Summer Camps 2010

Summer camps are definitely a worthwhile investment in your child’s future.  They provide a wonderful opportunity for young children to actively engage in the learning process through play.  “Play is the business of childhood, and it has a unique and vital role in the whole educational process.” (Weininger 1994).  The interactive, explorative and social collaboration of summer camp programs help children make sense of their world.  A place where children can learn to be independent, make new friends, acquire new strengths, and increase their self esteem and boost confidence.

As stated in the five goals of the Primary Program (found at: www.bced.gov.bc.ca/primary_program), children need certain elements to be in place for them to play, learn and grow: artistically, socially, emotionally, intellectually, and physically. Camps provide these necessary building blocks by keeping kids active, and interested in sports or arts-which help children stay out of trouble and away from bad influences.

It is also important to involve your child in the decision making process.  As you begin the process remember to sit down with your child and talk about what really interests him/her, what does he/she love about a particular activity and what does he/she want to gain from the camp experience.  Please do check for BCCA accredited camps that meet your child’s needs in a safe and nurturing environment.  Their standards are evaluated and updated yearly (www.bccamping.org).

A few recommendations:

Science Camp: www.scienceworld.ca

Sport Camps: www.richmondoval.ca ; www.vacdivers.ca; www.sfu.ca/camps; www.keatscamps.com; www.aquatics.ubc.ca; www.myymca.ca; www.excelerationtriclub.ca

Soccer Camps:  www.TSSACADEMY.COM/CAMPS

Visual Arts:  www.artists4kids.com; www.danceco.com

Film and Television:  www.GIFTSfilms.com; www.gatewaytheatre.com

Cooking:  www.sproutingchefs.com

Camps:  www.evanslake.com; www.sasamat.org; www.clan-csf.a; www.eaglearts.ca; www.campjubilee.ca; www.funcamps.ca

Reading Flashmob

Aclades to Occoee Middle School in Florida for demonstrating their commitment to education by promoting reading among youth in a creative, dynamic and exciting way.  With so many other interactive mobile and internet sites to stimulate a student’s attention, the art of reading (fiction/non-fiction) takes a back seat, especially with students who struggle.  Reading is not always seen as cool.  Clearly, Occoee Middle School changed their students’ perception by inspiring them to do a singing and dancing music video called Gotta Keep Reading to the tune of “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas.  The video relates reading and literacy to encourage kids to prepare for the process while exposing them to various genres.  Congratulations! Recently, my students and I followed in their foot steps and performed our own version of this song and dance ensemble for our  school assembly.  The tune was absolutely contagious and inspirational!  View link to video below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6D9jiEYxzs&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNpNfhpqDk4

To view lyrics click on link below:

https://www.ocps.net/lc/west/moo/Documents/Gotta%20Keep%20Reading%20Lyrics.pdf

Parent Presentations

The British Columbia Teachers’ Federation has developed presentations for parents that offer opportunities for them to learn strategies, gain knowledge and explore concerns.  Teachers, like myself, (BCTF members) provide these presentations to PACs, DPACs, and other parent groups throughout British Columbia in response to parents’ increasing interest in supporting their children’s education..  Topics include: Antibullying, Born to buy, Bugs, drugs, and rugs (school health and safety), Captive mind—captive market?, Raising confident boys (and girls) and Supporting your child’s learning.  Please view link below for more detailed information and registration:

http://www.bctf.ca/uploadedFiles/Parents/communication/brochure-view.pdf

Upcoming parent presentations in Vancouver, British Columbia and the lower mainland:

  • Monday, February 1 – Raising confident boys and girls (Vancouver)
  • Tuesday, February 2 – Raising confident boys and girls (North Vancouver)
  • Wednesday, February 3 – Bugs, drugs and rugs (Surrey)
  • Tuesday, February 16 – Anti-bullying (Burnaby)
  • Tuesday, February 16 – Raising confident boys and girls (Vancouver)
  • Wednesday, February 17 – Raising confident boys and girls (Burnaby)
  • Monday, March 8 – Raising confident boys and girls (Delta)
  • Tuesday, March 16 – Supporting your child’s learning (Vancouver)
  • Thursday, March 18 – Anti-bullying (Burnaby)
  • Monday, March 22 – Raising confident boys and girls (Surrey)
  • Tuesday, March 23 – Raising confident boys and girls (Maple Ridge)
  • Monday, March 29 – Raising confident boys and girls (Delta)
  • Thursday, April 15 – Raising confident boys and girls (Burnaby)
  • Wednesday, April 21 – Supporting your child’s learning (Coquitlam)
  • Wednesday, April 21 – Born to buy (Burnaby)
  • Tuesday, April 27 – Raising confident boys and girls (Vancouver)
  • Tuesday, May 11 – Born to buy (Surrey)
  • Monday, May 17 – Supporting your child’s learning (Surrey)

Time Magazine Tells How to Make Better Teachers

I highly recommend educators and parents read the cover story in TIME magazine (Vol.171. No.8) by Claudia Wallis. Definitely a controversial article for some and enlightening for others.  Either way it brings about conversation and debate that is needed to improve teaching.  An investment in all of our future.  The article talks about invigorating the profession by providing teachers with other professional opportunities, like the chance to grow in the job, learn from the best of their peers, show leadership and have a voice in decision-making, including how their work is judged.  Many school districts in BC have already made a serious investment into providing this time of change.  Teachers like myself, are taking part in these opportunities.  To read this article please click on link below:
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1713174,00.html

For more related articles that follow up on educational topics such as, How They Do It Abroad:  http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1713557,00.html

A fascinating look at education around the world leads one to the documentary Two Million Minutes, it compares how American students measure up to those in India and China.  http://2mminutes.com

Lets Venture Outside!

nature

Clearly, a childhood spent outdoors playing, exploring and discovering is a valuable experience.   Study after study proves that children interacting with the outside environment is very crucial in human development.  We all can recall our own childhood excitement in discovering the mysterious outside world–definitely priceless! These outdoor experiences have helped in producing the worlds greatest risk takers, problems solvers and inventors.

Unfortunately, the latest trends amongst adolescents plugging into various technologies like, video games, personal computers and television are at an all-time high.  Students are now more than ever being diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, obesity and depression.  Sadly, children are being prescribed medications to deal with health problems.  Today, children’s body mass index is higher than before.  The American Heart Association for disease reported that heart disease in children has tripled in the past 20 years.

Being outside and participating in physical activity not only  increases children’s feeling of well-being but also increases their ability to focus on tasks.  As of 2008/2009, the BC ministry of education recognized the importance of healthy childhood development and implemented daily fitness into the curriculum in elementary schools.  Teachers realize learning is more meaningful and effective when students can interact and draw connections between their education and environment. Keeping it fun, active and hands-on is the key to developing skills such as, curiosity and a sense of wonder in our students that will last a lifetime.  In turn, we will raise healthier children (physically and mentally).

The 2009 Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, [in collaboration with ParticipACTION and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute – Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group (CHEO-HALO)] reveals that children who are more physically active are also more academically fit, resulting in better scores in math and reading, higher grades, greater perceptual skill and overall academic readiness.

A few Suggestions to inspire a great outdoor classroom experience and learn about local ecosystems :

*My colleague recently took her students on a fabulous all-day nature field trip (free of charge) to Salt Spring Island.  An amazing experience that took them to a variety of ecosystems.  The students definitely left with a new appreciation for their environment.  For more information visit their website:  www.saltspringconservancy.ca.

*Another great leader in Canadian environment education is EDC’s EcoKids Program.  A great resource for teachers, students and families.  EcoKids recently unveiled a new website:  www.ecokids.ca. Definitely worth checking out, especially for the 2010 Great EcoKids Challenge.  Also, it provides:

  • New lesson plans tailored to Provincial Curriculum Standards
  • Free resource kits chalk full of useful classroom resources
  • A “Homework Help” section for students
  • A Teachers’ Forum to share creative and unique ideas about education and the environment

*The Surrey Nature Centre offers a range of environmental education programs in the marvellous natural setting of Green Timbers. They offer a new complement of programming for Fall, Winter, and Spring to keep students engaged throughout every season of the year.  Visit their website:  www.surrey.ca/naturecentre

*We all can worker together to help children live longer and healthier lives.  To limit TV time and get your kids moving visit these links below:

http://www.jumpropeforheart.ca/

http://www.familytlc.net/index.html

http://www.gameskidsplay.net/

http://www.healthyalberta.com/ActiveLiving/173.htm

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3033902

http://www.participaction.com/en-us/GettingActive/InspiringKids.aspx

International Children’s Day!

children-around-world-742078

November 20, 2009 marks the day when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959) and the Convention of the Rights of the Child (1989) to celebrate children.  Our classroom will be celebrating this special day throughout the week with music, art, books, activities and presentations.  Parents are invited to participate.

The grade 3 social studies prescribed learning outcomes we are currently covering are:

  • C1 describe how an understanding of personal roles, rights, and responsibilities can affect the well-being of the school and community
  • C2 summarize the roles and responsibilities of local governments

Article 29 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states the purpose of education is the “preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin.”

Shirley Hughes and Ken Wilson-Max are among eight renowned artists who illustrate children’s rights in a simplified version of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  IIlustrations are included from the publication For Every Child, as well as photographs showing the lives of children around the world:

http://www.unicef.org.uk/tz/resources/assets/pdf/every_child_colour_leaflet.pdf

A list of our class theme songs: (** Please note: Parental guidance/supervision is required when viewing YouTube videos)

A list of books to read with your child at home:

  • Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree. 1964. New York: Harper and Row Publishers.
  • Jane Cowen-Fletcher, It Takes A Village. 1994. New York: Scholastic Inc.
  • Lois Ehlert, Planting a Rainbow. 1988. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers
  • Nancy Carlson, I Like Me. 1990. New York: Penguin books, Inc
  • Tony Johnston, & Tomie dePaola, The Quilt Story. 1985. New York: Scholastic Inc
  • All the colors We Are. 1994. St. Paul, Minnesota: Redleaf Press.
  • Cheltenham Elementary School Kindergartners, We are Alike, We Are Different. 1991. New York: Scholastic.
  • Nina Pelleginin, Families Are Different. 1991. New York: Holiday House.
  • Ellen Levine, I Hate English. 1989. New York: Scholastic, Inc
  • Arthur Dorros, This is my House. 1992. New York: Scholastic Inc.
  • Mary Ann Hoberman, A House is a House For Me. 1978. New York: Scholastic, Inc
  • Marc Brown, Arthur’s Eyes. 1979. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company
  • Robert McClosky, Make Way For Ducklings. 1969. New York: Penguin Books
  • Aliki, Feelings. 1984. New York: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Barbara Josse, Momma Do You Love Me? 1991. New York: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Eric Carle, My Apron.

Link for United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child:
http://www.hrea.org/erc/Library/hrdocs/un/child/declaration-en.html

Virtue of Education

education

I recently got a chance to listen to Geraldo Rivera speak on CNN about his new book,  The Great Progression: How Hispanics Will Lead America to a New Era of Prosperity. Seems like an interesting read that explores the contributions of the hispanic community to America’s culture and economy. I particularly enjoyed his comments on the importance of instilling the virtue of education in children to ensure we have hard-working & law-abiding citizens. Geraldo Rivera spoke  about parents needing to assume responsibility for their children’s success and cannot simply blame inner city schools .  Yes, many factors have now created a perfect storm for a crisis in public education especially the “vulnerable” children.  However, one basic and guaranteed practice to achieve success is for parents to help their children with their homework. Study after study proves that the link between the parent and school is crucial and an important factor in success.  As I have mentioned in earlier posts, parents are vital partners in their children’s education.  We inspire our students to create a better world and we nurture the love of learning every day.  Research shows that parental involvement plays an important role in their child’s academic success.   Volunteering in the classroom or school  is a great opportunity for parents to be more directly involved in their children’s education.  Some of the other ways to become more involved:

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