Opinions expressed on this blog are my own and do not represent any other organization or affiliation I may have.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Write your MLA's

Here is a list of MLA contact information

If you are not sure who your MLA is you can look it up here

Share your teaching experiences and thoughts. NDP MLAs want to hear your stories and share them, they are against Bill 22.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

I will not let the government bully me....

Today I wear pink to stop bullying.

What started as a students message against homophobia and bullying, then grew to represent a stop to all bullying has an especially strong message today for me...

Yesterday the BC Liberals once again took a stab at the heart of public education.

Our government is trying to bully teacher's and Bill 22 is their latest weapon.

I will not be bullied!

How can I teach my students to stand up to bullies then allow George Abbott to bully me and all teachers in BC?

Teacher's put everything they have into their students and into their classrooms, yet have been bullied into a corner once again by a government that does not care about public education. Our rights taken away and threats made on us if we don't do as we are told.

We tell kids to talk about their issues, not fight about them, "use your words" we say... but teacher's won't even be given a chance to "use their words" because mediation can't occur whole heartedly because of BCPSEAs imposed rules prior to even entering mediation.

Teacher's are backed into the corner by the bully and about to lose more than just their lunch money.

Do we want to walk-out and miss days in our classes with our students?

Do we want to have to fight with every ounce of strength for our students right to better learning conditions?

We would rather be in our classes teaching our students.

We would rather the government put "families first" and give every student the opportunity to learn.

...but instead, we are assaulted with a sham of mediation, a bill that strips away even more rights and a government that pushes it's desire for a privatized province onto the people, with the most vulnerable of all British Columbians suffering... the children.

I have always said children are our future, it may be cliche, but it is the truth.

I wonder what message we are sending the 'citizens of the future' when we allow a government to bully us into submission?

Do we want our students to think it is ok to say one thing and do something different?

What lesson is George Abbott teaching us?

Certainly not lessons I wish to share with my students. It is not the way I want to live and that is why I am taking a stand.

I will not allow this government to bully me so that their not-so-hidden-agenda can be achieved.

I will not sit around while people who have never walked a day in MY shoes dictate how my job should look.

I will not sit back knowing that the decisions this government is making will negatively impact students I teach... negatively impact my own daughter's education.

Last night's announcement of Bill 22 made me angry. It made me feel betrayed. It made me upset!

How could 'good-faith' bargaining have ever happened when this kind of legislation was always looming? Why pressure is there for BCPSEA to bargain under these current conditions? And how will true mediation happen with these kinds of parameters set around it?

Teacher's need to take a stand against the bullies!

The rules, regulations and penalties set out in Bill 22 are harsh and intimidating, but I won't be bullied.

I will fight for my students, I will fight for our citizens of the future, because I will NOT let them grow up with the lesson that bullying is ok.

Bill 22
BCTF Press Release

Wear Pink for Anti-Bullying Day Wednesday February 29, 2012

As a teacher, I am hyper-aware of bullying because as a child, I was bullied.

I tell my students this, because many students think their teacher's are confident, strong and could never have been bullied. It is a good discussion opener and it allows students to feel they can talk about bullying in a safe environment.

I also show remorse when I admit I have bullied others in the past too. This conversation often gives students courage to admit times when they have mad poor decisions and reflect on those times in hopes to make more positive decisions in the future.

I think pink shirt day is a great way to bring awareness to the problem of bullying and a great day to discuss the topic and ways to prevent it.

Visit www.pinkshirt.ca for articles, lessons, resources and information on Anti-Bullying Day.

Monday, 27 February 2012

BC Fed Survey shows public support for teachers

Monday February 28, 2012 Teachers across B.C. will participate in a Provincial Day of Action.

This weekend's survey shows the public also support teachers...

The B.C. Federation of Labour released a public opinion survey today that shows British Columbians are on the side of teachers, and overwhelmingly support a negotiated settlement through mediation or arbitration.

“British Columbians are absolutely clear - they want government to negotiate a fair settlement with teachers,” said Sinclair. “They do not want government to act unilaterally.”

“If Premier Clark is on the side of families, she’ll listen to those families who are telling her to support mediation, and if necessary arbitration,” said Sinclair. “On Monday, we expect the Premier’s appointee to the Labour Board to approve mediation and that she’ll abandon her plans to impose a contract through legislation.”

Key findings in the poll include:

•89% support for the appointment of an arbitrator, with the power to end
the dispute
•82% support for the appointment of a mediator
•61% say teachers should hold out for at a least a cost of living increase
(only 32% believe teachers should accept no wage increase)
•63% of parents believe that their children’s learning has not been
affected negatively by the teachers’ job action

Read more at The B.C. Federation of Labour website. See the public opinion survey results here

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Are Teacher's and Report Cards an Essential Service?

CBC News Reported:Saskatchewan essential services law struck down.

A Saskatchewan law limiting the ability of public sector workers to go on strike has been ruled unconstitutional by a Queen's Bench judge, but the provincial government says it is still committed to having essential services legislation

The essential services is an interesting concept. If teacher's are an "essential service" why are we not paid and respected as other "essential services"?

My first thought is, how are teacher's an essential sercvice?

To me an essential service is life or death and to my knowledge no one has died from not going to school for a few days. Furthermore, in the current stage of Job Action, teacher's in BC are still teaching. The only major change is no official report cards, however, teacher's are reporting in various other methods, most of which are far more comprehensive and efficient than the official report cards.

As a parent, I am updated on my daughter's progress through notes in her daily agenda book and in-person meetings when neccessary with the teacher.

As a teacher on call, I have been in a number of schools and grade levels and seen the various methods teachers are reporting on their students progress to parents.

Classroom newsletters, notes in planners, emails home, phone calls home, student self-evaluations with teacher remarks, and so on.

In fact, I have loved seeing the various methods of assessment and communication teacher's are using instead of report cards and have to say, I think they are far more comprehensive and informative.

In December, The Coquitlam NOW featured two of my friends and colleagues, Sandra Daviss (Grade 4/5) and Stephanie Duncan (high school)discussing assessment & reporting methods used in their classes.

So are report cards really neccessary as long as the message is getting home?

I think in highschool formal reporting of actual grades is important at the end of term as it is needed to get into post-secondary institutes, however, the various methods of reporting I have seen teacher's use have been far more effective than official report cards.

Why couldn't (even in high school) teacher's continue to report in these various methods. Year-End "grades" may be neccessary for reasons mentioned above, but otherwise what is the significance of a letter grade or a number?

Is a report card essential?

Are teacher's an essential service?

David Komljenovic, BCTF Member-at-large, wrote on facebook:
"Saskatchewan ruled a month ago that the essential services law in that provice was unconstitutional because it interfered in the collective bargaining process to the extent that public sector employees did not have any significant pressure to apply to the table.

The situation with teachers in BC is not very different. After the phase 1 in 2001, teachers were legislated back after the Labour Relations Board ruled that a one day strike on January 28th was legal. In 2005, the plan was to start phase 1 and, should an agreement not be concluded, rotating strikes would start in the middle of October. The government intervened and prevented a strike from occurring. This year (2011/12), teachers were engaged in phase 1 since September. If there is a successful vote on a legal strike, there would be a good argument that interference by the government is significant enough that essential services is unconstitutional for teachers in BC.

A "yes" vote on escalating actions would provide a recourse through the courts as government interference before a strike can be enacted would be consistent with what the Saskatchewan courts found to be unconstitutional."

On Tuesday & Wednesday Teacher's will vote if they are in favour of escalating actions should the government legislate us back to work....

I don't think the government should legislate us back, especially now....

1. Both parties have agreed to mediation
2. What would they legislate us back to? Writing report cards? We ARE teaching we ARE working!
3. If mediation doesn't help, there are still other actions that could be taken.
4. Collective Bargaining is the way to go, BCTF wanted local bargaining on some issues from day one, and they were turned down... if local issues had been taken to the local table from the start, at least SOME issues could be dealt with already locally. Both parties need to bargain in good faith, and sadly one party is clearly not!

BCTF Video: BC Teachers say Negotiate, Don't Legislate!

Why is Bargaining NOW important ?

**Warning - Rant Alert...

A lot of TTOCs I have spoken to have a lot of questions about Job Action and what is going on right now with teachers. TTOCs go into numerous classrooms and teach hundreds of students a week (sometimes a day).

When I first started TTOCing 6 years ago I had no idea how anything worked. How did I get my own classroom? Why was I paying union dues? Why was there a teacher strike during my practicum?

I just came out of University and wanted to teach. I loved each day's new experiences and knew very little about the 2006 job action except that it post-poned part of my practicum.

As time has passed I have become very involved and so when a TTOC asks "Why is this important?" or "What is this about?" I am glad to share with them my reasons....

TTOCs are often new(er) teachers (though not always) and bargaining now is to create a future for them in their long careers as teachers.

Teacher's Working Conditions = Student's Learning Conditions.

We became teacher's because we love kids and we are passionate about education. But, far too often, we allow ourselves to suffer and it takes a toll. Bargaining for improvements to our working conditions leads to more positive learning environments and our students deserve that! Heck, teacher's deserve that!

TTOC's benefited in the last round of bargaining..... Remember Vince Ready's Report?

TTOCs gained the ability to be paid on scale after the 4th consecutive day of work and to earn seniority on the 4th consecutive day of work.

Last round of bargaining also gave TTOCs a minimum daily rate of pay, which significantly helped teachers-on-call in some districts who were paid extremely less than teachers-on-call in other districts.

TTOCs felt more valued and appreciated with these changes.

Bargaining Now....

Salary improvements will help TTOCs (who are now paid on scale on the 4th consecutive day) and new teacher's starting their careers. But, despite the media's focus on salary, that is not the only thing teacher's are trying to negotiate....

Class Size and Composition Improvements = More full time Positions - more manageable class sizes

Teacher's have taken 0% salary increases in the past to secure class size and composition language that would keep class sizes manageable and create better learning environments for students. Unfortunately the government stipped that language (illegally!) and so teacher's felt they took the 0% and still got 0 in the way of classroom improvements.

Now we are playing catch-up. Teacher's have asked for what the media screams is a massive 15%, but, the 15% is broken down as follows:

year one - 3% Cost of Living Allowance & 0% increase
year two - 3% COLA 3% market adjustment
year 3 - 3% COLA 3% market adjustment

The reason this is neccessary is because right now our teachers are 9th in the country as far as pay goes, with one of the highest costs of living.

We have fallen behind the rest of the country for salary and we are losing amazing teacher's to neighbouring provinces who have lower cost of living, higher salaries and other benefits such as increased preparation time.

Net zero (0%) is equivalent to a pay cut because of inflation (2011 inflation was 3%) To stop the gap widening between BC and other provinces we need a 12% wage increase (Alberta is $21,000/ year higher=20%+) Net zero (0%) over three years would widen the gap to $30,000/year.

The net-zero hasn't been followed in other public sectors.

BC Nurses – 3% for 2009, 3% for 2010, 3% for 2011
Treasury Board of Canada (PSA) – 1.75% for 2011, 1.5% for 2012, 2% for 2013
CN Railway (Teamsters) – 2.4% for 2010, 3% for 2011, 3% for 2012
Kamloops Municipal Employees (CUPE) – 2% FOR 2011, 2% for 2012, 2% for 2013
Surrey Firefighters- 3% for 2010, 2.5% for 2011
North Cowichan Municipal Employees (CUPE) – 2% for 2010, 2.5% for 2011, 2.5% for 2012, 3% for 2013
CN Railway (CAW) – 2.4% for 2011, 2.6% for 2012, 3% for 2013, 3% for 2014
Comox District Municipal Employees (CUPE) – 2% for 2010, 2% for 2011, 3% for 2012, 2% for 2013
Vancouver Police – 2.95% for 2010, 2.95% for 2011, 1.25% for 2012, 1.3% for 2013
Quesnel Municipal Employees (CUPE) – 0% for 2010, 1.5% for 2011, 2%for 2012
BC Rapid Transit – 3% for 2010
Canada Revenue Agency (PSA) – 1.5% for 2010, 1.5% for 2011
Courtenay Municipal Employees (CUPE) – 2% f0r 2011, 2% for 2012, 2.75% for 2013, 2.25% for 2014
BC Paramedics – 3% for 2010
Revelstoke Municipal Employees – 1.25% for 2010, 1.25% for 2011, 1.5% for 2012, 1.5% for 2013

Over the period 2000 -2010, average public sector wages in BC have risen by 16.9% while private sector wages have risen by 25%.

I wonder why it is being so strictly enforced with teachers... no give... which is what is needed in bargaining and negotiations, compromise....

We say 15% and they say 0%

Compromise would allow both parties to find something in the middle.

Besides Salary and Class Size and Composition Improvements, there are other things that teacher's would like and as a TTOC I could see some areas of improvement as well...

Benefit improvements could mean more affordable benefits for TTOCs as well as more working days for TTOCs if teachers are able to stay home when they are sick instead of drag themselves to school anyways. I would love to see an ability to acrue sick days as a TTOC. Not neccessarily in the same way a full-time classroom teacher's acrues them, but perhaps a formula that allows TTOCs to earn and use sick days. TTOCs often can not afford the opt-in benefits and many do not get enough work so they will go in even if they are sick because they need the paid day. Benefit improvements would help all teacher's especially because working with kids we are more exposed to all the illnesses that go around each year.

Not to mention prep time for teacher's who put in hours of their own time before school, after school, weekends, lunches, to photocopy, plan, mark, collaborate, learn, tweak lessons and so on...

So there is more than just salary that teacher's are looking for, though that is certainly an important piece.

Unfortunately, if we don't fight for these improvements, we may end up with strips such as elimination of seniority, use of "suitability for hire", use of "performance reports" for hiring, no requirements for posting jobs or filling jobs, control of professional development and more.

So to new teacher's, TTOCs and other teacher's (most likely hired in or after 2006) these are some reasons I think it is important to be aware of what is going on with bargaining. It is important to stay informed and it is important to get involved. It is our future!

With improvements to our working conditions we can see improvements to our students learning conditions and all feel like we did fresh out of university - with that burning passion to just teach!

**End Rant... But, I did warn you

BCTF VIdeo: Problem/Solution

BCTF Video: Interests

[Information regarding TTOCs and Bargaining from TTOC ALert #3 prepared by the BCTF TTOC AC]

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Game: Five-O


I found this on a website a few weeks ago and after having an absolute BLAST doing it in class, I wanted to share....

1. Break the class into teams of around four or five students so you end up with an even number of groups.
2. Pair off the teams.
3. Each team thinks of a five-letter word.
4. Its partner team has to guess the word by writing a five-letter word.
5. The opposition says how many letters are correct in the word, but not which ones.
6. The teams alternate guessing their opponents' words, and the first team to guess correctly wins.

Example: Team 1's word is clash; Team 2 guesses beach.
Three letters are the same.
Next, Team 1 guesses Team 2's word.
Then Team 2 guesses bingo -- no correct letters.
The groups continue alternating until one team figures out the other team's word.
Each team takes a turn, the first team to guess the word wins.
Makes it easier if they keep a note on impossible letters & probable letters.
Can take ages to play & really gets their brains & logic skills a work out.

...it reminds me of that game "Mastermind" where you guess the 4 coloured pin combo...

Friday, 24 February 2012

Day of Action Monday February 27, 2012 - WEAR BLACK

Teacher's across BC will wear black Monday to show support for teacher's and send a message to the government... "negotiate don't legislate"

Please wear Black to show your support!!!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

What if teachers adopted "Net Zero"?

*Read this on Kevin Epp's facebook page and loved it so much I had to share...

What if teachers adopted "Net Zero"?

Well, if they did, things would change dramatically in schools.

First, the "collaborative meetings" which Minister Abbott claims are so important wouldn't happen. Teachers are not paid, nor required to attend meetings (except for one staff meeting a month) outside the school day.

Field trips wouldn't happen. Since the planning, organizing, and collecting of money, forms and other things necessary for these trips to happen are not part of our work. While away with students, teachers are away from their families. Parents who chaperone go along by choice, and teachers who organize and run these trips also do so by choice.

Extra help at lunch time, or after school would also cease. Teachers are paid only for class time. Although, for a fee, tutoring would be available as it is in the classified section of the paper. The marking and preparation of lessons, report cards, adaptation of work for children with special needs, and many other things are all done on our time.

Sports, clubs, science fairs, music performances and theatre performances would stop. Most of these things are done outside of the work day and 'outside' of the 'hours of work' for teachers. Tournaments, play days, track meets, assemblies, performances, all require hundreds of hours of work. That work is unpaid. We get our summer off. Yes we do. Most of us need it to make it up to our families who don't see us when we're away on field trips, tournaments, or at performances.

Teachers would start telling students who don't have a pen, pencil, eraser, paper, or calculator that the classroom runs on "Net Zero". The teacher will no longer give them the materials. It seems that some people don't realize that there are no cupboards filled with these things in schools, and teachers spend, on average, $500 dollars of their own money for supplies they give away. Perhaps teachers should start to charge 'user fees' like the government does.

Graduation ceremonies would have to be taken over by others. Who? I don't know. Teachers at secondary schools spend countless hours organizing the grad ceremonies at every high school in the province. That is not paid work nor a requirement.

Reference letters and assistance with university applications would also need to be taken over by others, again, who would do this is unclear. If not, then perhaps, like others, letters and forms would be completed by teachers, however, under the Net Zero Mandate, those would be only completed for a fee.

Net Zero by teachers would mean, go to school just before the morning bell, teach your students, leave for lunch (since those in the private sector can go out for lunch...MLAs get lunch for free....) return to teach for the afternoon, and leave promptly after the last bell.

No lunch time activities like student council meetings, practices, extra help sessions, meetings, phone calls, parent interviews, rehearsals.....and.....

No afterschool practices, extra help sessions, meetings, phone calls, rehearsals, field trip organization, grad planning, open houses, and...............

Nope. Not anymore. Not under the Net Zero (teaching) Mandate.

Our government claims that along with no salary increase for teachers (who are ninth in salary in Canada but live in the most expensive province) they also need to take away other rights from teachers.

They want to roll back health benefits, take away job security, and provide even less for kids that need extra support.

Why haven't teachers adopted the "Net Zero" (teaching) Mandate? Because we are professionals who care about kids. Because we didn't get into this career to just earn dollars. Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for teachers is a lost tradition.

[copied this from Kevin Epp, President at Okanagan Skaha Teachers' Union status on Facebook]

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Wordle: Adventures in Classroom Design

My friend and colleague created this wordle for her blog Adventures in Classroom Design.

Wordle: Classroom Design

Cursive Writing

Today I was in a Grade 2/3 class and one lesson I was asked to lead was "cursive writing"

I have come across this a few times this year with this grade level, and I have to remember to do the cursive writing the "correct way" not with my own personal style (which tends to be more of a loopy printing that somewhat resembles handwriting at times)

It makes me ponder... how important is cursive writing to learn?

My daughter is in grade 3 and thrilled to be learning how to write "pretty"

Last year as I taught Grade 6/7 I had a parent ask me why we didn't study cursive hand writing in middle school....

I remember when I was younger learned in about Grade 3 and practiced. In Junior High School some classes required you used cursive writing for assignments even.

Nowadays, it seems it is a lost art.

My personal opinion is that technology is taking over and typing skills, along with technological know-how is more important thatn cursive writing.

Yes, it is pretty, yes it is good to learn, but I am ok with it being used less in schools and in curriculum.

I find cursive writing to be a fun skill to learn, and perhaps useful when reading grandma's letters, but otherwise almost as useful as learning Calligraphy.... again... pretty, interesting, fun, maybe useful in some instances, but probably not a priority.

Many disagree with me, but I really would rather my daughter be able to type and communicate in other ways, even if she can't hand-write with cursive letters.

Some argue that learning cursive writing is more about learning proper penmanship, posture, and finding the joy in writing.

I understand the need to at least sign your name for legal documents... but really, our brains are programed to do things quickly and efficiently and so, much like my "writing", many people naturally begin to join letters together....

So... do we teach students how to do it correctly? or let them just "figure it out"?

I think the current system works just right. They learn young, and then can continue to use it as much or as little as they need as they grow.


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

*Sparkle* A Spelling Game

A new spelling game I have been playing with the Elementary School classes I have taught in over the past few weeks.

Great way to practice weekly spelling words and have a fun, interactive game.

1. Students stand in a circle (not neccessary, could also do standing at their desks)
2. Teacher says the word (choose from spelling list)
3. First student says first letter, next student says next letter and so on.
4. After last letter is said, the next student says "Sparkle"
5. If a student says the wrong letter or doesn't say Sparkle at the end, they sit down and are out for this round.
6. Keep going until you have one student left.

For Example:
Teacher: trust
Student 1: "t"
Student 2: "r"
Student 3: "e"
Teacher:  Sorry (student sits)
Student 3: "u"
Student 4: "s"
Student 5: "t"
Student 6: "Sparkle"

and so on

Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

If you have any other spelling game ideas, please feel free to comment below and share.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Magic Piece of Garbage

I only recently learned of this gem. It is great to get the kids excited about tidying their classroom.

Tell the class that you have scanned the ground and have dubbed a specific piece of garbage the "magic" piece of garbage. Whoever picks up the magic piece of garbage gets a prize.

You stand by the garbage pail and each student shows you their garbage as they toss it into to bin. Let them know you won't tell them who has won until the floor is clean. Give them a specific start time (ex. they can't start until you say "go!"). This works with all age groups, and really gets the room clean in a hurry!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

New Teacher in BC? Explore your options...

If I knew then what I know now... 6 years ago I began my teaching career. Back then you were almost always hired as a TTOC, nowadays, not.so.much.

Yes, it was 6 years ago that I finished my teacher-training program and entered the world of teaching-on-call.

6 years later and I am still waiting, hoping, trying to get my own classroom or continuing contract.

But after that, I get to enter the lay-off/recall procedures, which means I may not have my "own" class for a few more years... I may be moved around several times before I can settle into one grade/level/subject...

and so, my garage is still filled with boxes and boxes of resources for every grade level and subject I have ever encountered... much to my husbands dismay... 22 boxes...

My friends considering teaching in BC, I say, explore your options... I love it here, yes, but if I knew I would be on-call for this long, with unpredictable work and the government's net-zero mandate that aims to destroy public education... well... I may have moved my then young family to somewhere with a brighter future....

This was a great read from a blog I enjoy:

Ah BC, the greatest place on Earth. Let me count the ways:

1. Highest child poverty rate
2. Greatest inequality
3. Expensive housing

The mountains are beautiful, but is it really worth it?

Probably not, if you are a new teacher, starting your career.

Here are some facts to consider about cross Canada comparisons (Out of the 13 Provinces and Territories) for teaching salaries, education spending and working conditions:

-Starting salaries with 5 years of university education: 11th
-Starting salaries with a Masters degree: 12th
-Student teacher ratio (number of students for each teacher): 2nd
-Total spent on education per capita: 10th
-Number of classes with 4 or more students with special needs: 12, 240
-Number of classes with more than 30 students: 3, 627
-Loss of learning specialist teacher in last decade: 1459
-Time available for lesson planning, preparation and marking: 90 minutes per week
-Percentage of Teachers Teaching on Call earning $10,000 or less: 36%
-Percentage of Teachers Teaching on Call earning $30,000 or less: 78%

For details on salary comparisons, see: http://bctf.ca/uploadedFiles/Public/BargainingContracts/U102-SalaryDocument.pdf
For funding data: http://www.bctf.ca/uploadedFiles/Public/Publications/Briefs/2011EdFundingBrief.pdf#p8
BCTF Teacher Teaching on Call Survey: http://bctf.ca/uploadedFiles/Public/TTOC/2008survey.pdf
Child poverty report card: http://www.firstcallbc.org/pdfs/economicequality/3-reportcard2011.pdf
BC Stats report on income inequality: http://www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/releases/info2012/in1204.pdf

[Via Staff Room Confidential Blog]

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Abbott claims it is "discrimination" to limit class size and composition?

It upsets me to hear our Minister of Education, George Abbott saying that limiting the number of special needs students in a class is "discriminatory"

What is discriminatory is jam-packing so many students into a class that they can't get the extra attention they need to learn.

Special needs or not, EVERY student deserves positive learning conditions, and that means positive working conditions for teachers.

Calling Class Size & Composition requests "discriminatory" is absurd! The government illegally stripped BC teacher's right to negotiate class size and composition leading to over crowded classes and inadequate support for special needs students across the Province!

Students identified may need extra time, extra attnetion, or have specific needs in which they are entitled to just like every other student.

Additionally, there are often a number of students who are not "identified" as special needs who require extra attention, extra help, certain methods or strategies to help them learn.

Limiting the number of special needs in a classroom allows those students to have access to resources and to participate fully in the class. Without limits teachers can not adequately meet the needs of every student.

As it stands, SEAs often have multiple students and with more special needs in a class, it makes the SEAs workload heavier and can become a safety issue without adequate support.

Minister Abbott needs to spend more time "IN CLASSROOMS" and not just brief public appearences "at schools" to truly understand the system ESPECIALLY before making such absurd comments about education and "discrimination"

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Game: *Two Truths and a Lie*

This is a fun way to get to know students. Many groups use this as an icebreaker and it works well as a TTOC, though I prefer to use it with Middle and up as primary sometimes struggle with the game especially "lying"

*Two Truths and a Lie*
Students each come up with two interesting truths about themselves, and a believable lie. One student at a time tells all three stories, and the other students try and guess which one was the lie. Students can vote on which one they believe to be the lie using a show of hands. Remind students that the stories must be classroom appropriate. Can be used just for fun, or points can be given. Each student gives themselves a point each time they guess the right story to be the lie.

Game: Going on a Picnic..

*I Am Going On a Picnic...*

You tell the class that you are going on a picnic and you are bringing a... (chose something that begins with the first letter of your name, but don't tell them this is what you are doing. For example, someone named Sarah might bring Sandwiches). Tell the class that you would like them to come on the picnic, but they can only come if they bring the right thing. Let them ask if they can bring this and that, and tell them that there is a secret trick/pattern to the game that they need to figure out. For example, if Freddy asks if he can come and bring Oranges, you say "Sorry, but no". However, if Jennifer asks if she can bring Jellybeans, you would say "Why yes you can come and bring Jellybeans, Jennifer". Keep going in this manor until someone many people are coming on the picnic, and people are starting to figure it out. You can switch up the game by then making it so that people can bring things in alphabetical order, or only things in one particular food group, etc.

I have also done "I am going camping" with the same rules.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Feb 13 - In the classroom

Back in the same classroom for more than one day. It is unfortunate the teacher is still ill, but noce to get to know the students.

I also enjoy being in this class because there is a SMARTboard, which I am becoming more and more comfortable using as a TTOC.

What is nice is that once you learn a few basics you can use it for the shape of the day, what to write in your planners, notes, instructions, anything.

I also love the interactive components - especially the balloon pop. I like to put options or answers behind the balloons and children touch the balloon which pops it and reveals text underneath.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Interactive Tic Tac Toe Game

ALso called Human Tic Tac Toe but that makes me think of this....

BUt that isn't what this is....

This is a game I have played with all ages that is interactive and builds on exsisting lessons. It is fantastic for a TTOC who is coming in and wants more interactive lessons during that "extra" time after a lesson that the teacher-on-contract may have left.

Tic Tac Toe

1. You need nine chairs set up in three rows, like a toc-tac-toe grid.
2. Divide the class into 2 teams, X's and O's.
3. Just like in regular tic-tac-toe, the X's and O's alternate, except they sit in the chairs instead of drawing it out on paper.
4. Ask each team a question (can be trivia, or use their weekly spelling words or French vocabulary or math equation - anything they are working on in class).
5. The students must raise their hand to answer. (you may call one person from each team to the front to be asked question or ask it to the group as a whole)
6. If they are correct, then they get to sit on one of the chairs. The first team to get three in a row, diagonally, vertically or horizontally, wins. (You may have them hold up "x" or "O" sign or make it with their hands.)

Thursday, 9 February 2012

TTOC Alert #3

February 2012 Update from BCTF TTOC AC

TTOC alerts are being prepared during the job action to assist in keeping TTOCs informed about
bargaining and job action. Please pass this communication along to your teacher on-call colleagues.
1, In 2006 TTOCs gained:
Salary on scale after three days in any position
A provincial minimum daily rate
Accumulation of seniority while on scale
2. BCTF bargaining objectives

a. Salary
Year 1: 3% Cost Of Living Allowance plus 0%
Year 2: 3% Cost Of Living Allowance plus 3% market adjustment
Year 3: 3% Cost Of Living Allowance plus 3% market adjustment
Why are we asking for 15% over 3 years?

-Net zero (0%) is equivalent to a pay cut because of inflation (2011 inflation was 3%)
-To stop the gap widening between BC and other provinces we need a 12% wage increase
(Alberta is $21,000/year higher=20%+)
-Net zero (0%) over three years would widen the gap to $30,000/year at category 5 max

b. Class size and composition
Lower class sizes = more full time positions = more manageable classes

c. Benefits
Affordable benefits offered to all teachers (including TTOCs)
Paid sick days
Scale pay from day one
Salary increase for all teachers (including TTOCs)
Paid leaves
More leaves = more TTOC work
Equal access to leaves without discrimination or penalties (i.e. bereavement)

3. Contract stripping proposed by BCPSEA
(From the Report from the Provincial Table—#55, November 22, 2011)

-Virtual elimination of seniority (only used in a tie after other considerations such as “suitability
to the position and school as determined by the principal)
-Use of “performance” as a criteria for filling postings
-No requirements for how a position is posted
-No postings at all for positions filled during the year—teachers placed by employer
-No more grievance process for disputes in posting and filling

4. Where to go for more information
-Contact the staff rep at a school
-Check your local union website
-Call your local office
-Check the BCTF website/member portal
-New Teachers’ and Student Teachers’ Conference—March 2–3, 2012 (Richmond) (Register on-
line through the BCTF website)
-BCTF AGM 2012—March 17–20, 2012 (Vancouver)
-BCTF zone meetings—April 20–21, 2012 (throughout the province)
-BCTF Rep Assembly—May 25–26, 2012 (Richmond)
-BCTF Summer Conference 2012—August 23–27, 2012 (Kamloops)

February 9, 2012: Labour Minister Margaret McDiarmid appointed Trevor Hughes to report on the
progress of teacher bargaining. He will meet with both parties and repot back by February 23, 2012.
Education Minister George Abbott has said that if bargaining is not proceeding, legislation is an option.

TTOCs are reminded that this is an important time to remain aware of local meetings.