It's been another crazy school year that many parents barely survived. We're all just a little bit done and by a little, we mean a lot. For many kids and a hoard of giddy teachers (and parents), the long, lazy summer days yawn before us and September seems a lifetime away.
How will your kids fill those sunshiny weeks? What should they do to keep their brains in learning and growing over the summer break? Here are my teacher-approved, must-do activities to do with your kids this summer:
I don’t know how we got here. Many of us grew up roaming the woods or the streets, playing in the park until the street lights came on. We wrestled with our siblings, planned adventures with our friends and learned a lot about life away from the watchful eyes from adults.
Does this sound familiar? You rush home from work, throw together dinner, and run back out the door to take the kids to an evening activity. You get home just in time to get the baby down and then turn your attention to the older one. There's just enough time for the two of you to snuggle up with a good book and start that bedtime routine. Suddenly, he looks up at you through those lovely lashes and says, “Mom, we forgot to do my homework.”
For 40 years, I have been a prompt person. I prided myself on always being on time – often early for all of my appointments. And now, I have two young children and it seems a minor miracle if I make it out my front door in a timely manner.
I will always remember the "incident." I share it here, in all its new-mom glory, not because I want the world to know the embarrassing details of my life, but because if another mom early in the journey recognizes themselves and sees some laughter and some hope, then it's a job well done.
I remember the first time I was truly blown away with gratitude around modern day advances making my life easier. Circa 2006, I was preparing for a trip to Cambodia and being on a budget, I had wrangled this ridiculous flight plan with a handful of layovers. I would be in solo transit for many hours both coming and going. As I packed my bags, I downloaded the first two seasons of Grey’s Anatomy and borrowed a travel-sized CD player to accompany me en route. I remember being completely astounded that such an option was available.
After 15 months of being off with my daughters, I returned to the classroom in September, to a new school, and - seemingly - to a new era in teaching. This school is outfitted with lots of technology, and armed with a bit of training, I was eager to try teaching in a new style.
Although we agree on the most important issues, my husband and I are sometimes complete opposites. When we differ drastically, I’m never sure if it’s an Indian thing, a Punjabi thing, or just a Chawla family thing. In any case, the way in which he and his kin approach travel is most definitely a THING.
For awhile now, I’ve written from the perspective of a teacher and a mom of tiny, non-school-going humans. This year, I’ve hit a new milestone. I am now the mother of a school aged child and I see things from the parent perspective.
I’ve been blessed with a daughter with an exceptional gift for the gab and a very impressive memory, which means that when I ask my JK, “What did you do at school today?” she actually answers.
This week was “Safety Week” in my daughter’s kindergarten. The students had a visit from paramedics, heard the siren and got to look around inside the ambulance. My daughter could hardly wait until I got home to tell me, “If someone is very hurt or very sick, you call 9-1-1!”
As a teacher, I believe in assessment. I evaluate my students constantly to see what they already know, what they have learned and how they are growing. I use a variety of measures to help me determine their progress. But, who is assessing me?
If you are a parent of a kid in my class, I hope you are!
Every child deserves to feel safe and welcome in their school. And yet, sometimes, the behaviour of other students threatens that safety. Traditional disciplinary action for kids that disrupt the learning and threaten the safety of others has run the gamut from corporal punishment (yikes) to detentions, suspensions and expulsions. Did you know that some school boards in Canada didn’t ban the use of the strap as a tool of discipline until the 1990s?!
Experts agree that our kids’ future jobs will require skills of innovation, creative problem solving, understanding of computer science and the ability to get that ever-advancing technology to work for them.
I had my sweet babies a little later than many of my friends and family. While they were lamenting the annoying nature of Calliou and Max and Ruby, I just couldn’t relate. I remember thinking, “Oh, it can’t be that bad.” That was then and this is now.
Like you, I'm busy. Life moves fast, and a I can't drop the ball. As a teacher and a mom, I’m surrounded by adorable, virus-laden sneezers 24-hours a day. Vicks asked me to share my experience of how I recently fought the phlegmy fight and won. Here's how my day played out. Can you relate?
Like many people, I'm a fan of studies that support my choices in life. For example, I've chosen to be a great believer in the studies that claim two cups of coffee per day is healthy for me. And those studies which suggest I drink a glass of wine most nights? Thank you.
Way back in the late 1970s, my brother and I were riddled with what was known as the chickenpox, despite the infection having no relation to chickens. I was about three years-old at the time, so I have little to no recall of the event. My mom reports that we both suffered the usual fever, fatigue, and itchy rash. We spent four or five days splashing around in oatmeal baths and taking whatever fever reducer was popular at the time. We ran about slathered in calamine lotion, transferring the tell-tale bubblegum pink onto clothes and furniture.
Once upon a time, my body built a human being. While I was busy teaching, writing reports, and sitting through meetings, I was also forming tiny eyelashes, fingernails, and generating cells to give my baby a heart, lungs and other important body parts. I know, I’m awesome.