Monthly Archives: May 2016

OISE Library Study Rooms

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by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

I often find myself extremely distract at my apartment, or in a coffee shop when working on assignments. I found that I was most productive when I reserved a study room at the OISE Library.

The OISE Library’s entrance is on the main floor of the OISE building. The first floor is where you find the checkout counter and tons of tables to work on. If you forgot to print off the last minute assignment, there are many computers and a printer to save your day! I know it has saved my day a couple of times. The ESE committee is building a new “seed library” at OISE. Check out their website for updates and what (free!) seeds you could checkout. 

There are tons of study spaces int he OISE Library. But I prefer to reserve a study room instead! These study rooms are reserved for OISE students, staff and alumni only! They are located on the concourse level (basement) or the mezzanine level (second floor). When I study with my friends, we usually book a group room so we can work on our projects together. Some of the group study rooms have a TV monitor so you can hook up your compatible laptop and have everyone see the work.

I prefer the mezzanine study rooms because I usually study by myself and they have single rooms to accommodate it. There is an overhead light, a comfortable chair and an outlet to recharge my electronics. Each study room is locked with a key. Which is great for me since I am notorious to take many washroom or snack breaks. I can just lock up my study room, and go have my break.

I love booking a study room before my afternoon classes or in the evenings because I know that I can focus on my work and set a goal to get work done. There is a 4 hour time limit to the room, and I know I can split my time of work and breaks effectively in that time. It’s like having your own little office at OISE! You can book your study space here. I would recommend booking them in advance, although I have been lucky to get a study room the day of! They are usually booked up during peak seasons at OISE, so don’t wait to get studying!

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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Would I choose OISE Again?

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by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

Ever since accepting and entering the MT program two years ago, I felt like I was moving towards my dream of becoming a teacher. Since the start there has been changes. My graduating class of 2016 started in September 2014. When we entered, we were told we had about 7 months of school (September-April), 4 practicums and the summer in between years off. And thats how the program went. Near the end of the last semester of first year, we were instructed to work on our third chapter over the summer break. There was no formal class or instructional lecture. If you recall from my previous post, that was not the case. I was in Southeast Asia when I received the email that we would be enrolled in an online class and we had to submit the approved third chapter by August 12th. If you want to read more about it, please read that post.

Coming into my second year, we were bombarded by projects, research and on top of that applications to future jobs. It was a stressful time as we tried to navigate our professional lives and our mental sanity. I am not going to lie to you that I did not have a mental breakdown or two. I was overwhelmed by the amount of work and stress that was given to us. (This also cut into the number of posts I produced for the blog. I am sorry that it was not as frequent or as detailed as my first year). All the chaos of my final year made me forget about all the first year MT students I met during orientation.

How were they doing? How were they adjusting to the modified MT program?

Nearing the end of my last practicum, I had a chat with a first year MT student. She started the program in September 2015, and is expected to graduate in June 2017. She told me the summer schedule would take up a majority of the summer. From May 14-June 24, they would be attending two courses and from July 4-August 12 they would be taking two more. They really don’t have a long break or rest period before school starts back in September. You can read more about the schedule change on the MT website.

From the most recent schedule, I can tell you that these are the four courses offered for each division:

Primary/Junior Cohorts Junior/Intermediate Cohorts Intermediate/Senior Cohorts
CTL7009H – Anti-Discriminatory Education                                   
CTL7008H – Introduction to Special Education and Mental Health             
CTL7016H – Integrating Technology into the Classroom: Issues and Activities
CTL7018H -Curriculum and Teaching in Science and Environmental Education  
CTL7008H – Introduction to Special Education and Mental Health             
CTL7009H – Anti-Discriminatory Education                                   
CTL7013H – Curriculum and Teaching in the Arts                             
CTL7016H – Integrating Technology into the Classroom: Issues and Activities
CTL7007H  – Authentic Assessment                                            
CTL7016H – Integrating Technology into the Classroom: Issues and Activities                               
CTL7009H –  Anti-Discriminatory Education   CTL7070H – Issues in Secondary Education 2  or CTL7019H – Supporting English Language Learners *

*I/S Cohorts are only offered one of the two options: CTL7070 or CTL7019

In addition, MT students had to take 2 electives and they would be delivered as night courses during practicum. I cannot confirm if that is true because there is nothing posted detailing this. In my personal opinion, this change has to be the worst one. Practicum is a time where you need to focus on lesson planning, unit plan design, teaching and keeping your sanity. To have a night course on top of everything else is absurd. If I was put in that situation, I would go to class but I could not guarantee the work I would produce to be my best work.

With all the changes, many prospective students asked if I would enrol in the updated MT program. And to be frank, in a heartbeat. Yes it is unfortunate that there has been so many program changes and scheduling conflicts. But the reality is, for me, OISE’s MT program has always been my dream. I have always wanted to be in this program and I have been fixated on being a student here since undergrad. I strongly believe you make the most of your experiences and you have to meet each challenge with grace. It is very easy to become negative and pessimistic about change, especially if you are within the institution while it changes. But the truth is, there is a reason why you chose OISE. Always keep that in mind when you are working your bottom off. It should be your guiding light through hard times.

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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

What OISE Taught Me

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by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

After 2 years, 18 classes and 4 practicums, my brain is exploding with theories, knowledge and practices. I couldn’t have acquired these lessons from a textbook or an article alone. I have to pay homage to my esteemed professors and teachers in the MT program. I have learned so much from their classes, and they taught my classmates and I an important lesson or two on education. I wanted to take this time to thank these wonderful teachers and share the wisdom they have imparted on me.

My teacher….

Taught me…

 Shelley Murphy  (CTL7000H Curriculum and Teaching in Literacy)  Literacy is everywhere. Therefore we must cultivate the identity that every child is a reader and a writer.
 Cathy Marks Krpan (CTL7002H Curriculum and Teaching in Mathematics) Nothing ever goes as planned when you are teaching…adapt!
  Rose Fine-Meyer (CTL7003H Curriculum and Teaching in Social Studies)  Dream big and use materials/manipulatives to make those dreams concrete.
  Angela MacDonald (CTL7006H Reflective Teaching and Inquiry into Research in Education)  Never stop learning and questioning. The moment you stop, you are recreating history.
  Anne-Marie Chudleigh (CTL7011H Child and Adolescent Development)  Never set limits or low expectations for your students. You will be amazed at what they can reach if you don’t.
  Jackie Eldridge (CTL7014H Fundamentals of Teaching)  Classroom management is first. Everything else is secondary.
 Cheryl Madeira (CTL7003H Curriculum and Teaching in Science)  Don’t be afraid! Get in there and get messy.
 Janet Markus (CTL7001H Educational Professionalism, Ethics and the Law) You are a teacher…not the student’s friend. Always bear that in mind with everything you do. 

My teacher….

Taught me…

 Mary Reid (CTL7007H Authentic Assessment)  The results from the assessments you use should also guide your own practice and pedagogy.
 Nicole West-Burns (CTL7009H Anti-discriminatory Education) If you are not working at the intersections, of racism, sexism, ageism etc, you are not fighting effectively. 
 Susan London MacNab (CTL7010H Issues in Numeracy)  Make math engaging for all learners.
 Mary Lynn Tessaro (CTL7010H Issues in Numeracy and Literacy )  Diversify your language curriculum and encourage innovative writers and readers.
 Hilary Inwood (CTL7013H Curriculum and Teaching in Visual Arts and Physical Education)  Express real life experiences through art using eco-friendly materials.
 Dianne Edwards (CTL7013H Curriculum and Teaching in Visual Arts and Physical Education)  Take time to enjoy the music.
 Carolyn Temertzoglu (CTL7013H Curriculum and Teaching in Visual Arts and Physical Education)  Give students a chance to move and groove in their own way.
Angela MacDonald (CTL7015H From Student to Professional)  Take responsibility and initiative to make your dreams come true. No one can make them come true but you.
 Kim MacKinnon (CTL7016H Integrating Technology into the Classroom: Issues and Activities)  If technology does not substitute, augment, modify or replace a task, it has no use in the classroom.
 Veronica Ellis (CTL7008H Introduction to Special Education and Mental Health)  Every child has needs, address them through your approach.

Even though I did have some differences with some professors, each of them have shaped my pedagogy and practice in one way or another. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with me!

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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Fall vs Winter Practicum: My Final Report Cards

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by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

Now that I have completed all four mandatory practicums, I wanted to compare my most recent practicums in the Kindergarten and Grade 2 classrooms. If you want to compare my first two practicums, you can visit my previous post here: Fall vs Winter Practicum: Comparing Experiences

Fall Practicum

Winter Practicum

School Board: York Catholic District School Board

School Board: Toronto Catholic District School Board

Grade: Kindergarten – Primary Division  Grade: 2 – Primary Division
Class size: 30 Class size: 19
Subjects taught: Mathematics, Language Arts, Visual Arts and Science Subjects taught: Science, Mathematics, Language Arts, Visual Arts
Best lesson: Lesson on the colour Red Best lesson: Sorting causes of air and water pollution and finding possible solutions to it
School involvement: Reading buddies with Grade 6 students School involvement: Helping the Grade 3’s scientist in the school, working on the Autism Awareness Dance video, and participated in some online seminars on Growth Mindset
Students were…curious, energetic, enthusiastic Students were...inquisitive, eager to learn, creative
My AT was…innovative, hard-working, dedicated to FDK My AT was…ambitious, passionate and spontaneous 
The staff in my classroom consisted of…1 Kindergarten teacher, 1 Educational Assistant, 1 ECE (but there was a turnover of 3 ECEs during my practicum, 1 physical education teacher and 1 lunch time supervisor The staff in my classroom consisted of…1 grade two teacher, 1 Portuguese teacher, 1 French teacher and 1 physical education teacher
After this practicum, I have learned that… to be mindful that kindergarten students are still very young. They will range in their physical, emotional, spiritual and linguistic abilities. Keep each child’s abilities in mind when designing centres After this practicum, I have learned that… that there is no topic that is too complex or sensitive for a young student to learn about. When approached appropriately, students are capable of being compassionate and empathetic towards social issues
Would I teach this grade again? Yes, definitely!!  Would I teach this grade again? In a heartbeat. 

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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Bringing Social Justice into the Classroom

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by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

My last and final practicum really blew me away. As cliché as it sounds, but its like the practicum gods “saved the best for last.” One my field experience day, the students gathered to tell me about their recent project. And let me just spoil it for you…I was amazed.

So most of my students live or play near park called Campbell Park. Metrolinx, a local transit company, has decided to build a train line through that park. Many of the students saw the news and did not like the idea that their park may be shut down during construction and that half of the park may be under the bridge infrastructure. Instead of a bridge, students suggested to build a tunnel in the park. My AT guided the students inquiry into this social justice issue. When I was visiting on my field experience day, the students were about to survey some of the classes to see if they knew that Metrolinx were building a bridge in their park. They developed a speech, and questions to ask their peers. They really amazed me how well they could articulate their problem and research if their peers knew about this social justice issue in their community.

Here is a clip of them surveying a neighbouring class

Students took the data and compiled the numbers. They represented it in t-charts and bar graphs and figured out what all the data meant. The students even created a huge buzz that we had our own town hall meeting in our classroom. A Metrolinx official, parents and teachers came in to hear our students’ concerns and answer any questions that we had. In the end, the Metrolinx official was not “convinced” to build a tunnel even though our students were able to debate and provide detailed answers.

I was able to bring in small conversations of social justice during my Air and Water unit for science. We learned how air and water pollution affect the water cycle and inquired how they could be agents of change. We sorted ideas that could be done in the classroom, in the community and in the global community. Some ideas were as follows

  • Create posters for recycling, garbage and compost
  • Write letters to their parents to help conserve water
  • Planting a garden to help create more clean air
  • Make a movie about factories
  • Clean up the trash in our community

I also read the book, “If Kids Ran the World,” and discussed what they would change if they were given the power to change the world. It helped children become agents of change and feel empowered to take social action in their community.

There are different approaches to bringing social justice in the classroom. It really amazed me that my young students were able to have these conversations at a young age. Never limit what your students study because they are able to engage in social justice issues if you give them the opportunity to.

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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Using Social Media and Applications in Elementary Classrooms

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by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

Last year, I wrote a post about my recommended Literacy and Mathematics applications. Since then, my list of applications has expanded and I have added a few websites to it as well. I wanted to share them with you because I used them all the time in my classrooms and I found them extremely helpful in my elementary classrooms. Best of all they are all free!!

  • Twitter – I created a teacher account when I entered my last practicum. My last two practicum teachers had twitter accounts for their classrooms to live update what the students were learning in school. We were able to be part of conversations using hashtags, and we could even reach out to community networks or resources by tweeting out to them. It helped students send their questions out to the world in hopes of a response back to them
  • Sesame Snap and See-Saw- Both are applications which creates a collection of student work, whether it is a picture, video or audio file. I used Sesame Snap with my grade 2’s. The program generated a class list of QR codes. Each student was able to login to their account by holding the iPad’s camera in front of their code. We would often ask students record their responses to a question or inquiries using the video function. I used See-Saw with my kindergarten students. It was easy to import any picture or video from the camera roll. The application took too long to snap the picture or start recording when you pushed the button. If there were multiple kids working on a project, you could tag each of their profiles and link them to the project. Also this application enabled commenting, so parents and families could write their responses to the projects. Both are great applications, Sesame Snap is more for students in Grade 2-6, because they need to have the autonomy and technological skill to do it themselves. See-Saw is great for kindergarten to Grade 1!
  • Go Noodle – I can’t believe I haven’t talked about this gold mine before! Go Noodle is an interactive website that has preset motion, dance or meditation activities. They are great for kindergarten-Grade 6 students, especially when its indoor recess or when students need a brain break. Some activities are fun and interactive when students need to get their jiggles out. Or there are some calming, refocusing activities to help students prepare for a test or when they come in from a chaotic recess break. I can’t help myself from following along when I put it on! Its addictive how good Go Noodle is!
  • Tumblr – One of my ATs created a class blog to create galleries of pictures, showcase projects students have been working on but more importantly to moderate Youtube videos for her students to watch. With the new design of the youtube site, there are advertisements and  other videos flashing all over the page. It becomes very distracting for students who have trouble focusing. Therefore putting it on the tumblr site first, it allows the students to only view that one video and not stray to another.

I hope these websites and applications help you in your classrooms! Let me know if they helped or if you have any new websites or applications I should check out!

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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca