kamagra games

Creating a dialogue about what it’s like to be a new teacher.

The Rookie Teacher


Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’


Making Sense of Mental Math – Number Talks 0

Posted on December 03, 2014 by Allison Dyjach

“All students can learn mathematics and deserve the opportunity to do so.”  -The Ontario Curriculum, Mathematics Grade 1-8

When I ask you to answer the math problem 5 + 7, I’m sure that most of you could come up with the answer of 12 pretty quickly. But, if I asked you to explain the process or steps that you used to get to the final answer of 12, it might take you a bit more time to think about it. This same thing happens when we ask students math questions. They are often able to give us an answer, but when we ask them to explain their answer, describe a strategy that they used, or even just write out their answer step by step, we can be left with something in between a blank stare and a beyond puzzled expression. Although our students may be able to give us a correct answer on a test or worksheet, we may have no idea what process they are going through to get that answer. The same goes for a wrong answer. If a child gives a wrong answer, but we can’t seem to figure out where they veered off course, we won’t be able to guide them back onto the path to success.

During my most recent school placement, my school ran a professional development day on a new classroom tool called “Number Talks.” Some of you may have heard of the concept, developed by Sherry Parrish, but to me this was brand new. The main purpose of a number talk is to dissect a mental math problem with your students, and discuss and evaluate the different strategies that can be taken to solve that problem.

For example, I used a number talk with my Grade 4 students when discussing how to show a specific time on an analog clock. Students were tasked with telling me how they would show 7:35. I emphasized to them that they not only had to give me the right answer, but if they wanted to respond they would also have to tell me how they knew where to put the hands on the clock.

The “Number Talk” response signal. Photo: http://hzn165.blogspot.ca/2012/11/day-38-number-talk-with-1st-graders.html

The Number Talk incorporates another great strategy that can be used not only during these discussions but also as a general classroom management strategy. When students are thinking of their answers, they are not to put their hand up or shout out any answers. Instead, they hold a fist on their chest, and if they can find one way to answer the problem, they simply stick their thumb up. If they find a second way that they can solve the problem, they stick up another finger, and so on. This way, the teacher is able to assess students’ understanding, but other students are not distracted (or discouraged) by their peers’ progress.

After students were given ample time to figure out their answers, we took time to hear different strategies of knowing where the hands should go on the clock to show 7:35, some including counting by 5’s, going straight to 7:30 and adding 5 etc. We listened to all of the different methods that students had used, discussed their effectiveness (eg. counting by 1’s to get to 35 was not found to be very effective by my students!) and talked about which strategies different students preferred to use.

I have to say that as someone who grew up simply memorizing math times tables and addition facts, this was a wonderful concept to be introduced to. I found them to be extremely effective as a “Mind’s On” activity and to get students thinking about how math operations and concepts really work. Although math is generally a subject that allows for very little deviation, this activity shows students that there are often ample strategies that they can use to solve math problems. Number Talks give them that bank of strategies to use for math problems, and it also allows teachers to learn what is really going on in the minds of our students, even if we are asking them “simple’ questions like 5 + 7.

“Number Talks” guidebook by Sherry Parrish. Photo: https://grade2commoncoremath.wikispaces.hcpss.org/Number+Talks

There are some great resources out there for teachers interested in incorporating Number Talks into their classroom. This article written by the Parrish gives a short and simple introduction into the concept and even walks through an example with student dialogue and diagrams.

For further learning, you might want to consider buying Sherry Parrish’s book “Number Talks Common Core Edition, Grades K-5: Helping Children Build Mental Math and Computation Strategies.” Youtube is also a great resource to see some real Number Talks in action. Here is a favourite of mine, but just by searching “Number Talk” you will be able to find many more.

Do you use Number Talks in your classroom? Do you think this is a useful strategy to help kids delve deeper into math comprehension? What are some other strategies you could use to help understand students’ mental math processes better? Let us know what you think below!

 

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

Pin It

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.”

IMG_0005

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.

IMG_0014

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.

IMG_0008

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.

IMG_0017

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!

IMG_0010

“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

Pin It

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

 

Pin It

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?

Pin It

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!

Pin It
  • On Pinterest

    Rookie Pins:
    Follow Me on Pinterest

    Natasha's Boards: Follow Me on Pinterest

    Andrew's Boards: Follow Me on Pinterest

    Lauren's Boards: Follow Me on Pinterest



↑ Top