Posted by: jockmackenzie | November 20, 2013

Writers in Schools Program

I was excited and pleased to learn that I’ve been accepted as part of the Canadian Authors Association “Writers in Schools Program.” A record number (34) Alberta writers are available to speak to schools about their writing. The application deadline is December 16. 

Here’s my info followed by a list of all of the writers followed by a link to the WISP program:

Jock Mackenzie – Red Deer
BIOGRAPHY
Jock Mackenzie was a language arts teacher and administrator in the Red Deer Public SchoolDistrict for 31 years. Since retiring he has been writing and speaking at teacher conventions and
conferences.

In February 2007, he published his first book titled Essay Writing: Teaching the Basics from the round Up (Pembroke Publishing). Jock’s second teacher reference book (yet to be published) is titled Poetry and Song. As well as educational writing, Jock has written an adult crime drama Dealing With Dymans. It too awaits publication. Most recently, he has turned his attention to writing magazine articles.

PRESENTATIONS AND WORKSHOPS
In his sessions, Jock Mackenzie shares many proven activities he has used and fine-tuned. Sessions are well-paced, practical, product-oriented, student-friendly, and humorous. All sessions are interactive and can be tailored to meet specific needs.

Essay Writing. The skills required to write an essay are the same skills required to write a speech, to prepare a persuasive argument, to explain an idea – and on the list goes. Help your students write more effective essays by “acting out” an essay – and more.

The Plot Thickens. Learn how to plan a story using the 3I-RACER plot outline. Play the Fortunately-Unfortunately game. Sequence ideas using cartoons – with and without dialogue bubbles. Learn to be a better storywriter – and a storyteller.

Poetry and Song. Teach skills and add excitement to this unit by taking a new approach. Write new words to old songs. Learn new methods for working with rhythm and rhyme, syllabication, figurative language, recitation, and compressed thought. Be a poet – and know it.

Pre-writing to Celebrating. Engage student interest and add reality to the writing process. Through a clearer understanding of the writing process as well as creative activities that involve students at each step, learn how to improve your writing program.

Presentation area: Red Deer and area; willing to travel over 100 km
Targeted grades: Grades 4-6, Junior High
Preferred class size: Classroom up to 30 students; auditorium up to 100 students

Further information:
Websites: jockmackenzie.wordpress.com

All of the presenters:

Meet the Writers of the 2014 Writers In School Program

Edmonton and area
Lisa Anderson – Sherwood Park
Alison Clarke – Edmonton
M. Jennie Frost – Edmonton
Joan Marie Galat – Spruce Grove
Joyce Harries – Edmonton
Alison Hughes –Edmonton
Shelley A. Leedahl – Edmonton
Kath MacLean – Edmonton
Kenna McKinnon – Edmonton
Alison Neuman – Edmonton
Diane Robitelle – Edmonton
Jennifer Snow – Edmonton

Northern Alberta
Karen Bass – Hythe
Charmaine Hammond – Plamandon
Sue Farrell Holler – Grande Prairie
Audrey Shield – Barrhead

Central Alberta
Jock Mackenzie – Red Deer
Blaine Newton – Red Deer
Maxine Spence – Didsbury

Calgary and area
Maureen Bush – Calgary
Susan Forest – Calgary
Jacqueline Guest – Bragg Creek
Janet Gurtler – Calgary
Susanne Heaton – Calgary
Faye Reineberg Holt – Calgary
Kristin Kraus – Calgary
Hector Larrazabal – Calgary
Maureen Magee – Calgary
Deborah Fannie Miller – Calgary
Lorna Schultz Nicholson – Calgary
Mike Plested – Calgary
Lea Storry – Calgary
Emily Ursuliak – Calgary

Southern Alberta
Halli Lilburn – Rosemary

For more information, go to http://www.canauthorsalberta.ca/writers-in-schools

Posted by: jockmackenzie | October 19, 2013

YIMBY READS – for Facebook and Twitter

This is a test. I have recently added my blog files to Facebook and Twitter and want to see if this works. Joe Luddite Inc.

YIMBY stands for Yes, In My Back Yard. While teaching seven and eight-year olds at Reading College (a summer program for students reading below grade level), I discovered many don’t have books in their homes. My kids had bookshelves filled with books. Hmmmmm?

I went to Karen Vanderwater, principal at Mattie McCullough Elementary, and asked her if she thought her students might donate their gently-used books to students right here in Red Deer who were less fortunate. It would be a program to solve a problem in our own back yard. Mattie 1

Jock and Mattie girls

Since that first conversation, the students at Mattie have donated over 2000 books. Several other schools are now on board. Money for labels and banker boxes was donated by Dan Murdoch of Doormasters, a local firm with an interest in helping the community. High school art teacher, Carrie Waldo, used the remnants of her paints in June (and the assistance of two of her classes on the last day) to decorate the boxes.

Logo - Doormasters

YIMBY box 1

YIMBY boxes

YIMBY template

Many of the books collected from Mattie McCullough Elementary went to the K to 8 classes at G.H.Dawe School. In response, Mrs. Gwen Dawes-Harker’s Leadership class organized a YIMBY project of their own and collected over 1500 books.m

Dawe Challenge

Dawe carrying

Dawe kids at truck

A keen eye will note that the Dawe students aren’t using the decorative boxes. Well, not all stories follow an easy to tell timeline.

Some of the books made their way to Normandeau School and were, in part, given away to parents and kids who attended a special parent night. Shown here is librarian Amber Martin at the Take A Book Home table.

Amber at Normandeau

Yet another Leadership class has joined the project. Shown below is VP Sean Grainger of Glendale Science School (K – 8) and his group of enthusiastic students.

Glendale students

And just recently, a load like this went to Westpark Elementary School.

Truck load of books

The journey continues . . . and it could take place in your town. No franchise fee, no fuss, no muss, just the desire to say, “YES, in my back yard”  will see that once-read books get read again and again and . . .

Posted by: jockmackenzie | October 18, 2013

YIMBY Reads

YIMBY stands for Yes, In My Back Yard. While teaching seven and eight-year olds at Reading College (a summer program for students reading below grade level), I discovered many don’t have books in their homes. My kids had bookshelves filled with books. Hmmmmm? 

I went to Karen Vanderwater, principal at Mattie McCullough Elementary, and asked her if she thought her students might donate their gently-used books to students right here in Red Deer who were less fortunate. It would be a program to solve a problem in our own back yard. Mattie 1

Jock and Mattie girls

Since that first conversation, the students at Mattie have donated over 2000 books. Several other schools are now on board. Money for labels and banker boxes was donated by Dan Murdoch of Doormasters, a local firm with an interest in helping the community. High school art teacher, Carrie Waldo, used the remnants of her paints in June (and the assistance of two of her classes on the last day) to decorate the boxes.

Logo - Doormasters

YIMBY box 1

YIMBY boxes

YIMBY template

Many of the books collected from Mattie McCullough Elementary went to the K to 8 classes at G.H.Dawe School. In response, Mrs. Gwen Dawes-Harker’s Leadership class organized a YIMBY project of their own and collected over 1500 books.m

Dawe Challenge

Dawe carrying

Dawe kids at truck

A keen eye will note that the Dawe students aren’t using the decorative boxes. Well, not all stories follow an easy to tell timeline.

Some of the books made their way to Normandeau School and were, in part, given away to parents and kids who attended a special parent night. Shown here is librarian Amber Martin at the Take A Book Home table.

Amber at Normandeau

Yet another Leadership class has joined the project. Shown below is VP Sean Grainger of Glendale Science School (K – 8) and his group of enthusiastic students.

Glendale students

And just recently, a load like this went to Westpark Elementary School. 

Truck load of books

The journey continues . . . and it could take place in your town. No franchise fee, no fuss, no muss, just the desire to say, “YES, in my back yard”  will see that once-read books get read again and again and . . .

Posted by: jockmackenzie | September 4, 2013

A Weighty Subject

It’s been far too long since I posted anything here so . . .  I’m back. Reading College 2013 was another fantastic adventure but I will save that specific topic for another post.

While at Red Deer College, I made a number of new connections. Susan Martin emailed me to say, “We thought this guide would be a fun way to remind college students that there are plenty of simple ways to maintain their health and fitness: http://www.thebestcolleges.org/the-best-regimen-for-college-fitness/.” Here’s a a taste of what’s on the link:

Red Deer College

Posted by: jockmackenzie | June 5, 2012

The Magnificent Seven – the Reading College team

Preparation for Reading College has taken precedence over most everything else so no new posts for the blog until after RC.

Posted by: jockmackenzie | April 26, 2012

Reading – little kids and bigger kids

This post contains a logo, a little kids reading survey, and a middle school survey. Your input is requested.

As mentioned in my post of March 6 2012, I will act as the Teacher Supervisior or Program Co-ordinator or Grand Poobah (haven’t come up with the right moniker just yet) for a month-long program in July for 30 emerging readers who will have finished Grade Two. Sadly, they will have completed Grade Two but won’t be reading at grade level. That’s the role of Reading College.

Part of the our job will be to determine a pre-  and post- attitude toward reading. To that end, our friends in Camrose who run Reading University at Augustana University  have suggested the following Garfield survey. Several of our classroom teachers who are sending students to our program have opined, “The survey is a bit long and somewhat redundant.” A similar writing survey is much longer.

I am including the Garfield survey here and would ask for reader comments: Which questions (if any) do you find redundant?

So that’s the “little kids'” survey. I would certainly appreciate any thoughts you have – please comment if you can.

And now for the “bigger kids.” I have a copy of the September 2003 issue of Voices from the Middle, A Publication of the National Council of Teachers of English and I refer to several of the articles when I am thinking about reading for the middle years. In an article by Mari Beth Bennett (From Practice to Preaching: Helping Content Area Teachers Teach Comprehension), she includes a survey that I think is worth sharing:

As with all of my posts, I intend all that I share to be of practical use to classroom teachers. I trust those whose ideas I pass along will appreciate the concept of creating a better world for today’s students.

Posted by: jockmackenzie | April 10, 2012

Classroom Management – Students working in groups

Everyone loves group work!

Recently, I had the pleasure of acting as a University Facilitator for four students in their final practicum at Red Deer College. As I watched each of these fledgling teachers interact with students, I was pleased to see them employing the tools of teaching in effective ways . . . but I did have my moments of concern.

On one occasion, the practicum student concluded the introduction to her lesson and announced the students would work in groups. All of the disasters of years past came flooding back – What if she allowed them to find their own partners and someone was left out? What if the students least likely to get anything done chose to work together? What if it took an interminable time to sort out the groups?

POOF! She pushed the upper left corner of her SMARTboard and the groupings appeared. She had predetermined the groups and all began well!

And now it’s time for my hint. My habit, as early in the school year as possible, was to create a list of twos and threes for each of my classes. I made pairs of students who I knew could work together. I then tried to switch things up and make threesomes who could work together – and not just the twosomes with an added partner. If possible, I made pairs of boys as well as pairs of girls, then I made pairs that were boy/girl combos. The threesomes were always mixed.

By having a list of twos and threes, I felt prepared for almost any eventuality. If I wanted foursomes, I simply joined two pairs, and for sixsomes, I joined two groups of three. 

Of course, there were occasions when I did allow students to choose their own groups. And on these occasions, there were times when someone was left out. I considered it a life lesson. Why was someone overlooked? We talked about it and dealt with it. I can remember saying, “It’s okay if you want to work in a small group – a group of one.”

P.S. If Classroom Management is an area of interest, see the previous entries under the titles:

Classroom Management: A Quiz, Classroom Management:Creating an Identity, Classroom Management: more than entertainment, Classroom Management:Learning Students’ Names #1, #2, #3, Classroom Management:Knowledge of Results (Code Names). There are also several entries under the titles Classroom Discipline and Classroom Rules.

Posted by: jockmackenzie | April 2, 2012

Teacher Reading – “Teaching Middle School Language Arts”

I met Anna J. Small Roseboro through the English Ning, a site used to share ideas. She kindly sent me a copy of her new book shown below. As you will see in the second photo, once I found my supply of sticky tabs, I was hardpressed not to put at least one on every page. That’s how good this book is! TMSLA is a gold mine of ideas. I encourage you to check it out.

Posted by: jockmackenzie | March 23, 2012

Sharing -sites to follow

The whole idea behind Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. is the sharing of ideas. To date, I have been sharing my ideas. On rare occasions, people who visit the site leave comments. On even rarer occasions, the people who have visited and who leave comments are fellow bloggers. Today I’d like to share the sites from two of these visitors. I encourage you to visit their sites and borrow the wonderful ideas they have to share . . . and, if the spirit strikes you, leave a comment.

Differentiation Daily has proven to have great ideas gleaned from a variety of sources. See http://www.differentiationdaily.com

I have recently come across this site but been impressed by what I’ve seen. Go to http://thatwritinglady.com

Posted by: jockmackenzie | March 12, 2012

Student Writing – Writing for a Reason: Free Stuff

thanks to ciker.com for the image

Writing for a Reason – Free Stuff

Back in the day, I taught my students how to write friendly letters and business letters. These days, email has, for the most part, replaced these time-honored forms of communication.

But when kids are asked to write to someone, even when they are simply learning “how” to write to someone, I always feel better when the letters or emails are actually sent.

My most recent forays into writing to real people came in the form of asking my students to write away for “free stuff.” I was amazed at the results and the kids were even more thrilled.

I began by asking each class to discuss amongst themselves the concept of writing away to someone, a big company or manufacturer or business related to any area of their interest, for something for nothing. One boy was a real golf fanatic so he thought he’d write to the manufacturer of his favorite ball, one of the girls was into a particular kind of make-up and another loved a brand of T-shirts. After some time for discussion, we listed the ideas for all to see. And by the second day of the project, when all of my classes had had time to brainstorm, we had a significant list of possibilities.

For those students who couldn’t think of a product, I suggested travel. Tourist bureaus and chambers of commerce all over the world will send information, and, as it turned out, small trinkets with advertising about their country or province or city, etc.

The students were quite excited. We studied the format of a request and the language necessary i.e. how to express one’s interest in a product or service or place and then how to ask politely to get something for nothing.

Back when I sent actual letters, the school paid for the postage. With email, it was all free. And the results were amazing. The golf fan got a free sleeve of his favourite golf balls, the t-shirt girl actually got a free t-shirt. One of the kids wrote to a major soft drink manufacturer and was showered with bling – pencils, stickers, posters.

Bottom line – making it real made it work. 

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