Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Reflections from 2010-2011 - What a school year!

Another school year wrapping up. Time flies. It really does. And whenever another school year comes to an end I make sure I leave time for reflection. Maybe that's cheesy and I'm sure many of you other school teachers out there think "I don't have time for that!" Well to be honest, I don't really either. As I sit here on my prep period when I should me marking, I'm writing a blog post instead. Procrastination is the spice of life. NOT!
Here it goes....
Least favorite part of the year:
My school year started optimistically. I was ready for what was ahead and was willing to face the ups and downs as they came. The school year started with our school being under review for closure, yeah that was a real nice way to start the year (sarcastic voice). We pushed ahead as we always do with our heads held high and continuing to provide our students with a top notch education :-) The process ended with the closure review being halted which was really nice for us (to say the least). You know, it is amazing really how much that review process affects the students. They put on brave faces like troopers but daily as a teacher I could see it affecting them as they worried about their futures hanging in the balance. I mean who wants to be dropped into a new school unless it is a choice of family, or situational such as moving. I know my students who live here wanted the school to stay open so they can graduate from the same school they have always attended, that possibly their parents graduated from, that their friends attend and/or graduated from. The stress of a review process weighed in on them and whether or not you believe it (because teens especially are quite good at hiding true emotion from adults), it took a toll. In my CPT course we did a project that I adapted from the Discovery Channel's Boom De Yada I Love The Whole World commercial. We created a Boom De Yada I Love Nokomis School video and the students put in their favorite parts about our school. Click the link and see the videos if you're interested! The kids took pride in creating the projects and promoting their school. Once the process of review was ended, you could almost see the weight lift off their shoulders and they became happy and started to laugh more again. Lovely, in my opinion.


Highlight:Culture Fair 
During the months of August - October our whole school worked towards projects for our Culture Fair. We hosted a Culture Fair at the end of October and students, parents, and people from the community were invited into the school to experience a variety of cultures. Our students, being split into homeroom groups (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-10 and 11-12), chose a different culture and researched about it then created a variety of resources to display in the room. My homeroom of 11/12's chose French culture and looked at a variety of aspects. We designed posters about food, traditions, attractions, people, customs, etc. and posted them throughout the room. We had students stay in the room to present their culture to people and each person walking around were given passport to go to the different classes to get stamped after they learned about it.
My students created a ceiling high model of the Eiffel Tower that went over the outside of the door to my classroom - it was huge and really well done! Also, my students created mock-trenches inside my classroom with the desks and covered them with cardboard to create the sense of being closed in - inside the trenches were photographs and information about WWI and tench warfare as well as videos playing on computers. We made croissants and chocolate mousse to give to patrons who visited our room and we had Parisian music playing in the background. We had one student dress up like a mime to meet the people at the door and the rest of us dressed up in the quintessential Paris garb - striped shirt, black pants, etc. It was a blast.
The other classrooms were as follows: K-2: African, 3-5: Japanese, 6-8: Aboriginal/First Nations, and 9-10: Indian. Each room had something creative, whether it be a tent with pillows to sit on in India, a mock-Jeep SUV in Africa, Japanese tea ceremony or Aboriginal stone arrangement circles. The night was a huge success and it will be something I will carry with my for my career. It took a lot, and I mean A LOT of work but it was totally worth it. The kids learned a lot and so did I. Hard work paid off.
  
 
 

Highlight: SMARTboard!
After the Culture Fair, life went along as usual, just coursework and learning as normal. There are always those times when school seems repetitive and sort of just a motion you go through, but then you have those days that stick with you forever and you're able to do exciting things in your classroom and get back to enjoying learning and teaching. That day came when I received my SMARTboard! Not like I don't incorporate technology into my daily teaching, assignments and projects - believe me I do. It just happened to get MORE exciting and innovative once I got my SMARTboard installed! I hope to have many more lessons created for my SMARTboard for the next school year. The kids just love it and enjoy that change in pace when I turn it on and plug it in - especially when they get up out of their seats and use it themselves!!

Highlight: Minute To Win It
Another exciting event was our SRC Minute to Win It afternoon. As a school spirit building activity, our SRC came together to create an afternoon filled with the TV game show Minute To Win It activities. There was the Elephant March, Hangover, Sticky Situation, Bobble Head, Face the Cookie, Noodling Around, Defying Gravity and Junk in the Trunk. Here are a few pics for you to see:
 
 

All in all, it was a wonderful year. Extra curricular, and additional enrichment activities are what make a school year fly by and we certainly had our share of them this year. The kids were great and we accomplished what needed to be done. Who could ask for more? Not I, not I. I love my job and love my school. Can't wait for next year!
I just wanted to say thanks for reading my blog and I appreciate you as an audience to bounce my ideas off of, to listen to my reflections and rants and basically for being that lovely group of people whom I likely haven't met but would love to get to know! Comment away and I will keep it coming!