Friday, August 31, 2012



A few days ago, I did a post about Ramadan. I did not, however, talk about Eid-ul-Fitr (pronounced: Eed - ul - fit - er). If you have not yet read the post about Ramadan, please do so here before you read about Eid-ul-Fitr.


About two weeks ago, muslims all over the world celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr after the completion of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting.  Here is a bit more information about Eid-ul-Fitr.

What is Eid?

Eid is a celebration that muslims take part in every year. There are two different times of the year when Eid is celebrated. One is called Eid-ul-Fitr and the other is called Eid-ul-Adha (pronounced Eed - ul - Ad - ha). Please click here for a post about Eid-ul-Adha.

What is Eid-ul-Fitr?


Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated as the month of Ramadan ends. The term is in Arabic, in which the word Eid means "festivity" and Fitr means "breaking the fast"; hence, the definition being the festivity of breaking the fast. On this holiday, muslims are forbidden to fast and they celebrate it with many different traditions all over the world. The ending of Ramadan is marked by a brand new moon. Once the new moon is witnessed, Eid-ul-Fitr is declared. 

What is done on Eid-ul-Fitr?

Eid-ul-Fitr is done for one, two, or three days depending on the cultural rituals/traditions around the world. The day begins with greetings between everyone by saying "Eid Mubarak" meaning Happy Eid. It is encouraged to shower and be clean; if possible, to wear clean, new clothes (or the best that you have). An Eid prayer is held in a large area with many people to give thanks to God. After the prayer, people greet each other with hugs and wish them 'Eid Mubarak'. 


A big feast is held for Eid. Different foods are made in all different parts of the world and cultures. 

A common tradition for women and girls is to apply Henna or Mehndi (pronounced Meh-n-dee) on hands and/or feet. Henna is a plant from which leaves are used to dye skin, hair, nails, and as well as leather and wool ( It is widely used as body art. Henna leaves are taken to create a paste which is used to create designs and beautiful art on the body. The above henna is actually done by me on my hand!!


Children receive cards, gifts and/or money. In some countries, there are many Eid community gatherings held that include food, shopping, games, henna, music and other entertainment. 

Each country celebrates Eid in their own traditional way. This page on Wikipedia gives a little information about various countries in the world in which Eid is celebrated. Check out the link here.

Books about Eid-ul-Fitr

An Eid for Everyone - by Hina Islam

The Lost Ring: An Eid Story - by Fawzia Gilani-Williams

The following link is a DOC file that has many titles for children's literature about Eid-ul-Fitr. You are more than welcome to download it as I found it on the web myself. It is a bibliography of the titles:

Here is a link to my post with Free Coloring Pages for Ramadan and Eid.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Banning Teachers From Striking?


According to statistics (which I don't have), Ontario is the largest province with the most amount of debt. To fix this problem, a review of the public services was to be done by a hired professional. This professional was Don Drummond, an economist, who conducted a report and called it 'The Drummond Report'. 

This report was over 600 pages long, released in February 2012 and talked in detail about all the public sectors that could need some tweeking. The teachers of Ontario were part of this report. The Drummond Report said to freeze teachers' wages for two years without being able to climb up the salary grid even after additional qualifications. It also wants to take away the sick days from 20 and push it to 6.

The government now is not budging from this and is even imposing a bill to ban teachers from striking and forcing them to take this contract with wages frozen and less benefits. The government is using many reasons by using statements such as the teachers are getting paid too much money and they get lots of time in their summer. A friend of mine sent me this piece of article from an Orillia newspaper that defends the teachers. I think it is worth a read. Here it is:

Clarifications in this teacher/government dispute. Please read.

An Editorial from the Orillia newspaper .....
There is a lot of misinformation about teachers these days. Premier Dalton McGuinty, Education Minister Laurel Broten and Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak are all trying to paint teachers as greedy, bad guys, but here are the facts:

Teachers and the federations accepted a wage freeze months ago. It’s a non-issue.

...Teachers are concerned about the grid (that only helps younger teachers) and the fact that the government is beginning to withdraw from the pension-plan agreement.

What teachers are most concerned about is that this is actually a union busting. It is a way to end collective bargaining. Teachers have not threatened to strike or take any action, but the government is proposing actions to take away teachers’ right to strike. They have not sat down at the table to negotiate. They basically said, “This is what teachers are going to get, and if they don’t accept it, the government will take away their right to oppose us.” That’s not fair and it’s not democratic.

Very, very, very few teachers actually make $95,000 per year. Most teachers who are at the maximum place on the grid actually make $92,000; however, these are teachers who have two degrees, are specialists in their field of endeavour (like special education) and have taught full time for about 15 years. The average pay of a teacher is about $50,000. A constable first class (college diploma) with the OPP makes $83,000 after three years. A university professor makes about $120,000. The high-end pay for a college teacher is $102,000.

Also, teachers cannot increase their pay through overtime. They can only increase their pay by getting another job. Many others, like the police, can get hired on for extra duties (like chaperoning dances, where the teachers are working for free).

Teachers do not get summers off. They take a 20% pay cut throughout the year to pay for the time they are not employed during the summer. If parents and their offspring want to go to school all summer, then let’s talk about year-round school and stop acting like teachers are getting some free ride.

Teachers do not get paid for after-school programs like councils, meetings, sports, clubs, exchange programs or after-hours field trips. Teachers are paid from the start of the school day to the end of the school day. Everything else is a gimme.

Something else that many don’t realize is that because teachers are not working during the summer, most of them are the backbone of summer and community programs.

The Mike Harris government made a complete mess of education and, in many ways, school has never really recovered. For example, arts programs are still running on shoestring budgets and are slowly falling apart. Mr. McGuinty is pretending that he is the one who has created success in our high schools. Despite all of this nonsense, there’s only one person standing in front of the children on the first day back and it isn’t a politician, a trustee, a superintendent or a principal (all of whom make a lot more than a teacher).

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Sounds of Language - Why English is Difficult to Learn

Remember a couple months ago I wrote about why the English Language is tough to learn? A friend of mine sent me a fun poem that explains EXACTLY why! If you are teaching grades higher than Kindergarten, this poem is great to be posted in the classroom. Enjoy!

The picture is a tad small, so I will type it up here as well. You are more than welcome to copy/paste and print it out if you wish.

We'll begin with BOX; the plural is BOXES,
But the plural of ox is OXEN, not OXES.
One fowl is a GOOSE, and two are called GEESE,
Yet the plural of MOOSE is never called MEESE.

You may find a lone MOUSE or a house full of MICE,
But the plural of HOUSE is HOUSES, not HICE.
The plural of MAN is always MEN,
But the plural of PAN is never PEN.

If I speak of a FOOT and you show me two FEET,
And if I give you a BOOK, would a pair be a BEEK?
If one is a TOOTH and a whole set are TEETH,
Why shouldn't two BOOTHS be called BEETH?

If the singular's THIS and the plural is THESE,
Should the plural of KISS be ever called KEESE?

We speak of a BROTHER and also of BRETHREN,
But though we say MOTHER, we never say METHREN.
Then the masculine pronouns are HE, HIS, and HIM,
But imagine the feminine...SHE, SHIS, and SHIM!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

All About Ramadan


Muslims all over the world are currently taking part in their holy month, Ramadan (pronounced ra-ma-daan). I wanted to take this opportunity to share information about this month so that teachers everywhere can get a better idea and in turn, teach it to their students.


What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. During this month, muslims do not eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset. This month does not only mean to keep away from food and drink but also from all sinful actions mentally and physically such as gossip, anger, lust, greed, violence, etc. Kindness is to be shown through strong manners, helping the needy and providing charity. It is a time to re-evaluate your own life, get rid of bad habits and become closer to Allah (term for God) as well as your family, friends and of course your soul. The month is either 29 or 30 days depending on the moon sighting. After the end of Ramadan, muslims take part in a celebration for their fasting. This special day is called Eid-ul-Fitr. Please click here to find out more about Eid-ul-Fitr. 


When is it celebrated?

As some may notice, Ramadan does not come on the same date every year. This is because the Islamic calendar is based on the moon, consisting of 12 lunar months. In total, the year is 354 or 355 days. This is why every year Ramadan begins 10 days earlier than it did the previous year comparing it to the Gregorian or Western calendar. 

Find out more on this website:


Who takes part in fasting?

Muslims all over the world take part in fasting. It, of course, has limitations. Children are not required to fast until they have hit puberty; then it becomes a priority. Some children really want to participate in fasting and so their parents allow them to fast for half a day instead of the whole day. People who are sick or are on medication are not required to fast. Some seniors are excused from fasting as well if it is going to be affecting their health. Pregnant women are not required to fast. Women do not fast for the week of their menstrual cycle. If there are days that have been missed, they maybe made up by fasting on any day as long as it is before the next Ramadan. 

What are the benefits of fasting?

Many benefits are part of fasting. Because muslims are not eating anything from dawn to dusk, it helps them realize the importance of food. They feel the hunger so they can understand how unfortunate people all over the world feel when they do not have anything to eat. It is a time for realization and thankfulness. It also teaches lots of self-control as you refrain from sinful activities and such. It is a time to bond with family and friends and to build a stronger community. There are some medical benefits to it as well. For example, because you are not eating or drinking anything for most of the day, your body is being cleansed out of all bacteria. It helps to lower blood glucose and insulin levels. Some people are also able to lose unnecessary weight. 

Here is a link to more benefits:

And check out this website for a ton of detail about the medical benefits of fasting:

Books for children about Ramadan:

My First Ramadan - by Karen Katz

Ramadan: Islamic Holy Month - by Terri Dougherty

Ramadan - by Suhaib Hamid Ghazi

Celebrating Ramadan - by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith

Magid Fasts for Ramadan - by Mary Matthews

Activity Websites:

Colouring pages:

Here is my post with free coloring pages: Free Coloring Pages
Also check out the following link for more coloring pages.

Lots of different activities for children to do on all these sites. Some are in another languages. You can choose the ones that are right for your students:

Paper lantern/lamp:

A very cute Ramadan craft. Flower pot with Ramadan Mubarak label. (Ramadan mubarak means Happy Ramadan):

If you have any questions about what I have posted, please feel free to ask anything. I will be more than happy to help. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Moosetache - Shoebox Storytelling Technique


Here I am with another storytelling technique. I love this book! It is a bit long for the younger age group but with the story box technique, the children will be on their toes waiting for the next page! I used the book MOOSETACHE by Margie Palatini.

I used the shoebox technique for this book. I took a shoebox, covered it with tissue paper of bright colour and then put shiny gift wrap on it. You can choose to decorate it any way you want. Gift wrapping, newspaper, tissue paper, etc. Whatever you think will suit the book well. I then wrote the name of the book and the author so I am able to find it easily.

The mustache I made on my own because I was unable to find the right kind I needed. From the dollar store, I bought a ponytail wig and separated it in the middle with clear tape. I also stuck on masking tape at the back and believe it or not, I put the mustache on while I am telling the story (I become the character so to speak). 

On the inside of the lid, I wrote down all the materials I will be using according to chronological order. On the inside of the box I kept all the materials I would be using. 

I used clothespins with the materials. I just taped it around the item.

As I tell the story, I put the materials with the clothespins around the box. This technique is fast and easy to use once you have all the materials. The children love it and it moves away from the traditional reading of a story. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Silly Sally - Felt Storytelling Technique

I can't believe how busy I have gotten in the past month. But I am back!!! A very happy summer to everyone and hope life is treating everyone with kindness, love and happy memories. 

I love books as do most teachers (I hope!). But what I love about books is the different amount of techniques it can be told in. Here is a felt story I created on my own with a bit of help using a website (I will post the link as well).

Felt stories are one of the easiest ways to tell a story. It allows children to be focused if you are giving them opportunity to participate. I chose Silly Sally by Audrey Wood as it is one of my favourite books; it is fun, catchy (because it has rhyming words) and it can be used where children can participate while the story is being read. This allows children to look forward to the story and what is coming up next. 

I bought red felt because it is bright and attracts children to keep their focus. You can choose to put the felt with magnets on a magnetic board or pin it up on a cork board. 

I took printables from the above website and colored them in according to the characters from the story. I also photocopied some parts from the storybook in color so more children could participate throughout circle time. Then I laminated them so I can use them for a long time.

I bought pre-stick velcro from the dollar store and cut it into small pieces. Then I stuck them on the back of the pictures.

You can read the story at school on your choice of boards or you can do a small group story even on the floor. Don't forget to use this technique at home as well. It's a lot of fun!

I am also excited to share another blog, The Educator's Spin On It that has a post full of activities inspired by Audrey, Don and Bruce Wood. This blog has a post on a Virtual Book Club. Check it out, you'll love it!
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