Tag Archives: Greater Sudbury

Documentation in the Digital Age

When coming from intermediate, junior and even primary grades into kindergarten, one really has to check what their expectation of “work” means. As teachers, we’re so used to children being able to express themselves through writing that it is easy to imagine what you’re going to grade. The kindergarten program, though … you need to get really creative. Giving a test? A project? Not really a thing in kindergarten.

My expectations for assessment have gone out the window since arriving in the kindergarten program. Anecdotal evidence has become my thing. Everything that the kids do is accompanied by my notes on what they did. But what can that look like in kindergarten?

Well, last year, it culminated in a lot of paper notes. I made quick and easy charts and wrote everything that the kids were saying. My teaching partner and I would sit down together at the end of the day and compare notes, and discuss what the kids had been learning about. By February, though, I had discovered that that was probably not the most effective use of the talents that I have, which is that I’m pretty techy – I began experimenting with a variety of apps (and really loved Sesame Snap), but hadn’t really gotten it down by June. So when I got a new kindergarten classroom this year, and found out that I was going to be running it all by myself, without an early childhood educator, I had to buckle down and rethink the way that I look at documentation.

I had to start by thinking: what is the most effective way that I can document? To really come down to that, though, I considered a few thing: first of all, I’m not exactly a quick writer, and found that I was struggling to really to quote the students directly because I couldn’t keep up with how quickly they spoke; second of all, my school board is moving towards using Google Apps for Education, and I wanted to join in on the fun; I also needed to find the quickest and most effective way to organize all of this documentation in a way that would make it easy for me to not only find it, but reflect on it and share it with parents; and finally, I’m pretty technically inclined, so why not use that to my advantage? Continue reading Documentation in the Digital Age

Driving Inquiry (aka: How I Learned To Knit)

Inquiry is the main driving force in kindergarten classrooms throughout Ontario. And after a year and half of this, I feel like “I’ve got” inquiry. You want to learn about turtles? Cool, let’s go look for books and I’ll spend the afternoon sitting on a carpet with you while I hint at the strategies that you’ll need to pick up to get the information you’re looking for. You want to learn to make a snowman? Sure, let’s go outside and play in the snow all afternoon. You want to learn about space? We’ll find some fun and educational YouTube videos and see what we can figure out.

I still get butterflies in my stomach when a student asks me something that I have no idea about. I now automatically say, “I don’t know. Let’s find out together,” but that wasn’t always the case. That comes with building a good relationship with your students. I think it’s important that we tell our students, honestly: “I don’t know.” Those are powerful words, ones that kids need to hear from grown ups. I don’t have every answer. Nobody can. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel a little queasy when I don’t, because I want to be helpful. I want to be the best guide for them possible. I want to be what they need. But it can usually be solved with saying, “I don’t know, let’s figure it out.”

Then yesterday, it wasn’t.

Continue reading Driving Inquiry (aka: How I Learned To Knit)

Keeping Busy During March Break

One day. One day!

The kids are buzzing around the school, and they are psyched that our week-long break is on its way. What are your plans? When I was a kid, I used to love going to spend some time at the library, and really looked forward to some of the activities that they would put on, especially the art and drama activities. They’ve always gotten great guests and facilitators to aid with their projects, and this year is no different. Why not try a program with the Greater Sudbury Public Library? Continue reading Keeping Busy During March Break

Engaging Students While Learning a Second Language

This is the task that I had given to myself when I decided that working as a French as a second language teacher was my career direction. I’ve learned many things along the way. My first year, I worked primarily as a supply teacher, and was in and out of different classrooms. My second year, I was given the amazing task of leading a Grade 3 French Immersion classroom through the curriculum in a fun and engaging way. I left Chelmsford Public School in June, thinking that I was going to do a completely different assignment: I was off to teach English and Math to a Grade 6 classroom. I was looking forward to the challenge, but secretly worried about whether or not I would miss spending my day in French.

I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

As of tomorrow, I am off to Copper Cliff Public School to teach Core French, grades 4-8. Continue reading Engaging Students While Learning a Second Language