Episode 1: Teacher preparations

NOTE: These videos were prepared when the Census at School Project was managed by Statistics Canada. Most of the information is still relevant.

Duration: 7:49  min.

Teacher preparations – Seven steps to get ready for the on-line survey with the class

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Video Transcript

Teacher preparations – 7 steps to get ready for the on-line survey with the class

Hi, I’m Angela McCanny and I am a resource teacher for Statistics Canada. I have shared the Census at School program with hundreds teachers and students in classrooms across Canada from grades 4 to 12. I would like to share my experience with you through the 7 easy steps I use to get started with Census at School in the classroom.

Step 1: Register as a teacher to obtain your teacher password

The first step is to register yourself as a teacher on the Census at School website to obtain your teacher password.

  • To start, go to www.censusatschool.ca. From the home page, in the left menu bar, click on Teachers.
  • At the top of the screen, click First time user, and follow the instructions starting at the top of the page.
  • Once you have entered the required information, your Census at School teacher password will be automatically e-mailed to you. This password is important, please write it down. You will use this password every time you access the teacher page of the Census at school website and to enroll your class and to access your class results.

Step 2: Register your class to obtain a Class ID number and Class password

The second step is to enroll your class on the Census at School website to obtain a class ID number and class password.

  • Your students will use this Class ID and Class Password to access the online survey form. When your students enter the Class ID and Class password to start the survey, this triggers the Census at School system to gather your students’ responses together into your class dataset.
  • To enroll your class, sign-in on the Teacher Sign-in page, then follow the instructions under Register a Class.

Step 3: Arrange for internet access and computer access

Step three is to arrange for internet access at your school and to reserve a computer projector, if you wish.

  • At most schools, the computers are in high demand, and you may need to reserve computer time in the library or the lab well in advance. It may be possible to reserve the school media cart as well. Some teachers ask their students to complete their on-line survey at home or using the computers at the town library.
  • I find it useful to reserve a computer projector as well, so that I can show the students their class results once they have all completed the survey. Students get a great kick out of finding themselves in their class results!

Step 4: Share information about the project

Step four is to share information about the Census at School project with your school principal and the students’ parents or caregivers. This is an optional step, but it is always a good idea to share what you’re planning with your class. There are letters for both, pre-written on the Census at school website.

  • To find the letters, go to Teachers on the left menu bar. Scroll down past Getting Started to number 4 – Useful materials. There you will find both the letter to principals and the letter to parents or caregivers. These letters describe the origins of the Census at School project, the types of questions on the survey and the learning benefits for the students participating in the project. Please ask your principal to consider proposing the project to other teachers in your school.
  • There is also a letter to parents and caregivers that covers similar information, as well as questions parents may have about privacy and confidentiality. While Statistics Canada has ensured that there are no privacy issues connected with the on-line survey, the letter to parents or caregivers as well as the Parents section of the Census at School website can provide them with more information.

Step 5: Review and/or try the online questionnaire

Step five is to review the questions on the survey and perhaps try the on-line questionnaire yourself. This will help you know whether there are any questions that will need extra explanation for your class, and will also help to give you some ideas about how to use the data results to cover your curriculum expectations.

  • To find a copy of the questionnaire on the Census at school website, go to the left menu and click Survey Questions. At the top of the page, select the questionnaire for the appropriate grade level (Grade 4 to 8 or 9 to 12). You might like to print a hard copy of the questionnaire by clicking on PDF. I have found several uses for the hard copy of the questionnaire.
  • In some schools without computer access, the students can complete the questionnaire on paper and then compile the information by hand to create the class data set. I also use hard copies of the questionnaire for students with special learning needs or for whom English is a second language.
  • In addition to reviewing a hard copy of the questionnaire, you have the option of trying the electronic on-line version yourself, just as your students will do it. On the Survey questions page, click on Teachers: try the on-line questionnaire. Decide on the elementary or secondary version of the survey, and enter the appropriate class ID number and class password in the empty boxes. This will take you to a test copy of the on-line survey where you can work your way through the questions. Experiment with the drop-down menus and the reaction timer. Try it; it’s a lot of fun.
  • It will also let you see how long it may take your students to complete the survey. I find that there is quite a bit of variability: from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the students’ grade level, their reading ability and how much they want to compare their answers with their friends’!

Step 6: Take five body measurements

The sixth step is taking five non-sensitive body measurements with the class. These include: height, arm span, foot length, length of the forearm and wrist circumference.

  • For quick and easy measuring, I usually set up measurement stations around the classroom. Everything else that you need, except for two full-length measuring tapes for the height and arm span, is available on the Census at school website.
  • Click on Survey questions in the left menu bar. For complete instructions on how to take the five body measurements quickly and accurately, see the Guide to taking measurements. Pictures on the right hand side model students working in pairs to take the measurements.
  • You will also find printable measuring tools to help with taking the measurements in class. Under Guide to taking measurements, click on Printable measuring tools and you will find mini-measuring strips which you can print out in PDF format. These 24 cm long strips can be used for measuring the foot length, the length of the forearm, and the wrist circumference. If you go back two screens, you can also print out measurement worksheets where each student can record his or her measurements. Under Printable measuring tools, go to measurement worksheets and choose either printable format. These will come with eight individual worksheets per sheet, so you will only need to print out three or four sheets for the entire class.
  • Have fun with these measurements. Your students will love it, and the benefit for you is that you’re covering the measurement strand of the math curriculum.

Step 7: Ensure students have computer lab logins, if required

The seventh and final step is making sure that your students have their computer log-in numbers if these are required for using the computers in your school.  Many students have these written into their agenda or memorized, but younger students may require you to provide them for them.

Now you are ready for your students to complete the on-line Census at School online survey. You will end up with a rich dataset of data that your students understand because they collected it and it is all about them. They will benefit from having the opportunity to think about a wide variety of subjects and will learn about entering data using an on-line format.

Enjoy your experience with Census at School!

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