Thank your teachers

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Homework Help through TVOntario

Ontario - Ministry Of Education (opens in a new window)

Homework Help is funded by the Ontario government and administered by TVO's Independent Learning Centre.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The marketing of school textbooks

In Ontario we have Circular 14, which lists textbooks that are permitted to be purchased by teachers. The math textbooks have been terribly contentious.

The 'new math' we've come to abhor had to be supplemented by the old exercises in the old books, which dated from the 80s.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, left, and Arkady R. Rotenberg, the chairman of a publishing house that has benefited from government maneuvers. Mr. Rotenberg, a judo sparring partner from Mr. Putin's youth, has gone from a modest trader to a billionaire during Mr. Putin's tenure.


Putin's Friend Profits in Purge of Schoolbooks


When the number of approved textbooks for Russia's 14 million schoolchildren was slashed by more than half, one publisher with close ties to President Vladimir V. Putin profited handsomely.

The question for Microsoft, as with many American companies doing business in Mr. Putin’s Russia, is whether the potential profits outweigh the risk. United States law forbids American companies from doing business with companies majority-owned or controlled by sanctioned people like Mr. Rotenberg.

One of the colorful math textbooks published by a decorated educator, Lyudmila G. Peterson, was rejected for using characters from popular Western children’s stories, like Snow White’s seven dwarfs.CreditTop, James Hill for The New York Times

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How to Talk to Your Kids About the Ottawa Shooting

A young reserve solider was shot and killed in our capital city of Ottawa by a gunman. Most of us are still reeling from this news and trying to make sense of what has happened today. But we also need to respond to our young people and help them unde...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why aren't we teaching multiplication tables?

It's not so much that we don't teach it, they don't practice it. Then there are the awful 'new math' text books, whereby kids use Discovery Learning to figure out that there ARE things like time saving times tables.

 I had strategies, despite the fact that 'kill and drill' were supposed to be passé.

Of course, the issue is with the text books, which want us to use the discovery method of learning that it is easier to memorize them. I didn't like letting them use calculators. That's just lazy and time consuming.

The kids most at risk won't learn them without some intervention. That was made fun in my classrooms.
I created a chart, each student had the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of each number.
Week one, we would begin with the 2's.
Each student would come up to the front of the room, bounce a basketball and recite 2, 4, 6, 8, and once done, they would get a star.
The ball kept them going, at a predictable rate of speed. If they couldn't keep up, they would sit down, and the next student would try. They could go to the end of the line.
The beauty of this was that if a kid wasn't ready, they would hear more of their peers reciting it, and would often learn it from simply listening.
Week 3, the keeners would want to go to the 3 times tables.
I taught the kids the trick with the 9 times tables. They thought that was so cool!

Ontario Curriculum:

Grade 2: Number Sense and Numeration

Overall Expectations By the end of Grade 2, students will: • read, represent, compare, and order whole numbers to 100, and use concrete materials to represent fractions and money amounts to 100¢; • demonstrate an understanding of magnitude by counting forward to 200 and backwards from 50, using multiples of various numbers as starting points;

Grade 3: Number Sense and Numeration

Overall Expectations By the end of Grade 3, students will: • read, represent, compare, and order whole numbers to 1000, and use concrete materials to represent fractions and money amounts to $10; • demonstrate an understanding of magnitude by counting forward and backwards by various numbers and from various starting points; • solve problems involving the addition and subtraction of single- and multi-digit whole numbers, using a variety of strategies, and demonstrate an understanding of multiplication and division.
– multiply to 7 x 7 and divide to 49 ÷ 7, using a variety of mental strategies (e.g., doubles, doubles plus another set, skip

Grade 4

– multiply to 9 x 9 and divide to 81 ÷ 9, using a variety of mental strategies (e.g., doubles, doubles plus another set, skip

Friday, September 12, 2014

25 Ways To Ask Your Kids 'So How Was School Today?'

This is a great article!

25 Ways To Ask Your Kids 'So How Was School Today?' Without Asking Them 
'So How Was School Today?'
As my kids get older, I know I am going to have to work harder and harder to stay engaged with them -- but I know it's going to be worth the work....
1. What was the best thing that happened at school today? (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)
2. Tell me something that made you laugh today.
3. If you could choose, who would you like to sit by in class? (Who would you NOT want to sit by in class? Why?)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Teachers on strike in British Columbia

The Vancouver School Board has quietly settled a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that raised questions about the role class size and composition — key issues in the ongoing teachers' strike — might have played in an incident that left a Grade 5 student brain damaged.

This is what happens in very large classes with special needs students. A child is not getting immediate help. The teacher doesn't know her students well. The article states that this large, heavily loaded class, had between 28 and 30 students, three had autism, and one or two had severe learning disabilities.

Class size, class composition and support for special needs students are the barriers to negotiations between teachers and the B.C. government. They tried to take this away in the past, yet teacher negotiate for a maximum class size in collective agreement, giving up higher pay in lieu.

The B.C. government has been charged and convicted of bad-faith bargaining.

The B.C. school board is compensating the parents, who now need day care, by sending them $40 per day per child. Some parents are donating the money to the union, some to individual teachers who consistently spend their own money topping up thin classroom budgets.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Full-day Kindergarten: an ill-thought out plan

My granddaughter's class has 33 children in a room that isn't big enough. There isn't enough room for the kids to all go to the cubbies at the same time. This will impact on the school day.

I wonder what the building code says. The kids don't all fit into the cubby area at one time. They'll have to get ready to go home in waves. I shudder to think about the stress of lockdown practices, or fire drills, when two adults usher 33 kids out the door in the minute and a half the fire marshalls require.

We cannot afford this type of day care. Nor is it the best plan for our 3 and -year-olds.
Day Care Centres are going to close.
The social and emotional pressures are high in crowded classrooms.

Here are the stats:

 Ontario has staked its reputation on the success of the program, even though critics have characterized it as an expensive form of government-subsidized daycare that the Liberals, facing a $12.5-billion deficit.

  • 640 kindergarten classrooms, or 8 %, had more than 30 children in the past academic year, 
  • One SK classroom at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board had 40 children. The board told The Globe that it ended up dividing the class. 
  • the government is spending more than $1.45-billion in capital costs to expand and retrofit schools, on top of millions in operating dollars.
Pre-school 'worksheets'
this is NOT learning
 In letters to ministry officials, parents described classrooms as “understaffed daycares,” “chaotic,” “overcrowded” and “hostile” environments for learning. One parent opted to put a child in a daycare kindergarten program, which has a lower student-teacher ratio (legislated at 1:8). Another parent kept her four-year-old daughter out of school.

This is art: doing a free drawing.
This is representation of an experience.
This is pre-reading: having a scribe to write your story.

Full steam ahead for full day kindergarten 

September 10, 2014 

The cost of all full day kindergarten projects for this implementation came to $4,100,332, which was a grant allocation from the Ontario Ministry of Education.
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