3 Teacher Tips Thursday: April 1st Edition

This week’s 21st edition of 3 Teacher Tips Thursday comes from TCDSB elementary educator Taline Dorna.

Below are 3 simple yet effective resources broken up into 3 categories:
– Great Ideas
– Online Tools
– Teacher PD

Enjoy 3 Teacher Tips Thursday. Hope you find it resourceful.


Every morning, I begin my class with a 10 minute countdown. This gives students an opportunity to grab all their printouts, if they already haven’t done so. I schedule all work to be released at 8:00 am M-F. This not only gives students some time to breathe and get settled as they would in a brick-and-mortar classroom, but it gives you, the teacher, a chance to also grab what you need (even if it’s a coffee), especially if you’re a busy mom of 3 like me.

Within my first “countdown slide”, I have the date, words of the week on an easel, and the prayer table that coincides with the Biblical time we’re currently in. This gives students familiarity and a way to feel immersed in a typical classroom setting.

The slide deck also has a slide with the National Anthem, Our Father Prayer, Land Acknowledgement with an embedded video (link embedded in Canadian flag) of a principal from St. Agatha reciting the Land Acknowledgement with the school as a background (which the students love since it makes them feel like they are listening to the same Land Acknowledgement they would hear at school in the mornings. This is followed with a slide that says “Attendance” so students chiming in late know what is currently happening.

The slide deck also contains slides showing the number of days of school using base ten blocks, a slide with the number of the day shown using number words, tallys, ten frame, number line, the date/calendar/weather and more.

This is a great way to incorporate some math into your morning routine! I also have a slide that says “Spelling Test” to notify students when we’re writing a spelling test, as well as a slide that has the homework agenda for the day, and some “Happy Birthday” slides in the event we are celebrating a birthday in our class. I simply drag the slide from the bottom up to the top and voila!

This is my morning routine and I begin my day this way every single morning. I’m happy to share my slides with you. Simply click here and make yourself a copy of your own. You may replace my bitmoji with your own bitmoji!


AutoDraw is a new kind of drawing tool. It pairs machine learning with drawings from talented artists to help everyone create anything visual, fast! There’s nothing to download. Nothing to pay for. And it works anywhere: smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, etc. This is a fun student engagement tool.

 Say if I asked my students to draw a vegetable that is red, and they drew their interpretation of an apple.

After you finish your first draft, AutoDraw recommends things that you might have meant to draw.

After you select the option that best suits your first draft, you can edit it further (ex. use the paint can to change the colour). This can be used for sight word practice, vocabulary, creating teacher resources for yourself, etc. The opportunities are endless with this online teacher hack.

Need a game to play with your students? You need to go to QuickDraw
Send your students to quickdraw.withgoogle.com and click let’s draw. Then it will give your students a prompt, and they quickly draw it! It will ask you to draw 6 different things and the neural net will try to figure out 6 of your doodles. This encourages students to read and work on their fine motor skills using a mouse, while feeling engaged, challenged, and having fun!


Let’s be honest here, sometimes busy teachers who also wear many hats don’t always have the luxury of time to read a new book for PD, or attend many PD sessions that aren’t scheduled during the school day. This is where social media comes in handy.

I’ve started to create some of my own content on IG (Instagram) in my stories, as well as following Ontario based teachers who share a wealth of knowledge and information. Instagram is known for “influencers” the new niche in collaborating with small and sometimes large business owners.

If you look up the definition of IG Influencer, you would come across this: “Influencers are Instagram users who have an established credibility and audience; who can persuade others by virtue of their trustworthiness and authenticity. Your brand’s influencers are users that employ your brand hashtag who have the largest number of followers.” So why not employ this within the realm of teaching? I’m not talking about following teachers who own a TPT store (Teachers Pay Teachers) and solely promote their own resources for sale. I mean following the ones that may/may not have a TPT Store, but also share free resources and knowledge to help fellow teachers out.

It’s a great way to learn about new online ed tools, techniques and strategies being employed in other classrooms, as well as creative ways to approach a lesson and/or unit!

Below are some of my favourite IG Handles to follow. An easy way to gain professional development at your own time at your own pace. Check them out, and if you like their content, give them a follow.


Taline Dorna is a Grade 1 teacher at the Toronto Catholic District School Board at St. Bonaventure Catholic School. This year she is teaching virtually at TCDSB’s St. Anne Catholic Academy School of Virtual Learning.

Instagram Handle: @mrs.taline

This addition of 3 Teacher Tips Thursday is brought to you by: Teachers meet Teachers. A group of educators who’s motto is “Changing Education by fuelling those who run it!”

Instagram: @teachersmeetteachers

I hope you enjoyed our 21st weekly edition of 3 Teacher Tips Thursday. Got an idea, online tool, or PD opportunity you want to share? Email stefanie.lenzo@tcdsb.org.


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