FDK Blog Post 2 – The First Week of Full-Day Kindergarten


By Melissa Calder

 

As the final stage of Ontario’s FDK program is rolled out this Fall, many educators find themselves teaching Kindergarten for the first time. My social network circles are buzzing with conversations about “surviving the first week of FDK” and how to start the year off on the right foot.

Below I have included a handful of links full of information, wisdom and suggestions from seasoned educators.

Setting the Stage for Success (in Kindergarten)

12 Tips To Start A Successful Kindergarten Year
Leslie, the author of, kindergartenworks.com, shares her top 12 tips for fostering a successful year in Kindergarten.

8 Survival Skills for the First Day of Kindergarten
What does a kindergarten teacher need to do to survive? Here are eight handy survival skills from Edutopia.org

The Big List of Kindergarten Routines
Routines are BIG in FDK and Kindergarten Teacher and blogger, Karen Jones offers a list of the routines and procedures that she has found helpful in her classroom.

The Flow of the Day
Another wonderful resource from EduGAINS (Ministry of Education, Ontario). Learn more about the important pieces involved in planning the flow of your day through these short videos.

Past FDK blog posts: The FDK Blog Series, The Basics

We’d love to hear from you! Are you teaching FDK this year? What resources would you like to see here? Simply send us an email and let us know your thoughts, questions and ideas.

Looking for additional teaching resources pertaining to curriculum, strategies and tech tools?  Be sure to check out  Cube for Teachers with 22000+ shared links by teachers.

Sincerely,

The Administrative Team
www.cubeforteachers.com

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FDK Blog Post 1 – The Basics


By Melissa Calder

 

In this first post of our FDK Blog Series, we delve into the foundation of the Ontario Full-Day Kindergarten program. You’ll find links to the Ontario FDK curriculum, an FDK primer from TVO, plus essential Ministry of Education documents.

SIX Essential Resources

Past FDK blog post: The FDK Blog Series

Cube for Teachers contains thousands of shared web resources worldwide and organizes them into 3 main topic areas:  Curriculum Resources, Tools and Technology, and Other Teaching Resources (including strategies, best practices, current topics).

 

The Administrative Team
www.cubeforteachers.com

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The FDK Blog Series

By Melissa Calder

 

Are you teaching Full-Day Kindergarten (FDK) this Fall? If you are, you are certainly in good company! FDK will be available in all boards of education across Ontario as of Fall 2014.

We know that preparing for a new school year is a mixed bag of excitement and anxiety (we’re teachers too!) so we’ve put together an FDK Blog Series here at The Cube to explore play-based learning and the wonderful world of Kindergarten to help ease the transition into the new school year.

Below, we’ve included a few links to resources that delve into the history and evolution of FDK in Ontario. Stay tuned for our next post in the series entitled, “FDK: The Basics

Quick History: Resources outlining the history of FDK in Ontario

In 2007, the Ontario Liberals announced their commitment to the province-wide Full-Day Kindergarten program, as part of their election platform. Full-Day Kindergarten was not new to Ontario, as some school boards operating in marginalized socio-economic communities did receive support funding for all-day Senior Kindergarten prior to 2007.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario document provides further information about the beginning of the FDK Program in Ontario.

Former Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty, asked Dr. Charles Pascal (OISE) to to recommend the best way to implement full-day learning for 4- and 5-year-olds.
This document provides the highlights of his advice:  Implementing Early-learning in Ontario.

We’d love to hear from you! What types of resources and/or topics would you like to see shared in this series? Although we have great blog posts planned, we love the challenge of finding ‘just right’ resources for The Cube community. Simply send us an email and let us know your thoughts, questions and ideas.

Looking for additional teaching resources pertaining to curriculum, strategies and tech tools?  Be sure to check out  Cube for Teachers with 22000+ shared links by teachers.

Sincerely,

The Administrative Team
www.cubeforteachers.com

 

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New Teachers: How’s Your Ontario Curriculum Content Knowledge?

Blog by Melissa Calder, OISE Graduate

Phew! We survived the seemingly never-ending winter. As gardens bloom and classroom teachers begin end-of-year activities, B.Ed students (teacher candidates) are preparing for convocation. Are you a recent grad, hoping to land a job in teaching? Feeling the crunch of competition for those oh-so-few positions available? I hear you: Me too. I am one of the thousands of newly minted teachers in Ontario.

With the education job market being being what it is in Ontario and the provincial election looming where education remains a hot topic, I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the road ahead. Of course we knew upon applying for teacher’s college that landing a job would be an uphill battle, so bemoaning the lack of employment prospects seems redundant and counter-productive.

Sage advice offered by our teaching mentors and professors encourages new grads to keep volunteering, continue to upgrade with AQ’s and of course being available for whatever comes our way. All valid ideas. But what about beefing up our curricular knowledge? Can you honestly say that you truly KNOW the Ontario curriculum? You may have the curriculum documents at the ready on your device or in paper format on a bookshelf, but do you feel confident with your content and subject knowledge? Pop quiz: In which grade do you introduce the concept of solar energy? What about structure and function of the major organs of various human body systems? How about the elements of art? Stumped? I was too until I began using Cube for Teachers.

Cube for Teachers is an ESSENTIAL resource for new and veteran teachers alike. It’s a goldmine of lesson plans connected to specific Ontario curriculum (K-12) documents and strands, a database of resources, a place where you can connect with other educators and ultimately a time-saving platform. Resource links are added to Cube for Teachers by Ontario teachers for Ontario teachers and tied to fields specific to education! Want to find resources for teaching a Grade 1 unit on solar energy that is cross-curricularly connected to math and art? No problem. You will also find resources related to teaching practice, classroom management, professional development and educational technology. The list goes on and on.

I encourage you to explore Cube for Teachers. Learn about curriculum expectations and the related strands. Ultimately, it is our responsibility as teachers to truly know our craft. Knowing, understanding and implementing the rich Ontario curriculum is essential to our future roles as classroom educators. Set yourself apart from the rest of the thousands clamouring to get their dream job – you know how to teach and by joining The Cube, you’ll know what to teach and how to connect lesson plans to curricular expectations. Having solid content knowledge will surely impress hiring committees and panels – and will ultimately make you a better teacher.

Take note:  You’ll want to register before your Faculty email address is discontinued which sometimes takes place upon graduation. Membership is free. Once you have created an account (where you can save unlimited resources and lesson plans), you are able to change your email address to one that you check regularly.

 

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Are You An Edublogger?

No doubt, blogging has become a popular way for teachers to share ideas as well as build upon their own professional development through reflection, research, and discussions.

If you are an edublogger, how do you share your work? Perhaps you post it on micro-blogging sites a few times in the hope that it gains traction or gets posted on other websites.

Unfortunately, most other websites will simply post a link to the landing page of your blog site. Those who land on your site still need to locate your blog area and sift through past blog posts. To the busy educator in need of support and ideas, searching for specific topics this way is not practical.

Again without a searchable retrieval of your individual blogs, you are dependent upon the marketing from those who have (1) read your blogs (2) shared your blog links and (3) are fairly connected. Another teacher who may benefit from your reflections, unless part of ones network, may never discover your individual blogs.

Cube for Teachers takes on a different approach to foster effective collaboration.

In Cube for Teachers, edubloggers are able to break down their blogs, link by link and attach searchable information that is now at the fingertips of every teacher within The Cube. Teachers within are not dependent upon ones connectedness to others. When an educator searches, they are automatically connected to every link shared inside Cube for Teachers. Thousands of teachers are now part of the Cube for Teachers community. In fact, we are now seeing hundreds of links added every day inside Cube for Teachers as teachers continue to collaborate – why not include yours?

So, how would we recommend you share your fabulous blogs within Cube for Teachers? It’s easy.

Here’s how…

1) When you add a link in Cube for Teachers, we recommend sharing it in the topic area called “Other Teaching Resources”. Typically this area includes web resources pertaining to teaching strategies, helpful hints, views, tips etc.

 

2) When filling in the fields, be sure to include your name and the word “blog”. This way, someone can search for you by name along with the keyword “blog” and retrieve all of your blog links in one search. They can add additional keywords and refine their search to pinpoint a specific blog of yours.

As well, teachers can also add your link into their favourites or share it with professional learning communities inside Cube for Teachers.

Cube for Teachers is providing teachers with a voice and a choice – redefining the way Ontario educators are connecting and collaborating.  Soon, we’ll be expanding across Canada and beyond.

Share your blogs today and assist teachers who are in need of your reflections and ideas.

Sincerely,

The Administrative Team
www.cubeforteachers.com

 

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Teaching Resources and EdCamp London

Teaching Resources

As teachers continue to share links in all 3 topic areas within Cube for Teachers, we’d like to highlight a few neat resources recently added in our third topic area: “Other Teaching Resources”.

11 Tips For Students To Manage Their Digital Footprints
This blog from TeachThought highlights ways that students should manage their digital footprints.

20 Ways to Provide Effective Feedback to Your Students
Within this blog you will find 20 ideas and techniques on how to give effective learning feedback that will leave your students with the feeling they can conquer the world.

63 Things Every Student Should Know In a Digital World
In order to prepare our students for tomorrow, Terry Heick identifies 63 key points and has organized them into 13 main categories.

20 Signs You’re Actually Making A Difference As A Teacher
As a teacher; you lesson plan, constantly assess, network, collaborate, differentiate, use technology, and inspire thinking and so much more. Besides test scores, you are making a difference in so many ways. Check out this blog for some alternative measures where you are making a difference.

Latest News: EdCamps

Have you ever attended an EdCamp? We at Cube for Teachers highly recommend it.

EdCamp London – April 12th

“Often called an “unconference” EdCamps are gaining in popularity as a method of professional learning that is participant driven. There are no keynotes, no planned sessions and no cost. Each EdCamp is as different as its participants. Sessions are created in the morning based on the needs of the participants. EdCamp is about people who love education hanging out with people who love education. So if deep, impassioned conversation about education and learning interests you register today for EdCamp London at www.edcamplondon.ca. Learning is not a spectator sport, so come and play.”

Contributed by: David Fife, Vice Principal at Michell Hepburn P.S, TVDSB – member of the Organizing Team for EdCamp London.

Sincerely,

The Administrative Team
www.cubeforteachers.com

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Ontario Teachers Continue to Unite in Cube for Teachers

As always, we thank you for being a part of the Cube for Teachers community. As Ontario’s (free) curriculum-based web resource-sharing community, we are seeing many new links shared by a growing number of Ontario teachers.

Thank you for spreading the word.

The Cube now contains thousands of great educational links that have been shared by teachers like you throughout the province. We all search for resources, but we no longer have to overlap the workload. Join in on the Cube for Teachers movement. If you have a favourite link to any lesson, activity, video, interactive, worksheet, etc., we’d love to see it shared inside The Cube for all to benefit.

As well, be sure to check in often as new links are being shared on a regular basis.

In typical Cube for Teachers fashion, here are a handful of links that have recently been shared in The Cube.

Curriculum Resources Section

Category: Multi Resource Link: Mathwire.com
Mathwire has a portion of their site dedicated to mathematics problem solving resources, especially for the elementary level. Be sure to check out the bottom of their page for additional problem solving resource sites.

Category: Multi Resource Link: PhET: Simulations
PhET provides fun, interactive, research-based simulations of physical phenomena for free. These easy to use interactive resources pertain mostly to physics, chemistry, biology, earth sciences and mathematics. As well, these resources are also available in many languages.

Tools and Technology Resources Section

Category: Collaborative Tools and Social Spaces: Twiddla
Teachers can still make use of interactive spaces without the presence of a classroom IWB using Twiddla. Students can access the space right from their own personal device just by clicking on a unique link. No download necessary or uploading of student information. Great for brainstorming, drawing, use text, marking up websites etc. With Twiddla, you can even communicate by text or audio.

Category: Organizer Tools: Popplet
Popplet is a tool for the iPad and web to capture and organize your ideas. Used as a mind-map, Popplet helps students think and learn visually. Students can capture facts, thoughts, and images and learn to create relationships between them.

Other Teaching Resources Section

Developing 21st Century Critical Thinkers
This great infographic by Mentoring Minds identifies various ways we can raise critical thinkers to best face the challenges that face our modern society.

What’s the Difference Between “Using Technology” and “Technology Integration”?
There is a significant difference between “using technology” and “technology integration” in our classrooms. The chart within this blog identifies some of the main differences between the two.

Sincerely,

The Administrative Team
www.cubeforteachers.com

 

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Technology Resources for Teachers and ECOO 2013

Cube for Teachers is now considered by many Ontario K-12 educators as their central hub for effective collaboration.  Since its release in late 2011, thousands of Ontario teachers are now collaborating and sharing links in The Cube.

A quick note: Cube for Teachers will be attending and presenting this year at the ECOO 2013: “Bring IT Together” conference from October 23-25 in Niagara Falls, Ontario. If you are attending, be sure to drop by and get a sneak peak of our upcoming features. It is a fantastic conference for teachers who are interested in integrating technology into their classrooms. We highly recommend it! Click here for more information.

In light of the upcoming conference, we thought we’d dedicate this blog to some wonderful technology tools that have recently been shared by teachers in Cube for Teachers. There are now several thousand links shared inside Cube for Teachers by K-12 educators throughout the province. 


Drawing Tool:
Wordle

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and colour schemes.

Presentation Tool: ViewPure
With ViewPure, you can watch YouTube videos with your students without comments, suggestions, etc. Simply add your YouTube link and receive a ViewPure link to post.

Audio Tool: Freesound
Freesound is a collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed sounds. Browse, download and share sounds.

Image Tool: Pixlr
Pixlr is a free online photo editor. It is available for many platforms including Windows, MacOS, iPhone, Android.

Math Tool: MyScript© Calculator app (Apple, Android)
MyScript© Calculator performs mathematical operations naturally using your handwriting. Easy and intuitive, simply write the mathematical expression on the screen then let MyScript technology perform its magic converting symbols and numbers to digital text and delivering the result in real time.

Image Tool: Iconfinder
This is an icon search engine with over 345 000 icons to select from.

Collaborative Tools & Social Spaces: Wikispaces Classroom
Wikispaces Classroom is a social writing platform for education. Wikispaces Classroom is free for teachers and students with well over 10 million registered teachers and students already on the platform.

Lastly, thank you for sharing Cube for Teachers with your colleagues.  Even when teachers each share one or two of their favourite links, the compounding effect has lead to thousands of amazing educational links – all in one location. The Cube allows a teacher to spend more of their valuable time “with” their students rather than tireless searches for resources.

Sincerely,

The Administrative Team
www.cubeforteachers.com

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Our Newest Topic Area Has Just Been Released!

Firstly, we’d like to welcome the hundreds of new users who have recently joined Cube for Teachers. We are Ontario’s only curriculum-based social bookmarking community designed exclusively for the Ontario educator.

Here’s what’s new!

A third platform within Cube for Teachers has just been released whereby teachers can now share non-curriculum resource links to various topics including:

Teaching strategies
Classroom management
Assessment and evaluation
Effective ways of integrating technology
Student engagement
Anti-bullying resources
Education trends
First-day teaching resources
Special event/holiday resources
Policies
And more….

This new topic area is called “Other Teaching Resources” and sits between the two existing topic areas: “Curriculum-Based Resources” and “Tools and Technology”.

With “Other Teaching Resources”, teachers now have an organized platform to effectively store, search and save links to all their non-curricular teaching resources which include websites, blogs, videos, apps, infographics, etc.

A quick note to Ontario educators who write blogs:

Adding your blog links your way will ensure that users who search for you will effectively retrieve your web resources. As an example, be sure to add your name somewhere in the entry so that teachers can search for you by name and have your blog entries appear in a quick, organized search return.

Sincerely,

The Administrative Team
www.cubeforteachers.com

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Ontario Teacher Candidates: Have You Registered?

Are you currently an Ontario Faculty of Education student?

Soon you will be graduating, getting ready to apply your new skills. Our profession will do well with the new ideas and fresh outlook you will provide.

As educators ourselves, we all started out where you are now. Over the last several months you’ve worked hard. You’ve now gained a better understanding of curriculum, teaching strategies, learning styles, polices and the profession as a whole.

However, let’s not forget the one thing you’ve done all year: networked.

We know all too well the importance of establishing effective networks.

While at the Faculty you have met many professionals from the field: instructors, school administrators, numerous teachers and of course, your fellow teacher candidates.

Here’s the problem:

Once you graduate, you may no longer have contact with the connections made while at your Faculty. In fact, you may no longer have access to your faculty email once you graduate. You do not want to lose the connections you have made. Continuing with that network is paramount.

Here’s the solution:

Register with Cube for Teachers – it’s free!

Cube for Teachers is a FREE educational collaborative bookmarking community created exclusively for Ontario teachers. Here, teachers can share, search and store educational web links from around the world and tie them to Ontario curriculum. As well, Cube for Teachers provides teachers with a platform to form their own personal groups (PLN’s) to foster ongoing discussions, support, network, etc.

Over the last few months, there has been an explosion of teacher candidates registering in The Cube. Candidates are forming networks while still at the Faculty and will continue to expand those networks once they graduate.  Click here to read more about Cube Groups.

Here’s the important piece:

To join, you must register while you still have access to your faculty email. This email is only required to register and you may change your email once registered.

If you wait and no longer have your faculty email, you will not gain access until you have secured employment with an Ontario K-12 educational institution.

Don’t get left behind. Register today and start collaborating with teachers throughout Ontario!

Sincerely,

The Administrative Team
www.cubeforteachers.com

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