist?

Today I experienced something for the first time that I wasn't quite prepared for that has left me with a few reactions.  It was a rainy, messy day out today so I packed the kids and some snacks up and headed off to the closest Chapters Indigo bookstore.  I have had a handful of gift cards from students sitting in the every trusty top drawer of my bedside table that I thought today was a good day to put them to good investment.  I have been taking note of the newest and trendiest books that have come out and making notes from what other teachers are doing as they post on their Twitter feeds or blogs.
With my list in hand, and two kids in tow we set off for a book adventure.  We were greeted by a few cheerful Chapters employees, who engaged #TeamAmelie in a one way conversation and found our way to the kids section.  #TeamAmelie wasn't short of excitement pointing out her favourite characters on the banners that welcomed us to the kids section, knowing pretty much all of them and turning the few heads of customers in ear shot.  We walked aisle by aisle picking up books, talking about the covers and what we thought and shortly were joined by a young employee who was helping what appeared to be a grandmother and her grandson find the Robert Munch section.  She eagerly pointed out the customer favourites, the newest stories and asked if there was one in particular they were looking for.  The grandmother responded that they had a few already and prompted her grandson to choose a book that he'd like.  This is where things went off the rails.

I am not sure exactly what book the little boy pulled off the shelf after a minute or so of looking, but the grandmother certainly didn't approve when she said, "that book is for girls, not for you." I was shocked...stunned...and just as heartbroken as the little boy was who now didn't have the book he carefully picked out.  The young employee fell silent and slowly slipped away from the grandmother and little boy.  I couldn't believe my ears.  My first reaction was to post on Twitter what I had just heard to see what kind of reaction others would have had. How could someone say this to a young child? She prompted him to choose a book from that section? How can there be a "boy book" and a "girl book" and why can't the opposite gender read them?

As a parent, I am of the firm belief that my children can play with and read anything they want, regardless of what gender it is marketed towards.  #TeamAmelie LOVES playing with her Hotwheel cards and trucks and tractors as much as she loves her Minnie Mouse and baby dolls.  We read any book that she grabs for off the bookshelf whether it is about princesses or hockey players.  Don't get me wrong, #TeamAmelie also loves the colours pink and purple, but she will not grow up with the understanding that she can't do or read something because she is a girl and it may be for a boy.

As a teacher, I am reflecting on how I present materials that I use to teach with.  Do I show a gender specificity or target? I chatted with a few colleagues tonight over my experience (they were appalled as well!), and asked how I/we could do a better job at changing the thinking or stereotype of gender specific toys/books.  I am also hurt that this young boy was engaged in a bookstore, excited to get to choose a book (that he may or may not know how to read on his own), and engage in literature to better himself going forward for it to be snatched away from him because of what may be tagged as "the old way of thinking".  As a teacher, I see the struggle we all face as educators to get boys to read and to enjoy engaging with the material.  Could this be the reason why? It certainly doesn't help.

So my questions to you are: does there still exist a gender division in toys/books on behalf of the consumer? How can we as educators help erase this figment of our imagination so that everyone can enjoy toys/books without thinking if they are for them or not? How do we present materials in order for our students and their parents to understand that there is no gender division?

I leave you with those thoughts and reflections & would love to hear your responses.  Until then, I'm off to tidy up Hotwheel cars and Minnie Mouse's clothes that #TeamAmelie blasted around the living room tonight.

Sunshine & happiness today & forever.

Stephanie :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Homecoming of Sorts

Yesterday was a typical Saturday with DH gone running the roads to the multitude of hockey tournaments and #TeamOlivier up at the crack of dawn.  The weather has FINALLY turned nice out so going to the park is more than just something to do in a few months.  This morning we were going to the park! As crazy as it might sound, I found the perfect moment to jump in the shower to get ready for the big outing, got everything & everyone lined up to walk out the door and it star to rain.  It's a good thing I didn't pre-warn #TeamAmelie that we were going to the park when I got her dressed because there would have been water falling from more than the sky. Let's pretend the plan is going as it should & pack everyone up in the truck for a road trip.  I knew that my mom was at a trade show of sorts so why not go check it out. #TeamOlivier slept the whole way there while #TeamAmelie sang me endless renditions of The Wheels on the Bus...this is going not too bad so far!

The trade show being in my hometown of which is fairly small I was prepared to know a few people, but I wasn't prepared for it to be like old homecoming week.  I felt like I knew every second person (good and bad)! It was great to see people that I haven't seen in YEARS and some decades ago.  I ran into an old elementary school classmate that I haven't seen in almost 20 years and we picked up like it had been mere months.  He has got two beautiful children himself (two girls) and a very energetic wife.  We chatted as long as our little people would let us and vowed to take care.  As I continued around the show I chatted with people from when I was younger, friends of my parents and anyone who gave compliments to #TeamAmelie and #TeamOlivier.  These encounters made me feel a little nostalgic and miss my hometown and wonder what people from my childhood were up too.  On my drive home (both kids sleeping because it was our normal nap time), I could help but think how cool it would be to have a class reunion soon since it would be 20 years next June that we all went to school together.  I don't know how we could pull it off...I'm not friends on Facebook with any of my classmates from elementary school and maybe I'm the only one curious about what everyone else is up to.

Until I can decide if it's something I want to try and coordinate, I am so happy I took the drive yesterday and ran into an old classmate.  Wish our children could have grown up together just like we did all those years ago!

Sunshine & happiness today & forever.

Stephanie :)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ahhhh...Life has Changed!

Life. Has. Changed! 3 simple words that when put together in the same sentence have me shaking my head and wondering what I have got myself into!  Back in January I made my resolution to take the time to write a few times a week, however I didn't realize how life would change a few short weeks later!

Our family has grown by one, in welcoming #TeamOlivier to the clan and needless to say life as we knew it before is long gone.  We are over joyed now that he is here, but his non-sleeping routine and the constant need to be held has put me back.  When #TeamAmelie was born, she was the constant sleeper and amazing traveller that I didn't quite have to slow down at all.  Granted, I now have a 2 year old and a new born, but #TeamOlivier certainly doesn't have the same sleep patterns as the rest of the world.  He is also a grazer when he eats, so it feels like I am constantly feeding him and that he can never get enough.  Regardless, this little character is filling our hearts and our home with so much fun.

I have been making a list of posts and updates I need to get writing, so hopefully I'll be able to get back on top of things very shortly.

Until then, melt with these two little faces!



Sunshine & happiness today & everyday!

Stephanie :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How Do You Teach Reasonableness?!?

So as I laid in bed a few nights ago because I couldn't turn my brain off, I got thinking about the batch of marking that I had done earlier in the day.  It was a math formative assessment that followed a weeks worth of lessons on proportional reasoning and consequently the reasonableness of our answers.  What kept coming to my mind was "how do I go back and teach reasonableness again?" because it seemed every answer I read I wonder who would have submitted this if they had only re-read their answer to check if it made sense.  We've had a new vision in math these past few years in going to more of a problem solving approach (which I love by the way), so I try to keep an open mind when reading the work of my students.  I preach on a daily basis that we all take different routes to school in the morning and all end up at the same place, so we can do the same thing with a math problem.  However, I often make my students laugh when I ask if they think it's reasonable that I head to Montreal first before coming to school just to prove my point that sometimes our answers are not the best avenues to take.  But this isn't sticking with them...so now what?!

As a part of our School Learning Team it was one of our focuses this year to get students to re-read their work before submitting it (regardless of the subject area) and I seem to be failing miserably with this focus.  I'm at a loss as to how to get this point across.  I've thought of giving them the whole "can't hand it in until you've read it over" or "you must take a minimum of 10 minutes to solve the problem before handing it in", but it isn't teaching the kids what to look for.  They are solving the problem to the best of their ability and if they knew the answer was not right then they wouldn't have written it in the first place.  I always consolidate answers to problems that have a high rate of inaccuracy and when I do the light clicks, but it doesn't always stay on for the next time.  So my big question is "now what?".  Please leave me any comments or suggestions here or on my twitter at @stephwardranger

Have a good week!

Stephanie :)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year, New Commitment

WOW...I never knew I was so neglectful of my writing and reflection.  Life has certainly been taking a hold of my time and creating wonderful moments and memories, and now that I look back at them I wish I had taken the time to sit and write about them.  None the less, it's a new year so a new opportunity to make a commitment to take some time and write about life.

Over the past few years of my online absence I have established a wonderful teaching career and started a beautiful family.  Neither are in a stage of completeness, as I strive to improve my teaching each and every day, and I am in the final weeks of adding baby number 2 to the mix at home.

As 2015 is now here, I am making the world known of my "resolution" to make an effort to document our crazy, zoo like life a few times a week and to reflect on my teaching.

Now to gather my thoughts to know where to start writing & reflecting.

Stephanie :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Fever

With just one week until spring is officially upon us, I have jumped ahead and started our spring-cleaning around the house. Now, I haven’t started the traditional cleaning chores like washing windows, scrubbing floors & cleaning out the disaster zone also referred to as the garage, but I have attacked closets and cupboards in every corner of this house. I’m sure the garbage-man thought that there was a street competition of who can put the most garbage out this week because it looks like the fever has hit quite a few on the street. I ended up with 7 bags of garbage and 2 huge boxes of cardboard recycle. I didn’t let one closet or cupboard go unnoticed from the bedrooms, to the office, bathrooms & even the kitchen. I took the attitude of I can always get a new one or a fresh bottle when looking at items deep in the bowels of the closed door spaces. I tossed all the expired products and sorted through what we just didn’t want anymore. I have a bag of toiletries that I need to donate somewhere and took two bags of food to the food bank donation box of food that isn’t on our pallet anymore. It feels really good to open a cupboard and be able to see exactly what we have and what we don’t need to buy more of. For the record, we don’t need to buy pasta, crackers, cookie mix or peanut butter for A LONG TIME!!! It has also allowed me to think of easy meals that I can prepare after school using just what we have in the cupboard and a fresh piece of meat. Our goal is to just buy fresh foods (fruits, vegetables & meats) until we have cleared out everything else in the cupboard.

It’s been a busy time around here besides spring-cleaning. Marc is knee deep in his hockey school tournaments that start next month & I’ve been teaching all-day, everyday for the past month or so. I have secured my LTO until the end of the school year so that brings me a little relief. I love my job so much that I didn’t want to loose it mid way through the year. I’ve also been supply teaching every morning for teachers in my school on workshops or that are under the weather. I love this part of my job too because I get to see what everyone else is doing and to teach all the other students in the school.

With just another 3 days of break, I’m going to continue my spring-cleaning trend by sorting through clothes & shoes and then take some time for myself and maybe scrapbook or curl up on the couch for a movie & good book.

I now know why there’s a March Break built into the school year, because without it I’d still be living in an over-stuffed house wondering what I’m going to make for supper!