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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 6, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Wstrlct The Lethbridge Herald Local news SECOND SECTION Lethbridge, Alberta, Wednesday, March 6, 1974 Pages 13-20 Grade 1 has changed By JIM GRANT Herald Staff Writer The curriculum is more advanced, teacher methods are almost unrecognizable. Even the classroom has changed. Desks are either half as big as they used to be. Or my memory has boosted them to twice their actual size The Grade I classroom I visited at General Stewart School is a colorful array of learning aides and displays of writings and drawings done by students. Pictures of animal and birds with the name of each printed beneath, the drawing of a big right and left hand to identify their respective sides of the blackboard, a cardboard clock with big moveable hands, plants and letters of the alphabet above the blackboard some of the items that decorate the General Stewart School Grade 1 classroom. The capital and small letters of the alphabet spread across the room on the upper portion of the blackboard have been common to Grade 1 classrooms for many years, but the rest of the classroom is a much better environment for learning than the Grade I classroom I attended as a youngster. Reading aloud helps After the Grade 1 students completed the opening exercise, they chose some type of reading material of interest to them and began reading out loud for about 15 minutes. Students who feel more secure with their ability to read are allowed to read in silence. Even though all but one student was reading put loud, the resulting noise level didn't prevent them from keeping their concentration on their own reading material. At one desk, a student was making all types of facial motions in an attempt to pronounce some of the more difficult words before him. Across the room another student was reading quite quickly while skipping the more difficult words. And a student in the back of the room was reading quite slowly but she had little difficulty with any words. One of the more surprising discoveries during my return to Grade 1 was to that the youngsters openly accepted the presence of adults in their classroom. The classroom is now a much better learning environment, with a colorful array of students' writings and drawings The youngsters carried on with their work as if the two parents and myself were just fellow students or assistants to the teacher. Color groups It is almost a daily occurrence for one or two parents of the children in the class to spend some time in the school assisting the teacher instruct their own youngsters or helping prepare study materials for the teacher. The students are usually taught as individuals or in small groups identified by a color. The "red" group may be on the floor in front of the room participating in a reading lesson while the "purple" group is at the blackboard learning to add numbers and the "yellow" group is in the back of the room playing with alphabet cards. Marjory Psikla, teacher, instructs one group for awhile and then moves throughout the room assisting the other students. The alphabet cards, the one group was playing with, constitute one of several games Mrs. Psikla has designed to put fun into learning. The cards, the size of an ordinary playing deck, are Japanese lesson Yasushi Ohki reads to the class marked with soft and hard vowels and words that have soft or hard vowels in them. The students deal out the cards and then see who can match the most vowel and word combinations. The students, usually m pairs, will take turns helping each other during the playing of the number games. One student holds up the card (for example: 7 plus 9 equals) and the other student attempts to provide the answer. The answers, are provided on the back of the cards Help your friends The students were also asked to write a story of their choice. During preliminary instruction to the story writing, the students were told to remember to use the happiness and surprise mark (exclamation capital letters, breaks at the end of the sentence (periods) and a title to identify their stories. Mrs. Psikla continually reminded the children that they were friends and should help each other learn. For example: If nobody could think of an answer to a question, she would suggest "let's think and help your friends." It was surprising to watch the students perform word and number exercises that most adults today wouldn't recognize. The students were given sheets of exercises that required the completion of equations and matching words to sentences. An example of the plus (6 plus 2) equals (3 plus 5) Mrs. Psikla also asked the students to identify the equation that would illustrate a particular problem. The youngsters were given a variety of exercises and continually changed learning activities throughout the day. Activity important The students must do most of the talking because at this age level it is important that they are always doing something, Mrs. Psikla says. One of the activities that really caught the attention of the students was the slicing in half of apples to prove that a fairy in a story they read the previous day had spoken the truth. The fairy had said there would be a star in the middle of every apple. Gulliver in Lilliput?, but Herald reporter Jim Grant stands out among his fellow pupils for a day. To the surprise of the students, there really were stars in the centre of each of the apples sliced by Mrs Psikla. "Really said one student. Another said "I didn't think it would be true Another activity that excited the youngsters was show and tell The students took turns sitting in an empty television cabinet to tell a story with or without the use of puppets. At one point in the morning, about half the class was sent to the library where the librarian helped them with their reading and showed them film strips. The students are also involved in two special projects this semester. One is a plasticene display of the various species of dinosaurs. The other is a picture and material display of Japanese culture. Physical education instruction is also taught in the afternoon. At the end of the day, Mrs Psikla reviewed some of the good health habits with the students. Brushing teeth, covering the mouth when yawning and getting to bed early were some of the habits mentioned. Mrs. Psikla uses the positive method of instruction which only compares the youngsters' work to what they are capable of accomplishing rather than to what the other students are doing Awards are also used occasionally when the teacher feels the student has performed his or her best. One such award is a "pencil driving test licence" that is only presented to the students who have performed their best printing A lot happened in the classroom during my first day back to Grade 1 much more in fact than I remember even taking place in Grade 1 when I was a youngster. With most schools opening their doors to the public this week during education week, other adults may be similarly surprised to learn that Grade 1 isn't what it used to be A use for TV Cora Starner tells of Winnie the Pooh Work time Alanna Burris writes her story 'Shocking9 costs cause library branch closure 15 minutes tacked onto school days City schools to close for Games The South Side branch of the Lethbridge public library will be closed March 31 because of costs so excessive the librarian feels they would shock the public if they were revealed. George Dew, commenting after the Lethbridge Public Library board voted Tuesday to close the sooth branch, said the unit cost of circulation at the branch was so high that he declined to mention it with the Librarian appointed A new chief librarian was named Tuesday by the Lethbndge Public Library Board. Duncan Rand, currently acting director of the London, Ont. public library, is to assume the Lethbridge position May 15. Mr. Rand will replace George Dew, who retires as Lethbndge's chief librarian May 1. Mr. Rand was born in Biggar, Sask., and got his B.A. from the University of Saskatchewan and his Bachelor of Library Science from McGill University. He is 33 years old and married, with three children aged six, four and two. The board voted to inform the incoming librarian of his acceptance, with a moving allowance of up to Crash victim identified RCMP have identified the man killed in a traffic accident near Taber Saturday. Wayne James Gostum, 24, of Taber was the driver of a half-ton that collided with a parked car and burned in a ditch. press present It would shock people if they saw it in the newspaper, he said. Boardmember D. S. Smith recommended closing the branch, located at 10120 20th SL S., and replacing it with a bookmobile. Dr. Smith said the city's expansion in the northeast, the southeast and in West Lethbridge meant the branch served only a small percentage of the population. The south branch, and the north side branch recently ordered dosed by the library board, were opened before nearby schools had good libraries, he said. Now the schools have excellent library facilities and few people patronized the branch. The staff at the sooth side branch would all be transferred to new central library, scheduled to open March 25, said board chairman Bill Russell. By JIM GRANT Herald Staff Writer Lethbridge schools will be closed for 10 days during the 1975 Canada Winter Games, public and separate school trustees decided Tuesday in a special joint meeting. The trustees quickly agreed Tuesday the schools should close but it took them more than two hours to agree to a revised 1974-75 school calendar that makes up for the classroom time lost during school closure. The new calendar will make up for about 7.5 of the 10 school days that will be lost during the Games without altering the Easier holiday break or extending the school year by a week The spring semester will be extended by 15 minutes a day, the teachers will return to school Jan. rather than Jan 6 and the teacher professional development day in March will be abandoned, the trustees decided following a discussion on four proposed different calendar changes. Public school trustees Carl Johnson and Reg Turner and John Boras, separate school board chairman, all spoke out against the calendar change finally approved by the trustees. Mr. Johnson felt the extended school day would be too hard on students and that it would be much better to make up 'for the lost classroom time by shortening the Easter break. He suggested the Easter break wouldn't be as necessary next year because the students would be receiving two weeks off luring the Winter Games in February. When voting against the 3roposed calendar change ,Jrat extended the school day. Boras said he was opposed to any calendar change that did not make up for all 10 days that would be missed during the school closure He preferred that the school calendar be extended by at least one week in June. 1975. He felt teachers were asking to be paid for working less days and suggested that a dav of school closure should be made up for by a day being added to the school calendar and not by extending the school day by a few minutes. Mr. Turner, eventually voted for the calendar change, told the trustees that he wasn't "impressed at all" with any school calendar change that lengthened the school day. He also believes school days lost should be recovered because a day of school is too important to disregard without considering the instructional time lost Dorothy Beckel, public school chairman, gave her vocal support to the revised calendar later accepted by the majority of trustees. "There is no real evidence that can be presented that there is a decrease in learning if the (school} day is extended." she claimed. George Bevan, director of public school curriculum, suggested that the trustees should not took upon the 10- day school closure as a holiday for teachers There will be about 300 Lethbridge teachers working as volunteers during the Games, he pointed out. Mr. Boras didn't agree and couldn't believe that anybody could look upon the 10-day school closure as anything but a holiday for teachers Many people are volunteering their services to the Winter Games without asking their employers to reduce the number of days they work in a year, he claimed Unfortunately, "nobody wants to agree with he moaned. Several trustees did not take a firm vocal stand on any of the proposed changes to the 1875 school calendar. Public school trustees Al ,Mont and Doug McPherson and separate school trustee Paul Matisz were absent from the meeting The two school boards also decided to allow the Winter Games committee to use certain school facilities and buildings daring the period of Feb. 10 to Feb. 24. 1975. The committee had asked that Catholic Central High School. St. Mary's School. Hamilton Junior High School and the Lelhbndge Collegiate Institute be made available for Winter Games displays and accommodation. The separate school trustees also agreed to send a letter to the Winter Games committee urging it to allow students into activities at little or no cost Ralph Himsl. superintendent, suggested that the students should be permitted free admission to all activities all during the Winter Games because one of Uie major reasons for closing the schools is to provide students with the educational opportunity of experiencing the operation and activities of the various events If the admission fees are too high, many students will not be able to receive the educational experience "we have been talking about" Himsl added ;