A Lovely First Visit to
Laura McKenzie Learning Centre on Bear Island
The school is obviously unique in that it is located on an island. To get there, you travel north on highway 11 from North Bay. From the highway you turn onto Lake Temagami Access road and pretty much drive to the end of the road where you will find the boat launch. Park your car here and hop on a boat to reach the island. (Call the band office in advance for boat times, a return ticket costs $20).
My boat journey each morning and evening was lovely. The driver, Lynn, told me bits and peices of history and information about the lake, it's residents and life in the area. There are approxametly 200 year round residents on the island. Further information on the island and about Temagami Lake First Nation can be found on their website.
The school has an enrollment of about 30 students and really is a lovely little school. When you walk in, there is an immediate feeling of being welcome, everyone was so friendly! There are three classrooms: JK/SK/Gr.1, Gr.2/3, and Gr.4/5/6/7/8 as well as a Special Education classroom.
I spent my time here getting to know the staff, conducting Early Year Assessments, and had the opportunity to work with two teachers to redesign their classrooms to create a layout more suited towards centre-based learning. A Harvest lunch was held on Thursday and all of the staff and students feasted on a wonderful lunch together in the gym.
I also created an interactive number line (see photo in the slideshow). This is an outstanding resource and is excellent to make with your students. The number line is a series of little houses - the different colours help students to count by 2's, 3's, 4's, 5's, and 10's. It also makes it easier to complete multiplication as students can just look up and count along in 3's etc. It you would like more information about this topic, please feel free to email me.
I had a brilliant visit and can't wait to get back to the island. Thank-you to everyone for making me feel so welcome and letting me have a peek into your wonderful school!
Julieanne Steedman, Early Learning Coordinator