Sunday, September 22, 2019

Fall Equinox

Tomorrow is the fall equinox.
New England Aster
I don't have anything to say this week, so I want to pose a question or conversation prompt.

Would each reader share a favourite classroom activity with other readers?

I'll start.

In my literacy class, I especially like forming small reading circles with one strong reader in each group. I circulate the whole time and am often beckoned to one group or other to clarify the pronunciation of a word. We usually don't attempt such peer-supported reading groups until the class has been reading the same book for two full days. This past week we read Sado Goes to School, a reader from Bow Valley College School of Global Access. I love watching students help each other.

In seniors class, we have a new activity we are trying out for the first time, and it's Show and Tell. Yes, I admitted to them that I stole the idea from my kindergarten teacher, but added that I think it's very transferable to an adult classroom. I started it off by bringing in a sewing project I'd accomplished over the summer: a fanny pack. A student followed suit by passing around photos of the biggest fish he caught over the summer; he reported having pulled a 10-pound channel catfish out of the Detroit River!

I started a new page of our classroom blog called "Show and Tell Gallery." I'll be posting photos there as the students take turns with this new idea.



  1. I might try show and tell! Thanks!

  2. Ontario PBLA is a disaster and about to get worse.

    EVERYONE in Ontario please contact:

    Rana Ashkar
    Project Manager
    613-230-7729 ext. 171

    AND let her know how PBLA has eaten up your life. How there aren't enough paid hours in the day. How the pay doesn't meet the requirements of the job. Something has to change. Soon.

    And how SHE has the power to help.

    Come on folks. Write the letters

    1. Hi, "Write the letters,"
      What power does Rana have? Is she on the CLB Board? --KM

    2. She is advocating for us

    3. How is Rana advocating? Really. I want to know.

      Rana is a project manager for CCLB...Gets paid. Goes to conferences to represent CCLB. She was part of the management team for the 2018 “Modules” pilot. (E.g. the 72 page 5\6 “Scams” module.)


      Hard to misinterpret the lack of understanding or to see any advocacy from someone who promotes a 72 page “module” with dry as dust lessons (think of all the photocopying for starters.)

      You think she is going to say “Modules are not a requirement”?

  3. How is PBLA about to get worse?I mean how could it? It has destroyed ESL programs and teachers' morale and enthusiasm for teaching; it's an embarrassing and appallingly bad method for teaching. Students are no longer learning the language. I can't even think of anything that could possibly make it worse. Are they going to make us replicate everything in, say, another language? Create more 'modules' and 'themes' ? Hire more leads to watch over us and monitor our binders, behaviour, complaints, conversations? It's a nightmare. Please don't anyone ask me why I don't just quit. I can't. Most ESL teachers barely make enough money to survive, myself included, but this is my career. I don't want to work in a factory and am too old to change jobs anyway , although there are days when I think factory work might be preferable. I'm too tired to keep repeating this story in hopes of having someone listen.

  4. I would also like to know how PBLA is about to get worse and how you know that. It's a bit inconsiderate of those already stressed out to drop a hint like that and run.
    As for Rana, I would like to give her the benefit of the doubt! We don't have enough allies in this battle for our livelihood and wellbeing to dismiss a potential advocate out of hand. Just because she was involved in the creation of the sample module plans does not, in my thinking, disqualify her as a potential advocate or ally. I'm thinking of myself! In the beginning I was open minded and created some rubrics to help fellow literacy teachers. But that was before I saw the nightmare that this was going to morph into. On the other hand, I do understand the concept of sheepherder. In the political landscape in which I'm very active (I have dual citizenship and participate in both countries' elections), I see how the corporately-owned Democrats try to squelch all-out revolution by the true left, by the ones refusing superPAC money, by the ones refusing to be beholden to the pharmaceutical industry or another industry rather than representing the people. So yeah, I also understand that we have to be careful and not think someone who has really drunk the Kool-aid--believing that PBLA has any virtue at all--can really speak for those of us who believe with all our hearts that it should be scrapped from top to bottom. --KM

  5. agreed. total scrappage is the only way I can see out of this hideous mess.

  6. CLB is pushing for more modules to be created. They are trying to find people to create them. They can't find enough people. CCLB is trying to make it easier for instructors.

    Employers are starting to say that PBLA isn't new. They are starting to say that colleges and universities are teaching PBLA to future teachers, and that more will be expected of employees.

    Please let Rana know how much we need the modules. Full modules even if they are as dry as dust are better than the nothing that is available on TUTELA.

    I have no time to create full modules and full lesson plans. I don't know how I will do it.

    1. It depends on the program. I just spoke to someone doing her TESL right now and she said they do not teach PBLA in her university courses. They count on you doing the boot camp after you graduate from the TESL program. I say good on them. It would delegitimize a program in my estimation if they devoted precious classroom time for which tuition is high for me to learn this flavour of the day, contrived, top-down, "born of a colonial mindset" B.S.
      Also just want to say that there is a difference between a module plan and a module. One is a graphic organizer whose boxes have all been filled with learning objectives, etc. The other would, I assume, be everything needed to teach an entire module. I have never heard that anyone is working on such a beast as the latter. --KM

  7. Hi Kelly,

    I wonder if the poster is talking about these:

    -Susie Q

  8. Thanks, Susie Q. I know of those because I volunteered to pilot one. I didn’t find it to be “dry as dust.” I wish we would not be so cruel toward one another. I don’t think Rana deserves a dig like that. KM

  9. Sorry, I said I was not aware of modules being created because in my mind the multilevel modules were a niche project for teachers of multilevel classes. I’m not aware of anyone working on single-level module packs that contain everything. Has everyone gotten the survey regarding a national curriculum, by the way?

  10. I thought the modules were well done as well. I know there was a call out this past January for more developers for more module work.
    - Susie

  11. These are great. Not dry as dust.

    We need more of these to cover stage 1 and stage 2 with blocks of tests.


Thank you for participating in this forum. Anonymous commenting is available, but is not intended to shield those taking pot shots at those of us challenging PBLA. If you are here to do that, please use your name.