Friday, June 24, 2016

Reading Celebration - Castex 2016

The students at our school enjoy reading a variety of books from 'The Forest of Reading' program. Each year the Ontario Library Association create a list of book titles that celebrate Canadian authors. Our school, purchases the books from the nominated list in the Blue Spruce and Silver Birch category. Throughout the school year, students read and share book reviews in a variety of ways; one on one with our volunteer extraordinaire, or with peers in their class.

At the end of the school year, we have a celebration of reading and invite community members to celebrate with us. Scott Cooper is our favourite guest. He is a local musician, that likes to read the Forest of Reading books, and then he writes songs about them. How cool is that? Scott has entertained our students for the past couple of years, with his love for music and children's literature. Of course, the celebration would not be complete without a visit from the Community Librarian. She enjoys meeting the students and encourages them to join the library and to become a member of the summer reading program.

Scott Cooper
This reading program helps to foster a love of reading and generates a positive buzz for all books.  Take a look at this short clip, enjoy!  Forest of Reading - Castex 2016

How do you promote reading at your school? 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Natural Environment

Take a look at this group of primary students as they look at "How people affect the natural environment?"  

 This resource comes from the OESSTA website which has a bank of lessons, videos and resources to support the Social Studies, History and Geography curriculum.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Curiosity and Teamwork Make the Perfect Recipe...

Honoured to have our work highlighted on Teach Ontario's website. Check out the article and let us know what you think! Your feedback and comments are greatly appreciated.

TeachOntario Talks: Curiosity and Teamwork Make... | TeachOntario

The Teach Ontario website is an amazing resource for teachers. It's a great place to meet, share and learn. Try it out!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Learning How... use the iPad effectively!

These students are learning how to use the iPad in an effective way. While many of the students are familiar with using the technology, it’s important for them to learn how to use it as a tool for learning. A point of interest for this class, is that their teacher does not own an iPad, had never used one and so, this was a huge learning curve for the teacher!

In this classroom, students work in small groups at centres, and they have learned to work independently. Creating the iPad centre required a bit of coaching but once the students became familiar with apps and expectation, they were able to complete work and share their learning.

To begin with, students were taught how to use the 'Explain Everything' app. The teacher modeled a lesson, with the whole class and gave them an anchor chart with easy steps to follow.

Then the teacher,  had students work in pairs to experiment with all the features. At the end of centre time, each pair shared what they did and what they learned.
 Finally, some students created a work board with examples of 'how to' upload images, draw, create and present on the iPad.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Wisdom To You....

To kick off the school year, Ms. Bourgeois used the picture book called 'Only One You' by Linda Krantz with her Grade 1/2 students.

This inspirational book has a number of key messages that encourage positive thinking, making memories, learning about making a difference and so much more! It’s important to build a positive classroom culture and this story helped to pave the way for helping students understand about friendship, and to celebrate their own uniqueness.

Ms. Bourgeois read this book a number of times to her students and was able to communicate the importance of being unique and making a difference. There were many brainstorming sessions about what is wisdom, how to make the world around us a better place and what makes each of us special. 

The key message in this book was inspiration for a school bulletin board developed and created by the students and their teacher. Much like the message in the book, it encouraged working together and celebrating our differences. Students were able to share their words of wisdom with the whole school. 

There were many fun activities that spun out from the book such as making dioramas of sea creatures. Students were randomly placed in small groups. Each group worked together to teach each other about getting along and listening to others. 

The book taught students about wisdom, friendship and being unique. They began to understand 
that we are all different and that they need to be 'proud to be me.' One of the ways the students were able to show their uniqueness was to pick a rock and add a design that they felt represented who they are and they talked about how they are all different but the same.

The following slide show was created with the 'flipagram' app and shows the work that was done in this grade 1/2. Click here! for sharing Ms. Bourgeois. You have an amazing class!

My wisdom to you is....

How do you build self-esteem in your students and create a positive classroom culture? 
Do you have a favourite mentor book? 
Please share!


Sunday, October 18, 2015

OESSTA Twitter Chats

OESSTA (Ontario Elementary Social Studies Teachers' Association) is working to provide resources and support for Social Studies, History and Geography teachers. A website has been developed and it is updated regularly - check it out here.

OESSTA is using twitter (@oessta1) to reach out to teachers. We are using #ontsshg hashtag to not only share ideas and collaborate with fellow Ontario colleagues but it is also a conversation that is opened to educators from around the world.

We meet bi-weekly, using #ontsshg on Thursday at 9pm EST. Most chats have a specific topic or theme such as our last chat - Reading Historical Fiction Picture Books. You can read about that chat here. If you have a topic or idea that you wish to discuss, please comment on this post.

Looking forward to meeting you on twitter and hope you will join our learning community! 

                                                                                                 Credit Elijah van der Giessen / FundChat

Friday, August 28, 2015

Educators Learning Together About the Inquiry Process

The 8 videos that we created for the OESSTA website, are intended for groups of educators who wish to learn more about the inquiry-based approach to learning and teaching. You can find suggested discussion questions about the content for all of the videos here.

The following is a video titled "How Can I Start to Plan for Inquiry?" Also, included in this post is a sample of the discussion questions that are posted on the OESSTA website. This website is a great resource to use with educators wanting to learn together about how to implement the Social Studies, History & Geography curriculum, about the inquiry approach to teaching and much more!

The following text was copied from the OESSTA website - please check the link to find all 8 videos along with suggested discussion questions about the inquiry process. (This is a cross-post with our inquiry-based website).

This video explains techniques for creating good inquiry questions to guide student exploration and depicts one teacher's approach to organizing the school day to facilitate independent learning.
Questions for Viewing:
  • What do you see as the advantages of a two week inquiry as a starting point?
  • What drawbacks do you imagine? How could those be overcome?
  • How do you see the potential for the quality of the products evolving over the two weeks? How might this relate to establishing success criteria and assessment AS learning?
Task: Determine a topic, central question, and related questions based on the curriculum overview
  • What is a curriculum topic you might explore in a two week inquiry?
  • How might you introduce the topic to students in a way that stimulates wondering, questions, and pondering of ideas and solutions? It might begin with immersion in an experience, with primary artifacts, or an issue that relates to their lives to provoke thinking.
  • Using Social Studies as an example, what might be a central or overarching inquiry question for that topic that takes into account Big Ideas, Social Studies Thinking Concepts, Overall Expectations and Spatial Skills? This would be a rich, divergent question with diverse response possibilities worthy of investigating over time. It should be something that frames the explorations at each station and is summarized in the final stage of the inquiry. Ideally these come from the students in the background portion of the two-week exploration. NOTE: Use the framing questions in the grade overview as a guide.
  • Brainstorm some related questions and mini-inquiries that spill out from the topic. These act as sub-topics that will contribute to investigating the central question. Again, ideally these are initiated by students. 
  • List resources and supports you might need. 
  •  Please share your experience with us! We would love to hear from you!