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Common curriculum

I’ve been on Twitter for almost two years now. Before that, my only experience with teaching an curriculum was that of Saskatchewan. Here, for those from outside SK, we have a common curriculum for the province. That means, regardless of where you are in the province, if you are in grade 3, you should be learning the same things. Most likely it won’t be taught in the same way, but the teachers still have the same set of standards (or outcomes as they are now called) to follow.

As a girl who grew up moving around, I see the benefits of this core curriculum. I moved from Alberta to Saskatchewan the summer between fifth and sixth grade. In AB, the push to learn verb conjugation (in French immersion) was in grade six. In SK, it is learned progressively starting in grade three, with most of the basics learned by sixth grade. This left me struggling as a student. To this day, I’m really good at using tools to help me, and even though I teach French, I still doubt myself every time I have to write.

So, where is this going? Back to Twitter… I see so many of the people I follow many negative comments about common core curriculum. Why? I can completely understand being against creating common lessons that every teacher needs to follow. I believe that teachers need to use their own strengths and knowledge and to also use the interests and knowledge of the students when planning and executing lessons. It engages all involved. But what is wrong in saying that in a given year a student should be able to […]? I am not trying to be argumentative, I just truly don’t understand what people have against this. Maybe I can get some comments explaining different viewpoints…

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99 and counting

Today I read my 99th book of 2011. In January 2011 I pledged to read 111 books this year. I have 12 more to go in almost two months. I think that I will be able to make it!

I have read picture books, beginner chapter books, graphic novels, adult books, teen books, audio books, poetry books… It has been a blast! I have kept track of them all using the Goodreads website. You can see my profile here. It is a great way to keep track of books you want to read, and those you have read. Join and friend me! There is a Goodreads app for your cell phone if you get your apps from iTunes. I don’t know if there is one for Blackberry or Android… The app makes it super easy to add books.

Next year I plan on making my goal 112. Will you join me?

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Frustrated voter

I don’t usually talk politics with people. I have some staunch party people in my family and they are not on the same side of the political coin. So, we have learned to keep our election chatter to a minimum.

However, I am so annoyed that I feel the need to say something, or write it. I still have no plan of publicly picking sides though.

Firstly, I am tired of political parties phoning me and asking if they can count on my vote. It is truly none of your business who I plan on voting for. Now, if you phoned to ask if I had any questions about their party’s platform, I might be less annoyed. But you don’t. I’ve never been asked that question. I have had some friends who were visited by canvassers and completely insulted when they did have the chance to ask their questions. They were treated like they were stupid for questioning the party’s positions and past actions. That makes me angry.

Secondly, as a teacher, I have a particular point of view that perhaps non-teachers don’t share. I imagine that everyone, such as business owners, would have their own point-of-view too. So, a big part of who I choose to vote for is based on a party’s platform surrounding Education. I am thoroughly annoyed with both leading political parties for the campaign promises made this year without consulting any of the education community. I truly believe that teachers should be consulted more often about these decisions. Now, I am realistic and know that every teacher cannot be consulted. In fact, you would probably get tons of different opinions and directions. However, we do have representatives who can speak for us. Many of whom have used letters to the editor as a means to be heard.

So, now I am left still an undecided voter, and a frustrated one at that. Luckily I have 5 days left to think and decide, then it will be over again until next time.

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Kids say the darnedest things

I took Grace to school today to visit my former students and colleagues. We were there in time to take in the Pre-K to Grade 4 Halloween parade.

As the Pre-K class went past, one little girl asked what Grace was dressed as… I said: “She’s a citrouille!” A little boy further down the row looked at me and said: “My mom’s going to have a citrouille too!”

I just about died laughing! Then I explained that citrouille was pumpkin and that he meant to say bébé. So cute!

Kids make me smile.

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