Our mandate this year at PITA is to ensure that we are applicable to all

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1 8 Issue 1 PITAVolume January 2010 Provincial Intermediate Teachers Association Our mandate this year at PITA is to ensure that we are applicable to all Intermediate teachers. This means providing ample opportunities for relevant professional development, website and newsletter information that can be used in your clasroom, and new ideas to spark your interest. This year in my classroom, I have focused on providing activities that allow the students to act in a kind and considerate manner. Over the next few newsletters, I will share some of these ideas with you, because, let s face it, we get so busy with the curriculum, FSAs, and a multitude of other school events, that sometimes taking a moment to appreciate each other, and share some kindness, can be a welcome reprieve. Amanda Arneill Share a Little Love In this activity, all of the students receive small pieces of paper which have the name of each of their classmates on them. The assignment is to write one compliment or note of appreciation for each person. For Valentine s Day, the kindness theme can be a challenge. It is easy for students to think of things they like about their friends, but harder to think of something wonderful about people who aren t their friends. However, that doesn t mean that they shouldn t try. Approximately one week before Valentine s Day, I tell the students about the upcoming activity. We discuss what a genuine compliment is, the impact that it has on the recipient, and how to find something positive about people you don t usually spend time with. This week before the big day gives the students ample time to watch, listen, and think about positive compliments for each person in the class. Come Valentine s Day, each student decorates a paper bag with his or her name and adds a few small embellishments to make it their own. Once these are taped to the front of each desk, the work gets underway. Students spend the time writing one positive compliment on each of the name cards that are on their desk (not one card can be left blank). This has a tendancy to take awhile but it is well worth it once students hand out all their compliments into the labeled bags and get to read all of the wonderful things that their peers have noticed about them. These handwritten notes are much more meaningful to the students than a bag full of store-bought Valentine s Day cards. 1

2 in this issue Weekly Review Ta g Tag, You re It! Life of Riley pita al inter s asso Build Up1 Program growing ideas PITA Whistler { } note PRESIDENT S Use Pro D to Build Public Education or Face GM s Fate In 1982, General Motors held 50% market share within the U.S. Its hundreds of thousands of employees were among the highest paid and most secure workers in America. Today, however, because of perceptions of poor quality and poor sales, GM has gone bankrupt. GM employees now face an entirely different reality, including salary give backs and pensions which are under threat. In contrast, the successful Volkswagon car company has a image of quality and reliability. Rather than downsize, VW is expanding through its recent acquisition of Porsche. Even though both GM and VW are highly unionized companies, these two companies and their empolyees face very different realities. As we reassess Public Education in the face of budget cuts, the question looms: will Public Education take a dive like GM or thrive like VW? While GM s quality faltered, VW had a strong apprentice and training system, which over time built productivity and quality enabling the company to grow and prosper. Similarly, we need strong professional development programs to build the quality of Public Education. The training and development programs in education are of the utmost importance for retaining quality. More than ever before, parents are taking a market economy approach to education. People shop for the best schools and in many cases this means many more people will pay extra (in private schools) to get it. In the long run, the greatest threat to Public Education is allowing private schools to build the perception that they have better programs. The key to the successful survival of Public Education is to 2

3 improve the quality and the perception of quality of public schools. The best way to do this is to ensure that public school teachers have superior professional training that continually builds our quality, as VW has done. In addition, we need to promote the facts about Public Education s advantages as we confront the ranking of schools. Public schools do demonstrate superior results. Many people are unaware that, when corrected for income, we actually outperform the results of private schools. We provide green, close-to-home education with universality that produces podium level results. We need to protect Public Education by promoting and exploiting our advantanges, and expanding upon professional programs such as the Program for Quality Teaching and the Year of Professional Support provided by PITA. These are examples of Federation programs that can make a real difference to the lives of our students and to the long term job and pension security for teachers. Let s build Pro-D! Ray Myrtle Our Website has more... more information about memberships and workshops more novel study units more great resources Log in to the resources section (login pita /password bread ) We at PITA are trying to cut down on the amount of paper that we use. In order to acheive this goal, we are beginning to transition to use a partial web-based format for our workshop information and newsletters. How about you? Would you prefer to receive this newsletter by ? How about information about our upcoming events? It s simple to let us know! Send us an at with your basic information and and we will add you to our new web-based system. 3

4 Weekly Review ~it s never too late to star t! As a motiviator for students and a communication builder for parents, the use of a Weekly Review often helps teachers set the stage for expectations during the year. Specific areas that can be included are: interactions with peers and staff, homework completion, use of class time, participation in class and the use of an agenda (though these expectations can be tailored to fit your specific needs). If used over an extended period, a Weekly Review program helps students and parents monitor progress throughout the year and increases home-school communication. The Weekly Review can also be implemented during a specific month of the school year, and then revisited at other times during the year. Alternatively, it can be used just with specific students who need reminders and/or motivation to refocus on these specific aspects of their performance. The Weekly Review helps to build student awareness and confidence as students begin to appreciate how their efforts are positively reflected in the informal reporting. It s a New Year - help the students set high standards for themselves! The Weekly Review sheets themselves can be copied and inserted into duo-tangs for each child. Each page contains a report for two weeks, so that one two-sided page will suffice for a month of Weekly Reviews. Students are given the duo-tangs to preview what the Weekly Review looks like. On this first introduction to the Weekly Review, it is imperative to discuss how the scoring is awarded and what always, sometimes and rarely really look like. Students are asked to write their names on the Weekly Review and enter the dates of the weeks ahead (usually one month at a time). Although writing a Weekly Review sounds daunting, it can be achieved very efficiently by using records that are already in place. Student performance regarding behaviour with peers and attentive behaviour in class can be assessed objectively or by recording (on a class list) instances of exemplary performance or events of concern. An all-subject list of assignment completion as well as a record of daily or impromptu agenda checks can be used to report on performance in these areas. As well, the actual entering of data for each Weekly Review can be done during the schoolday (usually Friday) when the students have individual, quiet worktime (computer time also works well). To build self-assessment skill in the students 4

5 they can complete the Weekly Review independently and then have a Minute Meeting with you to discuss their selection for each of the assessed areas. The duo-tangs are sent home on Fridays and returned on Mondays, with a parent signature (their first assignment for the next week!). It is recommended that you keep your own record of the Weekly Review assessment for each child as well as the duo-tang record. This system of weekly reporting is very successful. Students know what is expected of them and parents are pleased to have a framework for helping their children succeed. When it comes to regular reporting time, the Weekly Review sheets are very helpful in giving a summary of each student s progress throughout the term. To print or download a copy of the full Weekly Review, go to Weekly Review Name: Date: Homework completed? Always Sometimes Rarely Using agenda? Always Sometimes Rarely Listening and using class time well? Always Sometimes Rarely Participating in class discussions? Always Sometimes Rarely Interacting positively with peers and staff? Always Sometimes Rarely Teacher Signature Parent Signature 5

6 Tag -you re it! Ideas by Mark Friesen Executive Director Delta Gymnastics Society Presenter at PITA Fall Conference A simple and easy game that has been played for years. Tag gets the heart pumping, strengthens muscles and inproves agility and coordination. Many primary classes begin each P.E. class with a game of tag as a warm up but the game can be exciting and fun for intermediate students as well. Here are some simple and fun alternatives to the regular game: Tail Tag Everyone has a tail of some sort (ex. pinnies) tucked into their pants. Everyone tries to steal each others tails. When a tail is stolen, it gets tucked into the stealers pants. The person with the most tails at the end of the game wins. Ten Toes Everybody starts in crab walk. Try to touch people s toes without anybody touching yours. If you touch somebody s toes add one to your total, if someone touches your toes then subtract one from your total. When you reach ten you tuck sit holding your toes so nobody else can touch them. Variation: Touch knees. People who are tagged must do a mad cat position and moo. They are freed when someone tips them onto their back. Cow Tipping 6

7 Crows vs. Cranes Split into 2 teams and one side are crows and the other are cranes. The 2 teams lie facing each other on their stomachs and waits for the coach to call out crows or cranes. If the coach calls crows they try to tag the cranes before they get back to their side on the white line and vice versa. People who are tagged switch teams. If the coach calls something other than crows or cranes then people who got up must switch sides. Foam Tag A large mat is placed in the middle of the gym and covered with foams. One or two people are it on the mat, and throw foam cubes at everyone else as they run around the mat in circles (they can also do other locomotions around the mat). When a student gets tagged with a foam piece, they join the foam throwers on the mat. Usually played until everyone has been tagged. Rock, Paper, Scissor Tag Split into 2 teams. Appoint a coach to each team. The coach decides on rock, paper or scissors. Line up the two teams facing each other and play rock, paper, scissors. The losing side has to get back their white line before they are tagged. If someone is tagged they switch teams. Grab it! Arrange the group into pairs. Each pair is assigned a number and seated opposite their partner across the play area. An object is placed in the middle. When a number is called, the athletes try to get the object before their partner does. The partner that does not get the object can try and tag their partner before he/she gets back to their side of the gym. If the partner does get tagged, then the object goes to that team. A point is assigned each team when they get the object to their side. Train Tag Some kids assemble into trains of two or three, while others are free to run anywhere. Those who are running free try to hook onto the end of the trains. If they hook on, then the person in front of the train leaves to run. Variation: At the same time, the person at the front of each train is trying to tag the kids who are running free. If someone gets tagged by a train, everyone stops and roles are re-assigned. 7

8 Cruchley's Collection Diana Cruchley is an award-winning educator and author, who has taught at elementary and secondary levels. Her workshops are practical, include detailed handouts, and are always enthusiastically received. (H. Diana Cruchley 2006, , The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley Colin Thompson and Amy Lissiat, Kane/ Miller, 2007, All of the lesson ideas presented here are inspired by this book. In The Short and Incredibly Happy Like of Riley, the main character, Riley, is a happy rat whose simple needs can be contrasted with those of the less happy humans around him. A nice life-lesson story to discuss happiness. Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery One of the stylistic things in the book is to combine very realistic, almost photographic art with obviously cartoon-style drawings. Some of the items are apples, cans, a box, and a torn page. As an art extension, ask students to assemble a collection of a related set of items (such as cans) and create a collage. They then create cartoon characters who stand beside, on top of, peak around the edges of, etc. the real items but are at a much smaller scale than the items themselves. allusions in this book The Life of Riley In the 1940 s, William Bendix starred in a radio show called The Life of Riley in which he played a blundering wing-riveter in an airplane factory whose catch phrase was what a revoltin development this is. In the 1950 s it became a TV show. The expression living the life of Riley means to leave a contented, peaceful, easygoing life with little or no work. Charlie Chaplin The little human characer with the stiff pose and the bowler hat is reminiscent of the outfit worn by Charlie Chaplin in his silent movies. Release Your Inner Child Psychologists refer to the Inner Child when they are talking about dealing with the issues of your life. The popular saying release your inner child means be willing to be less inhibited - play, shout, run - be more childlike in your enjoyment of life. The motto of this book is to release your inner Riley - a play on that psychological phrase. Rats and Rat Connections When describing a rat s life of Riley there are many possible connections that can be made to rats in general: Rat expressions - rat tail comb ; you dirty rat, to rat someone out ; like a rat in a trap ; rat-race. What do these mean? Where do they come from? Rats and human history - especially the Plague. Rat literature - the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Alberta has no rats because there is a rat-catching squad! If you see one, the province mobilizes immediately to destroy it. Chinese astrology - the year of the rat. A discussion of why we might not like rats - even though we, as humans, usually like mammals and think they are cute. 8

9 Art Studies and Riley Riley has four classic paintings that allow you to have a short study of the real paintings behind the mock paintings (see Fine Arts IRP). They have a graffiti of a bowler hat, moustache, and bow tie which has characteristics of Charlie Chaplin as well as of the little man that appears throughout the book. The Mona Lisa, Leonardo, with a bowler hat, a moustache, and glasses. Self Portrait, Van Gogh, with a man with a bowler hat, a bow tie, a moustache, and glasses. Venus, Botticelli with a short pink tutu. The Scream, Munsch, on the page ending with the word depressed - again with a bowler hat, a bow tie, a moustache, and glasses. Angels, part of a painting by Raphael, with a cigarette, a moustache, glasses, and a bowler hat. Divide the class into eight groups and give each group a copy of one of the original paintings pictures printed from the internet. Using the image, students prepare an illustated poster which provides information about the artist, about the painting, about the time in which the painting was created, and about the museum where you can find it. Students could also prepare an oral presentation of their research. This project makes a great visual display and an effective non-fiction writing assignment. A Collection of Writing Ideas Here are 9 possible writing ideas for use with this book: Release your inner Riley - Describe what you think this statement means and write a few paragaphs about how to put it into action. The Life of Riley - Find the source of the expression. Relate it to the expression: Release your inner child. The Day Everything Went Wrong - Create a story that starts from the picture of the little Charlie Chaplin man with the rain cloud over his head (remind students that the dark rain cloud is a metphor.) Life Rules - Starting with Don t Run With a Stick, what life rules can your students brainstorm and the reason behind each rule. The Bucket List - What are the 30 things you want to do before you kick the bucket. This will be a different list at different ages. Students may enjoy looking back on this list in years to come. Top 10 Favourite Foods - Like a Letterman list counting down from 10 to the most favourite. For each one, where did they first eat this food, where do they usually get it, describe it, etc. Happiness Stories - My happiest memory, things that make me happy, things that make me sad. Introduce this with the song, These Are a Few of My Favourite Things. Compare Yourself - The story says never to compare yourself to an animal, but, if you were to break this rule, what animal would you say you are most like and why? Life Lessons I Have Learned - What is the most valuable life lesson that you have learned and how did you learn it? 9

10 PROVINCIAL INTERMEDIATE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION PRESENTS year of professional support program build UP! a year-long program for early career teachers Instant lessons & professional development in French, Writing, Science, Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Art 10 register at a program for early career teachers Learn practical strategies, receive lesson ideas and get new resources to Build Up! your intermediate or middle school program. PITA is offering Build Up! Program sessions across the province with two half-day subject sessions offered each Saturday. Saturday, February 13 Schou Education Center in Burnaby (Art & French) Surrey Conference Centre in Surrey (Socials & LA) Friday, February 19 George Elliot Secondary in Winfield (PE & Writing) Saturday, April 10 Schou Education Center in Burnaby (Socials & LA) Surrey Conference Centre in Surrey (PE & Wrting) George Elliot Secondary in Winfield (Science & Math) Each day consists of 2 workshops designed for Early Career Teachers, featuring strategies helpful for all teachers. Daily rate including lunch and resources $50. (Private School : $75) E & O.E.

11 Whistler conference April 30 provincial teachers pita intermediate association year of professional support program for early career teachers Language Arts Love That Dog is a fabulous book; the students love it, you can read it aloud in less than an hour and it lends itself to great discussions and terrific lessons. Use it to teach multiple reading strategies, a journal program and inspire students in a poetry unit. Diana s Cruchley provides wonderful strategies and each participant will receive a copy of the book! Math Ray Appel will provide support becoming numerate using his Before, During, and After approach integrated with the math materials. He will focus on problem solving as well as writing, reading and drawing in math using easily available resources. Art Nora Mountain will provide suggestions and resources for a portraits unit that can be integrated with social studies and language arts. Writing Bryan Gidinski will present social and engaging mini-lessons specifically designed to enhance writing programs and challenge students to extend themselves creatively. pita provincial intermediate teachers association French Liliana Lanfanchi will provide games, songs and strategies that providing an active engaging way to teach French, that can also be adapted to other subject areas as well. P.E. Rhythmics is the first step to beginning dance. This session with Tammy Wirick will help provide the structure for what and how to develop lessons at the intermediate level that correspond to the P.E. IRP. Accessing music, using equipment and integrating skills that transfer to other activities will be covered. Be prepared to participate, have fun and discover how easy it is to teach dance to your students. Science Anne MacLean will present grade 6 & 7 units on adaptations and food webs that incorporate incorporate differientation and critical thinking, and Ray Myrtle will present a science unit on the body which will build an understanding of learning styles. Social Studies Holly Lloyd will focus on differentiation of instruction through project-based learning in Social Studies. Walk through the research process and be introduced to multiple strategies to help meet a range of needs and learning styles. These strategies can then be applied in research units developed for each intermediate grade level available on the PITA wiki. 11

12 other upcoming events PROVINCIAL INTERMEDIATE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION Supporting struggling students PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR LITERACY AND MATH FRIDAY, April 30th, :00am-3:00pm Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa Registration opens soon get a free gift with membership Renew, or sign up for PITA membership online, and receive a free copy of the useful teacher book Voices of Experience: Practical Ideas to Wrap Up the Year. You will receive newsletters, information about upcoming PITA events and workshops, and have access to all of PITA s resource. Publication Mail Agreement pita provincial intermediate teachers association Please return undelivered pieces to 4695 West 6th Avenue Vancouver BC V6R 1V6