Wednesday, October 16, 2013


We are sooooo SMART!  That was the main back-to-school lesson in my class this year. After meeting some friends who had done a UDL course this summer, I was intrigued with the Multiple Intelligence part of the course.  Not as if this was new to me, anyone going through teacher's training is introduced to Howard Gardner's work on this.

What I really liked was how student's were introduced to these smarts.  One of the activities I learned about and did was make a class brain.  Simple enough; every child made a play dough snake.  These were piled up to make the brain.  The crucial part was then to map the class strengths.  After compiling surveys and talking about and finding our own strengths, they were written on a flag and put on the brain.  The idea is that students not only recognize each others' strengths but they know where to go to for help in these areas.  :) 

What I really wished for with these lessons is to create a kinder and more understanding classroom environment; one where students recognize their own and other's strengths and also recognize that each of us needs help from others in different areas and that is OK.

These are our back-to-school portraits which I tied in with the lesson. Everyone did their drawing, water-colour painted it, and then made a list of things they were good at.  These were typed up and the students added them to their dried paintings. 
Interesting that it is your fastidious kids who really find it difficult coming up with things they are good at.

And a more recent portrait of us all!

Thanks to Elma at Schuel Stoff for inspiring me to do another post.  The intentions are always present, it is the actual work that is a bit difficult.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Butterfly Release

Our Painted Lady butterflies have graced us with their presence for five days now.  They started emerging from their chrysalises on Friday with some hatching on the weekend.  The butterflies lived on orange slices and did well at that. 

There was one struggling to come out on Monday.  That one fell to the floor of the cage and when it did come out, it never really uncrumbled its' wings. I could see that it was not going to make it.  Happily for the class, one kind girl asked for the 'crippled' butterfly to care for it at home.  She had it a day when it escaped - luckily - I thought.

So today we embarked to the apple orchard to release our remaining few.  How active they were in the cage!  It must have been the warmth of the sunshine.  Everybody got to hold them, with some butterflies escaping in the process.  We were able to observe them as they fluttered from flower to flower.  They stayed in the area and we could still track them as we left for the lunch bell was ringing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Australia Theme


School has been busy as ever.  I am looking forward to a bit of a break after Valentine's Day.  We have just finished off a social studies unit on Australia.  What a great country to study!  The uniqueness of it adds to the interest.  Being a continent, island, and country in itself was a great lesson to my students.  They have been introduced to these concepts and to all the facts that make for a very interesting study!
When putting together a unit study my first stop is always the school library.  Here are some of the books I found and used.

Story books 

 Books by Mem Fox -- One of my favourite authors and she's from Australia. 

Early chapter books and step-by-step drawing books.

Non-fiction books.

 and of course we made a book -- A is for Australia, an acrostic poem.

Uluru Rock came in central on this page of amazing animals by one of my first graders.

Paintings of the Coral Reef.  
We started with finger-painting a blue background. Then we added yellow paint to the top and red to the bottom and mixed them with the blue to make green and purple for the hues of the sea.  The students used their thumb print for the school of fish and added sea plants in yellow.  This was a nice activity that was successful for all students.

 Aborigine Dot Art
The Australian animal was drawn on black paper, cut out, and then decorated with different sized dots in metallic tempera paints.  We also made boomerangs, but some things make it home faster than others.  I never got a picture.

Animal Non-fiction stories.

You-tube is a great source of information.

Great Barrier Reef Video -- my students just love this one.  We are watching it a little at a time as we find a few minutes.

My students' all time favourite song!

...and my favourite Australian collection!

If you will be studying Australia, here is a link to my pinterest board.