Similes

I was teaching about similes last week, and I introduced the students to a poem called “Predictable” by Bruce Lansky.  In the poem, Bruce relays a lot of clichés, such as “poor as a church mouse” and “bald as an eagle”.  Now, after going through many examples of similes using mentor texts, each student composed their own simile poems through a cloze format (fill in the blank) entitled “Clever”.  Meaning, they could not use any of the tired clichés Bruce used in “Predictable”.  They delivered (click on the Twitter pic link to see one of the poems)….

@MelizzaLavoie: @Bryan_Baeumler: Simile poems this morning….. pic.twitter.com/j1lnq4Tccj”Love it – A+!!

— Bryan Baeumler (@Bryan_Baeumler) October 15, 2014

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Live from New York, it’s Dave Ruch!

Yesterday, students at St. Paul School, as well as other schools in Timmins, across Canada and the U.S., had the opportunity to participate in a free, live and very interactive concert by Dave Ruch.  Dave is a teaching artist who captivates audiences with his musicality, personality and impeccable timing: “Show me those teeth!  Beautiful – especially you in the red shirt!” Cut to student in red shirt, now smiling profusely, his/her friends gasping and trying to figure out how he knew?!  😀  The concert featured instruments such as the mandolin and the jaw harp, as he took the students around the world, teaching them verses of songs in different languages (Nigerian, Russian, Japanese, Italian…), and definitely got them out of their seats, dancing and singing along.  He even took questions after his 45-minute concert via email.  If you are looking to add an interactive experience to your Music program, look no further.  Thanks Dave!  His official website is: http://www.daveruch.com/
As well, teachers can find him on the digital Human Library site – and don’t forget to register for even more exciting virtual field trip opportunities for your students!

Google Slides Presentation: Indigenous Math Games

My students learned how to play two different Aboriginal math games (more can be found here).  They had fun playing Throw Sticks and Stick Dice, games originating with the Apaches in the Southwest United States and the Pomo Indians of California, respectively. During large celebrations that would last about four days, nations would get together and would feast, dance and play games. Many of these games involved gambling and setting large wagers against neighbouring tribes.  The kids didn’t want to stop playing the game, which is interesting, because all the materials you need to play this game can be found in nature, and not on an iPad!
For Throw Sticks, you need: 40 rocks, arranged in 4 groups of 10 in a circle, 2 feathers for place markers, and 3 sticks (we used popsicle sticks) that must be decorated using the same patterns and colours on each.
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Throw Sticks

For Stick Dice, you need: 6 (popsicle) sticks, all decorated the same on one side only.

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Stick Dice
Obviously there weren’t any Mr. Sketch markers back when this game originated, but I imagine that they would have burned etchings into the sticks to create patterns, and/or used things like berries for dyes.  The students were then taught how to use Google Slides.   They especially loved the transitions effects and how you can “drag and drop” pictures using Google Chrome, as opposed to Internet Explorer where you have to save your image and then upload it.  As part of our procedural writing unit, their task was to create a presentation all about how to play the game of their choice.  When these are complete, they will be teaching another class how to play their games by showing their presentations on iPads. And because you should end your procedural text on a positive note, I’ll apply that here:  Amazing work, Grade 4/5’s!

My first dHL artist connection

Meet Dave Ruch, my first official artist connection to the digital Human Library!  Dave is a historian, entertainer, educator, comedian, folklorist, and musician based out of Buffalo NY.  He will be putting on a FREE online, interactive concert for students K-5 on Friday, October 10th at 1:15 pm.  For more information about Dave and how to contact him for login information, please read Leigh (of dHL)’s blog here.

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Dave Ruch

Application to UBC MET Submitted!

So after months of preparation: impromptu meetings, cold calls, networking, and the realization that I have a lot of great people surrounding me in unrelenting support – I have submitted my application to graduate school.Back in July, I visited my sister in Vancouver.  I had been researching grad school programs, truthfully for a few years now, and none seemed quite right for me.  I was beginning to feel like Goldilocks – school and clinical child psychology? No.  Curriculum studies? Nah……and then I came across UBC’s Master of Educational Technology program.  Just right.

I want to explore the use of video-conferencing in the classroom further, and I proposed adding an experts panel comprised of artists to the Digital Human Library website (link on my About page), where kids in rural areas like Northeastern Ontario can interact with artists from across Canada to enhance the Arts curriculum and engage them in an authentic learning experience.   This is all done from the comfort of their classroom, which means costs are down.  And when I say down, I mean FREE.  I want to create a resource to help teachers, and ultimately, students.

Stay tuned.

UBC MET Application Screen
UBC MET Application Confirmation