School Snippets

Dear Ontario Students: You Know Your Teachers Care About You

Dear Ontario students, We are in the midst of a big week for your schools and your educators. Whether you’re in high school or elementary school, public or Catholic, French or English, your teachers have already begun job action. This week is especially important because the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (of which I’m a member) has begun holding rotating […]

Pearls of Grade 3 Wisdom

I teach a group of Grade 3 French Immersion students English for 40 minutes a week. They are mostly a very sweet and funny group. We’ve been working on poetry, including a poem with a template called “I Am.” The first two words of each line are given, and then they fill in the rest. The results are sometimes predictable, […]

A Little Faith in Humanity from Remembrance Day

Hi, lovely di-hards. It’s been an emotional week, n’est-ce pas? Right around this time last Tuesday, there was a disbelieving dread building on my Facebook news feed. I could hardly bear to look at the actual stats. My daughter had strep throat; we all slept badly, and felt ill the next day – on so many levels. It was an Armageddon-y gloom. […]

#NaBloPoMo, Day 19: Questions excellentes

Today at school, we talked a little bit about Paris. I showed my Grade 4s and 5s that little boy and his dad – not just because the vocabulary (très, méchant, gentil, fleurs, maison, etc.) is right on point, but because when they see a child, they instinctively relate. Two days a week, I have a group of only nine […]

#NaBloPoMo, Day 2: Perfect Storm

  It’s not just Monday. It’s the Monday after Halloween, a few days off the full moon. The kids had a three-day weekend (Friday PA day). And we just changed the clocks. School was a bit wacko today. It would figure that – less than 24 hours after I’d mentioned how well the kids were sleeping lately, HA – my daughter […]

100 Happy Days – Day 4: Silence

There are two kinds of silence that made me happy on Day 4. One was in my 5/6 Core French class. They are a class that is, as a group, not great at self-regulation. Many of them have great difficulty stopping themselves from saying whatever they feel like saying, whenever they feel like saying it, in whatever language (i.e. English, not French). And some, it […]

How Far to Bend the Gender

As a girl born between two sisters, I was, in childhood, emphatically girly. I loved unicorns, ballet, pink things, dolls, My Little Ponies. The tendencies of our elder brother didn’t hold much sway with us back then – he was outnumbered – and he seemed happy enough to make his Lego projects and wooden models on his own. I know […]

Those Greedy, Lazy Teachers

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? When I was little, I wanted to be a ballerina. After that, I wanted to be a novelist. It didn’t occur to me to want to be a teacher until later. As a homeschooling kid, I didn’t even have teachers other than my mom. Then I […]

What makes mothers?

It’s interesting, the things that kindergartners say about their mothers. I recently overheard a fragment of conversation at kindergarten snacktime, involving one of the kids I like to call “pop-up children” (teachers, you know the ones I’m talking about). This is what I heard: “…and then she punched me! In the face! My mom!” Wise little boy beside him, wisely […]

Encouraging the love between boys

Imagine a 12-year-old boy with a chip on his shoulder. He moves from an inner-city school in a large metropolis to a well-to-do urban school in a much smaller city. He has been moved, for the most part, because his mom doesn’t have a clue how to control or improve his behaviour. The administration at the previous school has warned: […]

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