Monday, 28 April 2014

Week 4 Scratch Club

We can add code to the stage and each sprite.

Why do we want to use broadcasting? So we can send a message to two different sprites at the same time!


Sprite 1 can receive the broadcast and do one thing while Sprite 2 is doing something completely different!

The Book: Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8 Teaching Kids to Succeed

For my own professional development I read Debbie Silver's book and wanted to make some notes to remember in the future:

"If children are so naturally inquisitive, what happens to their drive and enthusiasm as they grow older?"

Debbie Silver states: 

Children are intrinsically motivated, and with the proper kind of feedback, they can learn all sorts of necessary skills and self sustaining learning practices. (12)

When I read this quote by Debbie it reinforced any doubts I had about teaching through an inquiry lens. Students learn better when they are driven by their own desire to learn instead of the teacher's desire to check off curriculum expectations. 

We need to set the learning environment to foster student's natural enthusiasm for becoming independent learners. 

Entitlement or Empowerment

I love this idea: "We need to shift our focus from doling out un-metered praise in hopes of raising their self-esteem to helping them understand the power they have in making positive choices and sustained efforts. We should worry less about entertaining kids and more about engaging them in meaningful tasks that encourage self motivation. To help our young people feel the confidence of self-efficacy and empower them with resilience, we have to avoid filling them with an entitlement mentality." (13)


"I know this is going to be easy for you are all in the top math group"


"You have shown tremendous growth in your math reasoning strategies this year. Take your time and use the skills you have already mastered."

For more examples see pages 13-15

Self Regulation

Tips to help children with impulse control:

  1. do not allow children to raise their hands or blurt answers. When asking for a reponse, require students to wait 3-7 sec. before calling on someone randomly
  2. Model "think alouds: for students
  3. Teach students the "stop and think" 5 step p.s. strategy:
    1. What am I supposed to do? 
    2. Look al all the possibilities
    3. Focus in 
    4. Pick an answer
    5. Check out my answer
  4. Simon Says is an excellent reinforcement activity for thinking before acting
  5. With defiant behaviour set a timer for 1-2 min. Tell the student he has a brief period to decide whether he wants to meet the terms of the request or take the consequence for his inappropriate choice.
Magic Words 
Two words a teacher/parent can say to the child struggling with self regulation: for now

Promoting Autonomy in Learners (116)
  1. Provide the learner with choice
  2. Encourage students to experiment, do creative thinking and challenge themselves
  3. Focus the student in the student's zone of proximal development
  4. Provide feedback that is nonjudgmental and gives specific information about how to improve
  5. Give meaningful reasons for the task
"In my experience, the heart of building autonomy lies in giving students meaningful choices and being responsive to them as learners." 121

Neil Noddings (1992) "We cannot enter into dialogue with children when we know that our decision is already made"

Try to avoid stepping in too quickly

Think about the student that we have asked to answer a question in front of his/her peers the student is looking at you with the wide-eyed deer in headlights look. We are afraid he/she will be traumatized if we don't step in or ask another student to help out. Think about it this way: by asking another student virtually we are telling every person in the classroom, including the student, that we don't think he/she could do it - as well as teaching them learned helplessness. Instead - use appropriate wait time - and then provide cues, prompts and further questions to help clarify the answer. (123) We have the best intentions but we are robbing students of their learning!!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Remind 101

Remind 101 - send text message to parents without giving out your cell phone number

  • teachers can engage parents and students in learning with reminders
  • you can download the app for free
  • the user (teacher/principal etc) is the only person that needs to sign up
  • messaging is free as long as the receiver has text messaging
  • it can replace a phone tree
  • you can create classes
  • send invitation to parents who will respond to the invite (print PDF all instructions are there)
  • you never get the parents phone number and the parents never get your number
  • you can not reply so it limits inappropriate content between users
  • great for older students who use text!
  • uses: co-op for highschool, coaches, teachers, administration
  • maximum is 200 people in one class

Thursday, 24 April 2014


Newslea is free for students - access to nonfiction at 5 different reading levels. It is updated daily with real world news. Registration is free!

Thursday, 17 April 2014


I have been playing around with Mind Map for Google called Mind Meister. You can access your account through the website: or your drive.

I added it to my drive by going to Create - Connect More Apps - and select MindMeister

I find it is alot easier to use than lucid charts!

ADD ONS in Google Documents

My grade 5/6 class was exploring the new Add Ons in Google Docs. We added the thesaurus, templates, lucid chart and clip art. 

I noticed the students found a to-do template and were writing in their upcoming projects.

I love learning from them! I thought that clip art would be a big hit but students decided that using tools - research and searching for image was a lot better because there is more variety.

It is super easy to install an add on. Simply go to your tool bar and click on Add Ons:

Select (Get Add-Ons) and a new window will pop up where you can search and add free Add-Ons.

It is very easy to install and if you decide you don't like what you have chosen go to (manage apps) and delete it!

Week 3 - Scratch Club

How to do multiple codes without repeating writing the code:

We have to send out a message: broadcast (circle) and wait

In this scenario we are drawing multiple circles on a page.

When the Sprite receives the message it needs to know what to do in this case draw a circle (this the code we learned last week)

Watch - where you place pen up and pen down if you don't lift the pen after drawing the circle there will be a line connecting your circles

Monday, 14 April 2014

Week Two: Working with Scratch

Introduced students to the controls: Repeat and Forever

We used repeat to reduce our code for creating a square and then to create a circle.

Then students worked on the help cards to practice using the commands: Help Cards

Week One Working with Scratch

Today students learned that in order to for sprites to move you must give them directions. To develop understanding of the concept of code we demonstrated by having students give commands to have a student walk around a chair: Students could only give one instruction at a time and they had to use either he words: move ( ) steps or rotate ( ) degrees.

On the program we drew a square and students practiced:

Students discovered how to change their sprite, clear the background and save a project.

Addressing gaps in the classroom:

Addressing gaps in the classroom: Inquiry Learning

I have noticed that in order to teach through inquiry students require prior knowledge of developing higher level thinking questions. I found when I asked students what they were wondering we were stuck recording questions at a basic fact level ex. What do skinks eat? Where do they live? I was leading the inquiry by developing the higher level thinking question for students to answer/research ex. What might happen to skinks if humans continue to develop communities in their habitat? My goal is to teach students how to develop higher level questions so that students can direct their own learning.

After reading Skink on the Brink by Lisa Dalrymple I asked the students what do they wonder about skinks.

We used the generating question chart from the text Q-Tasks to sort the questions we came up with. 

Look at our results - Our next step is to work on developing questions that fit on the right hand side of the chart. I'm going to read another picture book for students to generate questions. MODEL and Practice 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Websites for Professional Growth

Andrea Brozyna's Learning Blog: Module 1 :: Leadership: Websites that help administrators continue their professional growth:

Canadian Education Association
The research and publications produced by this association inform and inspire educators across Canada. Through various initiatives and regional workshops educators connect and are urged to: "Get inspired to influence a change mindset in our schools." Stephen Hurley's blog posts stimulate lively dialogue on issues that matter to school leaders across the country.

Ontario Public School Boards' Association
"Leading Education's Advocates" is the tagline for this very active Ontario educational leadership organization. Their wide-ranging publications are timely and practical. For example, their recent A Vision for Learning and Teaching in the Digital Age has the merit of passion, eloquence and brevity. What's not to love?

Educational Leadership
The online version of this perennial print favorite is available by subscription only for the current issue, but their archive is a treasure trove of applied research. The ASCD  iTunesU site is also dynamic and richly resourced. The Topics link takes readers to an excellent selection of current educational subjects and helps the busy administrator quickly get up to speed on the latest research in a given area.

This website has "evidence-based K-12 learning strategies that inspire you to improve education." This site might be American, but the inspiration that administrators can glean from Schools That Work knows no geographical boundaries. Edutopia's blogs run the gamut from Social and Emotional Learning to Parent Partnerships. Entries are brief, practical (usually in the form of 8 tips... 6 reasons...) and research-based. Subscribe to an RSS feed on a topic of interest and get a regular dose of new learning.

 Taken from B. Jones:

Ontario Institute for Educational Leadership The Institute for Education Leadership(IEL)
This is a virtual organization which is made up of representatives from Ontario’s principals’ and supervisory officers’ associations, councils of directors of education, and the Ministry of Education. It provides resources with the goal of improving leadership and student achievement.
Ministry of Education
This site provides information for administrators regarding funding, information about “Putting Students First” and links to professional resources, such as the Leadership Framework.
Capacity Building Series
These provide the latest direction coming from the Ministry of Education and can help administrators in guiding the professional development in their own schools.
“ EduGAINS is the portal toresources developed and provided through the Ministry of Education and focused on learning – student learning, educator learning, and researcher learning about student and teacher learning. This site is for all teachers, Kindergartento Grade 12.” It provides sample domains and related practices of the Ontario Leadership Framework.

Mind Tools
This site deals with providing individuals with the tools to be successful in their careers. The Communication Skills section introduces topics around dealing with difficult situations, communication through writing, negotiating and persuading, understanding others, planning and structuring, and communicating in person.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Where does LGBTQ fit in the curriculum

With respect to LGBT in our curriculum, it isn't explicitly taught at the elementary level.
In the Health Curriculum it's dealt with in terms of building healthy relationships and bullying.
Building healthy relationships is a key theme of the health curriculum and it starts in Grade 1.  Although LGBTQ relationships aren't named specifically, the focus should be on general points that can be applied to any relationship

The curriculum says:
"In health education, the study of healthy relationships, particularly with respect to bullying/harassment and violence prevention, should include a focus on sexist, racist, and homophobic behaviour"
Bullying is covered throughout the curriculum, but homophobia is covered specifically in the following grades:

Grade 4
describe various types of bullying and abuse (homophobia used as an example)
Grade 5
explain how a person’s actions (e.g., negative actions such as name calling, making homophobic or racist remarks, mocking appearance or ability, excluding, bullying, sexual harassment; positive actions such as praising, supporting, including) can affect the feelings, self-concept, emotional well-being, and reputation of themselves and others
Grade 7
Interpersonal Skills under Healthy  Living: practise effective responses to someone who directs a homophobic or racial slur to them or to another student)

While not mandated by the curriculum, LGBTQ discussions often arise during puberty education.
We currently have an interim edition of the curriculum.  A more comprehensive curriculum which specifically includes more LGBTQ topics is stuck in draft form.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

The Alert Program

The Alert Program by Therapy Partners

  • Practical Approach to Support Self Regulation 
  • Free Resources
  • Book: How does your Engine Run

Ken Robinson: How to escape education's death valley

Links to resources from Google Summit Presenters

Kyle Pace: Twitter

Sylvia Duckworth Google Hangouts Getting Started with Blogger Interactive Stories

Katina Papulkas Principal with TDSB Google Apps for Administration

Molly Schroeder: Google Presentations

Chris Moore: Blogger Chrome Basics

Monica Martinez: Google Sites 101

Tracy Purdy: Website Notes on Forms, Search, Digital Citizenship, Google Docs, You Tube

James Peterson: Open Source Teacher Blog

Kim Randall: Google Maps

Julie Millan TDSB Google Through Inquiry

Scott Monahan: Step by Step Instructions Blogger to Twitter Blogging 101 Presentation

Love this Website

This is neat - You literally type in what you love and google uses its tools (Trends, YouTube, Earth, Maps, etc) to give you information on your favourite topic

Flipped Education

Website Created by Molly Schroeder Flipped Education

On the page linked Molly shares tips and tricks for Google + and Google Hangout

Teach Parents Tech

Great Website to Help Parents Learn about Technology

Use a Google Form for Anecdotal Notes

I must add this to my Google Forms presentation!

I was already using Google Forms to make anecdotal notes on students work but the text to speech addition makes note taking that much easier for teachers.

Helping Students Create Better Questions

I posted this question to twitter:

Looking for resources to promote better questions with primary students ideas?

Here is what was shared with me:


Ellen Doris' Doing What Scientists Do 

Lois Roch's I Wonder Why

A Place of Wonder

Natural Curiosity

Q Tasks - Question Builder Chart

Crop Tool Released for Google Presentation

So Excited!! I have been waiting patiently for the cropping tool to be added to presentations! Now you can crop your pictures right in presentations.


Create Animated Videos and Presentations 

Captivate... engage... explain!

visual thesaurus

Type in a word and get a visual thesaurus: Word Sift


Online Platform: You can keep virtual binders with videos, pictures, books, resources etc.

-Sign up (You can use google signup)
-Click on New Notebook
-Your binder can be private or public
Click on Add Something ( link, book, note, music, tv show, photo, movies, event)

-you can share your notes with others

Ideas for Binders:

1. Technology 
2. Collective Agreement
3. PD sessions
4. Character Development
5. Literacy
6. Mathematics
7. Supporting Minds (Mental Health Awareness)
8. Legislation
9. Leadership Development

Fail as an Acronym

I love this:

I don't fail it was my First Attempt In Learning

Thank You 


Saturday, 5 April 2014

Pear Deck - Google App

Engage Every Student in your Google Classrooms

Pear Deck makes it easy to plan and build interactive lessons directly from your Google Drive that promote active learning in the classroom. As students interact with the lesson, real-time data provides instructors the feedback they need to adapt teaching on-the-fly.
The site reminds me of using clickers with the smartboard but now you don't need to buy clickers students can use their personal device, chromebook, cellphone etc. You need to add the App to your chrome browser.

Presentation for Google Summit

Today I presented at the Google Summit - besides the blurry screen from the projector I feel the presentation went well. I recieved positive feedback from those that were able to get in the door! Wow the rooms are tiny!

Flubaroo Advanced Tips

Flubaroo Advanced Tips:

More than one correct answer:

Want to allow for more than one correct answer to a fill-in question? Just put %or between correct answers when filling out your answer key, like this:

If a student submits either answer, Flubaroo will mark it correct. You can even have more than 2 correct answers, like this:

Google Search by Ken Shelton

Typing in = none localized search

- searching google canada is beneficial if doing a local canada search (e.g., Canadian History)

Google Search Operations: Operators that yield the shortest amount of time without having to click on a link and serve as conversation pieces

Purposeful use of language in your search engine 

1. Currency to Currency tool
2. Google Trends

3. unit of measurement to unit of measurement

lots of tools here to use mass, speed, fuel consumption, volume etc.

4. NKE 

Google modifiers 


Try entering these  words in a google search:
1. mullet (specifically to fish)
2. -haircut (no haircut)
3. add fish
4. "freshwater" (specific to freshwater)
4. need reliable information site:edu (educational sites)

Further filter: 
mac command F or PC control F (Find on Page) works on PDF web based tool

Type in the box the word you want to find on the page and it will highlight 

How do you build a query click on the gear go to advanced search: The more you use this tool the less you will use it because you will see how the query is being built in the search box

Try a Google Search - You want to do research on the Taj Mahal (what it is, who built it and why)

1. Type in Taj Mahal

2. Look at what you don't want in your findings ie. Donald Trump's hotel

3. Type in Taj Mahal -Trump

4. Most of the information you can get from reading the descriptions without having to click on a link

5. Advanced Search you can select file type: PPT

6. Advanced Search you can select reading level

Chrome Tips and Tricks


One of my favourite tips from the google summit - so simple yet exciting!

To add a bookmark to the bookmark bar click on the icon beside the URL in this case the lock and drag it to the bookmark bar - it automatically becomes a bookmark. 

Even better right click on the bookmark and select "edit" erase the name of the bookmark and now you will only see the icon in the bookmark toolbar - saves you room so you can add lots of bookmarks!!

Right click on the bookmark toolbar to add a new folder

Demo Slam - Google Summit

Day 1 - Demo Slam

Scott Monahan - Amazing Anecdotes!
  • Integrating iPhone into assessment practices - world’s simplest form:
  • Dropdown menu, subject & comments.
Use voice comments on your phone to record comments into your comments section.
Goes into a google form
Then can filter it by subject & you have anecdotal comments.

Michelle Armstrong - Flippity Dooo Dah!
Online Flashcards
  • Create a google spreadsheet two columns (question, answer)
  • Go to Publish to the net
  • Copy the URL
Go to flippity site & there is a site to paste it in.
You can use a Youtube video as well for the question by using the URL in column 1

James Petersen - Drawing Hotspots
  • Upload an image in your drawing
  • create a shape over the drawing - make it transparent - add a link to the shape
  • Insert the drawing to your website
  • When you click on the picture/drawing it will go to the link
  • You can add more than one link

  • Works with Chrome & Chromebooks
  • Allows you to see the browser tabs students have open.
  • Allows you to send a message to the student or open or close tabs for your students.

You can get album & flipbooks (in templates album & flipbooks)
Copy the URL & attach it to an image in the presentation. - record your voice
hey girl extension
youtube song -copy URL add to first page in your slideshow

  • Embedded into Google Apps
  • Click on it & it walks you through all different how to things in the program

Monica Martinez - YouTube Awesomeness!

TechSmith - Snagit for Chrome Ryan Eash

Mark Hammons - Chrome Custom Searches - Bend Chrome to your will
  • settings, manage search engines
  • give a short cut & add the URL, allowing you to connect to your drive and calendar from your browser
  • check Jennie’s blog for instructions on how to set up search engines

How Read&Write for Google makes your PDF's accessible for all students. A three minute crash course on accessibility tools for Drive that engage your students.
  • WordQ & Kurzweil replacement
  • allows you to do text to speech online, word prediction, dictionary

Molly Schroeder - Pack Your Bags
Google Forms, Spreadsheets and Maps, Oh My!
  • using Google Maps we can import Data from a spreadsheet that is in drive
  • click select, import - will populate the map where people like to go on vacation
  • can colour code the type of vacation

Interactive demo of how Pear Deck can engage every student. Audience will participate in a LIVE presentation.
  • allows you to import presentations from Google Drive
  • like using clicker responses

Black Menu for Google allows you to access all your favorite Google products from any screen inside Chrome