Archive of ‘PD’ category

Collaborating with the Museum of Nature

For a different Think Tank tonight we headed to the Museum of Nature to check out their Arctic Voices exhibit for a Special Preview for Teachers and Educators.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 11.16.33 AM

Greeting from Gilles Proulx, Project Leader for nature School Programs

We had a greeting from Gilles who let us know about the current programs they have at the museum.


Roundtable Discussion Sessions: What are your needs?

Before I even got to the museum I was excited about this part. I love that the museum is asking teachers what we want. What a great idea for collaborating. Here are some questions they wanted answers to.


The Think Tank crew had tons of ideas to share. I think we all got excited about all the ideas and possibilities. If you have any ideas or answers to the questions above, please share them in the comments.

Visit to the Arctic Voices Exhibit

At the end of the night we got to visit the Arctic Voices Exhibit. Here are some pictures I took.


Real Penguin eggs was really neat to see.


I loved these posters at the beginning of the exhibit. They really make you think about the differences between us and Arctic people.



I double took these while I was at the exhibit but I loved that it says “Please Touch”!


I’m short next to a polar bear.


This was my favourite part of the exhibit by far. I loved being able to get so close to a polar bear. Absolutely amazing!


Super Cool side note: I found out that my husband’s Great Grandfather carved the letters on the front of the Museum of Nature. Pretty Cool!



Uplifting Leadership: My Favourite Quotes

I was recommended to read “Uplifting Leadership: How Organizations, Teams, and Communities Raise Performances” by Andy Hargreaves, Alan Boyle and Alma Harris.  It was an incredible book that I really connected with. I found that when I was reading the book I really agreed with it and had many ‘aha’ moments. I would recommend this book to all superintendents, principals, vice-principals and all teachers. It’s time for change.

Here are some of my favourite quotes from this book that really stood out to me.

If you like these posters, you can download them for yourself here. If you download them, please leave a comment about which one spoke to you the most and why. Enjoy!


Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 4.48.36 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-12 at 4.48.50 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-12 at 4.49.03 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-12 at 4.49.12 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-12 at 4.48.13 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-12 at 4.47.42 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-12 at 4.48.27 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-12 at 4.47.58 PM



Big Week of Big Steps

This week I am swamped. So busy but I’m honestly thrilled. I’m taking action on goals that I have made and it all starts this week.

On this Tuesday morning I’m going to start training my colleagues at my school to use GAFE (Google Apps for Education). This week we are focusing on Gmail and I’m so excited. The response from my school hasn’t been exactly what I would have hoped for but I’m trudging on and excited to inspired some of my colleagues about the awesomeness of GAFE. This is the next step so I can become a Google Trainer and I’m hoping I’m successful!

Also this week, my 2nd book chat starts. We are reading Making Thinking Visible and 47 amazing educators signed up to talk about the book. I’m so excited because this is such an amazing book and the book chat’s hashtag is #bowkerbooks which is just so fun for me.

Big steps will either have Big Fails or Big Successes. Time will tell but I’m excited either way!

Ottawa Educators: We are better together!

During my Christmas Holiday, I began reading “Uplifting Leadership: How Organizations, Teams, and Communities Raise Performances” by Andy Hargreaves, Alan Boyle and Alma Harris.


I started reading and could not put it down. It was one of those books for me where I kept on yelling out ‘YES!’

One of the chapters in this book is “Collaboration with Competition” focuses on coming together to share ideas to create better collaboration. This is exactly why Shauna Pollock and I started Think Tank. To form an alliance between all schools in Ottawa: whether you are in public, catholic, private, christian or others. By collaborating, we will be able to learn from each other, add social value to teaching and education, encourage shared passion, and promote continuous innovation. We are all in the same business of educating students, why not learn from and support each other?

If you interested in joining us for Think Tank, please sign up below.

My Word for 2015

For a new year, I need a word, one single word to define the upcoming year. I got this idea from the amazing Emily Fitzpatrick. Check out her word for 2015 here.


I thought about about my word for a while. I really wanted to commit to this word and have it as the basis for 2015. I thought about my word being health,
focus, or enjoy.

The word I decided on is care.

I want to take care of myself. This means eating healthier, figuring out my food allergies, and working out.

I want to continue taking care of my students and help them be the best they can be.

I want to care about myself enough to voice my opinion and figure out what I really want to focus on.

I also want to care about myself more by balancing work and my personal life. I want to focus on doing activities that I enjoy such as cooking, crafts and photography.

What is your word for 2015?

Changing for the better

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 6.56.01 PM

Photo Credit by Andrew Forgrave

This is not me. Never would I have the nerve, know how or confidence to stand up in front of amazing, long time educators and speak.

Well, I guess I have changed. This is me. I honestly cannot believe it. I was the shy kid in school who always stayed out of people’s way, never wanted attention in front of a crowd, never wanting to cause a ruckus. I’ve grown and I’ve found myself. Yes, I know that sounds corny but I truly feel like I have finally found myself and my role in education. I feel excited, passionate, and inspired about education. Yes, I find it frustrating sometimes but I love that aspect of collaboration, technology, working together and supporting each other that comes from the education field.

Look at me. I’m the prime example for someone who never wanted to cause trouble, never wanted to be heard, to someone standing in front of an audience speaking. We can change and grow. All you have to do is put yourself out there. Support each other.


Structured Teaching for Autism

I attended a professional development workshop on Structured Teaching for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Here are my notes.

Structured Teaching Part 1-November 27, 2014

  • approach created in the 1960’s by TEACCH
  • considered student learnings environments, schedules, work systems, and visual structure.
  • important to focus on meaningfulness  of situation and activities than reinforcement
  • increase independence

Structure teaching addresses:

  • being engaged
  • initiating tasks
  • processing information verbally
  • understanding when something is done

All student benefit but those without below listed items really do:

  • theory of mind (trouble with the ability to recognize others perceptive/feelings)
  • weak central coherence (trouble with the ability to draw to info and make connections)
  • display poor executive function (trouble with the ability to link past life lessons to present and making good decisions)

Executive Functioning Strategies for teachers to use:

  • task sequence (winter dressing)
  • Activity bins (one per bin)
  • First, then
  • IMG_5191
  • visual schedule
  • highlight what needs to be cut
  • choice boards
  • expected/unexpected behaviours
  • social stories
  • visual timers

Components of Structured Teaching

  1. Physical Environment
  2. Daily Schedules
  3. Work Systems
  4. Visual Structures

Physical Environment:

  • space visually distracting
  • quiet areas
  • light options
  • safety options(can safely walk to the carpet)
  • proximity to adult/peer support
  • good to identify areas and have well defined areas (section off areas)

Structured Teaching Part 2 – December 4th, 2014

Goal of Structures Teaching = Independence

Need to set up Picture cues for morning schedule/end of day schedule

  • dressing pictures
  • Take pics of all parts (Boots, hang up clothes, Clothes pin, agenda, Check circle board, read, or calendar, reading.
  • agendas, cleaning, chairs, pencil box with students pics,
  • get undressed, eat, clean up your desk (over and under), Pack your lunch box, put it in your bag
  • put schedule at student level

Visual supports support:

  • transitions
  • organization
  • independence
  • self regulation
  • behaviour
  • communication needs
  • routine establishment
  • reduce anxiety
  • understanding transitions
  • increasing flexibility

Daily Schedule

  • need a class schedule and one that they can manipulate
  • turn the card around, move it around


Work System:

  • point is to develop independence
  • has to have activities that they have already mastered



Questions to ask while setting it up:

  1. What am I supposed to do?
  2. How much do I have to do?
  3. How do I know when I’m done
  4. What comes next?

Prompt (stand behind student) (we want to fade all prompts)

  1. material #1
  2. Gesture non verbal prompt
  3. Verbal prompt
  4. physical prompt

-Work system should be focused on IEP goals

Structured Teaching Part 3 – December 11th, 2014

Examples of visual structure in the classroom

  • first/then boards
  • task cards
  • anchor charts
  • graphic organizers
  • task sequencing(dress/undressing)
  • reinforcement

Great Websites/Resources:

Google and Read and Write

1 2 3 4 5 14