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Friday, 30 May 2014

Five for Friday - Weekly Recap

Happy Friday!!  Hey, it's my birthday today!!  Plus, we only have 3 teaching weeks to go!  (I realize that I've been using a lot of exclamation points - it's my birthday - I'm excited!)

A lot has been happening to me, so much that I haven't had time to blog in awhile, but here's a recap of what I've been up to lately.
I live and teach in beautiful BC, Canada.  In 2002, our government illegally stripped our contract and stripped our right to bargain class size and class composition.  We have fought for 12 years in the BC Supreme Court, and have come out twice with rulings in our favour, stating that the government acted illegally and needed to remedy the situation.  

We have been bargaining for over a year, and it has not been remedied, so teachers in BC have been on job action for some weeks. This week, we had to escalate to rotating strikes.  Everyday this week, about 15 school districts in the province were out on a one-day strike.  My district was out on the picket lines on Monday of this week.  We received a lot of support from the public, but unfortunately, not from the government.  Teachers have now been locked out of the school at recess and lunch, 45 minutes before school and 45 minutes after school.  During these lockout hours, we are not allowed to work or give extra help to students and we are not covered by workplace insurance.  We have also had 10% of our pay deducted as a punishment.

Unfortunately, the students are suffering and it doesn't look like the dispute is going to end any time soon.  I'm frustrated and my students are confused - it's just a disaster.  I hope we can resolve everything before the end of the school year and we don't lose too many more days.

If you are interested in the specifics, read this article.  If you are a BC parent or teacher, please read and share to your networks.  The article is easy to follow and gives a very clear recap on what teachers are asking for.
I finished reading the Divergent series yesterday, and I have to say that I was shocked by the ending of Allegiant - and I was not happy with where it went.  Have you read the series?  What did you think?  I bought four new books today to start this week.  

I think I'll start with Skinny.
My 10-year high school reunion is next month.  I am making a slideshow for the reunion, so I've been going through old high school photos and yearbooks!  It's making me very nostalgic!
Me and my friends - Prom 2004!  I'm the 2nd from the right (in the purple)!

I spent last weekend house sitting for my parents and I got to hang out this fluff ball!

I spotted an eagle soaring very low to the ground while I was out on a walk this week.  The pictures don't do it justice - it was incredible!

That's it for now.  As a birthday gift from me to you, everything in my TpT store is 10% off this weekend!  Check it out here!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

3 weeks to go...

Hello everyone! 

I've been a little M.I.A. this past week - my apologies!  I've been trying to catch up on end-of-the-year marking.  My students have 3 weeks to go until summer vacation, but a few of them seem to be in summer mode already...

I think I need a drink!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Summer 2014 Bucket List
With only 22 teaching days to go before summer, it's a great time to plan ahead to what I want to accomplish over the summer!  I thought I'd join Mind Sparks' Link-Up and add my own 2014 Bucket List!

#1 - Read!  My list is ever-growing, especially this week as my grade 8's and 9's started an independent novel study project.  I let them choose any book, and from the summaries they've been supplying, I am adding more and more books to my must-read list!

#2 - Explore the island!  I live on the beautiful Vancouver Island, and I really want to explore more than I have.  I'd love to do some day trips to Tofino, Parksville, Coombs, Cathedral Grove, etc.

#3 - Speak more French!  I have applied for a teacher bursary to the UVic program "La Maison Francaise."  It is a 5-week immersion program to help boost French speaking abilities.  I hope to get into the program, but even if I don't, I want t spend more time practicing my French.

#4 - Get outside!  I'd love to spend more time outside.  Whether it's just going for walks, or camping, or lying in the sun, I'd like to enjoy the great outdoors!

So, what's on your list?

Saturday, 17 May 2014

New Products!! La Famille French Unit and Avoir Package

Hi, everyone!

I've just finished up a few new products for my TpT store! 

The first is a package of resources to teach the verb avoir. 
Conjugation Notes

Conjugation Activities
Avoir au negatif

Change the sentences

The second resource includes the avoir package!  It is a French unit called "Ma Famille."

Family Tree Printable

Family tree questions

Vocab list

Vocab Crossword

Fill in the Blank Vocab Activity 

Pop on over to my store to buy these resources and see what else I have!

The adorable clipart is from Ink n Little Things!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Five for Friday - Weekly Recap 
Happy long weekend, Canadian friends! I always love it when the May long weekend rolls around because it means 5 weeks left of school, and 2 weeks left until by birthday!!  

I'm linking up again with Doodle Bugs Teaching's Five for Friday.  Here's a look at my week.

 Last weekend, I was really sick.  My sister had planned a spa getaway for us to celebrate my birthday, and I was really scared I wouldn't be up to going, but by Sunday, I was feeling better enough to go.  It was very nice to get my nails done, soak in a heated mineral pool, and lounge around in a comfy robe!  It certainly made me feel better!
 My Grade 9's put the final touches on their poetry portfolios this week.  They've been reading and writing poetry for about a month and we are bringing it to a close.  Next week, we will start the LAST project of the school year!!  I'm so excited!
 My Grade 8's are finishing up their short story unit this week, and are also about to begin their last project for the school year.  Time is going by so quickly!
 Temperatures have been beautiful this week!  On Wednesday, it got up to 26 degrees, and yesterday was about 25!  It was a little tricky keeping my overheated students focused on school work, but we survived!
My puppy got a hair cut!  Here's Kasey, the most adorable dog in the world!

Have a fantastic long weekend!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

New Perspectives - Learning Lessons in Disappointment

Last week, I had a local aboriginal storyteller in my class.  He brought several First Nations artifacts made by members of his family, himself, and his community, and then told stories that went along with the artifacts.

Did you know that large, sea-going canoes were widened using urine and hot rocks?  His stories were incredible and highly entertaining.

One piece he brought in was an intricately carved wooden Talking Feather. 
This is not the feather brought in by my guest, but another feather, carved by the same artist, Alex Mountain.  I was so interested in his stories that I didn't think about taking pictures at the time. 
When he came upon this piece, instead of sharing a story, he said that he had learned a valuable lesson from his feather.  He pointed out a crack in the wood, and said that it happened when he was getting into a car.  He had the feather across his lap, and when he closed the door, the feather was too long, and caught on the door and cracked.  He further explained that in that instance, the feather was telling him to be more aware of his surroundings.

This perspective struck a cord with me.  Instead of being upset that his beautiful feather had been broken, he saw the accident as a learning experience.  

I really liked that way of thinking about the accident.  It makes me want to take a breath when bad things happen to think about a deeper meaning behind the disappointment or take time to reflect and learn something about past frustrations.

Saturday, 10 May 2014


For the next 2 hours, you can download my Fairy Tale Cross-Curricular Unit for FREE on TpT!!

The package includes:

- 9 detailed lesson plans with learning outcomes, drama activities, and suggested evaluation strategies

- A 20-page printable student workbook with a variety of activities including:
  • Cloze activity
  • Question and Answer
  • Retelling a story in Sequence
  • Story Map
  • Venn Diagram Comparison Charts
  • Illustrate and Write Activities
  • Wordsearch puzzle
  • Colouring Pages
- 4 fairytale themed poems, which can be used for choral reading and building fluency

- An Evaluation Checklist of the unit’s Learning Outcomes

Fairy tales studied in the package are:
1. Jack and the Beanstalk
2. Goldilocks and the Three Bears
3. Cinderella
4. Snow White
5. Princess and the Pea
6. Little Red Riding Hood
7. Alice in Wonderland
8. Hansel and Gretel

Click HERE to download!

If you happen to snag a copy, please leave feedback!