Monday, November 28, 2016

The Value of Working in Small Groups

We learned that creating a classroom with small working groups, celebrates diversity, allows students to learn with all types of people, and it builds teamwork skills. However, this is not always an easy task to set up. It takes time and patients to help students learn how to work collaboratively. But, in our experience it has been, well worth the effort.

We noticed that, once our students learned how to work together, many of our quiet ones, had a voice! There also seemed to be less stress in the classroom learning, students were helping each other, and often, they were inspiring confidence, and encouragement for all to participate. Our students, began to understand their classmates strengths and weaknesses. They developed care, compassion and understanding for each other!

Do your students work in small groups? 
Do you see the value of working in small groups? 

Allowing our students to work in small groups, turned our classroom into mini-workshops, full of excited voices and engaged students. You can view the following video clip, where we discuss the benefits of having our students' work in small groups and you can take a peek at a classroom in action. Please let us know what you think! Leave comments and/or feedback below. Thanks!

(OESSTA produced this video and it's one, in a series of videos titled 'An Approach to Inquiry' that can be found on the OESSTA website.)

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