Category Archives: holidays

Summer blogging…

Yeah, it is hard to resist forms of puns even in the summer time; and Grease is a movie that reminds me of what many students do experience during the summer- a total change of pace! And this is why it becomes extra important for us as educators to view the returning/incoming students with “Fresh Eyes” and not with expectations from which ever report some school official may have filed the previous year; it is also why as Educators we must view parents in the same light- a light that opens the classroom to the parent’s view, and allows for the “newness” of the new academic year.

P for personal

R for real

I  for each of us

V for value

A for action

C for care

Y for yes- the thing that each of us expects-

At one point my classroom walls had an acronym for RESPECT, then I spoke with various students over the years and uncovered that for many Respect is demonstrated when Privacy is permitted; kids do have, especially from middle school on, a desire to discover their own personalities via “trial and error” and all the potential each finds, we, as Educators, have a responsibility to encourage! In 2016 when “Grease” the movie or the musical, and the 1950s and “Summer Loving” may seem to be taking a step backward in favor of “Star Trek Beyond” or “Ghostbusters (2016)” students are still having experiences that are neither academic nor necessarily quantifiable, during their “vacations” which for more and more students are amounting to less and less “free time” and instead do involve part-time or full-time jobs, travelling, or even academic work when students feel pressure to use every moment to gain a credit or pick up a dropped course … In sum, Summer Vacations may never have actually been “carefree”  (1950s movie depiction) but they might continue to provide people with a chance to – for a little while- step out of the prescribed roles their regular academic social circle defines and allow both teachers and students to be just a little more daring, just a little more “themselves”; for teachers too tend to get typecast within the culture of a school, and today with global connections and online “PLNs” many of us as Educators are constantly happy to explore new aspects of teaching the “same curriculum even if newly labelled” via hearing how our contemporaries are sharing the knowledge and encouraging growth at their respective centers.

It is fun to – have a new positive experience, meet new people, work on a personal challenge, or even simply daydream for a lengthy while, minus the interruptions of the bell; and of course some of the summer experiences could be mis-educative, and instead of encouraging, point a person in the direction away from growth via instilling a little too much grit- sand paper wears something down if improperly applied!

So instead of the intro letter about “how I spent my summer” which used to be expected as the new litmus test to determine if students could remember how to write a paragraph or two, why not give the students a few weeks to jump right into the new classroom environment and to sign up for which ever extra curriculars the school is making possible, letting the students and the teachers reflect themselves on who they are meeting anew- that almost grown up “stranger” may actually be oneself, entering the classroom with a newer perspective as a more “open” educator- less ready to accept what the last set of teachers declared about a student and more curious to participate in the developing and refining of “this year” and who is before one- “Sandra Dee” or “John Travolta” or a variation of any character from Comic Con- real people still, and allow the students to share their feelings over the material you select for the “diverse” classrooms you will be teaching in; privacy also means that educators “Not Assume” so that when students are learning to show both empathy and understanding no one erroneously jumps in to suggest they must only have the personal at stake- more than likely they are actually showing that the learning is affecting them, allowing them to care about people beyond themselves and their narrow circle; we as Educators must remember to let kids change- isn’t this what real learning and evolving is meant to demonstrate?

In advance of 2016-2017-  or if your place has already begun or is beginning the new Academic year- GOOD LUCK! Educators could always benefit from a dose of luck and a well stocked library!

 

 

 

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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. 

 

Grease and other summer movies-

My school age students (k-12) are visibly relaxing this week- are yours?  June always reminds me of the importance we place on ritual: tests, final projects, exams, reports and ceremonies.  One of my rituals is to get out a stack of movies that are set in a school, and just indulge in a few, and remind myself how Hollywood simultaneously manages to glamorize the teaching profession while bashing administrators and capturing the essence of why so many of us do teach- ’cause the students are great!  The students are great even when getting into trouble, talking back, periodically dropping out, and behaving nastily towards each other.

This past year I have been both administrator and teacher, and the two hats require quite a bit of juggling.  As I prepare for summer students I find myself wondering why I so enjoy teaching through the summer- the pleasant weather? the students appearing less pressured? the knowledge I have that, with longer days, students will get it all done within the shorter time frame?  Yes and one more- the fact that the preparation will have its effect long-term, and that as each student grows toward his/her “eureka” moment, the maturing, which inevitably takes place over the summer weeks, will also result in a better use of time over the upcoming fall/winter-school year.

Hope everyone manages a little bit of romance, a little bit of change, a whole lot of learning, and the chance to grow, like the flowers and the grass and trees, upwards …

Best wishes as always-

Games, Golf and Good marks

” Know that nothing will bother or upset you on the golf course, and you will be in a great state of mind for every shot” courtesy of Bob Rotella, from The Golfer’s Mind, Play to Play Great.

Yes, and “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a Heaven for”  ( Robert Browning) “Everyone makes mistakes- don’t erase it- learn from it”- Alison  ( aka Ali the English Tutor)

We all have particular sayings that tend to just fit into a situation, and what the three above have in common for me is how practice and focus go hand in hand.  I have watched students furiously erasing words on a page, while glancing at the clock throughout a timed test.  Erasing takes time- better to draw a line through the offending section and move on. 

Back to Golf which in today’s televised sport’s world allows for instant replays – and no erasures.  And High Definition permits closeups that show the emotion of the competitors while we, watching, get to recognize their distress at missing a shot.  We also get to view the next focused shot, cleanly executed and performed as a result of practice, and understand that the players have decided to “Love the challenge of the day, whatever it may be” (Rotella).  Learn how to study, prepare, and share- and like great golfers everywhere, practice.  The good marks will come.