Pedagogy Perspectives

About Being a Teacher

Cooperative Learning tips and strategies

The show not tell approach to learning

Planning for instruction

Diversity and Differentiation Resources
Kids in my class-Delta.pdf
Students with diverse needs in regular classrooms- from Delta School District.
A listing of characteristics of students with diverse needs and suggestions for support.

For Reading and Behaviour support. books by Dawn Reighaug.
Ask for her books from your LAC or resource person. All districts will have at least some of her books somewhere.
If necessary as your principal to check with other schools or buy it. $80 ea. Here is the order form so you will have the titles and her contact info. Order_Form_for_Books_by_Dawn_Reithaug_-_2012_02_01.pdf
Her materials are encyclopedic and practical with many blackline masters. You will use the reading one regularly even if you are a classroom teacher.-Ray

2008 Fall Conference notes:
F25 Teacher Modeling-The Show Not Tell Approach to Learning

Workshop Handouts:
Cooperative Learning Tips and Strategies

Getting Groups to Work: Creative Problem Solving in the Classroom:
MI Inventory
Broken Squares activity
Real Estate pictures for problem in handout

The TC2 Consortium– which focuses on creating supports for teachers in the area of critical thinking.
One of the things they are creating are ‘strategies’ that can be used in many situations.
These materials include graphic organizers and other charts to help students organize their thinking and rubrics for assessing student achievement.
Support Materials can be used as-is, or saved and manipulated to suit individual needs.

You can access some of the activities on the Alberta Learning website:



Creativity 101


Jodie Mason

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F19: Creativity 101 (Destination Imagination) / Faith Garriock
(recorded during the PITA Fall Conference Oct 08 in Kelowna)
Teamwork & Creative Problem Solving: Focusing on listening/communication skills and suspending judgment of ideas in order to explore alternative possibilities.
Process oriented: Focusing on the thinking/collaborative thought process rather then the final product. A great way to do this is have students working on projects where the final product is unknown ( this helps them avoid settling on one idea and fosters the habit of life long learning/development). Another process is to generate abundances of ideas and then have the individual/group/class refine the list to a manageable number and brainstorm again on ideas related to the refined list. Let the class know that it is positive to recombine or adapt previous ideas to form new ones and encourage students not to become attached one any single idea at this stage but to explore many possibilities. Self assessment and peer feedback is can in great assessment for learning tools in terms of having student think about the creative process. Recap Questions: What did it feel like when you had many ideas occurring to you? What did it feel like if you ever got stuck? What helped you get unstuck and continue generating more ideas?
Promotes educational goals: academically based + focused on different areas, research component, improvisational component, International themes
Time management
Personal + group aptitudes
Instant Challenges: Focusing on creative fluency (developing ideas quickly while suspending judgment) timed challenges, improvisation

  • Ex. Building a tower with unconventional materials

Team Challenges (Tournament): Project based, presentation, over an extended period of time
Side Trips: opportunity for teams to discover + showcase individual/collective interests

  • Ex. Compose music, perform drama, create artwork, etc.

Fun: engaged learners
Community-based, school-friendly
Generating + focusing tools: paired comparison analysis, morphological matrix, stimulating stems
Brainstorming: using post-it notes (generate + focus)
Praise phrases + killer statements
SCAMPER: analysis tool


Cooperative Learning Tips and Strategies

Top Tips for Cultivating a Caring & Collaborative Community
Written by Elaine Jaltema, Intermediate Teacher
Meet basic needs: Plan to meet people’s needs for belonging, power & recognition, freedom and fun (Restitution Theory by Diane Gossen). One example is to teach students different fun ways to show recognition of another’s achievements, e.g.:
• A “round of applause” – clap in a circle
• WOW – make a W with each hand and an O in the middle with your mouth
• The standing “O” – stand and make a large letter “O” with arms
• Crocodile clapping – stand and make large clapping arms like jaws
• Seal of approval – clap arms like flippers
• Drum roll – drum on desks
• Self-ovation – standing, bring elbow almost to opposite knee & yell “Yes!”
• Deaf clap
• Quiet clap: finger snapping
• Self high 5
• “I’m so bright I have to wear sunglasses!”

Use Cooperative group learning structures: Remember to include all 5 elements and to coach students often on what cooperation looks like (sitting at the same height in a circle, leaning in) and sounds like (encouraging comments and solicitous questions). The 5 elements are Positive Interdependence, Individual Accountability, Face-to-Face Interaction, Social Skills, and Group Processing. Assign social tasks concurrent with academic tasks. Whenever new groups are formed, it’s important to give them a short group-building task to help them become comfortable with one another. Low-risk activities work well such as: describe your favourite dinner or your dream vacation.

Use name cards to call on students: Print each student’s name on a small card. By using these cards to call on students to answer questions, you don’t fall into the trap of calling on only those who continually raise their hands. If a student doesn’t know the answer, they call say “help” and pass the question on to someone who raises their hand. Put the card back into the middle of the stack rather than on the bottom so that students don’t figure they can count on a free ride once they have been called on. You might choose to keep track of who calls for help rather than giving their own answer by putting a check mark on the back of the cards when they call for help.

Use name cards to divide students into groups: Once students are used to seeing you continually shuffle these cards to call on students and place them in random groups, they don’t notice that sometimes you have pre-loaded them so they fall into the groups or partnerships that you have secretly selected.

Hold class meetings: Have students take turns chairing weekly meetings that include thank-yous between students, opportunities to bring up problems, and planning something where students can make genuine decisions such as games for P.E., an event, topic or method for learning, or new system for organizing room.

Number desks: If students are routinely sitting in pods, you can easily refer to each desk position by number, regardless of where each student is sitting. For example: Your 6 pods are numbered 1-6. Each desk position within the pod is numbered 1-5. In this way, directions are very quick, e.g.
• In the gym, even pods are on this side and odd pods are on the other
• Person 3 picks up the hand-outs
• Start your discussion by listening to person 4 first
• Persons 2 & 4 move one pod over and share your group’s ideas

Make it safe for kids to tell: Every couple of weeks, give students a writing topic for a 10 minute silent write. Give them the choice of writing instead an anonymous note about what you should know, e.g. who is being picked on, how people are feeling, a change they’d like to make in the class, etc. At the end of the writing time, everyone turns in their papers with no one knowing who wrote on the assigned topic and who has given you other information. If you do this early in the day, you can read the comments and address them in an appropriate way in a class meeting.

Establish leadership teams: Divide your class into 5 mixed-ability teams who are responsible for the leadership one day a week, e.g. setting up gym equipment, cleaning up the room, handing out supplies, making decisions about activities, etc.

Keep Repeating the Tribes Trail to maintain a collaborative community:
1. Inclusion (a sense of belonging)
2. Influence (valuing differences)
3. Community (working together creatively)


Team Building Activities

See Mix and Match Machines on video in section 3 of Start UP! Reading with Elaine Jaltema

or a print version see

Mix & Match Machine- make a grass cutting machine.jpeg

Toilet Paper Wrap:

A team building activity to kick-start discussion of personal attributes and transferable skills in Career Education

Objective: to take on a crazy task and consider how a team works
Group Size: 6 or more
Materials: one roll of toilet paper per group

Divide the group into teams of 3 – 8. I had just made a desk change and used the new desk groupings as my teams.
Give the teams 15 minutes to decorate one of their members using the toilet paper. The person may be decorated as anything the group decides. My students created the Statue of Liberty, a Greek god, a cheerleader, a sumo wrestler, a ninja and runway model. Hold a ‘fashion show’ at the end to celebrate the creativity.

To tap into HACE PLOs, have a class wide discussion about what ‘transferable skills’ were needed to take on something as crazy as this – team-work, time management, creativity, flexibility, etc. Also consider how you (the student) worked on your team – a leader? a follower? listener? contributor? Why did our group work well (or not so well) together? What were MY personal attributes that contributed most to the group etc.

This was a fun activity and the students were engaged in the discussion of how skills transfer from school, sports, etc to any kind of ‘work project”. It was also a fun, carefree activity that was a non-threatening way for students to see how groups can work together and why they may not.

This activity is based on Team Building Activities for Every Group by Alanna Jones.

Name Game – A team building activity – Kirsten Paterson
This game will help develop a collaborative classroom and seems to be suitable for the intermediate level.
for students to learn each others names
Group size:
12 or more
Paper , Pens, Pencils or Colored Markers
How to Play:

  • Ask group member to break into small groups by finding people who have the same number of letters in their first name as they do (you may have to combine groups if too small).
  • Once groups have been formed, have each group create a banner that contains all of the their names. Each person must then find an object in the room that starts with the same letter as the first letter of his/her name.
  • After finding the objects the group must work together to create a song, rhyme, rap, story, etc… that contains every person’s name and each object that was found.
  • After all the groups have completed the task, allow time for each group to share their creations and present their story, song, rhyme, etc. with everyone else.

Activity from: Team Building Activites by Alanna Jones.

Broken Squares

– contributed by Holly Lloyd

Broken Squares instructions.doc
broken squares puzzles.doc

Secret Buddy Compliments

– Jennie Boulanger
This is a great self-confidence-building activity a student teacher of mine developed.
– for students to notice and share great things about their peers and themselves
– divide your class list into 5 groups; use bold felt pens and write each group (i.e. up to 6 names) onto five 8.5″ X 11″ sheets. Staple them together (i.e. one list will be on top, the other 4 underneath).
– also print each student’s name onto a flashcard
What To Do:
– on the first day, call the students listed on the first 8.5″ X 11″ paper to choose one flashcard each; they are not to share that name with any peers; instruct that group of students to secretly observe their “Secret Buddy” over the next day, to note one good thing about them (i.e. shared their pencil crayons, helped a student on the playground, picked up a dropped coat in the cloakroom, smiled at you and cheered you up, played well in dodgeball…)
– display the top page of the package of 8.5″ X 11″ papers in the classroom
– at a good time the next day (i.e. just before filling in Planners) have the group stand up one at a time (or I have them all line up at the front of the class and take turns) to say:
1) “I compliment (name of Secret Buddy) for (tell what the Secret Buddy did well) .”
2) “I compliment myself for (tell about something you did well) .” (This takes a loooooooooong time for some
students the first times, as we are all so critical of ourselves! Try not to let others call out or help them. This is such
an important skill to develop, how to compliment ourselves.)
– turn the first page over and call the next group up to choose a Secret Buddy to watch over the next day(s) until they are called upon to do their compliments
– I keep 2 piles of flashcards: one pile of names that were already chosen and one pile of names not chosen yet. When they’ve all been chosen, I shuffle and start again
– the first times we do this, I quietly check with students before they stand up, to make sure they have a compliment ready
– every once in a while we do a “random compliment” session; anyone who wants to compliment a person or group of persons in the classroom can do so, as long as they compliment themselves too!
– I try to start each day with a list of compliments for some students and end with one about myself; I write them down first and keep track so that I touch on every student at least once a week
– over the year I debrief about how important it is to compliment ourselves and others. Sometimes in life we may feel unrecognized by peers or supervisors. Instead of feeling bitter, we should always be our own best friends, instead of our own worst enemies! Compliment yourself every day!