That time of year again!

 

Yes…It is that time of year again! The time where we all feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day to complete everything on the ‘to do list’. Some things get pushed aside so other things can make their way through and get done. Between marking, report cards, finishing up lessons, final assignments, followed by more marking, we really do not have enough time to think ahead! BUT, although you may not think so, many people do and have already started preparing for the new school year (like our one and only, Loriana). Between getting new thinsg for the classroom, to throwing things out, organzing, thinking of new ideas, new plans, new everything!

 

Today I was browsing through our products to see which direction to take for the new school year – what we can add, change, improve on, etc. and I came across the ‘Essential Teacher Binder’ that has pretty much everything you need! So here I am to give you a brief overview of what it is these great binder’s include (just to get you thinking…possibly to get you started!):

What is “Your Essential Teacher Binder”?

kitsClick on the image to direct you to our store on tpt

We’ve all heard of the famous “teacher binder” that contains everything that you need to run your class and lessons successfully!  It is essential to your teaching, but not everything fits into the three rings of a binder, so we added in a few resources for your classroom too!  We like to think of “Your Essential Teacher Binder” as a collection of teacher resources to help you organize both your teaching and your classroom.

All teachers have various ways of organizing their lessons, plans, and classrooms; however, we have grouped together a great set of resources to assist you in this endeavor!

So what’s included in this classroom kit?
– Desk nameplates (2/sheet) for both upper and lower grades
– Student hook/cubby nameplates (6/sheet) that can also be used to label bins etc
– Hall pass, office pass, and washroom pass
– Bookmarks (4/sheet) with “During Reading” suggestions
– Monthly student behavior log (2/sheet)
– “While You Were Absent” sheet for students
– Classroom job labels (30 different jobs to choose from!)
– Student of the Month an d Week (upper and lower grades)
– Student Birthday Postcards (2/sheet)
– Lesson plan monthly cover pages
– Classroom calendar monthly labels for both upper and lower grades
– Subject area cover pages for lesson and unit plans
– Substitute teacher feedback form
– Professional development log and Staff meeting record sheet
– Parent contact log (individual student)
– Month at a glance, Monthly plan at a glance, Week at a glance
– Individual student and whole class information sheet (5 students/sheet)
– End of the year classroom inventory
– Lesson plan and mark book cover page

We have tried to include as many printables that we could think of, but if you have any suggestions, please let us know and we’ll add them in!

These kits come in a variety of themes, including outer space, aliens, polka dots, swirls, monsters, apples and ocean!  But we also have a customization option available to suit your themes, colors and designs in your classroom.  View our Customizable Teacher Binder for further information.

Check out https://teachingrocks.ca for more ideas and resources!

These binders have been an absolute hit, with great feedback. People were getting them at the end of the school year last year, at the beginning of the school year and believe it or not, even through the school year (it never is too late to get organized).

Check it out!!!

 

 

 

Exciting News! We’re working on a TLLP Project!

We apologize if things have been quiet around here for the last week or so, but we were busy preparing for the “Leadership Skills for Classroom Teachers—TLLP Training Session” last week! It was a phenomenal event!

To give you some background information, the TLLP stands for Teacher Learning and Leadership Program, which is “an annual project-based professional learning opportunity for experienced classroom teachers”  here in Ontario.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Education, the TLLP “funds proposals from classroom teachers who seek a peer leadership role in curriculum, instructional practice or supporting other teachers. The three goals of the program are to create and support opportunities for teacher professional learning, foster teacher leadership and facilitate the sharing of exemplary practices with others for the broader benefit of Ontario’s students” (source).

Way back in November 2012, we applied for funding through the TLLP.  At first, we were not 100% sure about the direction our proposed project would take, but after a lot of research, discussion, and reflection, we decided on math learning journals, specifically focusing on student problem solving, communication, connections, and reflections (we will discuss more about our project very soon!).  In December, we received wonderful news from our school board that our project was selected and submitted for TLLP consideration.  We were ecstatic and couldn’t wait to find our if our project had been approved! But wait we did, until February 2013 when our project was approved by the TLLP committee!

Fast forward to May 15-17, 2013 when we attended the “Leadership Skills for Classroom Teachers—TLLP Training Session” in downtown Toronto.  It was a busy and intensive 2.5 day training session.  We had to juggle quite a few work and home commitments to ensure that all three of us could be there, but it was well worth it!  From the Ontario Teachers’ Federation, Mike Budd, Peter Lipman, and Rosemary Clark did an excellent job leading the event. Presenters from the Ministry of Education included Paul Anthony, Hanca Chang, and Nick Zacharopoulos, as well as presenters Claudine Laporte (AEFO), Malisa Mezenberg (OECTA), Susan Perry (OECTA), Brenda Sherry, and Peter Skillen.  All the presenters and facilitators were so friendly, approachable, and informative! The Keynote Speakers were Dr. Ann Lieberman, from Stanford University, and Dr. Carol Campbell, from OISE/UT.  Two excellent speakers who were entertaining, motivating, and knowledgeable!

Throughout the 2.5 day training session, we heard about scheduling, project management and budgeting…things I am not crazy about! Yes, I am known for my lists upon lists, but luckily I have two awesome partners—Elita who is great with budgets and Lisa who is super organized!

I really enjoyed the portion “Learning From Experience: What I Know Now that I Wish I Knew Then”. In this section, there were six presentations from last year’s TLLP cohort.  We each attended three of the six presentations and we were able to hear about their projects, difficulties they encountered, successes they celebrated, and lessons they learned along the way.  This was very informative and hearing first-hand accounts from people that were past (and also current) participants was fascinating.

On the last day, we were able to meet with other participants who matched our theme (math) and we had some excellent discussions! We can’t wait to collaborate with these excellent teacher leaders throughout the year!

One thing that we did mention over and over again throughout the 2.5 day session was how motivating and inspiring it was to be in a room packed full of teachers who are looking for new and innovative ways to develop and strengthen their own professional learning and that of their students!

If you are (or were) part of the TLLP community, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

We’ll be sharing our learning journey on this blog throughout the year. Check back often for updates and more information about our project and its implementation! We’ll be adding a TLLP button at the top of our page for easy access to these posts!

Let the journey begin!

Engaging Students in Mathematics: Free Resources from CSC

Curriculum Services Canada (CSC) “has a passion for, and commitment to, life-long learning. We recognize that people and organizations have unique learning needs and we believe that personal and professional growth is optimal when learning is context-specific, relevant, and highly engaging” (source).  CSC provides excellent, FREE resources for teachers on a variety of subject areas, professional development resources, and webcasts.

We are always on the lookout for resources to help us improve our teaching of mathematics and strategies to help our students become more engaged and enthusiastic about math.  CSC has an EXCELLENT array of resources for teaching math that would be beneficial to your teaching

The section on ENGAGING STUDENTS IN MATHEMATICS includes:

– videos on sample lessons (lesson planning, the actual lesson, student learning, and teacher debrief)

– print resources on asking effective questions, communication in the mathematics classroom, and Bansho (board writing)

– graphic organizers for teachers to use while viewing/reading the material and then planning their own engaging math lessons

This is just a small sample of some resources available on curriculum.org!

 

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

The Tuesday 12: 12 Exciting and Educational Resources for Earth Day!

12 earth day resources

Over the next few weeks, The Tuesday 12 will be taking on an environmental twist as we look at various activities focused on the environment. Just click on each link below!

1. Earth Day Canada: A great website that has tons of resources to get you focused on celebrating Earth Day! There are activities for kids, classes, and families, so you can find everything you are looking for in one place.

2. Earth Day Network: An international environmental movement group that provides tons of articles, activities, resources, action plans, and initiatives for everyone worldwide.

3. Think Green: Tons of Earth Day resources for teachers organized by grade level and are cross-curricular.

4. Environmental Protection Agency—“Pick five for the environment”: The EPA has a section of their website devoted to taking environmental initiatives in your life when you “pick five” and become committed to protecting the environment.  The resources are divided up into home, work, school, shopping, the community, and on the road.  Each category then has tons of resources to help you become more green and committed to making a change.   

5. Saskatoon Public Schools: A huge list of teacher resources for Earth Day, including literature, lesson plans, and printouts.

6. TeacherVision: A great collection of lessons, printables, and resources covering every curriculum area. You are able to view seven resources at no cost, but then you must subscribe for full access.

7. TeachersFirst: A very comprehensive collection of classroom resources from a variety of websites like The Nature Conservancy, Disney, WWF, National Film Board of Canada, etc.

8. EducationWorld: I love so many of the ideas on this list! So many resources that would be great in the classroom, like planting seeds/growing plants, various garden activities, math projects, upcycling art, and social justice projects!

9. Kaboose: This website can help you complement your classroom, home, and family initiatives with its range of resources.

10. DLTK’s Crafts for Kids: Not only does this site provide a great breakdown of the history and purpose of Earth Day, but it has links to tons of resources that would be great in the classroom.

11.TES (Climate Change Resources): If you are teaching high school students, tes connect has tons of primary and secondary resources that can be used to learn about climate change.

12. Earth Day Worship Resources: For those who want to look at the religious aspects of Earth Day and being stewards of creations.

Don’t forget to check back next week for another edition of The Tuesday 12!