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Setting up an Organized Classroom – The Lounge Podcast: Season 3, Episode 002 0

Posted on August 11, 2015 by Natasha

On today’s episode, Andrew and Natasha discuss what it’s like to set up a classroom in August for Back-to-School! Included are some quick tips, things to think about, and a little insight into classroom management techniques related to organization.

 

Our favourite from this episode:

  • Say “hi!” to people in the building
  • Furniture – enough? too much? where?
  • Family & friend volunteers <3
  • Hit up the DOLLAR STORE!!! (save the receipt if you can get reimbursed)
  • Yard sales
  • Leave lots of space to co-create
  • A world map

basket iconbase, basket, full icon
RESOURCE BANK

  • Natasha: Memo Books (4 for $1.00, dollarstore!)
  • Andrew: Thank You cards (dollarstore!)

#TRENDING next time

  • The 1st Week of School
  • Building Community – Classroom Edition
  • Making a Class Website (webinar workshop)

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

Andrew: I blog at TheRookieTeacher.ca, or email me Andrew@TheRookieTeacher.ca.

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

Lauren: Blogs at TheRookieTeacher.ca, or catch her updates on our BRAND NEW Pinterest board – pinterest.com/RookieTeacherCA

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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Long Range Planning – The Lounge Podcast: Season 3, Episode 001 0

Posted on August 04, 2015 by Natasha

On this episode we introduce our new format, plan, and give details about Long Range Planning (LRP). This is a topic that you may want to start thinking about come August, or for our US friends, a little earlier. Keep watching to see Natasha act like a fool by air swooshing… and until the end of the episode for the Resource Bank segment and a sneak peak at our upcoming episodes.note, notes, post it, postit, sticky icon

Our favourite LRP materials:

  • Post-it Notes
  • A blank canvas (a wall or chart paper)
  • Curriculum documents
  • Grade or division team members
  • Assessment/Evaluation checklist (for, as, of learning)

We have discussed Long Range Planning before, with guest host Lisa Dabbs, with a focus on Web 2.0 tips & tools.

Check out Lauren’s blog, “13 Steps to Easy Long Range Planning” where she gives a detailed plan on how to set up a STELLAR math LRP using colour coding!

RESOURCE BANK

#TRENDING next time

  • Setting up an Organized Classroom
  • The 1st Week of School
  • Making a Class Website (workshop)
  • Building Community – Classroom Edition

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

Andrew: I blog at TheRookieTeacher.ca, or email me Andrew@TheRookieTeacher.ca.

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

Lauren: Blogs at TheRookieTeacher.ca, or catch her updates on our BRAND NEW Pinterest board – pinterest.com/RookieTeacherCA

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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R U Ready? 0

Posted on July 18, 2015 by Natasha

Something New Coming Soon

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A Rookie Introduction: Our Newest Contributor…Tony Gong 0

Posted on July 03, 2015 by Tony Gong

Hi everyone, my name is Tony. I’m going into my 7th year of teaching, all with the Halton District School Board. I’m very proud to be first high school teacher to contribute to this website and I’m hoping that more secondary level teachers will join this group.

I’m qualified to teach math, computer studies, and special education. I’m extremely passionate about helping students in all those subject areas. Although I love what I do now, my career got off to a very rocky start 7 years ago. I went into my first year of teaching full of confidence and optimism but things quickly spiral out of control. I was confronted with all kinds of classroom management issues and I felt totally unequipped to deal with them. Despite putting so much time into lesson planning, I always felt like not enough was accomplished day in and day out. Worst of all, I felt I didn’t really have someone that I talk to about my problems. At several points of my first and second year, I seriously thought about quitting this professional.

I’m really glad that I didn’t because now I actually enjoy going to work. I can honestly say that every single day I feel like I’m making a difference in kids’ lives. I hope that I can be of some help to you if you are going through the experiences that I had. I look forward to getting to know you and contributing more postings to this great website.

Cheers,

Tony

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A Rookie Introduction: Our Newest Contributor…Michael Marchione 0

Posted on January 30, 2015 by Michael Marchione

Hey! My name is Michael Marchione, a new Teacher Candidate at Brock University. I’m currently completing the Concurrent Education program with my Bachelor of Education at the Junior / Intermediate level. I am super pumped to join an awesome group of rookie teachers, and I will embrace the rookie name! I have been fortunate enough to meet many great people along my personal journey to making a difference in this world, and I look forward to growing and learning alongside such great communities!

Michael Marchione

Michael Marchione

In the last few years, I began speaking up about mental illness and mental health awareness in our world. Since then, mental health has become a huge passion of mine. As an emerging educator, I fully intend to make mental health education an integral component of my educational philosophy and general way of life. In doing so, my aim is to raise awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental health and to foster communities of acceptance and safety in our schools and growing communities. You can look forward to seeing and hearing a lot about my experiences with introducing and reinforcing mental wellness and positive spaces in schools – I’m so excited!

On top of being a huge advocate, I whole heartedly desire to live by the values of a life-long learner. I want to continue to learn and grow alongside my students and fellow educators. While I may be my own worst critic at times, I value making mistakes and learning from experience and feel that sharing stories and narratives is crucial to learning as a community. And so, you can expect a lot of storytelling and reflecting from my end, and hope that you share and find value in my experiences as I aim to do the same from yours! Here’s to being a rookie teacher!

Take care everyone ☺

@marchionemv

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It’s that time again, Ontario Teachers! 0

Posted on January 17, 2015 by Natasha

4TIPS FOR WRITING REPORT CARDS

That’s right. Time to get out the assessment and evaluation binders, your anecdotal notes, observation records, and conference guides.  Term 1 is coming to an end here in Ontario, and elementary teachers are going to be hard at work planning and prepping the school day and writing report cards.

This means taking a good look at our kids. How they are progressing in all their academics. But more importantly, their Learning Skills.  Since September, how have they been developing these life long learning skills? From organization to self-regulation, responsibility to collaboration, independent work to initiative, it’s our job to evaluate.

I must admit, this time of year sometimes brings me to an odd place, where I contemplate how we assess — I often find it hard to assign ONE final grade, ONE final “E”, “G”, “S”, or “N.” But alas, it’s our job.

On top of an evaluation, our comments are what truly paint a picture of each student and give families a look into life in Kindergarten to Grade 8.

Thankfully, there are strategies, tips, and tricks to thrive
during report card writing time as a Rookie:

  1. Ask for help. Get in touch with a mentor, teaching partner, grade or division team and collaborate. We talk to our kids about the power of collaboration – so let’s not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. Most experience teachers will have a comment bank that can be tweaked or edited to reflect the current school year. If not, starting from scratch with a team is also an option – after all, 2 heads are better than 1.
  2. Reach out to your PLN (i.e., Ask for help 2.0). If you are involved in NTIP, Facebook groups, or have contacts in the industry – get in touch with them. They can either provide you with some help first hand, or encourage you through this time of writing.
  3. Check for school board or ministry documents. Each year, my school board publishes a great”Guide to Creating Meaningful Report Card Comments.” In this document, teachers are informed about formatting, qualifiers, language, and balancing Strengths & Next Steps.
  4. Search Online. There are other guides available out there.  About a year ago, I came across a site called Student Evaluator. “The Student Evaluator was created by teachers, for teachers. An idea that began over 5 years ago, the Student Evaluator has brought together a team of teachers, learning advisers, web design specialists, and software engineers to create an evaluation tool for teachers. We realized that there had to be a better and more efficient way to accurately assess and create report cards for our students, and so we built software to do just that.” I have used their service to help me create meaningful comments.  


Until the end of January, Student Evaluator is offering our
readers a 20% discount by using the code JAN15.
 

Student Evaluator

Happy Writing, Rookie!
Reach out to the Rookie Teacher Team if you need

someone to talk to about Report Cards or any other EduQuestion.

Comment below, join us on Facebook.com/TheRookieTeacher, or send us
a Tweet @RookieTeacherCA & sign up for our Newsletter!

 

 

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Resource Bank: The Classroom Tourist 0

Posted on January 16, 2015 by Allison Dyjach
Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 1.10.08 PM

Just some of the wide variety of topics that are addressed on theclassroomtourist.net

Do you ever wish that you could take a week off to tour around schools and explore everyone else’s classrooms? Gather new ideas for seating plans, anchor charts, and bulletin boards? Well, the Limestone District School Board has made that (almost) possible! The Classroom Tourist (www.theclassroomtourist.net) blog is a relatively new project started by the Limestone District School Board K-12 Program Team, which features blog posts filled with innovative ideas and advice for Primary-Junior educators. The group travels throughout the LDSB to interview teachers or teaching teams and literally acts as a tourist in their classroom. They take pictures, ask many questions, and learn all about some of the teacher’s favourite teaching techniques and classroom setups. Also, the site is set up to easily search for tours based on a large set of tags, so you can find classrooms that specifically highlight math resources, new ways to create success criteria, and more.

If you are ever feeling a lack of inspiration or want to try a new classroom setup but don’t know where to begin, I highly recommend going on a few “tours,” they are sure to get the gears moving again.

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Survey Says… 0

Posted on December 24, 2014 by Natasha

We are looking for feedback in order to serve you better. Please comment below or on any social media outlet. Thank you for taking a moment to help out The Rookie Teacher Team.

Facebook.com/TheRookieTeacher

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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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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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“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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