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

The Rookie Teacher



Quick Tip For Tomorrow: Snap Cube Factors 0

Posted on February 09, 2015 by Allison Dyjach

We all know that getting students to learn the factors that go into a multiplied product can be a tricky task, and simply writing out a list, reading it out loud, and trying to memorize it by rote is not going to help a student truly understand what this “factor” thing even is. This past week, I was blown away by this seemingly simple task that my mathematics curriculum professor handed to us. With only a set of snap cubes and a number line, my fellow teacher candidates and I were completely engaged in this problem solving activity.

IMG_4758

Phase 1 complete; all of our factors lined up!

First, each group of 4 was given a bag of snap cubes and a number line drawn out on a strip of chart paper. Then, we hear, “blue cubes represent the number 2. Put a blue cube on every number where 2 is a factor.” Simple enough. Next, we move on to green, which is 3, yellow for 4, red for 5, and so on up to 10. We stack all of the cubes on top of each other to make a bright and interactive representation of all of the factors for numbers 1-24.

Now, here is where the brain switches its function and the real application comes in. We are told to keep all of the cubes connected as they are, but shuffle them around and mix them up for a minute, and then…place them back on each correct space, just as they were. This was a little bit more difficult than anticipated, but eventually by working through each number and finding the relationships between the different colours (as well as some prompting questions from the professor…), we were able to get the model back to its original state.

IMG_4760

Phase 2: time for some problem solving!

After leaving class, I knew I had to share this activity. What a rich learning task for students and a great way to dissect what is actually behind a factor and a product. The only way to truly learn and understand math is to manipulate its components, apply them and problem solve with them. I could see an entire lesson being based on this activity, because if it was able to get a bunch of 20-something teacher candidates’ brains working in overdrive, I’m sure it could be just as engaging in a younger classroom.

Do you have any go-to activities when you tackle factors with your students? Would you use this activity in your class? Share your thoughts with us in the comments or send a tweet our way @RookieTeacherCA!

 

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

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Growing & Supporting PLNs 0

Posted on April 18, 2013 by Natasha

**note: this is based on US research**

Recently, I was contacted by Erika Phyall, a member of community relations at USC, who was able to pass along some great research and fantastic #infographic called How to Save Our Educators: The Teacher Turnover Problem.  Here’s what she had to say:

We offer teachers and aspiring educators the opportunity to earn an online Master’s degree in Teaching or Education. My team and I recently launched an infographic, How To Save Our Educators, which gives an overview of the teacher attrition rate problem and possible solutions that can be explored. We understand that having great teachers in the classroom is as much about retaining them as it is about hiring and training them.

What I particularly liked about this was:

1) It was an infographic! [I really need to get the kids making these – what an informative and visually appealing way to share research!]
2) It provides teachers with *solutions* – something that is often missed in research.

Besides the obvious solution….funding…collaboration, mentoring, and professional development are all viable solutions on this list.  If you’re reading this blog, you’re already participating in all three!  The Rookie Team is always here for you.  We will try our best to answer your questions or connect you with the right folks to help.  I also encourage you to continue building your PLN.  It’s so easy to do online (Pinterest, TeachersPayTeachers, Facebook, and more!) Above all, I would recommend checking out the New Teacher Chat (#ntchat) that happens every Wednesday night between 8:00-9:00pm EST.  You can follow this chat two ways: (1) join twitter and the discussion by following the hashtag #ntchat, (2) point your browser to Twitter Chat’s #ntchat feed and read along (this option restricts you from commenting live).

If you would like to get in touch with Erika – visit her blog post and watch for her on #edchat on Twitter.

Natasha Dunn, OCT [@yoMsDunn]
The Rookie Teacher, co-founder 

Special thanks to our friend & mentor Lisa Dabbs for connecting Erika with the Rookie Team.

via: http://rossieronline.usc.edu/how-to-save-our-educators-infographic

via: http://rossieronline.usc.edu/how-to-save-our-educators-infographic

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Rookie Team now on Teachers Pay Teachers 1

Posted on February 06, 2013 by Natasha

Yesterday – Rookie co-founder Natasha posted our very first PDF on TeachersPayTeachers.  We are going to give TPT a shot in the hopes to bring collaboration to the next level.

Have you downloaded any good freebies lately?  Or have you made a purchase you are proud of?

Post a comment below and share your TPT site, one you follow, or just a great tidbit!

Teacher Pay Teachers - Screen shot

Teacher Pay Teachers – Screen shot

DOWNLOAD SCIENCE LAB REPORTS FOR KIDS (Grade 4+) today! (for free)

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A listening exercise to change the world 3

Posted on November 29, 2012 by Sarah

Okay, maybe the title is a bit ambitious haha. But I would very much appreciate you taking the time to listen to a radio program I made in my Popular Culture, Media & Education course this term at OISE.

The course examined what messages are embedded in our media that maintain power structures and marginalize the voices of many. Our assignment was to create a 10 minute radio segment voicing a story that isn’t covered in mainstream media. We must ensure that definitions of cultures are being defined by themselves and not a dominant narrative, often times the privileged white male.

This is a great exercise to bring into the classroom. Let your students tell their stories and create alternative media, whether a magazine, a video, a website, music or radio. Radio has an interesting way of telling stories allowing many people to hear it at the same time and teaming up with a community radio station is a great learning experience for students. Help them examine the messages that are being sent, why they are being sent in that way and empower them through highlighting choice. We are active recipients of media and if we don’t voice our opinions the capitalist-agenda will continue to manipulate and distort our reality.

Audacity is a great free program available for download that you can use but I made this program with Garage Band.

Please don’t hestiate to ask questions if you have any!

 

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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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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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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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Holistic Education 0

Posted on July 24, 2012 by Sarah

For July and August I am taking a highly recommended course in Holistic Curriculum with Jack Miller at OISE. Halfway through and I can already say it’s been a transformative experience. With every class starting in an unobstructed circle, our group of 24 eager graduate students share experiences and learn from each other. From kindergarten to young adult language teachers, middle eastern to South American natives, rookies to veterans, we’ve all been given the opportunity to discuss and collaborate in a safe, respectful environment. Finally you can feel what it’s like to be a part of a holistic classroom that values the people in the room and not just brains on sticks. As we begin our small group presentations I am excited to see the contributions from my peers and to share them.

@sarlowes

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

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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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