Teachers on Call

Teachers on Call Named Best Toronto Tutoring Organization by Consumer Choice for the Third Consecutive Year

Teachers on Call is pleased to announce that it has been chosen as the Best Toronto Tutoring Organization for 2019 by Consumer Choice Awards. Our team is grateful to receive this award for the third consecutive year.

Teachers on Call is an award-winning home tutoring service with over 30 years of experience providing one-on-one instruction in all subjects and grades.

The nomination and selection of winners by CCA is based on market research and customer opinion, which provides consumers with the most sophisticated consumer-driven results available. Each year, consumers in Canada are surveyed to gather their opinions, expectations, and perceptions of the different brands that they trust on a daily basis. Quality, Value, Appearance and Overall Service provided are the key components used to select the winner in each category.  The top-ranked businesses are given the prestigious Consumer Choice Award.  Using the aforementioned selection criteria, consumers selected Teachers on Call as the best tutoring company in Toronto.  Teachers on Call would like to extend its heartfelt congratulations to all of this year’s winners. We will continue to strive for excellence and provide outstanding academic support to all our students to inspire them to reach their full potential.

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Bring Books to Life at the Theatre

Students, parents and teachers all love March Break, and we hope everyone’s refreshed from their time off. The spring break presents a great opportunity to expose students to fun learning experiences outside of the classroom, and now is a great time to extend that sense of extracurricular fun back into the classroom.

The Teachers on Call team is a big fan of promoting books and fun ways to get kids interested in reading (especially when students have free time). That’s why we’re thrilled when popular books are adapted to movies and musicals.

On that theme, did you know that Rick Riordan’s best-selling young adult series has been adapted to a musical? If you’ve not yet read The Lighting Thief, the story features Percy Jackson, a twelve-year-old boy who has been diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, who tells the story of his adventures with the gods and creatures of ancient Greek mythology – and of course, how he saves the world in the process.

Needless to say, fans of Percy Jackson won’t want to miss the opportunity to catch the chance to see the adventure play out on the big stage! The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical is coming to Toronto’s Ed Mirvish Theatre from March 19 to March 24th. This is a perfect opportunity for students with a two-week March Break (or for families who want to stretch it out) to take in a little culture at the same time they enjoy some thrilling family fun.

We’re sure we don’t have to tell you, but theatre can present a great educational field trip opportunity for teachers, as well! There’s many rich themes and characters to explore with students before and after the curtain closes. Have your students read the book before seeing the musical and then compare the similarities and differences that come from the adaptation. You can also include watching the movie adaptation for extra credit homework.

Are your kids big fans of The Lightning Thief? Don’t miss the free study guide with activities and discussion topics to enrich students and encourage them to delve deeper!

Posted in: English Tutoring

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Enter to Win a Mary Poppins Book Collection

Winter can be a magical time of year, and like many, you may have been drawn to the theatre over winter break to catch the new star-studded Mary Poppins Returns to celebrate a little bit of magic for yourself and create some excellent learning opportunities!

The nostalgia factor is strong for adults, which is no doubt why a whole new generation of fresh adaptations of the original 1934 novel by P.L. Travers were inspired. We are confident that these books will delight fans and introduce a new generation of young readers to the most famous nanny of all time.

Grab one of these books for your collection to go along with the theatre experience as part of a plan to make reading fun and interactive! There is much to discuss and compare for some excellent teachable moments both at home and in the classroom environment.

Mary Poppins (Picture Book)

Written by P.L. Travers, Illustrated by Geneviève Godbout, Adapted by Amy Novesky

For ages: 4 – 7 

This adaptation is the perfect way to introduce Mary Poppins to little learners who are not ready for more advanced reading. This book does an excellent job of capturing the adventures of the Banks children in a condensed format, and it’s beautifully illustrated by Canadian illustrator Geneviève Godbout from Montreal, Quebec.

Mary Poppins (Illustrated Gift Edition)

Written by P.L. Travers, Illustrated by Júlia Sardà

For ages: 10 – 12

This lovely keepsake gift edition features the classic Mary Poppins chapter book with stunning new illustrations. Readers follow Michael and Jane Banks as their nanny takes them on magical journeys that include an upside-down tea party and a night-time visit to the zoo.

Mary Poppins Returns (Deluxe Novelization)

By Walt Disney Pictures, Adapted by Kathy McCullough

For ages: 8 – 12

Admirers of the Disney film will not want to miss this! This book is the middle-grade edition novelization of the film, an entirely new sequel following a grown Michael and Jane Banks. Their former nanny returns to 17 Cherry Tree Lane to look after Michael’s very own children.

To celebrate the magic and wonder of Mary Poppins, Raincoast Books is giving away these three adaptations (approximate value $75)! To win, just enter the contest below! We’ll be drawing the winner on January 17, 2019. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest is open to Ontario residents only.

Posted in: English Tutoring

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4 Ways to Stay Focused over the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a well deserved break for students after a busy four months of school.   While the season is a wonderful time to relax and celebrate with family and friends, it is also a good time to begin to prepare for the new year.     It is also easy for students to change their routine during the holiday break, making it difficult to transition back to school in the new year.

Fortunately our team of tutors at Teachers on Call, have prepared these 5 tips to stay focused over the holiday break:

1) Make a plan to complete homework and / or holiday assignments:   Some teachers may assign homework over the break, particularly with English reading and writing assignments.   In order to ensure any homework or assignments are successful, it is best to always work on them in advance and plan ahead.

2) Keep a regular schedule: The holiday season can change the cycle of going to bed late, resulting in waking up at unreasonable times.  The sudden transition to wake up at 7AM for school can be challenging for any student.  If the sleep schedule does change, try getting it back on track several days before school resumes.

3) Enrichment opportunities: With the downtime during the holiday break, review any areas to improve on or concepts you might have had trouble with.  Even if it is a couple of hours of learning new concepts with online math or science apps, it is a great way to get extra practice.  Embracing holiday themes is another way to encourage students to stay engaged.  For example, making winter arts and crafts or learning about the science of snowflakes is a great way to tie learning into the holiday break.

4) Use family and friends as a resource: You will probably be around many friends and family that are experts in math, science, English and French.  They might be able to help with any areas of focus.

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Holiday Gifts for Teachers That Are Guaranteed to Please

The search is on for gifts to express appreciation for your child’s teacher and the important work they do. Supplies are one thing that’s always welcome – they’re practical and useful gifts that can save a teacher money and provide a lot of fun for the class. If you want to give teacher more of a “treat” that they get to enjoy for themselves, we can help you with that, too!

Here are some ideas to help make it easy to find the perfect gift. Be sure to include your kids in the process of shopping! If you’re thinking of supplies, not only is it fun for them to select the items they want to use, they have expert knowledge on what is needed… and they may know some of your teacher’s likes and hobbies to help give a gift a personal touch.

Desk Items “Just for Teacher”

Pads of paper, pens, and pencils are items that always seem to disappear. Quality equipment (such as staplers) are also worth their weight in gold! Stationary is great for all the nice notes teachers like to write and send home. A chic desk organizer is something every teacher can appreciate – either on its own, or a creative “gift basket” for the other items you may want to gift!

Sophisticated Treats for the Classroom

If parents are pooling resources for a group gift, there are often costly supplies that are usually out of budget. STEM toys and games, electronics, books, and specialty paints are enjoyable for kids and teachers alike and can be purchased in group gift situations.

Personalized Items

If your child’s teacher has everything already, consider personalized items including notepads, adult labels, and stamps with custom impressions like “Good Job! – Ms. Smith.”

Little Luxuries for Teacher

Easy-to-care-for plants for the classroom, their favourite tea or hot chocolate mix for breaktime, funny signs for their desk, a pleasant hand lotion to keep in their drawer for winter-dry hands… the possibilities are endless!

Arts and Crafts Materials

Things like crayons, glue sticks and construction paper may not seem exciting, but these resources are used daily for lessons and activities – and teachers use more of them than you may think!

The Trusty Gift Card

Gift cards are easy to coordinate for a joint gift and guarantees the perfect choice, especially if you don’t know the type of pens – or wine – they prefer!

Don’t forget to have fun with the presentation. You can make gift baskets with a caddy, tote, or desk organizer as the base. Or perhaps try assembling your gift in the shape of a snowflake or tree to capture the spirit of the winter season!

Most importantly, don’t forget to include a thank you card with personalized note from you and your child; these are treasured keepsakes!


To make your shopping easier this season, we’re pleased to partner with Staples to give away school supplies and a $250 Staples Gift Card (total value, $300). Enter via the contest below! We’ll be drawing the winner on December 7, 2018. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest is open to Ontario residents only.

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Report Cards Are Out and Parent Teacher Interviews Are Over. Now What?

November is famous (or infamous) both for the first report card or progress report of the school year and parent teacher conferences. This is a time of varying emotions for families – pride, confusion, and even panic in some cases. You’ve seen the report card and (may have) met the teacher. Now, action is on the mind, and you may be thinking, “What do I do next”?

Make notes after the interview: Write down key comments while fresh on your mind, especially if new information of importance is presented. This can include marking down academic strengths, weaknesses, and learning skills to work on.

Read the report card again: Parents may find it interesting to read the report card again after the parent teacher meeting. Some feedback may have been missed, or some information may have a new meaning.

File away report card and notes: Whether you have a physical or electronic file folder, remember to save these important documents somewhere you can readily access them to check up on progress throughout the year and access them prior to the next report card.

Sit with your child to get their take on results: Your child will have a lot of insight on their leaning. Ask them what they think about the results communicated to date. If you are able to have regular discussions about school during the year, it will help avoid any surprises during report card time.

Celebrate accomplishments and stay positive: If your child’s report card had lower marks, find areas of success and ensure they are recognized. Avoid comparisons with any friends or family. It’s important to stay focused on what is realistic for your child.

Don’t fear ongoing communication with your child’s teacher: While the parent teacher interview signals a time for a formal discussion, remember that your child’s teacher is available for ongoing communication when needed.

Make a plan: Prepare a follow-up plan with your son or daughter by thinking about what activities and goals you can set for the school year. Work with your child to consider any additional support they may require. This can be in the form of family members, teachers and tutors.

Stay big picture: Remember every report card is different and that some years will be more challenging than others. It’s still very early in the academic year – there’s lots of time to introduce positive change and behaviours!

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How to Build Your Child’s Vocabulary

Child reading a book

Having a strong vocabulary helps students with reading, writing and expressing their thoughts and opinions.

We have reached out to our team of Reading and English tutors to get their advice on successful strategies to build a strong vocabulary.

1) Read Consistently:  Engage your child’s interest by picking topics they are interested in with new learning opportunities.  As you read together with your child, stop when there is a new word and help explain it through pictures, meaning by context or the root of the word.  It can be a casual conversation rather than a lesson.

2) Love the Library: Take advantage of your local library to build your child’s love of reading.  If you are not sure where to start, chat with your local librarian on suggestions based on your child’s interests and reading level.

3) Create a Word Map:  As you learn new words, write them on a post card or post-it note and place them around the room to help remember.

4) Use New Words: Encourage your child to use their expanded vocabulary often and provide positive feedback when they do.

5) Learn about Synonyms:  Expand vocabulary by challenging your child to use synonyms and mix up words.

6) Use Grown-Up Words in Conversations: By using more challenging words, children can be encouraged to ask for clarification and provide a chance to explain new words.

7) Label Items Around the House: For younger kids, this is a wonderful way to learn basic words.  Practice with them how to properly pronounce each word as they learn it.

8) Have Fun:  Play crosswords, word games, Scrabble apps or even a low key family spelling bee.

Posted in: English Tutoring

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How to Overcome Math Anxiety

Math Anxiety

One of the most common tutoring requests we receive relates to struggles with math and in particular, math anxiety.

For many students, doing math homework or the thought of writing math tests or exams can cause negative thoughts from the fear of failure.  It can also lead to challenges with the disruption of working memory, which is key to succeed in math even at a young age.

Math anxiety can be caused by a number of things including:

  • Public fear: Having a bad experience answering a question incorrectly in class
  • Time pressure on tests or exams
  • Reliance on learning math through memorizing procedures rather than truly understanding the concepts

We asked our team of math tutors for their advice on how to succeed with learning, studying and writing math exams / tests:

1) Ask questions from your teacher or peers, whether it is in class or after school

2) Be consistent & persistent.  Learn from mistakes and keep trying problems and questions that you have challenges in to learn.  Working consistently on math will help to build a base of skills over time.

3) Start small: For the first couple of days spend 15-30 minutes on math and as you build confidence work on longer and more challenging problems.

4) Make math fun through interests.  For example if a student likes sports, connect math to sports themes.

5) Practice regularly, especially if you are having challenges with a specific concept.  Having worked through a specific problem or question in the past will help you succeed during test or exam time.

6) Last and more important, have a positive attitude and re-position challenges into positive experiences.

Posted in: Math Tutoring

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Halloween Math Activities

Halloween Math Activities

Fall is in full swing and that means the time-honoured tradition of Halloween is approaching.   Whether is it trick or treating or getting dressed up, Halloween is a fun activities for any family.

It is also a wonderful opportunity to incorporate math learning opportunities.

Our team of elementary math tutors has put together this wonderful list of Halloween math games:

1) Candy Math Game: Place a small sticker at the bottom of the candy with a math question.  You can vary the questions depending on the age of the student.  Turn the candy over and if your child answers the question correctly, they get to keep the candy.

2) Use pieces of candy as math manipulatives can be a lot of fun. A complex concept  can be a lot easier from being able to hold number concepts in your hand.

3) Sorting and Counting: For younger kids, have them sort their candy and then use it as an opportunity to learn how to count.

4) Guessing Game: Each person guesses how much candy they have in their bag at the end of the night.  If you have enough people you can even graph it.

5) Pumpkin pie and fractions. Bake or purchase a pumpkin pie and slice it up to learn about fractions.


Posted in: Math Tutoring

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5 Study Habits to Help Your Child Succeed this School Year

After the first couple of days and weeks of school, the excitement of back-to-school fades away and homework and studying begin.  This is especially the case for middle and high school students who receive increased homework and learn about their first tests and due dates approaching.

Parents often ask our tutors’ advice on how to succeed during the school year.  Of course knowledge of the English, Math, Science, Social Science and French curriculum is important, but an overlooked item is having strong study habits.  Fortunately our tutors have complied a list of 5 study habits to help your child succeed this school year.

1) Develop Strong Organizational Skills:  Using an agenda, having an organized study space and keeping papers and binders organized is a great start.  For more organization tips, click here

2) Have a Good Study Space: From our experience, a clean, well lit space with school supplies close by works best.  Also, try and avoid distractions like cell phones and TV to allow your child to stay focused.

3) Build Strong Exam and Test taking Strategies:  Making study notes, avoid cramming and asking for help are several way to ensure success on any test or exam.  For further tips, click here

4) Develop Note Taking Skills:  Students should work towards developing note taking strategies that work well with their style and are able to summarize the material and capture all the key points.  For more detailed strategies click here

5) Be Positive and Well Rested:  Having a good nights sleep, eating well and being positive is key to any students success.  Encourage positive thinking and work with your child to re-frame any challenges into positive learning experiences.

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