Monthly Archives: December 2015

Master of Teaching Schedule Change

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

Hello everyone. I have received numerous emails, comments and questions about the Master of Teaching schedule change for incoming students. Please remember that I am just a student in the “old program” and my schedule is different. The following is the potential schedule for the Spring/Summer courses. The dates may change but the length of time are accurate:

Intercession: May 14 – June 24
Tuesdays & Thursdays
9 – 12, 1-4

Summer: July 4 – August 12
Tuesdays & Thursdays
9 – 12, 1-4

I know that the summer classes impede on some of the best features of summer: working, travelling or spending time with loved ones. Trust me, I know how you are feeling since I was in a foreign country when I was assigned to complete my third chapter. If you want to read how I juggled that process, read my post here: Schools (not) out for summer

As of December 2015, this is schedule that has been released. Keep checking back in the new year as I will try and update you with the updated schedule. I hope 2015 was a great year for all of you! Cheers to the new year!

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CIE provides lots of help for international students at OISE

Sheldon Zian
by Zian Zhang(Anne)
Master of Education student

There are many international students like me at OISE. As an international student, I know that some problems will come to us when we are in a new place. Last August, when I first came to Toronto, I knew nobody here. I could not understand well in class. But now, I have many good friends and OISE hired me as Student Ambassador. In the process of being familiar to the new environment, CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE (CIE) helped me a lot. CIE provides lots of help for international students. This is CIE website: You can find a lot of useful information on it.

CIE International Transition Advisor Erika Bailey will be at OISE 4-455 on Mondays 11:30-1:30. If you have some problems, you can come to talk with her. She is a very nice lady. Last week, we had a great conversation. I asked some questions such as work permit application and housing service. Erika gave me many suggestions. I also asked her which questions OISE international students asked her most. She told me that many students concerned about language. Students thought that they did not have the ability to speak fluent English. Some of them were afraid that other classmates would find them boring. Because they spoke too slow and could not manage, could not understand well. Several students said, “ I was thinking if others felt bored when I was speaking in class”. Erika told these students that they should have the courage to speak out. Students could not spend a lot of time reading. English is a living language. Students should open their mouths to use it. Because when you go for a job interview or attend a party, you should speak with people. Erika also told them that maybe nobody said that they did not want to listen when you spoke. If you notice people saying that, this is not your problem. That is the problem they have. You do not need to accept it. Let it go.

I really agree with Erika. I think everyone will meet some negatives in life. You should learn to ignore those judges and negatives. I even saw some words on Instagram: When someone talks behind your back, just let them be. There is always a reason why they are behind. For me, I do not like this kind of growing up. But this is growing up. Many times, we will grow up from others’ mistakes to become a better me.

When I speak with some native English speakers such as OISE professors and students, I also feel nervous. I also worry if they would be angry when I could not express my feelings well. But they never laugh at me. They never make me feel I am boring. In contrast, they listen to me with patience and encourage me to speak. I always believe that OISE is a big gift for me. Because in this building, I meet lots of great people and learn a lot from them. I think everyone would make mistakes. But these mistakes would help us go ahead. What we should do is to try our best to live a happy life. Do good things. Be a bright person.

From next week, OISE will have two weeks’ break. Christmas is coming. Enjoy your time in the holiday. See you in the new year:)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Fall Practicum Report 3: Let’s Take a Break

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

Practicum is an exciting, crazy and tiresome time. Four weeks are jam packed with lesson planning, discussions and long school days. During practicum preparation, they advise you to go to school at least 30 minutes before school starts. That way you can touch base with your AT and prepare to conquer the day. But, what they don’t tell you is when you should leave school. Obviously each class is different, and the needs are different. For my first two practicums, I left 30 minutes after the bell rang. I used to stay back, pick my AT’s brain on the day’s events and prepare for my upcoming lessons.

This practicum was a little different. I did all the said things above, but I spent a lot of time with classroom preparation. I used any spare moment to prepare my documentation panels, gather materials for my lessons or rummage through the cupboards looking for ideas. I tried to stay late and help my AT as much as possible. I’ve never met a teacher more dedicated to the atmosphere and feeling of their classroom. She was so dedicated that she often stayed late into the night. My school ended at 3:30 pm and I think the latest I stayed was 5:00 pm. There are only moments of down time during the day, that any moment of preparation is coveted.

With all that being said, this practicum was absolutely exhausting. I would come home from school and had to actively keep myself awake during lesson planning. All the hard work and exertion began to take a toll on my body. During the last week I caught a head cold and felt like my body was shutting down. I tried to be a trooper and stick it out for my last week. But by the last day I was losing my voice, I was drowsy and I was not myself. I ended up finishing my practicum, and went home to celebrate by falling asleep for 18 hours.

If you have been following my posts since last year, you will know that my last day in the classroom is one of my favourite days. It was unfortunate that I was not feeling good and not feeling like myself. But I want to put this out here as a reminder for Teacher Candidates to take care of yourselves during practicum! We are never advised on how crucial one’s mental health and well being is doing practicum. Yes it is a stressful and crazy time. But if you don’t take time for yourself you will burn out, like I did. Here are some of the tips I wish I followed…but will definitely follow next practicum:

  • Eat well and take your vitamins! It could be tempting to eat out, but try and eat good food and nourish your body.
  • Exercise as often as you can. I thought I would have gone to yoga at least twice a week during practicum. I went a total of 0 times….
  • Sleep! I know it may be hard to get a good nights sleep especially with late night lesson planning. But try and get a good amount each night.
  • Drink your liquids. Yes, coffee is life. As a former barista, I know coffee is life. But make sure you are staying hydrated and drinking lots of water.
  • Be gentle with yourself. Take a break, don’t take practicum too seriously and try and remember that you are practice teaching. Not everything is going to be perfect. So accept practicum with its all its successes and all of its failures, and move on.

To read more about the better parts to my last day of practicum, read it here.

Are you curious about the OISE student experience? Contact me:


Fall Practicum Report 2: Literacy is Everywhere!

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student


As I mentioned in my last blog post, I introduced each colour by reading a book and engaged in a critical discussion about the themes or the colour representation. I wanted to give you my book list and some guiding questions that I used.

Colour Inquiry



Background and Guiding questions

Red Red is Best  Kathy Stinson This story follows a little girl’s love for red. A good book to talk about feelings and how colours can make us feel good. I used a clip of “Anger” from Inside Out, to demonstrate that colours can make us feel different emotions.

  1.  How does red make the little girl feel?
  2. What items were red?
Orange Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins  Dianne Ochiltree We used this book on “Orange and Black” spirit day. A simple book that can be used to emphasize counting and one-to-one correspondence.

  1. Can you find more orange items in the book?
  2. Is there any orange items in the classroom?
Yellow Girl on the yellow giraffe  Ronald Himler This book can be used to enter into a discussion about poverty and living conditions. It is very simple, so you may need to read it a couple of times in order for students to pick up on it.

  1. Why did the girl love her yellow giraffe?
  2. Was the giraffe real? How do you know?
Green Little yellow and little blue  Leo Lionni  An awesome book to introduce mixing colours. Also, has an underlying message about friendship and families.

  1. What happened when little yellow and little blue played together?
  2. How did they turn back to their original colour.
Blue Red: a crayon’s story  Michael Hall This is a great book to have students make predictions with. The main character is a red crayon who is actually a blue crayon! Write your students predictions before reading, and come back to it after!

  1. What do you think this book is about? Why do you think that..?
  2. Why was everyone confused with the Red crayon?
  3. What happened in the end?
Purple Mix it up!  Herve Tullet  This is the book that helped my students learn about mixing colours. I did the colour volcanos after reading the book so I could reinforce the ideas.

  1. What happens when you mix…
    Red and Blue?
    Red and Yellow?
    Yellow and Blue?
  2. If I wanted a lighter colour, what colour do i add to it?
  3. If I wanted a darker colour, what colour do I add to it?
White and Brown White rabbits color book  Alan Baker Another great book to reinforce mixing colours. Also it helps children learn that white helps keep colours vibrant. I created a bunch of white bunnies on chart paper prior to the lesson and invited students to come up and colour as we wen
t along. (Spoiler alert, the white rabbit turns brown in the end!)

  1.  If the bunny was dipped in yellow and red paint, what colour would it be in the end?
  2. If the bunny was dipped in yellow and blue paint, what colour would it be in the end?
  3. If the bunny was dipped in blue and red paint, what colour would it be in the end?
  4. What colour was the bunny in the end?
Black and Grey The black book of Colours  Menena Cottin This wonderful book gives you an idea how a person without sight sees colour. All the pages are black, and the pictures are raised off of the page just like braille. This story helps children understand what colours look like if you were blind.

  1. What did the story say yellow felt like?
  2. What did the story say red felt like?
  3. What did the story say blue was like?
How colour make us feel My Many Coloured Days  Dr. Seuss This is one of Dr. Seuss’ hidden gems! This book helps give examples of how colours can make you feel. This was a great lesson near the end of the inquiry, to wrap up the concepts we spoke about in the Red lesson

  1. What colours make you feel good?
  2. What colours make you feel mad?
  3. What colours make you feel sad?
Skin colour Skin again

The Colors of Us

Bell Hooks

Karen Katz

These two books are great at introducing different skin colours and addressing some stereotypes that people may have about skin colours. I was unable to get the Colors of Us on loan from the library, so I found a youtube video that reads it outloud! Find it here!

  1. Look at your friends on the left and right, do you guys have the same skin colour?
  2. Some people may use the “peach” colour to colour themselves. Do you use the peach colour too? Why or why not?


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Fall Practicum Report 1: Inquiry Without Borders

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

Hey guys. I know its been a while! I finished my 4 week practicum block on November 20th, and then I started my last 3 weeks of the fall semester on November 23rd! If you have read my other blog post, you will know that I was sick the last couple of days of practicum. So I was not a happy camper going back to school exhausted and sick 🙁

But enough of my sick self, and lets talk about my practicum. I was in a Full Day Kindergarten class in York Region. My AT was amazing! This was the first time I saw and was apart of an inquiry and play based model She really let the students’ inquires guide the discussions, activities and interactions in the class.

During my first experience day, my AT asked if I could teach a colour unit with the class. She let me create my own unit, and lent me some resources to use. I was excited as it was my first inquiry unit! But then again, it was my first inquiry unit! I had no idea how to implement anything…so I turned to a teacher’s best friend, Pinterest!

After sifting through an overwhelming amount of “pins,” I realized that there had to be some structure to the inquiry unit. So I decided to to have a  general discussion about colours on the first day and then focus on a colour a day until the end of the inquiry. Before we began our colour inquiry of the day, I read a book to set create a focus for the day. I have a detailed book list in this blog post here.

I didn’t want to just read the book and have the students be on there way. I wanted to incorporate a variety of activities to accompany the colour of the day too.  I had to think of flexible and differentiated ways to engage my young learners. In doing this I was able to engage in cross-curricular subjects or create lessons for subjects I was not familiar with! I wanted to share some of my activities that are simple, meaningful and exciting to my students.


  • Students were able to sort various classroom materials by colour. We sorted legos, coloured letters, jewels, and much more
  • Students made colour patterns. I cut up strips of chart grid paper and had students create their own pattern using colours. I clipped the strips onto clipboards so the strips did not slip around when they coloured. If you decide to do this, try and have students vocalize the colours as they colour the squares. It will help them remain focused and on task.
  • Created different patterns using link cubes.

I have done math in my previous practicums but I was so excited to engage students in doing coloured math lessons! They were having so much fun and didn’t know they were learning math.


  • We experimented and made colour volcanos from this page. The kids loved it, especially with the overflow of liquids! We co-created the chart paper together. We identified the materials, our predictions and wrote down what the two colours made. I had two students come up and help me pour the coloured vinegars together. They loved that part and seeing the overflow!!  If you decide to do this experiment, make the coloured vinegar as concentrated as possible. Like put a lot of food colouring in there! I only used 8 drops per colour and the colour pay off wasn’t that great.
  • We tried to make snow slime.…and it was only great to play with for one day. The students had a lot of fun to make it, especially sprinkling the glitter in! This recipe was alright, but I don’t think I put enough borax in there. I will try and experiment with another recipe next time

I have never been interested in science, and I really didn’t like how it was taught when I was in school. Even though these two activities did not pan out the way I expected it to, I think they were a great start to my future years of teaching science.


  • I cut up construction paper and wrote out the letters, in upper case and lower case. I had students help me construct the word on

    the board after I read the book. I also had additional letter cut outs on the literacy table.
  • Students used white boards to try and practiced writing the colour of the day.
  • I left the coloured books out on a table
    in the classroom. I didn’t tell the students I left them there. I wanted them to “discover” and read the book independently.

I had to create different activities as my students had a range of needs and strengths. For those who couldn’t write their letters, I had the letter cut outs so they could at least arrange the letters to form the word. For those who were interested in reading, I had the books out for them to look at without any judgment.

Social Studies and Socio-Emotional Development

  • We engaged in discussions about different skin colours and how each person’s skin colour tells us a story about our history and family. I started this discussion by using two books, “The Colours of Us” by Karen Katz and “Skin again” by Bell Hooks
  • We talked about how colours make us feel. The students often said that their favourite colour made them feel happy. So when the students drew themselves, using one colour, they often said their favourite colour makes them feel good or happy.

Students have a profound way of communicating themselves, and these lessons were no exception to that fact. Never underestimate a child’s power to connect and express their feelings about themselves or their global community.

Fine-motor Development

  • My AT found these long foamies at the dollar store. She thought these would be great for students to cut out and exercise their fine motor abilities. They surprisingly had so much fun doing it! After we cut them up, we put them in our sensory bin and had students sort them amongst the other colours. For even more fine motor development, students could use tongs and have them pick them up!

This is a crucial area that needs developing, especially in the early years. For some of my students, they couldn’t even hold a pencil correctly. This task helped them gain control in their muscles and move their fingers accordingly.

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