Teachers on Call

Archive for January, 2018

7 reasons to attend Reading For The Love Of It

Reading for the Love of It 

Every year the Teachers on Call team looks forward to attending the annual Reading For The Love Of It (RFTLOI) language arts conference in downtown Toronto. This is a longstanding reading convention and celebration of books that is geared towards the education community. This February will mark the 42nd year.

Here are our top 7 reasons to check out this year’s Reading For The Love Of It:

  1. Keynotes from your favourite authors and literacy advocates…like Laura Numeroff and Humble the Poet!
  2. Step away from the classroom for professional learning of your choice. There are workshop sessions covering various levels of literacy from kindergarten through secondary school.
  3. A chance to check out exciting exhibitor displays, and the latest children’s books and novels from an array of book publishers and stores.
  4. Engage in important discussions and learning around important topics like fake news, mindfulness, STEAM and more.
  5. Network with other educators from across Canada.
  6. Be a fan. Get your books signed from renowned authors and illustrators like Vikki VanSickle and Barbara Reid. Your students will love this!
  7. Walk away with strategies and ideas to inspire you throughout the rest of the school year.

Date & Time: Thursday, February 22 & Friday, February 23

Location: Sheraton Centre Hotel, Toronto, ON

Register: Save your ticket

Posted in: English Tutoring

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5 STEM Websites for Kids (that are fun!)

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is an important area of focus in the classroom and at home.  One of the questions we often receive, is how do I engage my daughter or son in STEM?

Fortunately, several of our Math and Science tutors, have shared their 5 favourite and fun STEM websites for kids:

1) The Science of Winter Olympics: With the Winter Olympics around the corner, the NBC Learn team has teamed up with the National Science Foundation to prepare 16 videos about how Math and Science impact sports.   There is an opportunity to learn about gravity, friction, speed and the biology and chemistry of the human body.

2) Science Bob: This website covers everything about science, including research tips, experiments and a Q&A section for everything you were wondering about science.

3) Cool Math Games: Excite your younger kids with this fun and interactive website that covers all things math, including numbers, logic, skill and strategy.

4) National Geographic Kids: This website inspires young adventurers to explore the world through games, apps, maps and videos.

5) Brain Pop Jr: This site and it’s older version Brain Pop offers tons of educational videos and games in areas like math and science along with social studies, art and history.

 

Posted in: Math Tutoring, Science Tutoring

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A Special Initiative for all Eco-Schools

eco-schools

Does your child go to an Ontario eco-school? If so, this Superpower your School Contest is an initiative you’ll want to share with them.

Schools who make earth-friendly practices a priority will love the opportunity to enter for a chance to win one of ten prizes of $20,000 worth of new technology from Staples Canada.

Earth Day Canada and Staples Canada have partnered together for eight years and during this time have awarded 80 eco-conscious schools technology to help nurture their love of the earth through learning.

How can a school win?

Keen eco-schoolers should work together to showcase a special environmental project their school community has been involved in or their overall eco-efforts. Certificates, data, photos, and results all help tell the story.

For inspiration on what to share, eco-champions should be sure to check out last year’s winners. There were common themes amongst the winners, such as solving a community or environmental issue and environmental activism. Some of the winning projects included: helping people grow their own food, awareness campaigns and media to address the changing environment, and student involvement in conservation practices.

Interested schools can enter the contest, here until January 31st.

How can a school start making positive environmental changes?

Start small and grow!

  • Create an in-school awareness campaign about school lunches
  • Start a boomerang lunch program
  • Plan to revive the school garden
  • Design a playground to have more natural space and make a plan to include these elements
  • Plan all school trips to be outdoor trips

Plus, read our list of four more ways to go green all year long.

Posted in: Science Tutoring

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Kickstart A Lifelong Reading Habit In 15 Minutes A Day

Spending 15 minutes a day enjoying a literacy activity is a great way to reinforce a positive attitude around reading. The more frequently you read as a family, the more your children will gravitate naturally to reading!

Why not kick off a year-long reading habit beginning on Family Literacy Day on January 27th?

Family Literacy Day is an annual literacy event that’s taken place across Canada since 1999. Every year, thousands of schools and other literacy providers host family literacy events to bring parents and children together to encourage 15 minutes of literacy learning fun.

Our team of tutors is often asked by parents how they can help their kids love reading, so in preparation for this year’s Family Literacy Day, we’re sharing five engaging ways to show your children that learning to read is fun.

  1. Sign up for a library card and then get out the family calendar to plan regular visits to stock up on books that reflect your child’s current interests. Once your child signs up for a library card, they can even borrow books digitally!
  2. Reread your child’s favourite books. While you may get tired of reading the same books the repetitive reading helps children’s vocabulary grow and deepens their comprehension.
  3. Don’t stop reading together even when your child can read for themselves. They still benefit from the dedicated time together. Instead, choose a novel and take turns reading aloud a chapter.
  4. Storytelling is a fantastic way to build your child’s oral literacy. They rely on playing with tone and volume to help evoke the power of emotions. As children learn to tell stories, they’ll naturally bring what they learn to their reading and writing. Get cozy and sit around making up silly stories or retell old favourites!
  5. Over dinner or before bedtime, dedicate 15 minutes of family time to engage in conversation about everyone’s day. Use our list of 20 questions to ask your child about school as a starting point.

Now grab a book and get reading!

Posted in: English Tutoring

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10 Winter STEM Activities

STEM Winter Activities

It’s January and we are in the heart of the winter season.    To celebrate the winter months our team of tutors has pulled together some of our favourite Winter STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) ideas and activities.    We have also included an A for STEAM to make it Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.

The ideas below cover a wide variety of STEM activities, but focus on a common idea: Winter!

1) Learn about Seasons: build a circle of the year with four quarters (one for each season).  This incorporates fractions (quarters), art (pictures to show seasons) and engineering (if you are able to spin the wheel).

2) Take an Education Field Trip: Even in the cold weather it is nice to take a break from the house.  Take your child to the Ontario Science Centre which has great activities and exhibits to learn about STEM.

3) Play with STEM Toys:  Our President, Joanne Sallay features 10 STEM Gift Ideas For Brainy Kids

4) Snow Science: Fill three jars with ice, snow and water and see if they all have the same H2O.  Leave the jars in room temperature and watch the snow melt.  Before doing so guess which jar will end up with the most water and why. Discuss how water changes form when it freezes, melts or becomes a gas.   For older students, this helps promote an understanding of chemistry and molecular structure.

5) Shapes and Patterns: Make coloured icicles by attaching a string to a porch or deck and letting it hang with a cup filled with colored water. Watch as ice forms along the string with different colours.

6) Pictures and Videos: have your child take pictures of any holiday gifts to create their own collage or video.  There are tons of online tools to edit, add music or overlay text.

7) Build a Snowflake: Using construction paper, tape / glue and photos of real snowflakes, this activity teaches children about basic shapes, symmetry and the structure of snowflakes.

8) Friction: Learn about friction and try to push different items across the ice and see which one goes the furthest.

9) Learn about Nature: National Geographic for Kids has tons of games, videos and articles to learn about nature and the winter season.

10) Build a Snowman: How could we not include this for winter activities.  Building a snowman helps teach kids engineering to build items with the right size and shape to ensure they stay sturdy and don’t fall over.

Posted in: Educational Technology

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5 Ways to Set School Goals for the New Year

With 2018 upon us, it is time for new year and new goals.  But what about those goals you set with your child this past fall for the school year?

With the first half of the school year almost complete, the new year is a great time to sit down and refresh your initial goals.

Here 5 ideas to help update your child’s goals for the school year:

1) Evaluate Progress & Discuss Challenges:  Not every subject will be your child’s strongest.  Discuss obstacles on these subjects with your child and teacher and how you can work together to overcome them.

2) Re-Write Your Goals: Writing down your goals is a wonderful way for you and your child to take ownership.  If your child is not old enough to write the goals out themselves, feel free to lend a hand.   The new year provides an opportunity to refresh and update their initial goals and make new ones for the remainder of the school year.

3) Create Goals That are SMART:  SMART Goals are:

S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Relevant, Rigorous, Realistic, and Results Focused
T = Timely and Trackable

4) Showcase Goals and Progress:  Posting goals and displaying successful work / achievements around your house is a wonderful way to keep goals top of mind and celebrate your child’s successes in school.

5) Have Fun and Be Positive:  Use art work or games to help visualize any goals and consider any small rewards to celebrate milestones or successes.  Most importantly – make goal setting fun!

Posted in: Parent Education Resources

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