Day 14: Catherine Tenhage, Special Needs ERF (Massey St. P.S)


Pretty proud to call this amazing educator a colleague

Originally posted on Peel21st Project 188:


I am Catherine Tenhage, a Special Needs ERF at Massey St. P.S.; and a life long learner! I learned today that the dynamics of our “teaching teams” are not so very different from the
dynamics of our students and classrooms.

Our start to the new year of learning has been insightful, challenging and full of the usually
beginning classroom jitters. We have began with a gusto, looking to make good first
impressions. Our get to know each other games, and activities have quickly revealed a broad
range of personality, emotions, learning strengths and weaknesses. Not only in our students;
also in us as staff. I saw that we are so very much just “bigger” students. This hit me particularly
during our new principal’s “starter” activity at our first staff meeting. Thanks, Kathy!

We have had a large turn over of staff this year, and the activity…

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Day 10: Angelo Cariati, Instructional Coach (CBO)

Originally posted on Peel21st Project 188:


Hello! My name is Angelo Cariati (mr_cariati) and I am an Instructional Coach. I have the pleasure of working at four schools this year: Sir William Gage, Queen Street, Ridgeview and Copeland Public School. Simply put, I love to learn.

This school year so far has been a year of new: New role, new superintendency, new area, new schools and a new beard. As such, there’s been a lot of adjusting and, consequently, new learning. Today, I was the new student and I learned that you’re never too old for the first day of school jitters.

It was my first co-planning session with teachers that I’ve only corresponded with (and follow on Twitter). We new of one another but didn’t meet officially until today. It was the first time in almost a year that I didn’t hear “Hi Mr. C!” upon walking…

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Day 11: Lindsay Freedman, ASD Teacher (Red Willow Public School)

Originally posted on Peel21st Project 188:


Hi there! My name is Lindsay Freedman. I am teaching a contained Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) class at Red Willow P.S. This is my sixth year teaching, my fifth year at Red Willow and my third year teaching a contained class.

Being in special education is not for everyone. When people ask me what I teach and I tell them about my classroom I tend to get the same comments: “You must be really patient”, “I don’t know how you do it” or my favourite, “It takes a certain type of person to do that”. I usually just respond with “It’s not for everyone, but I love it”. The thing about special education is that every day, in fact every moment can be entirely different. You need to be adaptable to your students, your team and be able to go with the flow. But…

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Day 4: Shivonne Lewis-Young, Grade 3 Teacher (Massey Street Public School)


Today was my turn to share my thoughts on the Peel Project 184 blog (soon to be renamed Project 198 to reflect the number of school days in Peel this year). When I remembered it was my day I thought, “what could I have possibly learned in four days?” Well the truth is I’ve learned a lot about myself this week and the importance of not making assumptions.

I love this project and I really hope that more Peel Partners are inspired to write for it! Check it out and sign up!

Originally posted on Peel21st Project 188:

What I Learned Today

My name is Shivonne Lewis-Young and I teach grade 3 at Massey Street Public School. I love the 3C’s – coffee, chocolate and my children.

I am in my eleventh year of teaching. I’ve felt very fortunate to have a variety of teaching experiences from Kindergarten including pre and post FDK, combined grades, 1-3 and ESL where I supported grade 1-5. In my eleven years I have never taught the exact same grade 2 years in a row. I’ve always wondered how colleagues taught the same grade year after year and wondered how they were not bored. I almost did with FDK. I started the year but left in February to go on leave with my second child. So I am quite use to change and understand that naturally each school year would look quite different from the rest.

I was assigned grade 3 again for…

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Day 1: Tony Pontes, Director of Education (Peel District School Board)


Inspiring first day message from our PDSB Director

Originally posted on Peel21st Project 188:


Dear colleagues,

Happy New (school ) Year!  I hope you are as excited as I am about the start of another great year.

My name is Tony and I work at the HJA Brown Education Centre.  I love to play golf and tennis and to hike through beautiful terrain.  This summer my family went skydiving.  Notice I said, my family, not me – I was the official photographer with both feet on the ground!  I also love to see staff get excited when they see their students succeed.

And that is where all Peel staff come in.  Peel is blessed to have dedicated, caring staff who, every day, inspire success, confidence and hope in each student.

Over the past year, we’ve made great strides in setting a directional vision for and in using technology in the classroom to boost student engagement.  In fact, we’re recognized around…

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Labour Day and Back to School

Monday – the labour day weekend. While most people are relaxing having a second coffee (okay maybe I’ve done that too) feeling fortunate for the extra day off teachers and students have a different feeling. It’s not that we don’t want to go back but it’s a combination of anxiety, anticipation and excitement all rolled into one. Endings are always difficult. My family had a particularly lovely summer. It was low key and relaxing. We didn’t have any grand vacations but lots of cottage trips, beach days, park visits, late night with neighbours watching movies projected outdoors. Many fond memories were created. While I don’t want to go back to work and I love the time I’ve been able to have with my children. I am ready. My room looks great. My new grade 3 teaching partners are lovely. My new administrator Kathy is wonderful (we miss you Greg) We have big exciting 21stC plans for the school. I cannot wait to start up Green Team with my colleague Sarah and Coding Club with my other colleague Michelle. I have a feeling that this is going to be a really great year.

So today while I enjoy my last day of summer with my family and friends I will also be ticking off items from my to do list. I’m sure there are about a zillion things I am forgetting and there are a bunch of things I’ve intentionally left off the to do list.

As my husband Phil and I prepare for the new school year it’s with a heavy heart as we think of our colleagues and students in BC. Nobody wants this. Not parents, not students, definitely not teachers. Admittedly I do not know all the intricacies of their negotiations (or lack of) but being a teacher I do have a sense of what is involved during contract negotiations and it’s not a lovely situation to be a part of. I’ve been following #iwillholdtheline and #bced on Twitter and reading articles posted on Social Media and what gets me the most are the comments calling teachers “greedy”, “selfish” and in some instances much worse. I get it emotions are high, parents are scrambling to figure out arrangements for their kids, high school students are worried about getting their credits this year –  but to call teachers greedy and selfish is the wrong approach. Does a greedy person spend their last week of their vacation setting up their work space? Do they take a course to upgrade that they have paid for themselves? Attend conference and workshops and even present during their vacation? Do they spend their own money to buy resources and materials to enhance their workspace? Do they stay up until 2:00am the weekend before they go back to work prepping materials and planning activities? Maybe they do? Perhaps you don’t support or agree with the BCTF but perhaps you could hold back on the insults.

BC teachers while you hold the line we will be sending you our support from Ontario.  We leave you with this message:



Back to School!

It’s back to school already! While the summer flew by it really was a relaxing time for my family and we are all ready to get back to routine.

While students have a week until the return teachers everywhere are working really hard to set up their rooms and have them in tip-top shape for back to school. Today was my first day this week.

I love this week. The floors are really shiny, pencil crayons are super sharp, erasers are plentiful and everything looks fresh and bright. Of course the room is a way to quiet as it’s missing they key players but it holds the promise of what is to come for the next 10 months. It’s so full of potential. A year ago I blogged about the beginning of September being New Years and it still holds true. You will not find many professions where you get a fresh start every single year. Not only is every day a different every year is as well.

I hope that my new class of grade 3’s will be excited to see their school-home for the next 10 months. This room (I’ve switched) has beautiful natural light and a view that looks out to our playground and forest. Here is a “before” shot. I’ll update as the week goes on.

Day 1 – before

Day 1 (1)

Day 1 (2)

The Night before #TLDWpeel 2014


Cannot believe #TLDWPeel is upon us! Very excited for the next two day.

Originally posted on The inner workings of a "technology" teacher:

It’s the night before this years Teaching and Learning in a Digital World Conference #TLDWPeel and I sit here with my laptop in front of me at the island in our kitchen, coffee made, music playing in the background and my wife Shivonne (@SLewisYoung) to my left as we discuss our poster sessions and prepare for the two days ahead.  We certainly find our ourselves in a familiar situation with a little night before the deadline preparation.  For myself, I find the added pressure almost energizing.  Some might say that is the coffee but its Decaf.  Nonetheless, I am again super excited to be sharing some of my experiences over the next two days and I know Shivonne is just as excited to share her experiences.  Shivonne and a colleague will be sharing  their experience with Genius Hour in primary classrooms and I will be sharing my experience with using Social Media…

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Course Work with My Little Guy

I am almost completey done my Special Ed AQ Course. I have just my action research project to finish. Phil thought it would be a great idea to take Keelyn to the splash pad today while William napped so that I could have a few hours of quiet to focus. Great plan except William decided to nap for a whopping 40 minutes today so I was left to entertain a 2.5 year old while trying to work. Let me tell you it’s much easier to do this with Keelyn. You put out a bunch of craft things and that girl will go for hours. William not so much but… he did well today. It was much messier than I expected but I kind of just let him go for it. He did some gluing and I’m pretty sure it will take 3 weeks to dry. He also played with the sensory bins. I have two bins one with chickpeas and ones with lentils that I created as busy bins for Keelyn when William was a newborn. Keelyn is like me she would use the two bins but keep them separate and there would be little on the floor. William thought it would be more fun to mix the lentils and chickpeas and he also decided that they were better suited to the floor. He added scoops and cups and eventually his baby so it could play “in the sandbox mommy.”

My quiet work/activity time with William is certainly messy and a lot more busy but I’m grateful to have the one on one time with him. Usually when I need time to do work he’s napping or Phil takes him out and it’s just me and Keelyn. And I’m proud of myself for just letting the mess happen and let him create!




1 Year Anniversary

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated my blog. The end of the school year was extra busy this year and I had a week after school ended before my AQ (Special Education Part 1) started and I really felt the need for some down time. WordPress kindly reminded me that my 1 year anniversary of my blog happened so even though I’ve been enjoying my away from keyboard time I thought it was a good time to pop on and update. My summer has been lovely. The kids are out of daycare for the summer and they have been keeping us busy with long outdoor play time, cottage trips, movie dates, crafting, playing and cleaning. Keelyn has been doing school work in the afternoon when William naps along side me while I complete my course work. She has a journal and in the short month her writing and drawing has really progressed. She is working on sight words and loves to create patterns whenever she can. She asked a few weeks ago if she can have a “blob like you and daddy”. It took me a minute but I quickly figured out she wants a blog. I’m in the process of setting it up for her so stay tuned for awesome blog entries from my little miss!

Here’s some picture highlights of our summer so far!