Taking over a class at this point in time

Many of you do not know that I have not been working in the classroom for the last 15 months. I have been recuperating from an injury I sustained and after all this time, I am mentally preparing (although I am not completely ready physically) as to how I would enter a classroom at this point in time in the year and take the reigns.   I know that many of you out there have done this, either returning from a maternity/paternity leave, or a short term absence, and many of you have taken over mid way as well (on a contractual basis).  Therefore, who else to help me and others in this situation than you!  We all look to each other for support and assistance, so let’s get this conversation started.  What are your best techniques, strategies and ideas in entering into a classroom at this point in time?  What would be your first plan of attack?  What do want to have on hand prior to entering the classroom (realistic or ideal)? How do you address the diverse classroom management style between the exiting teacher and yourself?

I will start it off, add in your comments and help us all out, especially me!

1) I would definitely need to see the daily schedule for the classroom.  This will help me understand the classroom logistics and what happens on a daily basis.  Having this item ahead of time would definitely streamline transition times in the first few days.

2) I would ideally prefer to have the opportunity to converse with the current teacher, regarding programming and which curriculum has been completed and what still needs to be completed.

3) The completed grades for all students, and an understanding of the upcoming assignments and  their respective due dates.

 

Gr 4 Science Unit on Pulleys and Gears (Ontario Curriculum)

We have been hard at work once again.  Today’s post provides our latest science unit for Gr. 4 Science.  Our past units have had great success and have been inspired once more to keep creating complete units that address the Ontario Science Curriculum in a cross curricular approach.

Today’s unit addresses the Understanding Structures and Mechanisms: Pulleys and Gears.   With this unit you do not need to search for other resources.  It is a complete unit that will fully engage your students in a variety of ways.

 

Pulleys and Gears Badge

Here is an overview of the unit:

Learning centres: students work in small groups or individually to rotate between three centres over the course of the activity (four types of centre activities: technology, reading/writing activity, creative response, and a fun or hands-on activity);

Whole class lesson/discussions followed by either small group activities or whole class activity

Cross-curricular integration with other subject areas, including Language Arts (Reading, Writing, Oral Communication, Media Literacy), Drama, Physical Education, Art, and Health

A focus on Assessment For and As Learning through student self-assessments and group assessments, KWL charts, exit slips, anticipation guides, and project planning sheets;

Reading strategies addressed include making connections, determining important ideas, drawing conclusions, and cause-and-effect;

Differentiated Instruction is achieved through Learning Centres, group work and a variety of hands-on activities and labs

The entire unit, including lessons, assignments, assessments, printables, and centre activities comes to over 120 pages!

Need more?  Just click on this link: Demo of Gr 4 Pulleys and Gears

If you have not seen our other COMPLETE units that address the Ontario Science Curriculum, then use the links below to find further information:

Gr. 4/5 Pulleys, Gears, Forces & Structures

Gr. 4 Habitats and Communities

Gr. 4/5  Habitats and Communities & Human Organ Systems

Gr. 5 Human Organ Systems

Easter Symbols

Easter Subway Art

 

 

As promised yesterday, we have samples of what students manually created for the Easter Subway Art.  These samples show how students can develop meaning and understanding through an artistic approach, by hi-lighting key words and concepts.  Furthermore, students can express  their thoughts and feelings in a variety of fashions.  Lisa’s students did a fantastic job!  Take a look!

 

 

 

Easter Subway Art 3

Easter Subway Art 2

For many the Easter season is a very important time of year.  I have found that many of my students understand Jesus’ passion, what the significance of the season is, but do not know what the connection is to some of the symbols used throughout this season.

For example, many students think that the Easter egg is not really a religious symbol.  Granted it has morphed into a commercialized egg but the symbolism is very important.

I hope the following helps your students understand some of the Easter symbols and their significance.

Easter Eggs & Baby Chicks: Eggs and chicks symbolize new life. Eggs have been a symbol of Spring since ancient times. An egg also is a symbol of the rock tomb out of which Jesus emerged when he arose again. The chick, hatching out of the egg, symbolizes new life or re-birth.

Easter Bunny: The rabbit, or hare, was a symbol of abundant new life in ancient times, and reminds us of Spring and new life.

Easter Lilies: The white blossoms symbolize the purity of Jesus. Lilies, emerging from the earth in the spring, also symbolize new life and the resurrection of Christ.

Palm Branches: Represents when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday and people waved palm branches, welcoming him.

Hot Cross Buns: Hot cross buns have a cross of icing on the top to remind people of Christ.

Easter & Spring Flowers: Daffodils and tulips bloom in the spring, and symbolize spring and new life.

The Butterfly: The whole life cycle of the butterfly is meant to symbolize the life of Jesus Christ. The first stage, is the caterpillar, which stands for His life on Earth. Second phase begins from the cocoon stage, portraying the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. The third and final stage is the butterfly, representing His raising from the dead in a glorified body and peace.

There are many more symbols, but these are the usual ones.  Leave us a comment about the symbols you have discussed with your students.

Sugar in our Drinks

My son recently asked what was healthier to drink.  It took us on a discovery mission about the sugar content in the drinks we have in our home and drinks we tend to sometimes consume.  As we were doing this, I thought to myself that this little discovery activity would be a great way for our students to develop an understanding about their diets and healthy living.  I searched the internet and there is a lot of information, but wanted something that impacted the viewer visually.  I have found two that stand out that I am writing about today.

The first one is an info graphic that clearly compares sugar content in different drinks.  Jamie Oliver, a famous chef and activist for eating healthy, has posted it.  I have found it as a great visual for my son to be able to compare the quantities of sugar. Click on the image below to be brought to the PDF version.

jamie-olive-sugar

A great way for students to understand this content could be to create a comparison board about what they have learned.  Below, you’ll find an effective, yet, simple visual aid to help your students begin to understand what we are consuming. This image has been shared so many times over Facebook; however, the original source is not listed.  If you do know the original source, please leave us a comment!

Rethink your Drink

The Vancouver Island Health Authority actually has an entire activity centered on this topic!  Included in the FREE PDF is a lesson plan, activity, resources, and images to create your very own display!  Just click on the link above to be taken to the free resource.

If you and your students are really serious about making healthier drink choices, you can actually take the Rethink Your Drink Pledge! Be sure to check out this website for additional resources to help you and your students learn more about the hidden sugars in our drinks!

Hoping that this information helps you and your students.  If you do have your students create their own visuals, then please share as we would love to see what brilliance they come up with!

 

Of note:  1 tsp is approximately equal to 4.2     grams of sugar

Computer Coding: An Essential Skill

We all wonder what our students and children will face in the future.  How will they be successful, what kind of work will there be for them, what skills are necessary to be able to be successful?  These questions are at the heart of everything we do!  We know that students need to be creative, able to problem solve and think critically.  Also, we know that our curriculum and our classrooms should be inclusive of technology.  But what about understanding where it all stems from?  What are we doing about that?  We need to realize that computer software coding is an essential skill that will be necessary for success. We need to be able to address this in our classrooms.

Here is a link to a wonderful video, where world class athletes, musicians and great business people, discuss the importance to this very skill.

Well, what does that mean for us? Visit the website www.code.org and find out how students can learn to code in elementary schools, how they can develop their critical thinking skills and problem solving skills. Share with us what you think and what you have tried.  It is never too late for anyone to learn to code!

 

Lenten Trees: Helping see the good

Lenten TreeAs we are in the season of Lent, many Catholic teachers are working with students and developing their understanding of this very special season.  How Jesus’ sacrifice and love for everyone, works within us to be better people and a better world.  But sometimes, no matter how much we discuss, students go out for recess or lunch and come back in with tonnes of issues that they could not resolve themselves.  If you teach primary grades, then you know this all too well.  But don’t be surprised when the same happens in the junior and intermediate grades!  We need to re-direct their focus, find the good, find the peace, and develop a sense of family within our students. For this lenten season I make the following suggestion.  As students come in from their breaks, have them record a positive occurrence in the school yard that they were able to experience.  Maybe not everyone will have one, but they will definitely start looking for the good instead of the negatives.  You can use this as part of a discussion on how people solve problems, help others, do good deeds, the list is endless!  Now what you do with these recorded items?  Place them on the Lenten Tree.  You can definitely create what you see in the image with branches and construction paper, or if you have the space you can create a Lenten Tree on your wall where students can tape it on.  Just ensure you have the materials all prepared for students to be able to record as soon enough your tree will be overflowing with good deeds!

Image from http://lillightomine.com