Comic Strips: Anti-Virus Software


This month’s instalment of, The Craziest Things has less to do with the flu shot and more to do with talking in a language that the students’ understand. Whenever I am in a classroom and doing a lesson, the biggest issue I have as a teacher is if the students understand the concept that is being put forward to them. Whether it be math, language or even art; if the student does not understand, it is up to me to help them.

On many occasions I will present something and ask if they understand and I get blank looks, so I then ask how would you explain it to me? Or I would even use something totally different like sports or draw it out to try to help their understanding. That is where this cute like comic came out of. Many of the students where talking about the flu shot some time ago and I know that many take it because their parents told them to. However, I wondered how they relate the flu shot in a modern way and thought of the computer analogy.

I hope you enjoy the latest instalment of, The Craziest Things; Anti-Virus Software.

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Comic Strips: Tap, Tap, Tap.


 

I was unable to post last months instalment of, The Craziest Things do to my busy schedule outside the country, therefore I will post last months this week and April’s next week.

In this comic I explore the growing trend of this generation of students using more and more technology instead of traditional media, such as EBooks instead of real books. Mind you many of the students today use books but surprisingly I have actually seen this with the some students. I would imagine it would be the same for me if the past generation gave me a slide rule to calculate math problems, where I am use to a calculator.

This is a funny take on technology and how much it has progressed and entered every aspect of our lives. But in some ways it is a reflection on who we are. If we only look forward and forget where we came from what does mean for us as a society. I remember a quote …

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. George Santayana

With this in mind, I hope you enjoy the latest instalment of, The Craziest Things; Tap, Tap, Tap.

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Friday Two Cents: Veni, Vidi, Vici.


 

Recently I had the opportunity to work as a Long tern occasional (LTO) teacher in a grade 1 class. I have been at this school for several years and I have worked in many different classrooms with many amazing people. From the moment I came into the school I was welcomed by the staff and into the classrooms with the students.  I saw they needed help and I provided the best I could.  This was the last week with the students in the class because they have a replacement person for the position I was filling.  Of course I am a bit saddened to be leaving, but it is good that these students have a steady person to be with them and sometimes change is good. 

I said the same to the teachers but they all said that I have been a steady and positive presence to the children.  I guess I just thought of myself as someone providing help in any way I could to a difficult situation.  After two months it has been a bit trying at times but I just saw what needed to be done and just did it.
Yet the teachers said I did more than that.  I was even approached by many parents who said the same things and also wrote letters and made calls on my behalf to the superintendent and others about the job I have done and for me to stay on. They also mentioned that the children would miss me, and what I bring to them. I guess I captured their imaginations and helped to inspire them. I did not expect this and my response was of course gratitude and a heart-felt thank you to all of them.

Superman

I never really thought about it in those terms.  I knew the students will miss me, but they will move on.  Also the routines I established where just things I put into place for everyone’s benefit, I was just doing my job. The class and routines will go on without me, maybe even improved upon in my absence.  Who knows? 
I told a few that I was like Superman, coming in and lending a helping hand, then moving on.  They laughed that my statement was aptly put. 
Next week I move on as a supply teacher again in this school or other schools with new students, staff and challenges.  I go into this new adventure knowing that I did some good in the school.  That knowledge makes me feel good about what I have done and it helps me to look forward to the challenges that await me. 
I would imagine the quote from Julius Caesar is appropriate for my past two months,

‘Veni, vidi, vici. I came, I saw, I conquered.’ Julius Caesar 

Hopefully this knowledge can continue to inspire me in the new adventures that await me.

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Comic Strips: The Fine Print


 

This month’s latest instalment of, The Craziest Things is coming out on Valentine’s Day since, as you may have guessed, it is Valentine themed. In this comic I explore the growing trend towards a more litigious society and with what is happening in the world when it comes to relationships.

Many of us have seen when someone says something it may be taken in the wrong way or come back and bit them in the behind. More and more we as a society are falling onto the law to help protect or prosecute many things.

I thought what would happen if the above trend was translated into the innocent world of giving Valentine cards. So many of us have given and received Valentine cards in our childhood. It was a time of innocent fun and an opportunity to say thank you to your classmates and friends for being your friend. Yet what if someone took it too far and wanted to protect them-selves for fear of some future scrutiny. When does it go to far?

I guess we should heed Winston Churchill’s warning…

‘If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.’ Winston Churchill

With this in mind, I hope you enjoy the latest instalment of, The Craziest Things; The Fine Print.

 

 

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Friday Two Cents: Beating The January Blahs


 

This past week was not the January Blahs but at times it sure felt like it. The students where their usually sweet selves, yet the days seemed to drag on. Yet I was able to introduce a concept to the students I hope/should carry them on in their lives. I introduced sentence structure to them. Yeah you are probably thinking big deal, but it is to a first grader.

The students were writing sentences for sometime, however I noticed that many would simply string words together when writing them. Their oral language is good and many read well for first graders but I thought it wise to help them get a foundation in writing. I began with introducing the different parts of the sentence in a language they would understand. I created a chart to help them. We did some practice writing to reinforce this “What Makes A Sentence”. I also introduced a writing success criteria chart to help them. It is set up like a checklist/success criteria; something very similar to one I created to remind them to take their things home at the end of the day. Then during the week I introduced new activities that would involve them writing a sentence, such as in social studies we wrote about their favourite place in their neighbourhood. This all came together on Friday when we made sentence puzzles.
The students would write a sentence using the success criteria to help them. They would cut the words out and then ask another student to try to put the sentence back together and read the sentence. This way they can use the success criteria to help guide their thinking when recreating the sentence. The capital is at the beginning, punctuation at the end. Below you can see some of their sentences and some of them are pretty funny.

In the end we all had a good laugh and I hope they learned something. In the end I guess that is a good way to beat the January Blahs.

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Friday Two Cents: Awaking Joy In Creative Expression And Knowledge


As the second week of me working in the grade 1 class came to an end, I believe the students and I are getting the hang of the new routine. I am trying to keep as much of the students routine they had with the other teacher but I am adding a few of my own touches.

One thing I introduced is a story time where I read a story picture book but I only read a few pages every day. They are large, colourful books that have about 100 pages. I have many Disney story books that fit this description and the students are familiar with many of these stories. I also have a bookmark that I use to mark where we left off. Every day I would read a few pages until Friday when I would finish off the story.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

This week we read “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, the story seen in the original 1940 Fantasia. Many haven’t seen this piece and it was not too long for a first book. Every day I read a few pages and I would ask the students to predict what would happen next in the story. Many had some imaginative ideas but most came very close to what would happen next in the story. Every morning and even once or twice in the afternoon I was asked when I would continue the story.
I thought this is a wonderful way to introduce longer stories to them then they are used to and for them to know that they can read longer books. All they need is a bookmark to mark were they left off. The nice thing is that one student wanted my bookmark after I finished reading the book, however I suggested if they wanted they could make their own bookmark during their free time. I have a few strips of paper I use for making notes, the perfect size of a bookmark. I gave them one and then one by one the students wanting to make their own bookmarks too. Many even got some yarn to make tassels.

Student’s bookmark

But I think the clincher was when I told them that at the end of Friday I would show them the video of the original “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from the original 1940 Fantasia, but only if they were good. Of course they were and just before the end of the day we watched the 9-minute video. They were enthralled, not one of them talked during the 9 minutes. And even though it is all music they never said anything about it not having words. They were so excited by it; many asked what story I was bringing in next week. I told them they had to wait and see. They were mildly disappointed but they smiled and I think they knew that was going to be my answer.
Amazing. Simply bringing in a book to read over the week helped the students get introduced to longer books they could enjoy over days, inspire creativity in making bookmarks and enthusiasm for reading. That’s why I love being a teacher. I guess Albert Einstein was right when he said …

 

 

‘It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.’ Albert Einstein

 

Friday Two Cents: A New Year With A New Experience


 

With the New Year I begin a new adventure.   I have been fortunate to been given the chance to be the teacher in a grade 1 class. It is a tremendous opportunity to teach a full grade one class and to put my years of education and experience into practice. I was lucky to teach in a kindergarten class at the end of last year’s school year and yet now I get another chance to teach many of the same students again in grade 1. I have been with them for the first week and it has been tiring but very enjoyable and enlightening.

The interesting thing is that I worked with a grade five class for about a week and a half before the Christmas break and now I go from a class of 10/11 year olds to one of 6/7 year olds. To say they are very different grades would be stating the obvious but they all have their own rewards. These little people in grade one are so full of wonder and excitement to learn that it has become a bit infectious. They have been eager to learn and I in turn am eager to teach the lessons with these students.
We work on subjects that I enjoy such as art but their enthusiasm for the core subjects like math and literacy is amazing. One literacy activity we did is a “Roll and Read” sight word game. Each student gets to roll the dice and whatever number it lands on they must say the words under that number as quickly as they can. I introduced it on Monday and everyday since they are eager to play the game.

Roll and Read Sight Game

Another activity I introduced is a subitizing activity. Subitizing is the ability to recognize the number of a group of items at a glance and without counting. I used bingo dabbers to make dots on a card and we practice this just before the math lessons. The real nice thing is that I noticed the students practicing on one-another during their indoor recess time.

Subtilizing Card game

It is only the bringing and I have no idea how long I will be in this class, but one thing is for sure, I am going to enjoy this experience with the students. Already I have noticed that they are learning new things but on the other side so am I.  
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