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Thirteen Steps to Easy Long Range Planning 0

Posted on October 20, 2014 by Lauren

[OR: How I Spent My Summer Vacation…]

This summer I knew that I was going to be starting a new job in September. I have spent the past couple of years teaching in a self-contained grade 1/2 class where all of the students had IEPs with at least some curriculum modifications. I was focused on IEP goals. My new job was going to be in a ‘regular’* grade 1/2 class. I needed to figure out what teaching would look the same and what gaps I would need to fill in order to cover the whole curriculum. The following is a glimpse into the madness to my method.

*As a side note, I really dislike the term ‘regular class’, but it is widely used; some schools use the term ‘community class’.

Thirteen Steps to Easy Long Range Planning

  1. Pick a subject area- I started with math because it is one of my favourites and the specific expectations are pretty specific (who would have thought?!).
  2. Get your long range plans ready and know which strands you are going to report on in each term- I already knew loosely what big ideas/ strands I wanted to cover in each month. For K-8 math in Ontario it is expected you will report on 4 of the 5 strands in each term. Some school boards dictate what you will report on, mine does not. I decided on Term 1: Number Sense, Data Management and Probability, Measurement and Geometry. In Term 2 I will also report on Patterning and Algebra, but not Data Management.
  3. Set up a calendar system- I labeled pieces of paper with the months Sept-June and laid them out on the floor. Because I am teaching a split class I also made two columns and labelled them Grade 1 and Grade 2.
  4. Print the curriculum for the grade- I printed all of the math curriculum for grades 1 and 2.  http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/subjects.html
  5. Colour code– I used crayons because it was quick and cheap (no colour ink). I shaded each strand a different colour. Number Sense white, Measurement pink etc.
  6. Cut apart the specific expectations- If you are comfortable with the curriculum then you may want to keep some pieces together.  For example, I knew that I was going to teach the patterning expectations together so I didn’t need to cut them apart. If you teach more than one grade then you will want to be careful the pieces separate.
  7. Start lining up specific expectations with your long range plans- I started with September. I knew that I wanted to focus on reviewing some basic number sense (counting, number recognition etc.) and that the calendar routine would be a big part of the first weeks of school. I found the expectations that fell under these two categories in the grade one curriculum and then matched up the corresponding grade two curriculum directly beside it. This was also a good chance to review the similarities and differences. I moved through the first term and paused.
  8. Double check the term- Does everything make sense? Are there are any other expectations that could go together? Do I have enough material to report on? At this point I found that I still had a lot of expectations left to cover in term 2. Too many? I decided to write the number of weeks available in each month. I needed to be realistic. The first week of school was about routines and relationships so I didn’t count it. The last two weeks of June are full of interruptions and happen after reports are due to the office so I didn’t count them either.
  9. Fill in the second term- I went back to my long range plans and filled in the rest.
  10. Double check again- Again I checked to make sure it was realistic. I knew that addition and subtraction strategies would take a serious chunk of time, but we will probably breeze through 2D shapes. I also checked to make sure the grade 1 and 2 expectations lined up. There are a couple of times that the grade 2s will be working on expectations that the grade 1s don’t even touch on (e.g., multiplication and division), I needed to think about how that time will best be spent with the grade 1s.
  11. Glue the pieces down- I actually used tape so I can keep moving them.
  12. Remember that plans change- I did all of this before I even met my class. We may need more time for some expectations and less for others. I do know that the year will fly by so I need to be aware of the time line.
  13. Keep the overall expectations/ big picture in mind- I got into the really nitty gritty because it made sense for me. I’m not going to lose sleep if we don’t get to every single specific expectation, but I do know exactly which ones I am willing to gloss over and which ones I will slow down for if necessary.

Long Range Math folioPhoto: **Natasha loved the idea — here’s what it looks like for Grade 7**

 

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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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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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Thinking critically before teaching critical thinking 0

Posted on November 24, 2011 by Sarah

Lately I’ve been reading articles and discussing in my classes hegemony, oppression and education. Hegemony is that accepted state of consciousness, the paradigm of the day, the status quo, the underlining dominant logic. Its the implied construct  that feeds into the way you live your life. It’s unfortunate that B.Ed programs don’t ask for a deeper reflection into the institution we are expected to teach within and the hegemony we’re being asked to reproduce. Yet of course the system doesn’t want us to look critically at the embedded power structures that allow people at the top to flourish. Although the purpose of education can be debated in its own topic, we can agree that education should not oppress. Instead, we can argue that it should be anti-oppressive, promote an openness to freewill and self-actualization. But we cannot escape that education is grounded on ideology that forms power

not quite clear on the concept by WoodleyWonderWorks

photo: WoodleyWonderWorks, flickrcc.net

structures, a system that creates winners and losers. If students don’t fit into our educational model, if they don’t identify with the system, they are marginalized and can internalize that they are less valuable or less successful by definition of education. Hegemony can saturate our consciousness to the point where we don’t even realize we are reproducing it. Teachers are bogged down with standards, new methods, “best practices” further distancing them from the heart of the matter. Our educational system is one, arguably arbitrary, way of streaming individuals into societal roles. So when you ask your students to question “who benefits” from a particularly text, be sure to extend this question to yourself regarding your current role in society.

“While schools may in fact serve interests of many individuals, and they should not be denied, at the same time, though, empirically they also seem to act as powerful agents in the economic and cultural reproduction of class relations in a stratified society like our own”
Michael Apple – Ideology and Curriculum (1990) p.8

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