Toonies for Terry

Today we had our school wide Terry Fox Assembly and Run. Throughout the past month we have been collecting Toonies for Terry to help support cancer research. My students have thoroughly enjoyed reading books about Terry Fox as well as watching videos of him and The Marathon of Hope.

Terry knew that we all could do the impossible. Just as long as we believed and were willing to persevere against all odds. He said, “Dreams are made possible if you try.” For such a young man, Terry was so courageous and wise. One of his most profound quotes for me is, “Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going without me.” 30 years later it is still going without him. I am so proud to be a Canadian.

As my dear friend H. Whitney says, “We have a responsibility to educate our children about The Marathon of Hope and the impact that one person's dreams can have. 30 years ago Terry Fox changed everything about the way we stand up for what we believe in and he taught us the very meaning of 'perseverance'. Three decades later he continues to inspire us. I am so proud of all the little people in my school. I think he would be too.”

 ‎"I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles." -- Christopher Reeve

21st Century Skills

After returning to the classroom after two years, it was amazing to me how much changed in regards to technology. In 2008- I didn’t have Notebook Software, a SMART Board, a laptop; announcements viewed online, SMART Responders, or a document camera. I now have all of these in my classroom and know of classrooms where each individual student has a laptop or iPad.

We are living, teaching and learning in an ever-changing world that requires us as educators to teach the skills of tomorrow. We are ‘digital immigrants’ where our students are ‘digital learners.’ Most of my students in grade one are six years old, in 2064 when they are ready to retire - what will the world look like? We have no idea what the world will look like in five years let alone when my students are 60. However as educators we are preparing our students for life in that world.

So what skills do we need to teach - critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, innovation, collaboration, technology literacy, flexibility and adaptability.

As Alvin Toffler says, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Often we will be learning, unlearning and relearning along with our students. What a gift we have been given to teach in this information age where the world is our classroom!!!

If you have never seen a ‘Did You Know’ video, it is a must watch. Just ‘Google It’ or look it up on ‘YouTube’.


Patterns Patterns Patterns

We have been working on making patterns in class for the past two weeks. 
One of our outcomes in grade one is for students to be able to translate a pattern and identify the core.  We use the Pearson Math Makes Sense program and this correlates with Lesson 4.  I love doing patterns with students especially using 'junk boxes' or 'treasure boxes' with students.  Plus of course using the variety of unifix cubes, pattern blocks and plastic counters we all have in our rooms. 

Feel free to use the attached SMART Board lesson, modify as you see fit.

Patten Smartboard Lesson

Also, click on the image to read about my love for Treasure boxes.

What Counts?

Today’s photo is of unifix cubes. I use unifix cubes to work on patterning as well as developing number sense. Every classroom needs an ample supply of manipulatives to teach the mathematics curriculum however more important than teaching mathematics is teaching students what counts to be a good citizen in our ever-changing world.

What Counts?
What character traits do we want the future to have?
Let’s teach our students that every character choice they make- counts!

So Let’s Count-
1) Be Honest and Trustworthy
2) Be Reliable and Dependable
3) Build Healthy Relationships with Family and Friends
4) Respect Others and Yourself
5) Be Responsible
6) Listen
7) Treat People Fairly
8) Be Kind and Compassionate
9) Be Helpful and Kind
10) Be Cooperative and Caring
11) Be Patient
12) Be Courageous
13) Be Forgiving
14) Persevere
15) Volunteer

Morning Work

There is so much to do and they are so rushed. 
Check Agendas
Complete attendance
Collect money and notes
Library books
Change home reading
Etc, Etc, Etc
The list goes on and on. 
While blog hopping this summer, I came across a blog that talked about a different morning activity every day.  If this is you, please let me know so I can add your link.  While I loved the idea and created my own signs to post in my classroom to remind students what each day is for morning work.

Math Master Monday
Toobaloo Tuesday
Word Work Wednesday
Think It Through Thursday
Fix It Up Friday

We have now completed day 11 of morning work and my students are loving it.  Of course Toobaloo Tuesday is their favourite. 


Stickers – Fuzzy, Shimmers, Micros, Mylar, Prismatic, Scratch and Sniff - I love stickers!! All kinds – I love stickers!! Very few people know my passion and love for stickers. I have been a sticker collector for 22 years. I collect the brand Sandylion, mostly the slim designs. All of them are in plastic sleeves in a binder just like collectors of hockey cards.

I have recently let students use stickers in class to create a pattern border around a picture. Also, they have used stickers to represent a number – For Example, 5- The student will place five stickers on the page. I think the students see my love for stickers so they are excited when I bring out my sticker treasure chest for them to use in the classroom.

Confidence, Courage, Conviction, Character
Many times in life we will be faced with challenges or tough decisions. You need to rely on your confidence, courage, conviction and character to guide you in the right direction. As Ronald Reagan said, “A leader, once convinced a particular course of action is the right one, must have the determination to STICK with it and be undaunted when the going gets tough.” And surprisingly if we stick to it long enough, we can do it. If you reflect deeply on what the right decision is, then it is often the right decision. We often say ‘follow your gut’

Stay true to who you are and be proud of yourself.
Let’s teach our students to have Stick-to-itivenss especially when it is right!

TEAM Values

What do you value in a TEAM?
So often we say that we want to work on a TEAM or be a part of TEAM. However, do we really know the core values of what makes a TEAM, and are we ready to do our part to be on a TEAM? What is the type of culture we want to encourage on our TEAM, what are the standards we want to have for our TEAM and what are the guiding principles to achieving ultimate results?

Tonight’s picture is a photo of a wordle that was created in December 2009. It encompasses the four core values of creating a team within a school. Trust/Relationships, Integrity, Happiness, and Adaptability. Surrounding are other words describing behaviors of what this looks like as well as the benefits of believing in a team. Some of these include – creativity, commitment, communication, flexibility and synergy.

I have been very fortunate to work on some incredible and successful teams. We were successful because we were supported, focused, respected, and we trusted each other. We had a common vision of working towards the success of every student.

If you have ever had the opportunity to work on a successful team, you too know how amazing it is to go to work, be happy, have fun, collaborate, celebrate everyone’s successes, support each other and develop extraordinary friendships.

I love sports and one of my favorite athletes Michael Jordan said, “There is no “I” in team but there is in win.” When we are a TEAM in a school, everyone WINS!!!

“Finding great teachers is easy, getting them to work as a team is the hard part.”

Coming Together
Sharing Together
Working Together
Succeeding Together

To create a wordle - go to A great resource for any subject to highlight key terms as well as to use in paragraph writing so students can view their word choice. If they are using 'like' all the time or 'because', wordle will make these words the biggest.

Names Names Names

I love the beginning weeks of school.  We spend a lot of time talking about our names and creating a variety of Class Made Books.  We recently read The Handmade Alphabet.  With this book I love to use the Fonts 4 Teachers program that allows you to do each child's name in sign language.  We then draw a self-portrait under our sign language name.  The children love this. 

We also love to read Chrysanthemum and the numerous activities associated with that book.  You have seen many of them all over the internet and blogs.  Graphing our names, comparing our names, etc, etc, etc. 

Girl Power

As I continue on this journey of posting, some days I know what I will post and sometimes I am not sure what the picture will be. Today was one of those days where the picture changed based on the inspiration from the day.

Throughout the month of September for our science unit on colors, we have been wearing a certain color each day. I have been amazed at the level of participation in my classroom. It is phenomenal. It seems like the entire school is noticing us and asks how come they didn’t get the memo on what color to wear. My students love it when other teachers or the principal come into our classroom and ask, “Is it red day today?”

Today was PINK day - one of my favorite colors. Well, I had an idea for a picture but when I saw this saying on one of my student’s shirt, I couldn’t help but take a picture.

No offense to boys, but I think about the power we have as teachers to inspire girls to follow their dreams, set goals for themselves and believe they can change the world. Maybe this thought even touches me more after spending two years in a junior/senior high school where I wanted girls to want more than they ever thought or dreamt possible.

Let’s encourage and inspire every girl to believe in themselves, to be strong, confident, smart, curious, persistent, independent, and to respect others and themselves.

There are many organizations out there dedicated to this goal as well, including ‘girls inc.’ and ‘Girls for a Change.’ I love this quote from the Girls for a Change website:

IMAGINE if girls are told they can change the world.
IMAGINE they are told this by powerful women.
IMAGINE that you are one of those women.

To all my powerful women friends, I love each and every one of you!! Let’s teach our girls to be POWERFUL!!!

Thank you to Barbara at Grade ONEderful for voting my blog as one of her Top Ten. 

Top Ten

Barbara at Grade ONEderful gave me a Top Ten award for my blog the Candy Dish.
Thank You Barbara, it truly did make my morning.

Currently, I follow over 100 blogs and many of them have already received a Top 10 award.
However, here are a few that I have recently found that I have been enjoying.

Miss Kindie is a new blogger but she has some great ideas to use blogging in the classroom. 

Mrs.Rider has lots of great ideas.  Check her out.

Ucreate with Kids
Great blog for many ideas.  She also does a Teacher Feature.  She recently featured Mrs. Carroll from The First Grade Parade.  Don't we just love that blog too. 

Don't even know how I found this blog, but lots of great math ideas.

Kim has some great ideas.  Check her blog out!


 I love Ms. Patterson's blog design plus she has great ideas. 

These three ladies are amazing!  I just love the name of their blog and their great ideas. 


Kim Adsit and her daughter Megan have started a new blog.  AWESOME!

So there you have it. I few more blogs that deserve a Top Ten Award. 

What are your Top Ten?

Thanks again Barbara for voting The Candy Dish as one of your top ten!

the candy dish

Top 10 TBA 

In Honor Of Teachers

It is Saturday afternoon and I have survived my first week.  It was a long week but glad it is a long weekend.  This article seems to be circulating all over Facebook and I just wanted to share it with my fellow blogger friends. 
It reminds me to think about the little things.  Sometimes we might not know what we do that will change a child's life or the perception of themselves. 

To all my teacher friends,  I honor the work you do everyday to change the life of a child. 


Another wonderful piece of art produced from my grade one class. This lesson was based on looking at pieces of art from Wassily Kandinsky. The students were given three colors- blue, yellow and red as well as black and white. They were then able to do color mixing. While walking around the room, I loved hearing the conversation. One child was so ecstatic - he said, "I made gold." How the smallest simplest things can make them so excited. 

                               PRACTICE - PRACTICE - PRACTICE

As every artist, musician and athlete was first an amateur, I love to instill in children the value of practice. We often talk about how with practice we can become better readers, writers, artists, musicians and athletes. We must put the time in and continue to learn from practicing. Practicing takes commitment and hard work. If we can encourage these two traits in the students we teach, they will be successful in anything they choose.

We can also learn a lot from the thought of practice. Too often we put barriers up for ourselves or say that we can not do something. All day we encourage young minds to continue to practice, to persevere, to try their best, to keep moving forward when it is difficult. Next time, when you are faced with something you think is too hard, think about practice and what we expect from children everyday.

Practice might not always make perfect but it makes for determined and diligent individuals.