Friday Two Cents: Don’t Stress: Laugh And Have Fun


 

‘A day without laughter is a day wasted.’Charlie Chaplin

 

  Well this week I was able to put up the Christmas tree, string the outdoor lights and put out my nativity scene for the upcoming Christmas season. Yet one thing that always makes the season more enjoyable is the music of this wonderful holiday.  We in Toronto are quit fortunate to have a radio station (CHFI 98.1 FM) that plays Christmas music all day long.  They started last weekend at the beginning of the Santa Claus parade and will continue until December 26, Boxing Day. 

  Christmas music has always been a big part of Christmas for me.  I think because I use to play in several bands and we were always playing the songs for about a month and half before Christmas to help us prepare for our concerts.  However, about 10 years ago I discovered some alternate Christmas songs that I have to listen to that makes my Christmas complete.

Stressed Out Christmas

  They are a collection of songs preformed by Bob Rivers and once I heard them, Christmas hasn’t been the same. For some reason these songs connected with me. Perhaps it’s because I find that with everyone is running around trying to get things done, buy stuff and it places a lot of stress on people when there shouldn’t be.  I think people need to not take things too seriously. Everywhere people are worried about getting the perfect gift, have the perfect dinner and the perfect tree. These songs help me to see that there is some fun and laughter in this season.  We do not need to take things too seriously; relax, enjoy life, laugh and have fun.   Those are some of the important parts of Christmas.
  Therefore in the spirit of bringing some laughter and fun back into Christmas, I have attached a YouTube video/song of my favourite alternate Christmas song by Bob Rivers.  The tone is from the song “Winter Wonderland” but the lyrics have been changed into a new song entitled, “Walkin’ ‘Round In Women’s Underwear”. 
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and remember to have a little laugh every once in a while. 

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Friday Two Cents: Vacationing In Ontario With George Part 5: Trailer Camping


 

twoCentsOldNew_George

Well this past week I could not post on Friday because I was up at a friend’s trailer enjoying nature with the comforts of civilization. I say this because I for one love camping with a tent and cooking over an open fire. But there are times when I do enjoy the conveniences of modern living. Running water and flush toilets to mention only a couple. This was emphasized with one point of the trip while I was in, what is known around here as cottage country.

The region is about 1 – 2 hours drive north of Toronto in the great community of Midland and Penetanguishene.   My friend’s trailer is situated in the outskirts Penetanguishene with wonderful scenes of nature and beaches within driving distance, which we partook.

Besides the beaches and natural beauty, the community has a wonderful and rich history. One such venue was our trip and exploration of Discovery Habour. This historical site was a naval base built to help safe guard Upper Canada (Ontario as it was known then) after the war of 1812. It has many buildings and is rich in historical features that it took us a day to see them all. The site being a naval base has full-scale replica sailing ships, the H.M.S Bee (a Gaff Topsail Schooner) and the H.M.S. Tecumseth warship, plus others. They also have buildings with period specific items that bring out the history. Yet the showstopper is a new building, The H.M.S. Tecumseth Centre. Here they have artifacts and the original hull of the H.M.S. Tecumseth pulled from the Penetanguishene Bay in 1953. This climate controlled building gives you a wonderful look into a piece of Canadian Naval history.

As well, the trip was enhanced with the communities’ celebration of the Rendez-Vous Champlain Festival – a celebration of the arrival of Samuel de Champlain on the shores of Georgian Bay in 1615. 400 years ago Samuel De Champlain arrived on the shores of the Georgian Bay area and began a series of events that would see French settlers arrive and leave their mark on the area. A few facts about the Penetanguishene region and the French connection:

  • Sainte-Marie-among-the-Hurons, founded in 1639, was the first French-European settlement in North America, thanks to the guidance and generosity of First Nations.
  • The Huron-Wendat First Nation inhabited the area between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay long before Europeans, building thriving commercial and agricultural communities.
  • Nearly 612,000 Francophones call Ontario home. This is the largest French-speaking community in Canada outside of the province of Quebec.

 

They had a parade and events for the three-day event and it was wonderful to see and experience.

The experience then topped off with a clear night so we can view the Blue Moon.  A blue Moon happens with the second full moon of the month.  This only happens every few years.  The full trip was wonderful and upon reflection a great segue to the upcoming events that I, and George, plan on experiencing for the rest of the summer. Stay tuned, the summer many be half over but adventure is always just around the corner.  

Friday Two Cents: Vacationing In Ontario With George Part 3: A Day With My Niece


 

twoCentsOldNew_George

On the adventure side of this summer vacation, this week has been a very quiet and relaxing one. I didn’t go do anything exciting or mind-blowing. I just stayed around the house cleaning and trying to do a massive purge. My father has kept ‘things’ since before I was born and hasn’t thrown away anything so its time to purge, organize and clean out the garage and tool area. To say that it is a mind numbing, tedious and disheartening task would be understating the obvious. Yet midst this chore I had a moment of comfort and to my surprise, a small adventure.

puppets01

Mufasa, Charlie and George

One day I had a couple of little visitors; my nieces came over for the day. I adore my nieces and look forward to any opportunity to play or just spend time with them. This day they came over and amidst their playing they discovered George and some of the other puppets and stuffed animals I have for me class. They know that George helps me teach my students and one of my nieces wanted to play with him. The other niece got attached to my little Simba from the Lion King (I have a large Mufasa Puppet to go with it).   I told them that they can play with them but they have to be gentle and play nice with George and Simba. Seeing them play with them was entertaining and surprisingly fun. I too got involved with Mufasa and we all had fun.

We were going out for lunch at their favourite place, McDonald’s, and they wanted to take George and Simba. I sad yes and we left. The lunch was as enjoyable as any when you “try” to eat lunch out with a couple of kids. After the lunch the little one was going to sleep and I took the opportunity to take the older niece to the park for some fun. I asked her and she wanted to and of course George came with us.

We went to a park I have not visited for some time, High Park. It is in the west end of Toronto and a wonderful example of trying to bring a natural setting to an urban environment. It has a pond, soccer and baseball fields, a pool, tennis courts and a couple of playgrounds. They also have a nice nature trail but I was not able to go with my niece this time. She of course wanted to go to the playground and the wading pool. We had a wonderful time playing on the structures and digging in the sand together and so did George.

The day was great and I had a wonderful time, as did my niece. But I was pushing with my niece on a swing in the park; I realized that being on vacation doesn’t have to mean that you have to go away somewhere. Sometimes it means just enjoying friends and family in your own backyard. My niece and I (and George) had a wonderful time together just hanging out. Vacation means to have a time for some recreation. Well I had that with my niece and that was more fun than traveling to a distant destination any day.

Art Inspiration: Art and Math in One Lesson


ArtInspirationPaulGLogo

During my practicum I had the opportunity to do the art lessons with the students. They are the younger primary but I wanted to do something that was different and challenging with them. Yet I also taught different lessons though out my stay there. One of the areas was Math. Yes many people do not like to teach or even learn math, but there are ways that you can introduce math concepts that are both fun and educational.

My mentor teacher and I were about to begin the next math unit with the students. It was the unit on 2 and 3 dimensional shapes. We wanted the students to be familiar with the different shapes we were going to use in the unit. Therefore I created a lesson plan for them around this idea. It was also fortunate that I had to use a type of lesson called a Choice Centres for one of my other classes. The Choice Centre strategy allows for a variety of activities providing different modalities and different levels of responses that help students investigate the topic further. Some adaptations can include drama, writing, reading, technology, viewing and experimenting. We were to use this model on a literacy lesson but our professor said we could use it on any subject matter, so long as we stayed true to the model. The model calls for a student to choose a centre and then stay there to explore the subject material. I adapted the lesson so that the students would be rotated to allow all the students an opportunity in each centre. The centres I created are as follows …   Centres (Materials And Instructional Notes)

  1. Blocks 3D shapes / construction toys
    1. Use building blocks and pattern blocks to create structures
    2. Use Kapla Blocks to model real structures
  2. Shape exploration 2D shapes – triangles, rectangles, squares, circles
    1. Use coloured 2D plastic shapes to explore patterns
    2. Different sized triangles, rectangles, squares and circles
  3. Work Sheets with 3D shapes (assessment for learning)
    1. Make the 3D shape into something real (ex. sphere – baseball)
  4. Geoboards – with elastics create different shapes
    1. Students will explore what shapes they can create using the boards and elastics. They can create, rectangles, squares and different shaped triangles.

LiteracyCarocel Important Notes For The Teacher

  • Circulate around the room and observe and listen to what the students are calling the shapes. Are they using the proper terms? What are they calling the 3D shapes? How are they using the material? Is their something you saw that you did not expect?
  • Have a timer (I use an iPad timer displayed on the screen) to allow the students to explore the different stations.
  • Have a class list to write down anecdotal notes of the students for assessment and documentation. (Assessment As during the learning)
Many people may think that this is not Art just a math lesson.  But I say when you create something don’t you use shapes.  When you paint a picutre of a flower doesn’t it start with a circle?  Or when you create Mondrian Art isn’t it divided into geomentric shapes?  Math and Art are a part of each other.  It is a match like ice cream and chocolate fudge.  They are great apart but fantasic together.

Below are some images of the lesson. Who said that art and free expression are not part of learning math?

Art Inspiration: Shaving Cream Easter Eggs


 

ArtInspirationPaulGLogo

During my practicum I had the opportunity to do the art lessons with the students. They are the younger primary but I wanted to do something that was different and challenging with them. I wanted to do an art activity that had to do with a different medium, something other than paints, crayons or drawing. This was a simple art activity that would be utilized during Easter and incorporate spring colours or pastel colours. So I decided to incorporate a sensory aspect to the art activity. Therefore I decided on using a shaving cream activity I used many years ago.

Because it was my first few days back from the university strike I did not create a lesson plan but I did it off the top of my head. I not the Learning goals or success criteria but I did write down the steps and create a rubric for marking after.

 

Resources/Materials:

Craft Supplies – a tray or I used construction paper sheets, shaving cream, white construction paper or art paper, acrylic paints, a squeegee, I used a straw or you can use a paintbrush or Popsicle stick

(Warning this activity is messy, use a sheet to cover the table.)

Action: Step-by-Step

  1. Draw egg shapes on the white construction paper and have the students cut them out. Make sure they print their names on the back of the egg.
  2. Squirt enough shaving cream on the tray or sheet to be able to cover the surface.
  3. Have the students spread it around to make the surface relatively even, it won’t be smooth. (Essential questions ‘How does it feel on you hands? What does it smell like?’)
  4. Once you have your shaving cream evenly spread on the tray or sheet, squirt some acrylic paint vertically onto it. (Ask the students which colours they want to use. Limit to two – three colours.)
  5. Then using a straw or paintbrush or what every you used, zigzag gently though the paint to give it a marbled effect. Do not over mix the colours you just want the colours to start mixing not completely turn into another colour. You want a marble look of the colours.
  6. Place the egg shapes on the shaving cream/paint mix.
  7. Have the students press their paper into the shaving cream/paint and let it sit for a few seconds.
  8. Remove the paper by lifting it straight up. Let the paint/shaving cream sit on the paper for a couple of minutes before squeegeeing it off the paper.
  9. Gently and smoothly squeegee the shaving cream off the paper. It will remove the shaving cream, but not the paint.
  10. Once dried you have a wonderful decoration for Easter and you can use this technique on any other art project.

 

I hope you enjoy the examples below.

Art Inspiration: Pastel Hearts


 

ArtInspirationPaulGLogo

  For my 250th post I would like to share one of my lesson plans I did during my practicum.  They are the younger primary but I wanted to do something that was different and challenging with them. I got a suggestion to use different drawing mediums such as pastels. It was near Valentines Day and so I decided to incorporate a lesson with warm and cool colours. Below are the learning goal, what I want them to learn and the steps to be taken for the lesson.

 

Learning Goal (student perspective): I want to learn to use warm and cool colours to create a drawing with pastels. I want to use the warm and cool colours to make the areas I colour look different.

(Student perspective) I am successful when I can …

“use only warm colours in one area and cool colours in the other.”

“draw different wavy horizontal and vertical lines to make sections that I can colour.”

‘trace the heart shape to have different areas for warm and cool colours.”

Resources/Materials:

Craft Supplies – pastels, construction paper, desk covers, pencils, three heart-shaped tracers

iPad – with the PowerPoint of the lesson

Minds On: How will I engage the learner?

Use the puppet George to ask them about warm and cool colours. Have George show images of warm and cool colours in the iPad. Have George show his drawing and ask the students to see the warm and cool colours.

Action: Step-by-Step

  1. Draw three horizontal wavy lines going from one end of the paper to the other.      
  2. Draw three vertical wavy lines going from one end of the paper to the other.
  3. Trace a heart using one of the heart stencils.
  4. Decide if you are going to colour the inside of the heart using warm or cool colours. Colour the outside of the heart with the opposite.
  5. Colour between the lines using warm or cool coloured pastels.
  6. After you colour the entire page trace over the lines using a dark colour (black)

 

Below is the PDF Presentation I used with the students.

WandCValentine

I hope you enjoy the examples below.

 

Art Inspiration: Mondrian Art Lesson


 ArtInspirationPaulGLogo

During my practicum I had the opportunity to do the art lessons with the students. They are the younger primary but I wanted to do something that was different and challenging with them. I got a suggestion to do a Mondrian inspired art lesson so I came up with one. I decided to incorporate a lesson on primary colours and connect it to the geometric shapes lesson we are doing in math. Below are the learning goal, what I want them to learn and the steps to be taken for the lesson.

 Learning Goal: We are learning about the primary colours and introduce how the colours are seen as warm or cool colours and how do they make us feel. As well the use of geometric shapes and what do they represent in the image.

 (Student perspective) I am successful when I can …

“see what are the primary colours and which ones are called warm and cool colours.” “create geometric shapes using the ruler like squares and rectangles.”

 Resources/Materials:

Craft Supplies – paper, paints, brushes, cups with water, pencils, rulers, black markers/pencil crayons

iPad – to show examples of Mondrian art

 Essential Questions:

Why are they warm and cool colours? What makes them so? What examples can you think of as warm and cool colours? What do think about the artists work? How does this colour (ask for all the colours) make you feel?

 Minds On: How will I engage the learner?

Use the iPad to show different images of warm and cool colours and ask them how do they make them feel. (Cool – blue; warm – red) also geometric shaped art and ask them what do they think about them.

 Action: Step-by-Step

 Step 1 – Use a ruler and a pencil to divide your paper into shapes. (Only use vertical and horizontal lines… no diagonal lines)

Step 2 – Use a black marker to trace over the lines to make them thinker.

Step 3 – Use primary colours and black paint to fill the shapes. Paint only three (3) of the shapes for each colour.  3 red, 3 blue, 3 yellow and 3 black

 

I hope you enjoy the examples below.

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