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Archive for the ‘Curriculum’


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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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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Setting up a Solid Literacy Program: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 10 2

Posted on August 17, 2012 by Natasha
"Gumby Reader" photo by N.Dunn

“Gumby Reader” photo by N.Dunn

On today’s show, Andrew and Natasha are joined by a talented teacher and wise educator, Lisa Harkness.  Lisa teaches grade 1 in SW Ontario, Canada.  She attended teachers college in Scotland and taught there for three years before returning home.  She has her Reading Specialist, and is passionate about literacy, providing her students with authentic learning experiences and differentiated instruction.  Her passion for literacy is just one of the many reasons we asked her to join us today on The Lounge.  Listen in to hear about what a solid literacy program looks like, tips to get started, and creative ways to integrate cross-curricular connections.

Oh yeah, and Lisa is an expert in Read Aloud books!  Tweet her if you’re looking for a great book (based on subject, interest, topic, or grade level).

Many thanks to our guest Lisa Harkness who took time out of a nice summer day to Skype in with us.  Your wisdom and openness to collaborate with new teachers is very much appreciated by The Rookie Team, our readers, and our listeners.  We wish you the very best in teaching.  Read On!

SHOW NOTES

Each episode features three segments:

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

Topic: Setting up a Solid Literacy Program

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: Schedule wisely: plan ‘downtime’ for you & your students
  • Natasha: Pencil bins>”sharp/dull” (similar to this pin) (*note* searching “sharp pencils” on Pinterest will find multiple creative ways to display your pencil bins)
  • Lisa: Magnet clips to display student writing (also, see these ideas via Pinterest)
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
"Kookaburra on the line" photo by: aussiegall

“Kookaburra on the line” photo by: aussiegall

  1. Natasha has been asked to co-moderate the #ntchat with Lisa Dabbs - Wednesday nights at 8:00pm EST (watch the @RookieTeacherCA twitter feed or follow @teachingwthsoul & @yoMsDunn for more information)
  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) - we are up to 1688 followers on our collab board – let us know if you’d like to contribute.

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!

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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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Composting in the Classroom 0

Posted on August 05, 2012 by Sarah
"aw shucks - corn on the cob for dinner" photo by: sean dreilinger

“aw shucks – corn on the cob for dinner” photo by: sean dreilinger

For my group’s presentation in Holistic Education we discussed “Integrating a Food Culture in the Classroom”. The groups for the class were formed by sharing in a circle our interests followed by a mingling period. At first I thought it lacked too much structure as many of us couldn’t commit to one idea. In the end I ended up with 2 other like minded ladies. Our interests and work ethic matched well and our ideas flowed harmoniously. We broke our 90 minutes into 2 main activities. We introduced our project through a visualization asking everyone to close their eyes and imagine a basket of lemons (a descriptive script was read aloud to assist in the visualization). After our introduction we moved into our first activity what I’ve been calling “World Cafe” where the class is broken into small groups (in our case by naming Ontario fruits in season) and one student is appointed in each group as the facilitataor. The facilitators are the leaders and stay at each given ‘cafe’ while the rest of the groups rotate at a given time. Evidently our group were the facilitators for each of our stations. We also had one unguided station that had resources, herbs, and a brainstorm board addressing how to overcome barriers of our topic. The second activity was a whole group circle sharing of a food memory. We laughed and connected as various stories were told  by people regarding food.

My café specifically addressed introducing and integrating vermiculture (or composting with worms) in the classroom. In 10 minutes we created a worm bin as a group and I discussed how to care, maintain and learn with the worms.

"new reactor level" photo by: blurdom

“new reactor level” photo by: blurdom

I also brought in my worm bin to demonstrate how it looks, how easy it is and how it DOES NOT SMELL.  All my peers were amazed at how it smelt earthy but there was no odour. Odour is a sign that your worm bin is out of balance but it won’t take long before everyone learns the right balance of air, moisture and food. Worm composting helps foster important conversations about our consumption and food waste habits, food production, life cycles, food security and many others. There are many Ontario Curriculum connections that can be made in Science and in Health. Not to mention it’s a great experiment of trial and error until you have your own balanced ecosystem. Depending on age level, space and interest, there are a variety of ways you can integrate a worm bin. Primary students may need more guidance as you introduce a class compost, but Junior and Senior students will have no problem taking on this responsibility. You may have 4 smaller bins per group that allows for greater involvement. It’s also a great project to get gifted students or early finishers started on, let them figure out how to make it! From my experience this is a project that students are very interested in at all levels! It is a great way to begin conversations about learning gardens at schools or the next step if your school already has a garden. The soil your worms will make is extremely rich and you will certainly notice a difference in the quality of your plant life.

"New worm bins (2 of 7)" photo by: Tim Musson

“New worm bins (2 of 7)” photo by: Tim Musson

Vermi-composting is educational, responsible, interesting and FUN! There is tons of information online but I’ve attached my own Composting in the Classroom Brochure or check out Shedd Aquarium’s 10 page How-to Guide for the Novice Vermiculturalist (written in fun student friendly language — an essential resource in the class).

 

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Aboriginal Education – Resource Bank 1

Posted on January 04, 2012 by Lauren

Sometimes the best resources are found in the unlikeliest of places…

I have a bit of a book buying problem, so the other day when I saw a sign for a book sale I made an impulse detour into the store. It was not at all what I expected. It looked like a regular downtown building on the outside but on the inside it was an old fashioned blacksmiths shop. The displays of books were mostly focused on local history; not exactly what I was looking for or needed. As I turned to leave a picture of a book seller posing with Walter Gretzky caught my attention. At the table was a man selling his book called Western Hooves of Thunder alongside a display of Six Nations Iroquois Program Teachers Guides (by Zig Misiak, Facebook). Teachers Guides – now that is something I can use!

Historical Society and Resources

photos: L.Hughes

I love this resource for a few reasons:

  1. Every Ontario school board has at least one copy available for teacher use (many have more than a dozen copies)
  2. It was recently designed in cooperation with First Nations educators and historians making the information accurate, current and culturally sensitive
  3. The program contains complete lesson plans which include stories, music, art and videos appropriate for any grade
  4. It meets many curriculum expectations and follows the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Education Policy Framework
  5. It provides educators with limited First Nations knowledge with the information they need to feel comfortable teaching this subject material
  6. I feel strongly about the importance of Aboriginal education for all students AND I always love finding resources that contain quality lesson or unit ideas

If you are teaching elementary or secondary students in Canada, then this is a resource you should definitely look into. To locate a copy you can contact your school board, faculty of education or visit www.realpeopleshistory.com.

I know there are countless resources available and sometimes it can be overwhelming to determine which are valuable. Please use this space to share your favourites with fellow Rookie Teachers!

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