June has finally arrived and the school year is almost over! I would like to start off with some of my reflections on this year.
Here is a quotation from drama educator, Ignacio Estrada. He stated that, “if a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” I really think this sums up what we can do as teachers in order to change with the times. “Our education system is definitely shifting thanks to new technologies and a world of possibilities right at the fingertips of our students! If we do not alter our teaching style to suit this new system – our students will definitely surpass us!” We need to be open to change and participate in professional development opportunities to help improve our overall practice. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/750708-if-a-child-can-t-learn-the-way-we-teach-maybe
In the spirit of life-long learning, I invite you this summer to explore a variety of PD opportunities offered by the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF) for teachers around the province starting July 7, 2014 in London, Ottawa, Sudbury, and Toronto. Over 20 institutes (three-day workshops) are being offered in the areas of mathematics, technology and First Nation, Métis, and Inuit perspectives. In support of the revised social sciences and humanities curriculum, OFSHEEA is proudly offering 3 workshops as part of OTF’s summer institute:
Technology in the Social Science Classroom (Grades 9-12)
Participants will be guided through instruction of new technologies and their use in the social science classroom. Assessment techniques, research methods, differentiated instruction and engaging lesson practices will be explored in a social sciences context.Toronto, July 8-10
A Journey of Inquiry (Grades 9-12)
Join our journey of inquiry as we work towards discovering how to effectively integrate family and resource management, First Nation, Métis, and Inuit cultures, histories and perspectives, and tools and pedagogical approaches to technology in the social sciences and humanities classroom.London, July 15-17 Toronto, July 28-30
Social Justice: Living Justice, Living Peace (Grades 9-12)
This social justice workshop will provide content-rich, technology focused activities that will engage both students and teachers in the Revised Social Sciences and Humanities curriculum. It will push participants to think critically about issues both within and beyond Canada’s borders, encouraging everyone to ask questions about the type of world they live in and the type of world they would like a hand in creating. Ottawa, August 6-8
Registration for OTF Summer Institutes 2014 is now open. For more information on OFSHEEA’s workshops and to register, go to: http://www.otffeo.on.ca/en/learning/2014-summer-institutes/
Now, I would like to share with you some resources that you may want to explore as you are getting ready for the mandatory implementation of our new curriculum. How many of you have spent time reading the front matter of our revised social sciences and humanities Curriculum (2013)?
These are pages 7 – 53 in our document: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/secondary/ssciences9to122013.pdf
One of the considerations for program planning in social sciences and humanities listed in the document is teaching from an equity and inclusive education lens, where by “teachers can give students a variety of opportunities to learn about diversity and diverse perspectives. By drawing attention to the contributions of women, the perspectives of various ethnocultural, religious, and racial communities, and the beliefs and practices of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples, teachers enable students from a wide range of backgrounds to see themselves reflected in the curriculum” (p. 43).
One resource that I found to be particularly useful in teaching using an equity lens is: Full Circle: First Nations, Métis, Inuit Ways of Knowing (2012). This resource was developed for secondary teachers and includes lessons that can be implemented in many disciplines, including social sciences. The resource has been produced as a PDF file on CD with an accompanying video on DVD. Check with your Lead Teacher or Social Science Curriculum Consultant at your board if you did not receive a copy of the DVD in the fall of 2012. You can find the full document on OSSTF’s website at http://www.osstf.on.ca/full-circle-first-nations-metis-and-inuit-ways-of-knowing.pdf
You may also want to check Black History Curriculum Specialist Natasha Henry’s newly launched website and blog on Teaching the African Canadian Perspective by visiting: http://teachingafricancanadianhistory.weebly.com/blog
In addition, our front matter stipulates that “teachers should differentiate instruction and assessment strategies to take into account the background and experiences, as well as the interests, aptitudes, and learning needs, of all students”.
Here is a resource that I think would be very useful as you plan for next year. Check out the second edition of the best-selling, foundational work on differentiated instruction by Carol Ann Tomlinson: The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners, 2nd Edition (2014). In this update of her best-selling, classic work, “Carol Ann Tomlinson offers a powerful and practical way to meet a challenge that is both very modern and completely timeless: how teachers can divide their time, resources, and efforts to effectively instruct so many students of various backgrounds, readiness and skill levels, and interests”. This new edition updates the original book’s timeless advice with Tomlinson’s fresh insights drawn from changes in the education landscape, including the
• growing presence of instructional technology;
• increasing population of English language learners; and
• implications of current teacher evaluation practices.
Another consideration for program planning in our revised curriculum is “planning for students with special education needs” (p. 35). If you have a LinkedIn account, you may want to consider joining the Ontario Teachers’ forum as a LinkedIn Group. If you do not have an account, you can create one by visiting https://ca.linkedin.com/. Few days ago, I read an article on accommodations for ADD/ADHD by Don Reist, OCT, and public speaker on education and special education that I thought was quite useful. The Ontario Teachers’ forum offers a plethora of resources, strategies and hot topics that matter to teachers.
As a family studies educator, I feel that “the best way to learn is to do; the worst way to teach is to talk” (Bressoud, 2011). In Family Studies we have the unique opportunity to use practical experiences to teach life-long lessons about food and nutrition, clothing, budgeting, shopping, healthy living, relationships with others, and so many other relevant areas in the Social Science and Humanities Curriculum. Of course, in the food and nutrition courses, there are ample opportunities available for our students for learning by doing.
Courtesy of one of my colleagues at the York Region District School Board, you can explore Food: A Cultural Culinary History (2013), as a teacher resource for the grade 11 Food and Culture course (HFC3M) and possibly for the other foods courses: Here is a summary of what this resource is about: Incorporating extensive study of historical recipes, food preparation techniques from around the world, and activities you can try at home, these 36 colorful lectures take you through the entire spectrum of food history, from the cuisine of ancient Egypt to cthe great flowering of European cookery in the Middle Ages, and from the celebrity chefs of 18th-century France to our own Zagat- and Michelin-rated restaurant culture www.zagat.com). Along the way, you learn in depth about food production and technology in each era; the social, economic, and political factors surrounding food culture; and thinking on diet and eating through the centuries. Apparently, this food history course is now on sale for 73% off from the Great Courses company in DVD or downloadable format (audio or video). All formats include free streaming. What to expect from these DVDs or downloads? Here is a cool overview: http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/courses/course_detail.aspx?cid=9180
Staying within the topic of food, you may want to check out TED Talks Stories of Inspiration and Change using this link: https://www.ted.com/watch/topics/food
These TED talks — from chefs, farmers, restaurant owners, cookbook writers and foodies — celebrate all things edible and ask the important question: What’s wrong with what we eat?
Another important resource is Ontario Agric-food Education Inc. (oafe.org) site; it is a site worth visiting. It has different tabs, among which are educational resources and video resources. Must see YouTube video clips are Healthy Eating Partner and Exploring Food Myths. These clips amongst others can serve as openers/anchors when discussing some topics in Food and Nutrition. Examine the Issues…Explore the Opportunities! For field trips, why not bring your class to Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show on September 9, 10 and 11, 2014! OAFE is proud to offer “tours of Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show to secondary students in agriculture and horticulture SHSM’s! Have your students engage in experiential learning about agriculture and food and the career opportunities in the sector”. For more information and to register your class visit oafe.org.
In closing, as we head into the summer months here are some tips from healthyminds.com (2010) on how to keep busy and stay healthy: take care of yourself; keep your mind active; practice ways to reduce stress; spend time with at least one friend; nurture your soul; take time to play; and finally, don’t forget to celebrate your successes.
Have a safe and restful summer break!
Head of Social Sciences and Humanities–Family Studies
Co-Chair, YRDSB Regional Family Studies Subject Council
Future Directions, Ontario Family Studies & Home Economics Educators Association