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

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Clark government cuts Science World program for kids

Christy Clark and the Liberals putting Families First... right?



Though this cut is to an important education program, so it makes sense they cut funding - that is what they do best!

Vancouver Sun writes:
VICTORIA - The B.C. government has cut funding to a Science World program that brought innovative education to hundreds of thousands of children across the province. In an interview Thursday, the chair of Science World's board of directors said his organization will no longer be able to run the Program for the Awareness and Learning of Science, which included free fieldtrips and touring educational science programs to communities around the province. "Why it's so important is we're of the view that graduates in science, technology, engineering and math are the natural resources of the future," said Andrew Harries, chair of Science World's board of directors, adding the BC PALS program helped inspire kids to follow careers in these areas. "Any government that doesn't recognize that is short changing its society." Harries said provincial funding of the program began in 2005, adding the province has contributed between $1 million and $2 million each year since. He said the program allowed Science World to extend its reach into communities across the province, including many First Nations communities. "Science World will roll up in a truck and it will take its hands on, highly visual and entertaining form of science learning to kids that just don't get to experience that," he said. "There are very few communities, in fact very few schools in the regions, that the PALS program hasn't reached in the past few years." Education Minister George Abbott has not yet commented on the issue. Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/Clark+government+cuts+Science+World+program+kids/6856207/story.html#ixzz1z8K2rLKa

Why I am Voting.... The yes/no debate....

I am not telling teachers to vote yes or vote no....

I am encouraging them to think about the whole issue and consider the big picture. I am excited that BCTF and BCPSEA were able to reach a tentative agreement that addressed some of the issues of concern while removing concessions - for now. I have no doubt this one year agreement is just what is needed to get everyone through the summer... maybe even the Fall.

I have no doubt this agreement will be ratified by teachers, in fact, I fear it will be too strongly voted in favour of. While I am glad there has been an agreement, I want the province to know it is a HUGE compromise (on both sides) and in my opinion, a lot of smoke and mirrors to gain allies (from both sides) "Look what we accomplished"

And no doubt, it is a huge accomplishment. It was like a tennis ball bouncing between two brick walls for seceral months so the fact that something, anything, was agreed upon gives me hope.... if even a glimmer, it is more than I have had in months! But is it enough?

Yes, there are no concessions, yes there are some moderate improvements from many members, but there is no reason this ratification vote should be an overwhelming yes. it will pass, but in my dream world it would be a slight yes so we can ratify it for the year, but show we are still not where we want NEED to be!

To consider both sides I have added links to two blog posts which explain why they are voting yes or no..... I think all BCTF members need to consider the big picture before voting.

- Why I'm Voting Yes

- Why Im Voting No and her follow up More reasons for a no vote.

I am not saying vote yes or vote no... just consider the whole issue and make a decision.... I am confident this will be ratified, probably easily.... but in a few short months we start again... and while this is indeed a step in the right direction, it is a little step... but we need to start somewhere... I just hope after this we can keep going in the right direction...

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Improvements for Teachers Teaching On Call in new agreement

This agreement has some significant improvements for Teachers Teaching On Call.

The first is a big one. Improvements to union leaves, including leaves for TTOCs.

TOCs who are released for union leave will not have this considered as a break in service for purposes of on-scale pay.

As most TTOCs know, youa re paid a base daily rate each day you work. If you work three consecutive days you then get paid "on scale" until a break in service/work. Unfortunately, in the past, if you worked your consecutive days but one of those days was doing union business, not in the classroom, it would break your "consecutive days" and move you back to your base daily rate.

Now, you can stay on-scale pay, as union leaves or work is NOT an interuption - very exciting, especially for TTOCsx who are active in their union!

The other, less publicized change is that TTOCs will now, officially and universally, be called TTOCs (Teachers-Teaching-On-Call)

Currently, Collective Agreement language varies from local to local. Some are TOCs (Teachers-On-Call) or EOCs (Employees-On-Call) or the old-school "substitutes".

The reason for the name "Teachers-Teaching-On-Call" was to put the focus on the fact that TTOCs are indeed, qualified, trained and able teachers.

The other improvements will benefit most teachersin B.C.

There are other improvements to benefits, leaves, and the concessions surrounding "suitability" and "seniority" are off the table.

It does not address class size and compisition or salary but it does agree to discuss the split of issues (Post & Fill and Layoff & Recall moved to local bargaining) in return for some agreement on Professional Growth and Evaluation language. We will see how this goes in the Fall.

Additionally, in 8 months BCTF and BCPSEA will begin to negotiate once more. This agreement is until June 2013. It is NOT a legislated contract, and there are no concessions, so this is good news for everyone.

To read more about the pros/cons and reasons for coting yes/no to ratify the agreement read here.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Magic Tree House

I first learned about Magic Treehouse several years ago when a student I tutored was reading them. I read them with him and found them to be fun, short novels for kids. My daughter now reads them and loves them.

What I like about Magic treehouse is how the story incorporates so many different topics, keeping up the fun plot of a brother and sister Jack and Annie, on adventures through time and space. Author Mary Pope Osborne then wrote some non-fiction companion books to provide further information on some of the topics her stories explore.

The series of books has 28, then moves on to a harder reading level, longer with smaller print at #29 when the series is called 'Merlin Missions"

Check out The Magic Treehouse Website here. There is a teacher page with resources, some games for kids and

There is a free lesson plan for some of the books available here.

A new book (#48) comes out this July with another 2 planned in the next year.

Wikipedia lists book names and summaries here.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Circle Writing activitiy

Sentence Circles - Split your students into groups of 5. Give each group a piece of sentence strip paper and a pencil. On your signal, the first person in the group writes one word on the strip and then passes it to the left. The second person then writes the second word of the burgeoning sentence. The writing continues in this pattern around the circle - with no talking!
When the sentences are complete, the students share their creations with the class. Do this a few times and have them notice how their collective sentences improve each time around.

I have also done this as Story Circles, where they have time to write then pass. Sometimes they have to fold the paper so they can only read the last sentence the previous person wrote and must elaborate. They usually get goofy, but are fun to share at the end of a class.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Not Only in Wisconsin....

Sadly,' this is not only in Wisconsin' as a colleague pointed out when I re-posted this on facebook.

I recall last year when Scott Walker was governor and tried to destroy unions, strip bargaining rights and eventually was recalled after a major march of public workers to the legislature.  Sounds oddly familiar doesn't it?

It seems a trend lately that governments do not wish to fund puclic sectors and prioritize tax money to other areas, claiming 'net zero' for anything else they do not deem important. It is an obvious move to privatize public sectors to make more money and to have more control over the monies.
I still do not understand how the rich can get richer and the rest of us suffer. Change needs to happen. We have allowed little by little the erosion of our rights, and now government threatens to take them all away in one massive scoop.

Here in B.C. we are in a "cooling off period" which has allowed the government to introduce more bills and laws while forcing us to sit back and "just cool off"
This summer, bargaining will re-open and while we are in mediation currently with the (not so qualified or experienced) Mr. Jago, one wonders what September will look like for our students?

So no, not only in Wisconsin can these things happen... and that worries me. I love my job, I am passionate about education, but the looming unpredictability of public education scares me and I believe in speaking out and taking action to ensure our students are protected and don't lose out in the future because of major losses today.

We do not need to become partners in backwards reform movements, we need to be principled critics to attacks on union rights and public services. Rather than stating, for example, that yes, perhaps union members should pay some of their health insurance benefits but not too much, we should be arguing that these benefits are part of an overall compensation package that was negotiated and to claw back is equivalent to a pay cut. We need to point out that pensions are simply deferred salary that has been earned, and to claw back pension benefits is to steal that deferred income. We need to remind the public that seniority rights are to protect against discrimination, nepotism and favoritism.

We also need a principled public defense of public services in the public interest. "Reform" has become a euphemism for privatization and it is important to call a spade a spade. Every so-called reform of public services being pushed right now really aims to reduce public spending, curtain service delivery and quality, and to increase the private delivery and control of public services. Think charter schools, for example.

The lesson from Wisconsin is that we need to reform our organizations to ensure that we speak out for what is truly in the public interest, not simply try to lesson the damage. The slogans should not be "These cuts are too deep" but rather "Tax the rich".
Read more here

LRB Ruling on Extra Curriculars

Teachers win significant legal victory on extra-curricular activities

The Labour Relations Board today has affirmed that BC teachers do indeed have the right to withdraw their participation in voluntary extra-curricular activities.

In a ruling issued today, LRB Vice-Chair Ritu Mahil found that “the Union has not declared or authorized an unlawful strike by directing its members to refrain from participating in activities which occur outside of class time/instructional hours and are truly voluntary and extra-curricular.”

BCTF President Susan Lambert welcomed the decision saying: “This is a significant legal victory for teachers because it clarifies the distinction between voluntary and non-voluntary work, and it reaffirms that the countless hours that teachers devote to extra-curricular activities with students truly are voluntary. We’ve always known that, but it’s excellent to have it confirmed by the Labour Relations Board.”

Lambert added, however, that the decision will offer cold comfort to teachers, who feel disrespected by the needlessly provocative actions of the BC Public School Employers’ Association.

“Public education in BC has become over-reliant on the goodwill of teachers and, despite a decade of underfunding and attacks on our rights, we have kept on digging deeper and giving more in order to hold the system together,” Lambert said. “Now the employer has taken us to the LRB in an attempt to compel goodwill and force volunteerism. It’s as if they are intentionally trying to shred the relationship.”

Instead of engaging in such damaging legal battles, Lambert called on the BCPSEA and government to work with the BCTF to reach a fair compromise and resolve the outstanding issues in the labour dispute.

Mahil also found that the BC Teachers’ Federation has not engaged in an unlawful strike by directing its members to minimally participate in meetings with school administrators. However, she did find that the BCTF must direct members to participate in meetings and activities which are part of their work duties even though they occur outside of instructional hours. The BCTF will promptly inform its members of the ruling.

For the full text of the LRB decision, go to: http://bctf.ca/uploadedFiles/Public/BargainingContracts/LRB/LRB63467-12.pdf

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Macbeth Rap

My friend and colleague did Macbeth with her English class and as a final project a group of students presented this video.... It is amazing!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Love and Logic Approach to Classroom Management

Classroom Management is often a struggle for Teachers-Teaching-On-Call. Most classroom management workshops, books, and ideas focus on "developing a rapport over time" with students. TTOCs don't have time for that (or at least they don't have time to develop meaningful rapport, especially if it is a one day gig) but there are some things TTOCs can use to assist with classroom management.

Obviously choices is a big one, problem solving, choosing your battles, being respectful and being respected.... but I recently saw some cool strategies from Jim Fay's Book http://www.loveandlogic.com/

I discovered this information at The Sub Hub and wondered how some of these ideas could be used for TTOCs:
As a sub, one of the hardest parts of the job is classroom management. No matter who the student is, each one acts at least a little differently when a sub is in the room. The district I work for encourages the Love and Logic® approach, a system that is all about using empathy and empowering students to take responsibility and solve their own problems

The Sub Hub Website had some great ideas, some I mentioned above, but one that I really liked was wording "rules" as if they are for you, the teacher, not them.

For example:
  1.  I listen to one person at a time
  2. I listen to students who raise their hands
  3. I teach when there are no disruptions.

Another part I liked was how to deal with students who argue. I encountered this recently in my contract class and instead of engage in a power struggle I let the student know we could continue the discussion/debate after school, but not during class time. I really like this idea for next time:

Neutralizing Arguing. Anyone who has tried to argue and reason with an angry student knows how useless it is, so use the techniques of staying calm, “going brain dead,” using (and continuing to use) a one-liner like “I respect you too much to argue” or “I know it feels that way,” and if the arguing continues, responding with “I argue at 12:00 or 3:00 each day. Which would be best for you?”
I really love hearing new strategies to try in different classrooms. I wonder what strategies you have used that worked or that didn't work? Why? Why not?
You can read more about this idea on the website: http://www.loveandlogic.com/

What's a PSA?

What is a PSA?

A PSA is a Provincial Specialist Associations and it is an excellent way to connect with colleagues in a particular specialty area.

While there is currently no "TTOC" PSA (I would love to see that change in the future!!!) PSAs provide conferences, PRO D opportunities, newsletters and support for teachers. Every October there is a PSA Pro D Day where conferences and workshops are available.

PSA memberships are available to TTOCs and the first one is free! Additionally, ProD funds can help cover any conference fees etc. If you teach in Coquitlam call the CTA for details!

Due to the changing demographics of TTOCs and the number of TTOCs that are career TTOCs, TTOCs by choice, or awaiting conversion/contracts but spend more time as a TTOC than what used to be the norm, I think a TTOC PSA would be amazing! I am interested in learning more about how to get one started, so if you or a TTOC you know is interested, let me know!

Here is a list of the PSAs you can join:
ABCDEAssociation of BC Drama Educators
AEAAboriginal Education Association (formerly known as First Nations Education Association FNEA)
AEGTCCBCAssociation for Educators of Gifted, Talented and Creative Children in BC
AEPSAAdult Educators’ Provincial Specialist Association
APPIPCAssociation Provinciale des Professeurs d’Immersion et du Programme Francophone
BCAEABC Alternate Education Association
BCAMTBC Association of Mathematics Teachers
BCATABC Art Teachers’ Association
BCATMLBC Association of Teachers of Modern Languages
BCBEABC Business Education Association
BCCASABC Culinary Arts Specialist Association
BCCLABC Co-operative Learning Association
BCDEABC Dance Educators’ Association
BCEDLBC Educators For Distributed Learning: Hospital/Homebound & Distance Education Teachers
BCMEABC Music Educators’ Association
BCPTABC Primary Teachers’ Association
BCRSSTABC Rural & Small Schools Teachers’ Association
BCSCABC School Counsellors’ Association
BCScTABC Science Teachers’ Association
BCSSTABC Social Studies Teachers’ Association
BCTEABC Technology Education Association
BCTELABC Teachers of English Language Arts
BCTLABC Teacher-Librarians’ Association
CUEBCComputer-Using Educators of BC
EEPSAEnvironmental Educators’ Provincial Specialist Association
ESLPSAEnglish as a Second Language Provincial Specialist Association
LATALearning Assistance Teachers’ Association
PAGEB.C. Teachers for Peace and Global Education
PEBCPhysical Education Teachers of BC
PITAProvincial Intermediate Teachers’ Association
SEASpecial Education Association
THESATeachers of Home Economics Specialist Association

Friday, 8 June 2012

Enviro-Lunch Kits

I have seen a few of these cool lunch boxes lately while TTOCing in different Primary classes. I like that there are different compartments for food, it makes eating healthy lunches more fun and is environmentally more friendly.

I looked into them some more and found the website for Planetbox. Although they are a bit pricey ($40-60+ depending on what add-on's you get) I can see the savings financially in purchasing them:

Their website says:
Why does your product cost what it does?Most of us are used to the low cost of buying things made out of plastic and designed to be used and thrown away fairly quickly. Our product is different. We use a high quality, expensive material, and our products are intricately engineered to function well over time. All this costs more than the throw away items we are too used to consuming. We realize that this is a significant investment for many families As you know, this is something that you and your child can use every weekday for years to come. It is a high quality product that is not cheap to produce. Our sincere hope is that people will find the investment was worth it for their family.

Even though PlanetBox might cost more up front, will it save me money in the long term?

Yes! By replacing wasteful, single use plastic and paper containers, you will save money over the lifetime of the product. Also, your PlanetBox allows you to buy food in bulk, which is cheaper and less wasteful than single use containers. For example, a 1 oz prepackaged bag of cheesy crackers costs 87 cents, but 1 oz of those exact same crackers taken from a 12 oz box costs 43 cents – half as much!
I plan to look into other lunch kits similar to this and see what is out there first...

Still, thist is absolutely something I would like to get for my daughter's lunches (and mine too!)

Here is their website if you want to check it out:

Here are some more photos from the website:

Art Project: Foreshortening

Another easy and fun art project from Mrs Brown Art Blog:
Students learn about the concept of foreshortening through this fun drawing activity. Foreshortening is the optical illusion that occurs when a part of something moves from one part of space to another. For example... and bridge travels from right in front of us, to far away from us on the other side of a river. The same thing can happen on a smaller level with human limbs. For this project students traced their feet and hands on a paper. They then drew their arms, legs, body and head to create the illusion that the body was further away then the feet and hands. The images all end up looking like the subject is falling toward the viewer.
She even has a Power Point you can download to accompany the lesson.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Matthew's Dream - Leo Lionni Activities

I love some of the cool art projects on the internet. As a TTOC it is important to find art projects that can be done in one day, require little supplies or use materials that are readily available and can be found in any school or classroom.

I also prefer if the art project has a literacy tie-in or lesson in addition to art exploration. Lastly, it doesn't hurt if the project isn't too messy... while it can be fun, as a TTOC, the clean-up process can be more challenging with students you do not know well.

I absolutely love Leo Lionni picture books, one of my favourites is Matthew's Dream:
Matthew dreams of becoming a painter. He lives in a dusty attic with his parents. Through his vivid dreams, he becomes more confident of his decision to create beautiful paintings.

 This art project, using Matthew's Dream caught my eye on Mrs Brown's Art page:
Students read the book Matthew's Dream by Leo Lionni. They then created abstract designs based on the story. This is a great opening project for early in the year as students are getting adjusted to their classmates, the artroom, and the art supplies.
So fun! I can't wait to give this a try. I really suggest checking out Mrs. Brown's Art page. She has several art activities from K-5. I plan to continue to feature a couple on my blog because I just love them so much!

Here are some more activities using Leo Lionni's books:

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Dot by Peter Reynolds - Art Lesson

This blog by a BC TTOC had a great Art project she tried recently that I wanted to share. She writes:
Book: The Dot by Peter Reynolds. I was able to find it in the school library and I did not need any other materials other than the students' own pencil crayons and some large square pieces of paper that I took a few minutes to cut from 11x17 sheets. The Dot is a wonderful book about believing in yourself and believing in your artwork. Here is a good synopsis. Peter Reynolds is passionate about inspiring kids to be creative and take risks and to feel proud of and confident in their artwork
She used the art lesson found here after reading the book and showing a short youtube clip of the story.

I can't wait to try this - I love these types of activities and the kids do also! As a TTOC it is always good to have these kinds of lesson plans ready - just in case!

See more Here

Middle Schools

I love Middle School.

As a teacher I love them, as a student I think I would too. I hated Junior High School. First, as a Grade 7 we were at the same school as 5 year olds. Then, we would jump to Jr. High with Grade 10s. It seems so strange now that the grades within schools has changed.

Middle School in Coquitlam consists of blended classes in some cases, team teaching and pods,

As much as I love Middle Schools, I also love reading and learning new perspectives and ideas.
This blog explores how Middle Schools may hinder growth.

One point this post makes I would like to address:

3. They lose the chance to be leaders / role models for younger students.
This is huge. The K-8 model isn’t perfect and may be difficult because of the size of the student body, but in it, seventh and eighth graders become natural role models and can assume leadership positions to younger students.
While I agree wholeheartedly that what I loved as a Grade 7 students in Elementary School was the opportunity to become a leader, the Middle School model indeed still offers this.

First, Elementary Schools which are K-5 allow Grade 4s and 5s to take on a leadership role at a younger age than in previous Elementary schools that were K-7. My daughter, for example, is in Grade 3 and very much looking forward to next year when she can start being a lunch time monitor for the Primary grades and be a part of the school leadership team.

Second, many Middle Schools are close to Elementary Schools and have opportunities that pair up the schools for things such as buddy reading, volunteering at Sports Day or other activities.

Moreover, Middle Schools allow a safe environment for those often awkward years with three grades (6-8) close in maturity and development to learn and grow together with additional support and programs suitable for that level. By providing an inclusive, environment adolescents can engage in learning through collaboration and exploration that can be more challenging in an Elementary school setting with the young ones.

Overall, I am a strong supporter of the Middle School Program and Philosophy. Though I do enjoy reading research and various perspectives on education particularily Middle School.

Some interesting Middle School sites:



SD43 Parent Handbook "Transition to Middle School"

Online Math Games

I am looking for some new student friendly free websites for Math Games. My daughter is finishing Grade 3 and I want to ensure she has a fun way to practice over the summer.

Here are some I know of, please feel free to add a comment with any you like:



Also this site has some strategies and ideas to help understand how times tables work and ideas for memorizing them.

Are teachers more valuable to the government than previously advertised?

Are teachers more valuable to the government than previously advertised?

Union Book
Ian Weniger
June 4, 2012

Last weekend, I suggested that the BC government would use the event of the BCTF representative assembly to further force teachers into submission regarding the extracurricular ban accepted formally by three-quarters of voting union members. I suspected that the Labour Relations Board would announce that the employers' petition to declare the "bell-to-bell" actions of teachers to be a form of strike action and therefore illegal by the terms of the cooling-off period mandated to the end of the summer by Bill 22. And I thought that, since the minister used the confluence of the BCTF annual general meeting and the spring break period to introduce Bill 22, forcing teachers' delegates to consider incurring massive fines against individual teachers, union officials and the union itself, that the government would do it again.
Why didn't this happen at the RA? I think there are two main reasons. The first is the general political failure of the government as it faces the final year of its mandate before the provincial election next May. Not only are the BC Liberals halfway behind the popularity of the opposition NDP, but they are also neck-and-neck with the newly reborn, tiny BC Conservative Party. The premier's major responses were to lead a trade delegation to China and preside over a couple of dozen investment deals in BC oil and gas development, and to formally propose a competition to change her party's name to reflect the commitment to "free enterprise." While I thought such a dismal situation would be solved by kicking the BCTF while they were down, the government saw that Bill 22 didn't help them before, and more teacher-bashing was unlikely to help them now.
Besides, if Christy Clark's priority in breaking the teachers' union was financial, then a balanced budget at the expense of defunding public education is probably a better re-election asset than scapegoating the most defiant labour organization in the province.

To view the rest of the article, click here

Primary Reading Strategy

Today I met a friend and colleague for an afterschool chat and she shared a great reading strategy she saw in a class today.

Each student had a sticky note with their own name on it.

As the teacher read a picture book, a student could at any time, come up and put their sticky note name on a page if they had thought of a connection.

After the story the teacher went through the book and when a students name was called they would say: "This remind me of...."

What a simple, but fantastic strategy to encourage listening, connecting, and sharing.

I absolutely love it and can't wait to try it!

Zero Grade

 How do you feel about issuing "zero" grades on assignments? This is an interesting discussion I have been reading a lot about lately.

Minister of Education in Alberta has said that zero is a last resort only. After an Edmonton teacher was suspended for issuing students zero.

Lynden Dorval, an Edmonton Science teacher was suspended after issuing students a zero grade for assignments not handed in.

The physics teacher with 35 years experience said he continued giving zeros when students failed to hand in assignments, instead of using behaviour codes such as "not completed," which the school requires under its grading and reporting practice.
In Dorval's physics and science classes at Ross Sheppard High School, students who didn't turn in assignments got a printout of their marks showing them how a zero would affect their overall grade. Most times, the strategy spurred students to complete the work, he said.
This got me thinking... In the high school english class I am currently teaching, I plug in an "NHI" (Not handed in) for assignments missing. This is practice continued from the previous teacher as I am in for the last month of school.

Students get a print out of what is missing and an opportunity to hand them in. I believe in giving students an opportunity to make up missed work since some have not handed things in due to absence, illness, and so on, and to be honest, some are just being lazy or avoiding work. Either way, they are given adequate time to catch-up, make up and ensure they have submitted all assignments for a grade that reflects all their work.

But, I am in a temporary contract with one English class and one Student Services block.

I wonder, how a teacher with 4 english classes per semester, over 100 students, may handle a wave of late assignments at the end of a semester while marking end of term exams, essays and projects.

What is the purpose of a deadline? How important is formal grading? How much control do we really have over assessment and grading in high school, particularily Grade 11 and 12 as many students prepare for post-secondary education.

Giving a student a zero teaches them a lesson  talks about alternative motivation and argues against giving a zero to students. It is an interesting read.

What I enjoyed about this post most were the comments. The discussion.

One talked about the fact that, until Universities stopped using grades as criteria for entrance, we can't stop using them in high school.

Another comment talks about class size and how a high school teacher can adequately give the individual attention needed with 4 full classes and over 100 students a semester.

I taught in Middle School where I used a 4 point scale for most assignments. Final grades were converted to a letter grade, but we did not focus on percentages or grades the same way high schools do. I used comments and ongoing assessment and communication to work with students on goal setting and improving.

Now, teaching in high school, it is all about the grade. Students are obsessed!

Not a single day goes by without at least one students asking me what their grade is so far.

Nevermind that somethings are not marked, or entered into the system yet, nevermind that provincial exams and finals or huge parts of their grade is not yet input, they want to know their percentage at that moment. Every moment!


Because the focus has become the grade.

As parents, we focus on the grade as well. I told myself I wouldn't, but when my daughter brings home her report card, I inadvertently look at the grades first.

I really enjoyed the Job Action this year, because there were no report cards, instead, communication, discussion, between teachers and parents on how a student was progressing. Without the letter or percentage to occupy all the attention, the details, the study habits, the OTHER parts of assessment were more important.

Have you ever seen a student with an A but an N work habit grade? What about a C- but a G work habit grade? Which would you rather see?

Far too often the letter grade is given more weight.

I enjoy professional conversation on this topic and others. I am curious what others think and what they use for their teaching practice.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Letter to the Editor - Column missed the issues

Column missed the issues
Coquitlam Now - Letter to the Editor
Brad Edginton
June 5, 2012

Re: My View - 'School Dispute is Hurting Students', Wednesday May 30

Jameel Aziz, the president of the B.C. Principals and Vice-Principals Association, attempts to weave a narrative that is not only in stark contrast to my experiences as a teacher this year, but also lacks any hint of vision for or perspective on public education.

Given that Aziz is in a position of educational leadership, this is profoundly disappointing.

Aziz's method of research appears to be an informal collating of a few subjective anecdotes and observations, acknowledging no specific sources. Although he admits his "illustrasources. Although he admits his "illu tions" are "not representative of all schools," he claims they are "examples of the real challenges that many schools, students and parents have faced this year."

I challenge the method and validity of his claims because they are so contrary to my experience.

Read more: http://www.thenownews.com/news/Column+missed+issues/6737168/story.html#ixzz1x3Bmr6Ul

Monday, 4 June 2012

Flocabulary for Grads

I love Flocabulary. They use rap to teach numerous things. They have some free resources as well as subscriptions available for more content.

This is a cool video that recaps the last 18 years for 2012 graduates. There is also some lesson plans and activities.



Taylor Mali on "What Teachers Make"

I was looking for some inspirational, positive, slam poetry videos to share with my highschoolers this week .... This one caught my eye, I have heard it before, but wanted to share it with you.