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. 

Posted by: jockmackenzie | March 6, 2012

Reading College – Summer Reading Camp for Grade 2s

Don’t miss the last paragraph.

I have recently been asked to be the “Teacher Supervisor” at a program we (the Red Deer Public School District) are calling Reading College. The idea is to find 30 “emerging readers” who will finish Grade Two in June. We will offer them free busing, free breakfast, morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack and 21 days of a summer reading camp to be held at Red Deer College.

To handle the teaching role, we are going to hire 6 graduates of the Middle Years Program, a 4-year Bachelor of Education degree, from the same Red Deer College. The students will be organized into three groups of 10, effectively providing a 5:1 ratio. It is our intention to rotate the three groups through the pairs of teachers who will provide a wide range of activities related to reading: letter and sound recognition, phonics, sight words, leveled and theme and shared reading, and experiences to provide life experiences to reading and its importance.

We are excited to have the venue of the college as it promises to offer a myriad of possibilities to enthuse and encourage our young readers. Support from the community has been tremendous.

And now for a request. Have you been involved in a similar endeavor? Do you have ideas, activities, suggestions, or best practices you feel would be beneficial to our Reading College students? Please comment or contact me.

Stay tuned for updates.

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