Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Year of the Dragon

This is the beginning of the year of the Dragon and Natalie, one of the primary students, created this dragon toy today out of construction paper.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year!!!

The students had great fun creating Chinese New Year crafts with the fireworks display made with sparkles and glue and the Chinese Lanterns. Credit goes to Hayden, Jefferson, Natalie, Joshua, Benjamin, and Bhavya.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pencil Holders

The Junior-Intermediate students in the After School Programme created some artistic pencil holders or Decorative Jars.
Created by Elizabeth P. and Janice

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Decorative Boxes

I helped the Junior-Intermediate students create some beautiful Decorative Boxes. Take a look!

Sabrina decorated this one with a beautiful silk tie around it!

Victoria made a sleek lined blue Decorative Box!
Elizabeth D. chose the abstract decor for this one!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Giftedness - Traits, Characteristics of and Teaching Strategies for Giftedness

There is currently no widely accepted definition of giftedness because it can be termed "talented" or "creative." However, in the past students who had Intelligence Quotient of 130 or higher were usually accepted as gifted. It can be described in terms of academic ability, talent, social and interpersonal skills as well as vocational abilities.
Five Key Traits of Giftedness:
1.      Divergent Thinking ability
2.      Excitability
3.      Sensitivity
4.      Perceptiveness
5.      Entelchy
Characteristics of an individual who is gifted:
-          well developed in a wide range of abilities both academic and otherwise
-          ability to work independently and take on responsibility
-          ability to draw inferences and generalize across domains
-          well advanced vocabulary and reading level
-          energetic and above average health
-          highly sensitive
-          perfectionist
-          overly self-critical
-          enjoys learning
-          reflective
-          motivated
-          goal oriented
Teaching Strategies
  • As a teacher it is important to provide opportunities for students to demonstrate behaviours that constitute developed intelligences.
  • Based on the combination of strengths and development needs for each student you will be able to determine next steps
  • Create differentiated instruction based on individual needs to achieve potential
  • It is important to gather information from outside sources to identify all fo the intelligent behaviours
  • Organize students in their activity groups based on mixed ability
  • Celebrate and display stuidents’ best efforts
  • Give feedback to pupils on their work and effort in class
  • Keep the classroom inclusive
"Exploring social and emotional aspects of giftedness in children." By Deirdre V. Lovecky
Special Education in Ontario Schools (2008), Sixth Edition, by Sheila Bennett, Don Dwaret with Ken Weber, Highland Press
Teaching Gifted and Talented Pupils in the Primary School, by Chris Smith

Exceptionality of Giftedness

"No room for gifted kids"
As parents fight for scarce resources, bright young minds are left to languish
by Rachel Mendleson on Monday, February 23, 2009 9:40am - 82 Comments
Whether boards are doing enough to educate gifted students is open to interpretation. But since the tide turned toward inclusion, Ontario has seen some of the most protracted parent-board conflicts surrounding special education students, including gifted kids. Unique legislation, passed in 1980, requires boards to have procedures in place for the early identification of exceptional students, and either provide them with programming or purchase it from another board. And, significantly, if parents disagree with the outcome of an assessment or a placement decision, they’re entitled to an appeal.
Cornwall resident Michele Alexis started down this road when her son Cameron Bharath was in Grade 6. Her charge was that the Upper Canada District School Board’s criteria for giftedness was too high, because only a handful of students had been identified. In July 2001, the special education tribunal ruled in her favour, identifying Cameron, by then in Grade 8, as gifted, and ordering the board to place him in a full-time high school program. When September rolled around, however, no such placement had been created. Alexis took the case to divisional court. But because the wording of the tribunal order “was too imprecise,” she lost, and was on the hook for the board’s legal fees. After turning down her proposal to repay the $15,000 in instalments, the board seized her wages. For five months, Alexis, a doctor who owns a family practice, did not get paid.
The following August, the case went to tribunal again. Before the decision was rendered, the board extended an olive branch, which she accepted: it paid to have a private car transport Cameron to a full-time gifted class for the duration of his high school career. (The board later provided the same solution for his two siblings, the youngest of whom is currently in Grade 12. Alexis estimates the annual cost to be close to $30,000.) “I still consider myself kind of traumatized by the whole thing,” she says. “It’s hard to describe how you feel when you’re made to believe you have certain rights and privileges, and that the process is there to protect your child—and you discover it does neither.”
The board declined an interview. But in an email, the superintendent of student support services said that since the ruling, the board has begun scanning all Grade 4 students for giftedness, has offered enrichment to gifted kids, and developed a coaching model to help teachers with differentiated instruction.
In the vast majority of jurisdictions, however, the parent—not the province—remains the primary watchdog: “We are required to do it, but the problem is the province and the ministry have not enforced [the legislation],” says Ontario’s Halton Catholic District School Board trustee Bob Van de Vrande. “That’s a huge and critical gap.” It’s a gap that has also opened the door to costly demands that cash-strapped boards may be on the hook to meet. Although some parents are justified, according to gifted education expert Dona Matthews, “There are people who take it too far in terms of what their kids need.”
Pressure from government, teachers and parents means the context for cutting special education services is rarely the subject of candid discussion. Still, there are signs that in some jurisdictions, systemic changes are underway. The Ontario government is training teachers already on the job to satisfy a range of abilities through differentiated instruction, and recently gave the Ontario Psychological Association a $20-million grant to ease the backlog in assessments for all exceptionalities. Recruitment efforts are underway in B.C. to fill school board psychologist vacancies. And Alberta is creating a new framework for special education through public consultation—which, according to Strembitsky, who served as superintendent in Edmonton for 22 years, is key to staving off conflict. “In the absence of transparency, you get the different lobby groups, each feeling they have been shortchanged,” he says.
Jeremy Marshall’s family was fortunate to find a solution. Halfway through his Grade 2 year, they intentionally moved to a neighbourhood that had a school with a gifted program. Immediately, his mother knew they had made the right decision: “He would come home and talk about the other kids in his class. He knew their names, he knew what they looked like. He was interested in them.” Today, Jeremy is a well-adjusted 13-year-old, who babysits and often MCs school assemblies. “He’s so different now than that insecure little child who just loved to read,” she says. “I think finding other gifted children has probably allowed him to have a normal life.”

 by Rachel Mendleson on Monday, February 23, 2009 9:40am - 82 Comments

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Authoritative vs. Authoritarian Classroom Management


Here is a link to introduce a good resource that I recommend Introduction to 1-2-3 Magic for Teachers. In the book it explains the difference between Authoritative Teaching style and the Authoritarian style. The Authoritative style is the ideal and is portrayed when the professional "has a positive, kind and supportive relationship with her students but they know when she 'means business.'.. Because she has an effective discipline plan and her classroom is orderly, the students trust her and respect her." (1-2-3 Magic for Teachers, page 26). On the other hand, the not so desired personality to lead a classroom is the Authoritarian professional who "is quick to 'jump' on each and every behaviour that is not acceptable in the classroom. Warmth, support and positive reinforcement, however, are rare." (1-2-3 Magic for Teachers, page 24).

Friday, January 6, 2012

Website Re: Behaviour Exceptionality

  This Great Resource for Behavioural Exceptionality website clearly and concisely outlines the many Behavioural Exceptionalities and offers strategies to assist with teaching these students and to help support student learning. It is developed by a reputable source, the Ontario Teachers Federation and therefore it is designed for teaching professionals. The URL indicates that its domain is probably commercial because it includes ‘.ca’ and is therefore probably not a personal website or a hoax. If you truncate the URL or just click on ‘home’ you will find the opening webpage that explains the Ontario Teachers Federation philosophy with respect to the website and that it is developed with funding from the Ministry of Education. Since I am a qualified Teacher in Ontario I have done my due diligence in this area and I know that the Ontario Teachers Federation is an authority in the field of teaching. From this I know that it is reliable and objective and that it is kept current with in-depth information. Its intrinsic value is such that you will find extensive information and won’t need to look elsewhere for the same information. There isn’t any advertising on the page other than the Ontario Teachers Federation logo therefore there aren’t any distractions from the content and the headings highlighted so they are easy to spot when reading. There are related links and resources that indicate that this is quality information without bias. All of the links are well chosen, well organized and they all work. I chose this website as a resource for teaching professionals of students with behaviour exceptionalities because it proves to be credible. The audience of teaching professionals may include Special Education Resource Teachers, Education Assistants, Behavioural Therapists/Consultants, Teachers, Principals, Educational Psychologists, Early Childhood Educators, and resource staff.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Project Based Learning

Here is an article from 'Just another site' which I think is very good! Take a look!


Project-Based Learning for Better Students

 There are numerous reasons why project-based learning will become the norm in classrooms across the country.  These reasons all contribute to a more effective learning environment for students.
The first reason that project-based learning is effective can be found in the unique learning style it presents.  Research shows that students who have hands-on participation in the classroom are able to stay more attentive and effectively retain more information.  This hands-on approach is rampant in elementary schools, but who said that it stopped working after a student moves to 6th grade?
The second reason that project-based learning is so effective, is due to the aspect of collaboration.  When a teacher puts students in small groups and asks them to share ideas or answers, the students are able to expand their thoughts and minds.  More importantly, collaboration is a skill that these students will be asked to continuously use once they enter the work force.  The theory is that with more practice, these work force employees will be more effective.
Lastly, in project-based learning each group of students is asked to present a final project or finding.  This keeps students accountable and allows them to take pride in their work.  The more positive rewards and sense of accomplishment that can be given to students, the more confidence they will possess.  As you see in the video from BIE, the students become extremely excited when speaking about their own ideas or models.  Confidence within students leads to them taking more chances for accomplishment.
My prediction is that the more project-based learning that is implemented in classrooms, the more effectively our students will learn materials presented.  The saying goes “Tell me how and I will forget, Show me how and I will remember, Allow me to and I will understand.”  As teachers are exposed to more examples of this method, expect to see even more innovative applications in the future.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year's Wish for Peace

Here are some Peace Doves that we created out of cardboard and white folded paper to make the wings and the tail. Then we hung them from the ceiling!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Good Read

One of my favourite previous Professors at Brock University, Dr. Camille Rutherford, makes a good point in her post entitled At the Intersection of Education and Technological Innovation about how education and technology are developing. I love the video about The Hole in the Wall and how the kids learned all about the computer's capacity despite knowing very little English, the language of the computer. Yes, with the generosity of some great companies and agencies who have purchased computers for the second and third world countries they have taken strides to better educate the world technologically. But what next? ...keep giving them more advanced apps; learn from them; allow them to create; let them teach others about the knowledge they have gained...and on it goes. What do you think?