Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Citizenship Explained

Opening Exercises this year brought on a new role for me in our school.  For the first time I experienced addressing our student body en mass with a presentation of Interlake School Division's new policy on Social Media in the classroom. 

I have been working on this policy as part of our Technology Steering Committee for the past year, so I am excited to see it come to fruition.  Social Media places so many demands on our students to be connected 24/7.  I feel that we as teachers need to teach students how to manage this demand in a safe, respectful environment.  I am excited that I will now be able to help students in our school create positive digital footprints for themselves.  Here is the presentation that I shared with our students. 

After presenting this to our student body, I realize areas that I may need to change, improve and explain further.  I will reflect on how our digital citizenship improves or perhaps doesn't change as the school year goes on.  I hope that in my efforts as a teacher, community member and mom that we can educate best practices for moving our kids forth for an ever increasing connected community.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A "Nice Day" Class chalk full of great work

PhotoWalk & +Flipagram 

Students in my Grade 10 Digital Pictures class were asked to take 15 pictures on a Photowalk that we decided to create in class today.  It was a lovely day outside and students enjoyed taking the cameras out and getting some fantastic shots.

Here is an example from today's lesson

Some students will use the digital SRS's that I have for use and use Prezi, PhotoStory or Movie Maker to present it to the class.  As well some students will use the iPads for student use that I now have in my room and use a variety of apps to showcase them to the class.  The one you see above was created with Flipagram.  

Friday, May 16, 2014

Laugh so hard you cry: Photobomb's with Students

Photobomb / SuperImpose Photoshop Assignment:  

Goal:  Find a famous picture, movie poster, event through history and recreate yourself in the picture.  This is truly one of my favorite assignments to work on with students.  Before students attempt these assignments I will have taught them the following tools:

  • Magnetic Lasso
  • Clone Stamp 
  • Healing Brush
Students will also have the ability to work with layers, history pallete, and adjusting the image's hue and saturation and color balance.

Here are some examples:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Celebrate Manitoba with a Virtual Tour: Green Screen Style

Happy Birthday Manitoba!  

Today is Manitoba Day,  we officially turn 144.  

“I strongly encourage all Manitobans to take a moment and reflect on the proud history, people and traditions of this great province,” said Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux. “While the future is bright, our past is just as fascinating. I hope Manitobans will explore all the province has to offer.”

For a list of organizations celebrating Manitoba Day please follow this link Explore Manitoba

Our school at this time of the year has a  limited budget when it comes to field trips, funds are either used up or placed on hold for the end of our track season. I would have liked to have taken my students to visit some fantastic culture and taken in some historical treasure, however in order to ease my budgetary mind I decided to create a Virtual Tour of Manitoba Green Screen Style Assignment

My thought to celebrate Manitoba Day was to have students walk through Manitoba history, they would  be create a "Virtual Tour" of an  aspect of Manitoban History or Culture.  

Students will be using our classroom green screen 

to recreate the event through pictures and video and share with us through Photostory, and a web page tool such as Wix or Weebly.  This will in turn have one student go to a "location"  and have the ability to share with their classmates the event in history that transpired. 

    Students will pick a "destination"  that you want to create a field trip for.  Remember we are doing this virtually.  
    • You will pick a location or  aspect in  history that you would like to explore  (The Forks, The Manitoba Museum, Downtown corridor, Winnipeg Strike of 1919, Manitoba Women's Suffrage Movement, Louis Riel's grave,  Lower Fort Garry)
    • Make sure that I approve your choice.  
            Locate pictures / Take Pictures.

            • Students may be able to assemble enough pictures through online sources to piece together a PhotoStory.
            • Students may need to visit the location if suitable pictures aren't located online
            • Obtain permission if required to take pictures.
            • I will have a camera that you can use in the event that you do not have one.
            • Go back to your methodology when taking pictures, use different perspectives, find something captivating and that tells a story.
            • You will then assemble your pictures and create a walk through of the location inserting yourself into the location with the aide of our green screen.  
            Know Your Information.  
            • You are expected to be knowledgeable about your location. 
              • You should be able to narrate your presentation as if you are standing there, without prompting.  
              • Tell the story of your location, make it interactive and exciting to visit.  

              Assemble the pictures, narration and video on Wix or Weebly.  
              • Students are required to take all of their pictures, posing within them and narrate them using PhotoStory.
              • Your photostory will then be shared with your classmates through an engaging website created with Wix or Weebly.

              Goal / Creativity
              • Please remember your goal is to captivate your audience with you visiting the location
              • Be engaging and talk to them, not at a cue card
              • Dress up for the adventure?
              • Sell them on your passion for the adventure.  
              I will be posting links to student examples once we are complete.  

              Contact me for an assessment rubric if you are interested in joining our class on this adventure.

              Thanks for reading. 

              Thursday, May 8, 2014

              Twitter saved my Career

              There was a time in the not so distant past where as a teacher I was in a funk, I felt like a teacher in isolation......

              Fast forward to 3 years ago with my husbands' insistence that I discover Twitter.  That statement in itself makes me snicker, because I am the computer tech savvy teacher but for some reason I was always reluctant to jump on to Twitter.  When I thought about Twitter in the past I used to think about my family members "following" celebrities  daily lives, favouriting and retweeting things that they did.   Following his advice I became @teachermikey and began to enjoy the worlds classroom that opened up to me, no longer was I that teacher in isolation!

              What I soon became to realize is that Twitter is used by over 1 million teachers to share, collaborate and differentiate instruction ...WOW!  

              So how did I come from a hesitant user of Twitter, to the teacher on my staff begging other teachers to just trust me.... follow me.....then I'll show you how to follow someone else in your subject area? ....Here's how:

              #1.  I got lucky:  I had the opportunity to attend a conference where George Couros was speaking.  You can check out his website here George .   I walked away from the 1 hour session where he spoke feeling rejuvenated, inspired and ready to "Jump" in to being an Innovator of Change in my school and division. Please if you are like I was 3 years ago, check out George's website and view some of his presentations, his high energy, positive and real approach to educating our youth makes my heart sing.  

              #2.  Follow another teacher you know:  On @mbteachers (Manitoba Teachers Society twitter account) you can find teacher lists for those teachers who frequent twitter with their class, or themselves personally.  I myself post everything from my class with my own twitter account as I STRONLY believe that my personal identity and my classroom identity are one and the same. I also believe that this is the way that we have to teach kids, forget the locks, forget privacy...treat social media like a small town country coffee shop!  If you can't scream it out in that coffee shop or your class in front of your students then I myself will never tweet it, post it, regram it or shre it on Facebook (Mantra to self).  I will follow up this discussion in a Digital Citizenship post to come.

              #3. Hint:  Once you find that teacher that you would like to follow, you check out who they follow and follow a few of them as well.  It's the idea that a colleague that you enjoy sharing with, shares with another so you'd probably like what they have to share too.

              #4.  The kicker:  Try to make twitter part of your day, embed it into your life.  Start following your child's hockey team scores on twitter, the City of Winnipeg, radio stations (CJOB), traffic reporting for the morning, News stations, columnists, your school division and even school.  The list is truly endless.  I find with the technology I love that if I embed it into my life it becomes part of my routine.  

              #5.  Notifications:  When I first became acquainted with Twitter I would become frustrated by the fact that even though I was following other teachers, I would still miss things that they had discussed.  For each person or organization that I feel I don't want to miss out on a tweet I set up a notification for them, that way I receive a badge or alert on my device indicating that they have tweeted.  Brilliant!

              My Pinterest page TechEd has hundreds of pins on how to build your Twitter PLN (professional learning network), engaging Twitter users to follow and best practices for implementing Twitter in to your classroom.

              Twitter's effects are so far reaching, I am building relationships with teachers that I never thought possible and those relationships lead to engaging conversations with them as well as the students in my classrooms.  

              The following YouTube video posted by @cnn today is a video of a teacher who is successfully implementing Twitter in to his History classroom.  Giving his students a voice to participate and engage with other students.  The power of differentiated instruction through Twitter has increased  his class participation rate.

              Wow! Time Flies!

              It seems like it was just yesterday when I committed myself to making sure that I blog frequently, while I have been maintaining my Pinterest pages for instructional use of technology, I however have not been keeping up with my blog....

     we go Part II :)

              Thursday, January 30, 2014

              "Busy" ... A False Badge of Honour

              As of late I find myself reflecting on my ability to time manage 
              • myself
              • my family 
              • and my career
              • my community involvement
              In doing so I have made the conscience effort to not use the term "busy" as I found that it truly is a false badge of honour.  We as teachers, parents, coaches, managers and partners truly wear many different hats and I find we try to quantify someone's "busyness" as a reflection of how well they wear those different hats.  

              How often do you find yourself saying  "busy" when someone asks you how you are? When did this become an acceptable answer?  

              I know I have done it.  I believe we do this because we are leery of authentic conversation.  It is our scape goat, when you say busy, people aren't sure whether they should ask for more details so the conversation stops.  Never mind the competitive nature in all of us where we feel we have to out do each other.

              Let's Challenge Ourselves!

              When someone asks you how you are, I want you to respond genuinely and not use the term busy because in reality all this does is make the person asking feel guilty because you are in part telling them that you are busier than they are. An almost wake up call for them to do more.   Here is the kicker, when you are constantly telling yourself how busy you are, do you get anything accomplished?  Also the more we say it - the more we feel it - it is a self fulfilling prophecy.  We never work effectively because we are trying to rush on to the next task. 

              I hope by challenging myself in this regard I will become a more effective "hat changer"   because we all know that being busy is not synonymous with being productive.  

              Here's hoping that we can all get some authenticity back to our conversations and stop hiding behind "busy".  Let's accomplish more by not feeling busy but realizing that more gets accomplished when you work productively one step at a time.  

              ....A Further Challenge.....if your up for it.....

              The next time someone responds with "busy" when you ask them how they are ...why don't you try asking "how can I help" ...perhaps that will turn the tide of the conversation.  

              Tuesday, January 7, 2014

              Pick Them Up When They Fall

              I am inspired to write this post after I watched the following video by P&G

              I thought this video could serve as a reminder to all of us, that yes every child that sits in their desks and stares back at us looking for direction has a parent / caregiver that had them leave the house that morning with the best intentions for their day.  I know there are times as a teacher when I have been looking for the key to make a child spark, something to light the ignition of their creativity to have what I have taught them come alive with their input......and it's just not coming.  I have to dig further and further and yet for some reason it fizzles.  I become deflated as an idea fizzles and hits the metaphorical recycle bin.  This video reminds me to dig even deeper, every kid that sits in front of you is begging for someone to light that spark, to have their creative juices come alive.... to PICK THEM UP WHEN THEY FALL.  Let us all remember this when we are having one of those days where we have to dig deep.

              Monday, January 6, 2014

              This time it's Real!

              I rarely make New Year's Resolutions, in fact I can't remember the last time I made one, however this year I have finally thrown my hat in the ring!  My goal is to follow 
              #mbedchat 's  Blog Challenge

              Please visit to find out more about this fantastic challenge that has gotten me inspired.  As well,  a lovely Manitoba Educator that I follow @ZBettess sent along a fantastic video to get me jump started.  The combination of the two have provided me with the confidence to go ahead and get creative.

              Here is the video that fellow tweep @ZBettess recommended, let's see if it inspires some creativity in more.  Sara Bareilles "Brave".  

              I have a few goals this year that I will share
              1. Maintain a bi-weekly blog in the hopes to organize my thoughts,  as well creating a repository to "sift" the technology ideas that I have for teachers into relevant  subject based categories.  I have learned so much from my fantastic PLN the past two years and have so much to share, however I need to find a convenient way to get this information out.  My blog and website are my "after the kids go to bed" evening priority, or if I can multitask really well, they will be my morning priority during my son's breakfast hockey skates :) 
              2. Time:  I am tired of saying .....I would love to do this or that but I just don't have enough TIME , in regards to implementing something different in my classroom, or helping another teacher do the my second goal is to get rid of those words from my vocabulary.  I know everyone has their limits, and my family is also my priority, however just that sentence "if I only had time"....I am going to use the zipper lips that I ask of my own children and use that on myself.  If I spent less time worrying about the little time that I had and just got down to business my time would be better spent.
              3. My twitter PLN has been a savior to me as an educator.  After I had my children and went back to work I admit I was a little lost.  My PLN has refocused my love for teaching students fantastic technology and having them be engaged in their learning.  I am a firm believer in we need to teach the way students learn, hook them through technology and their world will open up.  My goal with my twitter PLN is to maintain it, become involved and participate.  

              If you would like to follow my thoughts  on twitter please feel free to follow 

              I encourage you to join twitter to find the inspiration that I needed.  Please join fabulous educators on Wednesday nights for #mbedchat at 9:00 p.m.  I am usually late to the table that evening as I am at another commitment, however you can read the archives at your leisure ...and join in late...I always do :)

              Please feel free to leave me comments.