Monday, February 28, 2011


For example, for older children. If parking is $5 per car. About how much will they make in this parking lot?

Math means manipulating materials.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Role play, drama

Drama is one of the best tools to use with elementary students.
It is a fine way to deal with issues, such as bullying.

I had a couple of students who were victims of bullying. I broke down a drama class into small groups. I assigned groups, since I wanted followers and leaders, both, in each groups.

First, they were each assigned a role play. I used their journal topics for the suggestions. Real incidents when kids had been teased or picked on. Writing them on recipe cards, I handed the cards to the groups.
It is best to use real, believable incidents, as the debriefing is much more powerful, but you can use any real or imagined incident. The teacher can brainstorm with the class, writing a list, on the board or chart paper, and assigning topics to each group.

Much of the time, critical incidents arise from small things. A child accidentally tripping another, with the perception being that s/he was tripped on purpose. Rather than jumping to conclusions, which results in physical violence, the kids can come up with strategies to depressurize a situation.

Stop. Think. Ask. If we are stressed, we are quick to assume intention, and this isn't always the case. Count to ten. When things are going wrong in our lives, we are quick to respond negatively. It is an important self-help skill to teach.

In one situation, I had a grade 6 girl who was needy for attention. Bright girl, she was a latch-key kid, with a guilty mom who always over reacted, herself.

In teaching situations, she would interrupt, dominate the conversations, and not allow others their turn to respond to my direct questions.

She left the classroom for the bathroom, and while out I suggested to a strong, bright student, that she attempt to interrupt the first child. Several times.
It worked beautifully, we debriefed, and spoke about the importance of giving others a chance to participate. The young lady now understood how it felt to be continually interrupted, and I simply had to give her a wise nod, and she would use self control and remember.
I ensured that I filled her needy character with attention in other ways. I this filled her soul.

This is an example of role play I used. I was an actor, too. I had another student videotape us. But the message hit home!
"I disagree with that answer!" I tried to have the kids learn how to do a video at the same time we were teaching  how to 'disagree agreeably'. The students had so much fun, I appointed another student to play me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Suicides in Lanark County, Perth, Ontario

There are way to prevent this from happening. But suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people.
We've lost 6 young men to suicide in the past summer.
The following audio slideshow tells part of the story of one of these young men — Jesse Graham — through the voices of his friend Krystal Shannon and his mother Shelly Graham.
Ontario town struggles to make sense of suicides Audio

Teachers are often the ones who notice problems. But we are not is a position to help.With such long waiting lists for help, however, young people are seldom seen in time. It takes a strong 
person to make a difference. It is difficult to differentiate normal teen angst from serious depression. 
Ontario town struggles to make sense of suicidesDepression is a terrible mental health disorder. Compounded with alcohol abuse, another depressant, kids are at risk for this problem. Suicides seem to appear in 
waves, one precipitates another.

Kids Help

Groups that provide support to youth: Find one near you!
Child, Youth and Family Crisis Line for Eastern Ontario (1-877-377-7775)
Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868)
Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa (613-260-2360)
Open Doors for Lanark Children and Youth (613-264-1415)

From The P.A.R.T.Y Program's YouYube page. More information on The P.A.R.T.Y Program, which is aimed at reducing risk behaviours in youth, and which originated at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, can be found here.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Sharing grief with students

In all my years teaching, helping children to deal with the death of a grandparent seemed the most natural thing I could imagine. We honoured our grandparents. I helped them write letters to grandparents, asking questions about their childhood, schooling, youthful lives. Then, when one of my grade 6's asked my help to write a eulogy for her famous grandfather, we all shared her grief in a positive and meaningful way. Having volunteered with an Expressive Arts Therapist I learned more about this aspect of expressing grief. Very therapeutic.

It is predictable that one of your students will lose a loved one. Worse, still, if it is a peer or your colleague. There are many ways to help your students.

1. Respect their needs to talk or to be silent.
2. Deal with the issues as they arise. Talk to the Trauma Response team if you have students who are directly affected.
3. Listen to their concerns.
4. Let them you know you are upset, too.
5. Model the means by which you deal with your grief.
6. Do not tell them the answers if you do not know the answers.
7. Clear up faulty misperceptions, if they arise. (During 9/11 kids were afraid to walk home.  Kids were afraid for their pets, relatives, etc.)
8. Have them talk to their parents about their feelings. Parents need to know.
9. Let them tell their stories. Draw pictures, create poems, write letters.
10. Make a fear box. Cut out pictures from newspapers & magazines that represent their fears.
11. Write down your fears. Assign them a number from 1 - 5. have them talk about these fears with their families.
12. Help others. Give a donation to one of the relief agencies. 

Helpful books for the Grieving Child:
• What Color is Death, Daddy? [PDF download]
An interactive book for children ages 3-7
• The Kaleidoscope of Grief: When Children Experience Death [PDF download]
Interactive books for Children ages 7 and up
• Kaleidoscope book En EspaƱol [PDF download]
A helpful brochures to help others understand how to help children
• Helping Grieving Children [PDF download]
Supporting the bereaved is a community responsibilty. Together, we can make a difference in the world!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine's Day

Role playing love stories!

Homemade: pop-up cards! 
Of course, puzzles are always in style.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Battling poverty in school

This idea scares me.
I found that the most joy, the most positive peer influence came from working together with one another. Many kids need after school care, those from affluent and from impoverished homes.

My kids were role models, along the entire spectrum. Those who had much, shared themselves those who had physical, social, emotional, financial  disabilities. How much better is it to live, work, eat and play within a community, rather than being bussed out. This is a sad day for Canadian schooling.

Jan 27, 2011 03:00 am
In a first for Ontario, a Niagara-area school opening this fall will only admit low-income students whose parents don't have a college or university education.

Critics denounce low-income school in Niagara

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 | 4:54 PM ET 

The DSBN Academy is scheduled to open in Welland in September, with about 150 low-income Grade 6 and 7 students — selected by lottery — bused in from across Niagara. Eventually the school would provide classes up to Grade 12 and have more than 500 students.
The school will provide breakfast and lunch as well as after-school programs, in addition to preparing students to be the first in their family to attend college or university.
The District School Board of Niagara announced Jan. 25 that the new school would be created because the current system wasn't serving poor children well.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Safer Internet Day

This Safer Internet Day, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection is reminding parents, educators and everyone else with children in their lives why it’s important to educate themselves on how to keep children safe online. The days where children spend the majority of their free time outdoors are behind us. Today’s reality is that kids are spending a great deal of their time online.

According to recent statistics published by the Pew Research Centre, 93% of teens aged 12-17 are now on the Internet, 89% of them go online from home and 77% of them go online from school. 

Since most children’s online activity happens at home or at school, parents and teachers are positioned to teach kids about safer Internet practices. While the Internet opens doors leading to a world of great information, communication and entertainment, it can also be a direct path to danger for children. Please take a moment to visit The door that’s not Locked  where you will find a number of new internet safety resources at your finger tips to help keep your kids safe online.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What does a cow say?

Half the fun of toddlers is teaching them about animals.
Once they have grasped the concept, we can branch out to more abstract ideas.
Matching images with sounds is much fun, as well.
But along with the questions we can ask our youngsters, to encourage thinking skills, is having fun with other concepts!

What does a horse say?
What does a pig say?
What does your Gramma say? (coffee!)
What does cheese say? (moo? Eat me!)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Remembrance Day with Intermediate Students

I loathe the sound bytes of the dearth of information young people have about Remembrance Day. Many create their own responses to the day, with ceremonies in every school. Some attend the bigger ceremonies, e.g., Ottawa's Memorial. School kids turned out at our local memorial in Perth, Ontario. One nudged another pair to take off their hats in respect. It was a wonderful moment.

In 2001, students wrote letters of appreciation to our Peacekeepers serving overseas. CO1 Dennis Irwin, our penpal, sent us photos of his experiences Students wrote to him and he wrote them back.

Here is some information we gathered from the Canadian Legion's publications.
Printer friendly table
World War I

Canadians Served



P.O.W. (Prisoner of War)

328,736*including 4,518 women




World War II

Canadians Served



POW (Prisoner of War)

1,031,902 men*including 49,963 women

44,927*including 73 women

53,145*including 19 women


 Korean War

Canadians Served



POW (Prisoner of War)





Gulf War

Canadians Served



POW (Prisoner of War)

4074* including 237 women



~Table by Andrew ~information from: Speaker's Guide and Fact Book: Royal Canadian Legion

Women had a profound role in war. They flew planes over to their hangers. They worked in factories. CBC archives has several radio and Tv clips.
A Blogger has created a site based on WW1: Experiences of an English Soldier
This blog is made up of transcripts of Harry Lamin's letters from the first World War. The letters will be posted exactly 90 years after they were written. To find out Harry's fate, follow the blog!

Granddaughter, want to go out and see some deer poo?

Deer pee and poo

Shoo-ur, Gamma!
We did. We went for a walk and noticed the evidence of the deer who had visited our backyard. She was quite excited!

   I loved teaching elementary science. Especially if I could reach them before that ick factor kicked in. We have a bug collector, too. 

When I asked my three-year-old granddaughter, Josephine, she was keen and eager!

I love the outdoors and nature. I love walking outside on a clear, cold day. Who goes there? Reading the forest's story...

I have learned, however, that while most of the forest paths lead back to our house, there are issues with walking on the path.

Rabbit dances around the yard looking for bird seed
Bear evidence in Lake Superior Park

Yes, rabbit!
Talking about bodily functions is an important part of education.

 I think it important to be able to identify body parts. And with a 3-year old around, working on toilet training, it seems a real topic of interest!

I love being able to read the forest, too, with all the evidence of our local critters, and none of the hassles of coming across a bear, coyote, or wolf! We have all of these in our bog and forest.

I recently went for a walk in the forest, and while I thought following the deer path a good one, there were two issues.

1. They don't leave their path to defecate!

2. While being able to stretch up, they can sneak under branches that hit me in the face! 

Hairy fox poo!
Lovely day for a walk, too bad I waited until the clouds covered the sun! The first segment, what happens when you lose your footing. Discovery of deer poo for Josephine (0:18). The beauty of the forest.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Valentine's Day

I love it!
One of the projects we did, was a Love Tape.

Each child taped a message. We sang love songs, and then I sent each kid home with a cassette tape. OK, it was a while ago! Now, you could burn images, drawing, and make slideshows of the class activities.
They would tell us all what they loved, and record it.

The parents loved being able to hear the songs we all sang. A grand time had by all!
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