“Mr. Holden, j’etais frappĆ© dans les nuts!”

Interesting day with the grade 1s. At this time of year, their routine is pretty built in and they were a happy and energetic group. A few minor challenges but mainly coming from me not knowing quite yet what is normal for this age group.

After the first recess, a girl came in crying and I could tell by looking at her arm that it wasn’t just a normal boo boo. She fell off the high monkey bars and her elbow was swelling quite a bit. I brought her to the office and they called a parent to pick her up. At the end of the day I found out she broke her arm šŸ˜¦

At the very end of the day, a young lad I’d been teaching came up to me on the playground and yelled “Mr. Holden, j’etais frappĆ© dans les nuts!” (Which means ‘Mr. Holden, I was hit in the nuts’) He proclaimed this loudly and somewhat happily in front of the other teachers and it gave us all a nice laugh – after I advised him to breathe deeply several times.

Grade 1 is fun – again, bit something I’d opt to do full time, but fun in short bursts.

In another note – the school I’ll be working at in the fall is very close. I subbed there today and it was awesome that we could cycle there and back as a family. (The school in the picture is just on the way home)


Mr. Holden n’est pas un Jungle Gym

Kindergarten kids are awesome. 

They crave routine & encouragement, but they also love to explore on their own and with their friends. I had to ask the parent volunteer at one point whether their behaviour was “normal” or if I should reign them in a bit, but she reassured me that they were basically like this all the time. I did the best I could to have a good class and do the teacher’s lesson, but we didn’t get to all of it. I definitely found myself questioning my life choices when I had 7 kids climbing on me. They all listened to me, however, when I jokingly yelled “Mr. Holden n’est pas un Jungle Gym!” (Well, they listened eventually when they could tell I was serious)

During the morning, admin asked if I was available to sub for grade 4 in the afternoon. I ended up having a prep first period after lunch so I offered help to a grade 1 class where we discussed animal classification in French, then I had a frustrating gym class outside where all the students were accusing each other of cheating during capture the flag, then I had 2 periods of art and the students were carving their soapstone bears. The last 2 periods were good in that I was working with the other grade 4 teacher who is Francophone and I learned some good figures of speech I haven’t heard in a while, and I learned some art specific French terms. Good day overall.

Decide Now! App

In the math 6 class I subbed for last Wednesday, there was a lesson which required students to calculate the probability of how often a certain animal would come up with 50 spins of an arrow on a board with the animal names printed on it. I couldn’t find this premade spinner and then remembered I had an app on my phone that would work perfectly.

I entered the proper amount of each animal and then had the students help me out by each getting a chance to spin the wheel at least once, while we had come students writing the results on the board with tally marks. In the end, the actual numbers were very close to the theoretical numbers we predicted, and the students had fun throughout this relatively quick exercise.

I’ve used this app for randomly calling on students and I’ve also used it as a basketball coach where the students can spin the wheel and let it determine what drill we’re doing next.

I highly recommend Decide Now! as a helpful app in the classroom. Thanks to my IFX mentor teacher Drozda for showing it to me! (He uses it to randomly pick Improv games in his drama classes)

Parent Volunteers Rock.

Today I was a substitute for a kindergarten class and we had a field trip to Jurassic Forest.

I was definitely a bit nervous considering I didn’t know how many students were in the class or how many parent volunteers there would be… it turned out we went along with 2 other kindergarten classes from the school and we had about 5-6 parent volunteers per class. The other teachers helped me out and led the way, and I was definitely the teacher and go-to person for my volunteers, but in the end today really was “easy” because an EA was there to help me out and the parent volunteers kept their groups together. So, today was pretty anxiety-free and I credit the parents for that.

Next week I’ll be teaching a different kindergarten class at the same school – and this will be a more normal day since we won’t be on a field trip.

Seeing as it’s June, I’m seeing the effects of a year’s worth of routine. The kindergarten students in today’s class were extremely well behaved and very polite & friendly.

Overall, my first impression of teaching kindergarten was that it’s an age group I definitely enjoy and can hang out with – I don’t think I’d really want to teach that age group full time but I’m pumped about teaching music & music appreciation to these kiddos in the fall.

Subbing Is Interesting!

IMG_5804.JPGToday I took several students to the tennis courts, which was followed by Grade 6 math and science. I wish someone could have witnessed my roulette discussion with the 6’s – one of the students was so quick to calculate the odds. It was awesome. In science, we discussed fingerprints and detective work – in this case I told the students I was the commissioner and they were all detectives. Those that solved the crime were my senior detectives and those who didn’t finish their in-class work were my junior detectives… the class discussion was lively and it was a successful class.

In the afternoon, I accompanied the grade 4’s on guitar for their year end play rehearsal.

On Friday, I’m booked for a Kindergarten field trip. This will be interesting I’m sure!

Mr. Holden is finally here!

Some might call it intuition or “gut instinct”, and some might call it a message from God, but on the morning of October 18th, 2014 in a Tim Hortons just a few minutes from my house, I suddenly found myself struck with the intense and life-changing idea that I needed to finish my education degree by age 40. I was filled with such joy and a sense of clarity and in a weird way, faith, that if I finished my degree, everything would “fall into place.” I remember writing an email to members of my rock band that something compelled me to finish school, mainly so I could be around more for my kids and possibly coach their school basketball teams as they get into jr high and high school.

I found out during my practicums that I loved being in a classroom, and I was extremely fortunate to be offered a full-time probationary teaching contract well before I was even done my final practicum. And within weeks of getting hired in the district, suddenly I found myself being given the opportunity to coach the jr high girls team starting in fall as well.

I start teaching full time in the music class in September and in the meantime I’ll be subbing to dive into the classroom and get some practical experience. I subbed yesterday at a jr. high and today I subbed in the school I’ll be teaching at in the fall. It was awesome teaching music to the young first graders and I guess the best part of the day was teaching my own daughter in her grade 3 class. As the day got on today, I got better around the young ones and realized that keeping kids that young properly engaged requires quick thinking, empathy, creativity, and passion. Thankfully, I feel I have all those attributes and today was simply a magical day.

As I share my journey in this blog, I will be forthright about my skills and lack of skills, and will hope to share my strengths as much as my weaknesses, in hopes that I can learn and help my peers learn.