Friday, 26 July 2013

Preparing for Possibilities

My seven years as a teacher have all been in a middle school setting, but in September I’m headed to a 2/3 classroom in a K-5 school. I’m excited and a little nervous too.

When I got the job, I asked myself “What is the one thing that you can do to prepare for this new role that will be the most beneficial for you and for your students?”  “What is the most important skill for students in grades 2 and 3?”


According to the Ontario Ministry of Education, “children who struggle with reading in Grades 1 to 3 are at a serious disadvantage” academically and emotionally. I didn’t really need the Ministry to tell me this; I’ve worked with students in grades 6, 7 & 8, some who continued to have reading difficulties. I know how important reading is and I wanted to make sure that I would be as effective as possible.  So for the first few weeks of July, I went to the classroom as a student, to take my Reading Part 1 Additional Qualification. Our instructor, PDSB Principal Jim Brooks, led us through engaging, practical and valuable learning activities that have put me on the path toward implementing a comprehensive literacy program in September and for years to come. I had the opportunity to work with a great group of teachers throughout the course and further develop my PLN.

It was a fantastic learning experience, but I still have moments of worry – Guided Reading, Shared Reading, Independent Reading, Word Study, not to mention Math, Social Studies, and Science. How will I fit it all in? For grade 2 and 3?

As I returned from our board’s professional library with another bunch of books yesterday, my husband, who is not a teacher, told me that I should take a break, and that I should just enjoy the summer. He asked me what I was doing with all of the books. I told him that I am


I don’t know my students. I don’t know who they are, or what they are interested in, or what they already know. Until I get to know them, all I can do is prepare for the possibilities. I’m not forgetting to have fun and enjoy my summer - part of what makes summer fun and enjoyable for me is learning and preparing. I'm connecting with others, asking questions, reading and thinking.
I'm excited about getting to know the group of children that I'll be working with, about meeting their parents and my new colleagues, and about all of the learning that I’ll be doing over the summer and into the new school year.

What possibilities do you think I should prepare for, knowing that I'll be teaching primary for the first time?

Friday, 19 July 2013

Inspired By...

Last week, at my nephew's 10th birthday party, his great Aunt Eleanor was there to help celebrate. I'd met her a few times before, at weddings or baby showers, but this was the first time I had the opportunity to meet her in a small-group setting.
Aunt Eleanor is an 83 year-old woman who recently returned from an African safari and there she was, happy to share her photos and experiences with the help of her iPad. There were photos of Aunt Eleanor holding the tail of a lion as she walked with it! I can't get this image out of my head and I wish I had a copy of one of the pictures to share with you here. Oh wait..... I'll ask her to email me one and I'll share it when I get it.
Of course I was inspired by this wonderful woman who went on safari and walked with the lions! Even more inspiring is the fact that she is a tech-savvy 83 year-old. Aunt Eleanor is a great example of a 21st century learner.
Led by curiosity, she explores the world. She is now collaborating with me to solve a real world problem - how to get me on a safari :) She uses technology to collaborate and extend her communications world-wide. Aunt Eleanor doesn't let the fact that something is scary get in her way of living and learning – and neither should we.
So here I go, writing my first blog post. Kim Hartman inspired me to "Just Jump In" in her blog that you can check out here and this morning I read Tom Whitby's post "Why Blogs and Who Needs Them Anyway?" another interesting read that inspired me to take the plunge. Thanks to @kimhartman55 , @tomwhitby , @twhitford , @pernilleripp and all of the other people who I've met through Twitter for the encouragement and inspiration!