By Quentin DSouza and Charles Stanfield
One way to lower the cost of teaching is to supplement your curriculum with free teaching kits that are made available through private companies and the government. The following points are important to consider before integrating them into your program.
First-rate teaching kits promote social awareness without marketing. They broaden students learning experiences by providing real life situations to supplement traditional educational methods.
Some large companies offer free materials to help promote their products in the school environment. Corporations and the government also want to increase the general understanding of their product or service by encouraging educators to use their kits.
Keeping these points in mind, here are a few free teaching kits for your consideration.
Heart Healthy Kids is a health promotion resource for teachers and students Grades K to 8. It contains education posters, stethoscope, alcohol swabs, Canadas Food Guide for healthy eating, puzzle story book and grade specific lesson plans. Contact your local Heart and Stroke Foundation office or visit www.hsf.on.ca/other_ progserv.htm.
Activ8 program is a curriculum-based initiative designed to make physical activity fun and rewarding for students of all athletic ability. Call The Foundation for Active Healthy Kids at 1-888-446-7432 or visit www.ophea.org/A8overview.htm.
Dairy Education Program provides educational support to elementary schools in Ontario. It includes classroom presentations, resources for teachers and students, as well as other material. Call the Dairy Farmers of Ontario at 905-821-8970 or visit www.milk.org/agclass.htm.
The Journey Inside: The Computer provides easy-to-use materials for science, math and computer teachers of grades 5 to 9. The kit contains a teachers guide, introduction video, classroom video, poster, and hands-on computer chip kit. Call Intel at 1-800-346-3029 or visit www.intel.com/education/journey/ INDEX.HTM.
The Changing Program and Vibrant Faces is a set of instructional materials designed to help teach girls and boys about growth and development during puberty. You receive a teacher guide, videotape for girls and boys, take-home materials for students, which include free product samples. Call the Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance at 1-800-663-8708 or visit www.cahperd.ca/e/index.htm.
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN THE CLASSROOM
The Canada Site www.canada.gc.ca is more than a simple directory of departmental links. This gateway provides access to 450 web sites with up-to-date information on more than 1,000 programs and services. The entire site offers easy navigation by subject, organization or keyword search and also includes particular features geared specifically toward educators.
Under the Subject Categories listing, for instance, teachers will find the Youth, Education and Canada sections, which bring together topics of relevance for both inside and outside the classroom. Students can quickly discover the influences of multiculturalism on Canadian history and culture, thanks to a series of engaging sites from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Another example includes Human Resources Development Canada and its sites related to career planning and job opportunities for young Canadians.
The Canada Site also offers resources that facilitate exciting web-based classroom activities. The About Canada page prompts users of all ages to test their knowledge on Canada and its social and physical geography with a series of multilevel, interactive quizzes. Any school project that focuses on Canadian cultural development will likely benefit from the information available on the Path of Heroes site from Canadian Heritage.
To ensure users can always find the information they require, the Canada Site also offers a popular e-mail option, which allows for customized requests. Queries sent to email@example.com are returned with detailed responses that point users in the right direction or inform them of alternative resources. The e-mail option also helps the Canada Site tailor its content and structure according to the needs of its users with the feedback they provide. The result is a continually evolving site that provides up-to-date information from the Government of Canada in a simple and accessible manner.
Quentin DSouza is the Grade 6/7 teacher and computer site administrator at Senhor Santo Cristo Catholic School in Toronto, and editor of TheCanadian Teacher.com, a web site dedicated to connecting educators to resources online. Charles Stanfield is with Public Works and Government Services Canada.