Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Fostering Inclusive, Mentally Healthy Learning Environments


On Wednesday April 18th, 2018 I attended an NTIP Series workshop called “Fostering Inclusive, Mentally Healthy Learning Environments”. I place such high importance and value in all professional development opportunities as they allow you to learn and grow in your professional practice as an Educator. In this ever changing world, we need to keep up with current practices. Today’s session aligns with the York Region District School Board’s (YRDSB) Foci Mental Health and Modern Learning (Mathematics is part of the foci but not this can be applied to the learning environment as a whole, including all subject areas). This session also aligns with Moraine Hills Public School’s “Be Kind” Team initiatives of “Kindness to Self and Kindness to Others”.  

PROFESSIONAL PRACTTICE

With every workshop I attend, I take plenty of notes and I like to make to-do lists containing at least one thing I can put into practice ASAP because research shows that when you apply your newfound knowledge within 24 hours, you are more likely to store it and use it. With this session, I found 8 practical takeaway ideas that I personally resonated with and felt would create a positive impact in my current Grade 6 classroom and would like to share them with you below:






  1.      Sunshine Calls

This can be a call, e-mail, or face-to-face communication at pick up where the Educator shares one good thing that the student has done, said, or accomplished that day. It is often found that parents immediately associate school calls with a negative emotion because they fear something happened to their child or that their child is in trouble. If Educators can add in a couple of Sunshine Calls per student per year, it not only makes the parents happy and proud, but also the student. I find that personally I have not been doing enough of this and will try to do this more often. I found a really great TPT FREE resource called “Freebie check-off sheet for positive parent communication” created by Teacher to the Core. It will allow you to keep track of your wonderful calls or e-mails so that you can spread the sunshine evenly among your students! Click here to visit the resource.



Flexible Seating27_Bored Teachers   Flexible Seating1_Bored Teachers
                 (@TheUniqueClassroom)                                   (@SettingUpForSecond)       


2.   Flexible Seating

In the beginning of this Grade 6 LTO, it was a rolling LTO which meant that we were not sure when the Teacher would be back so it kept getting extended. Seeing as I was never really sure when my last day was, I didn’t want to change TOO much in the classroom because it wasn’t really my class-just yet. At this point I am fairly certain that I will be here until the end of the year and even if I am not, I am willing to try to incorporate some flexible seating into my classroom. This can look differently for each class you go to. The students are sitting in their seats for nearly the whole day, after a while that can get pretty boring and uncomfortable. I currently have a ZEN Zone area where my students can sit/lay down with some pillows or in a comfy couch chair (from Mr. Weisinger our VP) and read their book or do some work there too. This means that I have spaces in my classroom for independent work/pairs (at desks), and independent/ pairs at ZEN Zone. In my next class, I would really like to include: a carpet, bean bags, lounge chairs, bouncy ball chair. For some inspiration, you can visit here.





3. Coping With Stress

It is evident that some students and adults for that matter, have a hard time coping with stress. In order for someone to be able to cope with stress, they will need to have some strategies in place to choose from. Many students are not equipped with coping strategies, so when they come to class and had a rough night before, or at recess and they don’t know what to do, you will see behavior. It may be visible in that you see students exhibit verbal or physical aggression towards others; but it can also be invisible in that a student shuts down and won’t speak to you or participate. If we as a collective of Educators and Caregivers can provide our students and children with coping strategies, it allows them to overcome their challenges and become resilient individuals. There are many ways to do this, and it all depends on the learners in your classroom. For our class, we have community circle and open communication about anything we wish to discuss. I have also implemented a “ZEN Zone” area, which was created by The Superhero Teacher. Click here to access the link for purchase. It was well worth the buy as it provides many wellness and mindfulness opportunities for your students (and yourself) to participate in. We also keep a wellness journal to reflect on different things each day. The students have access to this during each morning recess and it will be open to all classes once my students have mastered the challenges so that they can lead it out themselves. 



Image result for antecedent behavior consequence chart template

4. ABC Chart

An ABC Chart is a great way to track behaviours. A=Antecedents, B=Behaviours, C= Consequences. To read more about this and obtain a sample tracking sheet, visit one of my earlier blog posts titled “Creating Equitable Special Education Programs in Ontario Classrooms” by clicking here: http://educateinvestinspire.blogspot.ca/2016/08/creating-equitable-special-education.html
I have previously used this regularly when I was working in a Full-Day Kindergarten Classroom but for some reason when I came to Grade 6 I had forgotten all about it! There is so much to learn and so much to do as a new Teacher, which is why I really like to reflect on my experiences through my blog so that I can remember the things that worked well and change the things that did not. The ABC Chart worked well, and I will be re-implementing it in my Grade 6 class to help me try to identify the triggers. When you can identify the triggers, you can gain a better understanding of how to support or prevent.

Image result for class norms
5. Re-Visiting Class Norms

Throughout the year, students change and grow and the classroom norms that were once very effective, may no longer be effective as now there are differing needs. We will be re-visiting class norms/agreements and making any necessary modifications so that our classroom can continue to run smoothly and inclusively as possible. It is key to have students involved in this process so that there is “buy in”. They are more likely to do something or follow an agreement if they have a personal vested interest because they feel their ideas are valued.

Image result for google form

6. Learning Partner Survey

This is something new I have not yet tried. It was suggested in the workshop to create a Google Form that contains 3 partner options. It is an anonymous way for students to select people they feel most comfortable with. In the end, it is up to the Educators decision if that partner will be a good fit or if you want to let them have a chance to prove you wrong. I will definitely be giving this a try, even in group work scenarios because then you can just copy and paste the grouping results.





7. Storyline Online

(Include the video from the about page with this section instead of a pic http://www.storylineonline.net/about-us/
This is an online website where celebrities are doing read-alouds of well known books. Click here http://www.storylineonline.net/ to visit the website. I feel that my students will really like this, especially in Grade 6 where celebrities are part of their interests and some even role models. Even a simple read-aloud to spark an inquiry, drama, or art provocation would be engaging for any learners 







8. Self-Advocacy Cards

I have heard about PECS or Visual Aids for learning, but have never heard about Self-Advocacy cards until the NTIP session I attended. Advocacy cards are needed for some but good for all! They allow students to communicate without the social pressures of raising their hand or verbally speaking if they physically are unable or don’t feel comfortable in doing so. The students can simply show you the card and then you will know how to respond.
  •     Students will be able to communicate their needs or ideas
  •    Students will feel less social pressure or anxiety in doing so
  •    Students will become empowered with the ability to advocate for themselves

I created Self Advocacy cards that I feel meets the needs of the students in my class. I also created a blank template for students to create their own, if there was anything I was missing that personally applied to them. If this is something you would like to implement in your classroom you can purchase them from my TPT site, click here.



REFLECTION

I wish that I had the opportunity to take this workshop earlier on in the school year so that I could have all these great ideas in place. At least I have curated a wonderful repertoire for next year! If you are a new Teacher and have the opportunity to participate in the NTIP Program with your school board, then I highly recommend it!



QUOTE 

I would like to end off with this quote that was presented to me at the NTIP learning session:

“When schools attend systematically to students’ social and emotional skills, the academic achievement of children increases, the incidence of problem behaviour decreases, and the quality of the relationships surrounding each child improves”.           
(Maurice J. Elias et al Promoting Social and Emotional Learning Guidelines for Educators, 1997)

#takethetime
#YRDSBmh
#YRDSBInclusion





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Tuesday, 6 March 2018

YRDSB Leadership Strategy

This month, I was invited my VP Jonathan Weisinger to participate in #yrdsbtalk which is an online collaborative platform that occurs on the first Tuesday of each month at 8pm. Tonights conversation is revolved around the YRDSB Leadership Strategy.


  • What is the YRDSB Leadership Strategy? “York Region District School Board recognizes leadership as a foundational practice essential to inspiring staff learning to improve student achievement and well-being. Leadership Is crucial to supporting innovation as it sparks creativity in problem solving, new approaches to learning together, and continuous improvement. Leadership must strengthen our commitment to equity through relentless work toward the eradication of systemic barriers to academic success and well-being for all learners to ensure the condition of fair, inclusive and respectful treatment of all people” (YRDSB).
  • Vision: "York Region District School Board’s vision “to be a leader in public education by empowering all students to become engaged and caring citizens of the world” will require leaders who exemplify the character, competencies and commitment of ethical leadership as they:
  • Champion excellence through equity
  • Promote a culture of collaborative professionalism
  • Inspire current and future leaders
  • Find a variety of ways to engage staff in ongoing dialogue about professional learning and collaboration within the context of school and workplace 


How Do I meet these Competencies?

As a new Teacher I am continuously learning and building my professional knowledge and leadership. Below you will find ways that I am currently demonstrating the competencies:

1. Champion Excellence Through Equity
"Create opportunities for staff learning about Indigenous ways of knowing,anti-oppression, social justice and culturally responsive and relevant pedagogy" 
(I facilitated a carousel session at our staff meeting about Incorporating Treaty Education into your Program. I am also a member of our school’s “Be Kind to Others” team, formally known as Equity Team)



    




"Commit to learning about anti oppression and understand how privilege, power and oppression result in inequitable outcomes for marginalized students, staff and communities"  
(I participated in an NTIP session about Culturally Responsive Pedagogy)





2. Promoting a Culture of Collaborative Professionalism
"Develop collective responsibility for continuous improvement focused on co-learning through a cycle of inquiry, collective action and reflective practice"
(Lots of co-learning and reflective practice through participating in NTIP with my Teaching Mentor Vicky Angastiniotis. Tomorrow we will begin reflection and co-learning around intentional and purposeful assessment)




"Foster an environment which allows for the opportunity to ask questions, engage in dialogue and discourse, and co-construct shared understandings. Recognize and respond to the multiple entry points and understandings of equity, content and pedagogy/professional learning. Activate participation in ongoing professional learning by valuing diverse perspectives, world views and experiences, sincere dialogue and community engagement" 
(I am always sharing my professional learning with other teachers either on breaks, after school, or through my educational social media platforms. I engage staff through professional learning and collaboration when I am facilitating PD sessions @ Moraine Hills such as: ASL in your Classroom, Treaty Education and Family Math Night)- just to name a few



3. Inspire Current and Future Leaders

"Be intentional in inspiring future leaders. Exemplify and build shared practices that embed theYRDSBMission, Vision and Values in daily work" 
(Part of my educational brand “Educate.Invest.Inspire” is to inspire others, whether that be my peer staff, students, parents, etc. I feel that through my educational social media accounts I am able to exemplify and build shared practices that embed the YRDSB Mission, Vision and Values within my daily work. This reaches many people globally who have access to technology and those social media accounts)




"Develop others’ leadership capacity to address the system’s changing needs. Support and nurture the leadership growth in new and aspiring leaders seeking learning opportunities" 
(There are a few Teacher Candidates and recent B.Ed graduates that have expressed their willingness to participate in extracurricular involvement in the school. I help support them in whatever they choose to participate in by helping them get in touch with staff that lead out what they wish to participate in. They have also said they noticed my educational social media accounts and would love to come sit in and volunteer in my classroom once their practicum is finished. I support these TC’s because not only is it great for their professional learning, I will learn from them also and I will expand my leadership capacity)



"Model risk taking and openness to learning from mistakes or failure as an approach to leading and learning"
(I model this for my students, if I should make a mistake in class I own up to it and model my problem solving strategies and show my students that everyone makes mistakes -even teachers- and that mistakes allow learning to happen)



                                             

                                             


"Seek input, be open to feedback, actively reflect and take action for continuous improvement and growth Participate in regular and timely growth- oriented appraisal processes"
(This was my first year as an official LTO Teacher so I had the opportunity of participating in the Teacher Appraisal process which allowed me to understand my strengths and areas to continue my professional learning. I am always working with my Mentor, other teachers, administration and accepting feedback for professional growth)





#inspireexcellence #yrdsbtalk #yrdsbteacher #leadership #educateinvestinspire

Thank you for reading!
~Ms. Rose Marcelli, OCT, RECE




Sunday, 18 February 2018

The LTO Experience Part One


  • Overview

   This is my first blog post of 2018! I haven't had much time to write blogs since the Summertime because I have been in a Grade 6 Teaching position since September 2017 and I am also in the process of Wedding Planning (Such an exciting time!). I am learning to find that "work/life balance". This blog will outline some of my key learning experiences and links to professional resources that I have acquired within my role as a Grade 6 Teacher from September until now. There will be plenty of new learning experiences to come and plenty more professional development opportunities to be had so stay tuned for a Part Deux.

This is a long post so I have provided an overview of topics I discuss. You may scroll down to whatever you wish to read about:

  • Supply to LTO
  • Creating Your Learning Environment
  • Getting Organized
  • Building Connections
  • Getting to Know Your Students
  • Planning for Illness Days
  • Writing Report Cards
  • Extracurricular Involvement & Professional Development
  • Field Trip Ideas
  • Reflection

  • Supply to LTO --> Luck or Competency 

   There are two different avenues to advance from a Supply Teaching position to a Long Term Occasional(LTO) Teaching position. Avenue 1: You supply for 1 year (10 months September-June) and have at least 20 days of teaching and then apply to the LTO list when interviews open up (typically in the Spring). If you are successful in this interview they will place you on the LTO list. Avenue 2: You get a supply job that keeps extending (rolling LTO) into a 4 month or longer period. At that point you may ask your Admin for a Teacher Performance Appraisal (TPA). If you are successful in this evaluation they will place you on the LTO list. I was part of Avenue 2. I have been at my current school for over 3 years now within different capacities including: Teacher Candidate, Designated Early Childhood Educator, Occasional Teacher on the Preferred List, and now LTO Teacher. I have had multiple opportunities to demonstrate my Teaching and Learning at Moraine Hills PS. Some people over time have attributed my success and professional growth to luck. I attribute my success to hard work, determination, willingness to improve/learn, and consistent demonstration of professional competence. Administrators do not randomly select their staff like a luck of the draw, rather they select based on education, skills and best fit.

  • Creating Your Learning Environment
     
   The classroom learning environment is an important aspect to consider as the environment acts as the "Third Teacher" for any grade you teach. I always strive to create a warm, welcoming, and inclusive environment where all students feel welcome and safe in their learning. Traditionally rows were the way to organize desks in the past with the Teacher standing in the front, but we know that this arrangement is not conducive to student learning. As part of my TRIBES Training, I learned that small groups are most effective as they allow for collaboration and rich discussions which promote active participation amongst your learners. The Teacher is a co-creator in the learning process. Your desk should be placed in a way that you are able to view the whole classroom. I placed the U-Shaped table beside my desk for this same purpose. The students and I co-created the organization and categories for our classroom library which made it neater and more accessible for students to find a book that interested them.

In our class, we have a comfy chair where students can visit the reading area and "chill" when they need a quiet moment. Chair provided by our VP Mr. Weisinger, thanks so much! We also co-create anchor charts and place them in the room to refer back to throughout our learning.

                                

Many of our classroom materials are easily accessible for the students to select what they need independently.


I created designated subject bins so that students can clearly identify where their work needs to be submitted. I feel that a visual schedule should always be present on the board at the front of the class or which ever main board you use. Visual schedules are great to stay organized and manage your time wisely. They also benefit students with ASD or Anxiety because it provides predictability within their daily routines. There really are many ways that Teachers set up a learning environment for their students and you would have to see the classroom because the photos do not do it justice. For more ways to promote collaboration and learning in your classroom click here.

  • Getting Organized


   There are many things you need to think of when getting organized for the new school year, such as:
-Class Lists: the office provides you with one in your mailbox.
-Who are the students who have allergies? (office provides you with a copy of all the known allergies in the school)
-Are there any students who have IEP's, IAP's or Safety Plans?
-Are there any ELL students?
-How are my students getting home? walk, bus, pick-up? (Have this displayed in your room or in your supply handbook)
-What are the school rules, policies, and procedures?
-Where are the emergency exits?
-Weekly Plan- What is my plan for the first week of school? Do I have all my materials ready to go?
-Who are my grade partners?
-Who is the SERT? the EA?
-Where is the staff room? washrooms? library? learning commons? gym?
-Need to create unit plans, lesson plans, day plans...
...Just to name a few!
The first week of school is a BUSY time. Thankfully I already knew where everything is located at the school, I could just focus on my students. I was in a unique situation in that I was not aware that I would be in this position long-term so I focused on lesson planning on a weekly basis for the first couple of weeks. During the first month of school the Admin recommend that all same grade Teachers be on the same teaching schedule incase there is a re-organization.


After discussing different organizational strategies with some of my peer Teachers, I learned that using this shelving to separate materials needed. Some Teachers do this by day in the cycle (i.e. Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, etc.). I chose to label mine by subject because it works best for me. I prepare all materials I need for each subject either on a Friday/Monday and then I have easy and organized access to it throughout the week. Such a great investment! I purchased mine from Amazon.

  • Building Connections

   It is very important to build a network of professional connections within any school environment you are part of. Teamwork, Collaboration, and Respect are important traits to have and emulate for our students. At one point or another you will be working with different staff at your school so it is important to be kind and respectful towards everyone. Kindness is key! Before the start of the school year I was put in touch with my grade partners and I collaborated with them on what the first week of school would look like. One of my fabulous grade partners is now my NTIP Mentor, Vicky Angastiniotis. I am very thankful for her because even though I have a Primary, Junior and Intermediate background, much of my experience was based in Primary prior to this. My mentor has been very supportive and encouraging which allowed me to build confidence and competence within the Junior Divisions as well. Your partner makes a difference so be sure to pick a good one! I also collaborate with my SERT and we work together to support the students who are on IEP's. She has also been a great help through this process! My other grade partner often shares unit ideas, plans field trips, and supports with Math and Tech-so grateful! It is important to also be aware of who your Math Representatives are in the school. Our Math reps have been so great in that they share resources and come in to support learning.

  • Getting To Know Your Students

   At the beginning of the year you may hear from other Teachers who have had your students in the past. Try to take what they say with a grain of salt. Your student(s) may have been challenging or exceptional one year and it could change the next (or not), so it is important to be cognizant about forming biases about your students before they arrive. Get to know them! I am so happy that I got to know my students for who they really are. Everyone has strengths and everyone has things to work on but thats the beauty of life. The first week or so of school is all about getting to know each other. TRIBES games and strategies were really helpful when facilitating this. If you are not sure what TRIBES means, then visit one of my previous blog posts titled "Fostering an Inclusive and Respectful Learning Community". One activity that Vicky (my mentor) gave me was called "Stick-it" where the students and I co-created our Classroom Agreements using the TRIBES 4 Pillars. 
We played team building games, co-operative games, and games that allowed the students to learn more about each other. One activity we did involved the students discussing their interests and then creating a name for their "TRIBE" (table group). It was much more interesting calling them up to present using their TRIBE names instead of saying Group 1 or Group 2. Instant Noodle Fan Club or Golden Canadians had more of a ring to it. These "get to know you" activities benefitted me as well because I got to learn about my students, they got to learn about me, and I also got to see how everyone works together. 

Some links to getting to know you/icebreaker games below to get you started (plenty more when you Google it):
  • Planning for Illness Days 

   Getting sick is inevitable, no matter what you have in place to avoid it! I did not take my first illness day until February because I was adamant about not taking any sick days. Eventually I caught a cold and had to take a day off. I was recently an Occasional Teacher and one of the things that I really appreciated was having detailed lesson plans and readily prepared materials. Whenever I am sick or will be attending a workshop I make sure that I do just that. I leave the lesson plans on my desk with the Occasional Staff Handbook, and I leave all the required materials neat and organized on the U-Shaped table. Each pile is labelled with a sticky note indicating which period the materials are for. This leaves you prepared and the supply teacher stress free so they can focus on the classroom management and the learning at hand. If there is a time where you are at home and you become sick and your plans are not ready on the table-don't panic! You can e-mail them to a grade partner, another teacher, or to the office and they can print it for you. You can then ask your grade partner if they can help collect the needed supplies.
  • Writing Report Cards

   This year was my first time writing Progress Reports and Term 1 Reports. I have prior experience with writing the Communication of Learning (Reports) for Kindergarten but this format is different from the Gr.1-8 Reports. This was a new learning experience for me. Thankfully, my grade partners  are SUPER amazing and they shared their banks with me which helped me to create one that fit with my students. Even though banks are used, I still tried to personalize them as much as possible wherever I could. It is very important that the comment reflects the strengths and needs of the student. If you are the only teacher teaching a specific grade or subject in your school, YRDSB has created a comment library that is accessible to us on the MXWEB (reporting website). "These comments have been constructed to align with 'Growing Success' and teachers may utilize these comments, as appropriate, as they build comments for their students" (YRDSB Reporting Memo). If you do not work for our board, I would look into what your school board's reporting memo is. 

Some TIPS that I have been given:

-Do not use contractions as it is a formal document
-If you are a prep coverage/rotary teacher you must put your name at the end of each comment i.e. (R. Marcelli)
-Personalize as much as possible, if there is something that you noticed the student does which goes above and beyond and is worth a mention, do it
-End each comment with a positive
-Ask grade partners if they can share their comment banks
-Start with the Learning skills, Math, and Literacy as they take the longest to write

I Suggest...

-When marking assessments I highly recommend you make note of what the students next steps are because often times students will not bring their signed tests or assignments back and then you won't always remember what feedback they were given as it was written directly on the assessment. You have their grades from your gradebook, but you do not have specific examples from each student.

This presents you with 2 options: 1. You can photocopy the assessment if you know the students is not likely to return it or 2. Create a template where you can keep track of feedback so when it comes time to reporting you have everything you need for the "next steps" and it will be personalized to each students needs. For term 2, I have implemented option 2 because the feedback will be directly in my assessment binder so everything is in one place. I feel that it will make for a seamless reporting period next term.

Visit the links below for some RESOURCES to help support your Report Card writing:

1. 2017-2018 Elementary Reporting: 1-8 Provincial Report Card -Requirements and Supports (YRDSB staff only- contact your board for their document)
This document outlines: Growing Success Requirements, YRDSB Guidelines, Special Considerations, Resources, and Contact Information.

2. Growing Success Document
(Available to everyone). "This document outlines a comprehensive policy for the assessment, evaluation, and reporting of student achievement in Ontario schools from Kindergarten to Grade 12" (Growing Success).

3. Placemat- Writing Effective Report Card Comments
This is a YRDSB created resource. It provides some specific examples of the breakdown of  writing effective report card comments and answers some frequently asked questions.

4. Writing Elementary Report Cards Module
This is a YRDSB created resource. It provides some specific examples of writing effective student report card comments and the evidence used to inform those comments.

5. Clarifying Language in Report Card Comments
Provides examples of how clear, everyday language can be substituted for, or used to explain, curriculum wordings and educational terminology" (YRDSB & Ministry Resource).

6. How to Access and use the Comment Library in MXWEB
(YRDSB resource)

7. MXWEB Comment Library How-to on Youtube
This YRDSB created video shows you how to use the comment library on the web reporting site.

Try to attend a workshop on Connect to Learn so that you can learn more about writing reports. I just found out that this was available so I plan on attending the next one!


  • Extracurricular Involvement & Professional Development

   In your first LTO position it is challenging to balance everything plus join in on extracurriculars but if you can even do one thing, I highly recommend it. I am all for joining extracurricular activities and professional development opportunities. These are just some of the many ways to expand your professional growth and capacity as an Educator and to give back to your school community.

              

Previously, I co-facilitated Welcome to Kindergarten, the Kindergarten Spring Concert, and the "Art of Nature" session during YRDSB's Outdoor Learning Collaborative with my Wonderful former Teaching Partner and Mentor Trista Dutt (See blog post titled "Outdoor Education"). I also facilitated an "ASL in your Classroom" PD session which was open to YRDSB staff and staff from other boards (See blog post titled "We Can Sign Our ABC's). I was also Chairperson for our 2nd Annual Family Math Night (See blog post titled "MHPS's 2nd Annual Math Night).




This year, I presented about how to create Electronic Student Portfolios using Google Sites and how I use it in my classroom at a staff meeting carousel. My class also led out a Gourd Hunt on Halloween to provide an alternative activity to Halloween related activities so that we could ensure that everyone was included.


I am currently on our "Be Kind to Others" Team, formerly known as the Equity Team (2nd Year).  There are many more presentations from last year and I intend on presenting much more this year too, but those were just to name a few.


As for professional development sessions. I attend as many of those as I can, and I also present at as many of those as I can! You will find a plethora of professional learning (PL) opportunities, either through your administration or if you visit the YRDSB website on "Connect to Learn" (Must be a board employee to access). If you are not a YRDSB employee, you can contact your school board and ask what PL opportunities they offer. As many of you are also aware, there is an abundance of resources and supports online. For instance, on Instagram there are many wonderful teachers who facilitate professional learning opportunities or share valuable resources/lesson ideas such as: Trista DuttJoanne Babalis, Christina Hanson, Fairydustteaching, Yukari Naka, and many many more!
I also share a variety of resources through my other Educational Social Media Platforms such as: Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

  • Field Trip Ideas


This year we took our Grade 6's to the Toronto Zoo to supplement our Biodiversity Unit. Our students participated in a full-day workshop called "Biodiversity and Climate Change". They had the opportunity to learn the characteristics of living things, human impacts on biodiversity, ways of preserving biodiversity, and much more! To learn more about this program click here.

We also had a Scientist in the School presentation called "Classy Critters" where our students worked as "taxonomists in investigating preserved specimens to identify connections between species". To view their workshop catalogue click here. 



To supplement our Space Systems Unit, our class participated in the "Space Mission: Voyage to Mars (5-8) Challenger Learning Centre Program" at the Science Centre. "In this NASA-inspired Mission Control and Spacecraft full scale model, your students will role-play as Astronauts and Mission Controllers to solve problems as they come face-to-face with the challenges and excitement of landing on mars. This interactive and immersive science experience promotes STEM learning and highlights the value of teamwork, problem-solving, critical thinking and effective communication." To find out more about this program click here.


My Teaching Mentor Vicky, also arranged for a Guest Speaker Presentation about Child Rights and Sustainable Development Goals to supplement our Social Studies Unit about Canada and the Global Community. Our Guest Speaker Mr. Hessan from the United Nations gave such a motivating and influential presentation that left our students with many questions as to how they could be agents of change in our society. He is a parent of one of her students, he does not usually do presentations for school's. I encourage all Teachers to collaborate with families because they all have something to share!

Our next visitor will be another Scientist in the School presentation called, "Electricity: Get Charged" were our students will explore the nature of electricity, its generation, and use. The will also see "how static electricity makes objects move, design and build circuits, test conductors, and explore electromagnets" and much more!. To learn more about this program click here.





If for some reason you are unable to physically take your students on a field trip, why not take a virtual trip! All you would need is a SMART Board or access to your School's Learning Commons and the Google Expeditions APP. Read more about it through this link here. You can also use Goolge Earth.


  • Reflection

   By now it's no secret that I LOVE Teaching and I am passionate about providing the best educational experiences as I possibly can. The image above was featured in a previous blog post about "The Occasional Teacher Experience" where I explain how I always knew I wanted to become a Teacher. I knew before this, but in Grade 3 our Teacher asked us to draw a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up for the yearbook. No surprise, I wanted to be a Teacher! This LTO Experience has has been such a great learning experience for me. As an LTO you really gain a deep understanding of the whole teaching experience. Your responsibilities in the classroom become greater in that you are responsible for the planning, teaching, assessing, and reporting. There are deadlines to meet and duties to uphold. You really get to know your students as a whole; their strengths, needs, and interests. There are good days where you feel like you are the best Teacher in the world and you got everything accomplished and there are also challenging days where you feel the total opposite. Nothing is perfect. Being responsive and adaptable is key! Everyone says that you need to find the work/life balance and that is easier said than done. I like to get to work early when I can so that I can prepare and gain focus for the day. I also like to stay after school to do marking and re-organize from the day. I find that it is much easier to stay after school and finish marking than to have to take it home because at home you have additional responsibilities to uphold. Each situation brings a new learning experience and I am forever grateful to have gotten this experience! As always, I look forward to what new opportunities come next! If you haven't already, you may follow my Teaching and Learning journey through my educational social media accounts that I have linked in the "Extracurricular Involvement and Professional Development Section". It is now rooted in Grade 6 (Junior) lesson examples and resources but if you scroll back in the feed you will find posts from all grade levels (K-8) and many from when I was in Kindergarten.


Thank you for reading,

Ms. Rose Anna Marcelli, OCT, RECE




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