The Kitchen Table

Bring the Home into the Classroom – Literally! What is one artifact or symbol that can literally make students feel “at home” in the classroom? An artifact that can ease stress, encourage conversations,  build relationships, have no limitations of age or ability and be completely  diverse in nature? A KITCHEN TABLE! In our home, The Kitchen Table is not just where we gather for meals but where we gather to talk about our day. It is the first stop when getting up in the morning, returning from a walk or coming home from work.  Where we throw down our keys, where we pile up our books and add to the week’s worth of newspapers. It is where we charge Continue reading The Kitchen Table

Indigenous Worldviews Inspires THIS classroom MAKERSPACE

Reconciliation should include a commitment to bringing in the Indigenous World Views as part of the learning process.  I ask, ‘Would recognizing that we are already moving in this direction be a valuable part of the healing process for Indigenous populations?’  Many traditional methods of teaching are being challenged, and now, in Canada (and elsewhere), we have begun to adopt some of the very philosophies and principles (of course, with different names, definition and labels) that were once removed from our First Peoples when they were forced to attend Residential Schools.   Canada has made a strong commitment toward Truth and Reconciliation in respect to First Nations, Metis and Inuit (FNMI). This is especially important in our Education Systems because Continue reading Indigenous Worldviews Inspires THIS classroom MAKERSPACE

The Strength Based IEP – let it work for the Gifted Learner

The IEP for the Gifted Learner As a teacher for Gifted and Enriched students, I have spent many hours working with teachers, parents and learners on developing Individual Education Plans (IEP) for Gifted and Enriched learners. The IEP has a clear purpose and its process for development is not a difficult one to grasp. Regardless of school, district, or even country,  the IEP has similar characteristics: To identify the learner’s strengths and weaknesses,  to set measurable goals and objectives, to identify the tools and resources (including people) needed, to identify the strategies needed to achieve the goals and finally, as a team, to commit. Yes, there are subtle differences in language from district to district (modification, accommodation), but the Continue reading The Strength Based IEP – let it work for the Gifted Learner

On the Tip of Their Tongue – Use audio for Assessment and Evaluation

“________ has not handed in the assignment. Neither has ____________or ____________or ______________. Please have them come to my class and finish their work during lunch hour. ” “_______  failed the test…..can you give him/her time during class for a rewrite?”   “________needs extra time in my class to do his/her work.” These types of concerns were shared with me (their homeroom teacher), almost daily by other teachers. Let me be clear. I don’t blame those teachers.  When put into a timeframe or constraint (part of their schedule), many of  identified (exceptionality) Gifted students would shut down, move on, or just not finish. Why bother? And so, they would either be graded accordingly, or be given another chance to prove Continue reading On the Tip of Their Tongue – Use audio for Assessment and Evaluation

Community and Urban Planning – Project Based Learning and Minecraft

The following pictures/slides provide some information about how we are using PROJECT BASED LEARNING, INQUIRY and MINECRAFT in the classroom. Recently, a reporter asked me, “So what have you learned through this project?”   I’ve learned that I need to step back and trust my students. I need to provide time, support and facilitate the groups and activities and allow them to discover for themselves the different possibilities, avenues and perspective of an issue. I learned how important it is to use tools that they themselves are familiar with and to explicitly provide situations where they can be leaders and facilitators themselves. The Barton and Tiffany area in Hamilton remains vacant. These students, while their concept plans may never Continue reading Community and Urban Planning – Project Based Learning and Minecraft

Why DO I protest? I am looking beyond the present.

Dear Reader, It is with great concern and much confusion that I write this post,  as there are so many dichotomies at play in the conflict between the Ontario Government and the Ontario Teachers Federations. I spend my days in solidarity with many teachers across Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, and across Ontario, in Protest against Bill 115. To clarify, I am participating in a “pause” of any non-instructional work that I do during the school day, which includes all extra-curricular activities, clubs, and homework help. It has not been easy. I love teaching and like many of my colleagues, working extra hours, participating in trips, plays, concerts and sports  is a huge advantage of this profession. I can’t Continue reading Why DO I protest? I am looking beyond the present.

MY TOP 10 LEARNING SPACES – A Universal Design, in a Gifted Classroom

The learning environment is what will help create community. Before anything, students need to feel safe. Not just physically safe, but safe to learn how they learn, safe to think “outside the box”, safe to ask questions, safe to make mistakes, safe to be who they are.  I recently read a post by Jackie Gerstein, a friend and mentor who talks passionately about the importance of community in the classroom (It’s About Connections Not Content). Below, I talk about the learning spaces to honour all learners.  It is my intention to help these students find their passions, their gifts, and their understanding of themselves. The Circle Each day, we start off in a large circle. We might play a game, Continue reading MY TOP 10 LEARNING SPACES – A Universal Design, in a Gifted Classroom