“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
― Albert Einstein

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Rainbow Fish and Friendship

I taught in a grade 1 class a couple of weeks ago in which the teacher was away for 3 days. I knew about the assignment ahead of time and she let me do some planning since I've been in for her before. Fun! Their theme was friendship, and she had so many beautiful books about friendship for the kids to read and for me to read to them. One of them was Rainbow Fish to the Rescue, the follow up to The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.

On the third day I was there the kids had a block of art so I decided to try to tie some things together and do a bit of a Rainbow Fish day. I started by reading them Rainbow Fish to the Rescue, which they all seemed to LOVE! We then talked about friendship and what Rainbow Fish did to help a friend (distracted a shark so a little fish could get away). We talked about different things they have done to help a friend. I then had them do their writing on a photocopied sheet (with interlines) and a starter of: I helped a friend.... They were to finish the sentence and there was space for them to illustrate. Very cute and they had some great ideas!

I found a fish worksheet to help them practice their math facts, and a fish dot to dot for them to do when their work was finished. Then it was time for art. This is what we did and it turned out great: Rainbow Fish Craft. They all seemed to enjoy their crafting and they were excited with their end product of colourful fish! (I had photocopied the template onto card stock so they had no trouble cutting it out.) It was a really fun day for me, and I think for them too! And what better theme than "Friendship!"

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Social Media

Social Media: whether we like or not, it's a big part of our society, and it's here to stay. I've been a Facebook fan for a long time, but recently Facebook has been replaced for me with Twitter and Pinterest. Facebook usually gives me a good laugh, and I can keep up with what my friends are doing, but when it comes to Twitter and Pinterest, there's so much stuff I can USE. It's not so much of a waste of time. Not that keeping up with your friends' lives is a waste of time, but the time spent on Facebook goes by way too fast! It's the same with Twitter and Pinterest, you get into it, and the time just goes! But the difference is that usually you're learning something, whether it's reading an article, contemplating a quote, finding a new lesson or activity for the classroom, or even just finding a new recipe to try.

I have heard many educators refer to Twitter as "It's like Pro D every day." I completely agree with that! Twitter is different from Facebook in that people are usually posting useful information, not just what they had for dinner that night. I'm not saying that Facebook doesn't have a lot of useful things too, but for Twitter, depending on who you follow, each tweet is generally something informative. And you can surround yourself with like-minded people but also follow people who challenge your thinking. I also really enjoy the opportunities Twitter provides me with for establishing relationships and having conversations with amazing educators that in the past I would only be able to see at a pricey conference. I have also seen Twitter disagreements, but they always seem to be respectful. From my experiences with Twitter, people mostly just want to learn.

We as parents and teachers need to teach our kids to use social media responsibly. One way to teach that is to model using social media, and sharing with children the value of it from our experiences. We grew up in a generation without social media, so it makes sense that it's taking us awhile to figure out the etiquette. Of course for people who are generally private in their lives, they are private when using social media as well - there are lots of lurkers out there! But for people like me, who are open in life and say what we think, which can sometimes get us in trouble, we can be open online as well and that can sometimes get us into trouble too. We also need to forgive when people make mistakes with social media. We are all in this and learning together. I saw a tweet I liked the other day that said, "Teach your kids to ignore online insults." Social media is here and it's not going anywhere anytime soon! Use it! :)

To sum up my current thoughts about Social Media:

  1. Twitter rocks, if you are an educator that is not using it, you should start. Seriously, Pro D every day! 
  2. Don't let fear hold you back from using social media, it is here and it's becoming ingrained in our society, and will only get more so.
  3. Forgive people, we all make mistakes; we didn't grow up with social media; we are all learning and we are all in this together!
  4. Teach your kids about social media - how to use it for learning, how to use it responsibly, and the implications it has; they will catch on fast. 
  5. Use social media responsibly but don't be afraid to put yourself out there and state your opinion! Steve Jobs said: "Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again." 
Check out this video of Steve Jobs' vision of the world

And last but not least....I also LOVE these:  5 Dr. Seuss Quotes and their Social Media Lessons

Monday, 19 March 2012

Pinterest - Awesome for Educators

I started doing Pinterest a few months ago. It is very visual and lovely, I've heard it described as an electronic bulletin board. I starting pinning lots of recipes, ideas for the home, things I liked, etc. Then I started coming across teaching ideas, lots and lots of teaching ideas. I went to a teaching conference a few weeks ago and came home to an empty house (my family was away skiing for the weekend). Instead of watching my PVRed Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives etc., I started pinning and pinning. I found emergency substitute teaching plans, great teaching sites and blogs, assessment ideas, classroom game ideas, art, P.E., drama, science experiments...I have boards for pretty much every elementary subject, some divided into grade levels, plus boards for all of the different holidays. There are so many ways to integrate these holidays into students' learning, and it keeps them engaged. Also, in their free time (many) kids get excited to colour fancy hearts on Valentine's Day, leprechauns on St. Patrick's day, eggs at Easter time. It is fun and relaxing for them. I love holidays!! And I really love Pinterest! I highly recommend it for educators! I haven't had a chance to use many of the ideas yet, but I have all of these ideas ready to use for when I need them. Can't wait to try some of them! Check out my boards at: http://pinterest.com/karenll2/ If you haven't already, request an invite and then follow my boards and I'll follow you back:)

Sunday, 18 March 2012


I can't figure out how to add the "follow me" button to my blog page, but somehow it got added as a post. Oops! I love twitter! Both my husband and I have found so much value in following people on twitter. So much to learn and it's like professional development every day! :)

Why I love Teaching-On-Call

I love teaching-on-call for many reasons.
Here are 7 of them :)

1) It's never boring - I work in many different classrooms and schools, so it's a new adventure every day. I've had weeks where I was teaching Foods 12 one day, then grade 1 the next day. Rarely a dull moment!

2) I get to know many different people - I have met and also renewed relationships with so many different people (I worked in the same district prior to having kids and grew up there too). I love people:)

3) I learn something new every day! - I get to see firsthand so many great ideas from many different classrooms, schools, teachers, principals, students...

4) I get to try many new ideas - Did I mention that I'm addicted to pinterest, twitter, etc. I also have a large collection of educational books (I've spent a fortune at Amazon this year). I've had several longer term TOC assignments in which I get to do the planning! Fun!

5) I get to practice my classroom management skills on a daily basis - I have learned what works, and have definitely learned what doesn't. I still make lots of mistakes, and have much to learn, but I am proud of what I've learned already. The practice helps so much!

6) I don't have to make a decision yet - When I'm in primary I like that best, when I'm in intermediate I like that best, when I'm in high school I love that too (especially English class)! I've also loved teaching Foods, Planning, Avid, even Math 8... I was trained for K-8, student-taught in grade 5, and most of my past experiences are with intermediate grades. But I really do love it all! And eventually I want to get my Master's in Counselling.

7) It's flexible - I can take a day off when my kids need me, whether they are sick or have an appointment, or when they have a Christmas concert or field trip they want me to join them on. I also took a couple of days off to take the kids to Seattle to my brother's for U.S. Thanksgiving, which has become a tradition for us in the last few years. My hubby had to work, but I pulled the kids out of school for a couple of days to spend quality time with their cousins, and experience a big American Thanksiving. I also like getting called for half days. I still get to work but I also get to do either drop-off or pick-up for my kids, which makes them very happy. And when I get to do pick-up that usually means a playdate at our house:)

My Brand New Blog:)

I've been thinking about starting a blog for a long time and now I'm finally going to do it! I've been following my sister's kid blog, and my parents' travel blog; recently I've discovered some awesome teaching blogs to follow. Also I'm addicted to twitter and pinterest - can't believe how many great ideas are at my fingertips!

About me...I have been a stay-at-home mom for many years and this is my first year back at work. I'm a teacher-on-call and I'm truly loving it! My kids are 10 and 7, old enough that they don't need me around quite so much. I am married to a wonderful man, who just happens to be a workaholic, but he is also the best dad in the world and a great husband. He works as an administrator in sd33, where we live. I work in sd78, a small district close-by, and I've made myself available to teach K-12 at all schools in the district.

I am not new to technology but I'm new to blogging, please bear with me when I can't find the right words or if I'm annoying or boring etc.

Karen :o)