T4EA Literacy News

June 2018

June is National Aboriginal History Month

June 21 is National Aboriginal Day in Canada. This is a day that our communities, families, students and schools come together to celebrate our heritage, cultures and achievements.

Many of our schools and communities are celebrating on June 21 with a variety of activities.

If you are looking for a great way to spend a day, Muskowekwan School and Community are hosting a pow-wow, as well as various other activities, at the community Sports Grounds. Grand Entry is at 10 am.

Test Taking Tips For Middle And High School Students

For middle and high school students, June can be the time of unit tests and final exams. Don't underestimate the benefit of teaching test-taking skills and administering practice tests. Being familiar with the nuances of standardized test questions, formats, answer keys, and time constraints is almost as important as possessing content knowledge and critical thinking skills. Before the students sit down on test day, be sure to review the following test-taking strategies with students as you prepare them for their upcoming tests.

Regarding Directions

  • Remind students to read and listen to all directions carefully so they understand what is expected of them. Be sure students are familiar with concepts and vocabulary that are traditionally included in directions.
  • Review the importance of budgeting time wisely. To gauge progress, guide them to divide the total number of test questions in half or by fourths. They should do the same with the number of minutes allotted for the test. At appropriate time intervals, they can check progress.
  • Train them to turn text booklet pages with care so they don't accidentally miss a page.

Tackling Multiple Choice Questions

  • Advise students to read all the answers and to answer any question to which they know the answer immediately.
  • If they don't know the answer, explain how to eliminate wrong answers and to make educated guesses by using context clues and recognizing detractors.
  • Have them mark or star any question they skip so it will be easier to go back to the question later. Emphasize the importance of leaving the corresponding answer space blank. Point out that making mistakes filling in ovals on the answer key or test booklet will have a negative impact on scores.

Dealing with Reading Passages

  • Discuss the merits of reading all the questions associated with a passage before actually reading the passage. Point out that doing so usually helps test-takers hone in on relevant points.
  • Encourage students to highlight or underline key words, phrases, ideas and to go back to the text to find evidence or clues to support the answers.
  • Remind them to utilize text features — captions, graphs, charts, and illustrations enhance the text and present relevant details.

Approaching Essay Questions

  • Train students to use graphic organizers, webs, outlines, and/or bulleted lists to help them organize information.
  • Remind them they can use the margins of the test booklet to jot down ideas.
  • Advise them to read the question carefully so they are sure to target the response appropriately. The topic sentence should restate the question in some way.

Taking Account of Math Questions

  • Stress the importance of showing their work and writing legibly. Even if a math answer is wrong, students may receive partial credit if their work can be read and evaluated.
  • Have them check for careless errors such as forgetting to use labels, misplacing decimal points, or adding incorrectly.
  • Remind them that questions may have more than one part and to answer all of them.

Wrapping Up

  • Advise test-takers to go back and check their answers if time allows.
  • Have them check the answer key periodically to make sure answers line up with questions.

- Scholastic

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A Letter To My Future Teacher

I love this activity! At the end of every school year, I have my students write a letter to their future teachers to tell them all of the things that the students want the teachers to know about them. This is a wonderful activity that not only gives you insight into how your students see themselves, it allows all of the future teachers to see their new students through a different lens.

In the letter, I ask the students to talk about:

  • their likes and dislikes
  • their strengths and weaknesses
  • things they felt they got better at this year
  • things they felt they are still struggling with
  • their interests and hobbies
  • what makes them happy or sad
  • a few things that they would like to learn more about in the upcoming year
  • any goals that they might have for themselves
  • anything else that they feel like they want to share with their future teacher

I make sure to give these letters to their new teacher before classes start in the fall so that the new teachers have some time to read them over and can use them to start planning the new school year.

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Summer Slide

Research shows that students can lose up to 3 months of academic progress over the summer months. This "Summer Slide" is not age specific and can affect all students. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep our children's minds sharp throughout the summer. I have put together a list of Ways To Prevent Summer Slide and saved it as a PDF that can easily be printed and shared with parents if you choose to do so.

I also came a cross a wonderful list of 101 Nature Study Ideas that can be used both within the classroom and at home. The list contains some activities that can be done right away with little materials and some activities that take a little planning. Take a look and see what activities you can do with your students/children to prevent Summer Slide!

Summer Reading Activities

Summer is a great time of year to be outside exploring the world around us. It is also a great time to sit down and read a book with somebody special. Here are some sites that list some fantastic books to read with the little people in your life and they come with ideas, activities and extensions that can be done in the classroom or at home.

Did you know that in Saskatchewan, if your local library does not have the book that you are looking for, they can order it in for you? Keep that in mind as you look through the following activities. You don't need to go out and buy the books to read, a short trip to your local library is all that you need!

Superhero Summer Reading Ideas:


Recommended ages: 3 to 8

The Great Library Summer Challenge


Recommended ages: 3 and up

This is a list of challenges that you can complete to keep your visits to the library fun and interesting.

ABC Summer Fun Reading Ideas


Recommended ages: 2 to 8

This is a list of summer books to read and activities that are linked to each book.

The list of activities that correspond to the books can easily be found and printed here:


Family Dinner Book Club


Recommended ages: 4 to 8 and their family members

This site recommends a book each month for you to read with your family and then provides a recipe, table decorations, conversation starters and other various activities that correspond with the book of the month.

Start With A Book: Read. Explore. Learn!


Recommended ages: 3 and up

Find a topic you are interested in and follow the links to find books for different age groups, activities, websites, apps, and more!

Summer Science Series


Recommended ages: 4 and up

A site full of science experiments for children to do throughout the summer.

A free printable to track reading and some fun coupons that you can use to award the children when they reach their reading milestones.


Last but not least, visit your local library and see what programs and events they provide throughout the summer months.

Indigenous Summer Literacy Camp for Children

First Nations University of Canada, in Conjunction with Frontier College, is now taking applications for its 30 spots in Regina. The camp will run from July 9th-July 27th (1st session) and July 30th - August 17th (2nd session). They are offering an Indigenous Literacy Camp for ages 5-12 – and children get to keep their books when the camp is completed! Applications are available on their Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/FNUNIV/), on their Student Association page, or at the Regina campus library. Please send completed applications to our Librarian, Paula Daigle, at pdaigle@fnuniv.ca.

TD Summer Reading Club 2018

TD Summer Reading Club is Canada’s biggest, bilingual summer reading program for kids of all ages, all interests, and all abilities. This free program is offered at more than 2,000 public libraries across Canada, and it’s easy to include in any summer plans. The Club celebrates Canadian authors, illustrators and stories, and inspires kids to explore the fun of reading their way.

This is key to building a lifelong love of reading.

Kids can take part anywhere—at local public libraries across Canada as well as at home, online, or wherever summer takes them.

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