“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists” (Eric Hoffer)
Today, all the teachers in our board participated in professional development centred around 21st century learning. Each school sent a few representatives to the symposium, while the remaining teachers and support staff at each school logged in to a live stream and watched the presentation together. I can honestly say that today’s symposium and speakers were amazing. I have so much to write and think about, but I need to go over my notes to really do it justice. So many excellent ideas were presented today and I really want to reflect on how to be a learner and a teacher, how to engage my students in innovative ways, and how to apply all this new knowledge to my teaching.
I have so many thoughts running through my head regarding the questions raised today, but I have to try to formulate some sort of plan to address these ideas in the classroom. One item that was mentioned today was teachers using blogs to get connected to students, parents, and other educators…on that note:
This week, we wanted to share a great poster with you – one that you can print and add to your classroom decorations as you begin or continue to put stuff up in your class to represent and reflect the season. It is definitely a busy time of year between getting a number of things done academically, to concerts and meetings and the list goes on. During this time, sit back and reflect – remember that it is a beautiful time of year. One that we share with our loved ones. Aside from presents and Santa and stockings and lights, continue to remind your students the meaning behind Christmas and it’s importance….the reason why we celebrate it! Start with our poster that highlights many important words to guide you!
Over the past few weeks, we posted a number of lesson plans teaching the young minds about The First Nations People. From clothing to transportation, food and religious beliefs, among a couple of others, we are now posting a final test to use with your students in correspondance to the lesson plans and worksheets. You will find that this test sums up all the important information that your students would have learned and should now know about The First Nations People. It will further allow you to see just how much they have learned and whether there are specific areas you may need to return to, to touch upon. Feel free to alter the test – add to it, remove, make any changes to better suit your students and class as a whole!
Right now we are working on the novel “Shakespeare’s Secret” by Elise Broach. It’s a great novel filled with Shakespearean/Elizabethan history, references, and intrigue…but that’s not really the topic of this post. As we read the novel, we work on various activities, one of which is chapter written responses. I’m not a fan of a bunch of short answer questions for each chapter or a chapter synopsis, as I’d prefer to give my students 1 or 2 “meatier” questions to work on…something that would involve higher order thinking, analysis, and application. The problem I have, however, is that a paragraph answer is too brief for this type of analysis, while a five paragraph essay is simply too long. My solution is a one page response, but my students have some trouble determining a main idea and finding supporting details. Since I love the P.E.E.L. framework, I’ve created a simple graphic organizer to help them layout their main idea, supporting details, and text-based evidence. As I explained in a previous post, instead of including the “L” as a link to the next paragraph, we use “L” as linking to a connection (text-to-text, -to-self, or -to-world) and my students tend to prefer “explanation” then “evidence” in their writing (and I agree with them).
So, simply click on the image below for the free printable. Students simply record their ideas in the chart and then write out their written response.
Would you like these PEEL posters for your classroom? Just click the image below! They’re FREE!
It’s December and the holiday season is approaching quickly. If we calculate (assuming your school closes on Dec 21), then all that is left are 15 school days! This is a crazy time, but also a fun time. Most of us will do many activities based on the holidays within our classroom. But have you considered social activism? This is a time that students can be easily drawn into the whole commercialization of the holidays. Students are caught up with what they want to get but we need to help them understand that this is a time for giving and caring as well. Most of the time, students and their parents are also wondering what they can purchase for you. You have heard of those AHA moments, and this is one of them! Students learn by example, and we could be the greatest example during this holiday season. Have a discussion with them about how important it is for you to help others. Why not ask them to avoid purchasing something for you (if they intended to) and utilized that money and donate it to help others. This could be done in many ways. Here are some suggestions:
1) As a class go to a food bank and volunteer your time. Students who were planning to purchase something for you can use those funds as donation, or could purchase non perishable items to bring along. This is great for students who would not normally be purchasing anything due to financial constraints or just do not do teacher gifts but still would like to help others.
2)There is an organization that helps with Gifts of Hope. There are gifts as little as $10 and if that is still too much students can pool their funds together. Visit the website www.plancanada.ca/givehope with your students and show them how something so small can create positive change in the world.
3) Visit a local nursing home and have students prepare songs to perform. Students can use their funds in order to subsidize transportation
4) Create a Holiday Hamper. This is a collaborative project where people donate food, clothing and other essential needs to a family in need. Your school Social Worker, Administration and local church can steer you in the right direction with proper information to ensure items are appropriate but still maintaining the privacy and dignity of the family.
What is important to remember is that all it takes is a small change to make a big difference! We are including a link to a fantastic video to generate discussion with your students and see that they too can make a difference! Click on the link below for the video. We would love to read about what you have done for others in your school, community and local areas. Wishing you a wonderful December!