Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Tribes training for teachers would create a positive learning environment which would include all students and ensure equity because it is a process developed to create active listening, mutual respect, the right to participate/pass and appreciation/no put downs within the community of learners. The success of Tribes’ process is based on reflection and energizers whereby students are required to reflect on a social connection that they personally made as well as the information they learned. The energizers are to stimulate the brain, cerebral cortex, where the higher order thinking skills occur. This works because research shows that students learn best when personal previous connections occur and students actually feel as though they can think better. This process brings students together for a sense of belonging and it brings them out of themselves and into the lesson for active engaged learning. It includes all students so that each and every student feels comfortable because they learn how to get along and to work together in collaborative groups. It ensures equity because there are no put downs and everybody appreciates each other. It develops interdependence and connection with others for continued success. For more information about Tribes please visit

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rememberance Day

Thanks to Benedict, Dhillon, Benjamin, Natalie, Joshua, Jefferson, Hayden, and Daniel for putting their ideas together to make a quilt for Rememberance Day 2011. We worked hard on it all week and completed it today with Dhillon and Benedict sewing the last piece of yarn this afternoon after school. Lest We Forget.

Special Education

I am currently taking an Additional Qualification course in Special Education and we are learning about the many learning disabilities that some students have related to behavioural, emotional, and physical well being. Here is a newsletter that I created based on Learning Disabilities for Teachers:

Learning Disabilities and How to Teach to students who have them   by Karen Plumb
What is a learning disability?
In general students who have learning disabilities demonstrate difficulty with some or all of these skills and abilities with some consistency over a period of time:
-          receptive language skills (listening, reading);
-          language processing skills (thinking, conceptualizing, integrating);
-          expressive language skills (talking, spelling, writing);
-          socio-emotional maturity;
-          ability to sustain attention.

Does Your Student require support in the following areas?

- understanding and following directions;
- interpretation of language and/or extent of vocabulary;
- reading, comprehension, and mathematics;
writing, spelling, grammar, and/or oral - - -expression of language;
- organizing and sequencing thoughts and ideas;
- the social use of language;
- consistent performance;
- strategies for reception, storage, and production of information;
- long- and/or short-term memory;
- focusing attention and/or initiating tasks and sustaining concentration;
- generalizing learning or transferring skills/knowledge from one setting to another;
 - producing answers in spite of mastery of content;
- solving problems and/or dealing with multiple tasks;
- social skills;
- self-esteem and/or anxiety.


What is Differentiated Instruction?
Differentiated Instruction is when the teacher is able to differentiate his/her teaching according to  - content (what the students learn); process (activities the students do); and product (the outcome based on the learning)! Teachers should tailor the teaching plan to specific students based on the students’ needs, strengths and weaknesses. The teacher needs to change the focus of his/her teaching to student based pedagogy by making accommodations and modifications to meet the needs of the student. This enables the teacher to incorporate the interests of the students into his/her lesson and teach to the different levels of ability in the classroom.
Some general teaching strategies for students with Learning Disabilities  include:
-          Use visual cues, concrete examples, and outlines for the lessons
-          goal setting; adjust the learning goals to suit the ability of the student
-          check in with the student regularly
-          praise and rewards for good effort and improvement
-          allow short breaks for those who have difficulty with attention
Differentiated Instruction Tips: Use open ended tasks; Provide many different examples and questions; Use Parallel tasks; tiered assignments
How Do I Teach Social skills?
-          provide opportunities for positive self expression
-          teach students how to initiate, maintain and conclude a conversation
  Differentiated Instruction Tips: Encourage effective group work by using a class profile; allow multimedia for presentations
How Do I Teach Good Organization Skills?
-          encourage the use of lists and personal planning organizers
-          help the student with time management
-          use outlines
  Differentiated Instruction Tip: show the student how to use graphic organizers
How Do I Teach based on Motivation?
-          provide opportunities for co-operative learning
-          encourage checking his/her own work
-          involve the student with the format of an assignment
  Differentiated Instruction Tip: Scaffold concepts according to students’ zone of proximal development; use positive reward system

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Teaching Drama

I had a super fantasitc day today! I was the supply teacher for the most absolutely cool Drama Teacher, Mr. James. I followed his well laid out plans and discovered some really interesting games. One exercise in particular that I quite liked was the "Smile if you love me" game. This was an exercise to practice saying lines without exrpression in order to strengthen the student's focus and concentration.

This is how the game goes:

The students stand in a circle with one student in the middle. The student in the middle is to say "Smile if you love me, baby" to one of the students in the circle. The student that he/she says this to is to reply with "I love you, baby, but I just can't smile." Alot of students crack up laughing when they are required to recite these lines which is why it turns out to be a fun game to play. The goal is to say the lines without smiling and if the student smiles when saying the lines he/she becomes the one in the middle and the game continues until the next person is caught smiling/or laughing. If you are caught expressing a smile you switch places with the person and you go in the middle and say the line to one student at a time until you catch someone smiling while reciting the line. All of the students had so much fun! What a great interactive game!!