Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Alberta Provincial Curriculum & Resources by subject K-4

this post is in progress - see my Pinterest boards for complete resource bank by subject

The University of Lethbridge has a comprehensive database of resources for teachers. It can be found and accessed here (see tab titled "resources").

Language Arts Alberta Program of Studies K-4

Be sure to see the Illustrative Examples by grade level.  They include unit and lesson ideas that demonstrate what students CAN do at this grade level, what does the outcome LOOK like.

Current Common Practices:

The Daily Five: a language arts model that easily allow for differentiation
Jolly Phonics: a model for teaching letter sounds, sound blends and beginning reading
Handwriting Without Tears: a model for teaching printing, needs to be adapted for various abilities, uses slates and manipulatives
Alberta Provincial Achievement tests in grade 3, 6, 9 in math and language arts

Math Alberta Program of Studies K-4

Using your provincial recommended resource, Pearson Math Makes Sense, or Chenalière in French, is especially helpful when teaching math.  You get an idea of how long each concept should take, lessons are clear and assessment is included.  As you gain experience you will certainly want supplement this resource, I have found it to be a great place to start.

Pearson provides this suggested timing chart for the year in each resrouce binder for each year (look under the planning and assessment tab, unit planning), very helpful for long range planning.

I've never had a math textbook for students but the teacher's guide and PDFs have always been available.

Each edition has a CD, I suggest installing it onto your laptop and home computer so that you always have it for quick reference (same for the provincial Social Studies resource).

The Pearson (Chenalière in French) teacher guide also breaks down each unit as it relates to our specific provincial outcomes.

I always use the pre-unit checklist . . .

and complete the post-unit rubric, I send the completed rubric home stapled to assignment and quiz samples, it has some notes from me and parents are asked to sign it and return it.  I find these 2 documents make report cards much easier.  I keep these handy during student-led conferences.

This is a project example from the free portion of the site Alberta Assessment Consortium.  

The projects are culminating, summative assessment tasks based on high priority learner outcomes and provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate what they know and can do in an authentic, real-life context. New tasks are added on an ongoing basis.

The projects are engaging, they often integrate subjects and most importantly they provide first-rate assessment tools (printable, downloadable).

The projects (there are only 2-3 per grade) often include options for differentiation, SMART notebook files, supporting muli-media, and student exemplars.

I have seen this Alberta Assessment Consortium print resource in Rocky View Schools and I believe that district has a membership to the site.  Even the few that are posted are helpful for designing your own performance assessments.

Science Alberta Program of Studies K-4

Social Studies Alberta Program of Studies K-4

Health Alberta Program of Studies K-4

Power to Play kit and website

The workshop is free, plan to arrange for classroom or school funds to buy the kit(s).  Lessons, assessment ideas and templates are free and downloadable online from their website.  The kit is not available in French but the templates are in French online.

They do a good job of integrating some of the health and PE outcomes.  Good for those days when the gym isn't available because of a Christmas concert or special presentation, great for sub days.  I do at least one Power to Play project per term, and keep it prepped in my sub file. A pre-made, canned resource may not hit the inquiry and Project Based note but it's helpful when you're sick and can't plan.

Students and parents may complete a multiple intelligences assessment at the beginning of the year.  This link contains online assessments for children and adults as well as a printable version (pictured here).  By getting to know your students this way early in the year you; gain the trust and confidence of parents, are mindful of the varying strengths of your students, have already addressed some of the learning outcomes related to life learning choices in the Health (Life Skills) Program of Studies.

Your school may promote special programs like The 7 Habits Leader in Me or The Heart of the Matter Character Education and Citizenship or Bucket Fillers.  Wherever possible look for natural integration of school wide initiatives into your learning outcomes so that these initiatives aren't "extra" but are truly part of your program.

Physical Education

Premier Sports Program of British Columbia

I did this workshop 13 years ago and still love this resource.  It keeps you away from months of tag and dodgeball games and gives the non-athlete a very easy template to follow.

Best, best, best feature; at the end of the unit students choose their level of performance assessment.  It describes how to set up the assessment and students can self score whether or not they met their goal (ie: basketball, throw the ball with proper shooting technique 10 times and hit anywhere on the back board, record how many you achieve out of 10).  It's differentiated, self-directed, you can level-up, love it.

École Edwards Physical Education School-wide long range plan.

Although this school wide LRP is not very specific, having a school wide long range plan means that time is saved taking out and putting away equipment.  For gymnastics units the equipment stays out and is set up for the entire month.  This was an extremely efficient way to use our physical education time and to be sure we were meeting the goals of the Daily Physical Activity Initiative (DPA).


Information Technology




French Immersion

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Long Range Planning Tools - Ambrose 2013

How many instructional weeks?

Calgary Board of Education 2013-2014 calendar:

Rocky View Schools 2013-2014 calendar:

Calgary Board of Education Catholic 2013-2014 calendar:

Online tool for printing blank monthly and weekly calendars - editable and printable:

When are report cards due and what do they look like?

Sample report card for grade 1 French and English. Be sure you know what needs to be included (ie: on this one how will you generate an effort mark? Is that mark about behaviour? Will you teach each math strand every term?  Do you need to report every area every term? Does your grade team need to report the same outcomes every term?)

What is my assessment plan?
General Assessment Pinterest Board in Progress.

What are my core subjects?

Long Range Planning Board of resources here.

Curriculum overviews at-a-glance by grade level:


grade 1

grade 2

grade 3

grade 4

grade 5

Alberta complete Program of Studies

Which subjects integrate easily? 

Curriculum Integration document from Alberta Education (example and template).

Is planned inquiry and oxymoron?

Alberta Learning Guide to implementing inquiry-base learning (2004):

provincial expectations

Provincial requirements are outlined in the Teacher Qualifications Standards.  Under the heading "skills related to permanent certification" there are 11 specific standards outlined in this documents, the 5th relates to planning.  

e)  "Teachers engage in a range of planning activities. 

Teachers’ plans are founded in their understanding of contextual variables and are a record of their decisions on what teaching and learning strategies to apply. Plans outline a reasoned and incremental progression toward the attainment of desired outcomes, for both teachers and students. Teachers monitor the context, their instruction, and monitor and assess students’ learning on an ongoing basis, and modify their plans accordingly. Teachers strive to establish candid, open and ongoing lines of communication with students, parents, colleagues and other professionals, and incorporate information gained into their planning."

administrative expectations

Alberta Learning Long Long Range Planning template in word:
(document has several samples, editable, printable)

Alberta Learning Long Range Planning template PDF:
(documents includes all of the following pictured below and more)

A complete (this is partial) unit planning checklist is part of this document, be sure to have a look.

Edmonton Public Long Range planning templates.

Understanding by Design Templates posted by the author Grant Wiggins

maintaining your sanity

My long range plan template

Sample Long Range Plans K-4 from a Calgary Charter School:
(they post their long range plans for parents on their school site, fantastic practice in my mind - would require some 'seeking first to understand' on the part of parents ie: when and why teachers will deviate from the plan).

Chase March's combined 3/4 Long range plan.  Please link to Chase's blog post here to download his files (I like his blog and Teacher Tip Tuesdays).  Thank you Mr. March!  Success is about contribution.

Monday, February 25, 2013

How to use Daily 5 in Kindergarten French Immersion

I had a reader ask about whether or not we use The Daily Five in kindergarten and what that looks like in a French Immersion kindergarten class (another post has some of my printable materials here).  I have taught kindergarten but have not used the daily 5 in K.  The teachers at our school do begin the Daily 5 (somewhat modified) in Kindergarten.  In some classes the 5 are added as centres during centre time.  Initially they spend 20 minutes at each centre (hopefully 30 by January).  Here are my thoughts based on what I've done with grade 1s and what my colleagues have done in kindergarten.

The Sisters website and book is always the best place to go back to and review how to implement the Daily Five.

You will also find great information by getting on Twitter - yes twitter!!  And asking that question of your PLN or pose the question to the #frimm hashtag.  #Frimm is the tag for Canadian (and other) French Immersion teachers.  Twitter is my google. ;)


Books and songs on tape or online with the lyrics or words highlighted as they read.  I have a small playlist on youtube for K, I was hoping other teachers would add to it.  My YouTube playlist for K isn't totally up-to-date but here are the links (*beware I just had a quick look and some of the ads posted before the videos are borderline inappropriate, argh!  what to do?):

K summer

We also have a home-reading program with books and CDs called Oui, oui, oui and use that in classroom too.

Lyrics of songs students have learned so far are bound in a book and include images to go with the words when possible. Students use a pointer or magnifying glass to follow along as they sing.  They LOVE it that they can 'read' these songs.  It really does increase the French sight words they know.

Students make collaborative books and finish-me books throughout the year.  The class books are kept in the class library and the students like to 'read' these familiar sentences written by one another.  The finish-me books stay in their book boxes, they are sent home each term.

Examples of the finish-me books we made in grade 1 for our colour unit are here.  I haven't posted all of the ones we used for Kindergarten.  Most of these I made or modified from english materials. 


Students have a journal and use them right away in kindergarten.  At first they draw and I come around and have them describe their picture, I try to label 1 or 2 simple things in their picture and have them copy the word beside.  Eventually they draw items from the vocabulary we're learning and label their own drawing.  I teach specific simple sentence structures in K and the beginning of grade 1, it goes a bit like this:

J'aime + their favourite colour. (J'aime le rouge.)
J'aime + a friend's name or maman or papa. (J'aime Maman.)

Oct:  Voici + a friend's name and (Voici Shannon et Janna.)

Nov: Voici + anything they find the word for in the room + c'est _________ (the colour). (Voici un cercle.  C'est jaune.)

The rest is described here (I may not have them all posted but this will get you started).

**  Quick note to add, when teaching grade 1 I most often begin the Daily 5 time at the work on writing station.  The students and I talk about what they might write about.  I ask questions and then repeat their answers in complete sentences using the sentence structures we know or focusing the newest structure, especially from Sept.-Dec. For example if we're learning food vocabulary:

"Les amis, qu'est-ce que vous n'aimez pas manger?  Quel est le repas le plus désagréable pour vous?"

Souvent les amis me réponds en anglais:

I hate broccoli.  I do not like cooked carrots.  Eww me too.

Donc je réponds:

"Ah voilà, Je n'aime pas le broccoli.  J'aime les carottes.  Je n'aime pas les carottes cuites."  Les amis, pouvez-vous répéter avec moi ce que notre amie aime et ce qu'elle n'aime pas?"  

And we repeat the sentences together, pointing out the foods on a visual or wherever we might have the target vocabulary posted.

Inevitably there are new words to add, I write these in their personal fold-out dictionary at the back of their journal.  We do this for a few minutes so that I've modeled some sentences.  Early on in K or 1 if students are still simply labeling I ask about their drawings, say the French words of a few items, write the words beside their picture and then have them write the word again themselves.  We work on the routine of having student read their entry to one another and then to me.

Once this routine is well established (and depending on the self-directed skills of the group at work on writing!) I move over to the read to someone station and listen to children read, making notes and intervening where needed.

I use this clear target assessment tool (blank ones are also in this file) to have a look at the students writing and to review with them where they are struggling in writing (beginning, middle end is for grade 3).  For overall writing assessment however I use the reading and writing (and speaking continuums posted here).  Parents get a copy each term, sign it and return it. A highlighted copy stays in the child's file and a copy is sent home for parents and student.

Clear targets (overview)


Using words from around the room, word strips or visual dictionaries students choose from about 4 or 5 ways to practice spelling words (with play dough stampers, stamps, magnetic letters, clothes pins).  An example of these activities are here.  I made kits for teachers in grade 1 and K, the students really love them.  There is some teaching that needs to go into how to use them, how to put them away properly and how to care for all the parts.


We have learning buddies and are paired with student once a week from grade 1 or 2.  We write collaborative books every month.  Students all do the same page of a book but add their own words.  We practice 'reading' the sentence and then read to our buddies.  Students also keep a book box of songs and finish-me books that go with our theme.  They sing or read these books to their buddy.  In Sept.-Dec. yes, the students have memorized the words but we still have them "read", track the words with their finger and practice fluency.  From January-June students begin to be able to read simple books and many are at different levels.  For more about what kinds of books we begin with in kindergarten please see the post on this blog here