Posts Tagged ‘collaboration’

21st Century Learning Skills

As I’m on Maternity Leave I’ve been reflecting about my teaching practice and how I can make it better. I really want to focus on and integrate in all my teaching is the 21st Century Learning Skills.

I’ve been reading about these essential skills but I wanted to figure out how we can, or already do use them in our classroom everyday. In order for me to really teach to these skills I wanted to really understand them.

I am going to introduce the topic of 21st Century Skills by having a discussion with my class about what they believe communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity are. What do they already know about these skills and how do they already use them in their everyday lives? How can we use these skills in a better way?

Below, I have made the graphic brainstorming the ways I can teach these skills or how we use these skills already.

I would love your feedback about this graphic. What am I missing?

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.

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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!



New Teaching Rules

New Teaching Rules (2)


Whenever you work in a job, there are rules. Teaching of course, is no exception.
When I read these rules for teaching from 1872, I’m so happy that I live now. You had to clean chimneys and couldn’t be married? I wouldn’t have lasted long.

So much has changed in teaching and the world from 1872 to 2014, I thought it was time to create some new rules for teachers.

There are so many ways to collaborate nowadays. Skype, Twitter, letters, emails, Google Hangout, planning time with other teachers, professional development and voxer. Whether you are technologically inclined or not, there are many ways to collaborate. It allows us to plan better lessons, effectively differentiate our students learning, and try new teaching techniques.

Share what you are learning, what you are doing in your classrooms, what is working for you and what isn’t. Whether you do this online via Twitter, blogging or just in your staff room. Do it! While I walk down the hall or am on lunch duty, I am constantly noticing neat tricks or cool art projects that I want to try out. We are not working in a one roomed school house anymore. Step outside your classroom and share your ideas and ask other teachers questions about what they are doing in their classroom. Sharing helps  us create a sense of working together, and shows that every teacher has successes and failures but sharing them encourage us all to keep on trying.

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Less Homework, More Purpose:
We want our students to love learning and school. We need to only send home homework that is purposeful. I don’t believe in sending reading homework home since I want my students to love reading and not make it a chore or work.

Hands On Learning:
Students learn more more when they do and make. Use manipulatives in your classroom no matter what grade you teach. Students need to create, visualize and see what they are learning. They will retain so much more of the learning if you teach with manipulatives.

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Real World Lessons:

In the real world, we learn not just about math or reading. Everything is intermingled and we learn it all at once.


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Let’s focus on making more integrated lessons that teach many different subjects at once instead of just one at a time. Let’s prepare our students for the real world by using real world problems, not like the one below.

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Try New Things:
There are so many new ideas, ways of teaching, and technologies to try. Step out of your comfort zone from time to time and try something new. We ask our students to learn something new daily, why shouldn’t we continue to learn too?

Some new ideas, ways of teaching and technology you can try out:

  • Maker movement
  • Project based learning
  • Explain everything app
  • GAFE
  • Skype in the classroom
  • Google hangouts in the classroom
  • Kidblogs
  • Taking photos and videos of students learning process
  • Hour of code

Build Creativity:

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We need to let students to use their creativity. The more they use their creativity, the more creative they will be. Our workforce is constantly changing and evolving. Our students will probably be working in jobs that are not even created yet. We need to build their creativity so that they can find a job that they are passionate about. Isn’t that what we all want for our students?

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Ask more questions:

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As students use technology more, we need to teach them critical thinking skills, character education and digital citizenship. All of these topics can be covered by asking your students more questions. Get them to really dig deep with their reasoning, providing examples, making connections and show their deep understanding of their learning.

Please let me know what you think about these rules. Did I forget to include some? Did I include some that I shouldn’t have? Let me know in the comments below!

My experience at Edcamp Ottawa-November 8th, 2014

This was my first Edcamp that I planned by myself. It is a lot to plan but always extremely worth it.

Edcamp’s always start with me running around like a crazy person putting up signs and getting set up.


I love this year that we had a lot of ‘keeners’ who arrived very early which was great. The board began getting filled slowly as attendees got the hang of it.



Slowly getting filled up:


Since this my first year really planning Edcamp by myself, it was the first year where I started Edcamp with a presentation explaining how the day worked. I think it went really well.


1st Session: Student Compliance vs Engagement

This session was hosted by Lino DeGasperis and was a very interesting discussion. We chatted about students being late,  the trouble for planning for students you don’t know yet at the beginning of the year, the structure of schools and bells and so much more.
It really was a thought provoking discussion but in true Edcamp style, it ended with us encouraging each other to continue to make a difference and to try new things.

Session 2: Google first responders
This session came out of me asking the amazing Chris Webb to help me figure out why my google drive doubled most of my files and to get rid of the doubles. The wonderful James Peterson and Chris both helped campers with their questions about Google. They shared Google’s new inbox and how to do a Google Hangout (GHO) which we had too much fun doing.


Session 3: Minecraft in the classroom

I went to a session on Minecraft basically because I know my students love it and I had no idea what it is. Andrew Forgrave taught us how you can get your own Minecraft server with MinecraftEDU for $40 and then you can play with your students. There are 2 different kinds of play: 1) creating a world and 2) survival mode where you start with nothing and have to build up.

I think Minecraft is something you need to learn more about, aka play with in order to figure out how you can teach your students to play. I was thinking it would be cool for the students to build a community for social studies this year. Hmm….

Session 4: Digital Citizenship

This session was a round table discussion about Digital Citizenship led by James Peterson, Chris Webb and Lise Galuga. We discussed what we thought it was and how important it is to teach. We need to teach our student their rights and responsibilities BEFORE they touch a computer. Instead of calling it a digital footprint, we need to call it a digital tattoo since the outcomes can last forever.

Some great digital citizenship resources:

-everything is archived






Photos from Edcamp Ottawa can be found here.


Top 5 reasons why I love Edcamp Ottawa

Edcamp Ottawa was yesterday and I truly find it is the best PD that I have ever attended. Here are my 5 top reasons why:

5) It’s free!
Teachers are constantly paying out of their own pocket for classroom supplies. Conferences are always extremely expensive and then you have to pay for your ticket, hotel, airfare and food. Edcamps are always hosted close to where you live so you can attend for free!

4) Big D’s Dog House Chip Truck

I love that when planning Edcamp Ottawa I tweeted out that we were planning the 3rd Edcamp and they tweeted back immediately saying that they would be there too. It’s so nice to indulge on some delicious chip wagon while chatting and enjoying a rare long lunch with colleagues.

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3)) Attendees

Since Edcamps are always on the weekend, you know that the people attending the Edcamp want to be there, want to learn and want to connect. Great chance to meet new people, chat about education and learn from others.

2) Choice and Voice

The model of edcamp is designed for the attendees to share and create their day of learning. We do this by providing them with a blank schedule board and attendees fill up the board with session ideas. Attendees who are not presenting also have the choice between the 9 different rooms/sessions to attend. They choose what they want to learn about and how they want to spend their day.






1) Collaboration, sharing, supporting each other

Edcamps area always such a positive place and always restore my love of learning. Everyone that is there wants to be there and is excited about this chance to learn and connect. I always find something new to learn about and someone new to connect with. Edcamps are made to collaborate, share and support each other and I love that the relationships you make on that one day carry through for years of learning and supporting each other.

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!