Creating a dialogue about what it’s like to be a new teacher.

The Rookie Teacher


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?

Quick Tip

Rookie Resource Bank

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Earth Month 2014: A Call to Action 0

Posted on March 23, 2014 by Natasha

A recent published ETFO VOICE article written by our very own Sarah Lowes.  ETFO teachers, look for it in your mailbox  or read it online.

photo: ETFO Voice magazine  http://etfovoice.ca/earth-month-2014-a-call-to-action/

photo: ETFO Voice magazine http://etfovoice.ca/earth-month-2014-a-call-to-action/

Whether you passively watch it or actively work to mitigate it, we have entered into a state of global environmental emergency. We cannot go on as if it were business as usual. Unsustainable environmental practices are systemic and impact every aspect of our daily lives. Violent storms, drought, and species extinction are significant consequences to widespread pesticide use, pollutants, and harmful resource extraction practices such as Canada’s tar sands. Widespread unemployment and poverty are also consequences. April is a great time to think about how we are preparing our students to be good environmental stewards and to highlight environmental issues.  Here are some ideas for your classroom.

Celebrate Earth Month. Don’t let Earth Month go by without lots of recognition. Make it a big event, like an environmental film festival, or several smaller events like inviting a First Nations storyteller into your classroom, participating in Meatless Mondays and Trashless Tuesdays or running no-trace camping skills workshops.

Freebie: The Ontario Teachers’ Federation and Planet in Focus provide a guide to organizing an Environmental Film Festival. tiny.cc/FilmFestGuide

Teach sustainability–explicitly. Knowledge is power, and when people understand the issues, they are better equipped to tackle them. Each year students should be strengthening their understanding of the complexity of sustainability. The World Commission on Environment and Development’s definition is “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” What does sustainability look like?

Freebie: Use the Story of Stuff, a 20-minute movie about the way we make, use, and throw away stuff. tiny.cc/StoryOfStuff

Get outdoors. Education writer David Sobel says, “If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the Earth before we ask them to save it.” Give students the opportunity to develop a relationship with the Earth. Have students adopt a tree in their schoolyard or community to use for art (draw the tree in each season) or to use as writing prompts (“Day in the Life of My Tree”).

Freebie: The Back 2 Nature Network offers the ultimate kindergarten to grade 8 guide for teaching all subjects outdoors, developed by and for teachers. Available in both English and French, an essential addition to your resources! tiny.cc/IntoNature

Bring the outdoors in. Start a worm bin! Composting has endless connections to the curriculum and can help foster conversations regarding consumption, food waste, food sources and security, agriculture, life cycles, among many other important topics. The resulting rich humus will restore nutrients in your garden – a great way to start preparing for or extending a learning garden.

Freebie: A great ten-page how-to guide for the novice vermiculturalist written in student- friendly language. Another must-have resource accessible to students; comes with a free compost- log template! tiny.cc/WormBin

Get in touch with your waste. Don’t make this a bigger task than you can handle! Start by estimating your classroom’s weekly number of garbage bags, and your electricity and water usage. Learn together as a school and have school-wide estimations. Divide the responsibility and have different classes check to see the reality and announce their findings. Then make a plan to reduce your waste. Simply monitoring and bringing awareness usually makes a huge difference!

Freebie: Even if you aren’t registered as an EcoSchool, the program offers a wealth of resources from waste audit instructions to lights-off tally charts, school ground greening to curriculum links, for both elementary and secondary schools. tiny.cc/EcoSchools

Connect with your community. Take a deep breath and exhale. A year from now, the billions of atoms in your breath will have circulated around the entire planet, and a small few of them will have made their way back to you to be breathed in again. We are all connected, and not just virtually. Start more community engagement projects, make schools a shining hub of community. Display proudly the events happening in the area on a large calendar, organize bike and walk-to-school parades, farmers’ markets, etc. Make a concerted effort to connect and engage the communities you’re involved in, and celebrate! The answer to solving our unsustainability isn’t isolating ourselves; the answer is creating alternatives together and coming together as a community.

Activism

Activism can take many forms, and it doesn’t suit everyone to march on the streets. But every individual can affect their communities and the people around them through their conversations and the choices they make. Contacting your councillor, mayor, MPP and MP, political party leader, or prime minister also cultivates good citizenship.

Freebie: Check these child activists out online: Rachel Parent, Kelvin Doe, Kid President, and Birke Baehr. They are working to make a difference.

Make a change. Take a pledge and commit yourself to at least one lifestyle change, because we cannot continue on the path that we’re on. Look for opportunities to make a difference. We need to re-evaluate our values and consumption patterns, and transform our attitudes and behaviours. It will take courage and strength. Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Make time to participate. No one person is going to solve this for us. The most important thing you can do this Earth Month is make time to participate. Feeling the Earth’s pain is natural, necessary, and is the first step in healing. This isn’t how the world has always been, it’s how it has become. The future can be shaped by you. Stay aware, engage your students, and be present.

April is a great time to put some of these ideas into practice. Engage in some fun, practical, and empowering activities to facilitate environmental stewardship among your students

Sarah Lowes is a member of The Halton Teacher Local. Connect with her at about.me/sarlowes.

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Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading 0

Posted on March 08, 2014 by Andrew

image c/o: Amazon.com

Rookie Teacher Reads…

Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading

Every wonder how to start a lesson on examining the importance of reading comprehension strategies? This one is chalked full of great hands on activities that make abstract concepts more concrete. Personally used several of these activities to help create purposeful talk around making meaning in my Grade 5/6 Class this year. Easy to read, and easy to pick up and use when you need an idea.

Grab a copy now: http://www.amazon.ca/Comprehension-Connections-Bridges-Strategic-Reading/dp/0325008876

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An Update 0

Posted on October 05, 2013 by Sarah

My, my it’s been far too long since I’ve shared my thoughts with the awesome Rookie Team and it’s readers. Almost a full year in fact, my apologies. But nonetheless what an amazing public forum for discussion that I’m super grateful to be part of!

In the last year I’ve finished my Master of Education, enjoyed a beautiful summer in Toronto, and landed a permanent position at a school with an awesome staff! Evidently my days as of late are spent planning furiously and resting!

My M.Ed (in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development) is one of the best decisions I made. I think I gained the most valuable, transformative experiences of my life (too early to say?) collaborating and discussing with professors, teachers and peers at large. Every course (I had 10 over 2 years) engaged me in a new way and pushed me to think critically about the world and my role within it. I certainly miss being challenged the way that I was so regularly during my time at OISE, it has truly shone as a leader in educational thinking. My time there has made me a stronger teacher and person without a doubt. Thank you to all who supported me throughout that chapter completing 7 years of formal Education Studies (I completed  a 4 year Honours at Brock in Education as my undergrad as well).

The courses I took at OISE for my M.Ed (and I wouldn’t trade ANY in!) are:

  • Foundations of Curriculum
  • Teaching and Learning About Science and Technology: Beyond Schools
  • The Holistic Curriculum
  • Transformative Education
  • Cooperative Learning Research and Practice
  • Poststructuralism and Education
  • Media, Education and Popular Culture
  • Special Topics in Adult Education: The Pedagogy of Food
  • Environmental Decision Making
  • Environmental Finance

photo: flickrcc.net / giulia.forsythe

 

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Observation and Anecdotal Notes – Record Keeping Made Easy – Assessment & Evaluation 0

Posted on July 18, 2013 by Natasha

BUZZWORD: Triangulation (Conversations – Observations – Student Products)

This is a great way to summarize our job as educators.  We will have meaningful conversations with our students, listen to the vocabulary they use during peer to peer conversations, and prompt them to think deeper and more critically about their learning.  We will observe how they approach new, routine, independent, partner, group, and class tasks.  We will watch as they think out processes, make mistakes, and get messy.  We will assess, evaluate, and provide descriptive feedback on all the products that they pour their heart and soul into.

Most importantly, we will track and record it all.

But how?

CONVERSATION:

What methods do you use to track students? Old fashion pen to paper?  Technology application?  Comment below, on Facebook, or Twitter.

https://www.google.com/search?as_q=teacher+assessment+and+evaluation&tbs=sur:fc&biw=1280&bih=569&sei=M_3mUfr4FKaDywGT24HgBQ&tbm=isch#tbs=sur%3Afc&tbm=isch&q=teachers%20teaching&revid=1889124126&ei=Av_mUdJirobJAbO4gKAM&ved=0CAsQsSU&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=40a59d8e4f21729c&biw=1280&bih=569&bvm=pv.xjs.s.en_US.QXiTEk6XjhM.O%2Cpv.xjs.s.en_US.QXiTEk6XjhM.O%2Cpv.xjs.s.en_US.QXiTEk6XjhM.O&facrc=0%3Bteachers%20teaching%20kids&imgdii=_&imgrc=_

photo via CreativeCommons

EXPERT OBSERVATION:

Conferencing and reporting are changing

Knowing What Counts Conferencing and Reporting Second Edition

Knowing What Counts Conferencing and Reporting Second Edition

“The process of conferencing and reporting is changing from a teacher-directed, end-of-term event to a collaborative ongoing process designed to support learning.  Many educators and parents/guardians not recognize conferencing and reporting are taking place when

        • students show and talk about work samples with someone at home
        • parents look at their daughters website and respond to her by pointing out their favourite parts and asking questions
        • an uncle comes to view a nephew’s portfolio during a portfolio afternoon and writes a note telling three things he noticed about the work
        • students invite their former kindergarten teacher to a poetry performance where they demonstrate their skill
        • student, parents, and teacher meet to look at student work and to set new goals

Parents, students, and teachers are identifying conferencing and reporting practices that effectively communicate and support student learning.”  (Knowing What Counts: Conferencing and Reporting: Second Edition – K.Gregory, C.Cameron, A.Davies, 2011)

Teacher Comments

Growing Success: Government of Ontario

Growing Success: Government of Ontario

“In writing anecdotal comments, teachers should focus on what students have learned, describe significant strengths, and identify next steps for improvement. Teachers should strive to use language that parents will understand and should avoid language that simply repeats the wordings of the curriculum expectations or the achievement chart. When appropriate, teachers may make reference to particular strands. The comments should describe in overall terms what students know and can do and should provide parents with personalized, clear, precise, and meaningful feedback. Teachers should also strive to help parents understand how they can support their children at home.”  (Ministry of Ontario Document, 2010)

PRODUCT:

Observations/Anecdotal Notes

Download a copy of Natasha’s Observation and Anecdotal Notes Blackline Master over at her TeachersPayTeachers Store.

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Pause Before You Post (Jostens): The Lounge Express Episode 1: Digital Responsibility 0

Posted on July 17, 2013 by Natasha

The Lounge Express:  Teaching DIGITAL RESPONSIBILITY.  In an instant (online) world, it is our job to create a safe and respectful climate online for our students.  I think the phrase “Pause Before You Post” is fantastic.  Kids will post online, and we should be teaching them how to do it responsibly.  Just because they are behind a screen doesn’t mean they can remove their gatekeeper.

DISCUSSION

  • How do you teach digital responsibility? Comment below or join us on Facebook or Twitter (@RookieTeacherCA).

………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Today while browsing my pins on Pinterest I came across this quick video from The Band Perry:

“These issues are timely and can greatly impact schools, students, educators and families and their respective online reputation. Recent high-profile cases involving abuse of the Internet have prompted many communities to encourage students to learn more about publishing personal information, particularly when they’re using social media sites. As a supporter of education and traditions, Jostens is pleased to offer an awareness program called Pause Before You Post™ that encourages students to make smart decisions when self-publishing through online social media that aids in preventing bullying online. The program also includes valuable information about cyberbullying and potential consequences of poor decision-making.” (Jostens)

More resources: 

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Technology in the Classroom: The Lounge: Episode 13 0

Posted on July 16, 2013 by Natasha

On today’s show, Andrew and Natasha meet again to record another episode of The Lounge Podcast.  This episode features conversations about technology in the classroom…apps, tech tools, and using technology safely!  Listen in to hear about tips, tricks, must-do activities, and more!  Read the show notes below and don’t forget to download & subscribe to the podcast on iTunes today!

photo: flickrcc.net / aperturismo

photo: flickrcc.net / aperturismo

SHOW NOTES
Each episode features three segments:

  1. Topic Discussion
  2. Quick Tip for Tomorrow
  3. The Rookie Resource Bank

Topic: Technology in the Classroom

photo: flickrcc.net / LEOL30

photo: flickrcc.net / LEOL30

Quick Tip for Tomorrow:

Something you could do the next day in class with little or no prep and is applicable to most grade levels.

  • Andrew: Create a culture of learning/Kids involved with programming 
  • Natasha: Classroom Twitter Account

The Rookie Resource Bank:

photo: flickrcc.net / Spree2010

photo: flickrcc.net / Spree2010

Any electronic, print, or event resource that we found helpful in our first few years of teaching.  Of course, these are all applicable to all teachers.

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 261 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 2881 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 buttons available – send us a FB message, tweet, or email and we will get one out to you ASAP!
  6. Watch for our Lounge Express Series – starting soon!

Would you like a BUTTON? Email us and we will send you one :)

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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