Thursday, September 29, 2011

Homework Today

We had a beautiful day for the Terry Fox Run today, and the class did wonderfully acting as big buddies for Mrs. Loutet's K/1 students.

The class is excited to begin their daily blogging, which I'm thrilled about. They had some time yesterday during computers to practice blogging (writing about what they'd do if they were the principal of Alouette for a day). They decided they were ready to begin their daily blog today. They can write about anything (school appropriate, of course), and they can also attach a picture/video/etc. if it's relevant to their writing. The focus should be on the writing, though, not the attachment.

It is beneficial for parents to read the posts, and help with mechanics (spelling, grammar, etc.)

The daily blog will be graded based on participation, and this grade will be part of students' Language Arts mark. If they consistently do their blog and achieve at least the minimum amount of writing they will earn a B on the blog. To earn an A, they must consistently exceed the minimum.

The other homework for today is that the newspaper page is due tomorrow. Please encourage your child to fineline and colour for maximum presentation marks.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Explaining the Daily Blogging Activity

My goal with the daily writing activity is to get the students into the habit of writing regularly and to see writing as a rewarding personal exercise much as we hope our students view reading. I am hopeful that by introducing the blog, students will not view this daily writing as homework as much as a place for self-expression and creativity.

Having said that, each student comes to writing with different perspectives. For some, it is a difficult mechanical task (the fine motor skills aren't fully developed). My experience has shown that for many of these students, using a keyboard instead of a pencil takes a lot of the pressure off.

For other students, the challenge is getting the ideas organized in a way that they can be written. Some children can tell wonderful stories aloud, but getting their thoughts down on the page can be time-consuming and frustrating. Again, the keyboard may be helpful in this regard.

Yet others are stuck at the idea-gathering point--"what do I write about?" is a common question in our Writer's Workshop. Part of what I am teaching students this year is how to brainstorm for ideas that will keep them inspired in their writing.

Teaching writing is a passion of mine, and this fall I am completing my final field study at SFU by looking at how the use of technology can improve my Writer's Workshop. I hope that using the blog benefits all the students. Please let me know if you have any questions or are having issues with this home assignment, as it is the first time I am trying it and my goal is to learn how it can improve student writing. I will learn as much from the students and all of you this year as the students will learn from me, and that is one of the joys of teaching!

Daily Writing

I want to thank all the parents/guardians in Division 7 for being so quick to fill out the "Getting to Know You" and blog email forms and returning them. I have entered all the email addresses into my subscription box on my blog page, so you should have received a confirmation email (which you then would have had to respond to).

Hopefully it all worked well and you're reading this via an email update! :-)

I have had a couple of parents ask me about whether the daily writing activity I describe on the link to the right has started yet, and the answer is no. I am working with our prep teacher, Ms. Ramsay, to get the children acquainted with and to get them really comfortable with logging on, posting, commenting, deleting posts, etc. before sending them off to do it at home. I am hoping that we can begin our daily writing within the next week or two, and I will update the blog to announce this (and the children will write in in their planners, too).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Happy September!

I’m very pleased to be joining the excellent staff at Alouette and teaming up with Mrs. Kollen this year.  I am coming to you from Yennadon, where I taught grade 6/7 last year.

I have taught in School District 42 for five years, first as a Teacher-on-Call and then teaching grades 5-7.  I came to teaching after my youngest child entered kindergarten, so I have experienced the education system from both sides.  I love my jobs, both as a parent and a teacher!  I feel fortunate to be able to work part-time this year so that I can balance both well.

I am also fortunate to be teaching subjects I have a great deal of passion for this year; I will be teaching the writing component of the Language Arts program, Fine Arts (focusing on visual art and dance), Social Studies, and Health and Career Education.  For more information on my writing program, please check out the link on my page about Writer's Workshop.

Nairn Falls near Pemberton

Kayaking off Mayne Island

I hope you all had a restful summer.  July wasn't great, but August made up for it!!  And now here's to a terrific 2011-2012 school year!