About Me

My name is Rose and I am an OCT certified teacher. This blog will be used to share resources and ideas relating to teaching within the P/J classroom. I will also explore ways in which technology can used to facilitate and enrich learning within the classroom. I hope that this blog will inspire other teachers and teaching candidates to incorporate technology into their classrooms to create a more interactive classroom environment to cultivate creativity and make learning more pleasurable for all students.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


I have recently discovered an amazing website to share educational resources and ideas. The pinterest.com website is an excellent way for starting teachers to gather ideas from other teachers. It is also a great way for the “veterans” to give back to the greater teaching community. This website provides teachers (especially those of us who are visual learners) a virtual space to exchange resources without having to shift through pages and pages of reading. Here are a few outstanding ideas I discovered on the website that I plan to use with own classroom:

These are adjective flowers. Students can create very own flower of synonyms to share with classmates to help enrich writing vocabulary.

This is a sight word parking game. As the teacher orally reads sight words, students must "park" a car on top of the word (in the parking space).

 Great way for students to explore word families independently.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Technology Integration and the Digital Divide

Upon visiting my block 2 placement school, I am really excited about the attitude towards technology. The school has put in a short term initative to purchase technology and incorporate it into classroom learning. During the previous school year there were only two SMART boards, however the school has made some purchases and now owns seven. The school is dedicated to using their limited budget to try to upgrade their technology in order to benefit teaching and student learning. However, I was surprised to hear from a few teachers that although the school did have these technologies that they had never used them. I think that one of the reasons that technology is not having widespread in education is due to the lack of knowledge of how to use them.

I cautiously expressed to these teacher that I had experience and training using the SMART board (as I did not know how they felt about technology integration). I offered to teach my associate teacher and a few of the other teachers sitting around the staff room table around me to operate the SMART board. They were very excited and open to the idea. This was somewhat surprising to me because I keep reading and hearing about how the lack of technological integration is partially due to uncooperative teachers who are “set in their ways”. However, I am relieved and thrilled that this is not the attitude that I am encountering within the school. These teachers were genuinely excited to learn how to operate the communal technology that is currently being used exclusively by the same handful of classrooms that are familiar with how to use them.

And as a young teacher, I am enthusiastic about the prospect of sharing my knowledge of technology with these knowledgeable and experienced teachers whom I am certain I will be learning from during my stay at the school. I feel fortunate to have something to offer these teachers, especially my associate teacher who was kind enough to invite me into her classroom. I will begin my quest to technological leadership in this school. Stay tuned for updates…

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Educational Leadership: How can an individual make a difference?

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do."
~Edward Everett Hale

This quote encompasses how I feel about education and my role as an educator. Although I realize that I am only one person, I know that one person can have a positive influence on a student, a school, school board and beyond. Therefore, I believe that individual leaders CAN make a difference. Being a leader is about taking a risk. It is about being creative, innovative, and wanting to make a change. Taking risks and participating in new activities are expectations teachers have of their students each and everyday. However, as teachers we owe it to our students to do the same. Taking a risk and trying something new, different, creative and innovative (even if it doesn’t always turn out as planned) is a chance that educational leaders take. It is what sets one apart from the status quo. However, I think that bringing about change in an environment in which people are used to routine can be met with some skepticism. This is why I think that many teachers try to play it safe (especially new teachers trying to establish themselves). However, if everyone always played it safe and never bothered to follow their visions and be innovators than we may never see any positive changes. Someone, somewhere needs to be willing to take that risk and try something new so that others are able to see the positive outcomes of change. Who knows, maybe by taking a risk you may inspire someone else to do the same?

The type of leadership that I most closely align myself with is moral leadership. I am a huge advocate of equal opportunities, inclusivity, and cooperation for everyone. I think that as role models in schools, teachers have the duty of presenting themselves in a moral manner and instill moral values in students. By instilling values of inclusivity, respect and equality, students will be accepting of others regardless of their beliefs. This is a characteristic that I feel ALL individual should possess. People are bound to have differing opinions and beliefs however how people handle these differences is an important skill that students need to observe and be taught. Although this is not something that is included within the formal curriculum, teaching students to respectful of others and be inclusive is something that I feel strongly about teaching. Students spends a great deal of time each day, week and year in school, so I feel that as a teacher I have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students.

Furthermore, I think technology can be used as a tool to facilitate equality in the classroom. More specifically, different technological tools can be used as a means to provide differentiated instruction for students with special needs or who simply require additional assistance. Technology can also be used to incorporate different learning styles as many technological tools appeal to kinesthetic learners and visual. These tools are also a great way to enhance learning for all as they may help students who require additional assistance but they also help to enhance the learning experiences of students who do not necessarily need the extra help.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Literacy Live

For a P.D. opportunity during this years technology showcases we (myself and two of other teaching candidates) plan to demonstrate different uses of the livescribe pen in literacy. We will be discussing two innovative ways to incorporate the livescribe pen as an aid for student writing. We will start by discussing a leading edge method of using the word wall in the classroom followed by a new way to document student retell.

The word wall is a popular element of the primary/junior classroom. The purpose of the word wall is to display frequently used words for students. However, using a word wall to assist students with writing is difficult if students cannot read. We have brainstormed a solution to this barrier through using the livescribe pen as an interactive word wall. We have created a live word wall using the livescribe book. We feel that the live word wall would be most beneficial if placed in a writing centre for student use. If a student is having difficulty spelling a word, he or she may consult the live word wall for assistance. The major benefit of this word wall is that if the student is unable to read to find the correct spelling, he or she can click the words under the initial sound until he or she finds the correct word.

Some of the words we would originally include in the interactive word wall, would be from the Dolch Word list. Teaching The Dolch Word list is a crucial goal of education in grades kingergarten through three. Reading is the most important skill a child will ever learn. Students are expected to be able to read simple sentences and stories by the end of first grade. By third grade they are expected to be able to read almost any kind of text. As well as being able to phonetically decode regularly spelled words, children must also master reading basic, common sight words. Many of the 220 Dolch words cannot be “sounded out” and have to be learned by “sight,” that is memorized. Confidence and reading ability improve when children know the Dolch sight words. The teacher would also add important words to the list during the school year as they arise in literature or other subjects just as one would on a traditional word wall.

The livescribe pen can also be used to retell stories by allowing the students to virtually recall the story while voice recording at the same time. This will allow the student and the teacher to revisit specific events within the story.This very effective tool economizes time for the student and teacher as well as keeping the retell documents in a convenient, organized and assessable format.After being read a story by the teacher, students traditionally need to retell the events to the teacher using pictures. However, using the livescribe pen, students can illustrate what happened at the beginning, middle and end of the story. While they are drawing or after they have finished drawing, students can record themselves retelling the story.

The pen is also a great assessment tool because it allows the teacher to compare past retells to current ones to monitor progress! The teacher could have a file for each student and save the data for regular access.

Following our presentation we will be giving our audience the opportunity to ask various questions regarding our presentation on the livescribe pen and literacy. We will also be encouraging them to take the opportunity to write any potential uses they see for the livescribe pen in literacy on the table cloth as a collaborative exchange of ideas.

We will also post a post-workshop blog about our experiences presenting at the event. Stay tuned...

Please visit the blogs of other two members of my group who also collaborated to make this presentation and blog possible. This is our authentic example of collaborative teaching:


*photo taken from: http://www.lovingthroughliteracy.com/site/index-6.html

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The 21st Century Classroom

What should a 21st century classroom look? This is a question many educators find themselves asking. However, there is no single right or wrong answer. I have spent some time reflecting upon what a 21st century classroom looks like for me, a new teacher being trained in an educational institution with a focus in technological leadership. The following blog post will explore my vision of a 21st century classroom pulling from some of my own beliefs about education, learning and the acquisition of knowledge. It is drawn from my support and belief in the theories of constructivism, progressivism and social-reconstructionism.

I feel that the 21st century classroom should be designed to be student-centred. In other words, the classroom should be designed to meet the needs of students and help facilitate student success. There are many elements to consider when creating a 21st century classroom. These elements essentially can be organized into 4 categories: the academic, the physical, the technological, and the cultural.

The academic elements within the 21st century classroom are intended to create a more interactive, collaborative and student-centred environment. One major academic change that is imperative to the 21st century classroom is student choice. Students should be given some choice in the way they are to present information and what information they choose to further research. This will help to increase student engagement and help to nurture student-specific interests. There is also a major push towards experiential learning (including increased field trips, simulations, and authentic learning experiences). Furthermore, much of the learning that goes on the 21st century classroom should be interactive, inquiry based, promote higher order thinking and include collaboration, sharing of ideas and group discussions.

The changes in the academic elements in the classroom in turn influence the technology present in the classroom. This is not to say one needs technology to construct the 21st century classroom. A teacher can create his/her own 21st century classroom with little to no technology. However, if a teacher has access to technology, the technology can help to facilitate student learning. Some technologies that are currently being used and introduced into the classroom include: computers, laptops, tablets, SMART boards, clickers, Ipads, Ipods, Livescribe pens, front row, document cameras, cellphones/smart phones, wifi, classroom blogs and gaming devices (including wii, xbox, kinect, etc..). These different technological tools can help to engage students, facilitate collaborative learning and provide differentiated instruction.

The physical layout of the classroom can also differ from the traditional classroom. For examples, student desks are arranged in groups (or there are tables rather than desks) with the intention of encouraging collaboration. Many other elements (although not essential) can be incorporated in the 21st century including: swivel chairs, tables on wheels, technology centres (i.e. an Ipod centre), white boards and other forms of technology. Although the 21st century classroom could have a different physical layout than organized in the past, a 21st century teacher will be adaptable and use the elements that he/she already has to create his/her 21st century classroom. Creating a 21st century classroom should not be limited by equipment.

The culture of the 21st century classroom is also essential to the creation and facilitation of 21st century learning. The 21st century classroom encourages the respect and acceptance of others, their perspectives and opinions. It is a collaborative environment in which students are encouraged to share their thoughts, ideas, knowledge and learning with their teacher and peers. It is a safe space for all students. The 21st century classroom is a diverse place. Even with the diversity and differences in the classroom, there is a sincere sense of community and belonging. In addition, it is an innovative classroom that encourages taking risks and trying new things. This quality is also reflected in the academic element of the classroom with the inclusion of creative and innovative lessons from the teacher. It is a student-centred environment that promotes and supports student curiosity and interests. It is a place in which each student can be his/herself while learning, growing and exploring. It is the type of place that will create life-long learners, innovators, and critical thinkers.

*The photos above were taken from:

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Addition Art

For my grade 1 addition culminating activity, students created gingerbread men. Each student was given a gingerbread man template along with red and green “gumdrops” (colourful circles). Each student was given a set number of gumdrops, although the amount of gumdrops varied for each student. I found that through telling students that each of them would receive a different amount gumdrops, students were unable to copy the accompanying math sentence from others. It also allowed me to provide differentiated instruction by giving students more or less gumdrops based on individual abilities.

Students were subsequently required to use their gingerbread man to create a math sentence on a separate piece of paper. They were required to print the number of red gumdrops on their gingerbread man in red crayon and print the number of green gumdrops in green crayon. The students subsequently added the two numbers together. The students really enjoyed completing the activity. It doubled as both a culminating task and an art project to decorate the room!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Welcome to Grade 1

This week I started my placement in a grade 1 classroom specializing in speech and language. The program is essentially an intervention program for students who had difficulty during their kindergarten years. The program focuses closely on language skills through dedicating the majority of the day to improving reading, writing and speech. Although none of the students have been officially diagnosed with a learning disability, all of the students are on I.E.P.s.

 A noteworthy feature of this classroom is the sense of community. The teacher in this classroom goes of her way to encourage classroom sharing. For example, each morning the students sit on the classroom carpet. During this time the teacher asks one student if they have any news they would like to share with his/her classmates. After having shared, the student asks another student if he/she has any morning news to share with the class and so on until all students have had the opportunity to share with the class. The students are excited to share their news with their classmates. Through sharing and listening to the ideas and experiences of others a sense of community is established.

 I feel very lucky to have been placed in such a warm and welcoming classroom. I think that along with helping all of the students learn, I will also learn a great from this experience. In this reciprocal process of learning and teaching, I hope that I will be able learn valuable strategies to help my own students succeed in the future while helping these students acquire the necessary skills to succeed within a grade two classroom in the year to come.