Friday, 30 September 2011


I love using stories, short film clips, and case studies in my classes.  Telling stories makes everything more relatable to students.  Discussions flow much more easily when students have people to identify with as we discuss broad concepts.

Typically, around the Terry Fox Run, my fabulous Planning 10 colleague and I talk about the Terry Fox Run with our classes.  Then, we show this clip and ask students to write reflective journal entries.  I am always touched by some of my students' stories and reflections.  This year, my Leadership students and co-teacher took on organization of the Terry Fox Run.  I decided to take the opportunity to put some Planning 10 work on display and had the students create posters, in lieu of journal entries, responding to the prompts, "I am running in the Terry Fox Run for/because/in memory of..."  Students didn't have to put their names on the front and were able to make their examples general or specific.  We developed criteria as a class and the students developed high standards.

It's always lovely to end a busy week with pencil crayons.

Once they were on display in the hallway, the stories of their classmates served as powerful reminders to students as the Terry Fox Run approached.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

My First "Foods" Blog Entry: Musical Foods

The other day, the amazing Becky sent me a video to kick off our breakfast unit...

I had been thinking about YouTube videos and songs that I could use class, and the Sesame Street clip is brilliant!  Everybody loves Grover!

As a "musically challenged" individual, I tend to limit my singing to three places:

1) The car (This occasionally provides entertainment for colleagues who commute along the same highway.)
2) Church (As a courtesy to those around me, my volume depends on the volume of the band.)
3) The kitchen (My songs are usually themed to the food I'm cooking...and those who want to eat don't mock the chef.)

On occasion, I change the lyrics of a popular song and sing a few lines in class, but it never lasts long.  I'd prefer to avoid ending up on YouTube under "tone deaf teacher."

I am teaching Foods for the first time, this year.  As I was flipping through Foods 9/10 recipes provided by my fabulous colleagues, I began to think of the songs I associate with many of the ingredients.

For example, I was looking at a recipe for breakfast burritos.  In my kitchen, any meal which requires these:
Sidenote: I LOVE Trader Joe's!
Results in an off-key rendition of this:

Banana waffles are in one of the binders, as well.  Any banana-related recipes cause me to re-write and sing the words of this song:

As I thought about it, I realized that my list of cooking songs goes on...and on...and on.  Fresh herbs are great, but breaded chicken isn't perfect unless I'm singing "Shake your chicken!"  (You're judging me right now, aren't you?)

While I'm not willing to perform any of my cooking songs in class, I think it will be fun to play themed songs for different recipes and units.  I might play songs on cooking day as the students start, or as they enter on demo day and have them guess what we're making.  If a food is traditionally eaten in another country, I could find some international music to accompany meal time.  I used to love using songs when I taught English and will definitely be using music in Social Studies.  Why should Foods be left out?

The wheels in my mind are turning...

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

"I was on Facebook when you were in diapers."

Grade 10 Student: Ms. Jakse, are you on Facebook?
Me: Yes.
Grade 10 Student: WHAT???  REALLY???  That's so weird!  HEY!  SHE'S ON FACEBOOK!  Teachers shouldn't even be allowed on Facebook!
Me: Actually, it was invented by university students, for university students, when I was in university.  Maybe YOU shouldn't be on there.  *grin*
Grade 10 Student: You're so weird.  *pause*  Can I friend you?
Me: No.

Grade 10/11/12 Student: Ms. Jakse, are you on Facebook?
Me: Yes.
Grade 10/11/12 Student: It's SOOOO weird that there are teachers are on Facebook.
Me: I was on Facebook when you were in diapers.
Grade 10/11/12 Student:  *laughs* Yeah, right.  Can I friend you?
Me: No.

Grade 8 Student: Ms. Jakse, you're on Facebook, right?
Me: Yes.
Grade 8 Student: It's kind of weird that there are teachers are on Facebook.
Me: I was on Facebook when you were in diapers.
Grade 8 Student: Oh, really?
Me: No, I'm just kidding!  Wait.  You guys are thirteen.  That means you were in grade three when I joined Facebook.
Grade 8 Student: Yeah.
Me: Hmm.  Guess the diaper comment isn't funny anymore.  In a few more years, it will be too close to the truth.
Grade 8 Student: Can I friend you?
Me: No.