8Y24 Lab 3: Wednesday 1-3
Place your cursor BELOW the three lines. Type in your Professional Learning Community Reflections below. Add your image. Then place a line under your entry to prepare a spot for the next student's reflection. BE SURE TO ADD YOUR NAME!!

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During my block I had the opportunity to sit in on a PD meeting about small group instruction. It was a great experience because it was my first PD meeting I have been too and allowed me the chance to sit down with my fellow teachers and discuss important topics about education. The meeting was about SGI or small group instruction which I have heard of before but didn't know much about. All the teachers and the principal were very welcoming and encouraged my input in the discussion. I learned a lot about SGI and will know attempt to use it while teaching in my classroom. The basic idea behind SGI (just so in case any of you haven't learned much about it before either) is that you teach your whole class and then separate the class into smaller groups based on ability. Then as the teacher you circulate around to the small groups and can facilitate their learning or even do mini lessons on the subject matter if the students aren't really understanding.

Travis Hawkins



Matt Goldhawk
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In J/I Language class, we had a guest speaker (the name of whom escapes me) come in and discuss assessment methods with the group. The focus of the lecture she gave was to ensure that students have a clear idea of the difference between a Level 1, 2, 3, or 4 submission. She used the visual metophor of a sundae to make this clear - a level 1 was simply ice cream in a bowl; a level 2 had the addition of chocolate sauce; a level 3 had the further addition of sprinkles; and a level 4 contained 'the works' (strawberries, bananas, caramel, etc). Between each of these sundaes were written hints which show example elements that might be included to get to the the next level (e.g. adding imagery, similes, metaphors, adjectives, etc...depending on the level). I found this to be very useful, as children are very likely to appreciate these differences when put in the context of something special to them (i.e., a sundae). It's important that your students are clear in their understanding of what is expected of them to ensure that they aren't held back by confusion/uncertainty.

Courtney Brunet- PLC Reflection
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In Cohort 2 we had grade 6/7 teacher, Sarah Farrar as a guest speaker discussing unit planning. As an educator and beginning to plan units for my first teaching block I found this lecture extremely helpful. Overwhelmed by where and how to begin, Sarah outlined the steps to planning a unit. Beginning with thinking about the BIG ideas in the curriculum document, listing expectations and limting yourself to 2 or 3 resources Sarah provided beneficial advice. The information I gained from this lecture I have used as a guide to planning a language unit. I selected this presenattion for my PLC because I think it is important that as teachers we share ideas and work together. Sarah walked into a classroom of 25 teacher candidates and offered her help to any and all of us during our teaching block. I think it is a good reminder that we all have our strengths and weaknesses and should support one another.


Aaron Sloane : PLC Reflection on Cohort T.R.I.B.E.S. Speaker

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(Simply an Optimized Image of myself, sorry)

My PLC reflection is based on the guest speakers we had in our Cohort (group 3) session this November, who were two experienced teachers from local schools there to promote the T.R.I.B.E.S. program.

As a teacher, this information was relevant and important because many schools are switching to the T.R.I.B.E.S. program and those educators who are up to speed on the program are arguably more employable and more effective potential teachers at such schools.

The reason I selected this PLC to reflect on is because T.R.I.B.E.S. teaching varies greatly from what I have seen modelled coming up through school as a student - it’s warm but professional elements seem like a welcome alternative to the inflexible, traditional style I was raised on. The technology used in the presentation was fairly familiar to me by now (powerpoint and an LCD projector), but the presentation itself was a reminder of how these technological tools may be used effectively to teach all kinds of new content to students in the classroom setting.


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Maggie George:
We had John Boyer come into Cohort 5 last Monday and speak to us about creativity in the classroom. He is a very enthusiastic principle that highly suggests and encourages integration of the arts in all subject areas. When he was presenting to our class he explained some creative approaches to math that he had seen his students discover and he also brought in a Chinese yo-yo. I felt as a future educator that John Boyer had a lot of excellent advice about the ways in which we can infuse art into other activities. He explained that the learning your students will do will be endless, when you make the effort to incorporate some creativity into the lessons. He even taught us the basics of juggling at the end of Cohort!




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Danny Rudniski: My image is so blurry because it was taken in lecture on my iPhone. *
Last week, we had a very charismatic guest speaker in our Health & Phys. Ed. class. He reminded me of the importance of passion in education. From the personal narratives told, this man was clearly passionate about education, and specifically physical education. Unfortunately, physical education and health education have been devalued in the public system in the recent past. Hence, this speaker, on behald of OPHEA Canada, brought to our attention, the facts about the health of children that will pass through our education system. With these facts, he also presented us with the idea that we must take it upon ourselves to ensure our students are healthy, as our responsibility or mandate. We have all been learning that students must be healthy in order to learn. . . unfortunately there is still an inconsistency represented in how little teachers actually use DPA. Along with our phys. Ed. class, we have been given many resources and ideas on how to integrate physical activity into every student’s education, above and beyond DPA activities. A very inspiring professional development experience!

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Professional Learning Community Reflection:
This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the Art Matters conference in Hamilton. The focus was on how teachers can integrate the Arts (dance, music, art and drama) into the curriculum and other subject areas. I felt as a future educator myself it would be beneficial to find new and creative ways to integrate the Arts, seeing as these are becoming more and more addressed as an integral aspect of children’s learning. Often the Arts subjects are overlooked, or teachers may be intimidated to teach them; this conference helped alleviate some of those fears or assumptions. I learned you do not have to be an all star musician, dancer, artist or even actress to teacher these subject areas. I will definitely use many of the strategies and suggestions given to me by the instructors. My favourite however was music, where we worked with a variety of instruments, songs, rhythms and beats. We learned many activities that could be applied from K to 8. For me this was a great learning experience and I am not as musically inclined as I would wish to be and that session made me feel much more comfortable and confident in my music capabilities; even when they were limited.
Kate Marriott



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I attended the 2010 Fall OMLTA/AOPLV conference, which is aimed at foreign language teachers. My photo was taken with two presenters who presented on ‘how to expand vocabulary in the French classroom’. The strategies and activity suggestions provided can be used when planning creative vocabulary lessons. I selected this presentation because I know that it can often be difficult to find creative ways to teach vocabulary and have students remember it. I see a need for this type of instruction because often vocabulary is taught in a very fragmented way, and the suggestions presented by these two women would help to smoothly incorporate vocabulary instruction into every day classroom routines.
Lisa Dykstra



Professional Learning Community (PLC) Assignment - Michael Loscavo
I recently had the opportunity to take part in a workshop dealing with the integration of “Chess” in the classroom. This workshop and presentation took place in my cohort group and was presented by a local Principal. Here, I learnt that “Chess” is a valuable resource for students. Not only does it offer a visual, interactive and hands on approach to teaching math, but it also addresses “Higher Order Thinking Skills.” Students are indirectly encouraged to make strategic decisions, and they must foresee and predict consequences. It is about thinking, weighing options, and decision making. I chose to discuss this presentation because it is something new to me. I’ve always looked at the game of “Chess” as being for smart people, who had nothing better to do. Never, did I look at is through an educational lens. “Chess,” is much more than a game, it is an educational tool that can easily accommodate “Multiple Intelligence's” and most importantly, it is different and varied way of teaching. I can definitely see myself using this approach in my future teachings. Math is a tough subject to teach because you do not want to students to simply memorize a formula. You don’t want a student to tell you that 1 + 1 = 2 just because that’s what he and/or she was told the answer is. Instead, you want a student to tell you why they know 1 + 1 = 2. In other words, you want the student to know and understand the concept and are able to explain why. The game of “Chess” encourages this type of deeper thinking and understanding. A type of technology was used in this presentation. Most often times we think of technology as being something electrical, which plugs in a wall. But, in the case this presentation, chess boards were used as manipulatives and can therefore be called a type of technology.

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The guest speaker that I am pictured with above is a member of the Literacy Support Team at the District School Board of Niagara. She gave a presentation discussing the assessment of reading at the junior/intermediate level. Many useful resources were discussed during this presentation that I as a classroom teacher will be able to use for instructional purposes; for example, she discussed the benefits of the use of portfolios as well as specific activities from the C.A.S.I. program. I selected this presentation because I feel that it is a very relevant topic, as literacy is a main focus in education today, and I hope that every teacher candidate gets a chance to attend it. This presentation was interesting, relevant and useful and I am glad that I got a chance to be a part of it.
Steph Fralick






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I chose a speaker who addressed effective reading assessment. She talked about assessment before, during, and after learning. There are many places where a classroom teacher can find resources to support their teaching and their assessing. Literacy is a main focus in today’s education so understanding how to teach and assess it effectively and where to go for help is necessary. Starting at the student’s level was a main focus of the presentation and I think it is something that every teacher needs to continue thinking.
Brandy Dobbin



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I attended the Project Wildlife workshop at St. Johns conservatory that highlighted the importance of environmental education. I selected this presentation as it is important to teach our students to become environmentally literate in order to have a safe and healthy environment to live in. This is a real world issue that affects everyone and thus it is essential to teach it in the classroom. The most valuable resource given was a teacher guide containing many lesson plans that can be integrated with any subject and any grade. As a teacher, I can use this resource guide to integrate environmental literacy into my classroom.
Kimberley Waddell



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On October 5, I attended a workshop for the Mentor-Connector Program. The program is a project of NCDSB, Niagara University, and Brock University and allows students to connect with mentors/tutors online as a means to facilitate and support student success. This is a great tool for teachers to use as it provides a non-threatening environment for at-risk students or students requiring assistance with homework, assignments, and test preparation. I chose to attend this workshop because I enjoy connecting with students and can see direct benefits of working online with students in this manner. I believe the program has great potential to positively impact student success while developing a community of learners. (Charlene Browett)








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Project WILD refers to a workshop where the particpants learn more about how to incorporate Environmental Education into their daily practices. This is Nicole (the presenter) and I at the workshop. The most valuable part of the workshop was actually the massive resource you receive with completion that has approximately 150 different actvities that can be used in education, with useful information such as grade level and subject integration. Not only is Environmental Education a hot topic in schools right now, it also appeals to the Naturalistic Intelligence in Gardner's multiple intelligences and makes students more aware of how they affect the world around them. For these reasons and more, I feel it is important for teachers to use this in their classroom and I definitely intend to both on my block and eventually with my own class.Laura Harrison


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Mentor Connector - This was a workshop for Mentor Connector, an online tutoring/mentoring program through the Niagara Catholic District School Board. This will be a very valuable experience for my future career as a teacher since it will offer me an opportunity to see what topics and subjects students are struggling with the most. I chose this workshop because I wanted to get involved in the NCDSB this year and my schedule, like many students, is very busy so to be able to simply go online at my leisure and help students as much as possible is really great. I think that same way of thinking will apply to the students. They do not need to wait till a certain night of the week to get help, using this program someone will always be there to help with even the simplest questions or the more difficult ones they might be too shy to ask someone who is face to face. (Theresa Conroy)





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David Booth was the keynote speaker at the Arts Conference on October 28; he spoke on the importance of creativity in the classroom, emphasizing how essential arts are in our classrooms. This speech was very inspiring and made me even more motivated to integrate the arts into my classes. I appreciated this topic because I am a strong supporter of the arts. I think that they are needed in schools today, and are often undervalued by society, and as such underrepresented in schools. I believe that the arts are effective for increasing motivation and interest in school, and they are a great tool to use to make differentiated learning by integrating the arts; making them crucial elements to include.- Randi Crowder -






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Two weeks ago I went to Brock’s “Integrating the Arts Across the Curriculum” conference. The keynote speaker at the conference was David Booth. He spoke with us about the importance of Art in schools and art’s role in our everyday lives. He mentioned that art is all around us in many different forms. He had a very strong message and made a transformation of art in its most prestigious forms to art which is a natural part of our lives.



*Melanie Hedley*


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In September, I attended Project Wild at the St. Johns Outdoor Studies Center. The instructors highlighted the importance of learning about the environment and provided helpful resources for teachers. In the future I will integrate environmental education in several subjects by creating problem solving tasks that refer to real environmental issues. Environmental awareness needs to be integrated because there is not a course specifically devoted to this area and yet it is such an important issue in the world today. Technology was not used at this workshop, as most of it was outdoors, however students can create blogs and e-books about what they have learned about the environment.
~Kelly Coates





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On November 9th, I went with my visual arts class to Rodman Hall in St. Catharines. This photo was taken outside of the art center with a statue titled "The Race". With our time at Rodman Hall we had the chance to view their 3 contemporary art exhibits. They were quite interesting as I have never encountered contemporary art like this before. As a teacher, I am not sure if I would take my students here as I believe there to be a more age-appropriate exhibit that would better instill an appreciation for art. On the other hand, there are, in addition to the contemporary exhibits, art classes and workshops available for students that I definitely think any student would enjoy and benefit from.
-Jessica Bickell
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I also had the opportunity to visit the Rodman Hall Arts Centre During a field trip for visual arts. While the exhibits were highly abstract and unusual, and many teachers may shy away from such work, I think it would allow students to think critically about what 'art' really is. If I had the opportunity I would take students to a traditional art gallery and show them paintings and sculptures, then to Rodman Hall to show them abstract pieces and 'art in chaos'. It would be very interesting to hear student opinions on the galleries, and which they prefer. I think with little teacher direction, students would have an engaging discussion/debate with each other regardless of age.
- Chris Rimnyak


Anilah Majoka*

Building Futures – Let’s Focus on Mathematics

I had the opportunity to attend the
Building Futures** workshop that was held at the Bethany Community Church. Some of the workshops that I attended included: Learning Mathematics for Teaching, Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario Schools, as well as Laying the Foundation for Effective Instruction in Literacy. Every workshop proved to be helpful, whether it offered a clear explanation for how to implement these strategies within our own classrooms or it showed us how certain areas still needed improvement. Personally, I have always struggled with Math and I found that the workshop on Learning Mathematics for Teaching addressed a lot of concerns that I may have had as a student myself. One major focus was on learning through problem solving and not memorization. I often find that when a teacher simply tells students how to solve a problem, rather than allowing them to explore and discover on their own, this leads to memorization as opposed to learning. Rather than giving student the question and the formula to get to the answer, teacher should give the students the answer and ask the students what is the question. This approach to teaching Mathematics will be a lot more effective since it will allow students to explore all of the different methods to solving the problem and this will give them a deeper understanding for what the problem is asking of them, as opposed to throwing the numbers in a formula and coming up with the answer.