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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