Posts Tagged ‘edcamp ottawa’

Occasional Teacher Trainings

At Edcamp Ottawa this past weekend, there was a session all about occasional teachers, the process and the struggles.  I remember being an occasional teacher (OT) for the OCDSB and was so frustrated with the wait to get my own classroom.


During the session I talked about spending your time as an OT learning and getting ready for your future classroom and students.

Afterwards, I spoke to the two OT’s running the session, Jessica Davis and Courtney White. I told them I had the idea in the past of giving training sessions to OT’s who wanted to learn. We decided to put it into action.

We are sending around the below form to ask you what you want to learn about. We are hoping to put together a bunch of sessions that will help OT’s learn relevant information to help them in their future classrooms and with their future students. We are only collecting your email so we can email you when we figure out when these sessions will be.

Please fill out the form below and please share it with your OT friends!

Week 2: Cold Thaw Collaboration Challenge

I am participating in the Cold Thaw Collaboration Challenge being put on by the wonderful Maria Verwey. For week 2 we have been asked what we are reading, what our professional goals are for this year and our one word for 2015.


Right now I’m reading ‘Making Thinking Visible’ which is my book club book. 047091551x

This upcoming Wednesday we are reading and discussing Chapter 2. Last week we discussed Chapter 1 and I was blown away by the amazing discussion we had. You can still participate and sign up here.

I’m also reading ‘What Great Teachers do Differently’ by Todd Whitaker.


Right now I have a lot of professional goals. I became a Google Educator in the summer and I’m working on becoming a Google Trainer this year.

Since it is my first year being a contract and permanent teacher, I’ve been focused on learning about how a school really works. I joined the School Learning Plan Committee (SLP), the Lead Team, and am hoping to be on our Technology Team.

I’m also focused on continuing to provide great PD opportunities. I am hoping to do that through a Summer Conference I’m hoping to help plan, my #bowkerbook club that is happening right now and maybe in the summer months, applying to present at a ETFO Summer Academy workshop and another Edcamp Ottawa next fall. I am also hoping to continue with Ontario’s Edchat (@Onedchat) and make it more popular.

In my classroom I also want to focus more on learning rather than marks and continuing to try to collaborate and do cool projects even though it seems to not be working out this year.

My One Word: 

My one word is Care. I wrote a post about it here.


Changing for the better

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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.


How to run an Edcamp

Edcamps are the new rage in professional development. They are the choose your own learning adventure that allows educators, parents, and/or students to learn about what they want to.

I have had the amazing privilege to co-plan two Edcamp Ottawa’s and plan the last Edcamp Ottawa by myself. I LOVE planning Edcamps because all the work is beforehand, so you can spend the day learning with the other campers.

If you are wondering what a Edcamp is, check out our Edcamp Ottawa site to know more.

Here are the steps I used to plan Edcamp Ottawa:

  1. Create a team: The 1st Edcamp you will run will be the hardest. There are so many decisions to make so it’s nice to have a team to make big decisions with. Ask on Twitter or email people you think that will be interested. The best way, I’ve found to share between your team is using GAFE (Google). You can create a folder and share it with your team so all the details in that folders will be shared with them as well.
  2. Decide a date: Choosing a date is the most important part of planning an Edcamp. Usually an Edcamp is on educators own time so you want to make sure it is at a time of year where they are not stressed ie: Report Cards, Beginning of the Year… Make sure you talk to other boards to determine when their due dates are.
  3. Decide a location: Schools are great locations for Edcamps. Edcamps are meant to be free so make sure you are not paying too much since you will not get that money back. You will need a large gathering space for the morning greeting and lunch and you will need around 10 classrooms with technology (computers/projectors) for different sessions. You will also want to have somewhere that is close to restaurants and coffee shops if you are not providing lunch and coffee.
  4. Registration: Before you set up a website, you want a way that campers can register. We have used Google Forms and it has worked well. Here is Edcamp Ottawa’s example. You will need to have some specific questions when campers register: Name, email, twitter handle, Role in Education Field, and ask “Are you thinking about offering a topic or idea for a session?”
  5. Schedule: You will want to decide with your team what the day schedule will be. Edcamps can happen all day, after school or even half day, so you have to decide what you want your schedule to be. Here is Edcamp Ottawa’s latest schedule as a guideline.Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 6.26.22 PM
  6. Sharing your Edcamp: Next you will want to create a website, facebook page, and twitter account under your edcamp name. You will need a edcamp Logo for the pictures on your website, facebook and twitter. They usually include this crazy looking apple and something about the place you are hosting it. On the website you will want to include the date, the location, what is a edcamp, schedule, and contact information. Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 7.02.27 PM
  7. Sponsorship: Sponsorship is wonderful to have but a lot of work that I don’t believe is necessary at an Edcamp. I would suggest trying to get someone to provide coffee, tea and water and some giveaways. It’s a great idea to keep this all in a google doc so your whole team knows what is going on.
  8. Promoting your Edcamp: It is so important to promote and share your edcamp. Get your team to tweet and blog about your upcoming edcamp. I found it useful to create a poster telling people what edcamps are all about. This is the one I created for the past Edcamp Ottawa. Also sharing it local schools and boards is helpful.EdcampOttawa Poster 2014
  9. The night before: I always go to the location before the event and create the schedule, post your hashtag information, wifi info, arrows to rooms, and signs on doors. Make sure to print off the Google Sheet with all attendees info.
  10. The morning of: You will want to be at the event around one hour before it begins. Most teachers are punctual and will probably be there earlier. Get campers to sign in by highlighting their own name or have someone in charge of this. Have labels so campers can create their own name tags. Have one of your team members at the schedule explaining how it works and grouping together similar ideas. In the morning you will also have to give a presentation welcoming everyone, introducing your team, the schedule of the day, the edcamp rules, and so on. Here is my presentation for the 2014 Edcamp Ottawa.

Some other things to consider:

  • Wifi will go down, it has at every Edcamp Ottawa so have someone’s number that you can call in case this happens.
  • Food: Food for lunch can be great but hard to pay for. At Edcamp Ottawa we are so lucky to have an ongoing agreement with Big D’d Dog House, a local chip truck who will come to out on location on the day of. This might be an option for you or just make sure your location is close to restaurants and coffee shops so camper will be more likely to come back after lunch.
  • Resource Sharing Table: At the 1st Edcamp Ottawa we had a table where campers could bring resources that they didn’t want anymore. Others could come and grab some new to them resources. Might be a neat idea to try at yours.
  • Tshirts: We have Edcamp Ottawa T-shirt made so that campers would know who we are and could ask for help. This is not a necessary thing but a nice touch.
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  • Need any more help? Just reach out to anyone who has hosted an Edcamp. We all know how amazing they are and what to help you make your successful.

Good Luck!

Starting the Google Trainer Process

This past summer I started my journey of becoming a Google Educator. I had a hard time with the exams, just because I struggle with exams in general. To see my advice on how to pass you Google Educator exams, click the link.

I met James Peterson at the 2013 Edcamp Ottawa. We got along great right away and I asked him to help me with my Google sites. I chatted online with him many times through Canadian Edchat (@cdnedchat) and when I attended GAFE Ottawa Summit I got the chance to meet his friend Chris Webb (@Crippit). These guys together are so fun, so geeky (I mean that in the best way), and so insanely smart.

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A picture of us and the amazing Emily Fitzpatrick at the GAFE Ottawa Summit.

At the GAFE Ottawa Summit, I decided to follow them around all day trying to learn as much as I could from them. After the GAFE Ottawa Summit they decided to come to Edcamp Ottawa 2014 and again made such an impact on everyone’s learning around them. They even encouraged me to apply for a Google Trainer position.

B17kqu2CQAIzKCnThe boys and I at Edcamp Ottawa.

After Edcamp, I went home encouraged to apply to become a Google Educator. As I started my application I realized that I never have done any real Google training. I have helped teachers problem solve or quickly show them neat tricks for google but never a real training session.

I decided that my goal for this year would be to do some trainings in my school and help teachers use GAFE better professionally and with their students. I created a Google Form and am currently collecting information about when and what they want to learn about. I’m excited for this next step and I’m hoping to apply to become a Google Trainer in the next application process.

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.

On the eve of Edcamp…

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!

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