Sunday, November 25, 2007

Transformational Practices

While at my practicum I noticed something called Transformational Practices. I researched this and it turned out to be different strategies and ways of helping students to achieve literacy success. This approach is used in Peel and includes: Determining Important Ideas, Graphic Organizers and Frameworks, Manipulatives as Thinking Tools and Strategies for Vocabulary Development. Another great resource within the Transformational Practices package is the test-taking skills/EQAO Preparation.

An example of a Transformational Practice:

Determining important ideas - teaching how to determine important ideas and how to distinguish important information at the word, sentence and text levels:
  • find the main idea
  • understand what the author considered important
  • distinguish differences between fiction and factual text
  • identify key ideas or themes
  • distinguish important from unimportant information in relation to key ideas or themes in text
Peel District School Board. (2007). Transformational Practices: Working Together to Achieve Literacy Success.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Social Issues Day

Social Issues Day was a wonderful experience that not only brought awareness of issues related to children/adolescents but also promoted critical self-analysis. I find that experiences, such as participating in workshops and seminars gives me the opportunity to add to my existing knowledge of the topic, and to question how my personal opinions affect my worldview.
Early Intervention in Psychosis
This workshop was a wonderful summary of what defines psychosis, why early intervention is important, what the Cleghorn program does, how they work with clients, who can use the services and other issues related to psychosis. The most wonderful thing about this workshop was that one of the presenters was courageous enough to share a personal account of his experience with psychosis. I found that by allowing myself to look at psychosis through this person's experience, I gained a better understanding of it and I know what signs to look for in children/adolescents. The most important thing that I took out of this workshop is the belief that everyone's experience must be validated and noone should be put down for their opinions, feelings or observations. The experiences that people with psychosis go through seem real to them and therefore cannot be dismissed.
Children and Grief
This workshop was applicable as everyone was involved in reminiscing about their feelings related to loss. As soon as I tapped into the feelings, everything I was learning through the workshop seemed so much more relevant. I find that this workshop has given me the basic tools for dealing with loss in the workplace. It also prepared me to comfort and counsel children in a compassionate but professional manner. One thing that I found really interesting was that although there are four stages of grief (shock, denial, anger and guilt, as well as acceptance), people grieve at multiple times in their lives and often they irradically jump from stage to stage.
Global Education - UNICEF
This workshop gave me some ideas of how to apply global education issues to classroom activities and interweive it into the curriculum. By reflecting on the groups that I belong to and the sensitivities around those groups, I reflected on the fact that every person exists with a multitude of experiences as well as contextual influences that affect their view of the world as well as their sensitivities to world issues. This workshop was very relevant to my practicum placement in Peel as the school I am in is multicultural and every child comes from a different background and set of experiences that I need to consider when planning lessons.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Differentiated Instruction

After the meeting we went to, on Friday afternoon, hosted by the Peel District School Board, I realized that everything I am learning in class and the experiences I am getting in practicum, are all finally coming together.

My practicum placement in the grade one classroom provides me with the opportunity to work with a range of student abilities. The need for differentiated instruction has been very evident right from the beginning. Whether related to abilities, English as a second language or special needs, I am planning according to the skills of each child. The challenges that teachers face when planning for various abilities can be overcome with the help of advice from colleagues or by accessing resources. I noticed that discussion with other students is very helpful and provides me with a variety of ideas and strategies that I can use in the classroom.

I think collaboration is a key factor to being an effective teacher.

Monday, October 8, 2007

B stands for Bullying

Throughout my experiences related to teaching as well as working with children in different settings, I noticed a huge incidence of all types of bullying. This is a huge concern for me and I believe that teachers can do a lot to improve the situation. I think it is wonderful that the school boards are getting involved in this matter and sponsoring a variety of programs related to this issue.

Things To Know
  • It is natural for children who are being bullied to feel scared and helpless.
  • Bullying often occurs because children do not have high self-esteem.
  • Do not promise to keep the bullying a secret.
Things To Do
  • Work along with the school, parents and other teachers to deal with the issue together.
  • Model good communication and an unbiased attitude within the classroom.
  • Talk about diversity and acceptance.
Things To Say
  • "Don't fight back, go and tell an adult you trust".
  • Inform parents that it is alright to ask if their child is being bullied or if they are bullying other children.

Peel Committee on Sexual Assault/Peel Committee Against Woman Abuse, November 2002

Activity: Drew, Naomi. (1987). Being Human is Being Special. Learning the Skills of Peacemaking, Jalmar Press.

Read this poem: I look in the mirror and who do I see? My very own person who looks just like me. I look at my eyes, I look at my face, knowing that no one on earth or in space is quite like I am, one of a kind. My body is special and so is my mind. Each person alive has something special to give. We each make a difference each day that we live. I love myself and I love others too. The world is a special place. 'Cause it has me and you.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

How to Really Love a Child

I picked this up at a conference and tweaked it a bit because I wanted to share it with you, enjoy:

Be there. Say yes as often as possible. Let them bang on pots and pans. If they're crabby, let them take a bath. Love yourself. Realize how important it is to be a child. Go to a movie theatre in your pajamas. Read books out loud with joy. Invent fun things together. Remember how really small they are. Giggle a lot. Surprise them. Say NO when necessary. Teach feelings. Heal your own INNER child. Learn about parenting. HUG trees together. Make sharing emotions safe. Bake a cake and eat it with no hands. Go find elephants and kiss them. Plan to build a rocket ship. Imagine yourself MAGIC. Make lots of forts with blankets. Let your angel fly. Reveal your own dreams. Search out the positive. Keep the gleam in your eye. Mail letters to important figures (religious or other). Encourage SILLY. Plant licorice in your GARDEN. Open up. Stop yelling. Express your LOVE.... A LOT. Speak kindly. Paint their running shoes. HANDLE WITH CARING :)

Reference: Vosark

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Every Child

Every child is first and foremost a child with feelings, strengths, needs and wonderful, unique qualities.

One of the things that is crucial to being a good teacher, is the ability to appreciate every child and not to make anyone feel left out. Most people have a memory of a special teacher that made them feel unique and appreciated. It is often one sentence or a comment that can change a child's life. I believe that as future teachers we must take this responsibility as a great challenge and make the extra effort to be CARING and SYMPATHETIC.

A garden full of a variety of blooming flowers is much more pleasant and interesting than one with only roses. Diversity makes our world a beautiful and lively garden.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

First Day of Practicum

My first day of practicum at Artesian Drive was above and beyond anything I expected. The school is extremely organized and has a lively spirit, with lots of extracurricular activities, parent involvement and staff collaboration. The teachers have groups designated for their grades and they actively support each other. I was a little anxious before I got to the school but as soon as I met my associate teacher and began to get to know students and other staff, I felt a great sense of community and acceptance.

I would like to comment on something that I think is extremely valuable. During the staff meeting, teachers and other staff were sharing their last year's accomplishments through power point presentations. After talking to some of the teachers about their experiences, I found that this kind of sharing process is a motivational factor for teachers to remain engaged with the school. These experiences also provide the teachers with a sense of togetherness and support. I am really excited and looking forward to practicum days !!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

My first week at Brock

Wow, I am overwhelmed but happy to be here. I can not believe I am finally on my way to becoming a teacher. The faculty is helpful and supportive which relieved a lot of my anxiety. I can not wait to start !!