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!

Ink Transfer Through Gel Medium: Sharing Student Samples!

I am so thrilled to be able to share the BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING artwork created by my students using the ink transfer onto canvas using a gel medium. We have been working on this project for a couple of weeks and I am so pleased with the final result.  We’ve hung almost all of them in the hallway outside of our classroom (a couple of students are adding the finishing touches to their work) and we’ve received TONS of compliments and praise from both teachers and other students who walk by.

In case you plan to complete this amazing art project with your students, here’s a timeline of how long it took us (for a complete and detailed breakdown of the project, click here):

Lesson 1: Students chose a quote that was meaningful or inspirational to them.  They then designed, reflected, and printed their quotes using Microsoft Publisher.  This took about an hour on average, as some students didn’t have much experience with Publisher.

Lesson 2: Students prepared their canvases by painting them with acrylic paint.  This took about 30 minutes.  We then let them dry for about 30 minutes and then we covered them with the gel medium and placed our quote (ink side down) onto the gel.  The gel needed to dry overnight.

Lesson 3: Students used water to remove and scrub off the paper from the dried gel.  This was very painstaking work and caused quite a bit of frustration with my artists.  A trick we discovered is letting the canvas dry for a bit because the wet paper became transparent; by letting it dry, it turned white again and allowed students to determine where to concentrate their scrubbing efforts. This took a couple of hours and then the canvases needed to be completely dry (overnight) before we touched up the acrylic paint.

Lesson 4: We covered the remaining white paper spots with acrylic paint using a dry brush technique.  Students then wanted to touch up the text using a permanent marker when the paint was dry.  Once the paint and ink were dry, students covered the entire surface with modge podge.  This entire step took about an hour.  The modge podge dried quickly and we then attached yarn to the back for easy hanging.

The entire art project took over a week to complete the process from start to finish.  It did require quite a bit of time and effort, but the final outcome is amazing! I have such talented (and patient) students!

gel transfer canvases

 

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!

 

Media Literacy: Persuasive Techniques in Advertising

Media Literacy Persuasive Techniques in AdvertisingAs per my previous post Media Literacy Fundamentals: Key Concepts,  I am outlining one of the lessons I prepared for my students.  In this lesson, students learn about how media has its own unique form to get your attention.  Students are exposed to the persuasive techniques used in advertising to reach a target audience.  Through an understanding of these techniques students start becoming aware of the messages found within media.  With this understanding, students critically think and question the world around them and the messages they are being bombarded with continuously.

Click on this link Media Literacy- Persuasive Techniques to access the lesson plan for this concept and the associated handouts.  Furthermore, here are the group activity sheets: Pathos Ethos and Logos.

Stay tuned for more lessons and activities for Media Literacy!

 

 

 

Abstract Art : Examples

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In my previous post on Abstract Art, I mentioned I would post a few examples as they were done! Again, this is such a great, simple and interesting activity for your students! The Grade 5’s truly enjoyed doing it! We started off with making 6 straight lines across the page, leaving space in between each line. Once the lines were drawn, we began adding in circles. Most students chose to draw the same size circle a few times across their page but it would also be quite interesting if you take different size circles and draw them across your page. It would definitely add to the whole ‘abstract’ look! With two different colored pencil crayons or marker to start, begin coloring one section at a time, alternation between the two colors. The idea is to not have any two of the colors touching! It’s all about alternationg! Opposites! Take a closer look at the examples from the Grade 5’s! It looks confusing and abstract to the eye, yet so fun and simple to do!!! It definitely engages your students! Try it out 🙂

 

red         pink

        

The Fundamentals of Media Literacy

Loriana previously posted about Concept Maps and their benefits for students.   But she also posted about how concept maps can inform our teaching.

In planning lessons for my students on a specific unit, I did just that! I created a concept map to help me visualize what the Language strand of Media Literacy entails.  At first I found it very overwhelming to address all the aspects of this strand.  My concept map has helped me streamline my thoughts and help me organize how I want to deliver the program.  Today, I am providing you my concept map.  In my next couple of posts, I will provide examples of classroom activities to address these key concepts for each heading.

MediaLiteracyKeyConcepts

Take this concept map, and utilize it for an introduction, or a summary of what Media Literacy is.  Use it for yourself or print it for your students.  You can use it as a poster as well!

Stay tuned for ideas on how you can address these key concepts in your media literacy lessons.