Thursday, October 29, 2015

How to Prepare your Class for a Productive day with a Supply Teacher

At the moment, I am a short term supply teacher for two school boards in Ontario, which means I am one of the "lucky" ones considering the teacher jobs shortage here (even in French, contrary to popular belief). When supply teaching, some days are better than others. Last week, I worked for two days in the same school with different classes (a grade 4, and a split grade 2/3). This is a school where I teach regularly, so I am usually quite comfortable working there. My two days of work unfolded quite differently though. In one case, I had a perfect supply teaching day, and in the other my stress levels were very high. It is interesting how a few details can drastically change a teaching experience.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Primary Students Benefit from Inquiry Learning Too

I wrote this reflection on inquiry learning in primary classrooms after viewing a series of training videos on inquiry learning from in the context of my primary qualification course with Brock University. These videos are really worth watching! Here are the highlights of four of these videos in the inquiry series.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Dream Primary Classroom

I discovered a neat free website that allows to plan room set-ups: Room Sketcher. This website was shared by Zoe Branigan-Pipe, who was my Junior ABQ instructor last summer at Brock University. RoomSketcher is a house set-up software, and therefore there is no dedicated school furniture, but I was able to make a neat class set-up nonetheless. This software is extremely user-friendly. There are several interesting features, such as the wide array of possible furniture and accessories. Also, it allows the user to take snapshot 3D pictures of the room in order to have a better idea of how it looks like in real life. All in all, I enjoyed using Room Sketcher to design my dream primary classroom. I have made my classroom set-up public on the site, and it can be accessed here

My dream primary classroom is spacious (14m x 9m). There are a couple of windows on the top wall in order to get some much needed natural light. The door is at the bottom left corner. In Ontario, primary classrooms have about 20 students, and I designed the working space for this number of pupils. The picture below shows the top view of the entire classroom floor plan.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Tips to implement Gardner's Multiple Intelligences Theory in the Primary Classroom

 Basic Principles of the MI Theory
Dr. Howard Gardner introduced the Multiple Intelligences (MI) theory in 1983 in his book “Frames of Mind: the Theory of Multiple Intelligences” (Peters, 2010). Gardner’s own definition of intelligence differs from a conventional definition which views that intelligence is “the cognitive capacity that people are born with” (“Tapping into Multiple Intelligences, 2004). Instead, Gardner defines intelligence in his “Frames of Mind” book as “the ability to solve problems or to create products, that are valued within one or more cultural settings”. Initially, Gardner introduced seven multiple intelligences, and he subsequently introduced two additional ones in 1999 in his book “Intelligence Reframed” (“Tapping into Multiple Intelligences, 2004). These intelligences are described in Table 1.

Table 1. Description of the Gardner’s 9 Multiple Intelligences
“Word smart”. Consists in good aptitude with oral and written words.
“Number smart”. Consists in good ability with numbers and reasoning.
“Picture smart”. Allows for pronounced facility with 2D and 3D visualization of images, as well as visualization of thoughts.
“Body smart”. Entails a good control of body movements and a good aptitude with hands-on activities.
“Music smart”. Encompasses a facility for sounds, rhymes and rhythms.
“People smart”. Involves a good facility with social interactions and cooperation.
“Self-smart”. Consists in the ability to be in touch with inner feelings and to self-reflect.
“Nature smart”. Involves an understanding of the natural world and its components.
“Existence smart”. Entails the ability to engage in deep reflection about human existence.