Monday, 30 April 2012

Resources to Start Off Your Week 15

     I can't believe that it is already my last week of student teaching. It went by so quickly and I am going to miss "C School" and our Grade 5 class so much! I was originally feeling very ambitious and had considered finding a resource for each one of our students... until I realized that we had 28 students (54 if I counted our other 5/6 class)! So in the interest of my sanity, I found 15 great new resources; one for each week I have been doing these posts! I'll be adding them to my list of favourite websites and you can check out that full list here.

1 ) TED-Ed
- From the amazingly wonderful TED non-profit group comes TED-Ed.
  Their compilation of educational videos are the perfect accompaniment
  to your classroom lessons.
- Not only does this website have some great videos, but they provide us
  with the resources to create a customized lesson around it!
2 ) Online British Library: Virtual Books
- This website allows users to flip through virtual copies of many great
  pieces of work from Mozart's Diary and Leonardo's Sketches to
  The Original Alice in Wonderland and Masterpieces of the Renaissance.
- Great for social studies projects on primary resources and English
  projects on different types of literature throughout history.
- Students love the interactive feature of being able to flip through
  these books!

free online books, interactive history books, interactive books, primary documents

3 ) Heroes & Villains: The National Archives
- Students seem to love heroes and villains! This website allows
  students to explore the biographies of some of the world's most
  loved and hated individuals.
- This website provides forms of information including text, images,
  videos and primary documents.

heroes and villains in history, biography of heroes, biography of villains

3 ) PowerPoint Palooza
- How many times have we sat at the computer wishing that we had a
  quick PowerPoint to accompany a lesson. PowerPoint Palooza is
  a great collection of social studies pre-made PowerPoints covering
  American History, European History, Global Studies and student
- Can be used in a pinch or modified if you are stuck for ideas, just give
  credit where credit is due!
- A great example of teacher collaboration!

free powerpoints, free history powerpoints, history powerpoints, free social studies powerpoints

4 ) CIA: The World Factbook
- A great website for researching a country's history, people, geography
  and much more!
- This website is extremely user-friendly and clearly laid out for student
- Takes a while to load and countries may show up as "undefined" until
  proper loading time takes place. 

world facts

5 ) Scholastic: Computer Lab Favourites
- Stuck for good quality educational games that you can allow during
  computer class? This website is designed for students, user friendly,
  engaging and educational!
- This website has several games that cover a wide range of subjects
  including science, math, social studies, and more.
- Although it is American-based there are several activities that can be
  used by all students, regardless of location.

best computer lab activities for students
6 ) Lakeshore: Award Maker
- This website provides colourful and exciting templates to create
  FREE awards for students.
- Topics cover everything from subject-specific accomplishments to
  general templates.

free award maker, free award printables for students, educational awards

7 ) Newsjack
- One of my new favourite websites allows users to pick a famous news
  website (CNN, Fox News or The New York Times) and FULLY customize
  it to create a realistic version of their own information.
- This website would be great for teaching students about the legitimacy of
  online information: can they find the incorrect or hoax information?
- With some work, you could also customize the website to include all the
  information needed for a research or inquiry project. Students just need to
  visit your newspaper and viola!
- Students could also use this website to create a newspaper that presents
  information from a research project they completed.
fake newspaper, create your own newspaper

8 ) Big Huge Labs
- This website allows you to edit images in a variety of ways to create
   magazine covers, puzzles, calendars, mosaics, etc.
- Students could use this website to meet assignment requirements, find
  creative ways to present information and learn about editing tools.

edit photos, photo editor for students

9 ) Zoho Planner
- Zoho can be a great organizational tool for teachers, providing tools
  to create to-do lists, provide reminders, manage emails and share

educational planner, online planner for teachers

10 ) Tested (Mythbusters) 
- Jamie and Adam from Discovery's Mythbusters present their website that,
  in their own words, "...covers anything that's awesome. Tested is the place where
  we’ll explore those topics in depth, asking the hows and the whys about the things
  that excite us the most."
- A great website to assist in providing relevant material for our students!

mythbusters experiments, tested, jamie and adam from mythbusters, using mythbusters in the classroom

11 ) National Geographic: Space Shuttle
- This website provides great 360 degree pictures of the space shuttle. As you zoom in
   it also provides detailed information regarding the shuttle and its different components.

the last space shuttle, interactive tour of the space shuttle, space resources for the classroom

12 ) Life: 100 Photographs that Changed the World
-  This website provides 100 images, available as thumbnails or as a slideshow, that
    depict important events and people throughout history. Not only does it provide
    great images, but Life has also included detailed paragraphs regarding the image
    as well.
- Great for introducing any number of topics and subjects and a good inspiration
   point if students are stuck on project ideas.

using photography in the classroom, using pictures in social studies

13 ) X Timeline
- Maybe it is just because I am specialized in social studies but I love this website! It
  not only provides the option to search timelines on various subjects such as
  biographies, organizations and history (plus more) but it gives users the option to
  create their own timelines!
- Perfect tool for projects, introducing topics or as an assessment strategy.  

free history timelines, create your own timelines, using timelines in the classroom, timelines for students

14 ) Wonderville
- This website provides fun and educational opportunities for students to explore
   science topics. This website includes fun games, videos, information on
   different jobs in science fields and interactive experiment ideas.
- Teacher resources and parent resources are also included.
- User-friendly, engaging, education and very well done!

science websites for kids, science websites for students, interactive science websites

15 ) National Geographic Kids: Countries
- This website provides information on different countries around the world.
   Students can explore information about geography, nature, history, culture
   and more! It provides textual information and multiple pictures as well.
- It does not have EVERY country, but still provides valuable information.

information on countries, country biographies for students, country facts for students
 Happy Monday everyone and good luck to all the student teachers out there whether you are finishing up your placement or just starting out!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

1st Reaction to Whole Brain Teaching

     I had to share this story with you because it just made me laugh. Every few days our students have art class with the other 5/6 split teacher while my teacher and myself teach the other class gym. While a few days ago the 5/6 split teacher had to leave early to attend an appointment so she asked me to supervise our class during art for the last 10 minutes of the day (they were just finishing up an assignment so there was no work involved). The last class of the day, however, is always pretty chaotic for our class and we tend to be all over the place. Well with 3 minutes left in the class our E.A (educational assistant) who is with them during art began attempting to get the students organized for the end of the day: where to put the art supplies, what is for homework, what to clean up, etc. After a few unsuccessful tries, however, I quickly yelled out, "Class" to which the entire class responded, "YES!" and went dead quiet.

whole brain teaching, class yes, getting student attention
Now that is our normal routine when I am with them but to see the expression on the E.A's face was priceless! I am not quite sure if she was impressed or just shocked but it definitely made me giggle to see how surprised she was. I was later approached in the staffroom by another teacher who wanted to know what I do to get our student's attention so quickly!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Resources to Start Off Your Week 14

     It is the SECOND LAST week of student teaching! As much as I am loving being in the classroom and teaching, days like today, with plus 25 degrees Celsius weather, have me counting down the days until we are on summer vacation and my fiance and I can move back home. To get through the last two weeks I've found some great new resources to start off your week!

1 ) What About Me? Intel Infographic
- The Intel website now has a tool that allows users to create a
  personal infographic about themselves using information from
  one of their social networking websites (Twitter, YouTube, etc).
- Its really neat to see a summary of all of your information and
  they are very eye-catching!

infographic, social networking use, personal infographic for students

2 ) BBC Interactives & Graphics
- This website has put together a great compilation of interactive
   images and graphics that allow students to explore a variety of
- This provides excellent starting points for research projects!

interactive graphics for students

3 ) Alliance Outline and Thematic Maps
- The Arizona Geographic Alliance and ASU’s School of Geographical
  Sciences has put together a FREE online resource of printable maps.
- Includes different maps of the world, countries, regions, grade specific
  maps and historical maps.

free map printables, maps for students, free maps

Happy Monday everyone!

Off the Map and Back Again!

     After a few days of ignoring my email, blog, twitter, facebook.... well just the computer in general, I am now back! I found that with student teaching, working two jobs and going to the gym I was really letting myself get burnt out; I needed a few days of catch-up time. So after a few days of meetings, laundry, catching up with friends and A LOT of sleep I am back and ready to go!

     Student teaching is going by so quickly it seems. I will be finished up on May 4th even though it seems like I just started last week! Today we are finishing up our science electrical circuit experiments and I am so excited! The kids LOVE them because they are hands-on, interactive, challenging, and they get to work in groups (which our class always wants). Now that I am back on track I hope to be updating you a few times a week as my student teaching placement wraps up.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Resources to Start Off Your Week 13

     I can't believe that my student teaching placement is almost finished up! Although I have loved being in Grade 5 and having an opportunity to teach Science, my love will always be Social Studies. Here are some great resources to start off your week that could be the perfect addition to your social studies class! Remember, I will be adding these to my Favourite Websites page so ensure you head over there to check out the full list that I've complied so far.

 1 ) Standford Primary Document History Lessons
- This websites allows access to 70+ free history lesson plans that use
   primary documents ONLY.
- The purpose? Getting our students thinking like historians!

free history lesson plans, lesson plans with primary documents, primary documents resources

2 ) Tween Tribune
- This website is the one stop shop for daily news for teens and "tweens".
  Tween Tribune compiles and organizes daily news into easily navigable categories
  so students can find news that is interesting and relevant for them.
- Great for English projects and Social Studies but any subject can be searched
  if students are stuck on research project ideas or looking to find out more
  about a topic/idea.

newspapers for kids

3 ) World War II Database
- This website has put together a great compilation of World War II resources
   including topics such as important people, events, equipment, countries and
   sources such as pictures, video, text, and primary documents.

World War 2 resources
Happy Monday everyone!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Titanic's 100th Anniversary

     This weekend is the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic's sinking. If you are as fascinated with the Titanic as I am I strongly urge you to check out Larry Ferlazzo's blog! He has put together one of the most comprehensive lists of Titanic resources that I have found.

free titanic educational resources, best websites for learning about the titanic, titanic, titanic websites

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

     I have to share this story about one of the students in our class...

     Last week we were holding an in-class badminton tournament during our phys-ed classes. It was a regular bracket-style tournament where they played doubles games with an opposite-sex partner that was chosen randomly before the tournament started. When the time came for the finals we decided to hold off until the next gym class so that all of the students could watch the final games. Now remember how competitive some students are in Grade 5. This tournament was all that the students were talking about and some of them had even practiced during recess!

kindness in the classroom, kind students, respect in the classroom
While when the time came for the final game one of our students was left without a partner as some students were absent that day. As we had wanted to get it done quickly to get to the next activity my cooperating teacher told him that he could pick whomever he wanted, girl or boy. You would think that the student would pick one of his best friends (most of our boys play on the same hockey team) or possibly one of the best students (to increase his chances of winning).

     I watched this student, however, walk over to the one girl who had gotten out of the tournament first. She has a medical condition that causes her to have difficulty running/walking and is often left out of many of student's activities at recess. His reasoning for picking her, "She was out first, it was only fair that she got another chance."

     My heart melted.


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday: "C School" Update

     After patiently waiting for more science classes (we don't have science everyday) I am finally able to give you all an update about how whole brain teaching has been going with our Grade 5s.

     Compared to my last student teaching placement in the fall I am teaching much less, but spending more time with our group of students. In the fall I was teaching more than one subject (Grades 10-12 for hour long classes) but only had a group of students once per day. In contrast, I am now just teaching one subject (Grade 5 for 25-30 minute classes) but I am with our group of students all day long. I feel as though this makes it a bit more difficult to really establish some of my own routines in the classroom. Last fall I was able to have specific routines established in our class because I only saw the students once per day and they knew that our classroom had a specific set of expectations (the same as any other classroom had). With this placement, however, it is more challenging to establish routines because we are in the classroom all day long and it can be difficult for our students to manage changing expectations throughout the day. I am not comfortable really implementing routines that are different than those that are set up by my cooperating teacher. Now don't get me wrong, my cooperating teacher is so supportive and would assist me with whatever I tried to implement, but it is challenging for the students. Since I am in the classroom all day it is confusing for the students if I expect certain behaviours when I am teaching but allow other behaviours while my cooperating teacher is teaching. With this in mind, I have only implemented some whole brain teaching strategies.

     I use "Class-Yes" regularly whenever I am teaching the class. Our students use a similar technique with their french teacher so it was a super easy transition for them to continue using it with me. What I love most about it, besides being able to get their attention quickly and easily, is that they love it too! My cooperating teacher was actually gone for a meeting this afternoon so we had a substitute teacher in the classroom with me (division policy) and as she trying to get their attention after recess we actually had 2-3 students yell out, "Class" and had the students respond, "Yes"! It was so awesome to see them using the techniques themselves to manage the class :)

     I have only just introduced "Teach-Ok" to our class so we haven't had a lot of opportunity yet to try it out. They did, however, use it more than once during a lesson about renewable and non-renewable resources. Not only did they use "Teach-Ok" to practice definitions (as is often seen during WBT videos) but they also used it to teach their partner about what they thought was the best resource to use, what might happen once non-renewable resources run out and what they could do to conserve resources. At first they had a difficult time with it. Some of this had to do with being nervous about speaking in front of others, some of it had to do with them not getting along with their partner and some of it had to do with them not listening to the instructions. After a few tries, however, they realized that it was a similar experience to when they contributed during a group discussion and it went smoother. Our next week is all hands-on experiments, building electrical circuits, so there won't be a good opportunity to use "Teach-Ok" but I am hoping to try again once we introduce our review section.

Check out the Whole Brain Teaching website to learn more about any WBT strategy or visit Chris Biffle's YouTube channel to see different strategies in action!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Resources to Start Off Your Week 12

Now that I've begun to use Google Reader more efficiently I've been able to actually keep track of the blogs I want to follow. Yay! That means I've been able to find out about a whole bunch of awesome new resources to start off your week! Remember, I will be adding these to my Favourite Websites page so ensure you head over there to check out the full list that I've complied so far.

1 ) Storyline Online
- This website features videos of children's books being read aloud by members
   of the Screen Actor's Guild! Who wouldn't want to listen to Betty White reading
   a story?
- Each story has an associated activities guide and subtitles so children can read
storyline online, childrens books, online audio childrens books, screen actors guild read books

2 ) NOVA
- This PBS website has so many great educational resources for all subjects including
   ancient worlds, the body, physics, planet earth, nature, military, etc.
- There are so many videos, text, images and audio files to chose from, for FREE!
PBS NOVA, free educational videos, teacher resources,

3 ) 52 Google Doc Secrets for Students
- This comprehensive list compiled by Online Colleges staff writers lays out 52 neat
   Google Doc tricks like adding math equations in easily!
google docs for students, google docs in the classroom, google docs tips

4 ) Physics LiveBinder
- This Live Binder features comprehensive AP Physics and AP Chemistry unit plans
   that are complete down to the smallest detail.
- Includes notes, videos, assignments, lab schedule breakdowns, rubrics, etc.

live binder, physics unit plan, chemisty unit plan, high school physics resources, high school chemisty resources, free chemistry unit plans, free physics unit plans

5 ) Build a Body
- An interactive biology website that allows students to build their very own human
  bodies as they make their way through each system.
- Students learn about the parts of the body, the systems and diseases through
  specific case studies.
- You do have to create an account to use this game.

biology games

Happy Monday everyone!
By the way, I never won any of the giveaways. Did you have any luck?

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Another Spring Giveaway!

     It seems to be the season for giveaways! It is Easter weekend.... who says teachers can't load up on the goodies too? Last weekend I posted about the great giveaway Teaching Blog Addict had put together to celebrate their 1st birthday (you can still enter, its not too late!) and now I've found another great giveaway from Kreative in Kinder's blog. Now I am not really one to promote these sort of things (it just so happens I found two neat ones back to back) but this one just seemed so awesome that I couldn't resist!

     I can think of dozens of other teacher and student teachers that I know that would love one of these Homeroom Teacher Time Trackers! Head on over to the Kreative in Kinder blog right now to check it out and enter this awesome giveaway for yourself :)
Good luck!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday: 10th Edition!

     It is my tenth Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday post! I would have liked to have been able to write this post about how whole brain teaching is going with my Grade 5s during this student teaching placement but because of the way our schedule is laid out I haven't had a science class where I was able to use WBT with them since my last post (I am just observing other subjects). So instead of that, I wanted to share with you why I chose to incorporate WBT strategies into my teaching methods. (This list is in no particular order)

why I use whole brain teaching, benefits of whole brain teaching, multiple intelligences, culture of respect, formative assessment, fun classrooms

1 ) It addresses multiple intelligences* by allowing students to work with material:
     - Visually: thinks in terms of physical space/physical imagery
                     watching the teacher/SmartBoard/white board/etc
     - Kinesthetically: communicates through physical activities
                               using gestures associated with terms/ideas
     - Interpersonally: students learn through interaction
                               working with others to review material and work through concepts
     - Linguistically: students enjoy playing words games
                            WBT has many words games available to use
     - Musically: can be taught through rhythmically speaking
                        speaking aloud/in unison with the class

2 ) It incorporates strategies such as the "10-Finger Woo" and "It's Cool" to help create/maintain a culture of respect in the classroom, which is very important to me. (Read about it here)

3 ) It easily allows for formative assessment to be ongoing through the teaching process by using "Teach-Ok". (Read about it here)

4 ) The students have fun! In my experience, which I admit has been very short, my students have enjoyed the strategies that I have chosen to use in our classrooms. They like having more opportunities to move about during class, interact with their peers and experience something different from some of the more traditional teaching approaches.

*The short explanations of the different intelligences are taken from the (1996). Success for all learners: A handbook on differentiating instruction (1.12). Manitoba: Manitoba Education & Training.

     This is why I use parts of whole brain teaching strategies. Do you use any whole brain teaching strategies in your classrooms? If so, why do you chose to incorporate them?

Monday, 2 April 2012

Resources to Start Off Your Week 11

With the holidays over it is time to hit the ground running! Only five more weeks of my student teaching placement and I now that it is going to fly by. Here are some more great resources to start off your week! Remember, I will be adding these to my Favourite Websites page so ensure you head over there to check out the full list that I've complied so far.

1 ) ChronoZoom
- This website hosts an amazing timeline that has pretty much sums up all timelines
  ever created! It includes information from humanities and sciences and provides
   information in text, video, audio and images.
- I found it a bit difficult to navigate but after some playing around I was able to
  get it all figured out.

2 ) ElectroCITY
-This fun game appoints students as the "mayor" of their own city! Students are
  responsible for generating enough electricity to power their town, managing their
  budget and maintain the environment.
- This website provides a lot of teacher resources as well to accompany the game.

3 ) Floor Plan Tool
- This website allows teachers to use blueprints and drag-and-drop items to map
  out a floor plan for their classrooms!
- Perfect for re-arranging and organizing

Happy Monday everyone!