What does retirement mean to me?
Freedom to help family when needed
Even when traveling, I don't have to leave early in the morning unless I have specific plans to do so.
Two years ago I wrote a post called Retirement Musing. As I was looking back at it today, I realized that some things have changed, but many things remain the same.
People often ask me how I am liking retirement, but I've realized, I don't know what retirement really is. I am technically retired, but I am still doing most of what I was doing before I retired. I am not living what most people consider a retirement lifestyle.
What does retirement mean to me?
Freedom to help family when needed
I am lucky to have the time to spend with my family and help out when needed. I often take trips down island to look after my grandchildren and do things for my kids and my mother-in-law.
Less reliance on the alarm clock
Although there are times when I do need to get up early and be places, this is not an everyday thing any more. I get up early on the mornings when I help out at school or I have rehearsals, but on other days I can get up when I feel like I am done sleeping.
Even when traveling, I don't have to leave early in the morning unless I have specific plans to do so.
Afternoon naps possible
When l was teaching, I would be so tired that I would want a nap when I got home, but life didn't allow time for that. Now that I am retired, if I feel like taking a nap, I do and I don't feel guilty about it either. A power nap gives me the energy I need to complete my other activities without feeling exhausted.
Time to do what I love
It is no secret that I love teaching. I enjoy working with children and seeing their faces light up when they get a concept or they finally understand something that made no sense to them. I love to play games with them and work with them in small groups. I love sharing who I am with them and learning about who they are outside of the classroom. Those connections are so precious.
Some future goals for my retirement years
Find a balance between commitments and me time
Although I enjoy teaching, and working with ukulele groups, sometimes I get so busy that I forget to find me time. I need to find the balance that will allow me to enjoy what I love doing and yet take care of me. Over the years, life has been so busy, that I haven't spent much time with friends. I need to change that.
Create more couple time
My husband and I have done many things together over the years, but usually for others and not just for us as a couple. We teach ukulele groups, we perform in ukulele groups, we have worked with choirs, taught over 30 years, taken groups on trips, and done things with our kids and grandkids. It is time for us to do things for the two of us. Last Christmas and again this Christmas, the kids gave us tickets to shows in Victoria. This is a start. We have also gone to a couple of performances nearby. It would be nice to take a trip somewhere as a couple instead of as leaders of a group. Hopefully this will be possible in the near future as well.
One of the reasons I retired was that many of my good friends were getting very sick, and some died before reaching the age of retirement. I decided that my health was more important than working until 65. My husband needed to retire early because of health issues. At the time, he fought it, but now he is thankful that he did because he has been able to continue to do what he loves and remain healthy at the same time. Health is more important than money. Working for full pension and then not being healthy enough to enjoy retirement is not the way to go. I am glad that we both are able to do so much still and I hope we will be around many more years to live life and make memories.
Well, there is my update. I wonder how it will change in the next couple of years. Maybe I will have to do a new update then.
Learning sight words can be key to becoming a fluent reader. Games make learning these words more fun. The same words can be used in many different ways that engage children if games are played. There are many themes that can be used as visuals to complement the words as well.
I love to use games to engage children in learning. They are excited to play and they reinforce language while doing so. There are many different activities that can be done with sets of sight words.
I have created many different themed sight word sets that focus on the 220 Dolch sight words. These sets have been a favorite choice for language centers over the years. Here are a few examples.
Chinese New Year is a great theme for sight word games as each year it is new because the animal changes. This is a set of Dolch sight words for each of the animals of the Chinese zodiac. Both goat and sheep are included. These cards can also be used when studying animals or doing a unit on the farm as well.
These winter celebration games are great for Groundhog Day, Valentines Day, and Winter Sports. Bingo cards are also included that can be used with any of the themed sets. This allows for another level of game play.
We usually focus on the 220 Dolch sight words, but there are also Dolch nouns that are high frequency words as well. This is a spring themed set of these 95 nouns. It includes bingo cards as well.
For more themed sets, check out my TeachersPayTeachers store.
Christmas festivities are over and we have rung in the new year. Now it is time to get back to learning and the curriculum. This doesn't mean we have to take away the fun.
The New Year is a great time to incorporate winter celebrations into curriculum activities. There are so many different choices and events happening during the winter. There is Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year, 100 Days of School, Valentines Day, and in some places in Canada, there is Family Day.
Kids enjoy games and activities that focus on celebrations and they are more likely to be engaged in the different activities. This translates into better focus on concepts and skills presented and therefore, hopefully better understanding and retention of them.
This sampler includes a few activities to get started with. You can find it as a preview here. There is an activity that can be used yearly around Chinese New Year to figure out ordinal numbers. There is also a hundred chart for using with different activities that require counting to 100 or looking for patterns when celebrating 100 Days at School.
Playing dice games is always fun to do, especially with holiday themed dice. Here is a probability page for keeping a tally of how many times different numbers are rolled.The worksheet has heart dice on it, but you can use regular dice to do the activity.
These are only some of the ideas that I have for math and winter. More math activities can be found in my Teacher Pay Teachers store. I also like to do language activities using sight word bingo, memory, language task card games, and phonics activities. There are several winter and holiday celebration activities in the literacy category or sight word category in my store.
Fall has returned for another season. It is the time of cooler days, changing colors, and special days. It is a great time to use fall themes for math activities.
When fall arrives, children begin thinking about Halloween. They get excited about costumes, trick-or-treating, and spooky activities. Here are some free activities to practice math skills while engaging them in Halloween fun. Click on the image above to get your free copies.
Thanksgiving is another special time in the fall. Here are some activities that use glyphs for graphing. They are fun because they involve creating pictures, but they are also very useful for classifying and comparing data. They can be checked out here.
Children love to play with dice. Here is a game of probability using fall and Halloween graphics to make it more interesting.
There are so many different ways to use fall themes to make math practice fun. How do you include fall themes in your math lessons?
Capturing the attention of students is key to engaging them in their learning. Escape rooms are becoming more and more popular as a means of practicing and reinforcing skills and concepts. They are fun to do and they can promote healthy teamwork and collaboration.
I have been tutoring some girls in French for awhile now and we have worked on a lot of vocabulary as well as grammar. I created several materials for them throughout this time. (Click here to view them.)
I also help out in a Grade 1/2 French Immersion classroom when I can. I work with small groups doing language activities and reading.
I noticed that many people were starting to use escape room activities, so I thought it might be fun to try to create one. The girls that I tutor in French worked on this project with me for a few weeks and I had the pleasure of seeing it in action in the Grade 1/2 French Immersion classroom a few days ago.
I thought it would be great in other classrooms as well, so I also created an English version.
The feedback from the children was very encouraging. They were proud of themselves for completing the tasks to earn the locks and they were excited to move on to each new category. They said that they liked working as a group and doing the activities together. I was impressed with how well they collaborated and discussed the choices of answers. They were also able to do most of the reading without help from the adults.
Actually receiving a lock to place on the hasp after each challenge was a major hit. They could hardly wait to get all the locks and then solve the mystery word.
Check out some pictures of them working together.
Feedback for teachers is important too. I discovered a few different things when watching it in action. I was able to make some small tweaks to improve the product for future use. Most of the changes are in how to prepare the materials. For example, it is not necessary to have the large colored pages of the categories unless the images are being projected. Smaller ones with 4 to a page will work just as well and save on ink. I discovered that when I printed out the small working sheets and clue pages, that they didn't match exactly. This has now been fixed as well.
The big thing I noticed, is that with the younger children, it is best to break the activities up into 2 or even 3 sessions so that all of the students can remain engaged the whole time. This is especially true when working in a second language. They get tired after about 2 or 3 activities. Also, the groups work best if they are of mixed ability. Some students are stronger at reading, writing, or drawing, so there is a role for everyone.
Note: We did this activity over 2 days because it takes a couple of hours to complete. It would have worked even better over 3 days with 2 activities for each day.
This product can be used for vocabulary review at the end of the year, or for a group activity review at the beginning of a new school year. It is also suitable for a late immersion class or for grades 3-5 if the more advanced math questions are used and if the students are required to write out the vocabulary with correct spelling.
I am excited about the results of this product and I hope to be able to create others in the future. I would love to hear about any experiences you might have had with escape rooms.
I like to use themes and games for teaching skills and concepts. Not only does this make learning fun, it is an effective way to teach reading and math.
Themes and games engage students and they are great springboards to link one subject area to another. Children can make connections and share thoughts and ideas when they are working with a familiar theme or topic.
I often choose themes and games to engage my students in learning. My current theme is winter/winter celebrations. I am excited to use this theme with the reading and math groups that I work with. I will use it as my focus for the next few weeks.
For reading, I start off with some vocabulary work. It is important that we have a common set of words and ideas when working together. I have created some vocabulary cards and games to use. This helps with work recognition and usage. Once the vocabulary is familiar to everyone, other activities can be more easily added and attempted.
Sight word activities also help provide a working vocabulary for reading. I enjoy using sight word memory games and bingo for learning sight words. I have created many different themes so that I have games available throughout the year that go with themes that I am using. In the winter time, I use my winter sports cards or if I want to choose a specific holiday or occasion, I also have cards for those themes. Click here to see some of the themes I have available.
For math, I like to use task cards and worksheets with designs or clipart that matches the theme. Then I introduce the skill or concept that we will be working on. I tend to use many different games and fun activities rather than worksheets, but once in awhile, a worksheet is given. (Today, I gave a worksheet and one of my students said, "We're doing math today." We do math everyday, but he didn't think it was math because we weren't writing things on a worksheet.)
I have created many different literacy and math products that can be used for small group work and classroom instruction. Click here to see what I have available for winter themed activities.
One hundred years ago at 11:00 on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, (November 11, 1918), World War 1 ended. This was known as Armistice Day. Many countries observe this day as a day of remembrance for all of the people who fought for our freedom. In Canada, ceremonies are held all over the country. Over time, veterans of other wars have been included in the memorials.
It is important that we teach our children about this day and what it means. Many people have never experienced war and its devastation. We don't truly appreciate the freedom that was given to us because of the sacrifice of our veterans.
Many people treat November 11 as a day off. It is my hope that we can remind people to take a few moments to remember and thank our veterans.
Multiplication is challenging for many children. Teaching multiplication strategies can help. It is important to make sure that the strategies make sense and that they are understood so that they can be applied to various situations. Just memorizing times tables is not the answer.
I tutor students that struggle with math concepts. They are overwhelmed with all the material presented to them at school. They need some simple, concrete strategies to do math so that they can be successful.
I decided to go back to the beginning and give them one or two multiplication strategies to work with. As they become more confident with those strategies, I add one or two more.
Making Connections Is Important
Children are sometimes amazed to learn that multiplication is really just a faster way to add things together. I love the book Amanda Bean's Amazing Dream by Cindy Neuschwander because it illustrates that concept so well. It's pictorial representation of learning to multiply instead of just adding is humorous, but also factual. After reading this book it is easier to explain why we need some multiplication strategies and why it helps to learn the times tables.
Understanding The Thinking Process
One of the important things to remember is not everyone learns the same way. We all process material differently. I share the analogy with my students of using a road map or route when going somewhere. We may all take a slightly different route to get to school, but we all arrive there eventually. Our thinking and processing are like the routes we take. It is important to be able to explain how we get an answer.
I often tell my students that our thinking and processing is more important that the correct answer. Of course, we want our answers to be correct, but if we are not following a road map that gets us to the correct destination, that doesn't help us.
Multiplication Strategies That Work
I created some strategy organizers to explain how the different strategies work. These are not exhaustive, but they do work with the struggling students that I work with. They include strategies for the multiplication facts up to 10 as well as how to multiply 2 digit numbers by 1 digit numbers.
Doubles, double doubles, skip counting, adding zeros, and using expanded notation are some of the strategies that help with number sense and make multiplication easier. Click the image below to find out more.
With these strategies and practice, the mystery disappears and children are able to move on to more difficult material.
It is so exciting to see the confidence develop as children begin to master these multiplication strategies. They no longer dread math class and they are eager to participate and share their thinking as well.
The Marathon of Hope began many years ago when Terry Fox was a young man. He lost his leg to bone cancer when he was 18 years old. On April 12, 1980 he started his Marathon of Hope for cancer research.
He was determined to run across Canada and raise $1.00 for every Canadian. He began his run on the east coast by dipping his foot in the Atlantic Ocean.
Terry ran every day for about 42 km (26 miles). Imagine running a marathon distance every day. This is hard enough for someone with two strong legs, but Terry did it with a prosthesis on his one leg. He did this for 143 days.
Terry Fox was unable to finish his Marathon of Hope. On September 1, 1980 he had to stop because cancer appeared in his lungs. He returned to his home and began treatment for the cancer. He was determined to continue fighting. On June 28,1981 his battle ended. He was no longer with us, but his legacy continues on.
Every September cities across Canada and worldwide run in Terry's memory to continue his Marathon of Hope.
Click here to find out more about Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope.
Here are some free activities to use with your students if you do a Terry Fox run in your area. I know it is very important in our schools and children still learn about our Canadian hero. Click on the image above to get your copy.
Going back to school can be exciting for many children, but it can also be a bit scary for some. Here are some tips for getting to know and understand your students better so that the transition will be a little easier.
Getting acquainted with your students and their families will make communication and understanding easier. Parents have a totally different perspective of their children and they feel included and heard if you give them opportunities to share this with you. They will appreciate you asking for information and getting to know and understand your students better.
Communication Is Key
Communication is key to gaining support as you progress throughout the year. Times may arise when difficult situations need to be shared and worked through. If you have open communication regularly about progress and successes or concerns, these difficult situations will be easier to work through.
Hopefully no difficult situations will come up, but being prepared helps just in case.
At the beginning of the year, I gather information to help with getting to know and understand students better. I only get to see a small part of who they are while they are at school. The Getting Acquainted form above is helpful for gathering more information about your students from their parents.
It is important that the parents know that this information is only for the teacher. It is for getting to know and understand your students, not meant to be shared with the class. Note: You can download this form for free by clicking the image.
Use Interest Profiles Or Activities
Doing an interest profile with the students is another way to get more information about them. When I begin writing activities with my class, I start with them filling out a heart of things that are important to them. Not only does this make early writing experiences easier, it also provides lot of insight into what they care about.
There are several different versions of this type available for use in the classroom. Doing an interest form or a "This is Me" type of form helps you gather more information for getting to know and understand your students and what is important to them.
These are just a few ideas. What kinds of things do you use for getting to know and understand your students? Let me know in the comments below.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.
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