Monday, 29 October 2012

My Two Cents (News and a Pet Peeve)

Hello All,

Two posts in one month! Go big or go home! LOL

Just an update: I had an interview today! (Yay!) First one since August. I think it went pretty well, and hopefully I will hear back from them with good news soon. The only thing that scares me is that it is a grade 1/2 position! I usually say that those grades are a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there! I think that it could be a fun experience though. And they do a lot of team teaching/collaborating, so I would have a bunch of support. That would be nice.

On to my pet peeve. As I think I've mentioned before, I have had a lot of experience in my (5 and a bit) years of teaching. Unfortunately, I've never had a full school year in one place, and I've had a few terms that were only 2-3 months long, and two of those I was only teaching half-time.

I overheard a girl talking in my night class a few weeks ago about how she is subbing because she's already had lots of terms, and she doesn't need any more "experience" just a job. Which got me thinking about how my experience is viewed by others. Then, at the interview today, the principal basically asked (in a nicer way than this) if the fact that I had so many jobs in different places was because there was something wrong with me. At first, I thought that this was a pretty unfair statement, as I feel like landing a permanent job is a lot more about being in the right place at the right time, rather than based on skill. On the other hand, I appreciated the fact that this principal was upfront about that thought, and gave me a chance to speak to this concern. Hopefully if (when) he calls my references, they will be able to say that they would hire me again, they just didn't have the ability to do so now.

I think it's really unfair that in this kind of "buyer's market" where lots of teachers are competing for few jobs, that I am going to be judged on teaching in several different schools in several different divisions. Some of the schools I worked at were shrinking due to lowered enrolment, some had people who had been on terms longer than I had, and some just didn't have any openings. That shouldn't paint me as an incompetent teacher.

Ah well. Glad to have gotten an interview, anyways. I always think that that is the hardest part of the battle. After getting the interview, getting the job should be easy! :)

Thanks for listening!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Life, the Universe, and Everything

Hey Everyone,

Here I am again, quite a while since my last post once more. I haven't been around since I haven't really had any positive teaching-related things to share, and I didn't want to be "that person" who fills up their space with negative things. I have a tendency to see more negativity in my life than positive, and I'm trying very hard to create more positivity around myself. That being said, I also wanted to give you a heads up as to what has been going on in my life the last little while.

So once again, I am without a job this year. This is so frustrating for me. A little bit of background, this is my sixth year of teaching. In those six years, I technically have 3+ years of experience, teaching in 6 different schools (in order, grade 6, 4, 6/7, 3, 5/6, 3/4), in 4 different school divisions, not to mention the subbing I've done in between some of those jobs (which range in time from 2 months to almost a full year).

I hate applying for what seems like hundreds of jobs (I counted, 46 for this school year) and hearing very little in return. I know that it is a tough market, and even getting interviews (2 of 46) is an accomplishment (when I got my 6/7 job a few years ago, they had 200 applicants and interviewed 3 people, and it's only gotten harder since then), but it doesn't feel that way. I just feel like a failure, somedays. I have two university degrees and I'm still stuck working evenings and weekends at my crappy part-time retail job.

I know at this point lots of people would be saying, "If it's so difficult and you feel so badly about yourself, why are you still trying?" I've asked myself this several times over the last few years as well, but the only answer I can come up with is, "what else can I do? This is all that I want." So I keep on truckin' and hoping that one day it will be me in the right place at the right time, who finally knows the 'right' people.

If you made it this far, thanks so much for sticking around and listening to my rant. One of the things that I am working on for my Special Ed. class is a resource for teachers of middle years math, so I hope to have some things to share, strategies for teaching some of the harder ideas in mathematics.

Talk soon!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Made it Monday! Finally!

Yay! I finally made it for a Made it Monday with Tara over at Fourth Grade Frolics

This Made it is actually a while in the making, but it is finished...and it is Monday, so I get to link up! I'm so excited! 

If you spend as much time on Pinterest as I do, you'll probably know this sign: 

Classroom Rules

Which I really loved. Then, scrolling through another set of Monday Made Its, I found this post by Jen @ Teaching and Tech in the Middle School (go check it out if you want how to pictures, and because she's awesome). 

So short story long, I went to Michael's, bought a canvas and a couple tubes of paint, bought some different font cartridges for my Cricut, cut the phrases on cardstock to use as a stencil and ended up with this: 

(Please excuse the blurry phone picture)

It still needs a couple touch ups, but I'm pretty excited about how it turned out. Thinking about doing a matching/opposite colours one for this: 

So true!  

And on another note: Had an interview today! Keeping my fingers & toes crossed until Wednesday. Sent positive thoughts my way! 

Now go amaze me with your craftiness!

Happy Monday Everyone!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

August Currently

Hey All,

I don't know what it is about writing/blogging, but it really makes me want to say "y'all" all the time! I am from nowhere near the south, but it brings it out in me!

Anyway, super busy this weekend with weddings (today and tomorrow) but wanted to check in and post my Currently for August :)

Have a good (long) weekend everybody!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

School (the other kind)!

Welcome back!

So last time I mentioned something about having some more news.

So over the past few months, I've hemmed and hawed over the idea of heading back to university and doing a few courses. On one hand, I didn't want to do it because as someone who has two degrees adding up to six years of university, going back and doing a full year's worth of courses would 'bump me up' the pay scales in my province. Teachers here only need to have 5 years of schooling, so I'm already more expensive than other people with the same years of experience as I have. I didn't know if this would be an issue at hiring.

On the other hand, one of my eventual goals is to qualify to become a resource teacher, especially as there have been a number of postings over the last while looking for those lovely people. What I really wanted to do was qualify as a Teacher of the Deaf/hoh, but apparently I missed that boat by a few months at my home university when they offered it as a "one time only" course! :(

So, long story short, I've applied to go back to school to work on my PBDE (Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Education). I figure that professional development and life-long learning can't be looked at as detrimental to an applicant, even if it makes me a little pricier. :)

So I'm pretty excited to go back to school! One of my friends is also taking the course I want, and I know the professors for both halves! The first one is a prof I had during my undergrad and the second is the former vp from my first school! Yay!

Thanks for sticking with me all the way to the end!

Anyone else heading back to university this year?

'Til next time!

Monday, 23 July 2012


Hello Peeps!

I hope that you are somewhere where the weather is cooperating and you don't have to hide inside hugging your air conditioner while the weather is being stubborn! It has been a hot couple of weeks here in Winnipeg, and even the thunderstorm we got last night has not helped break the humidity. My poor hair!

Anyways, I feel like I owe you an explanation for my absence (once again), so I decided to do it in pictures!

First there was this:

And then there was this:

And, finally:

If you're still confuzzled, last Saturday, on our twelfth 'anniversary' of dating, hubs and I *finally* tied the knot. You know it's bad when people start asking when you're having babies even before the wedding is over.

So now that that's behind me, hopefully I will have more time to devote to this li'l old blog of mine!

In related news, if you're wondering, still no new prospects on the job front. Everything's pretty much shut down for a few more weeks, hopefully good news then.

I have some more news, but in the interest of keeping this short, I'll save it for next time (and you'll be guaranteed one more post soon)!


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Currently, Blog Changes, Job Offer

Hello all you happy people!

Hope that you had a wonderful Wednesday! Mine was very active (we still have two weeks of school left, but my kidlets have checked out already), but we are still pushing through. So as the tile says, there are lots of things going on in this post.

(PS: Look! Two posts in two days! Woo Hoo!)

First, let's start with this month's Currently. If you haven't, or are a late one like me, go hook up with Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for this fun monthly activity!

Here's mine:

This year I haven't been on any trips! We have been focused on the wedding and that planning. We would love to go to Europe and visit some friends who moved there recently, but that trip might be pushed until later in the year. We are planning on going somewhere right after the wedding, but it might just be a road trip down to the States for a few days. 

Okay, moving on...
Doesn't my blog look awesome? It's so exciting!

So I had an interview yesterday for a job in one of my local school divisions. I thought the interview went well, and got a call today from the principal. She called to offer me a job, though not the one I interviewed for. This one was a grade level lower and only half-time. I've decided not to accept, but I feel like I am closing the door on something...I just hope that something else will come along! 

All right, that's enough for me! 

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Guided Math

First, sorry I've been MIA for so long (again). It's hard to blog about things I want to do and make when I'm in a position that doesn't really feel "mine". It's hard to be motivated. I hope to be around and able to blog more often once my reports are done for the end of the year and have a new job that I can tell you about for next year! Please keep your fingers crossed for me and send good thoughts to the administrators that I would like to hire me!

On to the good stuff:

I've promised (and have been meaning for a while) to blog about Math and what it looked like in my 5/6 classroom. This year I did a lot of reading, both online and in different resources, about Guided Math. I've taught combined grade classes before and knew that I didn't want to do the "okay, grade 5's, you work on this worksheet, and don't bother me or ask questions because I have to work with the grade 6's" route. That just doesn't make sense to me, and doesn't seem like best practices for my students.

At the same time, I also knew that I couldn't completely re-invent the curriculum. (If you didn't know, I was hired for this position 3 days before the start of school. Panic Time)! So I made the choice to continue to use the school's math program/textbook Math Makes Sense and build it into my math groups.

My math groups had four components: Work with Teacher, Paper and Pencil, Basic Facts (and Manipulatives), and Games. Here's a brief description:
1) Work with Teacher: This is where my lessons would happen. I would teach the skill that we were working on, and we would do some practicing and have time to ask questions. I also made sure that my 'low' group would always start a new skill with me at this station before they had to do any independent work. Then they would go directly to
2) Paper and Pencil: This is where students would work on their textbook pages or extra practice sheets to practice the skill. My high group would start here, because they were generally independent. My other groups would go here after working with me so that the lesson was fresh in their minds.
3)Basic Facts: This group was usually different games or activities to help students with automaticity of basic facts. This mostly included different card or dice games, it would not necessarily relate to the current topic, but was more a practice for things in the "number" strand of math that underlies the rest of the math curriculum.
4)Games: At the beginning, this station was based on different math themed board games. The pitfall of this was that these games were usually difficult for the studentss to understand independently, and they weren't always on task. As I was able to collect more games that went with the curricular outcomes, I switched these in with a few of the board games that I had to pre-teach so that the students could be successful.

We had to work really hard at expectations and making sure to realize how loud the groups were being while others were working. When I do it again, I would like to start off a lot like you do in Daily 5. Build those expectations together and slowly building our "stamina" or the amount of time that we spend in each group.

I hope that helps you picture things! Any questions, let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Socials, Stress and New Beginnings

Hello Again!

I know I've been M.I.A. for a while, but life has been pretty hectic these last few weeks. My job wound down, unfortunately, and I finished at the school the Friday before Spring Break. It was really hard to say good-bye to the kiddos and all of my friends on staff. I felt like this was the place that I enjoyed the most out of everywhere that I've worked. So hopefully I will find my way back someday soon.

The next big thing was my wedding social at the end of Spring Break. For anyone who doesn't live in Manitoba, a social is basically a big party. We rent a hall, sell tickets, put together a silent auction, and basically invite everyone we know. It's also a way of raising money and helping to defray the cost of the actual wedding later on. So there was a ton of last minute planning and putting things together in order to be ready for Saturday.

On top of all that, I started a new job on Monday. I'm now teaching a 3/4 combined class half-time until the end of the school year. Monday went well, but I'm struggling with the way that they have split this class. I teach writing and spelling in ELA, and the "Shape and Space" strand of Math, as well as French and Science.

I've been working on using Daily 5, and creating my own guided Math program. I'm struggling with only having small pieces of the curriculum to teach. I'm thinking about doing my own modified Daily 5-esque writing/word work. But I have to think about what that will look like. It's hard to plan to do lots of different writing things when you have 1 1/2 hours a day...

What would you do?

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Boxcars and One-Eyed Jacks

Hello Again!

Today I attended a PD session put on by the local Multi-Age Educators association by "Boxcars and One-Eyed Jacks". This is a workshop on math games particularly but also some ideas about math teaching in general.

Math has been one of my focus points this year, especially since I am teaching a 5/6 combined class and the, "Okay, grade 5s, you work independently while I work with the grade 6s," just doesn't work for me. This year I tried using math groups or "guided math" to help teach my kidlets. That's a whole other post, but suffice it to say that one of the groups in my math program is games. I L.O.V.E. love games for teaching math.

So back to the session. First of all, any time you are giving me a free resource that I can actually use, I'm in. Today I walked away with this book,

 This is a whole collection of math games for grades 1-9. The great thing is that they are basically all playable with just a deck of cards or a set of dice, and the extension/differentiation possibilities are pretty open. AND, the best part--I won a prize! I won 3 of these three-in-a-die dice! Yay!

Anyways, if you want to learn more or order any of their great manipulatives or books, the website is

Happy Thursday! Time to prep for Parent Conferences tomorrow!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Currently, Randomness and Yay!

Here is my very first linky party link up! This is my "Currently" for March. If you would like to link up, go visit Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade

For anyone who doesn't know the story (sorry, Atlanta) the Winnipeg Jets have just moved back to Winnipeg after 15 years of being NHL hockey-free.  So we are a little passionate about our hockey right now. 

Winterval is our take on Festival du Voyageur, basically we are going to do some winter activities and crafts, etc. 

I had an interview on Friday, so keep your fingers crossed for me! I really wish something opens up in the future for me at my current school. It is probably my favourite place to work so far. 

PS: it is really hard to find good adjectives that start with 'M'! My family would say mental because, well, one, I teach middle years, mental is a requirement...and two, oral reports are coming up next week! 

PPS: Yay! My first follower! I actually feel like I'm talking to someone!

Have a Great Week!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Snow Day and Blah-ness

So today we had a snow day, not the fabulous, go-back-to-bed kind, but the no children kind. It was nice to not have to worry about getting there on time (roads were pretty slippery) but bittersweet, since this is my last full week with my kidlets. I'm meeting with their "real" teacher tomorrow to go over some things before she comes back half-time next week and full time in April after Spring Break.

At least today gave me some time to catch up on my dreaded marking and packing up some of my non-essentials. I really hate the teaching market here right now. It's so hard when there are few jobs, and it takes so long to get something real. I've worked in 4 divisions in the past 5 years, and never a full school year in the same place. I'm feeling done with waiting. I love what I do, I just want to be able to do it. Sigh.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Daily 5 Continued

Hello again!

Here are some of the things I wanted to share with Daily 5. The first isn't a new idea, but I love it! Here is my Boggle board.

If you are looking for "my" Boggle sheet, a big thank you to (and go visit)

I also got the letters for my Boggle board from somewhere but can't find the link! Hopefully I can find it soon.

Below is my Daily 5 bulletin board.

There are a couple neat features on my bulletin board. Under Work on Words, I have some binder rings with different activities students can do with their spelling words (I am not a big fan of bought spelling units, especially American ones with the wrong spellings, but the teacher I replaced does them and I wanted some things to stay consistent for my kiddos). During Work on Words, students can work on spelling, do Boggle, or do one of the flip book activities.

The second part of my Daily Five board is Work on Writing. Underneath our I-chart is a repurposed pencil holder. It holds popsicle sticks with writing topics that my students have come up with on them. If anyone is stuck, they can grab a topic. I want to add another pencil holder for blank popsicle sticks so they can add to our collection. Under our Read to Self header I have some book review pages so students can recommend books to each other.

Right now we are basically doing the "Daily 4", since we don't really do Listen to Reading except for when we Read with Someone. I went to a workshop a little while ago where the presenter talked about doing Listen to Reading as a whole class using audio books. May have to try it out one of these days.

The other big feature of my Daily 5 is my clip-chart. Students move their clothespin onto the Daily 5 section they're doing. Gives me a quick way to record or see what kids are doing without having to stop and ask all the time.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Daily 5

I know that the Daily Five is one of the big movements out there and there are lots of different blog posts and great ideas, but I wanted to share my experience with it as well. This is my first year implementing the Daily 5. I will say it straight-up, my implementation isn't exactly what the Sisters probably expect. kids love it. Like, absolutely, can-we-give-up-Math/Science/SS/RecessGym-and-do-our-Daily-5 love it. I am not as strict as I should be when it comes to shutting down our work when there is a disruption, but they do pretty well anyway. I wanted to share some pictures, but don't have any today, so it will have to wait until tomorrow when I head back to school! I'll share more Daily 5 then!

Happy Monday! Have a great week at school everyone!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A New Adventure

Hello Bloggy World!

Welcome to my first post! Thanks for stopping by!

So about me...

I'm a fifth-year teacher from Manitoba. I am currently teaching in a grade 5/6 combined class, and searching for my "forever job"! I love what I do and I would love to do it permanently somewhere. Here's the place for me to document all my teaching adventures.

See you soon!