To This Day by Shane Koyczan

As we all know, bully prevention month has come and gone.  We talked about how students should not be bystanders, and what immediate steps can be taken.  In this month of Love, we need to not forget that students who are bullied have lasting psychological effects for that experience that may or may not have stopped.   Love them, completely and unconditionally.

We also provided a Tuesday 12 list of books on the subject of bullying, and here today we share with you an amazing new find!

The poet Shane Koyczan, created a poem about bullying but took has taken it a step further.  He enlisted the help of 20 animators to create segments to represent his poem.  The result is absolutely incredible.  The account of his personal experience and of others is at times overwhelming.  The visuals are chilling, a truly amazing short film.  This video is truly beautiful and powerful.

Take the time to watch it, and be the judge about who you share it with.

Home Made Natural Finger Paints

Slide1It’s the long weekend here in Ontario, and most of us are trying to catch up on our backlogged items as well as have some fun.  If you are a teacher, you  are definitely still thinking of next week!  That’s what we do!  If you are a parent, you are thinking of how to find ways to entertain your kids.    We have  found a great recipe for finger paints and we must tell you all about it!  It works fantastically well,  and is natural and most of all inexpensive!

First and foremost, you will need containers.  Small glass jars would work!  They have lids to keep the paint fresh! So here goes:

  • 3 Tbsp of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 cup of corn starch (keep some extra on hand in case mixture is too runny)
  • 2 cups of water

That’s it!!  All you do is combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan, stir until the mixture thickens.  Once it cools, pour it into containers.  Add food colouring to create your desired colours!  Now for an all natural, use natural food colouring (can be found at Natural Food stores).  If the mixture is too clumpy, then you can definitely add water.  But do remember this is finger paint so it should be thicker!

We would love to see your results!  Do share and definitely do enjoy!

School: An Essential Component of Society

School: An Essential Component of Society

Our previous posts have discussed Why School is important? and School as Total Institutions.  If you have not had time to read those, just click on the links and have  a read! Todays post is the final in this series.  Please comment and share your experiences.

Schooling offers students the opportunity to learn through reading, researching, and critically thinking about what the world around them presents.  Students interact with others and the result is that students are shaped and re-shaped, a process through which they gain a sense of identity.    For students to be successful in society, they must learn to interact with others in healthy, positive and productive manners.  Schools promote social interaction, and educators monitor social skills to ensure that students understand and accept differences and diversity.

Socialization in school impacts safety as well as interpersonal interactions because students with poor social skills are more likely to demonstrate aggressive or violent behavior without being able to successfully self regulate, and accept help or ask for help from others.

The benefits are endless, but it is an inclined path.  Students are immersed in the school system but their family values, thoughts, and traditions are consistently with them.   Schools need to incorporate as much of the student body traditions within their walls as possible.  Schools should demonstrate how to blend home values with society.  Collaboration and out reach are key.  If we make families involved, invested and open minded, then the results will be tremendous.

How can schools connect with families?  One way would be multicultural nights.  Presentations from students and parents (who wish and can be involved) about their culture and traditions is a fantastic way.

What other ideas do you have or you have used?

Share your experience with us!

Schools as Total Institutions

Schools as Total InstitutionsIn our previous post Why is School Important?, we discussed how school is a primary agent of socialization.  Todays post discusses the diverse ways schools attempt to de-socialize and re-socialize children.  When schools work to do so, they are termed  “total institutions”.

Total Institutions have four distinctive characteristics with respect to education.

First: teachers supervise all aspects of daily life; going to school means being separated from family and becoming a part of a new environment. Students are no longer under the supervision of a parent, rather under that of a teacher whose rules differed from those at home.

Second: the school is a rigid system which provides students with a standardized and organized way of life; At home, schedules are not as stringent or fixed as it is at school where events are scheduled for certain times.

Third: formal rules and daily schedules dictate when, where, and how students perform virtually every part of their daily routines; as previously mentioned, the rules in the classroom differ from those at home. Rules at school are in place to control what students do, how they do it and when they did it, as well as, with whom; whereas at home, routines are a little less structured.

Finally: a single rational plan exists to fulfill the particular goal of the institution.

‘De-socialization’ is the idea that individuals can ‘un-learn’ ideas and values, which most often takes place within the educational environment. This occurs when children, who share different traditions, beliefs and cultures, begin to unlearn what they have learned in the home.  Students are eventually able to recognize “bad” values, such as racism and sexism, and unlearn them. School helps students do this by exposing them to these topics and issues and re-teaching them.

We see this process in our schools but what happens to students who immigrate and have not been exposed to western culture? Would this work when students have reached an older age or would the process of de-socialization and re-socialization still apply?

Let us know what your thoughts are on socializing students.  What methods seem to work?

Why is School Important?

Why is school important?Schooling is a fundamental part of all of our lives. Not only is it present in our everyday lives, but it is also viewed as one of the primary agents of socialization. From the time children enter school, until the time they leave, the socialization process continues. In addition, schooling broadens a child’s social world to include people with social backgrounds that differ from their own, while simultaneously meeting other individuals who may share similar interests, social positions, or age.

Socialization is defined as the process through which we learn to become members of a society or a community. Simply, it is the general process of acquiring a culture. Through this process we learn the language of that culture, patterns of behaviour, issues related to the community, rules and ideologies of society, forms of spirituality, as well as, other social processes as we advance. This learning process starts shortly after birth and continues throughout our lives, especially as we enter the schooling process.

As students enter and develop within the school system, they are pushed to re-analyze and sometimes disregard what they have learned in their home to be more accepting of the environment and diversity around them.  This attempt to socialize students into the mainstream means that schools must develop methods to de-socialize and re-socialize children.

What have you seen in your school, classrooms, or community to attest to this?

Next time, we will be discussing Schools as Total Institutions.

Farming & Sustainability

Farming and SustainabilityWhile studying Physical Geography, students in grade 7 should be able to “explain the concept of sustainable development and its implications for the health of the environment.” (Ministry of Education, Ontario Curriculum Documents).  Concepts as these sometimes become too difficult to understand because students have not had many life experiences outside their community let alone rural life.  As I program plan, I have found that visuals and videos are helpful tools.  I would like to share two wonderful videos that I have just recently found.  Both videos demonstrate key concepts about farming, sustainability, human factors and activity and the connection to them. I know I will be using these videos to elaborate and start a conversation about these concepts.

The first video is entitled “Pickering Lands”.  This video is a presentation about the Pickering Lands close to Toronto, Ontario.  It delves into how and why the lands were expropriated and the loss it has presented over the years for the farming community and all the communities around it.  Here is the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWwHJ5mH3mg

The second video I found on Facebook, it is a fantastic video with great visuals and concise information about importing and exporting food and the farming industry.  Here is this video:

Let us know what you think of these videos and if you have any other ones, do share!