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.

 

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

 

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