“Giftedness is not what you do or how hard you work. It is who you are. You think differently. You experience life intensely. You care about injustice. You seek meaning. You appreciate and strive for the exquisite. You are painfully sensitive. You are extremely complex. You cherish integrity. Your truth-telling has gotten you in trouble. Should 98% of the population find you odd, seek the company of those who love you just the way you are. You are not broken. You do not need to be fixed. You are utterly fascinating. Trust yourself!”

Linda Silverman~Gifted Development Center Denver

Monday, 9 March 2015

Late to the party AGAIN! March Currently

Sometimes I wonder if it wasn't for Currently if I would get ANYTHING posted on my blog.  I have been super busy with a wonderful teacher candidate working in my classroom, with planning for my vacation, and with LIFE!  It amazes me how fast time flies!

Listening: Have you ever seen John Catucci?  He is a comedian/musician turned food show host.  I love watching You Gotta Eat here on the Food Network.  Last summer when we were in the Collingwood area, they were filming at one of my favourite restaurants Tony's Iron Skillet.  If you are ever in Collingwood, make sure to stop by, everything is delicious!

Loving: For the first time in THIRTEEN years I am going away for March break vacation.  I have not travelled south in over 10 years...so this should be a treat.

Thinking: Can't stop thinking about Cuba.  I have logged onto TripAdvisor more times in the past few weeks than I have to my own email.  I keep reading the reviews, seeing what the weather is like, checking out pictures of the beach and getting more and more excited!

Wanting:  When we return from March break, I will be trying to wind up the unit on Government and Citizenship my student teacher started a month ago.  I really need to find some new resources for teaching Conservation of Energy.  I have the materials I wrote myself, but I really wish someone would make something NEW which is more engaging for students at this grade level!

Needing:I have a TON of stuff to pack for my vacation and at the moment it is strewn all over my bedroom, bathroom and other surfaces throughout the house.  I even have the suitcase out, but I actually need to start putting things IN the suitcase.  Am I the only one who procrastinates about packing????

Spring Break Plans: I love my students but I am so happy we are going to a small all inclusive, adults only resort.  I just want to lie on the beach and read all day everyday!

Picture ME HERE!
Want to see what lots of other wonderful bloggers are doing for their March break?  Click on the button below to visit Farley's monthly link up.  Better late than never I say!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Currently...where has the time gone?

Here it is February 1st and I just cannot tell you where the past 6 months have gone.  I am loving my class and my grade this year.  So much is happening but I have not stopped to take time to blog about it.  On the first day of the month, every month my students complete their "CURRENTLY" and I post them in the hallway outside of my classroom.  I wish I was as good about posting myself!

February in Ontario is still COLD.  REALLY cold. Minus 18 with the windchill cold.  The furnace has been running pretty much non stop. Can't wait for March to arrive.  I am going south for the first time in years.  Hubby and I are heading to Cuba for March Break.  

That leads to every woman's nightmare...buying a bathing suit. I have searched high and low for something decent for a woman of my age to wear at the resort.  So far?  NADA, ZIP, ZILCH. Suggestions anyone?

On the plus side I DO have my report cards finished.  As in done, proofread, printed, signed by principal done!  All that I need to do now is photocopy and put them in envelopes.  They don't go home til the 11th though.  What can I say?  I don't like to procrastinate!

Well, it is Sunday morning, I do need coffee and I am going to have the eggs benedict, which means one thing....I need to get this posted, get dressed and get going!  

Have a great February everyone.  I am doing an awesome activity with my class for Valentine's Day and for Lunar New Year.  I will try to update you all before the March Currently rolls around!

Make sure you stop by Farley's blog and check out what all the other fabulous teacher bloggers are currently up to!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Brace yourself!

I'm so excited to go back to school after holiday break!  SAID NO TEACHER EVER @ http://teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

If you are like me, you just finished a wonderful two week holiday.  I left my marking and Christmas thank you cards to the last minute, but they are done!  I can't believe I am actually making a turkey dinner TONIGHT...we go back to school tomorrow!  Time somehow got away from me and although we have had Christmas dinner with family, we have not had our own "little family" dinner yet...no time like the present I say!

Speaking of no time like the present, it's time to get report cards done.  Mine are due in a few weeks.  
BRACE YOURSELF report card due dates are coming @ http://teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

I have been writing report cards for almost 25 years now.  I remember when we used to write reports in triplicate on carbon paper.  I had to buy three colours of white out (white, yellow and pink) in case, heaven forbid, I made a mistake while writing 32 reports BY HAND.  We have come a long way baby!  I am not always enamoured of the on line reporting system my board uses, it has its fair share of glitches, BUT it is far superior to the hand cramping and white out induced fury of the past!

When "Growing Success" was introduced in Ontario a few years ago, the report cards changed and the emphasis on work habits and learning skills were placed first and foremost on the reports.
BRACE YOURSELF report card due dates are coming @ http://teachingisagift.blogspot.ca
Even after writing thousands of report cards over the years, I find myself struggling with finding the right words for each student for the learning skills and work habits section of the reports.  A few years ago I was thrilled when I stumbled across a site called Student Evaluator. This quote from the website explains it all.  "The Student Evaluator was created by teachers, for teachers. An idea that began over 5 years ago, the Student Evaluator has brought together a team of teachers, learning advisers, web design specialists, and software engineers to create an evaluation tool for teachers. We realized that there had to be a better and more efficient way to accurately assess and create report cards for our students, and so we built software to do just that."

Why you should use Student Evaluator:

  • You can create your Canadian report card learning skills comments for each student in under 3 minutes!
  • The Student Evaluator tool can create assessments of your students for your report cards and for your parent/teacher meetings.
  • It is the only student evaluation tool designed for Canadian teachers.
  • The Student Evaluator tool also generates an overall mark for each learning skill.
    • The Student Evaluator generates comments using:
  • Parent and student-friendly language.
  • Organic, flowing sentences unique to each student’s accomplishments and needs.
  • Constructive feedback that identifies a students' strengths and needs.
  • A selected group of complementary phrases that have been specifically created for each learning skill.
    • Our secure database:
  • Keeps track of each student's report card comments for each term.
  • Can be purged at the end of the school year and saved for future use.
  • Provides a great tool for checking each student's performance throughout the term.
  • Can be easily referenced for meetings with parents

    I love how easy it is to create individualized comments for each student.  My administrator is constantly impressed with how well phrased the comments are.   

    BRACE YOURSELF report card due dates are coming @ http://teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

      Here is a sample comment from the Student Evaluator website.
      BRACE YOURSELF report card due dates are coming @ http://teachingisagift.blogspot.ca
      Check out this great video explaining how easy it is to use Student Evaluator.  

      Thanks to a special collaboration with Student Evaluator, I am able to offer readers of my blog a special offer!  As a subscriber you will receive a 20% discount when you sign up and use code JAN15.  This code will only be good for a few weeks, so don't hesitate if you want to try it out.  

      Wednesday, 31 December 2014

      Ring in the new year with a sale!

      Happy New Year to all my friends and family.  To celebrate a whole group of awesome bloggers and teacher author's are having a sale.  Just click on the image above to visit my store.  Be sure to shop til you drop...nothing like a little retail therapy to help beat the January blues...and get you ready to go back!

      Sunday, 14 December 2014

      Loved that Lesson: Technology Edition Geometer's Sketchpad

      Loved that Lesson @Teachingisagift
      Meg over at the The Teacher Studio is hosting her Loved that Lesson Linky again!  Be sure to click on the image above to find out what some other amazing teacher bloggers have been up to.

      Loved that Lesson @Teachingisagift Geometer's Sketchpad

      As most of you know, I teach gifted students in an elementary classroom.  These students bring a range of strengths and abilities to the classroom each day.  It is my job to keep them engaged and learning in ways which meet their unique strengths and needs. About 8 years I was looking for new and interesting ways to integrate technology into the classroom experiences of my students. I had been out of the classroom for over a decade working as an elementary science and technology consultant, so I called on a friend who worked in the math department to get some ideas. Caroline suggested I try the dynamic computer software "The Geometer's Sketchpad" with my students.  
      I was eager to get started but first I had to have our IT dept. remote install the software on all the computers in our school.  Once this was done, we were ready to go!  Caroline came to my school and showed my students and myself the essentials of Sketchpad and we were all hooked.

      Here is a simple 5 minute video that shows a little bit about the tools in GSP. 

      My students were hooked, and I have used GSP ever since to teach the majority of my geometry curriculum in both grades 5 and 6. 

      This year I wanted to do something a little different.  We had covered all of the basic shapes, points, lines and angles as well as triangles.  I was flipping through my math curriculum document to see what still had to be covered in geometry and realized that students needed to be able to construct nets from three dimensional shapes and they also needed to be able to recognize three dimensional shapes from nets they are shown.  My brain got to thinking about having the students use Geometer's Sketchpad to create the nets, and use it's unique ability to animate sketches to have the students transform the nets into their three dimensional counterparts.

      Loved that Lesson @Teachingisagift Geometer's Sketchpad

      Loved that Lesson @Teachingisagift Geometer's Sketchpad

      Loved that Lesson @Teachingisagift Geometer's Sketchpad

      I asked all the students to start with a prism or pyramid (as per the curriculum for this grade level).  I gave them some tutorial material on how to animate shapes and set them off on the challenge.  I have to say I was AMAZED that 90% of my fifth graders had created an animated square based pyramid or tetrahedron within a one hour period on the computers.  

      In between our first and second visit to work on the animated nets, I realized that students also needed to be able to find the volume of prisms.  As I had already taught my students how to find AREA of shapes using GSP, I decided to see how they would do with finding the VOLUME of a square or rectangular prism (again this expectation came directly from the curriculum).

      Loved that Lesson @Teachingisagift Geometer's Sketchpad

      Loved that Lesson @Teachingisagift Geometer's Sketchpad

      Loved that Lesson @Teachingisagift Geometer's Sketchpad

      I challenged the students to create a square or rectangular prism for their second animated net, and then increased the challenge by asking them to find the volume of their shape in TWO ways. Geometer's Sketchpad will allow students to select a shape and "measure" the area, volume, length, angle, etc.  I like to have students use a traditional algorithm as well so that they can see the two measurements must match, therefore their calculations are correct.

      It was great to see the students working diligently at creating their shapes, nets, and calculating volume.  All of the students were able to create the shapes, animate them and discover something about their measurements.  Some students needed more coaching than others, some needed more time, and some needed the ability to work with a peer, but everyone met with success.  Their next challenge will be to find the surface area of all of their shapes!

      I love when I can turn a lesson that could be dry and theoretical into something hands on and engaging for ALL my students.  If you have never tried Geometer's Sketchpad you can download and experiment yourself for free.  There are tons of online tutorials and lots of pre made curriculum materials and student activities.  Once you start using it with your students, you'll all be hooked.

      Just click on the icon above to visit the Key Curriculum Website for a free trial and more information.  In my school board, GSP is licensed by the board and all schools have access to it at home and school for FREE.
      Check with your IT dept. to find out if your district has licensing.

      Loved that Lesson @Teachingisagift Geometer's Sketchpad
      For Getting Started Tutorials click on the image above to go to the Sketchpad Learning Center.