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The Rookie Teacher


Making Sense of Mental Math – Number Talks 0

Posted on December 03, 2014 by Allison Dyjach

“All students can learn mathematics and deserve the opportunity to do so.”  -The Ontario Curriculum, Mathematics Grade 1-8

When I ask you to answer the math problem 5 + 7, I’m sure that most of you could come up with the answer of 12 pretty quickly. But, if I asked you to explain the process or steps that you used to get to the final answer of 12, it might take you a bit more time to think about it. This same thing happens when we ask students math questions. They are often able to give us an answer, but when we ask them to explain their answer, describe a strategy that they used, or even just write out their answer step by step, we can be left with something in between a blank stare and a beyond puzzled expression. Although our students may be able to give us a correct answer on a test or worksheet, we may have no idea what process they are going through to get that answer. The same goes for a wrong answer. If a child gives a wrong answer, but we can’t seem to figure out where they veered off course, we won’t be able to guide them back onto the path to success.

During my most recent school placement, my school ran a professional development day on a new classroom tool called “Number Talks.” Some of you may have heard of the concept, developed by Sherry Parrish, but to me this was brand new. The main purpose of a number talk is to dissect a mental math problem with your students, and discuss and evaluate the different strategies that can be taken to solve that problem.

For example, I used a number talk with my Grade 4 students when discussing how to show a specific time on an analog clock. Students were tasked with telling me how they would show 7:35. I emphasized to them that they not only had to give me the right answer, but if they wanted to respond they would also have to tell me how they knew where to put the hands on the clock.

The “Number Talk” response signal. Photo: http://hzn165.blogspot.ca/2012/11/day-38-number-talk-with-1st-graders.html

The Number Talk incorporates another great strategy that can be used not only during these discussions but also as a general classroom management strategy. When students are thinking of their answers, they are not to put their hand up or shout out any answers. Instead, they hold a fist on their chest, and if they can find one way to answer the problem, they simply stick their thumb up. If they find a second way that they can solve the problem, they stick up another finger, and so on. This way, the teacher is able to assess students’ understanding, but other students are not distracted (or discouraged) by their peers’ progress.

After students were given ample time to figure out their answers, we took time to hear different strategies of knowing where the hands should go on the clock to show 7:35, some including counting by 5’s, going straight to 7:30 and adding 5 etc. We listened to all of the different methods that students had used, discussed their effectiveness (eg. counting by 1’s to get to 35 was not found to be very effective by my students!) and talked about which strategies different students preferred to use.

I have to say that as someone who grew up simply memorizing math times tables and addition facts, this was a wonderful concept to be introduced to. I found them to be extremely effective as a “Mind’s On” activity and to get students thinking about how math operations and concepts really work. Although math is generally a subject that allows for very little deviation, this activity shows students that there are often ample strategies that they can use to solve math problems. Number Talks give them that bank of strategies to use for math problems, and it also allows teachers to learn what is really going on in the minds of our students, even if we are asking them “simple’ questions like 5 + 7.

“Number Talks” guidebook by Sherry Parrish. Photo: https://grade2commoncoremath.wikispaces.hcpss.org/Number+Talks

There are some great resources out there for teachers interested in incorporating Number Talks into their classroom. This article written by the Parrish gives a short and simple introduction into the concept and even walks through an example with student dialogue and diagrams.

For further learning, you might want to consider buying Sherry Parrish’s book “Number Talks Common Core Edition, Grades K-5: Helping Children Build Mental Math and Computation Strategies.” Youtube is also a great resource to see some real Number Talks in action. Here is a favourite of mine, but just by searching “Number Talk” you will be able to find many more.

Do you use Number Talks in your classroom? Do you think this is a useful strategy to help kids delve deeper into math comprehension? What are some other strategies you could use to help understand students’ mental math processes better? Let us know what you think below!

 

Allison Dyjach is a Faculty of Education student at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Connect with her on Twitter @AllisonDyjach, or follow more of her Bachelor of Education experiences on Instagram @allisondyjach

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Teaching from the Thinking Heart 0

Posted on November 06, 2014 by Sarah

Nothing has been more transformational to my teaching practice than my experience with a Tribes certified instructor for my year long Teacher Education/B.Ed year. Though some people come out with a mixed experience when they pursue Tribes certification, it is certainly a course that whole heartedly depends on the instructor. I was fortunate to have someone who deeply understood the Tribes philosophy, a holistic approach to teaching that nurtured individuals, fostered positive social interactions and grew community.  Moreover, I had Gail for an entire year, not just the handful of hours it takes to get the Tribes Basics training.

teaching heart

Not only did Gail have a direct impact on my teaching strategies, she encouraged me to pursue my Masters at OISE and highly recommended a course with Jack Miller, all of which has led to this post. Jack is a leader in holistic education with almost 40 years of experience in the field. In his course, which I optimistically wrote about with the Rookie Teacher here, we practiced meditation daily, participated in various visualization exercises, kept a journal of reflections, gave mini workshops practicing our holistic approaches and had an authentic Chinese tea ceremony, always sitting in a circle. Our final assignment was a reflection piece on Holistic education and our experiences with it thus far. Needless to say, mine centered around my year with Gail. A few months after the course had completed, Jack e-mailed me asking if he could publish my final paper in his next book.

Fast forward 2 years and it’s here: Teaching from the Thinking Heart – The Practice of Holistic Education. I’m obsessed with the cover art. I’m chapter 4: Tribes – A Transformative Tool for the 21st Century. The book itself is also quite innovative for its narrative content. As an academic text used predominantly in courses, it is quite rare to have something written in the first-person. This further speaks to the Holistic approach, validating teachers’ and people’s experiences for what they are, no citations required. As such, this book is very approachable for non-academic readers as it’s not bogged down in scientific or educational jargon.

The foreword by Nel Noddings (so awesome!) speaks to the recognition of our current context of standardized curricula, objectives and evaluations and the stigma surrounding the mere mention of the word ‘soul’. Teaching to the head. But throughout the book you gain confidence and insight into the practice of teaching to the body, mind and spirit. Our students are more than just heads, their humans with emotions. As educators we must find the courage to stand up for Holistic curriculum, nurture the soul and work to make each moment in our students’ lives loving and joyful.

Copies of the book can be ordered from here or by contacting me personally.

 

 

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Thirteen Steps to Easy Long Range Planning 0

Posted on October 20, 2014 by Lauren

[OR: How I Spent My Summer Vacation…]

This summer I knew that I was going to be starting a new job in September. I have spent the past couple of years teaching in a self-contained grade 1/2 class where all of the students had IEPs with at least some curriculum modifications. I was focused on IEP goals. My new job was going to be in a ‘regular’* grade 1/2 class. I needed to figure out what teaching would look the same and what gaps I would need to fill in order to cover the whole curriculum. The following is a glimpse into the madness to my method.

*As a side note, I really dislike the term ‘regular class’, but it is widely used; some schools use the term ‘community class’.

Thirteen Steps to Easy Long Range Planning

  1. Pick a subject area- I started with math because it is one of my favourites and the specific expectations are pretty specific (who would have thought?!).
  2. Get your long range plans ready and know which strands you are going to report on in each term- I already knew loosely what big ideas/ strands I wanted to cover in each month. For K-8 math in Ontario it is expected you will report on 4 of the 5 strands in each term. Some school boards dictate what you will report on, mine does not. I decided on Term 1: Number Sense, Data Management and Probability, Measurement and Geometry. In Term 2 I will also report on Patterning and Algebra, but not Data Management.
  3. Set up a calendar system- I labeled pieces of paper with the months Sept-June and laid them out on the floor. Because I am teaching a split class I also made two columns and labelled them Grade 1 and Grade 2.
  4. Print the curriculum for the grade- I printed all of the math curriculum for grades 1 and 2.  http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/subjects.html
  5. Colour code- I used crayons because it was quick and cheap (no colour ink). I shaded each strand a different colour. Number Sense white, Measurement pink etc.
  6. Cut apart the specific expectations- If you are comfortable with the curriculum then you may want to keep some pieces together.  For example, I knew that I was going to teach the patterning expectations together so I didn’t need to cut them apart. If you teach more than one grade then you will want to be careful the pieces separate.
  7. Start lining up specific expectations with your long range plans- I started with September. I knew that I wanted to focus on reviewing some basic number sense (counting, number recognition etc.) and that the calendar routine would be a big part of the first weeks of school. I found the expectations that fell under these two categories in the grade one curriculum and then matched up the corresponding grade two curriculum directly beside it. This was also a good chance to review the similarities and differences. I moved through the first term and paused.
  8. Double check the term- Does everything make sense? Are there are any other expectations that could go together? Do I have enough material to report on? At this point I found that I still had a lot of expectations left to cover in term 2. Too many? I decided to write the number of weeks available in each month. I needed to be realistic. The first week of school was about routines and relationships so I didn’t count it. The last two weeks of June are full of interruptions and happen after reports are due to the office so I didn’t count them either.
  9. Fill in the second term- I went back to my long range plans and filled in the rest.
  10. Double check again- Again I checked to make sure it was realistic. I knew that addition and subtraction strategies would take a serious chunk of time, but we will probably breeze through 2D shapes. I also checked to make sure the grade 1 and 2 expectations lined up. There are a couple of times that the grade 2s will be working on expectations that the grade 1s don’t even touch on (e.g., multiplication and division), I needed to think about how that time will best be spent with the grade 1s.
  11. Glue the pieces down- I actually used tape so I can keep moving them.
  12. Remember that plans change- I did all of this before I even met my class. We may need more time for some expectations and less for others. I do know that the year will fly by so I need to be aware of the time line.
  13. Keep the overall expectations/ big picture in mind- I got into the really nitty gritty because it made sense for me. I’m not going to lose sleep if we don’t get to every single specific expectation, but I do know exactly which ones I am willing to gloss over and which ones I will slow down for if necessary.

Long Range Math folioPhoto: **Natasha loved the idea — here’s what it looks like for Grade 7**

 

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Practicum: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 016 0

Posted on October 07, 2014 by Natasha

On today’s show, Andrew and Natasha meet again with our newest contributor, Allison, to record another episode of The Lounge Podcast.  We have been asked to speak about the time in our preservice year — and specifically what it means to be in the practicum portion of the B.Ed year.

We would like to thank Matt Honsberger for the topic suggestion.  If you have any questions that you would like answered – comment below, send us an email (info@therookieteacher.ca), @reply on Twitter @RookieTeacherCA, or join us over on Facebook.

Watch the episode live, thanks to YouTube & Google On-Air Hangouts or search for the audio podcast on the iTunes Podcast directory.

Quick Tip for Tomorrow

  • Andrew: talking about descriptive language -like when making gingerbread cookies!
  • Natasha: velcro dots!
  • Allison: using Pop songs in Music class — simplify & go

Rookie Resource Bank

Book

Long Range Math folio

Quick Shout Outs

  1. Please join us and 671 others (+ counting…) on Facebook.com/TheRookieTeacher — join in our collaboration project by asking your burning questions.
  2. We are also spending time gathering some great ideas for the classroom on Pinterest (http://bit.ly/rookiepins) – we are up to 1019 pins and 3392 followers on our collab board – let us know if you’d like to contribute.
  3. If you believe in what we’re doing & want to support our team, we have FREE buttons available – send us a FB message, tweet, or email and we will get one out to you ASAP!

Like what you’ve heard? Have more questions? Contact us:

Andrew: I blog at TheRookieTeacher.ca, or email me Andrew@TheRookieTeacher.ca, I am currently focusing on pinterest as my social media project.

Natasha: I blog at TheRookieTeacher.ca, follow me on twitter @yoMsDunn, or email me Natasha@TheRookieTeacher.ca.

Allison: comment on Facebook.com/TheRookieTeacher or on this blog post.

RookieTeacher Online
We are always looking for ideas, feedback, tips and tricks of the trade.  Find us on Twitter @RookieTeacherCAFacebook.com /TheRookieTeacher.  If you are looking to get involved with our team, please contact us!

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Field Trip in a Bag 0

Posted on October 05, 2014 by Allison Dyjach

“Effective teachers of science can use a discovery approach, which emphasizes 1) a positive attitude 2) the science process skills, and 3) a hands on approach.”

-Michael Bentley, Christine Ebert, Edward Ebert; The Natural Investigator: a Constructivist Approach to Teaching Elementary and Middle School Science

Recently, my science and technology professor took us on a field trip out to a conservation area down the road from our university. When we arrived to the park, we were each given one Ziploc freezer bag full of supplies and were told to stand in a circle.

“So everyone, this is all you need to get students interested in science,” our professor began. “This bag is all you need, and you will be able to get your students engaging in all of their senses, asking questions and guiding their own learning, and truly exploring the world around them.”

I have to say for the next hour and a half, I was completely enthralled in the lessons and ideas that our professor was sharing with us. It is so easy to get scared about leading a science field trip because most of us wouldn’t call ourselves “nature experts.” I for one am not even close to knowing the name of every tree species in the forest, every birdcall that I hear, or every wild flower that I see–but I do know that nature is beautiful. And I do know that there are many incredible things to explore if we just look a little bit closer at the ground below us.

Below is a list of some activities that I learned on my field trip that involve minimal to no supplies, can be done in any outdoor space (even the school playground!) and can be led by anyone, even if you are the farthest thing from a “nature expert.”

IMG_0005

Nature Scattegories

Opening Activities:

  • Treasure Hunt: When students arrive, let them take some time to walk around and find an object that “excites” them.  When they all have an item, get them to describe their item to a partner and show off their newfound collection. Next, instruct students to find as close of a match as possible to their partner’s item and compare.
  • Adjective Hunt: Come up with 2-3 adjectives (depending on your grade) and  tell your students that they must find an object that fits those words. Get them to share with you and their peers why they chose it, and why they think the object fits with those words (oral communication and descriptive language skills!). Some examples include bumpy, small, smooth, round, short, soft.

Giving students the opportunity to find what they want allows students to be in control of their own learning, and starts the day off with a student-centered learning environment.

What’s in the Bag?

Texture samples: Find some pieces of fabric or paper with different textures on them (eg. felt, corduroy, sand paper, burlap etc) and put one in each student’s bag. Get students to search around to find something in nature that matches their texture.

IMG_0014

Pipe Cleaner Frame

Mini clipboards and list games: Using cardboard and a clothespin, create a clipboard for your students. Create games such as “nature scattegories” (find something in this space that starts with each letter of the alphabet), nature by numbers (find something in this space that has a number pattern in it, example: 6 legs on an insect, 5 petals on a flower, 4 wings on a butterfly), or nature rainbow (find something in this space that matches every colour of the rainbow). Think about keeping their answers and transferring them to a bulletin board display in the classroom.

Toilet paper tubes: Using tape and string, create binoculars for students to use. It is sometimes amazing how a simple prop can lead students to whole new level of excitement and engagement.

Pipe cleaner: With just a few bends, a pipe cleaner can turn into a magnifying glass or a picture frame for an interesting find in the environment. Students can choose a scene in nature that they like and share with others what they see in their frame.

IMG_0008

Painting with Nature

Paint chips: Finding an object in nature that matches a paint chip can be a tricky task, but allows students to see how complex and detailed our environment really can be.

Bird calls: Find a variety of different phonetic bird calls online (great website here), create 2 or 3 little papers of each, and put one in each bag. Get students to find the other birds in their species by calling out the sound. Afterwards, discuss why birds use their calls, why they all have different calls, if students hear any calls where they live etc.

Deli container, mesh, and wire: Use the wire to attach the mesh to the hole in the lid, and voila, you have a new habitat! Students can catch bugs, caterpillars, or just collect objects that they like while on your trip. Having something that they can call their own fosters passion and excitement for what they are learning about.

IMG_0017

Perfect holder for new treasures

All of these items are simple to find and can lead into some great science discovery with your students. These activities might not fit with the exact curriculum requirement that you are trying to cover, but think of them as jumping off points that can be easily modified to fit different themes by follow up discussions, questions, or activities (eg. classifying the objects that they have found in different activities by size or colour, discussing if an object is living or non-living). They can also be jumping off points for activities to be done in the classroom. At least a dozen kids will ask questions about something that they found that you don’t know the answer to. But instead of being stunned by a surprise question, it is really just another learning opportunity that can be continued throughout your science unit.

It’s not enough to just teach science in the classroom. Kids need to go outside, discover using their senses, and see what makes the earth the way it is. Take your kids outside, let them explore, and let them see for themselves all of the beauty that nature has to offer them.

What are some of your favourite nature games for students? Share with us your go to activities and supplies for science field trips!

IMG_0010

“Field Trip in a Bag”

And a special thanks to Diane Lawrence from Queen’s University for all of the ideas that went into this post, and the inspiring field trip!

Allison Dyjach is a Faculty of Education student at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Connect with her on Twitter @AllisonDyjach, or follow more of her Bachelor of Education experiences on Instagram @allisondyjach

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A Rookie Introduction: Our Newest Contributor…Allison Dyjach 0

Posted on September 11, 2014 by Allison Dyjach

Hello there! My name is Allison Dyjach and I am in the process of completing my Bachelor of Education in the Primary-Junior stream at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Although teaching wasn’t the original career path that I had in mind several years ago, working with children has always been a passion of mine. Throughout my teen years I volunteered at day camps being run at church and worked at a summer camp for several years. I recently completed my Bachelor of Applied Science at the University of Guelph in Child, Youth, and Family Studies with a minor in Psychology. Over my four years at Guelph, I was able to explore several aspects of child development and learning, get some experience working with many different populations of children and teens, and eventually discovered that I have a love of education and teaching—which led to me to pursue a Bachelor of Education degree.

Allison Dyjach

Some specific interests of mine, based on my experiences in the education field, include teaching mathematics, special education, working with English Language Learners, and using music in the classroom. Outside of the classroom, a few of my hobbies include all things music (singing, playing guitar, musical theatre, concerts and shows…I love it all!), writing, exploring nature, cooking, and social media. You can follow me on Twitter @AllisonDyjach to see what I’m up to!

Over the next eight months, I hope to provide you with some commentary, insights, and stories from my “Teacher’s College Experience!” For those of you interested in joining the teaching profession or currently completing a degree in education, perhaps I can be a support to you as you go through this journey, and you can in turn share your thoughts with me. After all, I am not an expert by any means; I would love to hear what some of your experiences and questions are as well. And for those of you who are past the formal education stage of your lives, I’m hoping these words can prompt you to either reflect back on some of the learning you did during your BEd days, share your wisdom with a “Rookie, Rookie Teacher” like me, or just sit back and listen to some of the memories, quotations, and resources that are sparking my attention as I move through the process of learning what it takes to stand on the other side of the desk.

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Mathematical Interpretations 0

Posted on August 03, 2014 by Natasha

Multiple interpretations…?? Let’s find out where our kids are going wrong.

What math resources are you using for the upcoming year? Share your resources below…let’s build our Resource Bank.

I would recommend Dr.Marian Small’s “Making Math Meaningful.” It provides examples of misinterpretations and how to guide students to finding solutions

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Rookie Recommends: The Lounge Podcast – Episode 015 0

Posted on July 02, 2014 by Natasha

On today’s show, Andrew and Natasha meet again to record another episode of The Lounge Podcast.  This time we have changed up the format of the show – a full episode dedicated to some of our favourite resources (FYI – free plugs for a variety of companies, authors, and not for profits)! 

If you have any questions that you would like answered – comment below, send us an email (info@therookieteacher.ca), @reply on Twitter @RookieTeacherCA, join us over on Facebook.

Watch the episode live here, thanks to YouTube & Google On-Air Hangouts or search for the audio podcast on the iTunes Podcast directory.

Rookie Resource Bank

Here’s a list, to hear what we think of each of them, you’ll have to watch or listen in :)

Quick Shout Outs

  1. We want to take a moment and thank everyone for continuing to support our site – we have reached over 21,000 visitors.  Exciting is that 25% of you are returning visitors and we appreciate your loyalty to our grassroots site.  Thank you !
  2. We hope you continue to watch for Natasha who tries her best to help co-moderate the #ntchat with Lisa Dabbs – on Wednesday nights at 8:00pm ESTJoin me at New Teacher Chat #ntchat
  3. Please join us and 323 others on Facebook.com/TheRookieTeacher
  4. We are also spending time gathering some great ideas for the classroom on Pinterest (http://bit.ly/rookiepins) – we are up to 853 pins and 3267 followers on our collab board – let us know if you’d like to contribute.
  5. If you believe in what we’re doing & want to support our team, we have FREE buttons available – send us a FB message, tweet, or email and we will get one out to you ASAP!

Like what you’ve heard? Have more questions? Contact us:

Andrew: I blog at TheRookieTeacher.ca, or email me Andrew@TheRookieTeacher.ca, I am currently focusing on pinterest as my social media project.

Natasha: I blog at TheRookieTeacher.ca, follow me on twitter @yoMsDunn, or email me Natasha@TheRookieTeacher.ca.

RookieTeacher Online
We are always looking for ideas, feedback, tips and tricks of the trade.  Find us on Twitter @RookieTeacherCAFacebook.com /TheRookieTeacher.  If you are looking to get involved with our team, please contact us!

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The End of the School Year 0

Posted on July 02, 2014 by Natasha

The end of the year is an odd time for me.  I think it’s because I can’t identify exactly how I feel…or that I have opposing feelings.  Half of me is excited about the summer (particularly this summer because I am headed to Europe for the first time) and the other half is sad to say goodbye to my kids and colleagues. I spend a lot of time working on community in my class and in the school at large – and for the next 2 months…routines go out the window and I am forced to experience change.

I also look forward to the summer as a time for rest and reflection.  It’s important for us to rest and rejuvenate after a school year.  We work hard and by June 30th we are pooped!  I usually schedule time with friends and family, camping and nature, and sleeping without an alarm clock.  I find that taking in those 5 things helps me get back on my feet.  Taking a good look at what worked and what didn’t and building up my energy for the next school year.

photo: NDunn

photo: NDunn

“The most distinctive of these very good teachers is that their practice is the result of careful reflection… They themselves learn lessons each time they teach, evaluating what they do and using these self-critical evaluations to adjust what they do next time.” (Why Colleges Succeed, Ofsted 2004, para.19)

Sample Reflection Questions (via Teacher Tip, Scholastic.com)

1. Was the instructional objective met? How do I know students learned what was intended?
2. Were the students productively engaged? How do I know?
3. Did I alter my instructional plan as I taught the lesson? Why?
4. What additional assistance, support, and/or resources would have further enhanced this lesson?
5. If I had the opportunity to teach the lesson again to the same group of students, would I do anything differently? What? Why?

 

I. Reflection Questions To Help You Get You Started:*  (via Syracuse University, ref link)

• Why do you teach the way you do?

• What should students expect of you as a teacher?

• What is a method of teaching you rely on frequently? Why don’t you use a different method?

• What do you want students to learn? How do you know your goals for students are being met?

• What should your students be able to know or do as a result of taking your class?

• How can your teaching facilitate student learning?

• How do you as a teacher create an engaging or enriching learning environment?

• What specific activities or exercises do you use to engage your students?

• What do you want your students to learn from these activities?

• How has your thinking about teaching changed over time? Why?

*These questions and exercises are meant to be tools to help you begin reflecting on your beliefs and ideas as a teacher. No single Teaching Statement can contain the answers to all or most of these inquiries and activities.

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Ask a Rookie: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 14 (season 2) 0

Posted on April 22, 2014 by Natasha

rookie-logo-podcastOn today’s show, Andrew and Natasha meet again to record another episode of The Lounge Podcast.  But this time, we are joined by Rookie Team Member Sarah Lowes to answer questions from a soon-to-be Faculty of Education student, Allison Dyjach.  She asks us everything from our time at teacher’s college to tips on grade 6 drama to keeping a work-life balance.  

If you have any questions that you would like answered – comment below, send us an email (info@therookieteacher.ca), @reply on Twitter @RookieTeacherCA, join us over on Facebook.

Watch the episode live here, thanks to YouTube & Google On-Air Hangouts or search for the audio podcast on the iTunes Podcast directory.

Whole Class Assessment

Whole Class Assessment, A.Blake

Quick Tip for Tomorrow 

  • Allison: Silent Ball!
  • Andrew: Full class assessment (*note: laminate*)
  • Natasha: Google Drive > Documents > Tools > Research (right within the document!!)
Google Docs Tools Research

Google Docs Tools Research

Rookie Resource Bank

Quick Shout Outs

  1. We want to take a moment and thank everyone for continuing to support our site – we have reached over 12,500 visitors. Thank you !
  2. We hope you continue to watch for Natasha who is co-moderating the #ntchat with Lisa Dabbs – on Wednesday nights at 8:00pm ESTJoin me at New Teacher Chat #ntchat
  3. Please join us and 307 others on Facebook.com/TheRookieTeacher
  4. We are also spending time gathering some great ideas for the classroom on Pinterest (http://bit.ly/rookiepins) – we are up to 850 pins and 3177 followers on our collab board – let us know if you’d like to contribute.
  5. If you believe in what we’re doing & want to support our team, we have FREE buttons available – send us a FB message, tweet, or email and we will get one out to you ASAP!

Like what you’ve heard? Have more questions? Contact us:

Andrew: I blog at TheRookieTeacher.ca, or email me Andrew@TheRookieTeacher.ca, I am currently focusing on pinterest as my social media project.

Natasha: I blog at TheRookieTeacher.ca, follow me on twitter @yoMsDunn, or email me Natasha@TheRookieTeacher.ca.

Sarah: I blog at TheRookieTeacher.ca, follow me on twitter @sarlowes.

Allison: Follow on twitter @AllisonDyjach.

RookieTeacher Online
We are always looking for ideas, feedback, tips and tricks of the trade.  Find us on Twitter @RookieTeacherCAFacebook.com /TheRookieTeacher.  If you are looking to get involved with our team, please contact us!

About Allison:

Hi my name is Allison Dyjach and I am in my fourth and final year of my undergraduate degree in Child, Youth, and Family studies with a minor in Psychology at the University of Guelph. My love for working with children began when I started working at summer camp at 16 and since then I have worked with people of all ages including working as a don in residence, running extracurricular activities for English language learners at my university, and helping to run a recreational therapy program for seniors. I discovered my real passion for education when I had a 6-month practicum placement in a grade 6/7 class which led me to apply for teacher’s college. I currently work full time as a co-op teaching assistant at the Child Care and Learning Centre at the University of Guelph, which is a daycare on campus for children 16 months old to 6 years old.

Her Questions for us:

  • If you had one tip of how to make the most of teacher’s college, what would it be? What do you think is the best way to make the most of the program and experience?
  • During my school placement I always found English a difficult subject to teach. Kids would often give me their pieces that they were working on to proof read, and after reading some of them I knew they didn’t meet the standards of grade 6 writing, but I found it really challenging to essentially teach kids how to be better writers. I could tell them to expand their ideas or write in longer sentences, but that didn’t usually do the trick. Do you have any strategies that you use to improve student’s writing to meet the standards that you’re looking for?
  • From my experiences, when students start to get older in grades 6, 7, and 8 that also means that all of the drama starts in the classroom. Students gossip about each other, exclude people, are friends one day and enemies the next…how do you try to maintain a drama free classroom?
  • Do you have an ideal desk setup in your classroom? Do you always like to keep your students in groups or individual, or does it vary for every class or even for different times of the year?
  • Something I struggled with when I had my teaching placement was bringing my problems from work home with me. When I was working with a student with some serious behaviour difficulties in the class I would find myself getting stressed out about it and spending my nights racking my brain for better strategies to work with them, or if they had a bad day in class it could put me in a bad mood for the entire night. What are some ways to combat bringing that stress home with you and maintaining a proper work-life balance?
  • I always hear from people that as soon as you get into teaching you should work on getting ABQ’s right away. Are there one or two ASQ’s that you absolutely recommend or think are essential for a new teacher to get?

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