Shifting the Lesson Paradigm 3: Write

I want you to do something for me. It’ll only take three minutes, I promise. I want you to get a pen and a piece of paper. Once you’ve done so, set a timer for three minutes. Then, using the prompt below, I’d like you to write until the timer expires. Before you start, don’t…
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Why We Need to Model Skills for Students

I first heard about the idea of modelling skills for students almost a year ago on a cold Saskatoon morning in March of 2019. I was attending a Penny Kittle conference and, among being blown away by other eye-opening pedagogical practices, Kittle introduced the notion of modelling. In doing so, she tasked us, the audience,…
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Shifting the Lesson Paradigm 2: Read

“Today, we’re going to respond to a character in our novels, then we’ll discuss with the person next to us. From there, we’ll get to know the characters better by exploring elements of characterization within our texts. But before we do any of that, let’s start with a little bit of reading.” Most classes, I’ll…
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Revamping the Classroom Library

  Quickly, name five books from your classroom library. If you can’t, maybe it’s time to do away with those old, dusty books that were last picked up from before the dotcom boom. If you don’t have a classroom library, here’s why you should: The luxury of a classroom library was something I never had…
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Shifting the Lesson Paradigm 1: The Change

Show of hands: how many people have left the classroom discouraged? Disappointed by the level of student engagement, an inconsistency of reading, or a lack of skill progression. Have you ever thought to yourself ‘maybe something needs to change’? Last year I was fortunate enough to attend two professional development conferences that completely revolutionized the…
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Feedback Before the Submission

Quickly, think about three things you enjoy most about teaching. I’ll wait. Got all three? While I can’t be certain, I’d make a bet that one of those top three had something to do with engaging and interacting with students. Now, consider two aspects of your job that you enjoy the least. These probably came…
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An Alternative to Due Dates

Of the many memories I have from high school, many come from my grade 9 physical education teacher. On several occasions, he would have us run the track out back of the school as a warm-up at the start of class. If it started to rain, we would start to whinge, to which he would…
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My Grecian Urn Project

When I was in grade 4, my teacher, who was walking us through an exploration of the middle ages, tasked us with a project. The assignment, likely one that is still used in some fourth-grade classes to date, was to build our own replica castles. Naturally, I was excited by this assignment; what fourth grader…
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‘Twas the Day Before Winter Break

‘Twas the day before winter break, when all through the college Not a test was assigned, not even for knowledge;   The assessments were edited by students with care, In hopes that the break would soon be there; The housemasters were nestled up top in their studies; While visions of empty houses they dreamed with…
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