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Ham and Cheese with a Side of TV: Does TV Belong in the Lunch Room? 0

Posted on November 07, 2016 by Allison Dyjach

I believe television is going to be the test of the modern world, and that in this new opportunity to see beyond the range of our vision, we shall discover a new and unbearable disturbance of the modern peace, or a saving radiance in the sky.  We shall stand or fall by television – of that I am quite sure.  -E.B. White, 1938

“Our teacher lets us watch movies during lunch. Can you put one on for us?” This is a question that I get asked about 50% of the times that I supply teach in an elementary classroom. I have been supply teaching for a year now, but no matter how many times I get asked this question, it always feels like I am being put on the spot, and I can’t seem to come up with a quick answer.

My hesitancy on this subject is complex. It’s not because I am against the idea of children watching TV or movies in school; it’s not because I don’t trust them telling me that their teacher allows this; it’s simply because I don’t know how I feel about television and movies becoming such a regular part of a student’s daily school routine. I am completely undecided and wishy-washy and noncommittal when people ask me whether I think it’s a good idea or not. I have to say that during my Bachelor of Education studies when we were tasked with writing our personal philosophies about what we value and believe about teaching, whether or not I was going to let kids watch an episode of “Magic School Bus” or “Arthur” during snack time did not come up.

tvokids

TVO Kids offers hundreds of educational television shows for children to watch online. Image from: eurovisionshowcase.com

So. I am stuck. Obviously when it is left in a teacher’s supply notes, or all of the students are telling me this is a normal routine, I allow it. My job as a supply teacher is to follow through with whatever plans the teacher has left, and if a class is used to watching the latest video from TVO Kids while they munch away, then so be it. But, what happens when I am no longer a supply teacher, when I have my own classroom and I begin to make decisions about what routines I would like to carry out with my own students? Does the TV still come out?

You see supply teaching is a multifaceted position. Although it is not something that many of us want to do long term, it does come with several great perks. Every day, you are faced with a new classroom with new rules and routines, student dynamics, and student abilities. This can be frustrating and tiring at times, but to me, being in a new classroom everyday means that I come home with a notebook full of new ideas for anchor charts, phys ed games, language activities, or number talks that the teacher left for the class. Each day I get to “test out” certain teaching methods that the teacher has put in place, and then decide whether this is something I might use in my own class one day.

I have been exposed to both sides of this experiment—TV and no TV—in every grade K-8, but for some reason, this is something that I still can’t seem to make my mind up about quite yet. There are still so many questions that seem to float around my head every time I try to make sense of this idea in my brain:

 

Isn’t TV bad for kids? All they do is watch TV when they get home. Don’t they need to socialize?

Yes. Kids need to socialize. They need to learn how to carry on a conversation with their friends, peers, lunch monitors, and teachers, and what better time to practice this skill than break time? The students are left to their own free will, and it is up to them to create some sort of structure and use their social skills to decide how they want to spend their lunch period. Everyday they get the chance to explore how the flow of a conversation works, how turn taking works, or how to enter a new conversation happening beside you. If students are spending their lunchtime staring at a screen, are we taking away a large opportunity for social skill development?

bookflix_login

BookFlix is an online site created by Scholastic that pairs children’s fiction books with non-fiction ebooks and movies to encourage reading and knowledge exploration. Image from: bkflix.grolier.com

But what about the kids who struggle with unstructured social situations?

I remember being this kid when I was younger. If my friends in the class happened to be away one day, lunch seemed like the loneliest, most uncomfortable 30 minutes of my life. I was stuck at my desk alone with no one to talk to and no self-confidence to change that. I would have loved having a small show to watch to take the attention off my feelings of isolation and stress. Or what about kids that get teased during breaks when the teachers on duty aren’t looking, or the students that simply don’t get along with many of their classmates? Television steers kids away from social difficulties they might be having, and instead provides them with a distraction that can keep their lunch break entertaining and bully free.

Ok, so now we’re just using television as a “quick fix” to underlying issues in a classroom dynamic?

See when we phrase it that way, it doesn’t sound so great. We often complain that “kids these days” are not independent enough; their resiliency is lacking and they aren’t able to problem solve the way we used to. Is giving them a TV show during lunch simply feeding into this idea of students no longer being self-sufficient? Because students can’t socialize in a respectful and quiet manner, we provide them with something that doesn’t allow them to work on those skills but instead ploughs over and makes them irrelevant? With a movie on at lunch, students don’t have to talk to a single one of their classmates if they don’t want to. No talking, no problems. But could that be harming them in the long run?

But Allison, the kids love it don’t they?

Yes. They do. They undoubtedly do. Everyday they get to watch a little fun snippet of a favourite show while they sit and eat their lunch, and often the teacher has chosen an educational show where the students get to learn about science or history at the same time. They are exposed to new content and knowledge that they might not have time for in their regular classroom schedule, or might not be able to access at home. The class also gets to engage in an enjoyable shared group experience. They can use those experiences to relate with each other, using it to inspire a group inquiry project, or as a conversation starter at recess. It could almost be coined a bonding experience. Keeping children entertained while also educating and connecting them always seems like a win-win situation.

And sometimes the teachers love it too. Last week I taught at a school where every junior classroom had something playing on the projector screen, and it was the easiest lunch duty I had ever done. Every class was silent, kids were sitting in their desk eating their lunch, and all I had to do was make sure kids tidied up their garbage when the bell rang. I was happy, and they were happy.

But there is still a part of me that wonders if this is a good thing. Teaching students that indoor voices and respectful language need to be used during lunch can be a never-ending task, but is distracting them into silence going to benefit them any more? Is TV a distraction from all of the learning skills we should be instilling upon our students? 

There is no real conclusion to this post, because I still don’t have a solid conclusion in my personal teaching philosophy about all of this. I would like to hear what you think, what you use, what has worked and what hasn’t. There are no rights or wrongs to these questions, but I would like to hear some of your ideas about steps in the right direction or ideas that might seem completely wrong in your classroom.

I still feel like I am being put on the spot by trying to make sense of it all, but maybe the next time a student asks me, “could you put on a show for us during lunch? Our teacher always lets us,” the answer will be a bit more than an, “um, well…I suppose…sure. Yes.”

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Engage Students in the Classroom: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 11 0

Posted on December 13, 2012 by Natasha

On today’s show, Andrew and Natasha are up at their home away from home…Glen Mhor, their old #summercamp.  We were happy to have Chantal Jackson, one of the camp’s co-directors, join us today to speak about how she keeps her staff and her campers engaged during training, playing, and day-to-day life at camp.  These techniques can also be used in the classroom.  Listen in for some tips, tricks, and the value of multiple intelligences and differentiating instruction.

Many thanks to Chantal “Match” Jackson!  A true gem in summer camping.

Summer Camp

Summer Camp By Hunter-Desportes, flickrcc.net


SHOW NOTES
Each episode features three segments:

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

Topic: Engage Students in the Classroom

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: Milling to Music
  • Natasha: Drink Water! 
  • Chantal: Strategy – WIBYT (Write It Before You Talk) <Michael Brandwein>
Nalgene Water Bottle

Nalgene {flickrcc.net, by: By Chealion}

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.

 

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

Rookie Teacher 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!

Early apologies for the audio on this episode, it is not as clean as usual, we were working with a different mic.

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Earth Charter Chats 0

Posted on November 21, 2012 by Sarah

Have you seen the Earth Charter?

“We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.”

photo by: digital_trash, via flickrcc.net

How are you discussing global citizenship in your class? The charter is available in many languages, please consider using it in literacy, science, social sciences, art. Even in math we can calculate how much waste we are making, how much populations are growing, the decline of resources. Ecology must be embedded within our teaching, we can’t wait for it to be mandated in the curriculum. We will need future generations to think creatively about upcoming problems. As mass media and globalization connect people, we still must maintain our preserve our diversity in the web of life.

Never underestimate the difference one person can make. Always be open to be surprised by the possibilities of your students.

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Bits from Books: Trans-local learning 0

Posted on November 21, 2012 by Sarah

“Suppose that there are no universal solutions to global problems — like poverty, hunger, or environmental destruction. Suppose that the kind of large-scale systems change that many of us have been yearning for emerges when local actions get connected globally — while preserving their deeply local culture, flavor and form. What if people working at the local level were able to learn from one another, practice together, and share their knowledge — freely and fluidly — with communities anywhere? This is the nature of trans-local learning, and it happens when separate, local efforts connect with each other, then grow and transform as people exchange ideas that together give rise to new systems with greater impact and influence.”

From Walk  Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now – Margaret Wheatley & Deborah Frieze

photo by: Stuck in Customs, via flickrcc.net

Each one of us in our classrooms, schools, neighbourhoods, communities, nations can make such a difference. We may not know the answers, a plan, an end goal, but we will figure it out, together. Assumptions like the experts have the answers, we mustn’t fail, there’s no time for experimenting, we need power and governments to change, have been internalized by a dominant worldview that sees people as parts of a working machine. Power in this system is unquestioned. But we need creativity, pleasure, laughter, trial and error, growth. We need to learn and relearn our responsibilities to each other and to the Earth. Walk Out Walk On explores communities from Mexico to India, from Columbus, Ohio to Johannesburg, South Africa who are inventively creating healthy and resilient communities that bring people together with love, care and play. Refreshing examples, encouraging words and a positive, inspiring book to help motivate us all. No one is coming to help, we are part of the solution.

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Scratching the Surface of Online Collaboration 2

Posted on August 10, 2012 by Natasha

Online collaboration is such a vast subject that I’m having difficulty beginning this blog post.  I supposed I should start with the social media I use most often in education: twitter & pinterest.  Here we go…

Twitter by Webdesigner Depot, via IconFinder

Twitter by Webdesigner Depot, via IconFinder

1. Twitter: Wow, what a powerful form of social media and online collaboration!

I was first introduced to twitter back in ’09 when my friend @zoic suggested it.  At the time, I had no idea just how engaging twitter would become.  I learned the lingo pretty quickly: following, follower, 140Characters, @reply, #hashtag, #FF, DM, HootSuite, TweetDeck, etc.  Then I started my year at the faculty of education where all BEd students were encouraged to sign up for Twitter (actually, it was a prerequisite for the course, thanks to @zbpipe & #brocktechies).  We started following other educators, administrators, boards of education, like minded people who believed in the same philosophies of education as we did.  I experimented with Twitter Chats and watched in on some live web presentations.

Since then I have been able to collaborate with some great educators, we share resources, articles, a friendly hello, and I still participate in some useful chats…such as #ntchat.  This past Wednesday was my first co-mod with host Lisa Dabbs (who may be familiar thanks to The Lounge Episode 9: Long Range Planning) and Remind101.com.  Here’s what Remind101 had to say about the experience: Until You Try a Twitter Chat, You Haven’t Lived.

Ilovepins by Sneh Roy, via IconFinder

Ilovepins by Sneh Roy, via IconFinder

2. Pinterest: This year I found myself checking Pinterest before Google when searching for lesson plan ideas.  There are so many creative and talented teachers who are very willing to share their ideas and support new teachers.  I was able to come across some fantastic ideas to enhance my lessons on inferencing.  There were several anchor charts and activities – and all of them extremely creative (which helps to get my creative juices flowing).

Check out my pinboards and our Rookie Teacher Collab board (where, at the time of this post we sit at 1607 followers and 294 pins).

 

What about you? What are your favourite online collaboration sites? Tools? Let us know – comment below or join the discussion on facebook.com/TheRookieTeacher and twitter.com/TheRookieTeacher.

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Long Range Planning: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 9 4

Posted on July 25, 2012 by Natasha

We’re back with another great episode of The Lounge Podcast.  We were extremely lucky to have Lisa Dabbs from Edutopia.org and Edutopia’s New Teacher Connections Group Facilitator Skype in for the show.  She was able to enrich our conversation, give us lots of great tips and web 2.0 tools, and advise us where to start when it comes to Long Range Planning.

Cursive Calendar - photo by: Your Secret Admiral

photo by: Your Secret Admiral

I think it’s safe to say that this topic is very important to think about at this time of year (and as the school year goes on…after all, we consider plans to be working documents).  We all agreed how valuable and powerful the act of collaborating with a grade/division team plays in the process of long range planning and how successful backwards design/mapping can be when creating strong plans.

Listen in to hear our conversations about long range plans, curriculum, split/combination classes, backwards design/mapping, web 2.0 tools, staying organized, Post-It Notes, Pinterest, Evernote, Twitter, Live Binder, and more!

Find Lisa on twitter, Wednesday nights at 8:00pm EST for the New Teacher Chat (#ntchat).

This is by far one of my personal favourite podcasts yet! Huge thank you again to Lisa Dabbs for joining us…it was a pleasure to have you on, and we hope you’ll come back to continue the discussion another time.  Andrew and I really appreciate all that you are doing for new teachers.

SHOW NOTES

Each episode features three segments:

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

Topic: Long Range Planning

photo by: Pedro Vezini

photo by: Pedro Vezini

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: About Me heads
  • Natasha: SMARTboard attendance
  • Lisa: One Little Word (http://goo.gl/NbNHO)
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.
Quick Shout Outs
  1. We will be working this summer to develop some content – what would you like to read about? Email or send us a tweet.
  2. Please join our discussions on Facebook.com/TheRookieTeacher
  3. We are also spending time gathering some great ideas for the classroom on Pinterest (http://bit.ly/rookiepins)

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

Rookie Teacher 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!

Thanks for listening. Join us for our Summer Podcast Series. Topics included will be: More about AQs, Classroom set up, the first day of school, Applying for Jobs, Setting up your Day Book, Developing classroom routines for your first month of school.

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Development Resources for Teachers 0

Posted on July 01, 2012 by Natasha

I really enjoy getting email from our readers…recently I received an email from a reader and fellow online collaborator.  She helps out with BestCollegesOnline.com. In mid-June they published an article called 50 Excellent Online Professional Development Resources for Teachers and thought that Rookie readers might like to take a look.

We’re all about sharing resources – if you are a contributor or run a site related to teaching and education we would love to hear from you.  Please email us at info@TheRookieTeacher.ca.  Thank you Shirley for your email, and happy teaching!

Logo-BestCollegesOnline.com

www.BestCollegesOnline.com

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Being a Rookie means Being Busy 1

Posted on May 03, 2012 by Natasha

3 février 1975 ...  flickr: Môsieur J. [version 7.0.1]

"3 février 1975 ..." || flickr.com: Môsieur J.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret…

When you’re a Rookie with your 1st class…you’re awfully busy!

<wait for it>

..BUT…

In my opinion – it’s a good thing.

It means you’ve done at least 3 things:

  1. You worked really hard to get a Long Term Occasional or Permanent job (university, more university, AQ courses, resume building, interview prep, volunteering, networking, etc…)
  2. You’re working really hard to engage students in rich learning tasks, foster a love of lifetime learning, build community in your classroom, motivate students to be leaders and collaborate in a variety of subject areas, and reflecting on your practices as a teacher (this lesson worked, this one could have used ____, next time I’ll probably leave out _____, etc…)
  3. You’re maintaining your reputation, building new professional learning networks, and getting involved in your school community

So, if things are a little slow around TheRookieTeacher.ca … you know why… we’re busy little beavers.

We would love to hear your stories…How do you find the new workload? How are you preparing for a new job? Let us know in the comment section below.

ps. please feel free to pass this blog post along to your friends/family members who haven’t seen you in a while (maybe they’ll better understand life as a new teacher)

<See you in The Lounge>

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Happy March Break from The Rookie Teacher Team 1

Posted on March 12, 2012 by Natasha
"The Amazing Lego Man" photo by: KTVee, Flickrcc.net

"The Amazing Lego Man" photo by: KTVee, Flickrcc.net

From all the folks at TheRookieTeacher.ca, we wish you a very happy March Break.

Rookies: remember to take some time to rest, relax, stand on your head, breathe, and prepare yourself for the coming weeks.

DISCUSSION
Are you spending the break doing something exciting?
Share your stories in the comment section below!

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