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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