Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Chirstmas

What a wonderful time of the year with all of the magic that the spirit of Christmas brings around young children!

In light of the tragic incident which occured at Sandy Hook Elementary School Newtown, Connecticut where 26 people were killed by a gunman; mostly children, teachers, and the principal, we keep our students in mind and we wish that will never happen again.

To all my followers, I wish you the joy and peace that the season brings to you now and throughout the year!

Happy Holidays!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Grade 2 Health Education

After delivering a lesson on Healthy Eating to a grade 2 class yesterday I am reflecting on how things went. I led a great discussion based on a great website for Health Lessons and more specifically Healty Eating for grade 2. I collaborated with the Grade 2 Teacher, Mr. Volk to create a booklet using the worksheets found on this link and followed the general outline of this lesson to have a great discussion. I encouraged the students to brainstorm ideas of types of food, times for meals/snacks, how they feel when they are feeling hungry and how this feeling changes after they have eaten, then concluded with 'why' we need to eat. I created anchor charts with the students and used the Powerpoint as visuals. Follow up lessons will lead into making healthy eating choices. Things went fairly smooth and the students were quite excited to participate.

Thank you to Mr. Volk for sharing the website with me. I highly recommend the website which I used because it is comprehensive and has great ideas for all levels of students with respect to Health Education!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Techniques that affect student learning the most!

Frist of all I would like to thank Dr. Anne Davies for sending this interview discussion link to me!

Dr. John Hattie, Professor and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at theUniversity of Melbourne, Australia speaks to introduce a panel discussion entitled Visible Learning after his book. What I found most helpful was the list of techniques that have the most effect on student learning. When you watch the video these techniques are on the slide show beside Dr. Hattie. The top of the list is Studihent Expectations! Teachers must set standards higher than what students think of for themselves to keep challenging them. Most students don't know how well they can achieve until they unleash their potential. This is what the teacher needs to tap into and he/she can do this by setting good expectations for the students. This will help the student learn to self teach. I also noted that in the top ten was Micro Teaching of which I first heard at Teacher's College at Brock University. Cathy Miyata taught Micro Teaching in our Language Teaching class as well it was taught in our Cohort - this was our first Teaching project when we were working in our practicum. You know you've received good up to date education when you see recent studies indicating a reflection of the things that you've learned. Other techniques among the top ten are: Response to intervention, providing formative evaluation, classroom discussion - Grand Discussions  and feedback! Part of my Professional development is continually learning and when I see a review of what I've already learned I take the time to reflect on how I've demonstrated my learning and I seek to continue to put it into practice.

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Professional Learning Day at a glance!

As you probably know that when we have a Professional Development (Learning) day the students have the day off as well. So today was my day to entertain as well as to use it as a Professional Learning day since I was home. These are some of the things I was able to accomplish:

I introduced a diorama to a student, my daughter. She created a home for Nemo in a diorama using construction paper, scissors, pencil, markers and glue. She used an extension of a Mermaid sticker fold out sheet to extend Nemo’s home along each of the sides of the box.

I set up a webpage for a student, my daughter in SK, for fundraising for the Terry Fox run on September 27th.

I discovered a new blog “We are Teachers”  with interesting posts and guest bloggers.

I found out about a new ebook  “Why School?: How Education Must Change when Learning and Information is everywhere” by Will Richardson from @colinjagoe for which I’m trying to search on kobo but to no avail.

I reviewed “The Daily Five” by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser and reflected about applying it in my previous classrooms. I also remembered learning most of the content in Teacher’s College.

In the afternoon, I lead a craft with a student, my daughter in SK, to make a Panda Bear Puppet. We used brown paper bags, construction paper, scissors and glue. My daughter had so much fun.

Then we played a game; hide and seek with a giraffe puppet. Whoever has the giraffe puppet was hiding and the other person must find the puppet (or the person with the puppet).

This went on for a while until we took a break then we played another activity – we played doctor. One of the patients was so sick her temperature went up to 5 million percent (corrected to degrees) and she had to get a house call from the regular Doctor, then the Dentist, followed by Dr. Squirrel and then Dr. Whale was able to cure the illness. Horray!

Combining Professional development with my daughter’s activity is very interesting, and demanding, I might add, but all in good fun!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Supply Teaching is on the Palette for this year!

I am thrilled to be Supply Teaching at another private school this year. I have new resources that I can reference such as Differentiated Literacy Centers by Margo Southall and The Daily 5 by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. In addition I am volunteering at my daughter's school so I look forward to all the wonderful work and learning experiences that this may hold. In addition I have "The Occasional Teacher's" course under my belt which I enrolled in and successfully completed during my time at Teacher's College. It was a supplementary course to the regular teaching courses that I was required to take so it seemed like a heavy work load at the time. However, I'm glad that I participated in it because I feel that it has already helped me in my last year of supply teaching. So I plan to be well prepared to manage almost any grade and subject that may come my way this year. Wish me luck!

My daughter's day of orientation to Senior Kindergarten was today and I had the opportunity to meet her teacher. Let me first comment on the classroom and how impressed I was. The classroom was huge! I learned that it was a double room which was to be shared with another class. This was even better because the two classes are planning to share all of the centres which are set up (reading, writing, water table, play doh table, building and drawing centre etc.) This is fantastic. The room was neat and tidy, well organized and the walls had only the important information on them. I think the teacher did a good job of planning her room and decorations/wall information to optimize the classroom space to the fullest and I shared my thoughts with her.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Beginning of Year for New Teachers

Tips on starting out the new year for new teachers who are getting  Back to School can be applied to the Primary and Junior grades as well. For example, the tip on standing at the door and greeting each student as they enter the classroom can be applied to any grade. You will find more Tips for the First Day from "Cybrary Man."

The Ontario Kindergarten Curriculum for Math is very comprehensive and divided by strand so it is easy to access if you don't have the printed copy. In fact the Full Day and the Extended Day Program for Kindergarten are listed with the Ministry of Education as a draft now.

Good luck to my fellow new teachers!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

First Day of School is fast Approaching!

I know teachers are wondering about their first day of school this year and are trying to come up with some new ideas to break the ice with their new classroom of students. I just read about a terrific idea from Mrs. Ratzel about how to get to know you and math by the numbers. Or there's a 'get to know me' by the numbers. For example, you would pick a number and give 4 possible answers that best describe that number with relation to your interests. Then the students must guess which answer is correct. Amber Caldwell explains this in greater detail.

Another great idea would be to create an Acrostic poem using the students' letters of their name. The object of this would be for the students to use descriptive words to best describe their likes/personality/hobbies. For example Mrs. Plumb > P is for Purple because that is my favourite colour...and so on- or more currently P is for Prince Harry who is one of my most liked royals; or P is for Phelps as in Michael Phelps the Olympian who won the most medals in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

A group activity would be a great starting activity. For example the students could work in groups to create a mural drawing. Another group idea in creating a mural is for each student to write using any font or shape/colour like graffitti writing to describe their favourite summer activities. Then each group would present it. Anyone else have any more ideas?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"Questions are the Intellectual Source of Renewable Energy"

We need to teach our students to ask the right questions. Sometimes when they are learning a new concept they don't even know where to begin except to say "I don't get it." Well we have to help them help themselves by getting them to ask the right questions. This is an important point within the first 3 min. of this video where Dan Rothstein Speaks  at the TEDx conference.

Friday, June 29, 2012

What a Fantastic Year!

I had an amazing time practicing my teaching skills and abilities over the course of the year and it proved to be rewarding. I thank all of you who helped me in kind, encouragement, inspiration, spirit, and in deed. I had ups and downs and it wasn’t easy but I made it through my first year of teaching, albeit supply teaching and I am thankful for the help along the way!

I thank the organizations that provided the many ideas for activities that I used in my Before/After School Classroom (Kaboose, Activity Village, DLTK, Crafts for Kids and the myriad of fellow bloggers and twitterers).

I thank the students with whom I worked, my co-teachers – some of you supported me in ways you do not know through your great teaching skills which I observed and tried to emulate, the Administrator and the Principal for all that they have done for me, and the teachers for whom I supplied who left great lesson plans to follow. I realize even more that I love teaching and I plan to keep pursuing it. I will build upon my experience and someday be in the ranks of some of the great teachers/educators I know!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Collaborative Instruction Approach!

The first step of Collaborative Instruction Approach to teaching involves task acheivement where the group focuses on objectives followed by group maintenance by using interpersonal and group skills, then finally group effectiveness which involves reacting to group needs. I used the Collaborative Instruction approach when I taught my group of Primary students to make Father's Day cards. For example, the first step was led by myself by modelling the skills to achieve the desired objective which was the outcome of a certain Father's Day card - either a shirt or a dog's head. The second step included interpersonal skills and group skills that each of the students lent to the learning process whereby some of the students helped other students with the gluing step etc. Finally the third step was reacting to the group needs such as more paper, and other extensions of the original idea to elaborate on card making and effectiveness - for example, extending the card to an entire body or entirely different original idea using collage to create the words or dot-to-dot idea. The entire group was full of excitement and enthusiasm to obtain a finished product which they could be proud to give to their Fathers on Father's Day next weekend. Look at some of the results!
(Foundational Methods, Third Edition, Edited by Hilary Brown and Darlene Ciuffetelli Parker, Ph.D)

Father's Day card open and closed by Bhavya gr. 1

Example of an extension by creating the whole body by Sasha, SK

Father's Day card opened by Sasha, SK
'Dog' Father's Day card exemplar

Extension of 'Dog' Father's Day card by Natalie, gr. 2 with heart and tail

Original Father's Day card using collage for the word 'Dad' by Andrei, SK

Original Father's Day card by Andrei, SK dot-to-dot wagon

Father's Day Daffodils by Andrei and Jefferson, SK

Monday, May 28, 2012

Social Learning - Constructivism!!

When my students worked on beaded necklaces with a ceramic amulet for Mother's Day it was a social learning experience. Some students were quite eager to make a necklace and others were a little reluctant but were encouraged by their fellow students. Social Learning, where some students learn how to behave from watching other students, can also be talked about within the context of Social Constructivism which is a belief that knowledge is first learned in a social setting and then applied to other circumstances. For example, the first bead that the students threaded was how the necklace was to be made. This process (of stringing beads together) was practiced on their own and within a social context in a small group of students. Then the decision of which colour and how many beads to use was up to the students - this follows the social Constructivist learning theory where the learning is centred around the student, and the student decides on the objective/goal and what to do/or it is negotiated with the teacher. Vygotsky suggests a method of learning something new by doing what the student can do first, then challenge the student with something he/she might be able to do, and then move on to something that the student won't know how to do but will learn with assistance (Zone of proximal development). When we were making the neckalces for Mother's Day almost everyone (JK - gr. 3) knew how to thread a bead onto a piece of string, then they learned how to mold a piece of modelling clay onto or arround the string, and then they learned how to tie a knot. For some students the thing they needed to learn was how to tie a knot, for others it was how to attach an amulet to the necklace. This was learned using the zone of proximal development. Here are the results of this activity!

Beautiful Mother's Day necklace by Serina, gr. 2

More lovely necklaces for Mother's Day by Benedict, Hayden, Aiden, Joshua, Benjamin, Serina, and Natalie

Friday, May 25, 2012

Individual Unguided Instruction!

One way in which I have used Indvidual unguided instruction is when one of the more creative students works on creative arts by herself. This is an example of an indirect teaching strategy because the student works through self discovery and inquiry to learn problem solving techniques in developing her creative ideas into a completed work of art. A good time to use indirect inquiry is when you would like to focus on thinking skills and processes, learning 'how' to do something when it is more important than 'why' or 'what', and when students need to experience something rather than just hear or read about it. Some of the basic processes of inquiry that my students are using are observing, measuring, using space-time relationships, predicting, controlling variables, experimenting and communicating. The purpose of using unguided instruction is to allow the student to develop through thought processes which are specific experiences and observations to draw inferences and generalizations. This information was gathered from Foundational Methods - Understanding Teaching and Learning Third Edition. Here are some examples of completed work through unguided instruction.

Individually designed and painted by Benjamin, JK

Hand made book mark by Natalie, gr. 2

Indivdually designed and painted by Jefferson, SK

Hand made purse by Natalie, gr. 2

Individually designed, drawn, and coloured picture by Andrei, SK.

Complete Fairy set (wings, tiara, fan, and wand) indvidually developed and created by Natalie, gr.2

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tutoring the Fantastic Way!!

I've been tutoring a grade two student in Language Arts, more specifically reading comprehension and writing. He has been working through his work almost as required, with the help of me keeping him focused and not letting him go on about getting after Dora (The Explorer) because his little sister likes her show :-). He gets through the material more or less as I expect. Now I am faced with 'inference'. Through reading comprehension he must learn how to infer, which I don't think he has learned in school yet so this is a little tricky for me because he lacks the ability to make the connection to his inclass learning experience. So this leaves me with using implied messages to help him understand. For example, I use questioning to help him think and I say... what do you think will happen when you hear that someone had to go to the Principal's office? He takes a few moments to think and he came up with... 'he must have forgotten his lunch and his Dad dropped it off there!' I encourage him and say that this is what he can infer from the original sentence. This is one reason why I love the Primary students - they are still so innocent and don't think about getting in trouble in the Principal's office! :-)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Musicfest at Sommerville Manor School!

What a lovely music concert which Music Teacher, Ms. Gurnham led at Sommerville Manor School this week! The primary students performed on Wednesday and they were absolutely fantastic! Bravo especially to both Sabrina and Alicia who had beautiful solos. Everyone from Junior Kindergarten to grade three performed with a variety of instruments including sticks and blocks, xylophones, drums, guitar and there were lovely voices all round! Special mention goes to the teachers who put on a surprise performance with a touching melody written particularly with 'Sommerville Manor School' inserted where appropriate! Excellent! My sister-in-law, my daughter and I really enjoyed it!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Activity requiring Intrinsic Motivation

In order to pursue a particular goal one requires motivation; likewise in order to fulfill the requirements that guide actions toward the particular goal is called volition. It was the built in emotional associations that a student has toward photographs and beautiful pictures that engaged the student in the activity today which was making posters out of inspriational quotes on pictures/photographs. Then it was the volition that followed the activity through to the completed piece of work. The volition of using glue and pasting it onto a background at exactly the right spot either to the top/bottom/right/left of the background; and using glue and sparkles to decorated the background which led the students to a beautiful piece of work. Take a look!

Natalie's inspirational quote

Lovely poster by Andrei, SK

Beautiful poster by William, SK
Creative posters by Daniel, Joshua, Natalie, and Andrei

Artistic posters by Joshua,  Natalie, Andrei

Progressivist Indirect Teaching Strategy

The Guided Inquiry approach to teaching students how to make a puzzle was key in getting the idea across. I used small cubes which when put together can create a picture. I demonstrated a basic picture on four by four cubes. The students were expected to make observations and draw inferences. For example, students were to make observations about how the cubes connect and to infer what the student could draw on them. I encouraged the learning with guided questions such as "have you ever seen anything like it?"  "Do you know how it was made?" "Look closely..can you see that there are lines touching each cube?" "what can you make?" Afterward, I asked one of the students to identify the pattern of the sequence of events that he used to comprise the content of the puzzle. He said that it is an 'eyball with arms and legs,' and he developed it based on my example of a 'smiley face' puzzle.
Eyeball puzzle by Benedict gr. 3

I used guided questioning such as 'how many cubes would you like to use to make up your puzzle?' I encouraged social interaction between Natalie and Serina and active exploration so that the students could develop something meaningful. They furthered their puzzle into more meaningful creations, one was linked to an abstract drawing. Guided Inquiry is definitely an active approach to learning. Take a look at how one of the student's cube puzzle was used in a piece of work.

Colourful Creation by Serina, gr. 2

Monday, May 7, 2012

Play Based Learning!!

What a great way to learn - especially for the early learners in JK and SK and even for the 'kid' in all of them who are growing into the later grades such as up to grade three. The new  Play Based Learning  curriculum that some of the schools are following is a great idea. I find that it peaks the students' curiosity, gives them a chance to make friends, gives them an opportunity to learn how to express themselves and how to experience the world around them. When the students in my After School Programme made cloth heads I called them 'Bunchie Heads' to be creative and this is one way that I use Play Based Learning. For example, when they heard the name 'Bunchie Head' it made them laugh and hence it became a social learning experience right off the bat because they looked around at each other and made a funny connection with others in the programme. It gave them an opportunity to make a new friend. The students worked in buzz groups that they created themselves and they learned that cutting fabric/cloth was more difficult than cutting paper so I assisted them with this part. Then came the fun part when they got the chance to 'bunch' up a piece of newspaper into a ball and place it in the centre of the square of fabric that had been cut. Next they learned to gather all the edges around the bunch of newspaper and most of them were able to hold the edges together at the top in order to wrap a string around it to tie a knot. They got the opportunity to learn how to tie a knot too. Then they glued the googlie eyes and a mouth onto the fabric. It was a wonderful learning experience!! Take a look at the results!!
By Jefferson, SK student

By William, Daniel, and Jefferson, SK students

By Serina, gr 2 student
By Daniel, Jefferson, William, and Hayden - JK and SK students

Friday, May 4, 2012

Parlez vous en Francais?

Moi?...un peu!! I taught grade 5, 7, and 8 French today - following lesson plans, of course. I love teaching! Thank you for the opportunity to lead a few classes today. One of the classes was differentiated as they are in most cases. The most notable thing is that there can be 'beginners' in every class!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Deductive Teaching Approach!!

Creating Daffodils using a colouring, painting and cut and paste method is a good example of how I sometimes use a Deductive approach to teaching. It is teacher centred where I model each step using verbal and nonverbal gestures. I also use timing prompts such as "First," "and Then," "Next," etc. to indicate that one thing happens after the next and to let them know that it is a process to follow. The best way to use deductive teaching strategy is to group the students based on ability and instruct them accordingly. Here are some of the results of the Daffodils which were made of a painted egg carton, glued to a coloured flower petal base which is glued to a construction paper stem with coloured leaves attached.
Lovely daffodil by Andrei

Beautiful daffodils by Hayden, Jefferson, Joshua, and Andrei with William and Natalie to complete theirs.

Inductive Teaching!

I used an inductive teaching strategy to get the students to create images using pieces of macaroni. The students who experimented with this activity were mostly Senior Kindergarten students who just wandered over to the craft table and said "hmmm... what it this doing here?" I introduced the things in the bowls as pieces of macaroni and made a suggestion to use the glue and the paper with the macaroni. The students learned inductively how the macaroni works with glue on the paper through self discovery. Some of the students liked the kinesthetic element of feeling the macaroni and others liked the challenge to create something out of the macaroni. Take a look at the results:

This is a skunk by Joshua, SK.

Designs by Natalie, Joshua, and Sasha using macaroni and glue.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Experiential Learning stage 3!!

Day 3 - Completion of Planet Earth!! The students used prior knowledge of painting on how to paint the sphere, but where the students really made connections was when they painted the land on the earth - the continents. For example, one student made the connection of where she lives on Earth (Canada) to where she went for holiday (Walt Disney World, USA) and China. I guided her as to where she should paint the green with respect to where her experiences were. Here is the result of the painting.

Credit goes to Hayden, Benedict, Joshua, and Bhavya (JK - grade 3 students)
I used differentiated instruction for Joshua who chose to create a bird instead of the Earth. As seen above there are wings that protrude out from each side of the body. He later painted the wings red like a Cardinal.

Bhavya - gr. 1 student

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Beauty and The Beast!!

Wow! What a Fantastic Performance by all of the students at Sommerville Manor School who participated in Beauty and The Beast! Congratulations especially to the lead performers, Lauren, Nick and Myles who were the focus of everyone's attention and played their parts with such enthusiasm. I especially liked Chip; excellent performance Alicia!! The voices were amazing and the singing was beautiful! The sets were stupendous - designed and painted with perfection. The costumes were definitely the icing on the cake! What a beautiful gown that Belle donned at the end and the finale! Absolutely Wonderful! There is so much talent within our school I would love to be a part of it next time!!! Taking a bag full of props and Chip's costume back to the school for them is the least that I could do!