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?!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Year’s Resolution- Broken as soon as I posted it!

Ok…I’d like to think that I have everything under control and organized most of the time, but I just can’t get myself to keep up with this blogging bit! It must be that I’ve been busy living life and finishing school for the millionth time!!! School is officially done and summer has settled in well…I’ve been enjoying my time at home getting things back in order, clean out and re-organized before the fall comes around the corner and mayhem starts all over again. I’ve been busy these past couple of days jamming up some strawberry & strawberry-banana jam to put in the freezer for the winter. I don’t like to buy jam in the store because I find it tastes stale and processed and I love being in the kitchen so making my own jam isn’t so bad.
Since my last post (ekkk, in January!) I’ve successfully completed 2 student teaching placements in two very different teaching environments. I started with a great split grade class that was in a portable that felt like miles from the school and we existed in our own little world at times. The kids were absolutely fantastic to work with and I really felt like I connected to them in the 8 short weeks I was there. My second placement was right here in my own neighbourhood in two different classrooms, teaching math & English exclusively. These classes were students in the French immersion stream so their academic abilities were higher than my first placement, but they required different needs filled. I certainly had to be on my toes with both these classes and no “winging it” was possible. I had three fabulous mentor teachers that all help form me as a new teacher and I took away so many different ideas, approaches and skills that I will certainly be using in my future.
As I sit back and look at the last year and all that has gone on, a lot has changed and a lot of optimism has returned. I would have never thought that I would quit my job, return to school to earn my BA, and then head south of the border to earn my teaching degree. It has been a whorl wind time and I’ve met some of my closest friends in the past few years. Here’s to many many more years of overcoming challenges, long nights working on assignments and long lasting friendships!

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Year’s Resolution...not to let this blog slide as long as I have!!!

WOW...I’m ashamed to admit it, but the proof is right online!! It has been a REAL long time since I’ve taken the time to post something...anything...for that matter. I guess that just goes to tell you how busy life has really been since September 2009...OH MY! You all missed the last year of my undergrad at Ottawa U...let me tell you that it was better you missed was a long 8 months full of reading, reading and paper writing...I have to say that it was the longest year of my life in school and at times I didn’t know if I was going to be able to finish it. I had some tough courses along with some very time consuming assignments that followed that I didn’t really ‘get’ at the time. Look back at it, I could do it all over again with my eyes closed, but at the time it was a different story. My undergrad was finally over and I didn’t waste any time starting my teaching certification at SUNY Potsdam. I didn’t get into any universities in Ontario for the “lack of life experience” (not sure what constitutes life experience! ;)), so I applied to Potsdam and was accepted right away. In the end it was the best thing that could have happened because I have had the time of my life there. Again, times were trying with the never ending, totally time consuming amounts of homework and assignments, but somehow I made it through! Every waking moment was spent writing lesson plans, unit outlines and studying for tests and so far it has paid off! I have a perfect 4.0 GPA going into my last term which only consists of student teaching (and again endless amounts of lesson plan writing and portfolios). The hard work is hopefully going to pay off come summer when it’s time to apply for jobs. I have learnt so much since starting at Potsdam, even though I’m nervous to start the practicum part. This brings me back to my online revival...seeing I won’t be with my teacher-to-be friends in Potsdam on a daily basis, I’m going to document as frequently as I can my trails, tribulations and achievements of student teaching here so that everyone can keep track of what’s happening. I’m not promising to post every day or every week, but I have made a commitment to myself (and to you!) that I will post as frequently as possible between everything else. Sooooo, welcome back and feel free to leave comments or questions on anything that I post! Chat soon! Stephanie :)