Archive of ‘Extras’ category

Think Tank-Talking about change

Our first think tank was amazing. We talked a lot of the realities of teaching and some things we want to change. But how do you create change on such an enormous scale?
I tweeted out a summary of our first meeting (see it here) and on twitter I got some responses. Garth Nichols (@Think_teach) suggested I look into @cea_ace and @cohort21.

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I was beyond excited when I started to look into these 2 organizations. Cea stands for the Canadian Education Association and they are an organization that is committed to researching and influencing change in Canada. They are also hosting a “The Challenge to Change” symposium in Toronto on October 23rd and I would LOVE to attend. Think Tank: We might want to think ordering their magazine to share or signing up for a Non-Profit membership. They also have a document called The Challenge to Change where they ask what your dream school would look like, some things that stand in the way of that and then moving on to design for change. Might be a neat piece to try and talk about for our next meeting.

Cohort21 is a conference for independent schools where they focus on hands on professional development for learning in the 21st century. Might be neat to keep in contact with.

This seems like a great start to some big changes.

Think Tank’s first meeting

Wow! What an amazing night! It was our first Think Tank meeting last night and we had a great turn out. We ate sushi and talked about education and some changes we want to make.

Here are some of the changes we want to see:

  1. a change in the perspective of teachers and sharing more of the unwitnessed parts of teaching (time and money)
  2. More supplies and technology to all schools and classrooms.
  3. More equally between schools funds
  4. Privileged schools fundraising and splitting the proceeds with a local needy school

We also discussed what we are really happy about in our teaching practice and shared some great resources such as Natural Curiosity and Daily 5.

What do you want to change in education?


Think Tank

Recently I was on an Eduslam binge. Eduslam is a website that makes videos with amazing educators about awesome ideas they have. Watching their videos has definitely changed me as an educator and definitely worth a watch.
I was watching one Eduslam with Karl Lindgren-Steicher and he was talking about his creation, the Coffee Cue. A Coffee Cue or aka Brew Cue is when educators casually meet up, chat education and drink coffees or beer.

I loved this idea since it is so informal and yet it has the vibe of a smaller edcamp (which I of course love).

I finished watching the video and tweeted out that we should start a Coffee Cue in Ottawa. My friend and colleague Shauna Pollock (@misspollock) immediately tweeted me back about an idea she has been thinking about for 2 years.

So the idea of Think Tank was born. Shauna and I met in July 2014 to talk about the fine details. Please see Shauna’s blog post here.

Think Tank is a time to meet with other awesome educators, share ideas and collaborate.

Is this right for you? (taken from Shauna’s blog post)

  • Are you a passionate educator of some shape, form or role?
  • Do you live in the Ottawa area? Are you visiting the Ottawa area on a Think Tank Third Thursday?
  • Are you willing to use some of your personal evening time to meet with other passionate educators?
  • Do you have questions, dreams, ideas and plans you’d like to share?
Upcoming dates:
  • Thursday, September 18th, 2014 6 p.m.-whenever, 1000 Sushi Islands, 1696 Carling Ave., Ottawa
  • Thursday, October 16th, 2014 – location TBA
  • Thursday, November 20th, 2014 – location TBA

If you have any questions, please email me at, tweet me @classcollect and use the hashtag #thta.

To sign up to come to Think Tank, please visit Shauna’s blog post and enter your information into the Google form!

Playdate Ottawa #1

This weekend was the first Playdate Ottawa (June 7th, 2014) and I was so happy to help plan it. The idea of Playdate originated in Chicago with the incredible Jennie Magiera and Sue Gorman. PLAYDATE is an acronym and stands for People Learning and Asking Why: Digital Age Teacher Exploration. A playdate is an opportunity to play with the tools and apps that usually learn about in conferences but don’t have time to play with. The organizers have already created the resource guides for you, you check them out and them begin to learn and play with the tool you are interested in.

The day starts with attendees coming in to register and taking pictures with our awesome photobooth. I had WAY too mch fun with the photo booth.



Photo Credit: @Mr_Lafrance

Then we had a quick welcome to go over how the day as going to work and luckily the creators Jennie Magiera and Sue Gorman did a Google Hangout with us. They welcomed everyone and explained how Playdate got started.




I had signed up for Session 1 to check out e-portfolios. I found this topic was too huge to tackle. There are so many different tools you can use for e-portfolios such as: weebly, kidblogs, blogger, wordpress, three ring, google sites, desire to learn e-portfolios and probably more. We started discussing what people had tried. I don’t like using google sites but others had really positive things to say about them. I heard good things about Desire to learn e-portfolios which is integrated with google and promoted by OCDSB. I might look into that one later. I began to share David Theriault’s Eduslam about If This Than That since it blowed my mind about blogging. I also shared some recipes that I use. For example: if I take a iphone picture in the area of my school, it automatically saves the picture to a folder in google docs.

For Session 2 I went to the Google Drive session. The sessions facilitator began sharing what he does with google drive but I was frustrated since I only had my iPad and couldn’t play with anything he was talking about. I decided to leave (which is totally ok to do in a Playdate) and wandered around for a while.

Next was lunch time. The awesome Big D’s DogHouse came to help us provide lunch. I had a pogo and a small fry and it was delicious.


Session 3 for me was Genius hour or 20% time. It was great to discuss what I had started in my classroom. I began watching a couple wonders every day with my class on Wonderopolis. Then we started our wall of wonders. The wonderful Shauna Pollock and Tiiu Tsao have been trying Genius Hour and we talked about what was working for them and what wasn’t working. We talked about Paul Solarz’s step by step guide to Genius Hour and talked about how he really took his time introducing Genius Hour to his student. We also discussed the Genius Hour edchat on twitter that happens on the 1st Thursday of each month.

At the end of the day was the PLAYOFF. A Playoff is when you have 2 minutes to share something awesome you learned that day. I shared David Theriault’s Eduslam about If This Than That and other recipes I use.


All in all it was an awesome day and I’m excited to plan more in the future. Follow us on twitter here and watch our website for more information soon.

My experience attending Edcamp Ottawa 1 & 2

Edcamp Ottawa 1:

Edcamp Ottawa #1 (2012) was my first experience with an Edcamp. As one of the coordinating team members, we all didn’t know what to expect. It turned out that Edcamp Ottawa #1 was a huge success. A great day of collaboration, sharing and discussion. As a team, we decided that we would plan Edcamp Ottawa #2 for sure.

I learned so much at Edcamp Ottawa in 2012.

Cool apps:

Aurasma: Is an app that creates augmented reality by using images, objects and even places that can have their own Auras. Auras can be as simple as a video and a link to a web page or as complex as a lifelike 3D animation. This can be used for centres, a scavenger hunt or so many more ways. Here is a demo:

Screen Chomper: Is a whiteboard app that records what your students write on the iPad and also records the audio. This is a great assessment tool to see what they are understanding, and you can also send it home to parents. A great idea is to give them a problem and they solve it on Screen Chomper.

Media Literacy/Digital Citizenship Websites: This is a great website with tons of resources and lessons for teachers to use when teaching media literacy. They also have lessons searchable by province, grade and subject. This is a great website for teachers as well as parents. It has resources, lessons and professional development for teachers. It also has reviews about games, movies, TV shows, apps and books for parents to check what is ok for their child.

Tree Octopus: This is a great website to teach your students that you cannot believe everything you read.

Digital Citizenship: This is a great website developed by Jane Smith from OCDSB with many links to the above mentioned sites for media literacy as well as resources divided by primary, junior and intermediate.

Edcamp #2 (2013):

This Edcamp was more relaxed for our team because we had already had a successful Edcamp, and we knew what to expect. We were thrilled with the bigger turn out and hope that the inspiring spirit of Edcamp will spread so that year by year it continues to grow.

Here is what I learned about at Edcamp Ottawa #2:

Collaboration between Grades: I attended a session about how we can do more collaboration between grades. Some examples that were shared were a claymation project on a theme such as bullying and the older students help the younger students stay on track, share ideas and implement it. We also discussed Arts, Science, and Math Electives where each teacher (and parent volunteers) choose a subject that they are going to teach about. The students are then told all of the options, and they are allowed to choose which elective they want to go to. The groups are then multi-leveled and multi-graded between Grade 1-6. There was also a great idea shared about getting the students to decide what they want to be when they grow up. The teachers would then group together similar interests and the group would be responsible for learning more about that job/career, such as how much schooling you need to get that job and so on.

Maker Junior: Maker Junior uses “Maker” inspired projects to help kids learn about technology by combining traditional arts and crafts materials with technology such as electronic components, open source hardware and tools such as 3D-printers. Maker Junior makes technology accessible and fun, and will inspire the next generation of innovators. I’m hoping to get this in my school/class.

image A great website with links to apps about digital citizenship through iTunesU and Inventors Workshop Series with many different kinds of workshops with lessons included.

imotionapp: A free app that lets you take many pictures and allows you to edit them together to make a movie. Perfect for Claymation movies.


Mystery Skype: I’ve been hearing about Mystery Skype on Twitter and was curious about it but never knew what it was. The concept is simple: classrooms Skype call each other and try to guess where the other classroom is located in the world. On the day of the call, students use their resources in trying to figure where the other class is calling from via Skype. To get a more detailed description and how to do mystery skype please visit this blog post: I’ve signed up so maybe we will mystery skype soon!

Global Monster Project: This is a fun project where you are given guidelines about a body part and you must include those guidelines when you build your monster. For example: you must include a black head with circle red spots. Monsters are submitted from all over the world.

Global Read Aloud: Global Read Aloud was created by Pernille Ripp, and happens once a year. You read a book that many people all over the world are reading. You can devote as much time as you wish, but it usually happens over 6 weeks. You can connect with other classes who are reading the same book and discuss it.

Sesame IO: I was so excited to bring Sesame IO to Edcamp Ottawa because it is the assessment tool I use at school and I love it. You can plan your year using the Ontario curriculum expectations, and you can also assess your students on those expectations.


As you can see, Edcamp Ottawa is such an amazing day to learn, share and collaborate. I hope to see you next year!

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