Archive of ‘Ongoing Professional Learning’ category

Assessment with Sandra Herbst

Here are my very rough notes from a professional development day I spent with Sandra Herbst on November 19th, 2014

Aurasma is a great app to record videos and just scan a worksheet or picture and it will bring up a video of the student talking about

-Create Success Criteria for a period of time. Don’t waist your time doing to every couple weeks.

-We need to share with parents what we see in class-are they using manipulatives, using the vocabulary, and can verify what they are saying.

-success criteria needs to focus on how to use manipulatives properly, using vocabulary properly (will change), and verify/check their work

-check if they have their capitals and period

-check if addition is right

-focus on 4 students per day to mark if they are using manipulative, vocabulary, verify

-Our purpose is for students…

  • -to picture quality
  • -to use language of assessment
  • -to self monitor towards success

Growing Success talks about:


-Co-constructed success criteria

-triangulation evidence

-self and peer assessment


-communicating learning to others

-Have on your walls samples of work

-have them in a continuum from left to right or right to left switching them so students don’t realize that they are doing badly or good.

-make sure you have one that everyone in the class can do and have one that everyone in the class cannot do yet.

-no marks or grade labelled on it


Assessment: qualify, language,

Evaluation: assign, judgement


-Having a writing continuum and get students to compare their work to another.

-models, thinking, critical thinking, self assess,

-Don’t use a rubric-kids know where the sweet spot is where we can get teachers and parents off his back.

Co-Constructing Criteria with students

-Show samples of work and sort them into groups that they think go together

-Co-Criteria with student

-Sort the criteria into sections and choose a colour to match the heading

-get the students to highlight with that particular criteria heading in their work



Criteria Details
I read and understand the problem
I chose a strategy that makes sense to solve it
I can explain how I solved it it to others
I can have a connection outside of the math class


-Put success Criteria on Arrows. Get students to glue the success criteria arrows onto their work where they have shown that specific Success Criteria.


End of the day idea:

Create a list of words you learned in science class and then email parents the words.




Continuum for many:

English Writing Continuum:


PumpkInferno: A great example of Community Collaboration

PumpkInferno is outdoor exhibit of around 6,000 hand-carved, illuminated pumpkins at Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, Ontario. They have partnered up with local schools to display of over one thousand individually painted pumpkins, created by area school children between Kindergarten and Grade 8 from 22 schools in the region.


To see more photos, please click here.

This is an amazing partnership between the community, the schools and the businesses in the area. The students must feel so supported and valued that people come from many surrounding towns to see their artwork and pumpkin art.

This really made me think. What collaborations are we missing? What collaborations would be so easy to set up and we just don’t see it? Local children’s art in local art galleries, students writing in the local newspaper, and science fairs at a local museum.

What collaborations do you have in your school? What great ideas do you have about how to collaborate with your community. Let’s come up with some inspiring collaboration ideas between our schools and our communities.

Let’s choose to believe

Pernille Ripp shared a list of books that her students loved and being a huge fan of Pernille’s, I added them directly into my to-read pile. I recently received “Flora and Ulysses” by Kate Dicamillo, one of the books shared by Pernille, and I had to begin reading it right away.

It is a quick, fun and extremely quirky read. One of the quotes in the book really got to me. “…believe it. There is much more beauty in the world if I believe such a thing is possible.”

As educators we have to deal with the harsh reality of being a teacher sometimes. Too much work, too many students, too many needs, and it never stops. But let’s turn it around. Let’s believe in the beauty and the possibility in the world but more importantly in our classrooms and in our students. Think of the changes we could make.

Drama in the Primary Classroom

Drama in the Primary Classroom-October 8th, 2014
Instructors: Susanna Donato and Jacquie Pinard

-for drama and dance lessons

Classroom Management:
-have a noise meter for the class to see and understand
-secret during group sessions so others don’t know what they are doing
-audience behaviour
-get students to perform in groups or pairs

-Goal is not to smile
-someone walks around trying to make someone smile
-if they smile, the student walks around helping getting them to not smile too
-can’t cover their mouth

Activity- noise freeze
-when the teacher makes a noise, you choose a position and freeze and hold it

Activity-Fabrics or objects
-give each student a piece of fabric or objects
-get them to create a story about the fabric or objects

Play in a bag
-place a bunch of of items in a bag, get them to make a story/ play about all the objects

Activity: Toilet Paper costume
-provide the students with clothespins, masking tape, and toilet paper
-make a costume with a theme


Our theme was Superheroes: My costume is Captain Underpants
Activity: Photocopy one page of a story and student groups act out one page and then the whole class acts out the whole story one page at a time
-get students to act out one page of a story
-use props

Activity: Tableau
-like a picture, frozen bodies to make a picture
-give them something to act out and other students have to guess

Activity: Tableau with paintings
-look at picture/painting and students act out before or after the scene
-student have to guess it is before or after

Activity: Miming
-students need to think slow, exaggerated, big gesture, create a few mannerisms for your character
-examples: Charlie Chaplin, Marcel Marceau, Mr Bean
-have an invisible ball of clay and pass it along to the next person to create something

Activity: Mining certain characters
-give them a hand out with a characters on it, get them to act it out and get the others to guess

Activity: act a team to show a machine
-all team members have to be involved and part of the machine

Activity: using fabric as props
-make a tableau using a fabric as a part of a set

Activity: Give a story about an object
-come up a memorable story about that object, share hwy it is important to you

Activity: Too Much Noise ( a book)
-give the students an animal they are in charge of making that particular animal sound

Activity: Soundscape
-get one group to sit in a circle facing in, closed eyes,
-the other team walks around creating sounds that would be a specific place ie: Wonderland, Scuba Divers

Activity: Puppets
-Create or use pre-made puppets
-need to name their puppet, make a voice that fits their puppet, and mannerisms

Elements of Drama:
Time and PLace
Focus and Emphasis

Classroom Set Up Ideas:
-clip on lights on shelves for spot lighting
-tape off the ‘stage’ foreground, middle ground, background so the students know where to stand.

-remind them to face the audience
-better to video tape the play to assess each child

Amy Bowker, Teacher

Winter Book Club Decision and Timeline

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.

  1. January 14th Chapters 1
  2. January 21st Chapters 2
  3. January 28th Chapters 3
  4. February 11th Chapters 4
  5. February 18th Chapters 5
  6. February 25th Chapters 6
  7. March 11th Chapters 7
  8. 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 .

Blogging as a Teaching Portfolio

I was so lucky to be able to attend the first Bilingual and the biggest ever GAFE Summit in Ottawa this past weekend. I got to hear the incredible George Couros deliver an emotional keynote and see him present a session about blogging as a teaching portfolio.


He talked about having a blog as a teacher to show your learning that happens day to day and to showcase your talents. In order to blog, you need to really think what you are writing about, interact with it and therefore thoroughly understand the subject. A blog as a teacher is a great way to ask questions, brainstorm, and try out new ideas.

The new trend in education is to get students to blog about their learning. I’m trying it out this year for the 1st time with my first and second graders. In order for us to get students to blog, you need to learn to do it yourself. You are their role model and you can’t ask them to do something that you aren’t willing to try out yourself. Learning to write is really important but there are so many other ways for students to demonstrate their learning. They can make videos, take pictures, or make podcasts. All of these are ways to document their learning and are so powerful when the student sees how they have improved.

Tips for Blogging as a Teaching Portfolio:

  • Images are more powerful that words
  • Tag your posts using your Standards of Practice
  • Include your name in the post or tag it to increase SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Gather kind tweets, emails, notes… for your blog

Amy Bowker, Teacher

Gafe Summit Ottawa

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 6.46.21 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-05 at 6.42.42 PM

Well the GAFE Summit has come and gone. What an amazing 2 days of learning and connecting. I absolutely loved meeting people I follow on twitter face to face and connecting more with educators I admire and respect.

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 6.46.10 PM

Me, Crystal Lake (@clake04), Sue Scott (@inspire_peace72)

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James Petersen (@jpetersen02), Emily Fitzpatrick (@ugdsb_missfitz), Chris Webb (@Crippit), Shauna Pollock (@misspollock), Tiiu Tsao (@tiiut), and me

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 6.41.31 PM


me, James Petersen (@jpetersen02),  Chris Webb (@Crippit), and Emily Fitzpatrick (@ugdsb_missfitz)

I learned so much for the sessions and from others and I’m so excited that there will be another GAFE Summit next year on October 17th and 18th 2015. Make sure you save the date.

Most details posts to come after I take a nap.

GAFE Summit Plans

This weekend GAFE Summit (Google apps for Education) and I’m so excited. I’ve pre-planned all the presentations I want to go to.

Option 1 Option 2
Session 1
10:00am – 11:00am
Examine the Power of Google Apps throughout the Inquiry Process with @jsm2272 Rm B2380 Rethinking Assessment with Google Apps with @bioloj Rm G3150
Session 2
11:30am – 12:30pm
Intro to Google Earth: Connect your Classroom to the World with @benjaminfriesen Rm E1110 You Don’t Know YouTube with Dave Childers Rm D1030.02
Session 3
1:00pm – 2:00pm
For, As, Of Learning: Using Google Apps to Integrate Assessment Practices with @jsm2272 Rm D3080 Integrating D2L Brightspace and Google Apps with @Glynn_A Rm D3050
Session 4
2:30pm – 3:30pm
Certifiably Google with @lisegaluga Rm E1110 Creating Even More with Google Drive! with @kylepace Rm G3130
Demo Slam
4:00pm – 4:45pm
Session 5
10:00am – 11:00am
Visual Learning, Teaching, and Assessment with Chrome and Drive with Chris Moore Rm G3130 How to create “Choose your own adventure” stories using GAFE with @sylviaduckworth Rm B2230
Session 6
11:30am – 12:30pm
Fasten Your Seatbelts! with Michelle Armstrong Rm E1110 Building Better Digital Citizens with Dave Childers Rm B2380
Session 7
1:00pm – 2:00pm
Automating Assessment in the Classroom with @chriswebb Rm G3160 Collecting Evidence of Learning with The Google Drive App with Marcie Martel Rm D3070
Session 8
2:30pm – 3:30pm
Using Add-Ons and Scripts to get more out of GAFE with @crippit Rm G3160 Creating a Connected Classroom with @mrsmartel2 Rm G3140
Demo Slam
4:00pm – 4:45pm

Are we going to any of the same ones? Let me know!

Creating a board expertise database

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.

Instruction Learning Team formerly SIP

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.


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