Mar 24, 2014

OESSTA News #5

OESSTA News #5

Discussing Social Studies on Twitter (Join us Thursday)

Participate in the OESSTA (Ontario Elementary Social Studies Teachers Association) social media network and explore the New Revised Social Studies, History and Geography on twitter @oessta1 and use the hashtag #ontsshg for discussion. There will be a twitter chat on Thursday nights at 9:00-10:00 to discuss, share ideas and strategies. Hope you will follow!

Visit to see what we are talking about..


We are still completing projects that are being reviewed by our colleagues and the Ministry of Education.  We have language and math integration ideas along with lesson ideas using spatial skills. We will begin sharing the projects next month.

Upcoming Events

Also, we have the opportunity to conduct our own conference in the fall with the support of OAGEE. The conference will be Toronto. We plan to feature the resources that we are creating. The conference could be Saturday only or Friday and Saturday.  Would you be able to use Federation or school funds to attend the professional learning session on the Friday?

We will survey teachers next month.

Governor General’s Award for Teaching History (grades 7-12)
(recommend someone in your school)

Now accepting applications for 2014!
Do you have a creative approach to teaching history? We want to hear from you!
Applications are being accepted for the 2014 award. Six recipients will receive $2500 and a trip for two to attend the award events in Ottawa, where they will receive their medal from His Excellency, The Right Honourable David Johnston at a special ceremony at Rideau Hall. $1000 will also be awarded to each recipient's school.
Start your application today. Deadline for completed submissions is May 20, 2014.

Past Webinars and Resources produced by the OTF

On each page you will find a description of the session, the link to the archived session recording, and a list of other resources related to the session. You may also search our site for topics and keywords of interest to you. I have participated in a session and I highly recommend this site for professional learning.

Topics include:

-background knowledge
-creating a community of thinkers
-Inquiry Across the Curriculum

Customized in-class Workshop
Have a member of the Esri Canada Education and Research group (using ArcGIS Online) come to your location and facilitate a ½ day, full day or two day workshop. The workshop will be tailored to support your learning goals. For more information contact

Devising your own professional learning

The Teacher Learning and Leadership Program (TLLP) is an annual project-based professional learning opportunity for experienced classroom teachers.
The program funds proposals from classroom teachers who seek a peer leadership role in curriculum, instructional practice or supporting other teachers. The three goals of the program are to create and support opportunities for teacher professional learning, foster teacher leadership and facilitate the sharing of exemplary practices with others for the broader benefit of Ontario's students.

The inquiry website listed below is a product of TLLP. Consider what you and your colleagues want to focus on. The deadline is usually November for the upcoming school year.

 Participate in the discussion about history teaching in Canada

We want to alert all of you to the week-long series of articles/blogs starting today at

ActiveHistory editor, Tom Peace, opens up the series with 
Lessons from the Past, Promises for the Future: Reflections on Historical Thinking in Canadian History

The rapid-fire pace continues with Heather E. McGregor's
 History Education in Canada without Historical Thinking? A worrisome prospect


Address Map and Globe Skills using ArcGIS online
Use the link to access resources managed by ESRI using ArcGIS Online.

Links for teachers

Getting Started with Inquiry

Visit this inquiry focused site to consider ideas on how you can approach inquiry in your classrooms.

Our project Uncovering Content-Integrating Critical Thinking into Social Studies for 21st Century Learners was developed because as teachers we felt we needed to enhance our knowledge of using critical thinking questions and inquiry-based learning in order for our students to become actively engaged in their learning.

Providing Effective Feedback

Within this blog you will find 20 ideas and techniques on how to give effective learning feedback that will leave your students with the feeling they can conquer the world.

20 Signs You’re Actually Making A Difference As A Teacher

As a teacher; you lesson plan, constantly assess, network, collaborate, differentiate, use technology, and inspire thinking and so much more.  Besides test scores, you are making a difference in so many ways. Check out this blog for some alternative measures where you are making a difference.

Struggling to make history come alive? (intermediate teachers)

In this Story from the Classroom, a grade nine teacher describes how a topic in Canadian history with which she had previously struggled, came alive through her students’ use of inquiry and technology. Thinking tools, such as Reading around a document and Asking powerful questions, empowered her students to deepen their understanding of First Nations treaty issues and paved the way to unforgettable Skype conversations with a poet and a politician.
Download Canadian history comes alive through inquiry and technology
Developing Better Student Questions

Helping Students to create better questions (TIPS)

In inquiry-based classrooms, the ultimate aim is for students to pose their own powerful questions shaped by background knowledge, curiosity, and wonder about the world. However, young children and those new to inquiry often require teacher guidance in framing a good question or problem.

What is a good inquiry question?

"Only the curious will learn and only the resolute will overcome the obstacles to learning. The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient." -E.S. Wilson
Here are a few things that we have heard from people teaching Inquiry at McMaster:

Questioning Skills: Thick and Thin Questions

These sites provide information on thick and thin questioning. Learn the difference between thick and thin questions as well as how to generate these questions. There are lesson plans, printable posters, and worksheets. Includes eThemes Resources on Reading Strategies for Elementary Students and Teaching Tips: Questioning.

Discover how one classroom teacher developed rich questions with her class.

When using the Q-chart with my Grade 6 students, many of them commented that the Q-chart was really limiting their thinking.  In working with the chart, they were trying to avoid using the question prompts at the top left-hand corner because they were always told that when using those prompts only shallow questions could be created.