Teachers on Call

Archive for November, 2013

5 Fun Winter Family Activities

Wondering what do in the cold weather when your kids won’t play in the snow?  Fortunately the Yummy Mummy Club Blog has an excellent article from Ruth Spivak on fun winter family activities for the indoors.

Here are the 5 Winter Activities Ruth recommends:

1)      Play Board Games:  Games are a great way to learn and bond as a family


2)      Crazy Cooking:  Bake something fun and delicious together as a family


3)      Movie Marathon:  Pick a movie the family will all love and enjoy


4)      Get Crafty:  Kids love decorating for the holiday season with snowflakes and other winter symbols.


5)      Reading Party:  Everyone brings their favourite books to the table, so it is a great way for kids to get exposed to new books and authors.


To read the full article click here

Posted in: Parent Education Resources

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How to Learn French Online

Learning a second language can be a valuable asset for students both in school and in the real world.   In the Ontario School Curriculum students can learn French as a Core Subject or through French Immersion, depending on their interests and ability to grasp new languages.

There are also numerous opportunities for students to learn French outside the classroom.  In addition to French Tutoring, there is a ton of great French activities and online learning through educational technology.

Below are some great online resources and Apps to help your daughter or son learn French.

French Online Resources

French Games: Website for children to learn French. It has a full set of free lessons, games and tests with over 100 topics – both beginner and intermediate.

Language Lab:  BBC game designed to learn French with Roller and his mates.

Use Google in French: Test your French language knowledge through searches on the Google France website.

French for Kids: A YouTube channel with videos to help children learn French in a fun and engaging way.

French Apps

Learn French: Play French games to build essential vocabulary & conversation skills.

French Verbs: Learn about French verbs and their conjugation.

French Language Learning: Provides a set of engaging, interactive study tools that help you really learn French.

French English Dictionary: Allows students to extend the dictionary, phrasebook and verb conjugator into comprehensive reference tools.

Posted in: French Tutoring

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5 Helpful Math Apps

When parents contact us for tutoring, one of the most common requests we receive is for support in Math.  Along with practice, reviewing the concepts and tutoring, Math Apps are a great way for children to learn in a fun way.   They also help reinforce ideas and concepts with different approaches and ideas.

Below are 5 Math Apps we would recommend for students of various ages.   These Math tools are a great starting point to learn numeracy, arithmetic, geometry and algebra and we recommend you add others to your collection.

Let’s Do Math:    Fun game to practice your addition and subtraction skills.

Math Drills:  fun environment that allows students to learn basic math skills in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Motion Math Zoom: Master numbers, negatives, and decimals with this animal adventure! Motion Math Zoom features the world’s most interactive number line – kids have a blast exploring numbers as they gain a deep understanding of place value.

Elevated Math: Provides initial instruction or intervention on math topics that cover place value, estimation, large digit addition all the way through Algebra.

Math Ref:  Contains over 1,400 formulas, figures, and examples to help your child with math. Use their expanding list of tools such as a unit converter, quadratic solver, and triangle solver to perform calculations.

Posted in: Math Tutoring

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How to Teach Your Child to Love Reading

Reading is an important part of a child’s development, particularly in elementary school.

With every child developing their reading skills at a different pace with their own unique learning style, one of the most important keys to success is to engage your child with fun and memorable activities.

Here are 5 tips to help your child love reading and improve their skills:

1)      Read with your child frequently and if possible on a daily basis.  As you are reading, engage your child by asking them to explain different parts and read back to you.  As your child becomes more advanced, at the end of reading ask them questions about the story.

2)      Label different items around the house and practice reading them with your child.

3)      Use flash cards to review common words.  As your child develops stronger skills, try to combine the flash cards to start to create basic sentences.

4)      Mix it up with different types of stories from a variety of backgrounds.  Not only does it make it fun, it helps illustrate the impact reading has on all areas of life.

5)      Reading apps are a great way to make reading fun and leverage technology.   Here are some of our favourites:

Dr. Seuss’s ABC:  Interactive storybook app helps your child build reading skills while going along with the classic book.

Reading Raven: Leads children from early phonological awareness and phonics right up to reading full sentences while integrating printing skills and teaching through games.

Question Builder: Designed to help elementary aged children learn to answer abstract questions and create responses based on inference

Word Magic: Excellent application for kids to have fun with words and their spellings

Grace: Helps autistic and other special needs children to communicate effectively, by building semantic sequences from relevant images to form sentences

abc PocketPhonics: Designed by teachers, this app teaches all the letter sounds, plus over 30 letter blends such as “sh” and “ch.”

We hope these strategies are helpful to make your child a devoted and successful reader.

Posted in: English Tutoring

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Report Cards – Strategies for Your Child

With the school year in full swing, the first report card is a time to reflect on the successes, progress and areas to improve on for the remainder of the school year.

The best place to start your reflection is your daughter or son’s report card.   To help support you with your review, we have put together some helpful tips below:


Initial Review:

  • Read the full report card, especially the comments and identify successes and opportunities to improve on
  • Stay big picture – remember every year is different and some will be more challenging than others


Review With Your Child:

  • Your child will have a lot of insight on their record card.  Ask them what they think about it.  If you are able to make discussions about school part of your regular family routine during the year, it will help avoid any surprises during report card time
  • Celebrate their accomplishments and stay positive.   If your child’s report card had lower marks, find areas of success and ensure they are recognized
  • For areas to improve on, work with your child to make a plan and consider any additional strategies or support they may require
  • Avoid comparisons with any friends or family – it is important to stay focused on what is realistic for your child


Plan for the Future:

  • After reviewing the report card,  prepare a follow-up plan with your daughter or son
  • Think about what activities and goals you can set for the remainder of the school year
  • For areas to improve on – make realistic goals (even if small) and think about strategies to help them improve any organizational skills (ie. calendar, agenda, etc.)
  • Consider the appropriate balance of extracurricular activities for the school year, as their schedule may have had an impact on school performance

Posted in: Parent Education Resources

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Supporting Literacy and Reading

From what began as a house party in 2002, the Scotiabank Giller Light Bash has grown to become a popular cultural event across the country to raise money for Frontier College. The Bash combines a taste of the Scotiabank Giller Prize Gala formalities with a hip-urban twist. Guests watch the broadcast of the Gala on big screen, dance to a live band, enjoy delicious food, enter to win fantastic raffle prizes and mingle with fellow book lovers. The night has traditionally been filled with surprises as Giller winners and authors alike have been known to join the festivities.

This year, the party is held on November 5th concurrently in six Canadian cities: Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto and Halifax. Since its inception, the bash has raised over $400,000 for Frontier College. Frontier College runs literacy and reading programs for children, youth and adults across the country. In Toronto, programs include homework clubs for kids, tutoring for youth and literacy upgrading for adults.

Frontier College President Sherry Campbell explains how literacy affects every part of society. “If a mother can’t read a prescription bottle, it can result in a health emergency. If an employee doesn’t understand a safety memo or sign, it can affect the lives of other employees. If a young girl’s parents are unable to help with her homework because they don’t feel comfortable with their ability, that girl can easily fall behind in school, eliminating many options for her future. At Frontier College we’re working with the most vulnerable people in our society, improving their literacy and increasing their opportunities.”

The Toronto party will be held at the CBC Broadcast Centre and is emceed by author and sportscaster Kevin Sylvester. Tickets can be purchased at www.gillerlightbash.ca

Posted in: Community, English Tutoring

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