Year End Surveys

Tomorrow is the last day of school. It is surreal to think that I will have made it through my first year as a home room teacher. It’s been a truly rewarding experience, and I’ve been blessed to have had such wonderful students and a wonderful team around me to work with.

The end of the year is always a time of reflection (more so than any other time…though of course reflection should happen frequently). In order to hear what my students thought of the year, I had them fill your some surveys as to what they enjoyed about the year, what I did as a teacher that was effective or not effective, how I could better help them. I really appreciated that my kids were candid with me, and I intend to take all of those comments to help me frame the next year that I have with them.

These were some of the things that came up repeatedly:

the good
– organization
– neat classroom
– teaching a variety of strategies to solve problems in math
– pushing and challenging students
– the real game (a pathways planning tool/simulation where students were assigned a profile and learned real life skills including budgeting)

for improvement
– pacing – I move too quickly and students can’t keep up, especially in math
– more one-on-one support
– assessment – my students want clearer expectations, and more feedback, more often; they also want overall grades (whereas right now I provide rubrics and assign marks in each category)
– consistency of assignments and making sure students have enough time to work on them
– making the probability unit count

That gives me lots to think about, and also shows me that I need to be more creative in the way I plan and deliver my lessons. Lots to think about and do over the summer but I am very excited!

Parrott’s Bay Conservation Area

More outdoor time this weekend! We didn’t venture too far this time around – headed along Bath Road/Hwy 33 past Amherstview. We ended up at the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority’s newest conservation area, Parrott’s Bay, for a leisurely stroll around a surprisingly large wetland. Our exploration was much less intense than last week. In fact, I wore boat shoes and jeans (in retrospect, it was way too hot for them). Still, some absolutely beautiful encounters with nature.

The conservation area was small enough for us to do a loop within about an hour (click here for trail map). From the parking lot on Hwy 33, we headed first to the lookout. It was a fairly short jaunt to a cute little gazebo overlooking the entire wetland.

Image

We backtracked to where Trail 1 and 2 split, and headed north along Trail 2. The trails for the most part are well marked, but I would still suggest keeping a map with you (or a photo of it on your device). We continued on Trail 3 towards the bridge and were pleasantly surprised with what a nice walk it was. At the bridge, you get a view of the wetland to one side and Taylor Kidd on the other.

Image

The best part of the trail came directly after this bridge, when we headed into what seemed like a fairly mature forest with very tall trees and a high canopy. It reminded us of being in the forests in BC!

Image

Image

We marvelled at the fact that we were still in Ontario and ventured on along Trail 4, then Trail 5. This place has an undisturbed quality to it, and perhaps doesn’t get as many visitors as some of the CRCA’s other properties. Most of the trails were in wooded areas, though a few sections wound through clearings. The boardwalk that is supposed to connect Trails 5 and 6 didn’t seem to exist, and the path was a little damp there, but it was nothing compared to the mud that we had trampled through last week. The trail eventually led us out to Bayview Drive, linking us up with Hwy 33. Despite having cars whizzing by us and only a shoulder to walk on, we found ourselves enamoured by the beautiful houses on the other side of the street. We made it back safely to our car, and headed on home.

Quite different from the conservation areas we frequent in Kingston, Parrott’s Bay is definitely a place we will be returning to. Next time, we might park at the lot along Taylor Kidd and explore some of the trails we didn’t get to on the north side of the conservation area. Either way, it’s a beautiful place.

One last picture for the post – pristine views of the lake on one of the most scenic drives around town.

Image

A Taste of Summer

With report cards finished, and assignments all marked, I am starting to get a glimpse of what my summer might be like. I’m looking forward to lazy mornings, leisurely bike rides, and also some intense spurts of learning. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, and I’ve often questioned why I do it at all, but I was reminded lately that it serves as a good place to flesh out my own thoughts, and to share them with those who care to listen. I am leaning towards some tweaking in the near future, or at least some streamlining as to what this blog really is all about. Everybody likes a little order.

Speaking of order, I’ve utilized a large white board and some empty wall space to help focus my time a little more.

IMG_5922