Friday Two Cents: Discovering More Through Play


This week and next I will be working in a kindergarten class where the teacher has asked me to present a lesson centred on math. Math has always been my favourite subject second only to art and when given the opportunity, I raised to the challenge.

It is the beginning if the year and I know that these students are new to counting, especially in French. So I decided to begin by seeing how much do they know when it comes to counting. I came up with several activities to help them and the teacher assess where the students are in their math skills.
I began with some activities with the students using 10 frames, rekenreks, printing the numbers and a bingo game with snap cubes. I noticed a few things that made me see that no matter where I go and with whom I work with, children learn a lot though play. Several of the activities are centred on a play base system. Yes they are doing their work by learning to count in French and they are printing the numbers but to get to those numbers they have to use a spinner like you would use in a game. And the more I and the teacher played / participated in the activity, the more the students, 1) appeared to enjoy it, 2) hopefully learn something from the experience and 3) we learned where each student is in their counting.  
Every time I enter a classroom I always have this quote from Plato in the back of my mind…

 

‘You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.’ Plato

 

These activities I did with the students are a clear indication that Plato’s words ring true.

 

 

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Friday Two Cents: The Power Of George


 

This week I was fortunate to some supply teach in a kindergarten class. It was a class full of junior kindergarten children. Many people would run in the other direction at the prospect of being in a classroom of 27 three to four-year olds, but not me. I adore kindergarten children, they are so open and honest; something we all lose, as we grow older. Mind you, it did not start off as a bed of roses.

Hi Everyone!!! My Name is George!!!

You have to remember that it is only the second week of school, a Monday to boot and many of these students have never been in any type of organized school setting. So to say that there were a few tears would be an understatement. It was more of a river, yet I did something that got their minds off their separation anxiety. I brought out my trusty friend, George. If you do not know who is George he is my purple monster/dragon that sounds like Goofy and helps me read stories, sing songs and introduce lessons to the students.  
Once I brought him out and introduced him as my little friend that helps me in the class, the students were mesmerized and many of the tears began to go away. I even had a couple of little girls, “shadows”, beside me for the rest of the day. At one point the art teacher came into the room and I had to leave to go to the washroom and do some work in the office, one of them didn’t want me to leave. I told her that I would be back but she wanted to come with me. I told here I had to go to the washroom but it was the big boys washroom and she kind of understood. She asked several times if I would be back and I reassured her that I would. At the end of the art lesson I returned and the little girls saw me and I said to them “I told you I would be back.” and one even smiled.
The rest of the day went well and George helped with a few songs and a couple of stories. As the day progressed everyone was engaged in the activities in the class and many of the students were wearing smiles when it was time to go home.  
It was an amazing day and George was a big part of it. I have had George for many years and I have brought him into countless classrooms and even after all that, I am astounded at the power of his presence with the students. The morning could have been a disaster but just bring out George helped to calm things down and I was able to connect with the students much quicker. I guess children are all the same, no matter where you go.

George, you have some power that makes people feel at ease. Not only the little kindergarteners, but me too, Thank you little buddy.

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Art Inspiration: Heroes Vs. Villains – Final Portrait


As part of the final assignment in my resent drawing club, I had the students create their own hero or villain. Their characters could have up to 2 powers/abilities; a unique name and they had to indicate if they were either a hero or villain. The students also wanted me to redraw their character, in the comic book style, once they had handed their original in. I needed the original as a reference, I told them and I wanted them to do the work. The variety I received was amazing and it inspired me to create a wide range of characters.

I began with my version of the villain’s leader and over the past few weeks I have posted the characters the students created. At the end of the club I gave them a certificate with my version of their character on it. Yet I also wanted to give them something else. I decided to create a final portrait with all the characters in it for everyone in the club. The original was in black and white, in case they wanted to color it themselves, but mostly I did not have the time to create a colour version; until now.  

I hope you to will enjoy the final portrait/collection of all the characters from Heroes VS. Villains.

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Friday Two Cents: Inspirational Beginnings


 

Wisdom begins in wonder. Socrates

 

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Lao Tzu

 

With students and teachers returning to school it is a perfect opportunity to make fresh starts all around. Every year I always try to pass on a few words of wisdom to help inspire others. I like to give teachers these quotes to help inspire them in their daily run with the students. Below you can see a couple of examples. Many of these quotes inspire me, perhaps they can inspire you too.

 

Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.  Mother Teresa

 

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. Plato

 

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Art Inspiration: Heroes vs. Villains – Lorra


As part of the final assignment in my resent drawing club, I had the students create their own hero or villain. Their characters could have up to 2 powers/abilities; a unique name and they had to indicate if they were either a hero or villain. The students also wanted me to redraw their character, in the comic book style, once they had handed their original in. I needed the original as a reference, I told them and I wanted them to do the work. The variety I received was amazing and it inspired me to create a wide range of characters.

I began with my version of the villain’s leader and in the next few weeks I will post the student’s original character with my version that I gave to them. In the past few weeks I posted the Villains now its time for the Heroes to make an appearance …

Hero 09 – Lorra

Some students modeled their character after popular comics they are familiar with, yet this student wanted to create something very unique. The student also wanted to create a character with another student so that they would be twins. They would look like each other but have some different abilities.

I liked the idea and encouraged the two with any help they needed or asked for. Her “Twin” is the previous hero character Korra. They would both have wings with feathers yet the hair would be different and they would have the same ability of telekinesis, however Korra would control water and Lorra will control fire.

I thought this was very imaginative and showed them how to draw wings and showed them the character Archangel from X-men.   Those where the wings she and her friend were looking for therefore I drew her character with this character in mind. I started with the same body pose as the twin and then I drew in the wings. Yet unlike her twin’s wings stance of them coming down as if wrapping around her body, I drew this character’s wings up to show them for all to see.

I showed the student my version of her character and she was ecstatic. She loved the pose and the wings yet she wanted it to look almost identical to her friend’s character. I said that you two are twins but there, like your abilities, slight differences. Then I reminded them of a couple of twins in the school they knew and they both have slight differences too. After I said this she felt better and was showing everyone her character proudly. I hope you to will enjoy the ninth hero character from Heroes VS. Villains – Lorra.

 

Friday Two Cents: Canada 150 Ottawa Trip – Ottawa & Gatineau


I had the opportunity to visit the Ottawa area to take in some Canadian 150 celebration. Once there I did a lot of sight seeing in the usual places like the museums, the mint and the ByWard Market. However there was a new attraction in Gatineau that was unique that celebrated the diversity of Canada and its sheer beauty. It was the MOSAÏCANADA 150/Gatineau 2017.

Jacques-Cartier Park Gatineau hosted the biggest horticultural event in Canada, the MOSAÏCANADA 150/Gatineau 2017. Mosaiculture is a most spectacular horticultural technique that combines the following different art forms:
  • Sculpture for the structure,
  • Paint for the palette of colours, and
  • Horticulture as the means of creating living and changing artworks with plants.
The theme of the exhibit reflected on the 150 years of history, values, culture and arts in Canada, represented by more than 40 different arrangements. Admission to the MOSAÏCANADA 150/Gatineau 2017 exhibit in Jacques-Cartier Park is free and it was a spectacular site to see.
After the garden exhibit I enjoyed a unique exhibition at the History Museum that happened to be right across the street from Jacques-Cartier Park. The exhibit is called “Hockey”, what’s more Canadian then that. It was an exploration of Canada’s game for the very beginning, through the creation of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Olympics and other international games all from a distinctly Canadian point of view.
If you are going to Ottawa one place you need to visit is the ByWard Market. It is a great place to get anything from fresh fruit and vegetables to any little nick-knack. They also have a wide variety of restaurants, bakeries and cafés. One was even visited by former President Obama where he bought a beaver tail and some cookies for his daughters.
Yet the day was topped off by a wonderful light presentation at the Parliament buildings. It is a sound and light show that journeys through Canada’s history. It shows Canadian stories of nation building, partnership, discovery, valour, pride and vision for a country. Key figures, events and achievements from Canadian history are brought to life using five distinct artistic styles. All are presented in spectacular detail, with a bilingual narration and an amazing music score that is projected on the Parliament builds, Centre Block and Peace Tower. There where times during the presentation where I felt myself tear up as a swell of national pride came over me. If you go to Ottawa just for this show it is well worth the trip. It truly was an amazing sight to see and I was lucky enough to find a copy of the show on YouTube. It is about 30 minutes but it is time well spent.

Going to Ottawa has always been a treat for me and I have been there on numerous occasions. Yet every time I go I cannot help be filled with pride and love for my birth country. The history, the accomplishments and vision of Canada have always been an inspiration to me. This trip has only deepened my love for Canada and I can proudly shout out for the entire world to hear…

“I AM CANADIAN!!”

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