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The Cabinet of Many Colours

The Cabinet of Many Colours

I moved to a smaller classroom. Time to get creative with the furniture. This is an old microwave cart. My husband helped me make it into a storage and display cabinet on one side and a pocket chart and chart paper holder on the other. The cabinet is on wheels. I like keeping my classroom simple and uncluttered. With this multipurpose cabinet I don’t have to make all these things visible at once.




Summer Reading for Struggling Students

20140711-172109.jpgAt the end of the year I had my middleschool students each reading a novel independently and then writing in a literature journal. I created the literature journals with key words and questions for each chapter. I tried to stay three chapters ahead of each student so that I could record vocabulary words (each child had to read the vocabulary words to me before reading each chapter so I could ensure that key words would be read and understood) and questions that would help each student make connections to his experiences. I used ORCA Current books. They are books that have content for older readers but vocabulary and sentence length for struggling readers. Here is what the ORCA website has to say:

Orca Currents are short high-interest novels with contemporary themes, written expressly for middle-school students reading below grade level.

I also made tea or hot chocolate for the students and let them lounge. Some teachers may think I am soft but I wanted students to see how others enjoy reading. The best comments for me were the complaining words from the kids when it was time to put the books away.

For summer reading ask for “high interest, low vocabulary” books or check out the ORCA books (there are different series like ORCA SPORT books, ORCA ECHOES for younger readers and RAPID READS).

Also for summer, try audiobooks from iTunes or a website like or your ebooks from the library. Listening to books will build your child’s vocabulary, develop a love of story, and increase his understanding of stories. Make that iPod a learning tool!


blog grammar

I used this handout,Reforming Sentences, to try and review grammar in a way that demonstrates the purpose of grammar to my students. I have told them that I want their simple sentences to look more like middle schooler sentences and that grammar is the way to achieve better sentences.

This sheet’s instructions can be a little confusing at first, so do some with your students. On the second row, the instruction is “circle the nouns”. They need to circle the nouns of the sentence before then rewrite the sentence with adjectives added. The third row says “box the verb” – they do this to the sentence in the second row then rewrite the sentence with adverbs.

It was fun at the conclusion of this activity to have everyone read aloud his best sentence.

A Girls’ Group

Salvaging Sisterhood 1


Salvaging Sisterhood 2


I am just completing 8 sessions of Salvaging Sisterhood with the grade seven girls of our school.  What a privilege to have a chance like this to get to know these girls in a time spent away from math and reading.  The lit candles were our candles of confidentiality (battery operated) and the box contains affirmation sentences that the girls take with them after each session to help them battle the negative things they may tell themselves.

It has been busy, but well worth the time.  Highly recommend this curriculum.

This Is What It’s All About

I felt weary today…. then I found this on my desk, just what I needed.


Sweet Sweet Kids

Look what I found on my white board today. It made my day.


Silent Reminders

It’s more difficult to slowly phase out verbal prompts than non-verbal prompts. In other words, if you remind a child to do a task over and over, he may always wait for your reminder. Non-verbal prompts, reminders with no words, can be used to achieve changed behaviour and then can be phased out for more independent compliance.

This is what an educational assistant (EA) and I put together for just such silent reminders (this is worn on the wrist of the teacher and the EA):

It does seem more logical to remind someone to stay quiet without talking yourself.

Visit to Michigan

I recently spent three days in Michigan touring schools that do inclusive education really well. Our group’s host was an organization called CLC. I went on the trip with 4 administrators. This trip was a blessing in many ways.
Watch this video from Zeeland Christian School, one of the schools we visited and the school where I did my special education placement (the teacher talking on the video was my supervising teacher):

<p><a href=”″>Stronger Together: Inclusive Education</a> from <a href=”″>Zeeland Christian School</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a>.</p>

I have felt inspired to try some of the things that I saw and reorganize and share!  The value of each child is valued here, regardless of his ability to complete the curriculum.

Take The Teacher Test

Take The Teacher Test.

Moving from Defeat to Success

DSC03075Two weeks ago, when beginning to learn the countries of South America, a student stated , “There’s no point doing this, I’m going to fail anyways.”
One week ago, after studying with a mneumonic and matching visuals, I casually asked what he got on his quiz and he said, “100%.”
Today I announced that I had a mneumonic and visual for learning the countries of Central America and the same student declared, “Bring it on!!”

What a difference success can make!

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