The purpose of this blog is to provide an archived resource of Personal thoughts, learning resources, and parent information.

Regular postings will be added on Mondays.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Portfolios, "Blessed" Portfolios

Evaluation; something that each of us do all the time, yet also something that intimidates and scares us when we feel that we are being evaluated by others. What might they think? What might they say? Are we measuring  up?

My campus school just underwent an evaluation by a team from the Ministry of Education. You would have thought that Jesus was coming to visit. Everyone was running around, making sure that every ‘i’ was dotted and every ‘t’ crossed. Hours were taken over and above regular classroom duties to ensure that everything was in place and looked good. When it was over there was the expected sigh of relief and life returned somewhat to normal.  The truth is that if it really was Jesus coming, He would have been far more concerned over us personally, our relationships, and the care for others, than that our desks were in straight rows, the hallways clean, and that our year plans matched curriculum outcomes. J

I think that portfolios and FSA tests are very similar. We feel that not only are our children being evaluated, but we ourselves are also being evaluated. That’s normal, that’s human. When my grade sevens write their FSAs this year, I’ll be feeling as much under the gun as they will, maybe even moreso as it speaks to my perceived ablilities to teach.

Feeling stressed? Sorry, that’s not my purpose. I suppose that the two reasons that I’m writing this are: first,  to let you know that I am using your portfolio samples to grade your children, not you, and that YES, I  understand the tensions that can sometimes accompany evaluations.

Teaching Tips: Boredom Beaters

 It’s easy to get into a routine and one day wake up to, “This is boring!” Why do we have to do this?”

First, there are some subjects and topics that can be hard to make interesting. I often began the year with my grade five students with the statement, “This is your Communicating Skills Grammar workbook. It is not fun. BUT, it is necessary. It will make you a better writer and a better communicator. Your other subjects will benefit from the work that you do in this book.” Once a week, I would pick and choose lessons form it that supported our other LA work.

Boredom can be death to you and to your children. Here are a few boredom beaters:

1. What is interesting/fun to you?  I always figured that if I can’t have fun teaching then it’s time to quit. Take the things that you enjoy and add them to your lessons… silly voices…music…jokes.

2. What is interesting/ fun to your children? If they love drawing, find ways to incorporate Art into your lessons. Illustrations…displays…posters… dramatic reenactments, make up a song. (What might Christopher Columbus have been singing when he discovered the new land?)

3. Are your children physical? Can they create a game connected to what they’re learning? Life Science… go outside and play predator and prey. Who gets to catch and eat who?  (Sorry kinda violent.  Okay, they can all be herbivores in search of different plants… a great way to get them to pick weeds and dandelions.)

4. Find a video connected with the topic. Last week I showed my grade sevens an excellent video on volcanoes, then we made models out of plasticene and made them erupt outside. I used the Diet Coke & Mentos explosion to show the effects of built up pressure. I begin every Science class with a “Weird Science fact, and a really lame Science joke.  The kids love it although I’m not sure why.