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The Rookie Teacher


Archive for the ‘Language’


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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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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Summer Learning Loss 0

Posted on July 25, 2012 by Lauren

A Canadian study has revealed that summer learning loss is not an equal opportunity issue. According to the research, kids from high income families experience increased reading levels while kids from low income families experience decreased reading levels over the summer months.

I strongly encourage you to check out the entire article: Summer Widens Rich/Poor Learning Gap

photo credit: besteducationapossible.blogspot.com

These results may seem obvious at first, but the research is valuable because it raises the questions WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT IT? and WHAT CAN WE DO DIFFERENTLY IN SEPTEMBER TO EVEN OUT THE PLAYING FIELD?

Considerations: summer program availability/ cost, support for parents, school/school board/community/private initiatives, neighbourhood demographics.

The Toronto Star article cites summer literacy camps as an effective way to reduce the summer loss of children from low income families. Unfortunately it seems as though access to these programs is limited and inequitable. For example, in the Halton region I have not heard of any free/low cost summer literacy programs for students; even after a bit of digging I came up with nothing. It is very possible that such programs do exist, but if they are not widely known or easy to find then I would suggest that they are ineffective. Other regions have excellent programs. The Brantford Public Library has been running a 100% free math and literacy program for over 20 years. The library hires university students to provide 1:1 summer tutoring. Each region has it’s own programs; what is available for students in your area?

The Rookie Teacher would love to hear from you. Please join the discussion by adding your comment. Let us know – What will you be doing in the 2012/2013 school year to overcome summer learning loss? How can teachers support low income families to increase literacy skills in our students? What programs are available in your school/school board/community?

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What is Literacy? 1

Posted on July 09, 2012 by Andrew

I am taking the AQ Reading Part 1 over the summer and have decided to blog some of my ideas and the discussion questions being addressed in the course. Our first discussion question was:  Define literacy. Comment on how literacy has changed in the 21st Century and what we as teachers need to consider to be effective literacy instructors due to that change.

Here’s what I think…

I strongly believe that in the traditional sense, literacy can be defined within the realm of reading and writing. However, I believe in the 21st Century we must adopt a more generalized sense of the term, as the mode of literacy changes. I believe in a definition that encompasses the interpretation and creation of communication. We hear of Media Literacy, Critical Literacy, and Technological Literacy. It is the ability to absorb and internalize a message someone is creating (reading) and it is then interpreting that message and creating a response in a variety of forms (writing, oral communication, texting, slogans, etc). In that sense we see Literacy as the ability to infer and interpret images as well as text. In fact Literacy in the broadest sense could be defined as the intake of information, images, signals and then the production of more or new information to be passed on to others.

When we were sitting at my staff meeting yesterday and examining our strategic goal we spent a lot of time discussing a general goal we could apply to JKs to Grade 8s and the connection between image and text as all literacy comes from an image.

clicking away! by eirikso

Clicking away! by eirikso, flickrcc.net

One change in the mode of communication in the 21st Century is the accessibility to a variety of modes of writing.  The Internet and other technology has allowed millions of ideas to be published on a second by second basis with little to supervision or accountability. Even 30 years ago if I had an idea I wanted to write down and show other people I would have to go through the publishing process with countless edits, re-writes and the potential for rejection. In 2012, I can, in less than 10 minutes, share my ideas with the world regardless of validity, quality and restraint. I am by no means criticizing the ability for people to publish their creative, genuine ideas which are truly incredible when you think of all of the things we see on YouTube, Blogs, Facebook on a daily basis. I applaud the accessibility to publish information. However, the concern can exist that we as educators need to teach our students the ability to think critically when looking for information and asking themselves questions like who wrote this, what is their message, which voices are heard or not being heard. We have to teach on the basic level the ability to distinguish fact and opinion in order to ensure our students are able to successfully navigate the massive resources at their digital fingertips. We have to teach children to read for the deeper meaning, which is a daunting task at best.

What is your definition of Literacy?  Comment below, join the discussion on Facebook, or send us a tweet @RookieTeacherCA.

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