Sunday, 30 November 2014

Create a Rubric and post it to students Doc

This video by Jennifer Magiera shows you how to use Doctopus and Goobric to assess student's work. If you are using Google Classroom to assign work you will be able to create a rubric and assess individual student work. The rubric is pasted onto the students google doc and emailed back to them for immediate feedback. You also get a spreadsheet that is populated with the students scores in each level. I have used it and it is very easy to set up and use.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Communication is the Key

The other day I was teaching my LD class what the word irony meant in the following question:

It was ironic that his father died in a car accident going to get ice cream after dinner since he flew a fighter jet plane for the US military.

We had a long discussion and the students were able to use the word ironic in connection to their own life. Do you know what I thought about when I reflected on the word "ironic?"

It is ironic how little I know about the "happenings" in my school board with the numerous ways (twitter, facebook, blogging, websites etc.) we have to communicate programs, events and activities we offer for students!

The hardest part is that I don't think the issue has a simple response. I will give you an example. I sit on a committee in my board that plans a conference for at risk students in grades 7-12 across the school board. This is the 8th year we have offered the conference. Last year although we had the largest attendance of 395 bodies I still believe that there are administrators and teachers that have never even heard of the conference or know the purpose and goal for the program. We already have a website, send out emails and tweets but it doesn't seem to be enough!

That is only one example but in my new role as VP I have come across many other examples as I talk to staff and families.

Community resources and supports is another area I find we need to have better communication!

This lack of communication in a connected community has become a hot topic of discussion between myself and my principal.

Recently I attended the OPC Conference, "Technology-Enabled Teaching and Learning Institute." George Couros was the key note speaker and showed the following you tube video which in my eyes summarized the thoughts that have been swirling around in my mind for the past month!

We have reflected on the following:
How do we get better at communicating what we have to offer!
How do parents know what there child is doing in school when they don't bring home work?
How do we showcase the leaders/learners in our board?

I would love to hear from anyone out there that can tell me what your board does to communicate!

Please comment/share or ask questions?

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Google Docs and Google Forms Connected

Google Forms + Form Values + DocAppender

This is a great video that walks through the steps of connecting google forms to your google docs so that when you submit anecdotal notes on google forms it automatically curates on a google doc for each student or staff member.

The Connected Learner/Leader

The Connected Learner/Leader

Leaders from UGDSB

I connect to see another perspective, share great ideas and learn new things.


How do you become connected? The first step is to open a twitter account and follow the right people. Start with Peter LeBlanc and Brenda Sherry their twitter handles are above. My handle is @nhamilton647. Remember that lurking is ok! Take one minute everyday to open your twitter account and make a commitment to re-tweet one tweet you liked. One of the biggest challenges or hurdles to overcome is finding time to become connected! Don't let TIME be your excuse! (I sometimes find time to check my twitter account while sitting in the drive through at Tim Horton's) What I love about twitter is that it can be as quick as a few minutes. As a twitter user I had to come to terms with the fact that it is not possible to read every tweet from your followers. You have to imagine twitter as a room with millions of conversations going on and you wandering into the room hearing snip-its of those conversations. Once I came to the understanding that I didn't have to read every tweet I was set to go! It seems like such a basic idea but if I am being honest it bothered me that I couldn't read every tweet but that was at the beginning of my twitter journey when I followed 10 people since then I have shifted my mindset!

Here is a handbook for new users to twitter:

Twitter hashtags to check out:
#satchat - American lead educational conversation on Saturday mornings. 

Why do we connect? I connect to see another perspective, share great ideas and learn new things.

Allowing staff, students, and families to connect online breaks down barriers. For anyone with anxiety or social fears or for those that may not want to share their thoughts in a staff meeting- online connection allows their voice to be heard!!!


TeachOntario  -Share Explore and Create resources for teachers

Group Tweet - Allows you to share a twitter account with others without sharing your password

iEARN  - Global classrooms connecting digitally

PLP network - action research projects

ISTE - International Society for Technology in Education

The connection 

What's Out There to Support Connected Leaders in Education

I sat in a workshop this morning on what's out there for educators so they can become connected in the 21st learning community

Mindomo - new mindmapping software
-has presentation format
-can enter pictures and videos
-you can collaborate on a joint project
-you can chat while working on a project
-presents like a Prezi

When you sign up as an educator- click on more and choose school board and then select your school board and use your board email (some school boards may have this linked already to their school board cloud account)

Purpose: To help school and system leaders find entry points into the connected world
-You can find leaders in education from Ontario and check out their blogs and professional learning
-Tuesday night is open mic sessions - learning from the comfort of your own home!!
-New model: ten minutes of connecting a day
-Look back through the how to guide of getting started with 21st century learning (using twitter, blogging, etc)

Check here for digital resources (books for students who require accommodated formats)

OERB - Ontario Educational Resource Bank

Username and Password for a Teacher

Username and Password for a Student 


Easy to follow
They highlight 6 or 7 softwares but there are many more
You need to contact your E-Learning Contact from your schoolboard to get access to the software
You can find tutorials, images
targeted for students to learn more about elearning courses
targeted for teachers to learn more about elearning courses

Thank you,

Donna Fry Education Officer
Mark Carbone CIO WRDSB

Joe Russo e-learning coordinator TCDSB

Monday, 10 November 2014

Seven ways to engage students Shared via TweetCaster

Game Based Learning

Game Based Learning

At ECOO I went to a workshop on game based learning by @adeletweets and

My purpose for attending this workshop was to gather resources that have been tested in the classroom and our beneficial for critical thinking, increased engagement and connection to the curriculum. A huge shout out to the presenters for sharing some great resources. The following resources shared at the conference fit into five categories on why and how you would use games in the classroom:

-provocation for inquiry
-assessment tool
-skill builder
-schema builder
-learning tool

1. Prodigy
Makes math fun. You can differentiate for each student in the class by grade level, math strand, number of questions by creating an assignment for the student you can target a specific outcome for example multiplication 3 times table or 2D shapes

2. Electrocity
Online game that lets students mange their own virtual towns and cities. Students learn about energy, sustainability and environmental management

3. Dragon Box
Ipad App that reinforces algebraic rule. Looks good for all ages and has two levels the unfortunate part is the cost.

4. New World Colony (IPad)
Can be used to build schema for social studies unit on early settlers

5. Sumdog (IPad or Online)
On sumdog you can set up a live class with a leaderboard and assign differentiated questions. Students can compete with each other at their own level.

6. Tinybob (Ipad) human body
Use as a provocation tool! Let the students play human body sandbox app as they play curiosity is piqued, students record wonderings and questions, students find answers to their wonderings - record wonderings in a google doc

Further Research:

Jane McGonigal 

Jane McGonigal is a game designer with Avant Game, and a senior researcher at the Institute for the Future. Read her full biography.
The Interview with Steve Paikin: Jane McGonigal: How Video Games will Save the World Author Jane McGonigal on how reality is broken and video games can fix it. 

The Happiness Engine


Sunday, 9 November 2014

Learning Fair 2014

The topic for this years learning fair was mental health. 

The key speakers were David Daniel and Pinball Clemens

I wanted to take the time to reflect on my notes and highlight the key learning that came out of this conference.

4 Books were highlighted:

1. Mindset by Carol Dweck
2. I wonder
3. A Whole new Mind by Daniel Pink
4. Our Rights by Janet Wilson

David Daniel reminded me that it is important to question and evaluate best practices. Just because the practice is based from scientific research does not mean that it will work for all students or that it is scientifically true. Daniel states, "If you see the term brain based run." This statement was very controversial especially as I looked at the topics for the breakout sessions at the conference and many of the presentation stated the word "brain" in the description. But what Daniel wanted us to do is question our learning! There is a place for science in the classroom but it is not the be all and end all. Science can help us understand the average learner, identify extreme outliers and classify differences so we can put students into groups. What science doesn't do is understand the individual. Scientists look at one aspect of the brain at a time in a controlled setting but we know that the brain does not work in isolation and the classroom is full of variables. What does this mean for teachers and administrators:

  1. It is important to question best practices
  2. When a new policy is released ask yourself: Does the practice work better than what we are already doing?
  3. We need to be cognitive of when we are being marketed to because when we come back to school the strategy will not working.
  4. Instead of using the word best practices we should be saying promising principles
  5. What works for one group of students or one teacher may not work for everyone
  6. Learning Styles and Multiple intelligences are not the same thing
  7. There is no scientific evidence that proves that learning styles is factual individuals may have a learning style preference 
  8. We are called 'teach'ers not 'assess'ers so our job is to teach if a student fails an assessment it is not their fault we have not taught them what they needed to know to pass the assessment
  9. When we are asked to try a new practice we need to be skeptical
  10. Proof in education is seeing something work!
  11. Our beliefs influence our teaching
  12. Teachers want the cookbook to teaching a script to follow but in reality a good teacher is a chef they can create a masterpiece from a variety of ingredients in the cupboard they are not restricted to the ingredients in the recipe

And then there was Pinball Clemons. All I have to say is wow! I felt that I could follow along with his presentation better than anyone else I heard at the conference and I was able to pinpoint three critical reasons why. First he used pauses very effectively which gave me enough time to process what he was saying and reflect on the information. Second he used repetition which solidified the key points he was addressing in his speech. Finally he used emotions to create empathy and energy amongst the audience.

The key points I took from Pinball:

  1. In today's society we have disengaged parents that only become engaged when there is a conflict with their child because their child is always right
  2. Champions run towards the challenge good teachers raise to the challenge
  3. After you embrace the challenge value the team 
  4. I'm going to be grateful even when things aren't great
  5. I have high expectations because I believe in my students
  6. When you value someone you believe in them
  7. Success is not final and failure is not fatal
  8. The child that we think has checked out of school has actually stopped to check us out
  9. When a teacher says "I'm not a babysitter" they have check out!
  10. You don't have to put in your resignation to quit
  11. You need to be humble enough to always put your best foot forward
  12. Teach don't tell We are not tellers
  13. The greatest challenge in my life is me!
  14.  When you get angry you are thinking about yourself first
  15. The good samaritan stops to help because they ask themselves what will happen to the other person not what will happen to themselves
  16. Ask yourself "How fortunate are your students that you are their teacher"
  17. Don't feel sorry, Don't complain and Don't quit

Keyboarding Sites

Keyboarding Sites 

Dance Mat typing. Very fun and goes over home row and has levels you work through. Great for younger kids. 

Lesson that you follow and work through. Kind of boring for kids but does track words per minutes and mistakes. 

Super fun games. This could be a nice reward or go back and forth between lesson sites and this one. 

Loads of fun keyboarding games. Also many other educational games. 

Typing Club. You have to have the chromebrowser and a gmail account. So worth it though. Great lessons in levels and looks a bit like a game so kids think it looks cool. 

More just for fun. For your super fast typer. Have your favourite song and type it as quickly as possible karaoke style!

Type Scout. Extremely colourful and visual. Colour coates the home row. Great for a visual learning student. 

Nitro Type, awesome car typing racing game