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

Saturday 28 December 2013

Home-made Scratch Cards

Create your cards.
Paint using 2 parts acrylic silver paint to 1 part Dawn dishwashing liquid. 
Several layers may be required to cover text.
Glue to coloured cardstock.

Check out the source link below for powerpoint templates and more ideas.


Wednesday 18 December 2013

Teach children to cook... create healthy adults....

Want your children to grow up to be healthy adults? Teach them to cook....

I really enjoyed this article from the Province this week. It talks about involving children in grocery shopping and food preparation and cooking at a young age to help promote healthy eating and lifestyle. I find this to be very true, even more so as I teach Home Ec this year. Learning about the sugars in drinks and the Canada Food Guide and portions tat make a serving of vegetables for example. The article writes:
The occasional lucky person takes to cooking like a duck to water. But for most of us, it's a skill that needs to be taught. And the sooner children start to learn, the easier things tend to go.
"It has implications down the road," says Kate Comeau, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for Dietitians of Canada, the professional body that represents roughly 6,000 dietitians in this country.
"You can learn to cook as an adult ... but if we can start kids earlier, we tend to see healthier adults."
Tasks need to be geared to the child's age and abilities. Tearing lettuce is something a really young child can help with. Once they are able, getting children to read a recipe aloud provides opportunities to explain measurements and cooking terms.

Read article here

Holiday Word Games

Once a week I teach Grade 8 Humanities at the middle school I worked at last year. Today we finished off our World Religion presentations and then did some holiday word games. I adapted a few popular games and created a mix up interactive game for the students.

Here is how it went:

Two teams.
Bucket of themed words (We did Holiday movies, songs and items, which I prepared last night)
First person draws a word and then has the choice to either:

1. Charades - Act it out
2. Catch Phrase - Speak but not use words on the card
3. Pictionary - Draw it
4. Hum (songs)

The only real catch was that once someone did one thing (for example, charades) no one on their team could do it again until all 4 choices had been used, then we 're start' again and they can choose any of the four methods to showcase the word.

If their team guessed, they got a point, if they didn't (within two mintues) then the other team could 'steal'


My favourite moment was when one student, who never speaks or participates in class activities (english is not his first language and he also has some cognitive barriers that make communication challenging at times, especially with his peers) but he got up and not only participated, but when he drew his item (a star) and the team guessed, everyone cheered (even the opposing team) and high fived him! Inclusion... I loved it!

What a great day!

We also did 'scattegories' I prepared a chart last night that looked something like this:





Christmas Dinner Food

Christmas Movie

Something Green


So we would do it "BOGGLE' Style and choose a letter and they had 5 minutes to come up with words. The trick was, that if somone else picked the same word, no points. If they had a word no one else picked, they got a point.

Fun word games leading up to Winter Break!

#FirstWorldProblems - put into perspective

Ah, First World Problems. If you live in a western country, for one reason or another, you’re probably guilty of uttering one of these phrases.
Sure, minor inconveniences can really make a day unpleasant, but when put into perspective, having cold leather seats when you get into your car during the winter isn’t the end of the world.
Not having clean water, however, is an entirely different story. In order to highlight what “problems” actually are, Water Is Life launched the “First World Problems Anthem” video last year.
The video consists of people in the Third World reading tweets that were labeled with the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems. The stark contrast is sure to make the line at Starbucks seem like much less of a big deal.

Read More Here

Retain Good Teachers

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Neat presentation on World's 10 Most Dangerous Spiders

Saw this on facebook

CBC News: Teacher Stress is Killing my Profession

Enjoyed this article about teacher stress and the changing world of teaching. It was posted in 2009 but just came up on my facebook feed recently. While I agree with some of the statements, I wonder about the long term impact of this systemic change to our profession.

he reality of every teacher trying to make even a modest go at this profession is a life of almost constant stress, overwork and, at times, emotional exhaustion.
Anyone who enters the teaching profession thinking otherwise is in for a rude awakening. 
So why am I griping? I chose this profession and I enjoy what I do. 
Well, it is because a storm of new and increasingly unrealistic demands, coupled with a noticeable decline in support from many principals and parents, is contributing to a growing incidence of illness among teachers, including mental illness due to work-related stress. 
I should note that teaching has not broken me. But it has broken the sanity and soul of some very motivated teachers I know. 
Burn-out profession? A Saskatchewan study says almost 60 per cent of teachers face job stress. (Associated Press file photo)
"I think that the whole idea of teaching has changed in the last 15 to 20 years," says Emily Noble, past-president of the Canadian Teachers' Federation. 
"People are dealing with more high-need students, with more multicultural issues and with no-fail policies.
"Teachers want to make a difference, but the supports are just not there."

The best are falling

Add to this the largely undocumented group of what I call the walking wounded, those teachers whose energy levels have been sapped so much by all the new administrative demands that they have little left over to give directly to their students.
I have occasionally heard it said that these increasing demands and stresses are a positive development because they will weed out those whose commitment to the profession may be problematic.
But in my experience, it has been the most highly motivated and committed teachers who undergo the most stress and who break down simply because they truly care for their students and, against the odds, try to deliver.
Mediocre teachers, it seems, have less of a problem in detaching their personal well-being from that of their students. And that is not just my view.
"Burnout is more common in the young, highly motivated, energetic, hard-working teacher," says Prof. Martin. "The people who burn out are the people who pour everything into it without balance." 

Read the entire article here 

Sunday 15 December 2013

Home Ec: Currently Cooking: Rustic Apple tarts and fried rice

Last week we made 'Rustic Apple Tarts' with our Grade 8s. They make their own dough on day one and then day two they fill their tarts. I have to say, VERY delicious!!!

Our grade 6/7s made fried rice. Day one was chopping veggies and preparing while day two was frying everything up - pretty delicious! I think if we had the budget to add chicken or a meat, it would have been even better!

As part of the 'Re Think Your Drink' and 'SIP Smart' lessons, we make healthy smoothies each term so students can taste how even avocado, kale, spinach, berries and rice milk can taste delicious!

Speaking of smoothies, this article about smoothies was pretty interesting... I think people forget that even though fruit is providing natural sugars, it is still sugar (albeit better than added sugars) moderation is key.

This week we are finishing up our holiday baking (sugar cookies and shortbread) before Winter Break. January is term three... I can't believe how quickly these Home Ec terms go by! 8 or so weeks! Crazy! And they are only 40 minute blocks each day!

Saturday 14 December 2013

Love for Sandy Hook #love4SH

As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School. We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children. We honor their memory with our service. Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook. #love4SH

Thursday 5 December 2013

Hand Print Tree Ornaments

My friends and colleagues know my obsession with handprint art, so this idea looks amazing to me!

Monday 2 December 2013

NY Times Ethicist: Ethics and Discussion on a variety of issues.

While sharing favourite picture books and readings to do with Elementary School Students, a Student Teacher in a workshop I did last week suggested this site for discussion topics with high school students:


There are some topics, perhaps, you would not want to discuss with students, but some of the articles are very good and would be nice to read with highschoolers and discuss or have then write or debate after.

Here are a few examples:

Does the Golden Rule Hold Up in Modern Society?
The problem with treating others as you would like to be treated.

One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Banned Good
Is it wrong to donate a baby crib to charity that another country has outlawed

Is It Wrong to Skip the Commercials?
The ethics of fast-forwarding.

I haven't gone through many of them yet, but am always looking for articles and topics to discuss with older students that are thought provoking and lead to discussion, debate and for students to write specifics and think deeper about topics.

**Please note some topics from the NY Times webpage are NOT suitable for the classroom, but there are many that are. As always, preview carefully.

Self Regulation Techniques featured in CBC article.

When I teach as a TTOC in different classes, I notice a variety of strategies used for DPA (Daily Physical Activity) and also Self Regulation. This article looks a bit at both and I love some of the ideas teachers are using in their classrooms.

I have tried some of the ideas like childrens yoga cards to go to use on the quiet carpet to stretch out, or a bell that signals "leaping lizards" or some other energetic exercise.

One school has "pole to pole" runs where students can go run from one end of the school to the other when they need a break. Another class I was in had regular "brain breaks" with choices of activities such as chair aerobics.

At Cindrich elementary school in Surrey, B.C., 10-year-old boys are putting themselves to bed earlier, an enthusiastic girl in Grade 6 takes herself for a run when she’s feeling hyper, and a diminutive boy who is still learning English tells his teacher he will do better work if he sits on a special cushion. 
It is all part of self-regulation, a philosophy of education that is moving into public schools in British Columbia.
Self-regulation ultimately hands the job of taking charge of their learning and their behaviour back to the kids. Teachers look for what is stressing a child and making them unable to  pay attention, lethargic, or hyper sometimes to the point where they are out of control. It might be too much noise in the classroom, too little sleep or too much junk food in their lunch. Then the teachers help the child recognize what they need to do to make themselves calm and productive in class.
Stuart Shanker, a distinguished research professor of philosophy and psychology at York University, is the pied piper of self-regulation in the schools. He maintains that Canadian kids do not know what it is to feel calm any more. There is too much stimulation in their lives. 

Read the rest of the article here