Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Welcome to Term Three



Welcome back from Spring Break.  I hope parents, teachers, and students had a restful and rewarding vacation.  We are heading into term three with the following programs:

1.  The Future is Wild Gr. 4/5  April 1, 2 8, 9 / 2014

2.  Creative Think Tank Gr. 3   April 14, 15, 16/ 2014

3.  Engineering  Gr. 4/5           April 22, 23, 29, 30/ 2014

4.  Young Scientists Gr. 2/3      May 5, 6, 7/ 2014

5.  Math Explorations Gr. 2/3     May 12, 13, 14/ 2014

6.  Adventures in Storytelling Gr. 2/3   May 20, 21/ 2014

7.  Writing Adventures       Gr. 2/3     May 27, 28/ 2014

8.  Young Scientists     Gr. 1          May 27, 28/ 2014

WE have a few new announcements to make:  referrals for  programs will be due on May 15, 2014.  We are sending out the information about programs for next year, over the next week.  We are giving teachers the opportunity to put students forward for programs for next year, based on their knowledge in working with students over the course of this year. We will be placing students in programs in June and letting schools know about placement early in September.  

Good luck to everyone in the final term of the school year!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I'm Not Bossy




Here is a great article on girls and what it means when we say a girl is bossy.

I congratulate the authors on writing this piece and giving a voice to us "bossy" girls.

By my sons, I am called "fierce".  By my husband, I am called "The chairman of the Board".

But how many times have I apologized for speaking my mind and for being intense?  

How do we treat our female students?  How can we empower them to lead?

As the article states:

And "bossy" is just the beginning. As girls mature, the words may change, but their meaning and impact remain the same. Women who behave assertively are labeled "aggressive," "angry," "shrill" and "overly ambitious." Powerful and successful men are often well liked, but when women become powerful and successful, all of us—both men and women—tend to like them less.

Educationally, we must promote our bossy girls and give them room to be whom they need to be.  They are going places and need to be encouraged for being strong and knowing what they want. I love this article...please read!



Saturday, March 8, 2014

What should I being doing for my child?




What should I be doing for my child?

Often, I get asked this question by involved and dedicated parents.  My response has changed over the years!  15 years ago, I would have told parents to get out the math books and do enrichment math, or get ahead, or challenge kids with writing activities, reading the classics, and taking on classes or workshops.  The more, the better!  

Now, I ask:  what is your child doing outside of school?  

Because, usually the child is involved in a plethora of outside sports, enrichment classes, language classes, music classes, or art lessons.  Which, can be a great thing for the child.  

But..now I wonder....and respond:  "does your child have 'down time'? " - a phrase used quite often in our family.  Down time is our children's time to tinker, hang out, maybe play video games, or read, or even watch TV!  We have down time because the rest of the time the boys are doing homework, or skiing, or involved in some hyper intense activity.

I also ask parents:  Does your child read?  Does your child get outside and exercise?  Does your child turn off the technology, and have time away from screens?  This is because I think it is vastly important to not only have "down time" but also time to get away from technology and to interact with real people and real situations in the world.

Above all, parents need to be connected with their kids,  provide time for the family to be together, and finally, provide "space" so that children can relax and be kids.  

I am noticing that more and more parents and children are anxious.  Anxiety is running rampant throughout our highly industrialized and complex society.  This constant worry about "getting ahead" and "providing everything" for our children is not helpful to this young generation.  You and your children have everything you need, and the best gift you can give your child is the ability to relax, enjoy life, and take pleasure in the small things! 


Updates from the Challenge Centre


Hello from the Challenge Centre.  I have been away for a while because of skiing:  both sons are involved in ski racing and since January, I really have not had any time on the weekends to do anything but get the boys out the door with all their race gear, ski, and get them home to a good dinner.  5:30 wake up times are difficult!  

The Challenge Centre has gone through many changes this year...and feedback that has come my way has shown that sending out the invitations for programs in November has had it's challenges.  I know that there is a great deal of delay in finding out your child has a program spot, and the program not beginning for months and months.  So, we are working on this glitch, by reminding school contacts about the programs coming up.  Right now I am contacting schools about Parent Permission forms I have not yet received.

Besides that, the programs are running at full speed:  I just finished Marvellous Math Grades 4/5 and I am in the middle of teaching Creative and Poetic Pursuits Grades 4/5.  This will take us to Spring Break, which begins at the end of this week.

The above picture is a snapshot of a wonderful workshop I was part of two weeks ago:  The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme Training.  A goal and dream of mine has been to teach the IB program someday, so I now  have the training, and I am waiting for the right opportunity to present itself!  I love the philosophy of IB, and it fits well with the work I have done in the challenge centre.  Most notably, I try to incorporate the Learner Profile that IB schools use into our programming. So students may see and hear me talking about the kind of learner that we focus on being:  reflective, inquisitive, balanced, knowledgeable, and caring learners (to name a few!)

Happy Spring Break, and I am looking forward to working with students in term three! I will soon be showing the work done with students in the last few programs!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Individual Projects


In just under a week, we will be seeing students for the seminar on "Individual Projects".  Here, we will be taking students through the steps in order to carry out research on a topic area of their choice.


I have sent out a letter to the schools requesting the following so please make sure students have the following information:


1.     Students should have an idea of something they would like to study for their individual project.  This should be a topic/person/historical event/concept they are interested in learning more about, or something they are passionate about. 
      
2.     If a student has an area of interest, he/she should begin to think about specific questions concerning their topic. 

3.     The student needs to bring in some primary sources for researching their project.  This can be books from the library, or on-line resources.  Although we have wireless internet in the classroom, we only have a few computers.  Therefore, students can bring in their own laptops, ipads, or computer devices whereby they can get online.  All items will be secured and locked up during recess and lunch, so there is no need to worry about items being lost or stolen.  

4.     WE will be learning about the following:

·      How to research using on line resources, primary resources, and how to take notes and put information into our own words.
·      How to put a project together in four days.
·      How to share and present learning to others in an original format.
·      How to create effective products of learning to demonstrate understanding.
·      It is hoped, by completing this seminar, that students are able to create their own projects in the future in a comprehensive format!

Thank you for sending your child/student to the challenge centre.  If you require more information, please feel free to contact me at Brock Elementary at 604-713-5766 or email me at:

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Welcome to Term Two and New Year's Reflections...















Hello teachers, parents, students, and colleagues!  I am looking forward to 2014.  Yesterday, in line at the grocery store, I ran into a parent of one of my former students....and I found out that this student is 27 years old and is getting married!  

It made me think...how long have I been teaching?   How long have I been doing this?  Sometimes it seems like FOREVER, and other times it seems like I am just beginning my career.  How can my job one day make me think...."I know what I am doing and I am the expert", and the next day..."I have absolutely no idea what I am doing!"?   Hmm...seems a lot like parenting...just one step ahead of the game at all times.

Well, that is the beauty of teaching...it is an ever changing and evolving job. 

So, this term.... we are focusing on our grade 4-7 intermediate learners.  Here are the programs being offered up to spring break.

1.  Mind Your Math                Gr. 6/7               January 7, 8, 14, 15/ 2014
2.  Individual Projects            Gr. 5/6/7            February 4, 5, 11, 12/ 2014
3.  Marvellous Math               Gr. 4/5               February 24, 25, 26/ 2014
4.  Creative and Poetic          Gr. 4/5                March 4, 5  11, 12/ 2014
         Pursuits      


5.  Readers are Leaders        Gr. 4/5/6/7    Feb. 6/ Mar. 6/ Apr. 10/ May 8/2014                                                                    


For those of you new to our process, we have already accepted students for our programs this year.  

In May, we will be accepting applications for the following school year - we will keep you informed about this in the spring.

Also to note:  we are working with gifted and gifted twice exceptional students in our programs and we are not separating the students into different groups.  We are working with all students, focusing on strengths and interests. 

Next week we are learning about famous mathematicians and their theories.  Welcome to 2014!




Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Challenge Centre at Brock Elementary


This term has been one of great change for myself at the Challenge Centre.  There has been many changes in the back end of our programming, however, our program delivery has remained the same and we are in full swing!

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year.  See you in 2014!