Wednesday, December 21, 2011


When the students weren't creating something for the holidays or playing amongst themselves they were colouring. Here is an array of different levels of students' colouring of some holiday pictures. Credit goes to Daniel, Jacqueline, Jefferson, Bhavya, and Janice.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sparkley Trees

The students in JK - grade 3 have been busy with creating sparkley tree branches so that when we put them all together it made a couple of really nice trees. These were created using tin foil and tissue paper with sparkles! They rock!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

3D Holiday Welcome Signs

The students in JK - grade 3 at the  After School programme made these 3D Holiday Welcome signs!

Here is one of my favourites made by Benedict Chua, grade 3!

Look at the detail...Benedict created a branch with grapes and added an apple, a lemon and a peach along with the leaves. Brilliant!! This was done with tissue paper covering half syrofoam balls on bristol board.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Tree

While we were busy in the JK - grade 3 room, my co-worker, Ms. Holland, decorated the Christmas tree with the grade 4 - 8s. What a lovely Christmas tree!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Front Door Decorations

The outside of the rooms were decorated as well by all of us! Here is a wreath of hands on one of the doors...

...and a paper Christmas tree of hands with a present drawn on the paper underneath the hand. When you lift the hand up you can see the many ideas of presents that the students, Ms. Holland and I made.
(I couldn't rotate it upwards :-) so please look at it sideways!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Let it snow...let it snow...let it snow.....

Thanks to the students at the Before School programme we decorated part of the room with snow flakes!

Some decorations that my co-worker and I created with the students are here!

When you put them together it contributed to a lovely atmosphere in the room - take a look!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in our Teaching Community

I found an interesting article the other day about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome that I thought I would share with you entitled Designing Behaviour Intervention Plans for students with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Programming Considerations and Strategies: Beyond Behaviour.  This resource influences my thought and practice about the condition significantly because it divides the problem up and lists strategies that I will be able to use in my teaching. I can see similarities of strategies that are used with other disabilities that help teach to students with them. For example, to use manipulatives and concrete examples is a common strategy used with many learning disabilities. This article helps me deal with the condition and this is important because I know that it is on the rise. From researching this subject I discovered that there are approximately one in every 100 live births that have characteristics that are attributed to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Studies have shown that it has increased over the years and is continuing to increase. This article influences my practice because it better equips me with the tools that I can add to my skills set to make me a better teacher.

Website for this Article:
 If you cannot access this website I have pasted Table 4 below:
• Assess amount and type of transitions, identifying diffi cult areas and transitions.
• Assess staff needs and re-assign, if necessary, to transition points. Train staff in recognizing diffi culties in transition and in cueing student
through transition times.
• Modify demands of transition and/or provide peer or adult support throughout transition.
• Provide visual cues for transitions, such as clock faces, picture of next environment, cards with time remaining shown, signal cards with
colors/actions on them, large calendar of daily schedules.
• Review daily and weekly schedules with students throughout day, pointing out changes, when they will occur, and expectations for each
period. Post small version of daily schedule on desk and large version on wall of classroom.
• Devote time to rehearsing the behavior expected for transitions and future events.
• Provide visual and concrete organization tools, such as charts, folders, notebooks, pictures related to transitions (e.g., pictures of books to
take to next setting, how to walk to music class). Paste a chart in student’s locker, if student transitions to other

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Tribes training for teachers would create a positive learning environment which would include all students and ensure equity because it is a process developed to create active listening, mutual respect, the right to participate/pass and appreciation/no put downs within the community of learners. The success of Tribes’ process is based on reflection and energizers whereby students are required to reflect on a social connection that they personally made as well as the information they learned. The energizers are to stimulate the brain, cerebral cortex, where the higher order thinking skills occur. This works because research shows that students learn best when personal previous connections occur and students actually feel as though they can think better. This process brings students together for a sense of belonging and it brings them out of themselves and into the lesson for active engaged learning. It includes all students so that each and every student feels comfortable because they learn how to get along and to work together in collaborative groups. It ensures equity because there are no put downs and everybody appreciates each other. It develops interdependence and connection with others for continued success. For more information about Tribes please visit

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rememberance Day

Thanks to Benedict, Dhillon, Benjamin, Natalie, Joshua, Jefferson, Hayden, and Daniel for putting their ideas together to make a quilt for Rememberance Day 2011. We worked hard on it all week and completed it today with Dhillon and Benedict sewing the last piece of yarn this afternoon after school. Lest We Forget.

Special Education

I am currently taking an Additional Qualification course in Special Education and we are learning about the many learning disabilities that some students have related to behavioural, emotional, and physical well being. Here is a newsletter that I created based on Learning Disabilities for Teachers:

Learning Disabilities and How to Teach to students who have them   by Karen Plumb
What is a learning disability?
In general students who have learning disabilities demonstrate difficulty with some or all of these skills and abilities with some consistency over a period of time:
-          receptive language skills (listening, reading);
-          language processing skills (thinking, conceptualizing, integrating);
-          expressive language skills (talking, spelling, writing);
-          socio-emotional maturity;
-          ability to sustain attention.

Does Your Student require support in the following areas?

- understanding and following directions;
- interpretation of language and/or extent of vocabulary;
- reading, comprehension, and mathematics;
writing, spelling, grammar, and/or oral - - -expression of language;
- organizing and sequencing thoughts and ideas;
- the social use of language;
- consistent performance;
- strategies for reception, storage, and production of information;
- long- and/or short-term memory;
- focusing attention and/or initiating tasks and sustaining concentration;
- generalizing learning or transferring skills/knowledge from one setting to another;
 - producing answers in spite of mastery of content;
- solving problems and/or dealing with multiple tasks;
- social skills;
- self-esteem and/or anxiety.


What is Differentiated Instruction?
Differentiated Instruction is when the teacher is able to differentiate his/her teaching according to  - content (what the students learn); process (activities the students do); and product (the outcome based on the learning)! Teachers should tailor the teaching plan to specific students based on the students’ needs, strengths and weaknesses. The teacher needs to change the focus of his/her teaching to student based pedagogy by making accommodations and modifications to meet the needs of the student. This enables the teacher to incorporate the interests of the students into his/her lesson and teach to the different levels of ability in the classroom.
Some general teaching strategies for students with Learning Disabilities  include:
-          Use visual cues, concrete examples, and outlines for the lessons
-          goal setting; adjust the learning goals to suit the ability of the student
-          check in with the student regularly
-          praise and rewards for good effort and improvement
-          allow short breaks for those who have difficulty with attention
Differentiated Instruction Tips: Use open ended tasks; Provide many different examples and questions; Use Parallel tasks; tiered assignments
How Do I Teach Social skills?
-          provide opportunities for positive self expression
-          teach students how to initiate, maintain and conclude a conversation
  Differentiated Instruction Tips: Encourage effective group work by using a class profile; allow multimedia for presentations
How Do I Teach Good Organization Skills?
-          encourage the use of lists and personal planning organizers
-          help the student with time management
-          use outlines
  Differentiated Instruction Tip: show the student how to use graphic organizers
How Do I Teach based on Motivation?
-          provide opportunities for co-operative learning
-          encourage checking his/her own work
-          involve the student with the format of an assignment
  Differentiated Instruction Tip: Scaffold concepts according to students’ zone of proximal development; use positive reward system

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Teaching Drama

I had a super fantasitc day today! I was the supply teacher for the most absolutely cool Drama Teacher, Mr. James. I followed his well laid out plans and discovered some really interesting games. One exercise in particular that I quite liked was the "Smile if you love me" game. This was an exercise to practice saying lines without exrpression in order to strengthen the student's focus and concentration.

This is how the game goes:

The students stand in a circle with one student in the middle. The student in the middle is to say "Smile if you love me, baby" to one of the students in the circle. The student that he/she says this to is to reply with "I love you, baby, but I just can't smile." Alot of students crack up laughing when they are required to recite these lines which is why it turns out to be a fun game to play. The goal is to say the lines without smiling and if the student smiles when saying the lines he/she becomes the one in the middle and the game continues until the next person is caught smiling/or laughing. If you are caught expressing a smile you switch places with the person and you go in the middle and say the line to one student at a time until you catch someone smiling while reciting the line. All of the students had so much fun! What a great interactive game!!

Friday, October 28, 2011


Today the students in the After School Programme will be watching "Alvin and The Chipmunks go Trick or Treating."  Yesterday they made some dangling mobiles after they coloured in the pictures of ghosts, pumpkins, witches, cats and bats. Here they are:  All of the students enjoyed the Danceathon yesterday, some won prizes for their crafts that they made in their classes, and a lot of funds were raised. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Eeeek! SPIDERS!!!!

The JK - grade 3 students had some 'spooky' fun creating some creepy looking spiders today! Take a look!

A funky spider web with a glow- in-the-dark spider and a fly.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkins! Pumpkins!

Some of the students in JK - grade three in the Before School and After School programme used paper mache to cover balloons and then after they dried the students painted them orange. Then the students had so much fun with the decorations that most of them sprinkled their pumpkin with sparkles and topped them off with a stem made of construction paper. Take a look! Tomorrow we're making spiders...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin People

The Pumpkin People camp inside
Your Jack-o'-lantern's pumpkin hide,
Though you won't find them much about
Unitl you scoop the center out-
The seeds and all that stringy stuff.
Make sure you scrape it clean enough
And neatly carve eyes, ears, and nose,
And-carefully-the teeth in rows,

Since that's where Pumpkin People enter
To set up camp right in the center.
Around the brightly gleaming candle,
Which as you know's too hot to handle,
They toast marshmallows on long forks,
Pull sparkling-apple-cider corks,
And stuff themselves with trick or treats-
The same that everybody eats-

Until their belts are stretched and groaning
(Just listen hard, you'll hear them moaning).
There while your Jack-o'-lantern glows
Through eyes and teeth and ears and nose,
The Pumpkin People loll inside.
You'll almost see'em where they hide
Between the flame's flash and its ficker;
Look quickly!- Nope, they've scrambled quicker.

But when the candle stub is snuffed,
The Pumpkin People, crammed and stuffed
With sweets to hold them for a year,
And smiling still from ear to ear,
Roll round the floor and out the mouth
And far away-North, East, West, South-
Until next Halloween rolls round
When once again they-won't-be-found.

By John Ridland

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Substitute Teaching - Music

When I arrived I read the teaching plans/schedule for the day and every period had been planned with the exception of one period with the grade 2 class. This period was left up to me to do whatever I wished and the regular teacher made a couple of suggestions on her day plans. I took this opportunity to design, develop and deliver a music lesson rather than just play games. I looked up the grade two curriculum in the Arts document and read the expectations. I reviewed what they would have learned last year and began creating a lesson during one of my planning periods. I used a variety of music from three CDs and a poem from my Music resource book and taught staccato and legato successfully to the grade two class. They really enjoyed it. I first began with a reminder of what pitch was (high and low) and then I reminded them of another element of music, duration (ta and ta-ah) then I introduced staccato and legato using different types of music. We proceeded to play 'guess what type of music it is' and they were to raise their hand as soon as they knew what kind of music it sounded like. Then I asked them to read the poem (that I had written on the blackboard) which they did successfully. Then they were to read it with staccato emphasis and then legato emphasis followed by using both staccato and legato in the appropriate places in the poem. We finished the lesson with a movement game where the students were to move like an animal to demonstrate either staccato or legato depending on the type of music I played. They absolutely loved all of the interaction especially the movement. As a result it was a very rewarding experience for me too!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

A couple of grade four and grade six students in the After School Programme created turkeys for Thanksgiving. Here are some in the process of being created.

This is how we made them - Cut off a small portion of a paper towel roll.  Cut a larger round piece of brown construction paper and glue it to one end of a popsicle stick. Tape the popsicle stick to one end of the paper towel roll vertically so that the round piece of construction paper is at the top in order to be the head. Cut out two round pieces of brown construction paper and tape to either end of the paper towel roll. Measure a piece of brown construction paper to fit around the piece of paper towel roll and cut it out. Glue it onto the paper towel roll. Cut out a waddle from red construction paper. Cut out a triangle of orange construction paper and glue it onto the waddle. Glue the waddle onto the face of the turkey. Cut out two feet from the orange construction paper and glue to the bottom. Paste a variety of feathers onto the back end of the turkey and cover with a brown piece of construction paper. Finally glue on some googlie eyes to the turkey and voila! You have a Thanksgiving turkey!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Grade 2

Hey Kids!!

Here is a fun website to practice your Math skills using number lines. Give it a try! Counting is so much fun when it is interactive on the computer!! Just enter the next number and click on the green 'submit' button below it to find out if the answer is correct!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Before School and After School Program

I am thrilled with the opportunity to run the Before School and After School Program at Sommerville Manor School. I began last week with some activities in the Club room as well as outside soccer / freeplay and games in the gym. The students range in levels from JK to the grade 8 level. This week my partner is taking the Junior students and I have activities planned for the Primary students. I have planned for these activities to be based on the theme of Horses. I have already done a read aloud and the students cut and pasted a horse and decorated it with yarn. They wrote a sentence of what they learned about horses on their cut out horse. One of the students wrote "Foals can almost walk (as soon as they are born)" and another one wrote "A female horse is a mare". Some of these students are early learners in SK and are still working on their printing skills so they did very well! Next I am planning a word search as well as colouring pages!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

AQ Visual Arts

I am finding the AQ (Additional Qualification) course in Visual Arts to be very enlightening. It began with the teacher, Tony, introducing many great new ideas for inclass activities, showing us many picture books which can be used in a variety of grade levels, and reviewing the elements and principles of design. It progressed into printmaking with styrofoam, softoleum, and acrylic plates and then sculpture including a field trip to the Gardiner Museum. A new dimension was then added to spice it up - we worked with a partner to create and develop a lesson plan to teach to the rest of the class. This brought more new activities to our attention that we can implement in our own classrooms.

We have enjoyed three guest speakers, a return trip to the Gardiner to glaze our pottery, and a field trip to Arts Junktion. I was lucky enough to pick up some valuable items that were being recycled. As I reflect on the course I feel that I have enriched my knowledge base in Visual Arts and feel very confident that I will be competent in teaching this subject to any Primary/Junior grade.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Firework on Glee!

Hey Kids! Watch Glee tomorrow evening at 9pm! They are having a two hour special and it will be featuring a song/dance to the song by Katy Perry---- Yes, Firework! I'll be glued to my TV to see what their rendition is and how they portray the famous song by Katy Perry. I know I'll want to get up and dance when I hear it!! I would like for you all to see it too!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grade Four ESL

English Language Learners need to get more credit! They are so smart that they can pick up the English language very easily if they know their first language well. My experience with Becky has been positive. So far we have moved from the phonetic sounding out of letters to whole words and now full sentences in just one month. We have been using letter blocks, DVDs, bilingual reading books, easy level reading books, Dolche activity sheets, flash cards, and hand made worksheets using picture sentences. I have used a great website to create worksheets for Becky to practice her printing I also like the 'Write to Read' software that the Peel Board of Education has. It is an interactive software that Becky can use to create new sentences and repeat them aloud.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Grade Two

I know it has been a short time since I began with the grade two class at St. Mildred's-Lightborn School but I can hardly believe it's over already. I hope you enjoyed the word search activity sheets that I created for your habitat centres. I really enjoyed facilitating the worm habitat where you all used the gummy worms to learn about how they live while you used real earth, leaves, and water to build a home for them. I know you will enjoy watching the butterflies come out of their cocoons. You are a well behaved class and it was a pleasure to work with you. Have a great summer - you are lucky to finish so early!

Friday, June 3, 2011


First, I want to thank you for inviting me back to help out with your assembly. It was a pleasure to work with all of you to help you get prepared for your presentation.

Next, I want to tell you that you all put on a spectacular performance! It was absolutely amazing! Each of you knew your steps and did them in exact time with the music so well that it looked like you were all professional dancers! WOW! Hats off to you! - no pun intended :-) I loved the hats too - you all wore them with pizzaz!

Thank you for the opportunity to help you with such a special project!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What a terrific experience!

Well, that was a really quick seven week work placement. I really enjoyed teaching you all in the many subject areas from Math, Science, Social Studies to Language Arts, Phys. Ed and Visual Arts. I especially liked the variety of things we did with Medieval Times. Jessica, you brought in a beautiful castle that was above and beyond what was expected. You all have impressed me in your own special ways and I've noticed the times when a lightbulb goes on inside your head and that's when I know you really get it. That's wonderful!

I want to thank you all again for so many lovely cards that were heartfelt and a generous gift card that is appreciated. Since the end of my practicum I have enjoyed the fanfare that you have adorned me with whenever I have returned to teach the Jazz Dance component of Phys. Ed. You all seem like you haven't seen me in a hundred years. I love the opportunity to continue teaching you all something that I enjoy. I look forward to the next few lessons because this is when it all comes together. I hope everyone practices at home because the big day, when we present during the assembly to the rest of the school, is not far off. Keep it up!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Hey Kids! We have had some fun in class learning about perimeter and area. Did you know that calculating area is important for people who use parachutes? Yeah....The bigger the area of the parachute the more wind the parachute will catch and it will be able to slow you down quicker.

Here is a link to a great game that you can try to practice your finding the perimeter and area skills . And if you liked that one you can try this one:

By the way....I will be in Room 306 tomorrow :-)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Phys. Ed.

Great Dance Class Kids! Here is the link to Firework by Katy Perry that we are putting our dance steps to: Enjoy practicing at home and perfecting your steps! We will make a great presentation by the end of next month! I'm really excited that you all are so energetic and have put so much work into your own routines. I think it is coming along really well. Keep it up and we will have a Firecracker performance!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Arts Celebration Week

What a fantastic Arts Week! Congratulations to all of you who participated in the concert by singing in the choir  as well as the Asian dancers who put on a dynamic performance! All of the parents were thrilled to watch their sons and daughters on stage. I could tell because I heard so many enthusiastic comments as the gymnasium was packed to the rafters and overflowing with people out in the front lobby. I was happy to have met a couple of your parents and I enjoyed talking to them about what you have been working on in class especially the masks. The masks were on display in the front hall and I hope all of your parents saw them as they came in so that they could see the super results from what you created out of a box that they cut out for you. Here are the masks!  Credit goes to Piyush, Solar, Emily, Aaron, Kiera, Riley, Joshwa, Tommy, Kassie, Marjaan, Jabez, Shaelyn, Faizan, Adebisi, Hannah, Sapna, Harjaap, Jessica, Muskaan, Melody, Valerie, Tory, Ravneet, Dure, and Alex.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pictures from the Field Trip!

Here are a few photos from the Field Trip. Enjoy!

Medieval Times Field Trip - WOW!

What an exciting day that was at the ROM!

I hope everyone enjoyed seeing right up close and handling original artifacts from the Middle Ages. I know I did. This was a fantastic opportunity to really experience what things were like and how people actually used things in the Medieval Times - the daggers, parchment, chain mail, enormous metal key, caltrop, candle snuffer, salt cup, ink well, and even the amazing bone skates!

You all had some good feedback afterward which was great!
Thank you!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hello Grade 4s

Hi Again!

Here is a website that relates to what we are learning in Social Studies! It has some great pictures from the Medieval Times from The Battle of Hastings that occurred in 1066 when William the Conqueror takes over England

Take a look!

Teaching Grade 4!

I am embarking on a new experience in teaching, that of teaching grade four students! I have just begun teaching a few lessons in Social Studies, Physical Education and Language Arts. I have already developed a liking for the grade fours because they seem to be so independent and they tend to take the initiative. This is wonderful because it means they are exercising independent thought and when it is creative and constructive the results are terrific! I look forward to a rewarding teaching experience where I will be learning as much as possible because teaching evolves as does perpetual learning.