Remembrance day at P2L!

On the morning of November 10th, the students worked together on a remembrance day wreath that now hangs proudly on the window of the littles classroom.

To begin this craft, all the students stenciled their handprint and cut it out. We then glued a little black circle onto the handprint. All the poppy handprints were glued onto a big white circle to create a remembrance day wreath. We all worked together on this craft and hung it on our window to show that we remember.

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Halloween fun at Paths to Learning

We had lots of fun this morning carving pumpkins at Paths to Learning. Each student was given a pumpkin to personalize. The two younger children worked with the older children as helpers for this project.



We had some students make designs such as dinosaurs and minecraft figures. Other students made face pumpkins we had two happy pumpkins and one with lots of teeth!

To begin, all the students cleared  the pumpkin seeds out of their pumpkin. They then drew the design on their pumpkin and carved it using special knifes! At the end of this project we had 5 new decorations to set up on our step.




A Great Escape!!

This week our pet crayfish (known as a lobster in the aquarium trade, and by many of our students) escaped from its fish tank, made the leap down off the cabinet it sits on, and ended up in the quiet room (where our other pet, Chloe the rat also lives) hiding in the puppets. One of our students wrote about the experience from the crayfish’s perspective:


My life threatening adventure

Today I, Bowler Dwayne Rick Hotel (AKA Lobby the Lobster) almost died. (If you wish to hear more of this outrageous story read on) ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–On Oct 27 2015 (or the 6th in back to the future days) I escaped from my confinement cell. I was confined to it by not listening to my parents and getting caught by a cage!!! I remember being a little tiny iddybiddy lobsty. I’m technically a cray fish but screw the system I live the thug life.
Enough with the back story I broke out of my cage through the filter and jumped out onto the floor. When I was on my big escape I found a big monster. They called this monster Chloe. It was in a cage like I was I felt bad for it so I was going to let it free. But then I thought, “nah it’s in that cage for a reason and plus I live the thug life, after all I did escape from prison”. I decided I was going to camp here for a while until it was safe.
When it was safe I decided to find a place to live. I found a big bin and a cozy shell with nothing in it. I was not a crab but I thought if a crab could do it I could too, but just then I realized I need to have H2O to live.
Right then I heard a monster called Hannah walk in. After that more monsters came in. I thought to myself “I need to get back to my home with my parents”. I couldn’t figure out where I was. I was cold compared to when I was a little lobsty. Then I heard my name and then people scattered, I think they figured out that I left my cell. I heard them shouting out, calling me, thinking I’m a fool and I was going back to my cell. Eventually they stopped so I waited, waited for them to leave and to get out of my shell to find water. Then I felt my shell rising and then something tried entering my shell. It was a monster. All of a sudden I heard the words “I found him, he was in the puppet bin”. That was it.
I was done. I went back to my cage, but before I finish I’d like to say that I mind controlled one of the students, aka the feeder of the fish to write about my story and post it. Now here it is with other monsters reading it on this thing called interwebs so thank you all for listening to my story.

Dempsey Corner Orchards -Student Post

Hi I’m C a student at P2L. We went on our first field trip for the year on Monday the 19, we went to Dempsy corner orchard. It was great we saw tons of animals. One of the funniest was Billy. Billy is a goat (pronounced go-at) he followed us as we went apple picking. There were cats, a dog, rabbits a pig, sheep, calves, and a ton of chickens. The two cats names were War and Peace I think the names should be changed War let me pick him up and Peace bit me! The funny part about that is they said that Peace was nice and War was mischievous. Here are some photos that we took:

I went on the merry-go-round with Billy.

I went on the merry-go-round with Billy.

She was having a blast too!

She was having a blast too!

Picking Apples.

Picking Apples.

Isn't Billy Cute?

Isn’t Billy Cute?

Science experiment about rocks!

The older students have been busy working on science. They have been reading books and doing a variety of assignments to learn about different kinds of rocks. Today the children did a science experiment to create the different rocks. We used crayon shavings, hot water and aluminum foil to create sedimentary and igneous rocks.  Three of our students participated in the experiment and created very colorful rocks. This gave the students a better idea of what the different types of rocks look like!

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What do you call a fish with no tail?

fish joke


Commence hysterical laughter.
I recently came across a page that featured several jokes like this one. Jokes written by kids that feature some, but not all, of the features of a fully formed joke. Then, last week during community lunch, everyone somehow got started telling jokes to one another. It was really interesting to hear the range of development in joke telling. Some of the kids were still at the “one eyed grape” phase of joke telling, where the joke is more about creating a situation that might be funny if witnessed. Another student had memorized several knock-knock jokes, and had a good handle on what it meant to create a joke. Yet another student was using the structure of the knock-knock joke to create his own.
This started me thinking about kids and development and humour. Paul McGhee proposed a stage model of children’s humour in 1979, going from “Laughing without Humour” to “Riddles and Jokes”. Somewhere along the line, most of us figure out what the formula is for telling a joke. At different developmental stages we find very different things funny. You could tell the developmental stages of the kids in the kitchen not only but the jokes they were telling, but also by the jokes they were laughing at.
I remember my elementary school French teacher. We all thought that Mr. A. was SO mean -he was always poking fun at people and we really didn’t like him. Once I was in grade 7 and 8 we had a different French teacher, but one day we had our old teacher in as a substitute. All of a sudden he was hilarious! Looking back I can see that Mr. A. had a gift for sarcasm, and as a younger child I just couldn’t understand the jokes he was trying to tell. Later on in my development I got the joke, and all of a sudden he was one of our favourite teachers.
Jokes are an important part of group dynamics. Knowing how to effectively use jokes can allow us to find and experiment with social boundaries without creating offense. In-jokes within a group of friends serve to separate them from others and to create a common experience that brings them closer.
Jokes give us an interesting lens into the inner-workings of a child’s mind -and provide us with some clues about how he or she is perceiving the world.

Community Lunch

Each week on Wednesdays at P2L we take advantage of the lovely kitchen in the schoolhouse to cook a community lunch, together with and for our schoolers, co-schoolers, staff, and anyone else who happens to be visiting. Even Chloe the rat gets included sometimes, with a couple of delicious scraps!

For many of our kids, eating new things is a challenge. They may have a very limited profile of tastes that they enjoy, or perhaps do not like when tastes are mixed together. Community lunch gives us all a chance to be allowed to try something new without worrying about going hungry (parents are asked to pack lunches anyways, just in case their kiddos don’t like what we have made that week) and without all of the emotional battles that sometimes happen around mealtime in the home. Our community lunch also has peers trying out the same things you are trying, which can be a big motivator in convincing a less than eager eater that they might want to try a bite.

Cooking is one of my favourite creative outlets, so it gives me a time to share that part of myself with the kids. Plus, cooking together has a whole host of other benefits: real-world mathematics, reading, health and nutrition lessons, social skills for getting along in the kitchen, focus and attention to task, table manners, and practice with conversation.

Every week I come out of our community lunch feeling so proud of the kids for trying something challenging. It is definitely a highlight of our week, and something really special in our P2L program.

community lunch pic

Enjoying our community lunch!

What did you say again? -Paying Attention

Paying attention is hard. I consider myself a well-functioning adult, and yet as I write this I am eating my lunch, and have five other tabs open on my Google Chrome window. While I’m writing I take breaks, check my facebook, have a bite of my lunch -but because this is my lunch break I consider this an acceptable level of attentiveness to the task. However, I just finished my masters degree; while I was writing my final paper I had to be much more disciplined with my attentiveness to the task. I had to close the tabs, shut myself in a quiet place, put my phone on silent, and put on some quiet music with no lyrics. These are my strategies for focus and attention.

School asks kids to pay attention -A LOT of attention- for long periods of time. Some kids seem to naturally have the ability to block out distractions. Others find their own strategies, like tapping their pencils while they listen, to help themselves attend. Some kids naturally understand that some activities require greater effort to attend to, and can shift between recess and math class with very little problem. Other kids can’t.

Anyone who works with kids, or has even met a few kids, has probably met some of these kiddos. There is the hyperactive type; the kids who can’t sit down and are climbing the walls while you make futile attempts to get them to sit still. There is the inattentive type; the kids who are lost in dreamland while the teacher goes on about something at the front (think Charlie Brown in class). Then there is the combined type; the kid who is climbing the bookshelves while lost in la-la land.

Everyone has their own tricks and strategies for helping kids with attention. Lately, I have been experimenting with a few for some differently inattentive kids here at Paths 2 Learning. For one student, some headphones and a soundtrack of running water seems to help to shut out the outside world and enable her to really get into her writing. For another student, standing on a balance board or sitting on an exercise ball helps him to keep his body busy so his mind can work. For this student, an exercise band around the legs of her chair keeps her feet busy while she listens to water sounds to help drown out the noise in her environment. All of these students have the ability to attend and focus, they just need a little help learning the strategies that help them get there!



Audio Book Review

These past few weeks we have started working on expressing opinions about written texts. It is still a skill that is in the beginning stages as my students put into words what is important and interesting in a text -for them. I love talking about book reviews because I think it really helps to develop strong text selection and critical thinking around the books we read. Writing reviews of books, even in the early stages, encourages thinking about the text after reading. It is so easy to put down a book and forget about it, but it becomes a bigger learning experience when we talk about the story outside the confines of the book. As an avid reader and a one-time English major I love nothing more than to really get connected to a good book -and this is an experience that I love to share with my students.

With my learners, writing is sometimes a barrier to expressing our ideas. I am always looking for ways to express ourselves that don’t depend on writing. This is where technology is such a useful tool -using the iPad we easily record and store our book reviews. This way we can share our opinions about the books we read without the added barrier of writing.

IMG_2170Listening to a completed review.

A New Friend for a New School Year

It is a new school year here at Paths 2 Learning Academy and we are excited to see some new faces along with some returning ones. We are continuing to offer a range of educational services, tailored to the needs of children and their families -such as tutoring, co-schooling, home schooling assistance and even full academic curriculum. We had a myriad of donations over the summer and I am so grateful to all the people who put us on their list, the schoolhouse has never looked better! We have a new math program and will be implementing a new program to facilitate keyboarding for our students who struggle with traditional paper and pencil ways to show what they know.

I also have something else to be excited about this fall…

Rat selfie

Rat selfie


Chloe! She is our newest member here at  Paths 2 Learning, and is making it really difficult to type this blog post as she keeps trying to wrestle with my fingers. Chloe is a rat. She was chosen as a class pet because among all the little animals I have met, rats are some of the smartest, most entertaining, and most intelligent. I am so excited for all our new and returning students to meet her! Having a class pet will teach responsibility, empathy, and respect for living things to our students here. Plus they are pretty cute and fun to play with!

Happy new (school) year!