“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

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Back to School Mentor Texts

I am linking up again with Stacia and Amanda of Collaboration Cuties (and darn they really are!) for their Must Read Mentor Texts Linky.  I LOVE Back to School (even though I just finished my last day on Friday!) but I couldn't resist the chance to link up a perennial favourite of mine.  To visit the link up just click on the image below.

For more ideas about using The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown click on the image above to visit Writing Fix.

On the first day of school read aloud the "The Important Book" by Margaret Wise Brown. After reading and discussing its very specific pattern,  you can model how to write a book with a similar title. 

For example, the first page might say, “The important thing about grade six is that you get to take on a leadership role. You get to help out in kindergarten and with the activity cart at recess. You might get to help out in the office or with Lunch Lady. But the important thing about grade six is that you get to take on a leadership role.”

Students then use this model to write their own thoughts about things that they think will be important in the grade they are entering.  Each student can choose their favourite page to add to a collaborative class book.  First they write and illustrate their page and after the editing and revising processes the pages can be printed, laminated and bound into a book.   

The students will enjoy reading the book and sharing it with others.  I have even sent this type of collaborative book home on a nightly sign-out basis so students could share at home.

I have made up one sparkly template (thanks to Collaboration Cuties for the background and frame) and one black and white template (thanks to Digital Divide and Conquer).  If you would like your own FREE copies of the templates click on the LAST IMAGE.


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Make sure you stop by HERE and enter Mrs. Beattie's great FB Giveaway!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Warning...July Currently Ahead!

Don't want to be Debbie Downer so I warn you all that July's Currently is not an upbeat teaching post.  You may not want to read it, and I understand if you choose not to.

Listening:  We just returned from my Mom's house.  She lives two doors down.  Long story short, I moved here when my Mom was on her own after Dad died, but she had not been diagnosed with Alzheimer's yet.  That was 10 years ago.  A LOT has changed since then.  Mom has been sick with Alzheimer's a LONG time.  She probably had it years and years before I moved back, but she hid it well.  Now she is in the latter stages, and we discovered 3 weeks ago that she has very advanced, terminal cancer.  She continues to refuse palliative care in a hospital.  My hubby and I share the job of caring for her, and for my brother (who also has brain cancer and lives with her.)  The house needs to be dealt with and the lawn in the backyard literally looks like a jungle.  Trying to get my family to let someone on the property to deal with the mess has been trying!

Loving:  I won't lie, I 'm NOT loving being on holiday, but I am loving being done with school.  I found the stress this year to be overwhelming.  I am the alternate union steward for our school, and the steward and I weathered the storms of political unrest here in Ontario the best we could.  It was a tough year in all aspects.  I had a large class, we had a lot of stress at school, and there were a lot of changes and challenges.  I'm going to need the next two months to sort it all out in my head.

Thinking:  Thinking is my downfall, has always been so.  Are you like me and you think too much?  I think a lot of teachers do!  I run all the possible scenarios through my head for EVERYTHING.  Sometimes this is good because it helps me be better prepared in the classroom, other times it is horrible because I imagine all the bad things that can happen in my personal life.  I know that there is no good ending to the situation with my mother and brother.  It all came crashing down on me during our annual awards ceremony at school the other day.  I suffered what I have been told was a "panic/anxiety" attack.  I could not breathe, I thought I was having a heart attack, my face felt like there were a million bugs crawling on it, and I just FREAKED!  Took me quite awhile to calm down.  Ended up going to the doctor just in case. She gave me something to take in case it happens again.  I really just have to find a way to stop THINKING!  Any suggestions?  (Please don't say yoga or meditation, I just can't go there right now).

Wanting:  I don't want anything for myself right now.  I do want my Mom to die with dignity.  I don't know HOW to facilitate that.  She gave POA (power of attorney) to one of her sisters a few years ago, so there is nothing I can do to help without my aunt's permission.  She had not visited for YEAR until I called and told her Mom has cancer and is going to die soon.  My aunt is trying the best she can, but really, I need to have some say, and I don't seem to be allowed to have it.  I feel powerless watching things unfold in a way that I would not choose and I am certain my Mother would not want.  

Needing:  It is hard to understand what this feels like if you haven't been through it yourself.  I never imagined that life would end up like this.  I wish that the neighbours, and doctors and social workers could understand how it feels to be the family member of someone like my mother (or my brother) but how can they?  I am lucky that my hubby gets it, he lives it each and every day with me, perhaps even more than me, as he has been there while I was at work.  God bless him, he is my angel.

Tips,Tricks or Hints:  If you have a family member, friend or loved one who is a caregiver for an elderly parent or a sick family member, just try to support them and love them.  They need it, because they may be like me, and not know what to do.  The may feel that what they are doing isn't right or isn't enough.  I have never asked for prayers in my life before EVER, but I think I could use them now.   For my mother and brother.  I would like to think there are some good thoughts in the universe being directed their way.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Katie Orr has hit a milestone!

Click on image to visit Mind Sparks
and enter the Great Giveaway!
Congratulations goes out to Katie Orr at Mind Sparks...she has hit the bloggy milestone of 100 Followers!  It wasn't that long ago I hit one hundred and now I would like to help Katie celebrate.  I have donated a popular product from my TpT store to Katie's giveaway and there are HUGE, I do mean HUGE packages of great stuff being given away!  Make sure you pop over and enter for a chance to win BIG...I personally would love the CLIP ART package.

Here is the prize pack I am part of!
Click on the above image to go to Katie's blog to enter.
See below to check out the other great contributors!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Graduation Ideas Updated

Last year, when I was just brand new to blogging, I wrote a post about what I do for graduation each year.  I was not quite as camera crazy as I have been since, so I didn't have any pictures of the actual finished project.  Well this year, I made sure I took l pictures so I could show you what the process and the finished product looks like.

In my post from last year I discussed how I had purchased the black silhouettes from a party store, and had the students add their own pictures to create a personal collage.  

Well, you can't find those silhouettes for love nor money here in Toronto, so I had to improvise.  I made templates with one of the remaining silhouettes I did have and then I gave each student a quarter page of large black poster board I had cut on the paper cutter.  

Each student traced the silhouette and cut it out prior to adding the photos, pictures and images they had brought from home.  They cut pictures out of magazines or used online images.  Some even drew their own pictures.

Silhouette templates and the stars I bought and have used each year.  The students get to keep the silhouette after the graduation ceremony, but I collect the stars and use them again the following year.

Tracing the template onto a quarter piece of black poster paper.  I was able to make four for the cost of buying one!

I asked the students to carefully plan out how they would fit their name on the scroll.  We determined the scroll was 24 cm long and 3 cm wide.  The names were much more visible when they made each letter at least 2.5 cm high and 2 cm wide.

Students decorated with images that were personal to them. 
I bought some stickers to add embellishment if the students wanted to use them.  Here is Cathy's finished silhouette prior to being mounted on the metallic star.

Cathy's finished silhouette.  

The grade six classes will put up their stars
in the gym to help decorate for the ceremony next week. 

I use Mavalus tape to help make sure everything stays in place.  If you haven't heard of this tape, you should find some, it will keep almost anything on the wall, even through humidity and wind!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Gifts for Students and a FREEBIE!

I have to admit I am having a hard time making it to the end of the year.  As some of you know, my mother is very ill with Alzheimer's and advanced cancer.  She refuses to go into palliative care, and taking care of her and my brother who also has brain cancer has taken it's toll on me these past few months.  I hadn't thought of year end gifts for my students until it was too late to order my favourite pens from For Teachers Only. If you want to read about them see this post.

I happened to be in my favourite new dollar store, Dollar Tree and my hubby pointed out some really cute clipboards.  He knows I am obsessed with clipboards and tend to buy them and hoard them (I know, I know, but that's another problem to tackle another time!)  I didn't want them for me (gasp!) but I thought how much the girls in my class would probably enjoy them.  Luckily, there were enough to buy one for each girl in my class.  That left me in a quandry about what to get the boys, when the hubby again spotted something perfect. 

 I have a few of these large erasers in my classroom supplies and the kids LOVE THEM!  Again, there were enough to buy one for each boy student.

Clipboards, erasers, highlighters and sticky page flags all from Dollar Tree.  Gift bags and tags from party store.
Aren't these adorable?  I bought other colours too but I really liked the pink ones!
In order to add a few more things I bought some highlighters and some sticky post-it flags.  I cut the flags into individual pieces.  They were still on the backing so it was perfect.  There were enough to give each child one for a grand total of $3.75.

I know the boys in my class will think of me when then use these in junior high next year!
I had purchased these cute gift bags and tags last year at Party City.  I was glad that I had enough to last for this year too!
The finished gift! Perfect for a grade six graduate!
The cards I made and printed on the colour printer at school. 

To round the gifts out, I made a cute card with a graduate picture of either a boy or a girl on it.  The poem inside is the same, but after I printed and folded the cards, I took them home and wrote a personal message to each child.  

If you would like your own FREE copy of the cards I made, just click on the LINKS at the end of the post.

The final products all ready for next week.  I can't believe that next Thursday is the last day with my class.
We finish off the year on Friday with staff meetings and closing up our classrooms.  

Freebie Fridays
Don't forget to check out what is going on at
Freebie Friday on TBA.  

Another fun linky for all the bargain shoppers!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday