• 20 Strategies for How to Engage Students | An interview with Marcia Tate

    “My son is certainly capable…” she paused for a moment, considering what she was about to say next, “he’s just lazy!” When my friend said that to me, I was immediately transported back to my childhood. For I too, struggled in school, and I remember how my mom would say the same thing about me, that I was lazy. It took me a second before I responded to my friends comment, “It’s probably not so much that he’s lazy, but rather that he’s not being engaged.” Engagement is one of the big things we struggle with as teachers; how do…

  • Great video about bullying | Shane Koyczan | To This Day Project

    With pink shirt day coming up, our thoughts and attentions turn to the subject of bullying. One of Canada’s premier slam poets, Shane Koyczan tackles the subject head on in his heart wrenching video: “To This Day” Shane talks about bullying in this interview with the Vancouver Sun. To learn more about To This Day Project or Shane Koyczan please follow the links. Cameron May is a substitute teacher with Rocky View School Division. Follow and share ideas with him @elbow_patch.

  • How to Engage the Teenage Brain | Gary Anaka

    I kinda felt like an idiot with my elbow in the air, moving it around, hopelessly trying to spell out words with it; but then I looked around the room and realized that there were 500 other idiots with elbows for pens and I laughed. “It’s all about movement!” That was the take home message of Gary Anaka’s riveting speech at last year’s Palliser District Teachers’ convention. In his speech he outlined 5 brain states which help to invigorate the teenage brain: 1) Movement 2) Ask questions (ask “What if?” questions: Makes brain light up like an xmas tree) 3) Curiosity…

  • What Makes a Person a Teacher?

    What Makes a Person a Teacher? A Brief Exploration Into the Future of the Job of the Teacher Last night I had a dream that Ringo Starr came to sub at my school. He taught Cam (one of our Elbow Patch bloggers) to make a finger piano out of disposable spoons, but I didn’t get a chance to see him with students; I was too busy trying to get coverage for a class whose guest teacher hadn’t shown up. I have nothing against Mr. Starr – I’m a bigger Beatles fan than the average person – but I don’t think…

  • When it makes more sense to play baseball inside…

    While I was doing my practicum we had to write journal responses. This is an excerpt from my first month as a student teacher in a classroom: September 29th 2007 “So, AK that’s a very interesting pattern. What is it a pattern of?” Mr. May asked of the student’s title page for the upcoming math unit, patterns. “Well, it’s a bird and then a nest and then an egg and then…” his voice trailed as he began to look up and to the left. “An egg that’s beginning to crack…” Mr. May offered. “And then another bird, so that the…

  • How to Integrate Curriculum into Daily 5

    Many teachers I have talked to LOVE The Daily Five program for many reasons; however one common complaint is that it leaves teachers feeling short on time for their mandated curriculum. Teacher Kelly Chamberlian at Rainbow Creek found a way around this. She combined her unit on First Nations’ of Alberta (Social Studies) within the “framework” of Daily 5. She was able to achieve this by: Read to Self/Someone: Having the children read aboriginal legends and other relavent resources Work on Writing: Read Paul Goble story and respond using specified activities: Predict and Check, Research, Read and visually represent using…

  • A Fly (teacher) on the Wall at the WCIT (World Congress on Information Technology)

    In mid-October, I had the opportunity to experience a conference different to me than any other. Being a teacher, I typically stick to teacher-organized professional development, although, as a teacher of the arts, I have sometimes been seen at fine arts gatherings. At the 18th World Congress on Information Technology 2012 in Montreal, I was completely out of my element, and yet, the message that was being delivered was not. The WCIT takes place every two years and, unlike the supposedly International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE, which is woefully US-centric, to the extent that their annual conferences take…

  • 6 great Daily 5 “Word Work” activities for K, Gr. 1, Gr. 2

    So I was in my friend’s Gr. 1 class the other day and noticed that she had some great ideas for “word work” activities for Daily 5. Although they are very similar, they allow students to use and access different parts of their brain while working with words: 1) The first activity has students select a card with a a word on it and then manipulate plastic letters in order to create the words on the card. 2) Uses Spelling Bee Game by Learning Resources where students have to fill in the missing vowel. Which allows an opportunity to teach…

  • Tools for students who have difficulty writing or typing

    How to use Google Chrome | Speech Recognizer This is a tool that allows students who have trouble with writing or typing to speak into the computer and have the computer recognize their voice. This is a step by step “how to” tutorial for how to use the Speech Recognizer downloadable through Google Chrome. Cameron May is a substitute teacher with Rocky View School Division. Follow and share ideas with him @elbow_patch.

  • Proud in Pink: Student Solidarity

    February 28, a day like any other day; however, as I walked into the school today, I was overwhelmed by a sea of pink. Boys and girls alike were proudly decked out in pink T-shirts, standing in solidarity against bullying! You’ve done it; we’ve all done it. And as it’s happening you feel terrible and after it stops, you feel even worse. You feel like you could have and should have done something. You have been a bystander. The thing about bystanders is that you feel like you are alone, you feel powerless, but chances are there are lots of…

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