Tag Archives: caitlin

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?


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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

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.

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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Master of Teaching Vocabulary

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching Student

Greetings Blog-o-sphere. When writing my last post, I realized that I throw around acronyms or words around that many of you may not know. It’s like we have a specific MT vocabulary. So I decided that I would clarify some words and provide my definitions for them. So here we go!

Teacher Candidate (TC)- That’s what we call the students in the MT program, or in any education program for that matter. We haven’t earned our stripes as Teachers yet but we are suitable candidates for the job! In practicum you will be probably introduced as a TC or Student Teacher by your AT.

Cohort-These are the other TCs you will be studying with for the next 2 years of the program. The MT program is huge that all TCs are separated into specific groups or cohorts by their grade level. For example, I am in PJ 161, which means I can teach Primary/Junior. 161 is our cohort number.

25/26 of my cohort friends with some of our loved ones at our Holiday Party

Primary Division-Kindergarten to Grade 3

Junior Division- Grade4-6

Intermediate Division-Grade 7-12

Practicum-The period of practice teaching in a classroom/learning environment. Each TC should get a different practicum site every fall and winter, and hopefully in a different division. For example, I had a Grade 3 class in the fall (primary) and I am currently in a Grade 6 class in the winter (junior).

The layout of my Grade 3 class for my first practicum.



Before school starts, the Practicum Team asks which school boards you would prefer to work in. You are asked to give three options. It is likely that you will receive your first option, but I know of some people getting their second instead. You are unable to pick which school you want to teach at, just the specific board. The school boards have to be located in the GTA.

Field Experience Days-These are two or three days selected by the MT program for you to go and observe your practicum classroom. You are not required to teach, but if you are like me you can’t help yourself. I often spend the morning to familiarize myself with the classroom routine and strategies used by the AT. Then in the afternoon, I try and walk around the classroom and help out with the lessons.

Associate Teacher (AT)-This is your mentor teacher in the classroom. They should be the person you turn to for support and guidance when you are in practicum. They also evaluate mid-way through and at the end of your practicum. The final evaluations become attached to your Master’s transcripts, so when you apply for teaching positions, school boards and employers will have access to them.

Educational Assistant (EA)-EA’s are in the classroom to help students who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Individualized Program Plan (IPP). In my last placement, I had an EA in my class and she brought so much life into the classroom. She was like our little ray of sunshine.

Faculty Advisor-This is an OISE MT professor who comes to supervise you during practicum. They visit you twice, once in the first two weeks and once in the last two weeks. If there are any issues you don’t feel comfortable telling your AT, you should seek guidance from the Faculty Advisor

I hope this cleared up any confusion you may have! Let me know if you need further clarification on any of the terms.

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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Preparing for My Winter Practicum

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student


Its almost that time of the year and I’m so excited! And no, I’m not talking about Valentine’s Day or the Lunar New Year but the start of Winter Practicum!

Before practicum starts on Feb 18, I am given 2 Field Experience Days to go in, meet my class and take some notes. On my first Field Experience Day I went to meet my class. I am teaching Grade 6 and there are 31 students in the class! And to my surprise, one of my cousins is in my class! What a crazy first day to learn all those wonderful facts!

Knowing the expectations of practicum, I took the initiative to ask my AT a lot of questions about the classroom, strategies she uses and her long-term plans for the class. We also set the expectations of my lesson plans and what I will be teaching during practicum. I am so excited for the lessons I am responsible for, so I decided to share it with you!

1. Math! I am given the challenge to teach math again. I am quite nervous but I am also optimistic that I can do this! I don’t know what unit I am teaching just yet, but on Friday for my second Field Experience Day I will be given the student textbook, workbook and teacher’s resource guide to prepare myself.

2. Speeches/Oral Presentations. I mentioned in my last practicum posts that I helped my Grade 3’s with their oral presentations skills. I am excited to implement the strategies that I used with my Grade 6’s.

3. Religion and Art lessons. My AT told me that she integrates Religion and Art often, and I could not be more excited to do some lessons. I recently finished my Catholic Education course, which is the introductory course that allows TC’s to teach in Catholic school. And I have always been creative, so I am excited to mesh the two together.

I’m sure I will be responsible for more lesson plans, and I will be sure to update you. I expect this practicum will be different than my last practicum when I had 19 students in my Grade 3 class. But I am up for the challenge! LETS GET THIS DONE!

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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

January Recap from a Master of Teaching Point of View

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

Hi blog-o-sphere! Its the beginning of February and you know what that means…its time for my monthly recap.

A lot happened during January…and by that I mean a lot of assignments! Most of my classes are full year classes, and a bunch of assignments were due this month! I’ve never really talked about my assignments, mostly because they are reflective pieces and I usually share my exciting reflective pieces here!

But I decided to shake it up this month and give you a breakdown of the assignments I have handed in or are working on before practicum starts! Most of the emails I get is about the workload, so I want to share with you what your January might look like if you are an MT student!

I’ve broken it down by class, so here we go…


  • Facilitation- Each student is responsible to facilitate a discussion on the readings for the week. I presented a facilitation on critical literacy. Many of the books I mentioned in my library post are books I used for this facilitation. 2 great things came out of this assignment: I got to develop a deeper understanding on critical literacy and I added some new books to my wish list! (I mentioned some of these books in my blogpost here!)
  • End of term task- During practicum, I need to find examples of literacy in the classroom that changed or added to my pedagogy on literacy. I have a feeling on what I will be looking for, especially with the expectations my new AT has set for me…(if you are interested in learning what these expectations are click here!)


  • Professional Ethics Mind Map- as a group, we had to research one article about a teacher crossing professional boundaries and violating our professional standard of ethics. Once we have found it, we had to determine which standards they have broken and justify if the disciplinary action they were given was just. It was interesting to hear about the different cases. This assignment helped ground me and realize that yes, there is fun to be had on the job but if there is ever a slip up, the consequences are huge!
  • Field trip-in pairs, we get to plan out a field trip and go on it! But before we can, we need to do some research, write a proposal, look at the logistics, arrange transportation and create a backup plan. I don’t have a lot of information of this assignment yet, but I am excited to plan and go on a field trip!


  • Math lesson- we arranged ourselves in groups for our math lesson. In the fall, we began to  plan a lesson for 4 students. We had to follow the Ontario Math curriculum, and focus on one strand (specific) expectation. My group got grade 3 data management. So we created a coffeeshop for our lesson! We had a menu board with items for the students to buy and we were brave enough to give the students real money to use. (Don’t worry, we set the expectations before bringing the money out!) We had students figure out what they wanted to buy from the coffee shop, and determine how much money they would need. We then extended the task by asking them to create different variations of their total. It was a huge success! I wish we could have done the lesson with more students!
  • Reflection- Now, I need to start working on my reflection for that lesson. I need to address some observations I had during the lesson, expand on it with theory and reflect on the whole lesson. I can’t wait to get this reflection done and explain all the highlights from the lesson.


  • Unit Plans- for both classes, Social Studies and Science I have to design a whole unit plan! Thankfully I am able to complete the project with a partner (Social Studies) or a group of 4 (Science). Both unit plans must include 2 full lesson plans, a calendar, the big ideas and curriculum expectations.
  • Museum assignment- for Social Studies, we were asked to go to either the ROM or the Bata Shoe Museum and sketch 3 artifacts. We then had to relate how we would use it in the classroom, or how we would introduce the artifact on a trip to the Museum. I am a huge nerd of museums, so I was so excited to do this assignment. I was one of those people who sat in front of the artifact…so if you saw me do that…I apologize..
  • Current Event Presentation- in groups of 4, we had to present a current event topic, find how we could teach about this current event in school, link it to a curriculum expectation and reflect why its so important. We chose to address homelessness in Toronto and linked it to the Grade 5 Social Studies expectations.


  • Literature Review-Part of the major research paper for my masters is the literature review. And let me tell you what I have realized when writing this. In undergrad, I wrote literature reviews to satisfy course requirements and was often bored because I was limited to a topic. But this literature review is different. Its personal and its all the information I need to know to better understand my research questions. I found myself looking for more information each day, which was good if I had months to write it, but bad since I only had 3 weeks to write it.
  • Critical Peer Review-Once my literature review is submitted, my professor reads it and also another student in the class does too. I read my partner’s work and produce a review of what I thought of their work. I synthesize the strengths, areas of improvement, and provide recommendations for their next draft. I really like this assignment as I get to learn about my peers’ research paper and I get to compare the structure of my paper to theirs.
  • Facilitation-similar to the literacy facilitation, I guide a discussion on the readings that week and have my group members dig deeper into the material. Often the facilitator relates the article back to our teaching pedagogy or research paper so we can develop our “theory to practice” skills.


  • Creativity assignment- I spoke about my creativity assignment in this blog post. Check out my full post here
  • Portfolio- We get to design our teaching portfolio that we will carry throughout our careers. We can insert lesson plans, code of ethics, observations and assignments that best represent our educational pedagogy and disposition. I haven’t completed this assignment yet, but once I do, I will post it for you guys to see!

I hope this gives you a glimpse into the variety of assignments you can expect when you enrol into the MT program. If you need any clarification on anything, let me know!

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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Promoting Children’s Literacy: Having Fun Isn’t Hard, When You Have Your Own Library


by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

Oh I bet I fooled you with my deceiving title! Arthur was my favourite children’s show and book series growing up. If anyone would ever mention the library in my teens, I would instantly start singing the library card song.

But I am not here to tell you about our amazing OISE Library.(I really should have made a post on the library since I have spent most of my days in countless library rooms this past week. I may crack one day and write a post of how to productively write papers and assignments in the library. I think I have finally found a formula that works for me.

I am here to tell you about my personal library! Over the past few months, I have been to my fair share of conferences, workshops, book stores and classes. I have acquired some amazing books that I would love to share with you guys. As a teacher, there is nothing more exciting than bringing a really good book into the classroom and presenting a read aloud. (Yes, teachers are still doing the traditional read alouds! Where a teacher sits in front of the body of students, and reads the book out loud. I did it all the time with my grade 3’s)

They are amazing mental sets or concluding activities for lesson plans. These are just a few that I have in my personal library or some that I have read and seriously debated to buy…But then again, a girl has to eat, and as delicious and enticing as these books are…I can’t have them all..

1. Title: Every Day is Malala Day
Author: Plan International

Malala is a huge role model to me. She is what inspired me to write my research paper on children’s rights. She is an advocate for so many children, especially girls! She is able to articulate her stance on children’s rights with passion and energy, while standing next to stiff UN officials. You go Malala!

MT Course Connection: CTL7000H Literacy,  CTL7003H Social Studies

2. Title: If Kids Ran the World
Author: Leo and Diane Dillon

Leo and Diane create a fictional world where kids ran the world, enforced various laws and created a society fit for everyone. Sadly, it is a made up world but its a great entry point to discuss how kids can actually make a change in their community, and then the world. Empowering children with the knowledge and attitude that they are able to make a difference, drives them to achieve greatness and develop empathy for others.

MT Course Connection: CTL7000H Literacy,  CTL7003H Social Studies, CTL7014H Fundamentals of Teaching

 3. Title: Baseball saved us
Author: Ken Mochizuki

This book is about a Japanese boy imprisioned in a concentration camp. To make their lives more tolerable, the boy’s father creates 2 baseball teams and a baseball field. The boy discovers his love of the sport, while noticing the difference in attitudes of the inmates when they are joined together for a common goal.

MT Course Connection: CTL7000H Literacy,  CTL7003H Social Studies, CTL7001H Educational Professionalism, Ethics and Law

4. Title: Voices in the Park
Author: Anthony Browne

I was first introduced to this book in my literacy class with Shelly Murphy. The plot line is simple. Its four different characters going to the park and viewing their experiences in four different ways. It is a great entry book for discussion on social justice issues like: capitalism, poverty, gender stereotypes and privilege. It is also a great book to discuss point of view and perspective taking in critical literacy.

MT Course Connection: CTL7000H Literacy,  CTL7003H Social Studies

5. Title: Fly away home
Author: Eve Bunting

This book is about a boy and his father living in an airport because they are homeless and can’t afford living in the city. The boy and his father move around the airport so they don’t get caught by security. They sleep in various parts of the airport, exchange carts for money and use the washrooms to clean up. Ultimately this is a book of remaining hopeful and positive.

MT Course Connection: CTL7000H Literacy,  CTL7003H Social Studies

6. Title: Spork
Author: Kyo Maclear

In a cluttered kitchen, the lonely Spork tries to find where he fits in. A touching tale about finding yourself, and realizing that sometimes its better to stand out than blend in.

MT Course Connection: CTL7000H Literacy,  CTL7014H Fundamentals of Teaching

7. Title: Before After
Author: Matthias Arégui

I adore picture books, or books with minimal words. This book has the “before” picture on the left and the “after” picture on the right. It is a great book to use when students need a sentence starter. An extension could be to create a story using the two images. (Ps. the book ruins the old fable, what comes first the chicken or the egg? Its the chicken guys!)

MT Course Connection: CTL7000H Literacy,  CTL7003H Social Studies/Science, CTL7003H Math, CTL7014H Fundamentals of Teaching

8. Title: Ish
Author: Peter Reynolds

I was first introduced to this book when I was in my second year of undergrad. My professor, Marni Binder, did a read aloud on the first day of my creative arts class. (And yes, read alouds can be done with adults too!) I love the premise of the book. Nobody is great at everything. Everyone is great-ish at certain things, and thats what makes us all unique. We need to celebrate that we can’t do everything, but we can-ish!

MT Course Connection: CTL7000H Literacy,  CTL7003H Social Studies, CTL7014H Fundamentals of Teaching

9. Title: Beautiful Oops!
Author: Barney Saltzberg

Another fabulous book I picked up after Marni Binder introduced it to us. I actually picked it up and grappled if I should give it to my nephew for his birthday. In the end I did give it to him…but it still haunts me. The book is a great to introduce when doing art. With art, there are no rules on how things are supposed to turn out. And this book celebrates that mistakes are actually the start to a masterpiece.

MT Course Connection: CTL7000H Literacy,  CTL7003H Social Studies/Science

10. Title: The book with no pictures
Author: B.J Novak

Okay, let me take back what I said for number 7! I can’t go making these generalizations of what I like in books because then I come across a book and it stumps me!! I am dying to get this book. I think with the right attitude and right disposition, anyone can make this book come alive without pictures! You have to see this video of B.J Novak presenting his book in front of a crowd of kids. You will start cracking up!!

MT Course Connection: CTL7000H Literacy,  CTL7014H Fundamentals of Teaching, CTL7001H Educational Professionalism, Ethics and Law

So go forth and look into these books! I promise you, you will not be disappointed! And if you have any books that you think I need for my personal library let me know! COMMENT BELOW and I will totally check it out!

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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Slamming Creativity: An Assignment for My “Fundamentals in Teaching” Class

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

Happy New Year Blogosphere!

This month has been crazy. As I only finished one course in December, the majority of my courses have carried over in the New Year. Therefore, all my work I put down during the break is now DUE!

I can’t declare official chaos, but every assignment I finish puts me closer to sanity. But I wanted to pause for a second and share with you guys an assignment I am working on right now. For my Fundamentals in Teaching class, we have a creativity assignment. We are supposed to reflect on how we can be creative in the classroom by creating a presentation. Most of my classmates have paired off or have joined a massive group to create something wonderful. But I thought of taking a non-traditional route with my presentation.

A couple of months ago I wrote about the boy who asked me if I would rather be a millionaire or a teacher for the rest of my life. (You can view that post here!) I thought it would be unique to bring that situation into my presentation. As I am one-woman show, I decided to present the situation as a slam poetry piece. I decided to present my thoughts on what was going through my head when he asked me that question. I have finished writing my piece and I present on Monday (Jan 19). If I am brave enough, I will ask a peer to record me and I’ll post it for everyone to see. If you would like to see my piece, comment below and let me know!

Slam poetry is huge, especially amongst the youth in urban areas. The rhythm of slam poetry brings a life to written text. Most of the slams are written about the author’s personal experience with conflict or passion. Slams are meant to be felt, and to evoke strong emotion.

I was inclined to write and present a slam poetry piece after watching 2 inspirational people perform their slams.

The first person is Taylor Mali. He was a teacher and now a full time slam poet. He is most famous for his piece “What Teacher’s Make.” He has presented this piece live many times, but has found success when he was featured during a Ted Talk. I love how he enunciates certain words and channels passion through his words. You can watch his slam piece below:

My second inspiration was Alicia Keys. During my undergrad, I bravely recited Alicia Key’s slam called POW in my Creative Arts 2 class. I have never recited slam poetry before, but I was instantly hooked on making the piece perfect for my performance and I was so proud of myself for taking a leap into the unknown. Alicia commands the audience by using different tones in her voice and elevates her volume at certain parts. Here is a clip of her piece:

Ever since that performance, I have been itching to do it again, and here is my turn!


Wish me luck guys. I am quite scared as I had support from my partners last time I performed, but I think if I can do this in front of my peers, I will have the confidence to bring it to my classrooms.

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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca


Beyond Graduation: Professional Preparation Conference Recap

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

Every winter the, OISE Social Services department hosts a Professional Preparation Conference for Consecutive BEd, Concurrent BEd, Masters of Teaching, and Masters of Arts (CSE) students. The conference is a three day event that features different workshops and talks from employers, teacher unions and school boards.

I had the pleasure of attending the three day conference. Although this conference is directed towards graduating BEd students and year 2 Masters students, I wanted to familiarize myself with some of the material to better prepare myself for next year’s conference. And how selfish would it be if I didn’t share this information with you! Whether you are in year 1 or an incoming student, the facts I share with you can help you familiarize yourself with the education network and information.

The Schedule

Day 1 was to prepare the Teacher Candidates(TC) for interviews, whether its for the Public, Catholic or Independent board. TC’s were involved in mock interviews where they could practice answering interview questions. TC’s were also involved in the following workshops/seminars: Resume Writing & Interview Skills, Transferable Skills Exploration and Understanding Online Applications. To read more about the online applications workshop, click here for my advice on accessing it.

Day 2 was dedicated to prepare TC’s for issues or problems that may arise in the classrooms. There were mini-sessions targeting various issues in the classroom. I hope that next year I will be able to attend more mini-sessions that I am interested in. This year the snow storm caused many of the mini-sessions to be cancelled. In the afternoon, there were seminars held by the Teacher Unions in Ontario: Ontario Teacher’s Federation, Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario and the Ontario English Catholic Teacher’s Association. The day was wrapped by a panel for Alternative, Innovative and Inspiring Career Paths for Teachers. I was incredibly inspired by this panel that I expanded on 3 key points in this blog entry here.

Day 3 was reserved for the Employment and Professional Information Fair. I found great resources and contacted some future employers at the fair. I compiled a list of every organization at the fair, and you can check it out here. While the fair was running, there were seminars by the Ontario College of Teachers, OISE’s Continuing Education and the Qualifications Evaluation Council of Ontario.

If you missed out on the articles I have written about the Conference, check them out below:

Are you curious about OISE student life? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Exploring Careers Outside of the Classroom: Stepping Outside of the Comfort Zone at the Professional Preparation Conference

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

On the second day of the Professional Preparation Conference, the final seminar was a panel of OISE alumni/students who have chosen alternative career paths. These three speakers were inspirational and made me proud to be studying at OISE. These individuals decided to use the skills they acquired from OISE and pursue innovative careers other than teaching.

The three speakers were:

  1. Tracey King, Aboriginal Human Resources Consultant at Ryerson University
  2. Josh CardozProducer at SwissVBS
  3. Lindsay RedmanEducation Consultant for the International Baccalaureate

I found the seminar inspiring especially because I am always looking for alternative and inspiring opportunities for myself. (Side note: this was one of the reasons why I applied for the Student Ambassador position). Although I don’t believe it was intentional, I found three overarching themes which each speakers touched upon during the panel.

  • Transferable skills- We learn about transferable skills in our classes at OISE. Which means the skills and abilities that we learn can be used to alternative settings outside of the classroom. Whether we use these skills in the classroom or in the real world, these skills gives us the ability to be flexible and resilient when faced with adversity.
    • Passion and learning- As these individuals spoke, I could just feel how passionate they were about their careers. These people were ambitious and intuitive about their non-traditional route. Some of them exclaimed how choosing a non-traditional route was ricky, but their passion and focus made them stay hungry and rise to any challenge.
      • Networking- Most of the speakers found their jobs by using their contacts. They reached out to different people and were able to convey their creativity and passion. I would suggest you to start networking with people if you want to work in a certain field. If you haven’t seen the list already, I have compiled a list of the attendees at the Employment and Professional Information Fair. This would be a great start for those of you who have not made any connections or contacts in the field yet.

Are you  curious about OISE student life? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Expanding Your Career Options at the Professional Preparation Conference: Oh The Places You Will Go…

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

The last day of the Professional Preparation Conference was dedicated to workshops hosted by the OCT, OISE’s Continuing Education and QECO. While these workshops were being held in the Auditorium, there was a professional and employment fair running in multiple rooms at OISE. There were over 48 booths, and let me be honest with you…INFORMATION OVERLOAD. These were just a small sample of the information booklets I received.

As you can tell from the above picture and extensive list of employers below, this fair can be extremely overwhelming. The best way to navigate the websites is to find out what your goals are and then explore from there. I have created a list of questions to consider before you start going through the websites:

  • Do you want to stay locally? Or do you prefer to work nationally, or even internationally?
  • Do you want to teach in a classroom? Or would you like to supply teach? Or even take up a tutoring position?
  • Do you want to work right away or would you like to continue your professional development?

Here is the list of the local/national organizations, and their websites where you could find more information about them:

Also, there was an International Employment Fair in the OISE Library. I visited most booths, including the following:

Are you  curious about OISE student life? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca