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!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tis’ the Season…blahs

Here we are, 21 dodos before Christmas & I have a bad case of the blahs. This past week was one that I am glad is over, yet it provided me with lots of learning opportunities. The number one lesson I’ve learnt is that no matter how much I love French & teaching it, all my students aren’t going to share the same passion. I have hit a wall teaching some of them and I have vowed to continue plowing forward, make my lessons more interactive and dwell less on those that don’t want to learn.

The first step to making my lessons more interactive (and therefore more meaningful) started on Thursday afternoon when I participated in a Smart technologies workshop. It was a beginners crash course on how to use the smartboard and create lessons for use on it. I was immediately inspired to start re-writing my unit plans so that I can incorporate this amazing technology into my teaching & student learning.

My case of blahs has transferred over to home too…I haven’t made time for a workout once this week, I’m not feeling too inspired to create any sort of project or tackle anything on my to do list. Tonight was the first sign that the blahs were on their way out when I decided that I am going to start my Christmas baking tomorrow. I’m going to start basic I think and just do some chocolate chip cookies and then maybe venture into my new found fave- butter tarts. I’m not betting on anything that either will be around come Christmas, but I have a few new recipes up my sleeve that I want to try.

What are your favourite Christmas treats to bake?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Indoor Recess…not by Choice!!!

I am writing this as I supervise students staying in at recess to complete assignments and it makes me reflect on how I have been as a teacher over the past two months. I have gone from planning day by day and uncertain what each day will be like to planning out units of study and seeing them start and finish gives me a sense of accomplishment. My littles are still working through their science units on soil and rocks & minerals respectively and we are having so much fun. We have started an experiment (or “experience” as we call them in French!) where we are changing crushed eggshells into crystals. They are fascinated at the changes that happen over several days, and by the end of the unit we will have a cup full of calcium crystals.

My wild ones are currently working on descriptive adjectives, including colours, sizes, quantity in relation to parts of the body. They have been tasked with creating a monster that they are then to draw, colour and describe using their adjectives. This task incorporates written, oral and artistic components so it is a great piece to evaluate. We’ll move from the present tense of verbs to the past tense, which maybe where the real challenge lies.

It’s never a dull day in the upper east hallway to say the least. There has been no perfect day, but how could one expect that since we’re not perfect as individuals let alone 25 together in the same room.

I promise to get more current with updates as we move into the holiday season and then into the New Year. Until then, I return to my scholars! ;)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oops I Did It Again!! :s

This the first thing that came to mind when I was asked today if I blog…my answer was yes, but then it hit me that I didn’t keep my promise of updating my blog regularly after letting it slip for so long. Oops!

A lot has happened since July and my last post. I have started on my teaching career with a bang after a few discouraging thoughts as the first days were coming and going. I wasn’t sure how all this occasional teaching was going to go- would I get called?; would I get called soon?; how do I make a good report with the principle or vice principle so that I get called more often? Then enter my amazing mentor teachers from last year and the power of dropping them an email to say I’m ready to tackle the world of work. They both so generously forwarded my name to their administration and not even 48 hours later my phone rang at an odd hour of 6:10 am and the ball started rolling. I started with a full day replacement if a core French teacher and by chance visited with another colleague from last year and mentioned I’d be willing to take on anything that came my way…enter the principle & vice principle calling me over the weekend to start MONDAY morning in what could be a long term sick leave replacement. I had no clue where to start other than to look at the curriculum and put together an activity to get me through the first day so I can re-evaluate after that. The first week was…how can I say this…rough…exhausting…exciting…challenging…and a great learning experience. Teaching intermediate core French is the ultimate challenge one can have and I’ve landed this challenge. I’m entering a class that has had a different teacher for each week of the school year so far, many behavioral/maturity issues let alone the learning challenges. I am going to admit I have good days and bad days and seriously it’s been about 50/50 so far…I need to mix up the style of activities I do with them because they are a artistic group that loves to draw, doodle, sketch etc. All the while, I also have a grade 3/4 class that is happy go lucky and is so willing to learn that it is a change of pace to end the day. Science & Phys Ed is my specialties with my “Littles” and we’ve been having fun doing experiments, games and drills.

Outside of the classroom, I don’t have a whole lot going on. I’ve been concentrating a lot of time preparing my lessons and resources so that I can be as affective as possible. I am now in the throngs of long range plans & progress reports; I am so worried that I won’t do it right (the perfectionist coming out in me!) that I think I’m over complicating both. Time will tell here as I hand them in for the administration to review & edit them. Until then, I’ll keep working away within the unknown!

I PROMISE to be back by the weekend to update on quirks, comedy or troubles I’m having in the classroom. Until then, be careful & have fun! J

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July Recap

Well, we’re approaching the last weekend in July and I have to ask myself, where is the time going. I was off for the first 2 weeks of the month and I have to say I needed that time off. It gave me time to get some rest, get my garden growing (more on that later) and get my running routine back on track. There were many days that I know I did absolutely nothing productive, but then there were other days that I took on the world and tried to conquer it. As you can tell, I didn’t conquer the world and I’ve been relegated to taking a French as a Second Language course.

When we got back from our travelling roadshow of a vacation, I noticed my garden had really started to sprout, but I was disappointed in a few vegetables. To my dismay, I had a little critter that was dining on my garden sprouts day and night, thus not giving me the production that I was expecting. I set into rabbit chasing mode for a whole week. I researched online what was going to keep this pesky dude out of my garden…I started with planning 3 dozen marigolds around the perimeter of the garden…that didn’t work…I then read online that they don’t like cayenne spice and that is in hot sauce so I poured Marc’s two bottles of hot sauce in and around my garden only to have it rain that night and wash a majority of it away & inviting the rabbit back. My last resort was to install a chicken wire fence all around the perimeter and that is exactly what I tackled in the blazing heat of a Saturday morning. Mission accomplished…rabbit has moved onto more accessible gardens and I finally have vegetables producing food!!! J My zucchinis and cucumbers are taking over the whole plot but my peas, beans, carrots and tomatoes are trying to hold their ground. If everything produces vegetables like their blossoms indicate, I think I can challenge Farm Boy for the quantity of food produced!!! Hahahaha

The last two weeks of the month I have spent in a French as a Second Language qualification course that will hopefully project me for a teaching position in the fall. The first week I found very tiresome as I was trying to translate all the words in my head to try and understand as much as possible; however, the second week is moving along quite fast and we’re well into learning styles and literacy strategies. I have had a great reason to stop at Chapters on a couple of nights on my way home to scout out some French storybooks that I can use in the course and then hopefully in a job in the near future. I love getting new books, putting them to the test within an assignment or sharing them with my colleagues in the course. It’s like Show & Tell for adults!!!

As July 2011 comes to a close in a few days, I only hope that August will be as exciting and productive as July has been. What has your month in review consisted of?!