Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remembrance Day activities

Francis Tolliver

Today Mrs. Jilks, my teacher in language arts, had us listen to a song on World War 1. There were 2 people who worked together to make this song and I can only remember 1 of their names which was Mr. Evens. They both were men that is for sure. In the next paragraph I will be showing you all of the questions Mrs. Jilks asked us to answer and make 5 paragraphs on this song.
Here are the questions I needed to answer:
1. Who is the main character or narrator?
2. Where was he from?
3. When did the story take place?
4. Where?
5. What happened?
6. Why?
7. Name the song the soldiers sang on Christmas Eve.
8. How can we prevent World War 3?

Here are the answers to these questions:
The main character or narrator in this song is Francis Toliver. I think the 2 people who made up the song sang it and they used the name Francis Toliver because he was in the war. That is what I think my teacher said. Francis Toliver came from a place called Liverpool which was located in England. The story took place in the time of World War 1, at Christmas Eve and in their trenches where they slept.
The story took place in Belgium, Germany, in Flanders and in No Man's Land, which is not a very nice place to go because I think that is where the war was for some of the time. On Christmas Eve a weird thing happened but it was nice, what happened was that the 2 sides of the war started to exchange goods, show each other photos of their families, they ate chocolate, they smoked cigarettes, they had a soccer game and some of them played the violin. They drank stuff and they sang songs like Stille Nachet or in English Silent Night and they sang God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. The next day they began war again and some of the soldiers got court martialled.
The last question was how we can prevent World War 3 and here are some ways.
We can burn all the guns and if the police catch the people with the guns they can get the death penalty and that goes for selling them to. All the countries can make peace and compromise with each other. The country or countries that are thinking of attacking Sadam Hussein's countries have the right because they probably have nukes but instead of attacking that country you could let spies or the police investigate and have Hussein get the death penalty. Another thing they can do is spend thousands of dollars on making a way to deactivate the bombs or nukes from one country.
These are my conclusions of what I have learned.
I thought it was great that the 2 sides of World War 1 shared with each other but it was wrong to start it again. I hope there will be no World War 3. My teacher says if there is another World War they will fight with sticks and stones because there will be nothing left to fight over.

The Song About World War 1
The main character or narrator is Francis Tolliver. He was born in Liver Pool, England. The story took place on Christmas Day during World War 1. The story took place in France in the trenches in No Man Land.
 On Christmas night solders from both countries were not battling, they were celebrating together. They were singing, eating chocolate, smoked cigars. Some were playing soccer, telling stores about what they were going to do after the war, and they were sharing secretes together.
They were singing the song called Stille Nacht. Both troops from either countries were singing the same song but in different languages. What brought the people from either side was the Christmas spirit.
 The next day some solders were court martialled for making friends with the other troops from the other country. They would never forget what happened that night. The songs they sang were Silent Night, Stille Nacht and a lot more.
 I think the people in the world can prevent the 3rd World War by giving more of what the country that might start the World War 3 want. Or the other that I think would work is to try and not help | support the counties that might start the war in the first place so it wouldn't be a World War but just a little war.
by Wai Chung

Frances Tolliver
There was a guy named Frances Tolliver. He was born in Liverpool England, and he wanted to go to war to help out. He went to place called No Mans Land. In there they would have no trees at all. They also had a lot of bombs there too.
When they were in war they had to stay in trenches. The trenches were very horrible it had lots of rats. When the people slept there they could feel the rats crawling up them. They also had a lot of spiders and spider webs.
Then it was Christmas time it all started with one German. He wanted to go along with the Christmas tradition so then he sang a song. Then some other people started to sing songs. So then they sat in a circle and started showing their family pictures. Then they started to play a soccer game. Then they got out some stuff and shared it with everybody at the end they all shook hands.

Everyone knew that it was Christmas and it was a time where everybody had a time to share. So the songs they sang were Stille Nacht, and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. The stuff that they shared were chocolates,and cigarettes. This was then World War One.
 by Linh

This is about Francis Tolliver who had to leave and go to war in Germany, tundra in No Man's Land. It mostly took place at World War 1 at Christmas. Frances Tolliver was born in Liverpool, England. Their families would send them pictures of them, and chocolate, and cigarettes for them to smoke when they were not fighting.
  On Christmas Eve they heard the Germans singing Stille Nicht [silent night]. The Englishmen heard them and started singing in the English version of Silent Night . As they were singing they started to come over. They came over because it was Christmas Eve and it was a time for sharing, and giving for the holidays.
  That night both sides met and showed pictures of their families, and talked about stuff. They ate chocolate, and had cigs that their family sent them. They also played a very huge game of soccer against both sides. There was music such as a square box, and they also had a violin.
When the sun came up the sides went back to where they should be and started to kill each other again. A lot of the soldiers were taken to the court marshal. That is not very good when you are in the army or the navy because you will want to retire after you are done fighting you won't get doctor control or anything like that.
 What I would do to stop world war 3 is to stop selling guns, be nice and kind to everybody. Not get into fights. Have world peace, but most of all I would want to get ride of all the places where it is dangerous for little kids to play. Where if you go near it everything will explode.
by Jessica

Song about W.W.I
The main character in this song was Francis Tolliver, Francis was born in Liverpool, England and that is where he spent most of his life until W.W.I.
The story of the song took place on Christmas in W.W.I in the no mans land and Trenches.
What happened was that the soldiers were frustrated and because, it was Christmas and they weren't with their families the soldiers spent Christmas with their enemies, they traded chocolates, cigarettes, photographs from home.
The soldiers also sang songs with the Germans like- God rest ye merry gentlemen and Stille Nacht which is English for Silent Night. (for doing these things some soldiers got court martial)
A way we can prevent W.W. III from happening is by talking to the countries that are fighting with other countries or holding weapons of mass destruction, we can agree on something that both countries will agree on, that way we will have a safe and peaceful earth.
 by Bushra

What If?

1. What if war tanks turned into turtles.
2. What if solders turned into toys.
3. What if bullets turned into Skittles.
4. What if poppies turned into puppies.
5. What if guns turned into snakes.
6. What if wars turned into parties.
7. What if hospitals turn into schools.
8. What if airplanes turned into birds
9. What if missiles turned into popsicles.
10. What if evil turned into good.

What if grenades became doves,
What if warriors became harmless mice,
What if bombs became snow,
What if enemies became allies,
What if death became life,
What if guns became jello,
What if canons became cats,
What if war became games,
What if war would disappear.
by Tianna

What if guns were food...
What if bombs were water...
What if enemies were best friends...
What if airplanes were your family...
What if bullets were books...
What if war was peace...
What if the dead were alive...
What if canons were chocolate...
What if fighters were peace keepers...
What if tents were your home ...
What if...
What if...
What if...
by Rebecca

1. What if a nuke was a toilet?
2. What if soldiers were soap?
3. What if trenches were protractors?
4. What if guns were wolfs?
5. What if bombs were pencils?
6. What if poppies were puppies?
7. What if tombstones were pancakes?
8. What if war was a fair?
9. What if guns were garbage?
10. What if peacekeepers were beluga whales?
What if ?... What if?... What if?... What if?... What if?...
by Matt

What if...fighters became talkers
 What if...everybody loved instead of hated
 What if...wars turned to peace
 What if...weapons disappeared
 What if...guns became lollipops
 What if...wars never happened
 What if...bombs turned to balloons
 What if...the people that fought for us lived
 What if...uniforms became blankets
 What if...blood became juice
 What if...children lived instead of died
 What if...fighting and wars stopped and we all became happy
What if...
What if...
What if...
by Kelsey

What if blood became water
What if Tanks became tricycles
What if screams became laughs
What if guns became gumdrops
What if bombs became balloons
 What if canons became computers
What if troops became peacekeepers
What if killing became hugging
What if missions became playing
What if it all just stopped
by Jessica

What if guns became.....plastic
 What if Hitler became.....The sphinx
 What if tanks became.....papayas
 What if uranium became..... coke
 What if wars.....would never be
by Bushra
What if guns became fireworks What if soldiers became peacekeepers
What if rations became feasts
What if tanks became homes
What if jets became birds
What if bullets became air
What if grenades became air
What if trenches became lakes
What if submarines became fishes
What if medics became doctors
What if armies became communities
What if prisoners became civilians
What if bombs became trees
What if mines became flowers
What torpedoes became whales
What if blood became water
What if war became peace
What if....
by Hoang

What if guns became fireworks?
What if drenches became swimming pools?
What if bullets became birds?
What if soldiers became clowns?
What if bombs became rain?
What if jets became geese?
What if submarines became fish?
What if tanks became houses?
What if fighters became talkers?
What if War became Peace?
 What if I would stop talking?
by Andrei

What if birds became airplanes...
What if tanks became toy cars...
What if popsicles became popcorn...
What if murderers became jugglers...
by Andrew
Web-based Resources

Information sites:

Today we went to the Assembly because it was Remembrance Day. My class got to do a poem that's called "In Flanders Fields" Shabnem, grade 3.
Today is Remembrance Day. Our class said "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae. I didn't say it because I had to sit in the back with the wreath. Sarah, grade 3.

Monday, June 12, 2006

endof the year

I made it through. It was not fun. The blogs end as I had to deal with my mother's death. My father's brain tumour seems to be coming back, too.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

on strike: what do I do with the kids?

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Due to the current labour disruption, we have put together an optional package of work for students. Our current Social Studies work revolves around numerous group activities in order to fulfill the expectations of the grade 7/8 curriculum. We are anticipating studying a country, and participating in an in-depth research project. We will also be doing a project about an historical event.
Here are some things you can do at home. While students are locked out I would suggest that your child :
  • keep a journal
  • keep track of money spent: how much per day or per month does your family spend on groceries, transportation, housing, entertainment? create a dream location: locate your holiday destination(s) on a map, collect maps, brochures and posters for a country
  • prepare a presentation about a holiday
  • write a creative story about where you would like to be this week.

Ms. J.


There are literacy projects on this page. Literacy 
Create a 3-D design of your bedroom, school and home.
For more Math ideas. Novel Study ideas.

Friday, May 5, 2006


I am having a great deal of trouble motivating my students to achieve. i was reading an article called "Transforming Practice in Urban Schools". (Ed. Leadership, March 2006) It highlights issues in schools, teachers who rarely discuss 'the relationship amon instructional stsrategies, student characgteristics, and learning outcomes."
The author speaks of low-income students who
-don't have experiences
-do not appreciate their own value
-do not believe they fit into the system
-don't know where they are suppossed to be in life
-life does not have value
-they do not have goals.
While this appears to apply in urban schools, I can see, in my rural setting, as in other schools, that some of the same needs are evidenced here. Students who have role models, such as rappers and gang members, they get a lot of press time and airtime, as well as cyberspace space.

It is difficult to fight such images in the classroom. We have to teach in 10 minute soundbytes, if that.

The author says 'urban schools need to expect teacher to collectively assume responibility for making sure all students learn.'

I am not sure how we do that! We fight the aforementioned images, family history, past practices and a culture and ethic in schools that appears not to focus on critical literacy, numeracy, people handling skills, technology skills or lifeskills, but on managing behaviour. So much energy is driven in this regard. WE must critically reflect on our purpose in schools.

Monday, April 17, 2006

room set-up

The room is shaping up. The philosophy has been generated. We are making some headway in curriculum. Tis a grand time for all.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Change is the only thing we can depend upon.
It is healthy, in reasonable doses, and keeps the thinking in the prefrontal cortex!
The old house is up for sale, it is decluttered, spruced up and ready to go to a new family. It is a great neighbourhood, with trees and large lots. In the heart of the city; it is a peaceful spot. Only a short distance to work. Yet, just a few weeks ago I drove 4 km to work and had to navigate through 15 stoplights I had hoped for change.

What a lovely drive in from Bala: 65 km through forests, around small and large lakes.
I was playing Colm Wilkinson's song:
We Are One

The slower you move ; The faster you go.
The longer you live; The less you know.
The closer you look; The less you see.
We are one, We are one,
Follow me.

As I DID look around me, I saw a large deer by the side of the road. She carefully navigated her way across the road, a car in front of me had slowed and she seemed to know it was time to pass. As I passed her, she stopped and looked backwards at the car traveling down the road. She was large - probably as tall as I am. Tail flicking away as she bolted off into the forest. The three-quarter hour drive is beautiful in the early dawn.

Monday, April 10, 2006

packing up to move

Was it ever funny asking mom and dad for the car keys! Nevertheless, I borrowed their min-van and drove that long road home, although it is not as much HOME as before.

I filled it with a garage full of classroom materials, hastily removed from the old place. I miss Sir Win and my colleagues and students. I really appreciate how much they responded to my ideas on life, educational responsibilities, 'disagreeing agreeably', respect and the curriculum I created.

I unloaded, yet again, many, many boxes. While they are just things, they are indications of who I am as an educator and important to the philosophy I bring to the classroom of high needs learners.

As a result of the incident at school last Friday, I realize that newcomers and change are not always easy for students. They could be fragile from situations at home, as much as adults. I know, having changed schools, classrooms, principal, city/towns, change can be good but it is unsettling. I know that this challenge will ask of me all that I can give.

I will work hard at demanding and expecting respect. I will have to create a classroom community that will both bond and hve some sense of identity within the school.

Saturday, April 8, 2006


I have had a trying time- with no place to call my home, with a classroom not yet set up, leaving behind my husband and cats and everything that is familiar. Contemplating a new home and a new class has been interesting and challenging. Despite the emotional stress of it all I am profoundly honoured to be working with some high needs students who do not fit in to the regular classroom.

I have created some themes that we will focus on. I hope to show them what we can do if we integrate technology.

I plan on using the community to help me equip my class, and to reach out to community members who may support us.
  • Role Play: Bullying, managing stress,…
  • PPT project
  • superhero project
  • magazine project
  • growing bulbs
  • located in a D & T room: find adult to teach this?
  • Cooking (weekly)
  • Bind a 20 page book
  • Fractions
  • Applying for a passport
  • space-the final frontier
  • Art: parental unit= day May/June
All of these things I have done before and have work samples to show for it.
I have made some new friends. Colleagues at school have welcomed me with open arms. I have figured out where to find things for school, located stores, put together an entry plan, established the bare bones of a classroom, gone shopping and figured out what I might need and what I could find.

Yesterday I bought some posters, classroom resources materials: LA EvanMoore readers, Math workbooks/assignments from gr. 6 - 8, problem solving, times table chart, cursive writing poster, large calculators, notebooks, map, powerbar, . Science/History/Geography assignment books: Canada and Canadian studies to help them become contributing members of society.

I made a plan of what I needed and went to the Teacher's Store to fill that plan. It is all falling into place.

entry plan

I have been working merrily. This past week I have dealt with these issues:
School Culture
Visit the school, visit in the staff room, attend staff meeting, talk to office administrators, other sp.ed. staff, Educational Assistants/Social worker.

School Building
Find the school floor plan, emergency plans, fire exits, take a school walkabout.

Create floor plan, room arrangement, seating plan, copy for file.

Board Culture
Talk to Principal, and the sp.ed. team, speak to others who have worked with these kids: parole officer,
Ask Sp.Ed. Principal/Sup't at meeting: get P & P around Special Education in this Board,

Supplies and materials, any budget? $2500
Create a list of materials: software, supplies, IT? ISA equipment?

Classroom Management

a) classroom timetable
b) student timetable
c) integration plan, teamwork? Cooperative effort?
d) Behaviour management plan (see #7. Safety Below)
Talk to other Day Treatment teachers for information.

Classroom Safety
Code of conduct, classroom covenant – on wall,
Emergency plan, behaviour plan,

Visit McCugh, First Place, check out previous Board's P & P?
new resources books:

Entry Plan for new students
-tour classroom, school, visit class, P and V-P, participate in 'getting to know you activities'. Research some Co-op learning activities.

Talk to HR, find the pay scale, benefits, pay methods, get an e-mail account.
Get a copy of the Collective Agreement to learn the rules & rges.

Staff Relations
Visit staff room, find kindred spirits. Phone numbers: phone tree, figure out how to call for a supply teacher.

Get schedule, figure out school plan, copy floor plan for OT handbook.

Friday, April 7, 2006

the drive to Ottawa

s I drove the 420 km home I pondered my classroom and life. I saw two small moose in Bala, a pair of deer between one or other of the small towns. It could have been bewteen Haliburton and Bancroft!

The roads were bare, the towns quiet. I cannot imagine driving back to Ottawa during peak tourist season.

It was a thoughtful drive. I wished I had a micro-recorder to record my new ideas, my plans, people to contact, themes I would like to incorporate into the program.

I will ask Big Brothers to send someone to work with our students. A male role model would be good for them. As a mom of two boys, I have a sense of how teens must establish their gender identity and part of that includes seperating from the female/mother figure, and sorting out what it means to be a male in our society. I put together a Gender Issues in Education PPT of my thoughts. My class, at this point, is made of entirely of boys. it will be interesting to sort all this out.

shop till you drop

What a great day. I spent some of my budget gathering curriculum materials, I cruised the web looking for book I knew existed, visiting several teacher stores and filling my parents mini-van with supplies. Kinda weird asking your parents for the keys to the van when you are 49 years old! My police check went through. I am legal. I hope to be paid and be able to move in. I have planned out many ideas and beginning strategies. I know that this job will demand all that I can give. These fragile kiddies deserve far more time and energy than I have - I only hope that I can give it amy all. With my mother being so ill from cancer and chemo, it is a blessing to be able to focus on the job and helping my at-risk students. I know I will be able to make a difference. What excitement to begin this new program. WhitePines Program is the name that was given to it. I will ensure that we create this opportunity. I will try to find an artist to create a plaque for the door. That will give honour to the concept. we went to three stores today and spent $700 on posters, resource books and supplies. My dear husband helped me. I want the room to look warm and friendly to invite my at-risk parents into the program.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

WhitePines Program

In a planning meeting today we brainstormed ideas about this new program. The principal, me, as classroom teacher, the truancy officer and special education senior staff talked about administration and set-up of the program, the chain of command, the selection of candidates for the program, parental contacts (responsibility for/by team member), curriculum.

The program, which we will now call the WhitePines Program, to honour Mr. Boyle who co-ordinated this project, will reach out to parents, as much as the students, to educate students and parents in the learning process. Most of my parents will not have had good experiences in schools. These kiddies need lifeskills, a building up of self-esteem, a sense that school is a good place to be. I want the room to have some great chairs, couches and a comfortable place to learn alternately.

This is a program school within a school. The register will be separate from the rest of the school, with funding by Algonquin Child and Family Services. The Child Development Worker will be a part of the process and will work with families. I will be called upon to use all of the instructional repertoire I have adopted over many years in the field of education. Instructional Repertoire include:
instructional skills, strategies, pedagogies, tactics, concepts, organizers.

I plan on talking to the Rotary club or the Chamber of Commerce to find some 2nd hand furniture. I want to bring in various community members to support my group of young learners i.e. folks who can share their expertise with my students.

What an exciting and dynamic process as we work with each other to support our most previous resources: our children, our future.


I passed the WHMIS and the TB test. I am making progress. It is difficult being away from my husband. I am fairly excited with a start-up budget for my classroom. The Native Second Language teacher, bless him, has moved out of his old room and it is now mine. I put up some posters, cleaned off some desks, yay Fantastic!, and I have put my mark on the room. Suddenly, there was a meeting between several people: my Principal, and my phenomenal Special Education person. I must admit that I am vague on the names and the hierarchy at the Board office. She has been terrific, as have been all the people with whom I have been associated. Small towns are different, in that everyone knows everyone else. We had a meeting in the afternoon and determined who would be in my class and sorted out a number of other parameters.I have a small budget These kids are so very needy. Their parents even more so. I only hope I can give them some support. I read their Ontario Student Records (OSRs) and my life looks so easy. I am adopted, divorced, a single mom, sued my first lawyer ;-) and have had a time of it. but these families are all doing the best they can at the time. I feel so badly for the parents and the children. If we could only work together to help them become contributing members of society. We are all just people looking for our purpose in life, looking for someone to love, something to do, something to hope for.... God help me in my challenges that lie ahead.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

mom's birthday

It was my mother's birthday today. It did not go well. She is very ill and about ready for a My late mother\ hospital. I canot give her much care as I work full-time. She will not accept extra help from agencies.

It is April 4th and Mom’s 81st Birthday. While this is about dad's brain tumour, mom's illness has a huge impact on the family. Both the two of them, and the rest of us: my daughter, sons and husband.

After a day spent cleaning, sorting and trying to get my head around my new classroom in Parry Sound, I drove to Bala for a visit and dinner. As usual, with Mom’s obsession with perfection, everything is preplanned. All of Mom’s parties were done with panache and grace. She very clearly has a menu. Two neighbours are invited and are here when I arrive. They are terrific family friends, helpful women, both widows, who have done a great deal to help mom and dad continue to live here in their home. One of them picks up the family newspaper, get the mail, and picks up items from town and the other does the Kitty litter every day, amongst other chores.
We make the meal and the three of us work at it, while Mom is on the couch. She is tiring out as she directs the work from where she lays. She wants a particular dish for a particular food item. We cannot quite figure out which is which. Are we ever stressed! I tell her that we cannot find the right green bowl for the chutney; another bowl will have to do.
She said, “It’s my birthday. I can do it my way.” Absolutely adamant! I now understand that I cannot change anything. Mom wants to remain in control of the small things, since she has lost control of the big ones. We announce dinner. We gather round the table, even Mom. Mom manages a few mouthfuls and goes back to lie down on the couch. It is shocking how ill she truly has become.
Dad is back to his chair, reading the newspaper. His tumour is back and he is to have radiation. Robin will take time off work later in the month. This new reality is hard to reconnoiter.
Once of the issues of aging is aging gracefully and with dignity. Seniors needs to make choices that take everyone into account. A senior with ill health impacts on their spouse, their adult children, the community, town, and society. Seniors driving who cannot see properly, or make decisions, or hear traffic have an impact on other drivers. Seniors who make demands on family members and neighbours need to make choices about their situation. We raise our children to act as responsible adults. As adults, we need our parents to make choices that respect us as family members. Stories abound about 90-year old seniors staying alone when they are unable to either cook, or remember to cook. They end up making phone calls at all hours of the day to family members who may not be in a position to support them. I know I was torn between my adult children and my ailing parents. If our parents will not make choices that respect the impact on others, then we, as adult children are responsible.

The same is true for one's spouse. As adults we have to make choices that look after us as caregivers. If you are caring for an ailing spouse with dementia there comes a point when you cannot cope. There comes a time when you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself. Dementia is a scary symptom and difficult to deal with beyond a certain stage.

Monday, April 3, 2006

first week

What a culture shock! It is a school with great spirit. The teaching staff have been phenomenal, the office staff superb. I have booked a TB

test (I pass out when I have needles) and have to have a Police Check ($25!).
I could access my mail, but couldn't send any. Must work on that one. i couldn't get onto the Internet, either. What is a poor geek to do?

I cannot get into my room in the afternoon, either, since the Native-as-a-Second Language ( NSL) teacher uses it in the afternoons. He has to move classes. It hardly seems fair, but I bought him flowers, as well as the office staff!

I still have no employee number, since I need WHMIS and a TB test. I took the TB test this a.m., but we cannot figure out the password or the computer to use as NNDSB does WHMIS on-line annually. I do not have a bank account here, either. Might just use the one in Ottawa, as there are branches all over of my bank - but they work from 9:30 to 4:30. Monday to Friday.

I worked in my room in the a.m., but didn't make much progress. It is used as a store room for the most part, with books that were born before some of my kids(1984!) and no teacher likes to turf the previous teacher's stuff, even if s/he has expired or retired. I was assigned a grade 7 helper, who helped me clean chelves. We figured out how old the text book was as we chucked the books. Nice mini-review lesson in subtracting with zeros.

Dust everywhere. I bought cleaning supplies. It is my chance to give a new room a whole new start. I can't wait to get posters up.

I am going to buy printer, but haven't been able to print anything yet. I bought one which doesn't work with Macs. I took it back.

I'm trying to look up a Business Depot, Staples or something. They have a Wal-Mart that doesn't believe in Macs or Apple computers!

I have Non-Violent Crisis Intervention classes booked for April 25/26 and look forward to using that - well, learning it, perhaps. I hope I am such a phenomenally dynamic professional that my new kiddies are highly motivated to learn and take part in the learning process.
I have a budget of $2500 plus $500 consumables, but no teacher's store in which to buy stuff!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I am very excited to be going to Parry Sound, Ontario. Such beautiful country. It is with some sadness that I bid farewell to my Sir Win students. I hope you keep in touch.
All of you have great promise and I hope you can live up to what life has to offer. Meet each challenge with courage and strength.
With love,
Ms. Jilks

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Digital natives?

Here are a couple of sites that outline some of the views that Marc Prensky has about children and computer use and one article that doesn't agree with his ideas of children as 'digital natives' and adults as 'digital immigrants'. We need to profoundly rethink our notions of epistemology and pedagogy.

Marc Prensky Digital Natives, Digital Literacy
[ Part 1 - Part 2 ]

The myth of the digital native
By Martin Owen, Director of Learning, NESTA Futurelab

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

To Do List

Here is today's To Do List. Go to it! We will publish our first draft of our PowerPoint to check them for errors or omissions! To Do List! Go To Jilks' Class Page when it is posted!

Sunday, March 5, 2006


What a time I have had. Light snow yesterday, more today. It is darn cold and I didn't bring enough warm clothes. Off to Wal-Mart!

The TB test was not fun. I loathe needles.

I await the Police Check. What joy.

I spent yesterday afternoon with an IT who was marvellously helpful. He and I puzzled together the proxy server and logins, for a Mac, with which he is NOT familiar, in order for me to use the NNDSB LAN. What a puzzle. He was great. I can finally access the server and do my Internet banking.

The staff meeting Monday, after school, was interesting even though I was exhausted. A presentation through ETFO, "On the Road" presenter, on Behaviour Management. Truly a notion that is not addressed well enough at the Faculties of Education. The presenter spoke of putting her framed degrees up on the wall and standing beside them when talking to irate parents. I have done the same, also pointed to them and valued them for irate students. I might post mine and do the same. My first degree cost me $484 per semester. My part-time M.Ed. cost much more per term, over the same four years.

We learned a great number of tricks. I was reminded of my co-operative learning strategies. My students will have a staggered entry and the placemat exercise, in which we compare backgrounds and experiences, as well as characteristics, might work in a month or two. I have to figure out which box contains my self-esteem work and reference materials, 430 km away, mind you, but accessible this weekend when I return home to attend my course and pack up.

I carry on and will do the WHMIS test Wednesday!

Thursday, March 2, 2006

moving day

I have packed up my car. My classroom was emptied in three days. They quickly replaced me with an eager, capable mother of teens. How fitting, since managing the adolescent is a tricky business.

My farewell card from the students was touching. Photos later. I nestled into a B&B and got used to the new sounds and new setting.

I arrived Sunday afternoon, driving 420 km west from Ottawa, Ontario, to Parry Sound in beautiful weather. Navigating around the town I found places to eat, get coffee and Rx emergency supplies!

The Parry Sound community is beautiful. Trees and hills, lakes peek out around the next bend at every turn. I felt I had come home. I found the school, William BeattyP.S., situated in the heart of the community.

I worked on my entry plan. Tried to piece together all the parts of a classroom puzzle. A curriculum is made up of an instructional repertoire; instructional skills, pedagogies, tactics, strategies, but a classroom community consists of integrating one's philosophy with the students and marrying that to the school community. I eagerly await the integration of my new students.

Friday, February 24, 2006

sexual taunts

Today a student came to me with a complaint. Another student has been continually making fun of him for being 'gay'. They have been doing this for awhile. We had a conversation since they really didn’t know what ‘gay’ meant. I understand that while adolescents are learning about themselves, establishing their gender identities and pushing the envelope to explore rules, they also need to understand that there are limits. No child was hurt be the word ‘NO’. Too often I hear students belittling peers by saying, “That ‘retard’!”, sometimes in jest or towards a friend. There is little self-control and little regard for the power of words. They do not understand the power of words used so thoughtlessly.

Gender neutral and politically correct language is ours to create, approve of or disapprove of in schools. Many of our students in the middle school seem to use peers or actors as role models. Big name rappers use gender-biased language, with a flavour for violence and can be aimed at women. Students do not understand that fine line between a playwright making a point and a cutting, hurtful remark delivered electronically or in person. My daughter had a gym teacher who could be overheard dissing a male student for ‘throwing like a girl’. In my daughter’s generation this is now a compliment.

I had to let these kids know that while they would not dare call another student a racial slur, or otherwise make derogatory remarks based on their race, gender or religious affiliation, it is as despicable to mock peers on the basis of their sexual preference. I have been working on these issues, creating an article on Gender Equity back in 1999 and it seems that little has changed since then.

This week our grammar assignment involved determining the gender assigned to a noun. We could choose neutral, masculine, feminine or indefinite. At the end of the assignment, students were required to write a paragraph on how a ‘woman’s position in society has changed in recent history’. This follows a record breaking number of medals earned by Canadian women in Olympic skating and hockey, overshadowed by an inordinate amount of attention showered upon the male hockey team that failed to earn a medal. Much of the air time in various media was devoted to explaining our losses, rather than lauding our exemplary women. At this writing women, in fact, have accounted for 16 of the 22 medals awarded to Canada thus far in the series.

I would hope that educators really listen to themselves and their language. Our students and our children are fragile, as fragile as our high risk students. Please be vigilant and empower our future leaders to ensure that their language matches their beliefs and their values.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

PPT & MadLibs

Your 2nd assignment this week is to take your 100 word Olympic essay and make it into a "Mad Lib" activity.

When we print it we will scan it, post it and laminate it. During class time we'll do each other's Olympic MadLibs!We will share our MadLibs with the other classes. Watch for them at my Olympic site. If only we had more computer time to get this work finished. I know that most of you are well on your way with your Olympic information PowerPoint projects.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


We have been doing quite a bit of work with fractions and manipulatives. We have used some task cards and worked our way through several problems. I hope it pays off!Math6.2011.JPGmath027.JPG

Monday, February 20, 2006

Letter to the editor

Together we read the article: "Role Models, Think Again", as found in the Globe & Mail, Sat., Feb. 18th, 2006. Students, please respond to the article with a Letter to the Editor. Use the 5 paragraph model to organize your thinking. Use the Argument model to organize your writing.

Your 2nd assignment is to take your 100 word Olympic essay and make it into a "Mad Lib" activity.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Olympics Fever

Olympics Fever

Essay Planning This week we have been reading and writing, collecting data and discussing and debating. A busy week all around. Visit our 'photo' page to see what we have been up to.

Thursday, February 9, 2006

computer lab work

Welcome - 8C We have worked really hard on our Election unit. Your powerful work on PPT has been great. I am sorry we can't go to the canal skating today, but it will be opened next week! In the meantime.... Friendship and love mean many things. The Greeks defined many variations on this theme! Wikipedia describes this concept further. Here are just 3 to think about:
    Agape love = to have empathy, selfless, spiritual love, pure love, the love of the soul.
    Eros love
    = romantic, physical love
    Philia love = brotherly, sisterly love, love of humankind, loyalty for friends, family and community.
    = hospitality, rituals between guests and hosts,
    Today I would like you to begin responding to these BLOG questions... How do you know you love someone? How do you know if someone loves you? How does love make you feel inside? What do you do if you love someone? How do you show your love for another human being? What evidence do you see of love in society, in yourcommunity, in your home? Can you make any connection between the Olympics and philia love?.
Go to your server folder, open up a word processing file, and write a response using at least three paragraphs. You need not answer the questions in order, andwer the ones for which you have a comment. Add any questions you think we should discuss. Use spell check! Check out the 'Hamburger'!Have a peer edit it. Pop it into the BLOG site and I will publish it! Happy BLOGGING!

Monday, February 6, 2006


We have been merrily playing with blocks. I hope it makes a difference. Concrete manipulatives galore. math009.JPG

Friday, February 3, 2006

Computer Lab

Olympics webquest

FlagWinter Olympics webquest page and answer the questions on your work sheet! Remember to book mark it, in case you get lost!


avatars -


Instead of using photos, use an avatar to allow students to post 'images'!

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Olympic assignment

Olympic words: 100!

Today's challenge: to write 100 words on some aspect of the Winter Olympics. Due on Tuesday, Feb. 7th.
We brainstormed some ideas about the athletes. As a mind set - I asked them to write 10 qualities an Olympic Athlete might possess. I shared some newspaper articles, presented a 'high interest/low vacab. read a few bios aloud, a book on snowboarding, available on the RBC website or the websites.

We had a discussion about: the difference between amateur and professional athletes, the hours of practice, dedication and effort.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Icy Roads in S.E. Ontario

Today busses were cancelled. The school was open for those who walk or had other means of transportation.
Sir Win. Churchill P.S. postponed the drama presentation of The Spirit of Harriet Tubman, by Leslie McCurdy of MASC. Ms. McCurdy will perform on March 29th, instead. We will look forward to this presentation. Artists are a welcome part of our curriculum.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Olympic activities

Olympic Elementary Activities

Check out our latest work. We have lots of photos to record our activities. Check out our class photos. The math activity opportunities have been extensive. We have been able to talk about mathematical vocabulary: highest, lowest, placement, decimals, hundreds vs one one hundredth, mean, median and mode.

medal count

Whew! The election is over

Our class is busily reviewing our work, ensuring that our unit of study is The Unit Evaluation was handed out and students understood what might be missing from their binders, or incomplete.

The last assignment , the day of the election, was predicting the outcome by creating a "front page" for a newspaper. The results are not yet in. The grade 7's created a Jeopardy game, during which they created questions based on Bloom's Taxonomy.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Schools and Poverty

Many years ago, during the "Mike Harris" years, cutbacks and the "Common Sense Revolution", many school board resorted to having students pay for school supplies: paper, duotangs, pens and pencils, 'school fees'- for agendas and other miscellaneous materials. It seems that during Ottawa's (Jan;. 22nd) City Council meeting schools, staffs and teachers in OCDSB were accused of "routinely" making poor kids contribute more than they can afford for field trips and school supplies. They accused staff of going on P.A. systems and belittling students who had not paid for field trips. This information was broadcast of CBC TV Ottawa News @ 6:00. I was shocked.

I can only ask: would the teachers who "routinely" embarrass students living in poverty please step forward? We must fix this problem.
At all?
Thought not.

I know, as a single parent, I have been asked to pay more than I could afford for a trip, [or Arts & Crafts supplies, or "Secret Santas", or Scholastic book orders,] when newly divorced. Women in divided families have to cough up first and last month's rent and it is a difficult position in which to find oneself. Staff was most responsive to our needs at the time. Anytime any student my colleagues suspected could not afford a trip they would approach Parent Councils who would pay the fees in a kind, caring gesture, with no one any the wiser. In one school we asked more fortunate families to donate fees, with a tax receipt, for a family who could not afford to send their child skiing. (School trips get pretty good discounts.)
What I found was that school staffs are MORE than sensitive to the needs of our students. The messages on this folder indicate how caring and concerned we are of those less fortunate. We give regularly to many Humanitarian Agencies. We care for the kids we teach. We all belong to one group or another. Parents, on the other hand, need to be able to tell their children that they cannot afford particular items. It always surprises me the children who cannot afford "school fees" - not that I agree with THAT principle, but cough up $20 for school photos a week later. But that is a parenting issue, and one which obfuscates the problem, I believe. The parent interviewed, to whom one lobby group was responding, made this complaint. It is good for kids to know their monetary limitations. When did "NO" ever hurt a child? many are up late watching TV in their bedrooms, playing their Game Boys, with homework not done and no one taking control.
But Idigress...
It would be nice to know if there are schools in which this situation has occurred: humiliating the less fortunate, they ought to be disciplined, but I cannot imagine anyone in this caring profession doing so. We focus on the whole child. We nurture and care for kids who are facing very difficult famly situations. We look after them and continue to be the one consistency in a sometimes inconsistent life. Many children are facing increasingly difficult social, emotional and physical problems.We continue to be parent, priest, psychologist and psychiatrist to students. I would laud the work we do.

Jennifer Jilks
Sir Winston Churchill M.S.

A king can stand people fighting but he can't last long if people start
thinking. -Will Rogers, humorist (1879-1935)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Geometer's sketchpad

All gr. 7,8,9 students were sent home with a Geometer's Sketchpad (GSP) application CD last week. There was a letter accompanying the CD, addressed to parents, GSPinforming them of this project. It is a great idea,sending out such software, and one which ought to be lauded! We have such limited time in the computer lab that this enhances our ability to integrate numeracy technology into our curriculum. I ensured that I taught my students how to use it before I sent this software home with the kids. I can only manage to get kids into the computer lab once per cycle. Many, many teachers are integrating technology, but we often have to fight for computer lab periods.

Our school provides a monthly sign-up sheet. It means you must hustle to the sheet and plug in your times before another colleague beats you to it. We have debated the fairness of such a strategy. It ensures that there is a fresh slate each time. If you are an early bird, like me, it is a piece of cake to sign up. Otherwise, if the listt is posted after school, or while we are teaching, with noe preps, you may lose out. Some teachers abuse this and sign up for two entire days in a row, but that seldom happens.

In smaller Primary/junior schools, in which teachers are assigned one or two periods a week, they may find that they are struggling to fill the time. This is the downside to technology infusion. In this case, teachers can feel free to call on their Education Technology Integrators (ETIs), who are each assigned to a school to support teachers in their endeavours to successfully incorporate exemplary practices into their curriculum.

E-Portfolio | class photos

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Election Day approaches

Our Election Day activities have been a challenge. Encouraging students to think about the election, to respond critically to all they hear and read has proven effective, despite low voter turnout in the 18 - 24 year old age bracket. Here are some photos of our work .

Thursday, January 12, 2006

5 Paragraph (minimum!) Essay

Today I assigned a 5-Paragraph Essay

It is based on one aspect of the Election process: it could be about a candidate, a comparison of candidates in your riding, a discussion and comparison of the election process in another country. Do not forget to use COPS! Please remember to structure your paragraphs carefully.

New year's assignments - get ready

Research on the Election (Jan. 23rd) and review Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad (Feb.).

Monday, January 9, 2006

Back to work

1. CheckTo begin: a) Create a title page and a table of contents. Create a KWL chart. KWL

b) View this Powerpoint introduction to voting in Canada, an overview - based on the book:Canada Votes.

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