Too Positive?

 

 

4803542425_21e7355746I have had some difficult times in my life. If you have followed this blog for the past three years, you probably saw a bit of a glimpse here and there into my childhood and some challenging times as an adult. These times required a great deal of resilience to get through and become who I am today. I have learned to embrace who I am and how I got here.

One of the attributes which I think has helped me get through the challenges I have faced is my positive attitude.  I try to see the bright side of things.  As silly as it might sound, I aim to see problems as learning experiences. When facing adversity, I ask myself often: What can I learn from this? What am I meant to “get” from this experience? Why?  I have always tried to do ask these questions. Although sometimes it might take some time before I reach the frame of mind to be ready to actually ask these questions, I do usually get there.  Continue reading

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Leadership Day 2014

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Every year, on the anniversary of his blog, Scott McLeod from Dangerously Irrelevant, encourages educators to blog about effective digital leadership. As Scott states,

“If leaders don’t get it, it’s not going to happen.”

These Leadership Day posts have been written by leaders around the world every day for the past 8 years. You can view the archives at the bottom of this post. I would recommend you go through and read some of the posts. I have always found these posts to be full of great ideas and very inspiring!

For me, technology integration is becoming more ubiquitous. Technolgy is integrated in everything we do and, really, it is not about the technology anymore. I didn’t always have this view, however. It has taken me time to get where I am (and I have a long way to go). Continue reading

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Global Read Aloud 2014

The Global Read Aloud is coming this fall (starting October 6 – November 14). For the duration of these 6 weeks, teachers will read aloud a book (or books by a particular author for primary-aged students). Learn more about the Global Read Aloud by watching this video by Pernille Ripp. More information about the timeline can be found here. What makes this even more interesting and engaging for students is the possibility of connecting with others who are also reading these books world-wide. I know many teachers who would like to involve their students in more global connections, but they are a bit afraid or intimidated by the process.  The Global Read Aloud takes much of the planning away and allows you to focus on really great books and beginning to take that risk to connect with other classes world-wide.

This summer, I read all but one of the books for the Global Read Aloud (one is not yet been published). This year the grade recommendations have been removed so as to give teachers more flexibility over which book they choose for their students (or which book they choose together). Since I have read the books, I thought I would help people out a bit by telling you what they are each about and what grade I would feel they would be most appropriate (however, you will know best once you meet your students). Continue reading

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More Than One Path

Recently, while on vacation, I visited a playground with my three children (ages 9, 6, and 3). While I watched my three kids play I was struck by something that related not only to the varying developmental abilities of my three kids, but also to my work.

The playground was filled with a variety of obstacles, challenges, if you will. While the playground offered many different things to play on, many of these structures led children to the top, where they would then slide down the various slides.

I recall last year when we were at the same park, my then two-year old, could use one method (path) to get to the top. Even though he would watch his siblings climb to the top by multiple means and he would try to follow, he would soon become frustrated and would need our help. The paths his brother and sister took were far too complicated for him at that age.

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This year, it was different! Again, he would watch his siblings and try to follow them on their various paths to the top of the play structure. This year, though, he could do it! Some of the paths were easy for him to navigate and some were much more challenging. Some paths he could climb quickly and others took him time and more concentration. But, he was able to make it to the top! It was not always easy, but he persevered and made it to his destination. Another important thing to remember is that the path down, to the final destination, may be different for each of us as well! And that’s okay!

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#ISTE2014 Reflection #1

I am sure that I could write countless posts about ISTE 2014 (and I might just do that). It was an amazing experience which I am still trying to fully process. I’m really not sure I will be able to process it all, in fact. It was just so much to take in, connect with and then try to respond to. I am truly not sure I will be able to able process the whole event.

2014-06-30 15.07.23 One post that really got me thinking of my experience was a recent post by Bill Ferriter on his blog, The Tempered Radical. In his post, Bill reflected on some of his tweets he posted during his time at ISTE 2014. Bill’s thoughts made me think of some important reflections of my own.

 

When I first registered for ISTE 2014, we were able to preregister for three session. At the time, because I registered late, many of the sessions I would have liked to register for were already full. So, I chose three sessions I thought I would learn a great deal from and be able to implement these strategies in my daily teaching or pass along the ideas to educators in my school and district (click on the links below to get the resources from these sessions): Continue reading

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How Did He Learn That?

"Reading" by flickr member henriksent (aka ME)

“Reading” by flickr member henriksent (aka ME)

Part of my teaching assignment is as a Learner Support Teacher to Grade 1 and Grade 2 students.  Some of these students I have been working with since they were in Kindergarten.  I witnessed some of them cry when they were left at school by their parents and grandparents. I watched some of them suck their thumbs and crawl under tables (for years). I coaxed many of them to work with me to learn their letters and the associated sounds. I watched many of our little ones roll around on the ground as their teacher read stories or completed calendar activities.  I learned a great deal about patience and the self-regulation (or lack there of) of many of our students.

After two years of a great deal of support and intervention from Learner Support Teachers (LST), Early Literacy and Early Numeracy teachers, and ongoing, in-depth classroom teacher support, our LST team was were concerned about the learning of many of our students at the end of Grade 1 last year. Many of these students were reading well below what would be expected at the end of Grade 1.  As a result, we decided as an LST team to focus on many of these students when they entered Grade 2 for the 2013/2014 school year. We implemented the Fountas and Pinnell Reading Intervention System with many them this year. Continue reading

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Importance of ALL School Staff

5415978905_d6999ab29d_zWe talk about the importance of connecting with our students. We talk about how important those connections are for student learning and engagement in their learning. This is true for all students and these connections can have powerful impact on the learning in our schools. In turn, the lack of connections and lack of understanding about these powerful connections can have devastating effects for some of our students.

The lack of connection and caring relationship with the classroom teacher can have long-term negative effects on our students and their attitude toward and engagement in school  now and in the future.  One might think it is only one year and that can’t be that big of a deal.  I believe it is. Each and every year is important to the future of our students. However, while we know that the classroom teacher has the most powerful impact, does the impact of our school staff stop there? I don’t believe so. I have witnessed different, both with my children at home and our students at school. Continue reading

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Innovation Days

Last year, our school participated in Identity Day.  Every member of our school community: all students and all staff, created an Identity Day Project.  The projects represented something about who they were as individuals. The projects could have represented something about their life, something they liked, or something they were passionate about. You get the idea. You can read more about my Identity Day Project here and see a video of other Identity Day Projects here.

It was powerful to learn about all the members of our school. I learned things about our staff that I had no idea about and which I likely would not have learned if we did not participate in this project together.  I learned things about each of our students as well.  Our teachers also expressed that they learned things about their students (present and past) that they had not known in the past. In an inner-city school where the development of relationships are paramount, this was such an amazing, powerful community builder!

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This year, some of our teaching staff planned Innovation Day for our entire school community. One of the lessons we learned from our Identity Day last year was that there just was not enough time in one day to visit and show all of the projects in our large school.  So, this year, it was decided to have one day for Primary Innovation Day and one day for Intermediate Innovation Day.    Continue reading

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Things to Celebrate

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As the end of Spring Break is upon us, I came across a recent post by a Vancouver Teacher, Carrie Gelson. In it, she wrote about some of the things she has to celebrate at the completion of Spring Break.  It is so important to acknowledge and celebrate things, no matter how small.  The last term is always a busy one, so let’s take a moment to think of some wonderful Spring Break memories before they are quickly a thing of the past.

Things for which I am grateful for as Spring Break comes to an end ….

Reading. I have been able to also go old school and read a few books over the break. So nice to be able to sit back and read.

Catch up. I had some time to catch up on some work that had got past me recently. It is always nice to have the luxury to have this catch up time. I even had some time to catch up on some little projects I wanted to finish around my house – like putting photos in frames!

Sold! Our family home was sold!  This has been a long process and I am so glad that the sale closed and soon we will be able to start our new life …  Continue reading

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4 Reasons Why Educators Should Engage in Social Media

inspire_1006aThere are so many reasons why I believe that it is imperative that educators and leaders in education be involved in social media, in one form or another. It really has been some of the best learning (if not the best) I have done in my almost 20-year education career!   There are many educators and leaders in education out there who still have doubt about involving themselves, their students, and their schools in Social Media. In this post, I would like to briefly describe 4 reasons why all educators and schools should have Social Media presence.

1.  Communication.  Having a blog, a Facebook page, a Pinterest Page, and/or a Twitter feed is a great way to bridge the school-home gap.  Sharing the learning going in your classroom and/or school is a great way to help enhance the learning of your students and the connections of the parents to the school.  Gone are the days of monthly newsletters where parents received dated information. Today, there are possibilities of real-time communication and celebrations of daily learning! What a great way to engage parents and family members and make them feel really involved and welcomed into the learning environment.

Continue reading

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