Gone But Not Forgotten

That’s me…and my relationship with words. I think about their structure every day. And I miss making structural and etymological discoveries with students…

I decided to check the old blog today and discovered, according to my Clustrmap widget, that people are still frequenting the site. So perhaps I should explain the lack of new posts.

I am still at ZIS, but I have moved to the Middle School to teach math. It has been a welcome new challenge, but I certainly miss my 5th grade blog community, particularly those with orthographic interests.

Over the October break my family went to Ghana on a service-learning trip with the school. It was a magical experience on many accounts, and one that afforded the opportunity to share orthography with an incredibly eager group of students at our partner school, founded by my good friend Ibrahim Oubda, near Kumasi.

Of course whenever I was asked to teach I focused on word structure. And it will come as no surprise to this community that the children loved it…and understood it…and wanted more. There was no internet access, so no Douglas Harper to guide us, but that was fine. We were still able to explore morphology, etymology (mostly synchronic), and phonology. I didn’t record any of our sessions, unfortunately. You would have enjoyed seeing the kids, in an open-to-the-elements classroom, standing up each time they wanted to share, referring to me as “Sir”, and all of them, from young to old, paying attention, contributing, and learning.

A few girls, Mary, Patience, and Scholastica (yes…her actual name), “claimed” me during the week, something that happens on all these trips apparently. They followed me around, wrote me letters, and consequently we became quite close. At one point late on the last day, not long before tears started to flow (me included) at our departure, I asked the girls to spell ‘unhelpfully.’ Every one of ’em nailed it! And so proud!

Made me think this math thing was a bad idea… 🙂

Emotional Basket Case

That’s the only way to describe Mr. Allen today. What happened? I even held it together last year when my son left Grade 5. And I’m going to be seeing most of the students in middle school next year anyway! Obviously, my inability to speak coherently and maintain composure is due to how much I LOVE this group of kids.

I made a HUGE oversight by not including the one-and-only Lexi in the Grade 5 video. Sorry Lexi! She happily re-recorded her memory for us and it is now included in the version below.

The kids and I were desperately looking for Ben and Karl’s video from the beginning of the year. We couldn’t find it, but I just did. Silly. Ridiculous. Genius. Here it is kids!

A huge thank you goes out to Tomas Molvidson for being our Room Parent this year, and to all the parents for helping make this class such a special one. Thank you for all of the gifts (that wine looks GOOD!) and all your support throughout the year.

For those leaving, stay in touch…PLEASE. And for everyone else, see you in August!

Happy summer!


The Lost Pete Bowers Chronicles

End-of-school clearing out also means clearing out old video. I found this deep in the archives of my phone. A glimpse of a very busy “day in the life” of Pete Bowers.

I’ll also take this opportunity to thank Pete and the rest of the amazing orthographic community for all they’ve done for our classroom over the last several years. Whether Old and Grouchy or young and downright giddy, each of you has absolutely changed who I am as a teacher, scholar, and person. I’m off to the middle school next year to teach math, but rest assured, orthography will also find a place in my lessons and investigations.

As for this blog, it isn’t going anywhere. I just may not be adding to it as I have the last few years. The videos will also remain, although I will no longer have the password and editing rights. I will contact the new teacher next year and request he/she take precautions to not delete any of our videos. If there is a video you would like to download, let me know and I will change the settings so you can do so.

I’m sure I’ll make a final post or two as we approach our final school day on Thursday. Until then!

Math Problem

We did this a few weeks ago. I’ve just been a bad blogger recently. Bad, bad blogger. My apologies.

The video shows kids being genuine mathematicians. Sharing ideas, debating, attempting to prove their solutions. Good fun…and probably the last video evidence of how well this group of students works together. At least for this school year!

Exhibition 2015

Well deserved congratulations are in order for our students after last night’s big event. They were obviously well prepared for last night’s presentations, and their enthusiasm was infectious. So much so, Noah’s dad said, “I feel like I’ve been to university!”