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

The Rookie Teacher


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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Invitation 0

Posted on July 04, 2013 by Natasha
Truth is revealed as darkness descends

via Flickrcc.net, cindy_k

INVITATION

If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer …
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

Shel Silverstein

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Teaching a Combination Class: The Lounge: Episode 12 0

Posted on May 07, 2013 by Natasha

On today’s show, Andrew and Natasha join up for the long awaited return of The Lounge Podcast.  It has been a while, but as many of you know, life as a teacher is hard work…and can be quite busy too!  This episode features conversations about life as a combination/split grade teacher.  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 via: Sanya Khetani, articles.businessinsider.com

SHOW NOTES
Each episode features three segments:

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

Topic: Teaching a Combination Class

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: Inside/Outside Circles or Concentric Circles
  • Natasha: Food Bin

The Rookie Resource Bank:
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.

  • Andrew: Ontario Curriculum Unit Planners (link)
  • Natasha: Knowing What Counts Series (Anne Davies)

Quick Shout Outs

  1. We want to take a moment and thank everyone for continuing to support our site – we have reached over 10,000 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 EST
  3. Please join us and 248 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 2742 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!

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 @RookieTeacherCA, Facebook.com /TheRookieTeacher.  If you are looking to get involved with our team, please contact us!

 

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Growing & Supporting PLNs 0

Posted on April 18, 2013 by Natasha

**note: this is based on US research**

Recently, I was contacted by Erika Phyall, a member of community relations at USC, who was able to pass along some great research and fantastic #infographic called How to Save Our Educators: The Teacher Turnover Problem.  Here’s what she had to say:

We offer teachers and aspiring educators the opportunity to earn an online Master’s degree in Teaching or Education. My team and I recently launched an infographic, How To Save Our Educators, which gives an overview of the teacher attrition rate problem and possible solutions that can be explored. We understand that having great teachers in the classroom is as much about retaining them as it is about hiring and training them.

What I particularly liked about this was:

1) It was an infographic! [I really need to get the kids making these - what an informative and visually appealing way to share research!]
2) It provides teachers with *solutions* – something that is often missed in research.

Besides the obvious solution….funding…collaboration, mentoring, and professional development are all viable solutions on this list.  If you’re reading this blog, you’re already participating in all three!  The Rookie Team is always here for you.  We will try our best to answer your questions or connect you with the right folks to help.  I also encourage you to continue building your PLN.  It’s so easy to do online (Pinterest, TeachersPayTeachers, Facebook, and more!) Above all, I would recommend checking out the New Teacher Chat (#ntchat) that happens every Wednesday night between 8:00-9:00pm EST.  You can follow this chat two ways: (1) join twitter and the discussion by following the hashtag #ntchat, (2) point your browser to Twitter Chat’s #ntchat feed and read along (this option restricts you from commenting live).

If you would like to get in touch with Erika – visit her blog post and watch for her on #edchat on Twitter.

Natasha Dunn, OCT [@yoMsDunn]
The Rookie Teacher, co-founder 

Special thanks to our friend & mentor Lisa Dabbs for connecting Erika with the Rookie Team.

via: http://rossieronline.usc.edu/how-to-save-our-educators-infographic

via: http://rossieronline.usc.edu/how-to-save-our-educators-infographic

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Natasha joins Lisa Dabbs for Classroom 2.0 Live Webinar 0

Posted on April 15, 2013 by Natasha

webinar set upThis past Saturday (April 13/13), Natasha [@yoMsDunn] joined New Teacher Chat (#ntchat) founder Lisa Dabbs (@teachingwthsoul), and co-moderators Jamie Vandergrift (@JamieVanderG) & Dean Mantz (@dmantz7) to discuss the benefits of building a PLN and participating in Twitter chats (like the ever popular, #ntchat).

If you missed joining us on Saturday, you can listen to iTunes Audio ow.ly/k5J9j & watch iTunes Video ow.ly/k5JaV.

Thanks to Classroom 2.0 Live for allowing us to participate.

 

 

 

 

Webinar Screen Shot

From Classroom 2.0 Live‘s website:

Join us for this show where Lisa Dabbs and a couple of teachers from her New Teacher Team will share their experiences mentoring new teachers in the New Teacher Community and weekly Twitter Chat (#ntchat). About Lisa: Lisa is an Education Consultant, Speaker, Presenter, Resident Blogger/Social Media Marketing Support/Group Moderator for Edutopia.org. ( Also a wife and a mom.) She was a former Elementary School Principal with a B.A. in Child Development and a M.Ed in Educational Administration. She started her career as a Kindergarten teacher then was promoted to Project Director of a Language and Literacy program. She served as an elementary school principal for 14 years…a challenging position that she really loved! During that time she recruited, hired, trained and mentored over 200 new and veteran teachers at her school sites where she observed the power of mentorship in teaching success. She is a recent employee for Kaplan K-12 Educational Corporation as a Middle School Instructional Literacy Coach in Los Angeles Unified and was newly appointed as Vice President for Literacy on her local non-profit board. Lisa blogs at http://teachingwithsoul.com She founded (and moderates) a chat for New and Pre-Service Teachers on Twitter: #ntchat. The chat occurs every Wednesday at 5PM PDT/8PM EDT. It’s supportive and practitioner-focused with discussions that resonate with new teachers in the field. Classroom 2.0 LIVE is an opportunity to gather with other member of the community in regular “live” web meetings. Special thanks for this go to our sponsor, Blackboard Collaborate, for providing the service that allows us to do this! Details to join the webinar: http://live.classroom20.com Follow us on Twitter: #liveclass20 Thanks so much for being a part of this community!

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