I haven’t written many blog posts lately! I’m very busy teaching a four month grade three contract these days. I began the last week of February. I really enjoy my students, but we are super busy! Each student, taking on an altar ego and the mantle of a super hero means that school is a very busy place. When not a super hero, then there are always the roles of mathematician, engineer and wildlife biologist to fulfill! It’s a busy life we live.
As a result of all of the ‘busy’, my body flops onto the red sofa shortly after dinner and sometimes I even nod off. I just can’t even believe what heroes teachers are to take on such a huge part in children’s lives. Since retirement, I think I’ve become one of the most outspoken advocates of teachers I know. It’s one thing to support teachers in theory; it’s another to know and understand what they are living each and every day.
In the morning we have quiet focus time on the mat…I log onto Duke Farm’s Live Eagle Cam, much as I did during my grade one contract a couple of years ago. I made up a booklet that was grade specific, using the content provided for a higher level study. Duke Farms provides a wealth of information. This year we have two eggs on the nest and the weather has been brutal in the east. We have some sad moments as we observe female or male sitting until their own bodies are absolutely covered by snow. I think I captured a screen shot one day…yes…here’s the nest on March 1 and that snow crept up a few times so that only the adult’s beak was exposed. The children seem to be enjoying observing life on the nest and I am holding out hope that the eggs will successfully hatch over the coming week. Here are the blog posts directly from Duke Farms.
I have a few photos of my little nest, but it hardly captures the intensity of the space when the children enter and begin swirling through their day. There is never a pause. There is so much to learn.
In the morning, each morning, for just about ten minutes, I read aloud from the BFG by Roald Dahl. When I asked my adult daughter what she remembered about grade three, she told me that she remembered Roald Dahl and all of the wonderful books that he wrote. And so, just for wind down time, the children and I are sharing those words.
The BFG makes us laugh…and he shares some very intelligent, however nonsensical, words.
Each pod of desks is a city in India (Mumbai and New Delhi) or the Ukraine (Kiev and Odessa) or Peru (Lima) or Tunisia (Tunis). The students are just getting their pavilions researched and constructed. This makes it very easy for calling up a rep from each city to pick up things or deliver things to their group. They share responsibilities and connect it to their place in the world. Sorry for the out-of-focus photo…will try to get a better archive. Most of the art has been collaborative to this point. This Klimt tree will be evolving over the seasons. A place to publish descriptive words and elaborative detail.
Students collect bling for all sorts of everything and post them on their plain-jane brown paper wrap Super Three frames. By end of year, these will be the most highly decorated frames in existence. The students are wildly motivated.
My brother and father both sent explanations of their military medals and ribbons so that I could share with the students what an honour it is to be decorated. I showed these to my students and explained what a sense of pride is felt with such achievements. They were very excited about the possibility, as Super Threes, of receiving such as these. While having gold star days are an every day occurrence, receiving a ribbon is more special and rare. I’ve got a huge stash of them and jot down the reason for each ribbon presentation on my note cards. The children have to then share with me what they are going to do to earn the next. Again, every child receives recognition and praise.
We keep many different publications going…books of THREE (a place to look at why Three is such a powerful number), WHEN-THEN books When__________ (teacher provides an action) Then___________(what action results, giving students opportunities to explore how choices and results connect) and Save the Day booklets (students explore how they want to use their super powers for good).
The students are engineers. After the students tested for stability in a large, medium and short cylinder, they had opportunity to explore how to increase stability. Whoosh! They are some sort of inventors. At the end of the frenzy, they decided that the base of a structure should be wider and heavier and include some sort of connecting material in order to be more stable. :0)