On the eve of Edcamp Ottawa I’m feeling excited, nervous and hopeful.
I’ve been planning this event since June and I hope all my hard work will pay off and it will be a great day of learning for everyone. The venue and chip truck have been booked, the session board is up and ready to be filled.
See you bright and early tomorrow Edcampers!
Drum Roll Please….
The decided book for our Winter Book Club is
Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote!
Our chats will be biweekly on Wednesday nights.
- January 14th Chapters 1
- January 21st Chapters 2
- January 28th Chapters 3
- February 11th Chapters 4
- February 18th Chapters 5
- February 25th Chapters 6
- March 11th Chapters 7
- March 25th Chapters 8
If you are planning on being part of this chat, please fill out the following form if you have not already done so (just ignore the book suggestion question).
Look forward to learning with you! To follow along, we will be using the new and improved hashtag #bowkerbooks suggested by
Thank you to all who filled out the form with Winter Book Club suggestions.
Here a list of the books. Please check them out and decide which one you want to read. Then vote for your choice in the poll below.
Mindset in the Classroom
Good to Great
What Great Teachers Do Differently by Todd Whitaker
How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners
Currently, I’m reading “Empowered Schools, Empowered Students” by Pernille Ripp.
One idea that really stuck me as genius is creating an easily accessible and updatable expertise list of current staff within our board. We have a brilliant staff that is committed to being the best teachers they can be by constantly attending professional development and implementing their learnings in their own classrooms. Why don’t we poll our staff at our board, create a document that can be shared and then we will have experts in many different fields at our disposal. This will also cost the board less since they won’t have to waste time and money searching out experts when we already work for them!
How to do this:
Create a google form with sections for: Name, School, email address, and checklist of expertise that they have with an ‘other’ section for people to add to it. Share with the entire board and get everyone to answer it.
Then share the completed list with the entire board so people can search for an expert they are looking for on a particular topic. It would also be helpful if the board would pay for release time for the ‘expert’ to go and speak at a school or staff meeting.
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.
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.
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:
- a change in the perspective of teachers and sharing more of the unwitnessed parts of teaching (time and money)
- More supplies and technology to all schools and classrooms.
- More equally between schools funds
- 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?
This summer I hosted a Book Club where we chatted on twitter about “Drive” by Daniel Pink. I really loved the opportunity to learn with others and it was good practice for me to learn how to do an edchat since I’m now hosting Ontario Edchat @ONedchat.
Daniel Pinizzotto @mrpinizzotto was one of my book clubbers and asked me recently if I was going to host another book club.
So I’m putting it out to you guys. Let me know if you are interested by signing up and letting me know what you want to read.
This year I’m trying to become more involved with my school since I’m a permanent employee now and see the process of decision making in the works. I joined my school’s Leadership team and Instruction Learning Team. Today was the first day of planning about learning for the Instructions Learning Team and I was really pleasantly surprised by the planning and process of it all.
We had a little instructional time about EQAO results, what they meant and how to dive into them but most of the time was spent with my school team. Before my involvement with the School Improvement Plan (what it was called before) I always just thought that we were told what area we need to improve on so we worked on it.
I love how the OCDSB gives us the chance to look at our own data, notice our schools needs and figure out what we think our focus needs to be on. I love the responsibility and trust in it.
Throughout the day we decided that our school should focus on math since our numbers have dropped and we also noticed how our ESL students and french leaners have difficulty with vocabulary. This is our focus that we decided in today (it may change): If students can effectively use learning vocabulary through accountable talk, they will develop a common understanding of concepts across the school.
We are going to break up into grade groups and make a list of vocabulary that we need to teach and that we think is important. We will be focusing on that vocabulary during our teaching and in the particular subject and expect the students to use it as well.
I’m really excited to part of the process and see how it all takes shape.
I has kept on hearing about people being Google certified and I was interested. But what was it all about?
If you are interested in becoming a Google Educator, visit this website Google for Education. It has all of the information to begin your journey. In order to begin your training, go to training and then Get Certified.
In my experience I skipped the Learn the Basics section since I was using Google everyday but do what works best for you. If you feel comfortable, as I did, you can move onto Become a Google Educator. I had assumed, as I’m sure some of you assumed that if you use Google Apps everyday, you really don’t need to take the courses in Gmail, Docs & Drive, Calendar and Sites. We are WRONG! Read through the courses! I learned so much reading through them.
In order to become a Google Educator you need to take exams in Gmail, Docs & Drive, Calendar, Sites and you get the choice of one elective: Chrome Browser, Chromebooks, or Tablets with Google Play for Education. My elective that I took was Chrome Browser.
My experience taking these exams was a challenging one. To be fair, I have never been good at exams or really school for that matter. So to be self inflicting myself with 5 exams ‘for fun’ is CRAZY! I did find the exams very detailed and thorough. To be completely honest, I did fail the Gmail and Sites exams and when you fail an exam you have to wait 7 days to try it again.
Google Educator Test Details:
- 90 minutes
- 60 questions
- able to mark them to come back to them
- 15$ per test
- if you fail, there is a 7 day waiting period and you have to pay again
Essential advice for becoming a Google Educator.
- Read through the courses completely
- Make notes if you need to
- Keep the training open to quickly find something (Ctrl F)
- Open and search for answers in google (see below)
- When searching, use the tests language
- Have search window and test window open side by side
- if not sure of a question, mark it and come back to it
Help for exams:
Have these open when you take your exam!
One of my summer goals was to become a Google Educator and now my goal is complete!
For the first Edcamp Ottawa, we were featured in the Ottawa Citizen.
‘EdCamp’ offers new kind of professional development for Ottawa teachers