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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. 

 

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?

fingerprints

Almost every article that I have read lately states we are supposed to be “authentic” and these readings have left me confused…are the writers suggesting that “authentic ” is a NEW concept? I tell students that as they find their voice their writing will become like a fingerprint, suggestive of who they are and what they are comfortable speaking up for.  But until they find that voice they must try on many styles, and have fun playing devil’s advocate- debating a concept on the side they might disagree with, challenging themselves to think through the opposite set of arguments and come up with support, practice writing from different perspectives, and try reading aloud, hearing the sounds of the words and listening for patterns as they speak – one of the best forms of proof reading.  Mostly though, I want each and every student to know their opinion is valued- but please, go back to the source and find the support in the reading, the research, the notes, and use the sources to back up the opinion- practice- and the writing is bound to improve.

Thoughts on a Page- Random

Rhythm- rhyme

Taken together-

A chorus Line

The moment you begin

You will be moving yourself forward

The moment you take to care

You will be improving

for all around You

The moment you stop to share

and  breathe and pause and renew

You will be giving and…

– giving is needed by all

to Begin.

– Let’s start again- Here is to September 2011

A New School Year Approaches- Are you Ready?

Keep watching as I will be posting websites, reading lists and a few templates.

As always, only best regards from ALI, your English Tutor

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.

 

 

 

 

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-