Madly Learning about All Things Teaching: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and Technology


October's Product of the Month

To Celebrate the end of October I am putting my most popular resource on Sale.

My 4 & 5 units will be on sale for the rest of the month.  


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Discovering Inquiry

Inquiry is a popular word in Education today.  For me it is new approach to teaching that completely shifts the way you teach in your classroom.  Right now in Ontario we are thrust into a situation where new curriculum has taken effect with the focus being very inquiry based.  But how do we as a group of self confessed obsessive compulsive and control focused teachers change our whole understanding of how to teach if we don't feel that we are actually teaching.  Over the last two years I have attempted to implements the beginnings of inquiry based learning, flipping my classroom, and allowing student directed learning.  However I can't help but feel at these moments that I am cheating because I didn't teach all day long.  Through inquiry my whole understanding of teaching is being turned upside down.

Therefore whenever I encounter a new pedagogy I try to slowing morph my teaching practices  to fit the new standards.  I wouldn't say that I am an early adopter, but I am comfortable of change when I do the work to truly understand it.

So this is what I want to do.  Explore the internet and other resources to figure out what inquiry based learning will look like in my classroom.

I will start with the information I found on the Galileo Education Network from Calgary Alberta.

The have a rubric that you can use to help you understand as a teacher to understand where you are in your ability to implement inquiry in your classroom.

So I 'marked' myself using this rubric and here is how I see myself stack up in my use of inquiry skills.

Authenticity: Developing
Academic Rigor: Developing
Assessment: Developing/Emerging
Beyond School Value: Developing/Emerging
Digital Technologies: Emerging
Active Exploration: Developing
Connecting with Expertise: Beginning

Clearly my goal areas in inquiry are getting my students more access to experts in the field.  Using this will help to get students a variety of perspectives.  Being that there is a great university down the road from my school perhaps this might be easier than I think.

Here is one of their teachers explaining how she uses inquiry in her classroom.

Stay tuned and learn along with me as I attempt to improve my practice in Inquiry Based Instruction.

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Halloween Activity Ideas, Blog-hop, and Giveaway

It's that time of year again.  Time when you must prepare for Halloween.  I love and dread Halloween.  I love seeing my students (and my own children) in their Halloween costumes. There is a joy to watching children pretend.  Halloween allows for a child's imagination to become anything that they want to be.  For a day they can embody a superhero character, their angelic side, their mean side, or they can channel their favorite movie or television character or animal.  What's more they get to show off their costumes to others and get candy in return.  What child doesn't like Candy.

This results in an interesting day in any classroom.  How to manage 25+ kids who are excited about dressing up, then going trick or treating with their family and friends to get loads and loads of candy. Excited children + Curriculum = Management Difficulty.  Colouring sheets and movies are one way to get through the day.  But if you are like me, I can't stand to give up valuable teaching/learning time for a thrown away day.

So what does my classroom look like on Halloween.  Well it looks like any other day, of well sort of.  I keep my same schedule and complete the same activities however I put less expectations on learning structure. Meaning I allow students to manage their own learning.  I provide group work, self directed learning, students choose what activity they want to work on when and I provide suggestions and various mini lessons throughout the day.  I make all of the activities all Halloween Themed, part of the trick to make them think they aren't really working.  (hmm I wonder if they really fall for this, probably not)  Finally I do have them change into their costumes then they participate in the school wide Halloween parade.  Finally we end this with a party involving music, treats, and free play.

Now for the fun stuff...

It's a Halloween Blog Hop and Giveaway Contest

A few blogger/tpt seller friends and I made a few free resources for you to download and you can enter for a chance to win some TPT gift cards

Halloween Party Pack Freebie

My Freebie is a smaller version of my Halloween Party Pack - Curriculum Activities that are all Halloween Themed.  One or Two activities for many of the curriculum strands including math, language, social studies, inquiry, and science.  See the full package below...

Halloween Party Pack Freebie

Here is all of our awesome Freebies for you to enjoy.

Follow the links above or start here at


Read the great blog posts too to find out how these great teachers spend Halloween in their classroom too.

But Wait There is More...

Prizes for Following

1 gift card worth $20 and 4 Gift Cards worth $10

All you have to do to enter is follow our TPT stores.  Every store you follow earns you one entry into the draw.

Contest Runs from Oct 17-19

I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween and Good Luck

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4/5 Canadian Physical Regions and Government: Social Studies Inquiry Unit

It is finally finished!!

My complete 4/5 Unit is finished and ready to be downloaded on my TPT store.

  To celebrate it's completion I am giving away a copy of it to one lucky winner.  Enter below to get if for free!! Contest is on for this weekend only!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

his is a unit that is designed for a split grade classroom for Grade 4 and 5 students. 

These activities align with the new revised curriculum. Much of the focus in the new curriculum is inquiry based teaching and learning. This unit will give students both the basic understanding and background needed for further inquiry as well as scaffolded inquiry activites. 

There are two components

Teacher Directed Lessons – Although the focus in the new curriculum is on inquiry there is still a place for direct instruction. This unit is balanced between direct instruction and inquiry learning. Using a variety of lesson formats, teaching styles, and student activities the direct instruction component of this unit will help to give students the basis for understanding the complexities of their inquiry project. Lessons include shared/independent reading, student case study, discussions, task cards, game boards, video links, online links for flipped classrooms, and student reflections.

Inquiry Project - Students are more engaged in learning if they buy into what they are learning about. Through an inquiry booklet that has components geared specifically for this unit but can also be used for other inquiry studies. Students begin to explore environmental issues in Canada. Students are guided to discover a topic of interest through an interest inventory. Then are given some suggestions that relate to their various interests. With the other corresponding pages the inquiry process is scaffolded to help you guide students through their inquiry. 

This unit also works well with these resources in my TPT store. 

Use the vocabulary from this unit with my Character Traits Literacy Series of Lessons. Or with my upcoming Character Traits Unit: Respect. 

Check out how to piece all components together on my Long Range plans 

All of this and more can be found on my TPT store. 

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