Island Hill Farm


We had the wonderful privilege of visiting the amazing Island Hill Farm on Tuesday, June 9th, 2015.  Here is a picture of the group that attended from the three Bloomfield Kindergarten classes.


Our classes visited in the morning and stayed for about 2 hours . Each child had the opportunity to see, touch/feel and enjoy this wonderful farm and friendly animals and even help out a bit with cleaning and milking.

The milking demonstration was first viewed through a demonstration by Flory and then many children were able to give it a try. Flory Sanderson milks her goats by hand and shares the milk with Chef Jeff McCourt who will be making Island Goats milk cheese from it.

The animals were very friendly and easy to love and pet. Flory has 9 different breeds of goats and even owns fainting goats named  Melman and Gloria . There are 70 and counting goats here at the farm, two alpacas  named Alphie and Dory , 1 miniature donkey named Gavin . Also observed were laying hens , ducks , chicken and some fancy birds . Bunnies can have babies every 28 days; the children all enjoyed holding one of the friendlier ones and each got a picture taken.

Since the rain held off while we were there, we were able to take a few animals out for a walk down the fun hill . Flory also encouraged us to have a picnic outside as the weather permitted, but for those future visitors hoping to visit the farm who will be having lunch on the farm during rainier weather,  they have a separate room that can hold up to 4 picnic tables which larger groups could also take turns in that room to eat .  As for us, we loved watching goats frolic and play while we ate.

When I wrote Flory, I asked her what to expect.  Here is what she wrote back:

“A few things about Island hill Farm and what I expect from the school and staff and your volunteers.  Proper footwear.  Absolutely no flip flops or open toed shoes  it’s not safe on a farm . Volunteers must be traveling with out other children from home , they can still visit but would not be able to supervise and be responsible for the school kids . I hope you understand this request and rule .

Cost is 5 dollars per child and visitors that wish to come along . I have lot of parking and easy Bus room for getting turned around .

To answer the educational question you and the children will see and experience an actual working farm from the cash crops in the fields around me ( ours ) . If you are on Face book our Cover picture is some of the land around us that we own and to the right you can’t see but has another 100 acres .

I am a goat breeder and house over 70 goats from milking does and as I mentioned we win be  milking for Chef Jeff McCourt  . The reason for Gavin the Donkey is protection each animal down ti the cats have a huge part of the farm and a job .

The laying hens and chickens is something kids are so curious about , we are close to self- sufficient. My husband’s business farm is a 4 generation farm of beef and potatoes and cash crops .

We are a real farm operation and value on the experience and time anyone will have on our farm .”

Here are a few more pictures of our day at the farm!  Enjoy!!







Today’s The Day!


Teddy Bear’s Picnic Lyrics

“Teddy Bear’s Picnic” was written by Bratton, John W / Kennedy, Jimmy.

If you go down to the woods today
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today
You’d better go in disguise!

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain,
Because today’s the day the
Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for Teddy Bears
The little Teddy Bears are having
A lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them picnic on their holiday.

See them gaily gad about.
They love to play and shout,
They never have any care;
At six o’clock their Mommies and Daddies
Will take them home to bed,
Because they’re tired little Teddy Bears

Every Teddy Bear who’s been good
Is sure of a treat today.
There’s lots of marvelous things to eat
And wonderful games to play.

Beneath the trees where nobody sees
They’ll hide and seek as long as they please
‘Cause that’s the way the
Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for Teddy Bears
The little Teddy Bears are having
A lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them picnic on their holiday

See them gaily gad about
They love to play and shout,
They never have any care;
At six o’clock their Mommies and Daddies
Will take them home to bed,
Because they’re tired little Teddy Bears.

If you go down to the woods today,
You’d better not go alone!
It’s lovely down in the woods today,
But safer to stay at home!

For ev’ry bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today’s the day the
Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for Teddy Bears
The little Teddy Bears are having
A lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them frolic on their holiday.

See them gaily gad about
They love to play and shout,
They never have any care;
At six o’clock their Mommies and Daddies
Will take them home to bed,
Because they’re tired little Teddy Bears.

Bratton, John W / Kennedy, Jimmy

Published by
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.


100th Day of School!




Disclaimer: I am trying to upload pictures for you, parents- but each picture is taking about 5 minutes to load.  I tried two times to upload a picture of the students collections and each time it came up as an error and will not allow me to load the picture. Unfortunately, this is all I have for you right now.  But let me say- IT WAS A FUN DAY!!

We started the day off with 100 Day glasses and badges.  We moved on to a wish poem and some literacy activities.  After recess, we had our numeracy block and collection share with Grade 1/2 A.  Then, in the afternoon we had fun with bingo dabbers and finger paint- painting 100 apples on an apple tree and 100 gumballs in a gumball machine.

I hope the students were able to share a bit of their day with you, Parents!

I am also including two other pictures that were taken on Liam Handrahan’s birthday.  He was the first student to turn 6 in our class- a big number!

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Teachers: You are Better Than You Think You Are


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One year ago, I wrote a blog post titled “What Students remember Most About Teachers” which went viral the second month after I published it.  Since then, it has been the single most-read item on my blog with hundreds of views each day and over 2 million views to date.  In particular, at key times of the year (August, September and mid-way through the year), it will spike an interest again with the teaching public, with tens of thousands of views on certain days.

I have been perplexed by this phenomenon over the past year because I am really at a loss for why this particular blog post has struck such a chord.

And then I happened upon these two articles tonight.  One, about why teachers feel so bad most of the time and the other, a test to take so as to determine whether or not you are a bad teacher, both written by Ellie Herman (a former teacher).

I don’t want to focus solely on the content of either article so as to critique.  But I do want to point out one thing that I think explains the interest in my blog post that went viral: that is, why it continues to be read by teachers one year later.  And I think part of the answer lies in Herman’s two blog posts.

According to Herman, teachers are inadequately trained for the classroom realities they face, get little to no support to deal with those realities, and don’t have the resources  to do the job well.  Add to this, the reality that many teachers (both those who are essentially good teachers as well as those who should never have entered the profession- due to Herman’s five criteria) have given up because the odds are stacked against them.

It is a tough gig being a teacher.

Ironically, when I wrote the article fourteen months ago, I had no intentions of publishing the letter.  It was actually a real incident, an actual event, that scenario I portrayed in the letter.  I had a real-life conversation with someone and sent them the letter- because I cared about them as a teacher.

I wrote the letter because I wanted to encourage.  I wanted to care for the person I was interacting with as a colleague, reminding them that I believed in them and that I knew they were doing a better job than they were giving themselves credit for.

I think teachers need to be reminded of how well they are doing.  And it takes sometimes a moment for us to remember to encourage one another- spurring each other on so that we stay the course.

That was one reason I wrote the letter- as a means of encouragement.  But even more than this, I wanted to also relay another message- one that has been felt in more general ways by teachers the world over.  That message is: teachers, you are doing a far better job than you give yourselves credit.

Something I have heard said about students from both administration as well as from our provincial teaching federation (P.E.I.T.F.) president is the following: students bring their best selves with them each day to school.  It might not be what WE would deem best- but the reality is, it is THEIR best for that particular day.

I have had conversations with administration as well about parents- parents that do things differently than I do as a parent, but who love their children nonetheless.  Parents who bring their best to the table.  And what I have discovered about parents is this: parents tend to bring the best they have to give to their child’s education as well.  Is their best the same as my best or even your best?  Not necessarily- but best is a relative term as long as we are not talking about inflicting harm or injury on another human being in physical, emotional or psychological ways.  What I am trying to say here is that as long as we are aiming to do something productive for our children, what is BEST can differ.

Which brings us around to teachers.  Do teachers bring their best to school each day?

Let’s assume that teachers do not meet the five criteria that Herman has established which make for bad teachers (disliking children, consistently uninterested in your subject matter, don’t have a clue what you are teaching, ignoring a large subset of your students most of the time, and who are overall, totally disengaged in teaching).  Teachers who have a desire at all to investigate their practice and think about their identity as a professional is really who form the baseline for me.  If teachers are at that place- caring somewhat about who they are and what they do, then I feel those teachers are bringing their best to the profession.

Now again: that word best: it is a relative word.  When someone talks BEST they start envisioning other buzz phrases: words like charismatic, creative, reform-minded and inspirational.  Words associated with teaching style like: engaging in praxis, integrating technology, differentiating instruction and scaffolding  instruction. But I am not talking about setting a bar for best for either personality or teaching style.  What I am maintaining here is that bringing your BEST SELF to work means bringing the self that cares.

Care is the quality that defines truly great teaching.  And caring is for me the underlying quality that defines a good teacher.

Weighed against that criteria, good teachers are those who do the following:

Good teachers care about themselves- care for their own personal, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.

Good teachers care about others- care for people both young and old both children, youth and adults.

Good teachers care about ideas- care about thinking and understanding, knowing and connecting.

Good teachers care about things- classrooms, and books, and lunches and school buses.

Good teachers also care about non-human entities: animals, and plants, eco-systems and habitats.

And good teachers finally care about experiences- what happens at home, in school and some of what happens in between.

Simply put: good teachers care.  And they tend to care a great deal the longer they exercise that caring muscle.

So when it comes to criteria for defining good and bad teachers, focusing on the fact that most teachers who care enough about ideas and experiences to read an article about teaching are probably good teachers, it almost becomes a waste of time for teachers to ask themselves if they are bad at their job.  We hear enough negativity in the onslaught of media messages to waste too much on this consideration.

What we need to be asking as teachers is this: what makes you a great teacher…and how can you find ways to do this again tomorrow?  Then too, how can I find ways to rise above the imperfect circumstances in which I find myself, the less than ideal situations I find myself in as a teacher?  And how can I tap into that reservoir of care that brought me into this profession in the first place?

We are better than we think we are.  We just have to remember.

We are a caring profession.  And while we are diverse in scope- each of us bringing different traditions, orientations, philosophies, backgrounds, experiences, personalities, cultures, attitudes and beliefs to the table, what binds us together as a collective is our common care for our students and our profession.

We care.

And may we never forget how important that quality is in making us great teachers.

We are Knee-Deep in Winter Themes!

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20150125_191756Hello parents!  it has been a WHILE!  I am sending along some pictures of the children’s themes and artwork that we have been doing in conjunction with season of winter.  We have been doing some explorations- with what is involved in making making snow-people.  Several examples of these are featured on the walls outside our classroom. We have done some work in building Inukshuks- wish I would have taken a picture of the one we built but alas, it has long since toppled.  We also drew them on our white boards, using the ones we built as a guide.  We are going to concentrate on snow animals a little more this week with two books about animals that live in the North.  First up, a story about polar bears!

I am excited to report that the children are doing amazingly well with their academic work in the areas of literacy and numeracy.  I am very pleased with results of recent testing; and keep up the great work reading to your child at night- it really pays off.  As well, thanks for all you are doing in terms of the guided reading book bags that come home twice a week.  We are moving up a level for most readers as you have probably already noticed.

I want to just remind you that I am available any time throughout the work week if you want to reach me by phone.  After hours, I am only an e-mail away.  Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make this year as memorable as possible for your child.

Guided Reading


You have all by now seen in your child’s backpack a folder with a number of things relating to guided reading.  We start guided reading usually during the month of November, as by this time in the school year, the students know many letters of the alphabet, many sounds and some sight words.  I know students are ready when these three things are falling nicely into place.

I am including some info from the Scholastic website that will explain what guided reading is all about.  You can find more information at the following URL:

A Parent’s Guide to Guided Reading

Know the specifics of guided reading to lead your child to the best books for their development.


Reading Comprehension

Guided reading: Helping your child learn how to read is not easy. It becomes even more challenging since schools often use leveling systems unfamiliar to most parents. One of the most popular leveling systems in use today is Guided Reading Levels (GRL). This system was developed by two renowned teaching specialists, Gay Su Pinnell and Irene C. Fountas, in the late 1990s and has been found in classrooms around the world ever since as guided reading. Guided reading is also referred to as Fountas and Pinnell Levels after its founders.

  • Guided Reading: How Does Guided Reading Work?Guided reading is used in the classroom in small-group instruction and for independent reading. When your child enters a new grade he or she is assessed and assigned a guided reading level based on word-knowledge, comprehension, and fluency. The levels range alphabetically from A to Z, with level A representing the lowest level and level Z the highest. This allows the teacher to work closely with each student to help them become better readers by introducing them to increasingly challenging books while meeting the varying instructional needs of each child in the room through guided reading.

    Books are assigned guided reading levels based on several general expectations and capabilities of a reader. As the levels progress, the books become more difficult. Each level is based upon the increasing complexity of ten benchmark common book characteristics that readers encounter at all stages of the reading process from when your child picks up his or her first book through the time when he or she becomes a fluent reader. These guided reading categories are: 

    • Genre: The type of the book 
    • Text Structure: How the book is organized and presented
    • Content: The subject matter of a book 
    •  Themes and Ideas: The big ideas that are communicated by the author 
    •  Language and Literary Features: The types of writing techniques employed by the writer
    • Sentence Complexity: How challenging the syntax is of each sentence
    • Vocabulary: The frequency of new words introduced in the book
    • Words: The ease at which the words in the book can be figured out or decoded by a reader
    • Illustrations: The correlation and consistency of images and pictures in the books to the words printed on the page
    • Book and Print Features: The physical aspects of the printed word on the page.
  • How Can I Find Books at My Child’s Guided Reading Level?Since teachers clearly label the front of every book with its alphabetic level, it is easy for a child to go to a bookshelf in school and grab a book on his or her appropriate guided reading level. There are many characteristics and benchmarks used to calculate what level a book is on and should only be leveled by trained levelers. The Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Books website has a database of thousands of popular books teachers and parents can easily search by guided reading level, genre, theme, age, interest level, or series. You can label the books in your child’s book collection so that he or she can easily spot the books on their guided reading level to practice reading at home.

I hope this info helps to better explain why we are starting this so early.  If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line via email or send along a good old-fashioned note.  Thanks so much for your support.  Together, we are creating life-long readers!


I am posting a very belated picture of the students from Halloween.  I am about four weeks behind the rest of the world and I do apologize.  I also am experiencing technical difficulties, thus why these posts have been few and far between.  The pictures I have taken will not mount to the blog, so stay tuned- I will try to update the pictures on the blog when I am able to get some technical assistance!

Sunday Evening Review

Well, here we are- into another week. I have to confess, Parents.  I am not really techie about pictures.  I have been avoiding posting all week as I knew I had dozens and dozens of pictures from the field trip of which I really didn’t know how to get them from my phone to the blog- without some Husband assistance.  So here I am- finally.  With a few pictures for you- and more to come another night, as this stuff takes forever to download!

First of all, the children all received a a Good Friend Award on October 8th, so I will include that first.  I have been working on encouraging the class to be friends with one another, and this particular day, I really saw a lot of effort!  Way to go KA! IMAG0029 IMAG0030 IMAG0031 IMAG0032

And as I mentioned, here are some of the pictures from the Apple Orchard!  For a humorous account of the day, please click this link IMAG0114 IMAG0115 IMAG0116 - Copy (2) IMAG0126 IMAG0132 - Copy (2) IMAG0133 IMAG0134 IMAG0136 - Copy (2) IMAG0140 IMAG0160 IMAG0161 IMAG0162

One day soon, I will post a few more pictures of what happened on the ride home!!  Now that’s another story altogether!! Have a wonderful week, everyone!!

Welcome to October!

We are one month in and already we are learning so much!  Something I would ask you to do with your child every night is read to them- especially books with words that rhyme.  Rhyming is such an important skill for phonological awareness- and it is fun to do as well!  Encourage your child to find things around the room that rhyme.  Make it a game!

We have also just finished a math unit on patterns, so please have your child show you what they know about making patterns with shapes, colors and different sized objects. They are also whizzes at sorting things into categories.  Reinforcing what we have learned at school is so important!

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Some pictures above give you an idea about our busy days spent here in Kindergarten.  The children have a quiet time each day, and the top picture is one of the three boys at the Listening Center with a book by Robert Munsch.

By now, you have all probably had a chance to look over your child’s book called “I Am Special” which they have been working on all month.  We tried to do a page every day or so- making it manageable and still exciting for them to do.  As they worked on the books, I showed them how their books were coming together.  They are all so proud of their books, and we had a chance to share these books with the class before they were sent home to be enjoyed by all of you!  Ask them about their favorite page in the book!  Most said it was their footprint.

One of the more popular stations during center time is the White Board Easel and Chalk Board Station.  Logan initiated writing this sentence- “I am Logan”, and I was so proud of him that I wanted to share it with all of you!  Even students in kindergarten can be writers!

Happy October 1st everybody!