Opinions expressed on this blog are my own and do not represent any other organization or affiliation I may have.

Saturday 31 August 2013

Social Media Icebreakers - Age Appropriate

We Are Teachers has some social media icebreakers for back to school. You could also do some of these as a TTOC (sub) since most do not actually use social media or technology (the rules vary in districts) but the ideas from them. These ideas were in response to a 5th grade teacher looking to use social media ideas in the classroom.

  1. Talk about digital footprints by having students trace the bottoms of their shoes on pieces of papers. Then, with pencil and Sharpie, have them draw the lines they see on the bottoms of their shoes. Scan their footprints into the computer and have kids add text around their illustrations describing what it means to be a good digital citizen. —Rachel O.
  2. Create a "Fifthbook" bulletin board display where students can routinely add "status updates" about what they are learning. Begin by having them fill out predeisgned templates that are similar to a Facebook bio. Then, throughout the year, have students add their mood, feelings and other updates. —Tabitha F.
  3. Try having students fill out a Facebook profile for a character from a summer reading book. You can do it via pencil and paper or online. Then have kids choose their next book based on their classmates' recommendations. —Dominick D.

    *** I did this when I taught Grade 9 with A Mid Summer Night's Dream: You can see it here
  4. Have you tried Edmodo? It's a great social media platform that's completely safe for students as young as kindergarten. It does a nice job of mimicking the experience of grownup sites like Facebook and Instagram. You can have students fill out their profiles and share them as an icebreaker activity. —Karen L.

    ***My daughter's teacher used this
  5. Have each student write down three statements about themselves. One of the statements must be false. Then have the children share their statements with the class, challenging the other students to guess which statement is incorrect. It's a nice way to get to know one another AND talk about how easy it is to lie on the Internet! —Francis K.
  6. Try making a giant paper iPad with an app space for every student. It's up to the student to fill that space and keep it updated throughout the year. —Brandy G.
  7. Make a "Futurebook" bulletin board display. Challenge students to write and illustrate Facebook profiles showing their future careers, hobbies, pets and families. It's a great way to talk about goal setting! —Sabrina K.

Pintrest in Action... Setting up the classroom

My good friend and colleague has been back at school all week setting up her Grade 4/5 classroom.

She is active on pintrest and used a lot of the pins she found over the summer to implement in her classroom.

Last year she changed the set-up of her class. She wanted to observe how students worked in different seating arrangements and how it changed when she set up sseating assignments vs. when students chose their own.

The Options:
She had tables lined up on each side of the classroom with bleachers at one end (and clipboards) as well as big comfy rugs in the middle. There is also a cloak room area to work in, the hallway and a table in a cubby area down the hall. Students often have the choice of where to work during work time.

This Year:
She has continued with the lay out of the classroom listed above and has implemented some awesome pintrest ideas. I wanted to share some of the photos...

On her desk to organize everything easily

Drop Zone - handing in work

Help Wanted and Job applications for class jobs

Clothespins with students names or numbers will be attached to this chart and be moved if needed throughout the day.

Each student has a number and they can move their magnet if they leave the room (Especially good in this class given the choices of where they may go work in and around the school)

No Name? No Problem! Clip up work here

Class volume

See similar: Voice O Meter

If they get too noisy she will add one of these letters up on the board. If they spell noise it becomes a 'no talking' time

Book Hospital, a tub to put damaged books into so they can be fixed

Clip boards (for workers on the bleachers) and school supplies

Dry Erase pens with "puff balls" attached to lids for easy erasing

Shelves she  bought to put tubs on, each student gets a tub to keep their supplies (since she doesn't have traditional desks with storage in them)

Shout Out Box, if you have something nice to say about someone, write it down and put it in the box

Her class library, full of all the books she has bought and some comfy chairs

She writes a blog here and recently did her masters exploring classroom design. I always love going to her class and have talked about her classroom design before.

I had to share these photos she posted of her class, because she is an amazing teacher and has some great ideas! Her students are very lucky to have such a caring teacher and a welcoming and innovative classroom!

For TTOCs:

Which of these could you implement as a TTOC? I like the "NOISE" letter idea for classroom management as well as the number magnets for leaving the room.

Check out this post with some more ideas: HERE

Friday 30 August 2013

Special Chair in Class

The idea of a special chair in class is not new. As a TTOC I have seen the aithour's chair, L'aime Speciale chaise, the reader's chair, the calendar "leader" chair and so on and so forth.

I saw this post and really loved the creativity of the chair decor.



Thursday 29 August 2013

Portrait Project

I remember as a kid tracing our shadows and profiles and cutting them out in black paper.... I like this modern twist on that activity that allows students to then decorate their profile with things they like and that show a bit about them. This is a great back to school activity.

Portrait project

Wednesday 28 August 2013

#cdnedchat "What Advice Would you Give to New Teachers?"

Have you participated in #cdnedchat on twitter? This week the topic/theme was: Back to School

The final question was "What Advice Would you Give to New Teachers?" and since I work a lot with new teachers and TTOCs and since one of the BCTF leadership priorities is supporting and engaging new members, I loved hearing all the answers, which I have compiled here to share:

They also archive the chats on their site here: http://www.cdnedchat.com/

Every year thousands of girls are promised a dance career in Western Europe....

A powerful message....

Via Source

The Best part of Me Project

I like this idea. I am a fan of photography and enjoy incorporating it into lessons and projects in my classes. I have printed photos out just on regular paper through the photocopier when I don't have the time or money to print actual photos. This is a neat project that would work well back to school week in September.

The Best Part of Me   writing prompt

Monday 26 August 2013

Monday Quote: Everyone Deserves the Chance to Fly...

I know some of my teacher friends and readers in the States have already returned to the classroom and since we will next week here as well, I thought I'd start up my Monday Quotes again... I love this one and I love Wicked the musical so I thought this was fitting and wanted to share it with you all.....




Sunday 25 August 2013

Desk Decorating

Cute way decorate desk. Cover with construction paper and add trim.
I love this desk! As a TTOC, I think I crave the "my own classroom" ideas. Although I am now a "continuing teacher" I am only a .4 contract (so I am part time and most likely job share a class) but I love the idea of having my own full time class and decorating my desk up like this.... it's so cute!


Saturday 24 August 2013

Show Evidence in your Writing - Pintrest find - Free Download on TpT

Use this FREE poster / anchor chart to help your students pull the supporting evidence and details out from the text.

Free at TPT: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Evidence-in-Writing-Poster-621507

Friday 23 August 2013

Vancouver Science World's 'Science of Sexuality' exhibit (and why it made me cry)

Vancouver Science World's 'Science of Sexuality' exhibit (and why it made me cry)

| August 23, 2013

(Below are excerpts, please read entire post at source)
Seeing that it was recommended for people as young as 12, I didn't have high hopes for Science World pushing the envelope in their Science of Sexuality exhibit this summer. How graphic, how detailed, how varied could it be?

Before I tear the whole endeavor to pieces, I want to be clear: I understand that its target audience was young people. I understand that it was supposed to be "science" and not some paradigm-shifting sociological analysis. In fact, this is why I want to tear the whole inaccurate, Freudian, phallocentric, heteronormative thing to pieces. Young people learn that crap from somewhere; dressing up tired values and calling them science gives them powerful, but false, legitimacy which should not be shielded from critique. Especially when that crap is being spoon-fed to eager-to-learn children.

Let's start in the first room. The first display shockingly establishes that sex and gender are the same thing, that there are only two gender/sexes, and those are determined by chromosomes. This is later followed up by the statement that as one matures, one realizes that one's gender "does not change." Huh. I guess right off the bat we're leaving out intersex folk, and that sex and gender are not the same thing -- this has been established for over twenty years.

Next room. "Just like the colour of my eyes, I have no control over my sexual orientation." It's really nice that tolerance of anything other than heterosexuality sometimes successfully follows the whole "they can't help it" argument. What about those who can "help it" but are so audacious as to make choices about their sexuality? And nothing like the colour of one's irises, what about when orientation changes, is explored, is fluid, is complex? This not on the table, apparently.

Read more: http://rabble.ca/news/2013/08/vancouver-science-worlds-science-sexuality-exhibit-and-why-it-made-me-cry

Classroom Ideas: Voice O Meter

I love this idea. I have used Red/Yellow/Green lights to indicate volume, but this cute homemade poster is clear on the expectations.

How might you adapt this as a TTOC? Maybe a small size that you can take with you to each class? Drawing it on the board in a classroom?
Voice-o-meter. Love the 'ninja mode!' Good for all levels.

Thursday 22 August 2013

#BCTF2013 Summer Conference

I just got home from an amazing few days in Kamloops, B.C. for the BCTF Summer Leadership Conference for teachers.

This is my 5th year attending and my 2nd as a facilitator.

I went up early for Facilitator's Institute Training where I had the opportunity to review TTOC workshops with new and experienced TTOC facilitators as well as share the NEW SURT (for New Teachers) with experienced SURT facilitators.

It was an amazing few days working with incredible teachers and then even more teachers arrived for Summer Conference.

We had Linda McQuaig as our opening plenary keynote speaker, 3 elective sessions for workshops of our choice (I presented during one of those electives) and closing plenary from Joel Bakan.

We also had core sessions where we worked with our own locals and others to discuss the keynote, strengthening our union, and brainstormed ideas to help meet our Leadership Priorities for the year. One I am most interested in is New teachers/member engagement. I am hoping many locals will book the New Teachers' SURT and get their new members involved to help build capacity in our union.

My most favourite activity was the Drum Cafe where all the teachers gathered in a room with drums. It was a fantastic way to wrap up the conference.

 I really enjoy Summer Conference because it allows me to have a slow start back to school. It's a great way to be inspired and motivated for the upcoming school year.

Speaking of the upcoming school year, I am still on the "recall" list, and haven't been given an assignment for September yet, but hopeful something will come soon.

Drum Cafe Introduction

LTA posted this video of the Drum Cafe opening. As we entered the conference hall we were welcomed by this drumming. It was incredible!

Sunday 18 August 2013

The Tyee: To Grow BC's Economy, First Grow Schools

Educators must have listened to Christy Clark during the May election campaign with mixed emotions. She couldn't get through a 30-second sound bite without chirping "Grow the economy!" at least twice. Sure, it's a good idea to grow the economy. In fact, educators do it well, and could do it even better.  
But despite being a teacher's daughter, Clark has never shown much appreciation for that fact, starting with her long-ago stint as education minister presiding over Gordon Campbell's first assault on B.C. teachers. With September approaching, the premier would do well to heed this reminder: underfunding schools only short-changes the economy. 
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has plenty of evidence to prove it. For example, last June, its education blog compared employment statistics for a number of OECD countries, including Canada. 
It showed young Canadians with less than high school graduation had only a 59 per cent employment rate in 2011. The same age group, with tertiary (or post-secondary) education, had 84 per cent. 
When it came to tertiary education spending, the OECD average in 2010 was 20 per cent above that of 2005, and such spending took up an average of 1.6 per cent of GDP. 
The OECD's Country Notes for Canada throw some encouraging light on how we're doing: 51 per cent of Canadian adults held a tertiary qualification in 2011, up 11 per cent over 2000. That makes us the best-educated nation in the OECD, where the average in 2011 was 32 per cent.


Thursday 1 August 2013

The Obesity Era

The obesity era

As the American people got fatter, so did marmosets, vervet monkeys and mice. The problem may be bigger than any of us

Years ago, after a plane trip spent reading Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground and Weight Watchers magazine, Woody Allen melded the two experiences into a single essay. ‘I am fat,’ it began. ‘I am disgustingly fat. I am the fattest human I know. I have nothing but excess poundage all over my body. My fingers are fat. My wrists are fat. My eyes are fat. (Can you imagine fat eyes?).’ It was 1968, when most of the world’s people were more or less ‘height-weight proportional’ and millions of the rest were starving. Weight Watchers was a new organisation for an exotic new problem. The notion that being fat could spur Russian-novel anguish was good for a laugh.
That, as we used to say during my Californian adolescence, was then. Now, 1968’s joke has become 2013’s truism. For the first time in human history, overweight people outnumber the underfed, and obesity is widespread in wealthy and poor nations alike. The diseases that obesity makes more likely — diabetes, heart ailments, strokes, kidney failure — are rising fast across the world, and the World Health Organisation predicts that they will be the leading causes of death in all countries, even the poorest, within a couple of years.

Read the whole article here: http://www.aeonmagazine.com/being-human/david-berreby-obesity-era/