No Harlem Shake on this VideoStar

Blog - VideostarHas anyone else spent innumerable hours viewing Harlem Shake videos OR been inundated with email forwards of random teddy bears, Pepsi Cans or celebrities doing the Harlem Shake? If not, then, ummmmm ME NEITHER!  🙂

If you have, though, you might want to think about how you could use this concept in your classroom. Fun music, still shots and short video segments can be easily assembled to show learning in a specific area. Imagine your students finishing a unit on Canada – uploading a Canadian song, adding images and video of Canadian content and then sharing with their class! Or selecting a song to represent a novel, and adding in key quotes and videoing tableau scenes to show mood. Maybe it could be used in Science as well? I’m thinking of putting “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister with video of science structures that couldn’t hold up textbooks! Seriously, the possibilities are endless!

The free app, Video Star is a great app for this (did I mention it’s free!). Students love taking videos, and with the music integration, it’s a sure hit for student engagement. It’s really easy to use (my son and I learned how to use it on the fly last week), but there is also a youtube channel with tutorials.  Other apps will do the same thing – just find the one that you like!

So if the Harlem Shake’s not your style, maybe create your own video that shows your learning!  And if you’re so inclined, please share it with your school community (or in the comments below!).

Using Google Forms and Flubaroo for Assessment

At a recent PLC, one of the highway 105 teachers asked about online assessment tools that she could use for diagnostic, formative or summative assessment. At the time, I rounded up a few websites and passed them on to her. With my assignment this year being focused on Literacy and History, I haven’t used any kind of tech-based assessment like quizlet or That Quiz. But, a few days ago, another teacher advised me that she had recently started using Google Forms for assessment in her Math class.

Blog - Google FormsIn Google Forms, you can create quizzes with various response options (multiple choice, written answer, scale, grid). Students are sent the link to the quiz and can complete it with their netbooks. As well, by adding in a Flubaroo script, the responses can be tabulated and presented in a spreadsheet – making it very easy for the Math teacher to see at a glance which concepts need to be revisited.

Blog - FlubarooTo see how to easily create a Google Forms test, check out this five minute video. To see how Flubaroo can tabulate the data and save you time, check out this video. To complete a test on what was written in this blog post, see this link!

To view more options for online assessment tools, check out this blog post at Free Technology for Teachers.

Happy Monday everyone! 🙂

Planning for SMART

As staffing is all the buzz in our school board, and in most areas, educators speculate their fate for the fall, it goes without saying that there is also chatter about who-gets-what tech. For many, we can’t imagine being in a space WITHOUT a SMART Board.
(One time a fearless teacher conducted an experiment about teaching without her class set of netbooks, including her own computer, and she claimed this was “the worst week of her life… Never Again.”)
So, for those of us at KPDSB who are getting geared up for having an interactive white board for the first time ever, (congratulations, Kelly Ogilvie!), here is a great little article from ETFO on planning to use SMART.
Other great SMART resources can be found on Facebook and online, and there are lessons integrating the boards constantly being added on OERB.
For those among us who desire an update on using the SMART Board (and don’t want a repeat of the ONE SESSION I WAS INVITED TO), let your technology teacher know you’re interested and we can plan a part 2 session.


*We also have in our arsenal a great pile of DIY tutorials and blogs to follow to get tips on your own time, personalized just for you. Just ask!

And so you know, I’m feeling a little less SMART myself, as we speak, as I’m stared down with an icy glaze by the image below:the ugly void

30 Poems, 30 Days: NaPoWriMo Has Begun

What a terrific way to get students engaged in Poetry! I hope some of our KPDSB classes hop on board- even if we are starting late, such a terrific way to share the love of poetry.

The Blog

Calling all poets! April is National Poetry Writing Month — NaPoWriMo for short. Modeled after National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), NaPoWriMo is an annual project encouraging poets to write one poem each day in April.


We love discovering poetry in the Reader and are proud of the poets who call their online home, like Pushcart-nominated poet Kellie Elmore. If you’re an established or aspiring poet, or want to dabble in free verse, lyric essays, and more experimental prose, we encourage you to participate this month.

A poem a day

First time participating in a post-a-day project like this? We asked poet and publisher Maureen Thorson, the founder of this project, for advice:

Be open to the possibilities. The point isn’t to turn out a fully formed sonnet each day — although if anyone wants to try, I’m not going to discourage them! The point is to just…

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What’s Your Entry Level?

multiple entry points -> multiple layers

As a collective, we have been exploring the various entry points with regards to technology in the classroom. Are you a technophobe? A newbie? A Beginner?

Or are you somewhat comfortable with using computers.. laptops… netbooks… iPads? Do you know what a blog is, use one regularly? Are you connected to others through social networking or other online communities?

Regardless of your entry point, there is a place for growth. The trick is to find a comfortable fit for you.
Take a look at the SAMR Model-

Where are you now?
Where would you like to go?

Set a goal- and let’s share!

KPDSB Highlighted on Shaw’s Points North

Here is the link to Points North with their coverage of our local schools’ netbook rollout and use of technology in our schools:

Also, some cool coverage of our local yoga studio- yay Audrey!

I’m proud of our staff and students, can’t wait to see where they’ll take the tech. Also, fun to have been at the tapings and interested to see what footage was included and left out…

(post copied from Media Madness)

iPad PD- September 28

This session is self-directed and you will want to have both your iPad and your laptop handy. The directions and videos will be on this page, while the discovery portion will occur between you and your iPad. Simply scan the headings below and enter at the point where you feel comfortable. Remember to start a wish list of the apps that you want for your classroom!

Premie – born early into iPad world!
If you’ve never touched an iPad before, watch this 2 minute video (twice if you need to!) which explains the navigational tools available in the ipad. (Contains some shortcuts, that even experienced users will benefit from.)

Newborn – born anxious and ready to enter iPad world!
If you’ve used an iPod or an iPad before, start at this video which explains how to download apps from the App Store.

School Age – ready to learn!
If you’re ready to go and learn with an iPad, then start at any of the following links. When we meet together at the end of this session, we will share and problem solve (see end of page).


Literacy 1
Literacy Free (note the tabs at the top of the page)

Literacy Paid

Music Free

Music Paid


Numeracy Free (note the tabs at the top of the page)

Numeracy Paid (note the tabs at the top of the page)


Science 1
Science 2

Special Education – thorough list and also see manual I’ve provided here

Special Education (apps organized by needs!)

Whole Group discussion and questions about iPad use

1. How will you use these iPads in the classroom? What kind of organizational obstacles will you face? How can your principal and tech support you?
2. Where will you start with the iPads? Literacy? Numeracy? Art? How will you teach higher-order thinking skills with the iPads?
3. How will you identify quality apps? How can you share your knowledge?
4. What type of guidelines will your school have for app purchases?
5. Tell the name of one or more apps that you think you might use in your classroom. How will you use it?

Purchasing and Use Information

KPDSB IT has set up accounts for each school and all of the iPads within a school are on one account. You cannot use your own itunes account for these iPads. Funds for app purchases will be loaded via an itunes gift card which will be done by the principal. Each principal will provide guidelines as to how much classrooms will spend on apps. Communication amongst primary teachers is essential as many apps provide a wide learning range and in some cases (like Numeracy) might provide practice in a skill right from kindergarten to grade 3! We don’t want to waste money with apps that do the same thing. All teachers will have the purchase password, and are encouraged to download free and paid apps that suit their students’ needs. Students are not to be given the password. Some settings have been locked on by the IT department.

Need inspiration? Go to youtube and search ipads in the classroom. Watch a couple of videos to see how schools across Canada and the US are using iPads. I liked this one!