Category Archives: games sports learning teaching tutoring winning work olympics success

Clear Example of STEAM in Action

Rio Olympics 2016! Absolutely lovely-

How can anyone still be questioning the value of either the Arts in Education or Sports on the curriculum?

Technology brought us the action and thanks to Time Zones and solid internet connections we were able to enjoy the blend of cultures and courage that strutting one’s talent in front of millions demands- and in “real time” watching as spectators from home while the action in Rio splashed or danced or cycled or ran or jumped…across our screens.

So Science and Technology and Engineering developed and improved the internet allowing the Olympic events to reach Global audiences – unlike those earlier Olympics which took place even before radio announcers- Imagine! when only those in the stadiums really were able to participate as spectators – the rest of the world believing that such events were for the economically wealthy who could afford to be there in person – today we rejoice alongside those in attendance or empathise when an athlete sheds a tear…

But the ARTS improved on the entire set of performances- from the opening ceremonies which greeted athletes and spectators alike, through to the closing speeches and the recognition for Tokyo to carry the torch.  In between we watched, cheered, groaned, and admired the marvelous differences in HUMAN BEINGS- from the gymnasts to the wrestlers; seeing the marathon runners feet firmly on the ground and the pole vaulters defying gravity to surprise themselves at times with their own wins; and quietly cheering the people working behind the scenes – yes the coaches who actually appeared front and centre but also all the designers and artists who helped build the stages and platforms, e.g. the landscape for events like the final Olympic mountain biking- blending with natural structures and terrain but finished by landscape artists who enhanced a “natural” area; and Kudos to the designers and artists who used fashion sense and modern technolgy to create the costumes the athletes wore- combining the best of known materials with the cultural symbols expected at a multi country event;  -ARTS< SPORTS<TECHNOLOGY, Global reach- all exemplified in that amazingly constructed new space for holding the Olympic torch-

Four years of participatory planning and practicing and communicating and learning and growing- for everyone co-ordinating the events whether as particpant or volunteer would have experienced the sense of competition that goes into every milestone each of us accomplishes. Ultimately, like each of the athletes, we are competing with ourselves.  And from the youngest in preschool through post -secondary education, every formal or informal student of life knows this.  And as Humans we need that encouragement from one another to become the front runners, to have the ability to “pick ourselves up and try again” or even to keep believing in our abilites and desires to do more- to learn more- to achieve more…

As countries look at expenditure for the Sports, the Arts and for Technology – let’s look at EDUCATION- and recognize that there is a place for each type of learning and learner- for only through working together could any event produce such positive results- the Olympics celebrate the HUMAN SPIRIT; our schools should be celebrating this too!

 

 

 

 

– Olympic participants 2014; Values and lessons

Four years ago I wrote a post sharing my love for the Olympics and the values that many of the Olympic athletes show and share(https://mytutoringspace.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/why-i-love-the-olympics/). How lucky we are, as spectators, to not only be able to watch and cheer but also to be able to learn and teach these ideals to our students. What becomes clear, time and again, is how excellence, or at least the pursuit of excellence, removes barriers and can connect across politics, across nationalities, and unites people even while the notion of competition itself suggests separation and distance among players. How sad then to read some of the tweets and posts that denigrated the players who selected to recognize the limits of their own physical prowess and who bowed out of a competition; be it an American or a Russian,(or a competitor from any other county), who did so out of a desire to stay healthy and have the option of participating again.

What then do the players teach all of us? That true sportsmanship is demonstrated on and off the field, and how “real life” is even more heart warming than all the TV commercials (though these do pull at heart-strings). I wish all the arm-chair critics who comfortably tweeted nasty comments about players, would realize that behind the choices are individuals who, by making it to the Olympics, have already proven tops in their fields, and who deserve encouragement for demonstrating that sometimes, not participating is the correct choice. Canada’s great hockey player, Sidney Crosby, and his determination to take care of himself when it was necessary ( http://proicehockey.about.com/od/nhlnewsscoresstats/a/Sidney-Crosby-Concussion-History.htm )is an excellent example for all young children learning a sport and needing to recognize the importance of pushing oneself, yes, but within limits. Cheers to both Men’s and Women’s hockey teams; thanks for making such hard work look like fun 🙂

Kudos to the female free-style skiers who honoured Sarah Burke, (http://lastwordonsports.com/2014/02/15/canada-honours-late-sarah-burke-on-flag-day/)- and demonstrated these 2014 games exemplify that individuals can and do make a difference and how individuals can change established systems.

For those of us who were kids in the 70s Sochi also represented huge Global changes. After the laughter at the toilets, and the army barrack style residences, let us recognize the enormous change that had to take place before Russia could even appear “welcoming” – – but that is also because of growing up in the 70s when all things “USSR” were simply “foreign”, and shows like “The Man from UNCLE” still popular in reruns on the TV. It was a “spy versus spy” world, not restricted to the last page of a MAD magazine; in 2014, the smiling Matrushka doll that highlights a portion of the downhill ski run is a lovely touch; and though some may see her a “folkloric”, to me, watching from home, she seemed to be pleasantly wishing all the runners well.

As a spectator, I continue to send a global “thank you” to each of the participants for giving the rest of us an opportunity to cheer. For a couple of weeks, we could believe, not only in the supposed superiority of a country based on medals won, but in the true magnificence of the ideal- competition through sport – peace through participation.

March Break Ideas

http://cookit.e2bn.org/recipes/

When I find a great site I like to share it! Are you at home this week and thinking of activities to do with your children over March Break? In addition to the many great institutions that have hands-on activities for the week, cooking together at home is an opportunity to share creativity- boys and girls can enjoy selecting the food products, planning the meals and helping with the clean up.  Reading a recipe IS reading and incorporates math and science too!  Plus when you go to a website such as the one offered above, you may compare food choices from earlier times with popular foods today. 

Hope people are getting outside too and enjoying the mild Toronto weather. 

as always, best regards, from Ali the English Tutor-

ps I am here over the break and open for students daytime as well as after school and weekends.  Also now offering lessons over SKYPE  at mytutoringspace1 . 

Other activities:

http://ebw.evergreen.ca/        Evergreen Brick Works-    you can cook here too!

http://www.rom.on.ca/marchbreak/     The Rom has a sale on!

http://www.ago.net/grange-historic-kitchen-tours    Have you been to the AGO but missed the Grange?

http://www.ago.net/teenager-hamlet-screening-and-qa-with-artist-margaux-williamson     have a student in high school working on HAMLET?

http://www.ago.net/march-break-2012     Specials for the week at the Art Gallery of Ontario

http://maplesyrupfest.com/        The Maple Syrup Festival is really sweet!

http://www.hhof.com/htmlNewsPromo/newsMarchBreak.shtml      Hockey Hall of Fame- then lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory

http://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/calendar/marchbreak/     March Break means SUPER DOGS at the Science Centre

Why do we have special days? today is http://abclifeliteracy.ca/family-literacy-day

http://abclifeliteracy.ca/family-literacy-day

   Moved over winter break and put blogging on hold for a period.  Now settling into a lovely, light filled space and thinking about the objects that make my live/work environment “home”.   The majority of the objects are books- no surprise then that promoting literacy in all its aspects has been dear to my heart. 

  When my children were still toddlers I recall blithely reciting nursery rhymes as we climbed a series of stairs “one, two, buckle my shoe, three, four, shut the door..”  as automatically as pointing out neighbourhood symbols  (sense of place) and encouraging everyday math in the kitchen “Let’s halve this recipe”.  When one day a stranger interrupted with ” Don’t you ever stop teaching?!”  I laughed it off, and recalling this today know that if teaching truly involves the constant recognition of encouraging thinking, appreciating effort, and recognizing ways to connect real world experiences to in – school learning then, no, I never stop teaching.  In similar fashion I love the spontaneous communications of thoughtfulness my two children offer, and have been known to say, “everyday is Mother’s day”. 

I realise though that there is a feeling of belonging that is generated when Days become official.  Kudos to abc life literacy .ca, and the establishment of a family literacy day.    At their website, posted above, you will find many free downloadable activities to make today, and I hope many future days, one in which “Literacy”  and activities that encourage the higher level thinking skills, enter into regular communication.  And do remember, to all who are fortunate in having a second and third language, keep practicing.  All studies continue to show the benefits of being multilingual. 

 

Sound and light shows

Given the flooding that recently hit the east coast I now realize that the storm I was listening to and seeing flash across my otherwise calm skies managed to leave a great deal of damage in its wake.  This note was written on Saturday evening, August 27th, and upon wakening to news of the flood I hesitated to share it… see post script as well, thank you …

It’s raining, it’s pouring and the last thing I want to do is fall asleep and start snoring…I confess, I LIKE a good rain storm.  The sound and light show this past hour has been terrific, rock concert loud with electricity appearing to be bouncing off the lower than usual flying planes on route to landing.  And I am the only one on my street standing outside revelling in it! It could come from my enjoyment of movies, where rain is such an often used symbol for change, but I; I don’t know, but ever since I first learned about Thor and the others who might be wreaking havoc or simply playing a game of bowling in the sky I have enjoyed contemplating what (other than the scientific facts) might be going on up in the skies. Which brings me back to the Humanities, the wonderful fables, analogies, myths, legends, archetypal legends, and narratives that suggest how rain is both a fertility symbol (plants do need rain to grow) and a cleansing, quieting prelude to new beginnings.  The images are strong and can be found throughout cultures- My front door was wide open, and Nature’s Rain Stick was helping me plan for tomorrow-

The News of Hurricane Irene brought home the strong potent reminder that “Nature” can be a lot more than merely entertaining.  While I had enjoyed the power that the sky was sharing, and been distracted from personal worries by the local storm (Toronto was not affected by Hurricane Irene) many were experiencing horrific scenes:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/americas/irenes-death-toll-jumps-as-us-towns-battle-floods-millions-wait-for-power/article2145442/

“We were expecting heavy rains,” said Bobbi-Jean Jeun of Clarksville, a hamlet near Albany, N.Y. “We were expecting flooding. We weren’t expecting devastation. It looks like somebody set a bomb off.”

Irene killed at least five people in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The first known casualty was a woman who died trying to cross a swollen river in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

The death toll for 11 eastern U.S. states had stood at 21 as of Sunday night, then rose sharply to at least 38 as bodies were pulled from floodwaters and people were struck by falling trees or electrocuted by downed power…”  (Globe and Mail see ink above)

Not exactly the simple poetry of idyllic walks or fantastic dreams- a harsh reminder to respect nature and our place within it. 

 

 

On the need to clarify –

On the need to clarify-

I keep this page amongst other pages in a simple file folder for students and parents of students to read.

I do not know who to attribute the original work to- any ideas? thank you as always, best regards,

Please right-click on the reading to enlarge – can you relate?

SHARING OPPORTUNITY!

OPPORTUNITY

by: Edward Rowland Sill (1841-1887)

THIS I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:–

There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;

And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged

A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords

Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince’s banner

Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.

A craven hung along the battle’s edge,

And thought, “Had I a sword of keener steel–

That blue blade that the king’s son bears, — but this

Blunt thing–!” he snapped and flung it from his hand,

And lowering crept away and left the field.

Then came the king’s son, wounded, sore bestead,

And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,

Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,

And ran and snatched it, and with battle shout

Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,

And saved a great cause that heroic day.

“Opportunity” is reprinted from The Little Book of American Poets: 1787-1900. Ed. Jessie B. Rittenhouse. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1915.

 

 

Musings on Power

Got up and took a hot shower this morning and gave thanks for small blessings-

Did everyone enjoy the recent long weekend?  We, my children and I, spent the time from June 30 through July 4 without electricity due to a fault in the power line.  Amazing what we take for granted like the use of a stove, fridge, tv, internet, washing machine, dryer, phone numbers on phone, light in the evening and early morning, and yes, that wonderful hot water.  My kids being younger and imbued with the spirit of adventure took cold showers for the first two days, then accepted a neighbour’s generous offer and showered next door.  And we camped in the city filling a large picnic hamper with ice to chill small items like milk and cheese, and discovered a new use for tea lights when I placed twenty tea lights in a cake pan and by lighting all made a hot plate that really did slowly warm items. We even experimented with a bar-b-que kit purchased at a Shoppers’ drug mart for just over $6.00!  But I won’t even pretend that it was fun.

Now though, when I think of power and what it means to flick a switch and have something/anything turn on, I know the beauty of peace- it works.  I can imagine how ridiculous I must have sounded to the phone operator when calling our energy company to say that our air conditioning unit was controlling our home! It was! The air conditioning unit had somehow become the home’s main power switch and the only way to keep the power running was to continuously turn down the thermostat- at 14 degrees were freezing; I called the company to send out a technician and he put in writing that he had never experienced anything like this before.  Hmm- but didn’t know what to do.  Enter a real electrician and four and 1/2 hours in the hot sun later and a rewired meter box- but- this being the long weekend no hydro inspectors were available to connect the newly wired box to the main line.  And so we waited, giving me plenty of time to contemplate the word “power” and all that it suggests.

We as teachers do have a form of power- and like any type of power this must be handled carefully.   As I work with summer students and prepare for the new school term I am extremely aware of the expectations students have and the pressures they encounter. Like my current home’s formerly blocked power system, (now in working order) often a student will benefit from having the pressure turned down to low to allow for new ideas to circulate.  Sometimes the student may benefit the most when learning is begun anew, with a focus on the here and now, and fresh connections being formed – so that a student may experience his/her own power surge through mastery and control of the process.  A flick of the switch? No- but well timed intervention to encourage growth and renewal. 

 

Summer and Volunteer hours

Often I discuss basics relating to education, and volunteering is one of the better ways to gain experiential knowledge.

I love sharing great websites- what makes a website great?

When a website does offer helpful information in an easy to apply format-

The following comes from Patricia Rossi, America’s Etiquette and Protocol Coach,who is based in Florida, and her comments relating to “Intern Success Secrets” apply to the many students here in Toronto who are gaining community service hours this summer. 

Some tips to help you get ahead:

  • Be professional. Take your responsibilities seriously and treat your internship as if it were a full-time job.
  • Dress for success. Make sure you dress appropriately by observing what your co-workers are wearing. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
  • Be punctual. Make sure you show up for work on time, including after lunch and breaks. Tardiness is not a quality potential employers are looking for. Also, do your best to avoid missing work. If you must take time off, be sure to request permission in advance.
  • Develop a good rapport with the boss. Don’t complain about the tasks you are given and even offer to do the project no one else wants to do. Don’t underestimate a menial chore, as it is just one more task that teaches you how an office works.
  • Find a balance. Be proactive by identifying office needs. This will demonstrate initiative and motivation. But, be sure to find a nice balance so you don’t appear to be a brown-nose or overly confident.
  • Approach your work with enthusiasm. Even though some projects may not appear too exciting, your eagerness may convince supervisors to give you bigger responsibilities.
    • Watch for growth and training opportunities. If there is a project that interests you, ask a supervisor if there is anything you can do to help. Let them know your interest in the project. Never stop learning!
    • Build a network. Be polite and courteous to everyone and establish valuable connections. Getting to know people in the company may lead to great opportunities. Try to set up informational interviews with various staff members. Always avoid office gossip.
    • Relax and have some fun. An internship probably won’t make you rich, but it has the potential to be very rewarding. Make the most of your experience and it will help get you started on the right career path.

    Wishing you much happiness and success!

 

 

Just a minute…

Pregnant, purple stretch jumpsuit doing little to hide the obvious, bare feet in sandals, and slightly out of breath from a quick walk along Broadway from West 67 up to the campus at 116th I approached my professor for clarification- my paper had received an A- but only had one word with a line drawn through it as a marking, and I wondered how I could improve the focus, the details, the general tone of the piece?  The piece as a whole was fine I was told, but the word had been a poor choice-diction- and suggested more than one meaning.  “But it’s just one word?” I asked, unsure…and letting my annoyance slip through.  “Never “JUST” one word” replied my prof in his inimitable way, then the clincher: “Alison,EVERY word counts; this IS linguistics,”  Well I laughed, and I learned.

Today I hear students referring to word count and they mean how many words are allowed on a paper, or rather, how many words must they write.  I want them to write “as much as possible”, because editing a work is part of the process.  But most assignments do have a word count as do admissions essays and twitter blogs-

Diction or word choice becomes essential when the reader only has a minute to decide about a piece, Valuing the reader’s minute is a sign of respect, saying, “I care that you understand this”-and it is a skill that can be taught. But like many skills, the learning rarely takes only a minute.