Tag Archives: grade 3

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

Fall Practicum Report 6: Kids say the Darnest Things

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

The other day I came across an article listing 24 notes kids have left. Little did they know, these notes brightened up my Tuesday morning. The messages they wrote were direct, blunt and down right hilarious. I will include the link for you to check out here: 24 kids who are wise beyond their years.

Reading the article prompted me to show you some of the hilarious, heartwarming, or inspiring messages from my students. I have written a caption of what they wrote underneath each picture. You also might notice some blurred areas of the pictures; I have blurred the names to respect the confidentiality of my students.


“Dear Mrs. Cheung. 
I hope you have fun in university. But you know we want you to be happy. But we will miss you. So good bye!”

If you are a female teacher, you are bound to run into this problem. Kids will always mistaken you as Miss or Mrs. Many times I had to tell my kids, that I am not married yet and I am Miss Cheung.

“Starbucks cafe”

 “We will miss you Ms. Cheung. Starbucks” 

Everyday, I arrived to school with Starbucks tumbler full of coffee or tea. Eventually my students found out that I looooove Starbucks. So most of my cards had Starbucks coffee cups! Mmmm!

“P.S Thanks for letting me teach you recorder!”

This card was from the student that taught me the recorder. If you haven’t read the story about that, here is my previous article on it.

“Dearest Ms. Cheung,
We will miss you so much. I like you because you are an awesome student teacher. But the rest I am speechless.”

When I read this out loud in class, I couldn’t stop laughing! How hilarious was this message?


“Dear Ms. Cheung.
We will miss you so much. I like you because you’re the best teacher. LOL best teacher make happy.”

As the previous student said… I am speechless! Haha!

“Dearest Ms. Cheung,
We will miss you so much. I like you because:
1) You are an awesome student teacher
2) You teach great math lessons
3) You’re always willing to help
4) You’re always nice
5) You taught us to become great public speakers”

I loved all of the cards my students made, but this specific one struck a cord with me. It just reassured me that I am in the right field. I loved getting to know each of my students on an individual level. I really connected with the class, unlike any class I have taught before. They were absolutely amazing! I can’t wait to see them again in a few weeks.


Are you  curious about OISE student life? Contact me:

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca


Fall Practicum Report 5: On The Last Day of Practicum…

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

It finally came. I didn’t think my four weeks would come and go so fast. But as I stood in my empty classroom at the beginning of the day, I couldn’t help and think about all the memories made in those 4 walls.

But I instantly snapped out of it, as I still had one more school day to go before getting emotional! The morning was filled with two tests (math and spelling), and a bus safety workshop. As all three tasks didn’t require my attention, so I put the finishing touches on our class’ door decoration for the holiday door contest. If you are unfamiliar with huge phenomenon that goes on in elementary schools every winter, this girl will fill you in. Each classroom is responsible to decorate their door for the upcoming holidays. There is usually a prize for the winning classrooms, but the real underlying message is to have the students work collaboratively and get into the holiday spirit.

Our classroom decided to create a “minion tree” for our door. Each child created a minion, from the recently famous Despicable Me move, and dress them in holiday gear. They created a santa, an elf or a reindeer minion. Once they were all completed I lined them up in neat rows; creating the illusion of a string of lights. And with about a million wads of masking tape, I put our holiday door decoration up before the lunch bell rang.

The afternoon ran as per usual. A little science work, a couple language exercises and before you knew it, we only had 30 minutes left before the final bell of the day rang. The students filed in from recess, and so did my AT with a card and present in hand. My class created a huge card and within it each student created an individual card. See my next post where I highlight the most touching, heartwarming messages. My AT also presented me with the book Only One You. This is an amazing book about individuality and uniqueness of individuals. I had the privilege of reading the book in front of my students as my last read aloud.

Finally the last bell rang, I saw my students file out and scream out “BYE MS. CHEUNG!” for the final time and I was left with an empty room once again. A flood of images came to mind as I remembered all the lessons and memories I made with my students and AT.  It has been a crazy, bittersweet journey. But fortunately it does not end here! I will be returning back to my classroom once classes end to watch the primary Christmas concert. I can’t wait to go back and see the kids and my AT! But until then, its two more weeks of classes and hardwork!


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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Fall Practicum Report 4: The Power of Flexibility

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

If you thought this post would be about my recent interest in gymnastics, you are horribly misguided. Unfortunately, I have not enrolled in a tumbling class but have instead expanded my duties outside of the grade 3 classroom.

I am going to share with you two experiences which occurred this week. These two experiences only happened because I decided to leave my classroom and enter another.

I was asked to teach a photography lesson to Grade 7 and 8’s. Although I am confident in my photography skills and abilities, I was nervous to teach a room full of teenagers. I kept having flashbacks to when I was in elementary school, and how obnoxious my classmates were in Grade 8. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The class enjoyed taking pictures, using the school’s iPads, and learned the various elements of design. To manage the class, I just adapted the strategies I used with my Grade 3’s and adjusted the tone of my voice from time to time. Since I haven’t taken a “how to teach intermediate students 101” I think I did great.

The second experience I had was introducing a math program called Math Prodigy to neighbouring Grade 3/4 class. Math Prodigy is an interactive math program that has been slowly introduced to the classrooms in my school. Aside from the initial battle of username and password entries, the students enjoyed the challenges and levels in the game. It also allowed me to sit one-on-one with students that had difficulty with the challenges. The experience also allowed me to learn some of the students names in this new class.

These two experiences allowed me to challenge myself outside of my own classroom. I was able to use a range of strategies for classroom management, lesson design and lesson implementation. And here I turn this to you; how flexible is your application?

I know we are only a few weeks away from the final submission of applications. Does your letter of intent represent your flexibility in approaching education? As many of you know, education is not a fixed concept. It is fluid, ever changing and dynamic. OISE is looking for individuals that are able to be flexible and resilient to the changes in education. Whether it is teaching adults, a different classroom or researching a topic, OISE students have to use their power of flexibility.


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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Fall Practicum Report 3: Recipe for Peace

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

This week my classroom recognized Remembrance Day. I was in charge of delivering a lesson to my grade threes’. My AT kept it open for my interpretation and would back me up in whatever route I went.

So I did two lessons. One was specifically about Remembrance Day, and why we honour the soldiers that risked their lives for us.  I borrowed the book, Proud as a Peacock and Brave as a Lion from my local library. Following the story, we created poppies that revealed sentences under the petals. I prompted the students with sentence starters and had them finish it what they deemed appropriate to their understanding. (I remember… Poppies remind me of… Peace is important because…Remembrance Day is important because…)

My second lesson was about peace. I brought in the book, A Little Peace. The book is a series of photos from National Geographic with short captions to encompass the pictures. We talked about the importance of pictures versus text, and why it would be purposeful for us to read a book with more pictures. Following the book, I prompted a discussion with the sentence start “I can bring peace to others by…” We formed a list of suggestions or experiences my students had to show kindness and peace to others. I had the students return to their desks after the discussion to fill out peace signs with ways they bring peace to others.

The highlight of my two lessons was my closing activity for the Peace lesson. I had students create their own recipes for peace. I prompted them with the types of measurement and instructions used on recipes, but their ideas were all them! I will let their recipe cards do all the talking. I don’t want to impose my views of them on you. Here are some that I documented:

(I have blurred their names to respect their confidentiality. If you are a teacher, I recommend for you to blur out their names on pictures you take, if you haven’t already done so.)

My students reassure me that they will try to bring peace into their world in their own ways. This lesson truly made me feel confident in what I instilled in them during those lessons.

What is your recipe for peace? Let me know below!


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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

Fall Practicum Report 2: Who is the Teacher Around Here?

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

There were two things I was nervous about coming into this practicum. The first thing was teaching a grade I was unfamiliar with. That fear was conquered at the end of my first day, when I realized how amazing Grade 3 was! The second fear I had was the possibility of teaching music. I AM NOT MUSICAL AT ALL. I quit playing the piano after 1 day. I hated playing the recorder in the sixth grade. I literally can’t dance to save my life.

So you could only imagine how nervous I was when my Associate Teacher(AT) asked me to start learning to play the recorder. She found that Music was the only time I wasn’t involved in the classroom. I told her about my torturous history with music, but she proposed a different way to approach this fear.

Instead of having me relearn the recorder independently with sheet music, she asked if I would like Michelle to teach me. (Lets call her Michelle for confidentially reasons.) Michelle is one of the brightest students in my class. There is no doubt in my mind that her academics and personal life will take off in the upcoming years. She is one of the best recorder players in the class. I do see Michelle getting bored when the class has to repeat a new song that she has already mastered. My AT wanted Michelle to channel her musical energy and leadership into a new outlet, me!

And so, for the past week I have taken off my teacher hat and put my student hat on. During lunch recess, we wait for all the students to file out of the classroom and we sit in the back to practice the sheet music. Michelle is so patient with me, and my squeaking recorder. She encourages me to keep going even though I am discouraged when I try to hit a note and the recorder squeaks. I seek advice from her on how to get better, or how to hit a certain note.

Coming into placement, I knew my students and AT would provide me with an amazing experience. But I never knew that I would be conquering my fear of Music, especially after my unsuccessful attempts with the recorder in grade six. I am so grateful that my AT pushed me to relearn the recorder. Even though there is a 14 year difference between Michelle and myself, I respect her enough to learn from her. She is so passionate and eager to teach her teacher, that I want to make her proud by practicing. (I am even staying in on Friday nights to practice and annoy my friends with videos of my attempts to learn songs).

The takeaway I have from this experience is that teachers are everywhere. If you open your mind, you will find them. And if you respect them, you will be more inclined to learn something to make them proud. I’m forever going to use Michelle as my inspiration to never give up on something you are sort-of good at. With practice, patience and a lot of water, anything is possible.

Have an amazing weekend everyone.

☮ ✌


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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca

October Recap from a Master of Teaching Point of View

by Caitlin
Master of Teaching student

Oops, are we really in November? What happened to October? I have been so busy transitioning from full time school to full time practice teaching that I have neglected checking in with you guys!

The biggest thing that happened to me in October was starting my first block practicum. I am in a grade three classroom in the York Catholic School Board from October 27th-November 21st. Prior to the start of practicum, I was able to go to three field experience days. These days are reserved for MT students to observe the routines and schedule of the classroom.

On my second visit, I brought the schools iPads into the classroom to introduce an application called Gizmos to the students. The lesson was to reinforce their knowledge about Friction. I would like to disclose that this lesson was not the best one I have taught. But I learned at the end of it, the students were hardly exposed to the iPads in the classroom as my Associate Teacher did not know which applications to use. She told me that many teachers in the school have similar problems of integrating the technology into their classroom as they don’t know what to use. She proposed  for me to create a list of iPad applications (apps) for the staff to use, and present a 10 minute presentation highlighting two of them at the next staff meeting.

The challenge was accepted and met! For the last two weeks I have been happily testing math and literacy apps on my iPad to present to the staff. I compiled them into a pdf, and thought I would share it with blog-sphere. I have the apps sorted by primary, junior and intermediate divisions. I also wrote found the Ontario Curriculum expectation that matched with the app, the highlights of the app and any considerations that may need to be taken when using it.   Whether you are a prospective student or a current student, these applications will be a great resource for you to have just in case you need them. And did I mention all these apps are FREE? Bonus for teachers on a budget!

In the pdf you will find these applications:

Download my list here: iPad List . Have fun experimenting with the apps, and Good luck!


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

Email: oise.ambassador@utoronto.ca