Tag Archives: Resource Sharing

I See You:)

29 Mar

Recently, I was fortunate enough to see/hear a guest speaker discussing the importance of stories in education.  Since this is a topic that is near and dear to the hearts of these sisters, she had me at the title.  As part of the talk, she included a piece about “I see you” and explained that in some cultures this phrase is used instead of “I love you.”  Interestingly, a quick Google search brought up many versions of this idea.  I guess that “I see you” is even the title of a song in the movie Avatar.  Since I am not the Sci. Fi. loving sister, I was unaware of this connection since I didn’t see the movie.  (My sister is probably horrified reading this confession.) 

The idea of someone looking at you and really seeing you should appeal to anyone.  In our current society with rampant technological communication, this is something that people are really missing.  Human beings are social creatures.  Decidedly some of us are more social than others but personal connections are still important to all.  Think of the expressions such as “looking deeply into your eyes” or the “eyes are the window of your soul”.  That type of theme is common in many cultures.  It is easy to assume that this is solely about romantic love especially given the myriad of media images around this topic.

Possibly even more important than being seen is the idea that the “looker” likes what they see.  

If you think about this idea in terms of a school setting, it really becomes all important.  Imagine how important this idea is for a child.  I know that the teachers that my child has connected with the most have been the ones who could share personal stories about her.  They knew some of her interests; they remembered ideas that she had shared with them; they saw her for herself.  She might not have articulated that she was being “seen” but it was evident in how she talked about them and how much she appreciated them.  She also worked harder for those teachers and gave them a little more respect.

I remember hearing an educator once say that what mattered most to parents was knowing that teachers knew their child and hoping that they liked them.  I think this is true of students as well.

It is easy with a class of thirty children; a very full curriculum; and organizational/behavioural concerns…to run out of time in the school day for any truly personal connections.  It could be argued that those personal connections, even if it just means a few minutes here and there, could improve those working conditions for everyone.  It certainly isn’t going to hurt the situation.

Never underestimate the power of being seen. 

Since our freebie is totally unrelated to the blog topic, we will connect it with a simple “We see you.”  Hopefully, this will help you free up some time to make those personal connections.

Please let us know if you notice any errors or omissions. You can download the file here:

EQAO Algebra Task Cards Brownlee and Belanger

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Symmetry Interactive Notebook

13 Mar

January and February felt like the same as always. Very long and very stressful. Then, March arrived and it seemed like Spring was truly on the way. Whammo! One last hurrah at winter. Another day with barely half a class and the sad knowledge that you will get to teach the same lesson twice. Sigh. At least, the incredibly fast meltdown brings a bit of happiness … as well as mud and blacktop recess. Feeling like we’re back to the “fortunately/unfortunately…” post:-)

Guess what we are saying is that we are just doing our best to hang on until March Break! This year, we plan to vacation with our families together in a warmer climate. Our children are very excited about the prospect of being together for a week – which they could have done at home as well but, at least they’ll have better weather! Whatever you have planned for your break, take some time for yourself and relax. To help you further decompress, we have you covered with another freebie. Enjoy.

 

The following freebie is an interactive notebook entry on symmetry. Our expectation is that students are able to sort polygons by lines of symmetry as well as rotational symmetry.

You can find this file on our downloads page or you can download a copy here:

Symmetry INB Brownlee and Belangerr

Geometry & Space: Constellation Angles

11 Feb

Report cards have been submitted and we are ready for a break! Oh, what’s that? The Olympics are on, Valentine’s is coming up, Chinese New Year is on the way, Carnaval is ready to roll, and, for those in primary, Hundreds Day is looming as well? Oh. Yeah. Don’t forget the work you have to catch up on due to those ‘buses are cancelled’ days.

And, poof, just like that, the potential break was gone!

Times like these make you want to hide in your classroom and hope that nobody catches a glimpse of your shadow – a possible sighting could mean another six weeks of unrelenting “fun” activities for you to participate in.

We’d like to write more but we just got prompted for this term’s IEP expectations…

We suggest you find a good spot to lie low until March Break. Good luck!

Unrelated –

Even though it’s really never been used for much, we do have a Facebook site as well. Lately, we’ve been wondering what the heck to do with it. Ignoring it hasn’t really done anything for us. We decided we will use it as a place to post quick ideas or maybe examples of student work. A place where you can get some ideas. If you want to check it out, you can find it here:

https://www.facebook.com/2writingsisters-223795674414354/

We don’t have anything up yet but will soon.

 

To help you out, we have this geometry and space activity.  Our space unit happens to coincide with our geometry unit. So, we decided to have students label and measure the angles they could see in a given constellation. The page also requires a research component. For us, it just  means looking at their notes for the most part. They do have to locate information on their given constellation. We do it as a partner or small group project. It has 9 constellations – an example is located below:

constellation angle

You can download it here:

Constellation Angle Projects Brownlee and Belanger

 

EQAO Measurement Math Task Cards

21 Jan

If you’ve read anything we have ever posted then this confession will not shock you. We get bored. Frequently. Probably more often than we should. The thought of doing the same thing year after year is well, it’s enough to make us want to take naps. Long naps. At school. The first couple of years of an assignment you need to repeat just about everything. You make minor revisions based on your experiences the first time. Nothing crazy. Just enough to make it run more smoothly. You don’t do much else because you’re too busy treading water just trying to keep up with learning new curriculum and wading through oceans of marking.

Once you finally get a sense of some routine, boredom sets in. You lose enthusiasm for the topic which is critical in selling it to your students. Yet, you’re tired, there’s still oceans of marking and you don’t want to spend crazy amounts of time thinking of new things to do. Sometimes it’s also difficult as you know it’s something your students in the past really enjoyed doing. The sometimes odd struggles of being a teacher:)

Below is something to help you keep moving along your boredom line. Could be something new to you or similar to something you’ve done but with enough changes to make you somewhat more enthusiastic.

 

This week, we are sharing the first task cards for measurement. These cards focus more on converting units of measure, selecting the most appropriate unit of measure, etc.  Again, these are from the Ministry and not our creation – we have just compiled them to help us out as we work through EQAO related tasks. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can download the file here:

EQAO Measurement Task Cards Brownlee and Belanger

(T)Each Day is a New Adventure

25 Nov

Interactive Notebooks in Math (Patterning and Number Sense)

20 Oct

Card and Board Games for English Language Learners

7 Oct

Shameful Secret

Let me just say before I begin my confession, that I have been a teacher for over twenty years.  I have taught multiple grades, self-contained special education classes, and many English Language Learners over the years.  I have even taught teachers which is a unique experience all on its own.  For the most part, I have been pretty successful.  I’ve had commendations from former students, parents and administrators.  I’ve never been fired from a teaching job and I am not afraid to take on a challenge.

Yet, there is one sentence that makes me forget every positive experience that I have ever had in this field.  I hear that sentence and the sweat breaks out all over my body.  My stomach starts to churn.  My eyes begin to dart wildly around hoping to find some form of escape even knowing that there is nowhere to hide.

What is this sentence? (I shudder even writing it.)  It goes something like this…

“Mom, can I get some help with my homework?”

You might not think that the sentence itself is stomach-churning but you have to look at it through my lens.  This sentence is followed by a painfully long time of my repeatedly (and lovingly) attempting to explain how to complete the homework.  Throughout the explanation, there will be eye-rolling, sighing, and the constant statement of “My teacher doesn’t do it like that.”  In all likelihood, tears will finish the episode- either hers’, mine, or both.  (Criers gotta cry.)

There was a forewarning even before homework came along.  My child might have been about three years old.  We were playing together and she said, “Mom, pretend you are a teacher.”  I innocently responded with, “I actually am a teacher.”  She stopped what she was doing and looked me up and down doubtfully.  She must have seen the look of fear on my face because she gently said, “Pretend you are a real teacher.”

I do try to console myself.  There is a long held belief that the shoemaker’s kids go without shoes, and so on for other professions….but seriously, a teacher’s kid who can’t get help with her homework??  Shameful.  Luckily, she has another parent.  Maybe, next time, he can pretend to be a real teacher.

Sometimes, it is better to stick with kids who don’t know you outside of school.  Even better, my students are often new to the country.  They don’t have long-held expectations for me.  They are generally just happy to see me when I show up.  Part of that happiness might stem from the fact that I play games with them to develop both conversational and early literacy skills.