“What a great day of coincidences!” I declared to the car on the way home from Ghostbusters last night.
“What is a coincidence?” my youngest asked.
To be honest, I couldn’t exactly define it, so I gave him the examples he needed to understand.
A coincidence is when you are out berry picking, and everyone randomly starts talking about turtles. Then one appears on the side of the trail.
A coincidence is when you show up 40 minutes early for the swimming lessons at the camp in the middle of nowhere, so you decide to drive around randomly looking for a snack distraction, and you laugh at your children when one says he wants Subway, and another says he wants Bulk Barn. Then, out of nowhere, on the country road, you see a Smart Centre. What stores does it have? Of course, there is a Subway and a Bulk Barn. Not that you go to both!
A coincidence is when you forgot you signed up for swimming lessons this week, so you decide to go to the evening showing of Ghostbusters instead of the matinee you had originally planned on and your husband comes home from work four hours early, so you can all go together!
A day of happy coincidences!
It might be fun to add 'tell a short story to illustrate the meaning of a word' as an option for vocabulary exploration. I'll have a solid example!
Good morning Slicers,
Instead of getting up to mark and plan in the summer, I like to get up and write. I join Kate Messner, Gae Polisner, Jo Knowles, Jennifer Vincent and their crew of guest authors who generously support us through the writing process at #TeachersWrite. They are infinitely inspiring!
On Sunday's post, guest author, Erika Perl, challenged us to "write a love letter to an inanimate object or an intangible concept." She gave us a beautiful example with her letter to fiction.
It was a very fun exercise, so for my Slice, here is my letter to writing itself!
I had no idea so much could come out of a simple two period exploration!
With Mother's Day having just come and gone, I have to say my kids inspire me in many ways.
This poem came out of the fact that I keep opening cupboards and finding empty packages strewn about, and then I remembered...
A Mother’s Wish
I open doors
scan shelves and find
empty bags, plastic trays
and cardboard remnants.
of children’s appetites.
When I was young, clues
of where and what I’d been
were strewn about the house.
My mother wished, aloud,
that I would have children
just like me.
No fairy godmother needed here.
S. Cole 2016
I think the Rolling Stones got it right. We can’t always get what we want. After a lot of reflection and observation, it seems, we’re often given the children we need: children that will open our minds to others. The love we have for our offspring may make us develop acceptance for traits we’ve come to understand over time and with effort.
The Grey Sheep of my Family
I’ve always been dreamy and distracted. I don’t necessarily live in the space my body inhabits. The books I read constantly transport me. As a child, reading Anne of Green Gables drove me out to the abandoned apple orchard beside the house to collect boughs in full bloom which I laid across my dresser. I didn’t think of the bugs in them or that they’d dry out dropping leaves, petals, and bark around our wall-to-wall carpeted house, but I heard about it upon the initial discovery of my artistic addition.
A job that I was supposed to be working on would be abandoned part way through, not because I didn’t intend to finish it, but on the way to get a tool, I may have come across a book I’d left on a table. My mother said my actions could always be tracked by what I’d left behind.
The time I walked home, blithely traipsing across the neighbours freshly tarred driveway was only because I sometimes read while walking. Nobody put yellow tape down the side of the driveway in case I was cutting across it and the lawn to our front door, nose in a book.
These traits may have been fine in another home, maybe, but in my childhood home, the rules were black and white. There was only one spot to file a form, not many depending on the aspect you focused on. Jobs had specific protocols, and my way didn't follow them. If we had a family job day, after about a half an hour I was asked if I wanted to go read. I was usually more work than the job itself and quite happy to get out of the way.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t feel appreciated or loved. In my final year of high school I scratched the car again and my father, who wires houses, builds perfect walkways and edges the walls when painting without tape asked me to go interview people and write an essay on how to fix scratches on cars for my punishment. Although you might not know it, this was love.
He didn’t like to write, and I don’t remember him ever reading when I was a child. If he had to write something, my mother edited it for him, but he sent me out to do what worked for me. Did he love that I found people used nail polish and White Out to fix minor scratches on their cars? No, but he laughed at their stories and only made me pay for a portion of the damage.
One of my students just told me, "You're just all robots all the time now are you? Other teachers are worried about report cards, but not you." Luckily, my report cards were finished because it gave me time to play with our robots.
We're very fortunate to have an innovative Science Facilitator, Lisa Lim-Cole, who believes kids should play with science hands-on, and we applied and were chosen to participate in a workshop which provided us with twelve Vex Robotics kits to utilize in our school and, man, has it been fun.
Since robotics and coding isn't directly stated in our curriculum, you have to find ways in, and there are many. One of the best ways, I've found is through the Design or Problem Solving Process which is one of the Big Ideas in our Science Curriculum.
We are using the kits in a couple different ways. Right now, we have grade 5s working with the kits for their Structures Unit, and the kits are also being used in Makerspace Mondays and over Reading Recesses. The recess programs have a more open format. Teams of threeare signing up to work with the kits and are exploring them independently.
What amazes me is how organically students create there own tasks and go through the Design/Problem-Solving Process. I loved watching their minds work. This is what I saw today:
First, they had to figure out how it worked.
This is when I realized what they were doing and asked them to re-do it and explain it. Prompting was needed for them to voice the process.
Then, they adapted the robot and tried again!
More testing, with another adaptation to the machine!
They were truly the design process in action. Next, I'm moving them on to the coding aspect to see what happens there.
Fun day at the library!
Thanks so much to the crew at TWT for providing us with this opportunity to write and share.
I'm not sure if any Americans celebrate this holiday, but up in Canada yesterday was Family Day!
Since the -30 weather kindly left, we bundled up for a day of skiing and snowboarding, but having five in the family means that sometimes someone has to bend a bit. We are skiing again with the school tonight too, so my youngest was not overjoyed with the choice of activity.
What to do? We'd already spent much of this bitter weekend indoors, so we packed up the Vex Robotics Kit he got for Christmas, and plunked him in the chalet with a lunch tray. My husband and I took turns skiing with two kids or building, and maybe writing a plan for a blog post in my Notebook, with William.
It was a great day with lots of breaks, fries, hot chocolate and laughs. That robot spider, after four hours? Still not done!
We’re in the midst of a kitchen renovation. It was more than time, and I approached it like a Genius Hour Project, with enthusiasm and I am learning a lot about renovations and myself. As we drag into the third week of continuous decisions and adaptations, I’ve realized my dependency on routine is very cat-like and, perhaps, I’m not at my best right now, but I’ve also realized that my cat’s happiness is dependent on my routines, and she’s not at her best either.
My twelve-year-old daughter has a new online friend and I’m a little nervous. This friend is pushing her towards greater independence, maybe even confidence which could be a good thing, but I just don’t trust her yet. I discovered the friendship the other day as I was cooking dinner and Lily was setting up a new world in her favourite game, Sims. Lily’s iPad was propped up beside the PC screen. “How do you spell Crystal?” she asked. A voice promptly answered her.
“Who are you talking too?” I yelled across the room. “Siri,” she replied.
You know our official new year isn't January first. It's September or August depending on where you live and it isn't a stay-up-and-party-all-night celebration. Instead it's a labeling, organizing, decorating, reflecting, writing, dreaming, and hoping bonanza with the addition of one quality teaching nightmare before school starts. Well I've done it all & I thought I was ready.
As part of my organization, I always post What I'm Reading on my library door, but I thought I'd post my what I'd read this summer to show students this is truly what I do. As you can see, it was a great summer!
Then I realized, I haven't consolidated all the learning I did. I had all these professional books, filled with sticky notes and margin notes and folded pages. How was I going to remember all the great lessons, quotes and ideas that I wanted to share with my classes and colleagues? Once or twice I had tried to reference a lesson I wanted and couldn't find it.
Then I remembered a file I used to use. You know how you do that...you have a strategy, lesson or activity that works for you, you use it, love it and one day it falls by the wayside like a sweater tucked into the corner of your ever-growing closet. You forget that you ever owned it, until one day you rediscover it and remember why you loved it. Today I found my Mini Lesson Ideas file, as simple and haphazard as it is, and updated it with new lessons I might use.
So here I am, the day before school, copying links, ideas, poems and insights, just hoping when I'm pondering how to support the new class that lies before me, I'll be able to reference the brilliance, wisdom and support of my PLN.
Thanks to all of you!
Who Am I?
I'm a Teacher Librarian and Grade 7 Language Teacher.
Many thanks to these forums which inspire, educate and promote collaboration & communication!