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The Rookie Teacher


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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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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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Learning Together! 0

Posted on March 28, 2012 by Sarah

As some of you may know, I provide The Rookie Teacher.ca with some reflections from my experience at OISE studying an M.Ed. I’m currently enrolled in a Co-operative Learning (CL) course which, as the name may suggest, discusses learning collaboratively. It is important to recognize that this is different from many conceptions associated with conventional groupwork. CL involves several key elements that involve careful structuring or design. An essential element is creating positive interdependence, or tasks that have students interconnected in meaningful ways. It is sometimes very difficult to escape the competitive nature that is internalized in many Western schools. Students are constantly ranked and compared, who is better, who is worse, forced to submit to an oppressive hierarchy.  But can’t we create so much more together? Even from an efficiency point of view, it is wiser to have multiple people learn various parts of a complex task and share information than to have each master the parts individually.  Anyway, I think just by taking the CL survey I’ve made, may lead you to understand CL in a different light. It is a complex task to manage people in ways for them to be successful. It involves explicit teaching and practice of many skills: how to communicate and express one’s ideas, how to attentively listen to others and responding in ways that promote the success of a group, amongst others. But where better to practice than in a safe community in your class?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and how you use collaborative learning in your classroom for my research project in this field. Please take the time to complete my survey be a part of the results. They will certainly be shared!

Find the survey here!

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