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!

New Netbooks, New Frontier

 Quite honestly, it feels like Christmas.



In the span of a week, we will be visiting Lillian Berg School in Vermillion Bay, New Prospect School in Dryden, Keewatin Public School in Kenora, Golden Learning Centre in Balmertown, Ear Falls Public School, Savant Lake Public School and Ignace Public School. This means that hundreds of students will now be taking the first step in a remarkable journey as active participants in their education.

So what does a rollout look like?

As a team, our Technology and Learning teachers, Information Systems Manager, and Information Technology technicians come to the school and spend about an hour with the students. Together, we review basic overall expectations and review the user agreement, which is signed by EVERY student. The netbooks are logged in our inventory system (L4U) then signed out to students. We then have the students open up their netbook, set the configurations (as easy as “naming” the computer and allowing a re-start), and check that every student is able to log on the Internet. We give a brief tour of the ins and outs of the equipment, and set up students with access to our k12 domain on Google Docs.

After that, we send the students and teachers on their way!


Support will continue in a variety of formats, but above all else, we reiterate that it will be through joint exploration that teachers and students find a fit for its use at their respective grade and comfort levels. The key messages are important, and we recognize that in today’s world there is no one-size-fits-all teaching and learning model. For some, it may be starting with a simple transition from doing what they what they would normally do in the computer lab, instead, in the comfort of classroom. For others, having access at their fingertips may inspire something new, such as creating new strategies for teaching and learning across the content areas with web tools. The beautiful part- the choice is ours.



Lakewood Technology

We’ve had a great time over the past 8 months…

Netbooks and SMART Boards are everywhere! Students and educators have become co-learners as we embark on 21st Century learning, MINUS the technology barrier. We barely remember waiting for the “lab” to be free for computer time, and when we have on-the-spot research or inquiry, the SMART board and Internet give us just the right tool when we need it.

In reflecting on how our practices have changed, we’ve gathered a few tidbits of photos and video to share what learning looks and feels like with supplementary technology at our fingertips. Here is a video on Animoto to give you a sneak peek. Please feel free to comment on our work- we love to hear from you and REALLY love to talk about what’s new.

Kindergarten Goes Global

In a Cycle of Inquiry, students in Ann McDonald’s kindergarten class wanted to learn more about rocks. Where better than to learn about rocks than by checking in with the experts?


Enter, The Smithsonian.


With the help of free communication tool Skype, teachers and students met almost face-to-face with curators from the world-class museum, in what turned out to be not only a first for kindergarten students, but for the folks at the Smithsonian as well. The experience was a meaningful experience for all of those involved, as the experts had sent actual rock samples to the school beforehand and were able to hold up the same samples as they shared in real-time with the class at Lakewood.

There were endless thanks given on both ends as the session concluded, and a copy of our little Animoto video was shared with the museum as they hope to use visuals like this to encourage management to allow subsequent connections to be made with other students across the world. Our five-year-olds may not know the big-picture impact of this learning experience on others, but they sure were excited to ask the “tough questions” to their panel of experts!

(click link to view video of our Skype with the Smithsonian)


Students at Lakewood have been using a class blog page since September. Soon after, students began expressing interest in creating their own PERSONAL blogs, so it became clear that we would have some work to do on digital citizenship and Internet Safety.

We decided to use a very student-friendly and secure web tool calledKidblog.

 With Kidblog, we are able to create a safe environment where students can learn how to create quality blog posts and comment on eachother’s work, within the safe confines a teacher-monitored domain.

Every student has their own blog page, and can personalize it as they see fit.

In a short time, students moved from consumers to creators, and bumped up their critical thinking by exploring a variety of curriculum-related topics.

Below is a sample of a grade 5 student’s blog post:

Students are continuing to “tweak” their comments before inviting their families and friends to view their blogs, soon to be released to the public during Education Week this May.  Stay tuned!

CILM Math Grade 3 Lakewood

In terms of collaboration and co-teaching, the primary division came out in full-force this year through our PLC CYCLE. Our Board-wide initiatives include taking a look at whole-small-whole instruction, (in other words, a 3-part lesson including small group and whole-class components). To this end, CILM Math and a “Bansho” type of instruction fits in perfectly.

Gayleen Bell, (grade 3 teacher), took the lead in this cycle of inquiry by inviting the primary teachers to work with her in an introduction to fractions. The diagonostic component would be a co-plan/ co-teach, which of course means a terrific student-to-teacher ratio.

The process very much resembles a whole-small-whole format itself, with teachers meeting to plan the lesson, joining the class to share in the lesson, and later coming back together to discuss the outcome. There certainly is power in this process, and every individual gains from the experience.

Taking photos and video along the way helps the teaching team to reflect in a “big-picture” way. Along with examples of the student work, we are able to gain an understanding of best practices and strategies for delivering content.

We put together a little video with Animoto, a user-friendly movie-making program, to share the 3-part lesson with our students.


The classroom teacher, Gayleen Bell, was very pleased with the outcome. Not only did it allow her to get a great diagnostic assessment of her student’s prior knowledge with fractions, it allowed her the opportunity to share in her own professional development in real-time, with real content. Students also loved seeing the Animoto movie of their work on the SMART Board, and look forward to continuing to use a number of technology-based applications throughout their Fractions unit.