Monday, June 26, 2017

What do they all have in common?

I tried to find a unifying thread to connect all the incredible events and activities that happened this past week. See if you notice any trends!

Monday, June 19, 2017 = So You Think You Can Dance

This annual event showcases the best dance groups from every junior and intermediate class and features "celebrity judges". This year we had some of the members of the Guardians of the Galaxy (Gamora, Rocket, and Groot).

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 = Volunteer Tea

I know I just posted nine photos of cupcakes - but they were gorgeous, and made by a talented baker who is also a parent at our school! (Email me if you'd like her contact information to hire her for your dessert needs.) Our annual recognition event salutes the great helpers who devote their time and energy to our school trips and other tasks.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 = Cultural Games Day

To coincide with National Aboriginal Day, the Student Council organized a day of outdoor fun that introduced us to different kinds of recreation from around the world.

Thursday, June 22 and Friday, June 23, 2017
Yearbook Distribution, Maker Festival Decorations, Fan Letters, and Graduation Rehearsal

Our yearbooks arrived from Picaboo, to everyone's delight and I spent quite a bit of time ensuring that everyone that ordered their keepsake received it. While making corrections to report cards, I realized that my media students never responded to the "fan mail" they received after sharing their "What Is Media" videos on YouTube, so classes collaboratively wrote replies to send out this week. Grade 8 graduation is Monday June 26, 2017 so we had to rehearse for the big day. We were also really excited to get huge balloons, corn starch, and other neat supplies to help Andrew Duff and his team from Maker Festival create decorations that will adorn the atrium of the Toronto Reference Library for the big extravaganza on July 8-9.

Saturday, June 24, 2017 = Mrs. Morgan's Retirement Party (Part One)

Aileen Morgan, a fixture of Agnes Macphail Public School, will be retiring at the end of this school year.

Aileen's departure signifies the end of an era. When I first came to my school, we had someone retire every single year five Junes in a row. Aileen was the last of that group of tight-knit educators - but she was also more. Mrs. Morgan would claim that she didn't understand the new technology that came into our building, yet if you peeked in her classroom, she was integrating use of her interactive white board with her students - and she was one of the first primary division teachers to get her own Twitter account. She was the staff member with the most seniority, but her energy and passion didn't indicate a person in the twilight years of their career, but someone much younger. (I think the students still believe I'm older than Mrs. Morgan.) I was really startled when I first heard her refer to a student as "my favourite" - until I realized that this was a rotating role and the "student of the day" held this title. When I occasionally meet young adults who had Mrs. Morgan as a teacher, they often reflect back fondly on their time with her and mention some of the hallmarks of her tenure, such as her penchant for knitting, teaching kids how to sew plastic canvas (which fits well nowadays with our focus on mental health, self-regulation, and well-being because it is such a calming activity), and her enthusiasm for folk dancing and teaching about pioneers. Here are a few photos from her last division-wide trip she organized to the Pickering Pioneer Village and final Pizza Lunch.

Mrs. Morgan (left) with parent Mrs. Ibanez (who made her retirement cake)
Final pizza lunch - and Room 117 held it outside!

Mrs. Morgan will be recognized at our school by the students and the wider community on Wednesday, June 28. We had a staff celebration on the weekend.

So how are all these activities connected?

1) All of them are celebratory. We are celebrating excellence in dance education, in community service, in diversity within Canada, in our accomplishments this past school year, and in a teacher's 25 years of work in the classroom.

2) None of these tasks are meant to be time-wasters. As my old blog title for this post used to say, we aren't trying to run out the clock - we're running out of time! There's so much to do and only a few days left!

3) All of these events are specific to my school, its culture and traditions.

4) Learning is still a part of these activities.

Happy final days of the school year to all who are still in their buildings, and happy start of summer vacation to all who are done for 2016-17! 

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