Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Technological ice breakers for the first days of school

I saw this article from a teacher who brings the first day of school up to par with both traditional get to know you strategies as well as using technology.  I like this idea, because in my classroom I will be using plenty of tools using students' smart phones, laptops, ipods etc.  I feel that this effectively sets an example right from the beginning of how this year will unfold.  Take a look for yourselves!

I really love the idea of making a Pinterest board of 10 things that represent you! I will definitely be using this tool not usually used for education purposes!

Friday, July 6, 2012

The new TLT in my school!

This post is just to say how happy I am that I was named the Technology Lead Teacher in my school for the 2012/2013 school year!  In september, I will no doubt look back at this post when I am bogged down with tons of stuff and say, why did I take this on, but for the moment I am ecstatic!
I will be on hiatus probably unless i find cool sites to use but I will continue with this blog in August.  I will be attending a technology conference which I am super excited about so I will probably have lots to say then!

Have a fantastic summer!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A flipped classroom

Before I begin this post, I'd just like to say that this week I was assigned to watch a video entitled "Salman Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education".  What I find incredibly ironic is that about a month ago, I borrowed an Ipad from our board office to play with and when I went to school, I asked all the kids if they knew of a apple app which they use on a regular basis which helps them with school.  One of my students said that I desperately needed to download Khan Academy as it has lots of math videos which teach the concepts online.  So one weekend, I decided to google the website and I came across a video explaining Salman Khan's vision about sending the students home to learn the subject and then having them practise in class with their peers.  That video was the one which I am currently assigned to watch.  Fabulous!

Now while I would love to get into detail, my instructor reminded us to keep it brief.  

Something new you picked up from the video

  • That we as teachers can videotape our lessons and have students learn at home at their own pace (and multiple times if needed) 

Something you are wondering about (a question)

  • How much time and effort this actually takes to implement.  Would the board support us in making the time to get this organized (especially in french immersion as it is extremely hard to find resources as it is)?
A connection you are making or something you would like to try

  • I have already implemented in my classroom a system (which is not fully functional yet as this is my first year teaching my current grade) where my students have access to links which can help them practise concepts at home (whether it be in Grammar or Math), or they can watch/look at teachings at their own pace.  What I would love to try, is giving each student in my class a topic to become an expert on, have them make some sort of technological presentation, it be uploaded onto our server which can then be viewed by anyone in our grade to relearn materials taught in class.    

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Here is yet another interesting not to mention amusing tool for students to use in the classroom. The company even has a school account with more appropriate images to use in the comic strips.
Here you can enter your students names and then invent a class code.  The students then log in with the code and find their names.  This enables you to see what they are working on at any time.  Students love this site as they will spend hours creating different avatars for their strips.  It is best to dedicate a period to creating avatars as you will not be able to keep their attention for long if you don't.
It is a very user friendly site and has lots of different things that I can show you but it would make for a really long blog post.  Instead, I will leave you with a comic that I made for my computers class in the hopes that you gain some ideas as to what you can do with this amazing web 2.0 tool!
Also as a point of interest, my students love incorporating this comic in their presentations as it explains the idea in a visual way.  It also helps those shy students get their point across when in front of the class.  I also find that girls love this just as much as boys.  Students in my class always have the variety to present and most times I have at least one student/group using a bitstrip.  

Another positive atribute with the bitstripsforschools account is that only your class can see the comic when it is published.  Students may also save it as a document and print or embed it in a blog to use it (as I did here).  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Teaching the IGeneration

For my computers course, I was to read yet another interesting article about teaching the techy generation.  The article requires a password in order to read which is unfortunately for you readers.

Anyway I will explain it a bit.  This article was explaining how the new generation of children are becoming more and more involved with technology.  How we (older generations) view technology as an aid in our daily lives, these young-ins see it as a constant, having never been without it.  While full of statistical information, the article moves on to say that teachers are using different forms of media in the classroom, but that they should be careful that by providing technology, it should not be solely for "technology's sake".   Older generation teachers, are not quite up to speed with the ever changing mediums and that although they want to relate to the kids, not having the skills nor time to play/search around for apps high in educational value will hinder them from offering useful apps/sites which could help teach the students.

One of the things that I found to be most surprising was that my generation (the net generation 1980-1989) are those who use media the most at 21 hours/day.  I think for the most part, because we were alive when internet just came out and we do know how to live life without constantly needing to be surrounded with media, we appreciate it more.  I also contribute this statistic to our employment and how our generation started the internet and so we know already so much about it and how to use it.  Most jobs use some form or another on an hourly basis and that contributes to our high usage.  I can only speak from experience by watching my mom with technology but the older generations are reluctant to get the grasp of technology because they know that in a couple of days, it will change and they will have to learn something new.  Seeing my mom with a blackberry is hilarious.  First of all, the font is way too small for her eyes.  She squints when she looks at it even after having changed to the largest sized font.  She gets frustrated when she doesn't know what to do next.  She sees all these buttons (on the desktop) and it intimidates her.  When someone writes her (and I admit, I do this to bug her), she can't figure out how to read the message if its not in an email.  Don't get me wrong, a lot of people do not fit into this mould but I would imagine that the vast majority of older generations are hesitant in moving on with the ever changing future.  The younger generations are online all the time but I would probably think that the lessor amount of usage is due to parental controls or extra curricular activities.  If these children had their choice, they would be online a lot more often.

The second thing which surprised me is the encouragement to send students home with homework to prepare for the next class rather than to practice their learning.  I like the idea of sending students home to watch a youtube video because each student will spend a different amount of time to understand the video.  The problem with this is: the parents and the language.  Parents these days sign their kids up in soo many extra curricular activities because they need to be concentrating of something at all times.  This creates a problem for teachers as parents start to call and say that their child didn't have enough time to do the work.  This child then comes in to class already behind and you need to make accommodations for him/her.  The language:  As you know, I teach French Immersion and as I would love to have online resources to send home with my students, they are extremely hard to find thus making my job all that more difficult (I have since made a delicious account to bookmark all the resources which I can find in French although some are in English for the students to use at home to complement their learning.)  The reason this part shocked me was that it seems as though we are moving into a more university way of running a class in that we giving the resources and expecting the students to learn on their own.  Good way if thinking, but are they ready for that yet? I'm not too sure.

Thats all for today!


While wordle is an amazing and creative addition to a presentation, I have trouble seeking the educational value of this site.  A couple months ago, I wanted to see what all the hype was about.  I made myself a wordle to display the conjunctions in French.  I quickly realized that I could only print a 8.5x11 sized sheet of paper showing my nice artistic diagram and that this small sized paper would not look big enough for my classroom walls.  I would then show the students my image on the screen and have them ooohhh and ahhhh for a couple of minutes but then it would be out of sight, out of mind. 
The incredibly cool thing about this site, is that you can mould your words into objects/pictures.  I think it is a cool concept but have lots of trouble assessing how it could be used other than an attractive presentation piece.  I encourage any reader to help me out with ideas as to how we might use wordle in the classroom!
Wordle: Conjonctions
My conjunctions wordle

Thursday, March 15, 2012

9 things that will disappear in our Lifetime

I read this interesting article in which the author made a list of 9 things in our day to day life which will cease to exist in the future.
For the most part, I wholeheartedly agree with the authors picks.  I found myself nodding my head with each topic.  There are some comments that I wanted to express based on this article.

1. Post Office:  I agree that people are using the post office less and less and that it may be losing a lot of money.  I do think there are certain essential services in which the government will continue to fund despite a lack of profit.  The article states that ups and fed ex are taking over and while it may be true, there are some cheaper people out there (like me) who refuse to pay their fees.  I am one of few people with friends abroad and so I use Canada Post a couple times a year to send packages.  I also believe that with the invention of certain websites like ebay and etsy the post office is getting quite a bit of business so that it will be able to continue running for a long period of time. 

The check, the book, the newspaper and the land line.  Will they fail to exist during our lifetime? Yes and No.  I mean these 4 things have already begun a new generation of their genres.  The check is fairly nonexistent already with the help of online banking and being able to pay for things with your bank card.  In reality that's exactly what its purpose was and now it has adapted.  The book and newspaper have both been revamped so that you can read them online.  Its the same thing, only now you read it from a screen.  I do believe that newspapers will start to charge a subscription because after all, the people who produce them need to get paid and we don't necessarily want to see ads posted all over our screen. The land line has been replaced by the cell phone.  It is the newest thing for younger adults to move into a house without needing a land line.  The only reason to vote for it to stay would be because when you call a family dwelling, you can get anyone answering the phone and that may be a source of excitement for you.  Otherwise, no reason to have it because every other feature is available on your cell phone (unless you have an archaic one and are reluctant to move into a modernized world!).

Music and Television going away is just rediculous.  These two sectors in the entertainment industry are far better paid than most other choices of employment.  Will actors and singers take a pay cut because their art form will be easier to produce and distribute among their avid followers? Yes of course! Can we be realistic here? They are severely overpaid as it is and maybe with a pay cut, will we have less people trying out for these sources of entertainment. 

Privacy hits home with me, maybe because Ive watched far too many movies about the future and sense that we are always being watched.  Call me paranoid but everytime I look around, there are cameras who are taping our every move.  If someone really wanted to follow us, they could easily.  Do i think that my life is under a microscope? Not particularly. I just dont want to ever do something bad that might have someone needing to find me because they will succeed with the right connections! 

So there you have it, my opinions on the article.  If you have some of your own, I would love to hear from you!

Sunday, March 4, 2012


I am soo excited about this site, you don't even understand!  I have been like a kid in a candy store, running around showing my colleagues all about it!
Lingro is not your average dictionary site. It transforms the words on any website to a clickable features that gives the definition.  I find that my students hate researching in French because there are always words which the kids don't know and it is time consuming to look in dictionaries or on Word Reference.  They usually end up going to google translate and try and translate everything into English.  This of course frustrates me as a teacher, because kids are soo lazy these days with technology.

 Lingro allows you to paste the URL of the page you want to use and you are able to pick the dictionary option that you need (there are so many languages to use here!).  At the moment, there isn't a French- French dictionary option but it looks like it will be coming soon as they collect more vocabulary from French sites.  My students are currently so lucky to be able to use the FRENCH-ENGLISH feature which transforms the words on a French website to the English translation.
What I like about it, is that the whole site doesn't change into English, just the words which need to be verified.  So students no longer have an excuse to translate the whole site into English to do their research!
What are we thinking about this amazing site??!!! Are you as excited to use it as I am?!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

First time blog users

Hello again readers!

This is my second post of the day to comply with my assignment.  Having already had several blogs, it is difficult to revert back to discussing how easy it is to set up.  The nice thing about blogging, is that it is easy and portable.  Easy because there are tons of videos online and tutorials explaining the process and portable because you can be anywhere in the world and still post! I like Blogger because it is very user friendly and so easy to tailor to your needs.  Backgrounds, pictures, and fonts are with one click of the button.
We were told to use Edublog and I can see my students getting involved in edublog in the future because it is secure. However; for the purposes of my blog, I want to have the world to have access.
Another reason why Blogger is easy is that you can use your google login.  Its very simple to start a blog if you already have a gmail account (which of course I have).

First post as a tech blogger!

Hello readers!

I am taking an AQ course in Integrating technology and computers in the classroom.  It has sparked my interest that I can help teachers by giving sites which may help their pedagogy and enable them to motivate students to learn the 21st century way.  My name is Ashley and I am a French Immersion grade 6 teacher in my second year of teaching.  I have been to tons of workshops on integrating technology and have had lots of trouble finding sites which are safe and which I can use in my classroom.  It is extremely difficult to engage French Immersion students as there are not many cool sites which are offered in French.  It is my duty to change this!  I want to create a blog to help those less computer oriented and to enhance the teaching profession one person at a time!