Cell Phones in my classroom: I give Permission

This post is in response to the recent Vote by the Teachers Federation Union to Ban Cell phones from the classroom. According to CBC, “The new rules state that mobile devices should be turned off and stored during school hours, unless special permission is given.” Ontario teachers’ union votes to ban cell phones in classrooms The meeting minutes found here indicates hat Policy Statements, 73.0, Student Use of Personal Electronic Devices in the Classroom, be amended to read: LINK  WHERE did the word BAN come from?  please not use the world ‘BAN’ here?  Could it give the wrong message? How about we advocate for ‘Safe Use’, or ‘Education/Training is needed’ or, ‘Helping students and teachers navigate online tools? I use cell Continue reading Cell Phones in my classroom: I give Permission

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Teaching “how to” Self-Direct Learning

  Student:  I am easily distracted from the work I have to do.   Teacher: What are you distracted by?     Student: Stuff like the latest article about the Redstone update in Minecraft <that allows you to use the concept of electricity, pistons, electrical flow, breakers) or by the book that is screaming my name, or distracted by the story that I’m co-writing with my friend <the one I want to publish>, or by the new world I’m creating in Minecraft that allows collaborators to co-build and discuss in real time or by the new mode that I’m creating and why the Java Script isn’t working…….   Teacher thinking: How can the distractions become the learning focus? Would Continue reading Teaching “how to” Self-Direct Learning

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World of Sand Challenge – Problem Solving, Inquiry – and fun.

“Salt and water combine to form salt water, which sinks below pure water. Heating up salt water causes it to split back into salt water and steam. Steam rises and condenses, eventually forming water droplets. Plants drink water and grow, but die if exposed to salt water. And that’s just three of the nineteen materials available for you to draw.” – World of Sand What I’ve discovered most about my students in this Gifted program, is that they want challenge. Not just any challenge, but a challenge that doesn’t have just one answer, but a myriad of possibilities. They want a challenge that can be done, and re-done over and over, with different results or possibilities. They want to Continue reading World of Sand Challenge – Problem Solving, Inquiry – and fun.

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MY TOP 10 LEARNING SPACES – A Universal Design, in a Gifted Classroom

The learning environment is what will help create community. Before anything, students need to feel safe. Not just physically safe, but safe to learn how they learn, safe to think “outside the box”, safe to ask questions, safe to make mistakes, safe to be who they are.  I recently read a post by Jackie Gerstein, a friend and mentor who talks passionately about the importance of community in the classroom (It’s About Connections Not Content). Below, I talk about the learning spaces to honour all learners.  It is my intention to help these students find their passions, their gifts, and their understanding of themselves. The Circle Each day, we start off in a large circle. We might play a game, Continue reading MY TOP 10 LEARNING SPACES – A Universal Design, in a Gifted Classroom

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Social Media, Twitter and the need for networked support – how far does our support really go?

Look at the “Seven Degrees of Connectedness” and think about how you nurture, support, and develop relationships on line, professionally and even personally. Do you have a close circle, a clique, a group of educators that you depend on – those in Stage 6 or 7? Do you have colleagues that work in your school, your district, your city – that you empower or that empower you? Do you have their back when they mess up, or need a pat on the shoulder, or need a word of praise here and there? Do you have the strength to DM them a concern? What would you do if you noticed they made an offensive remark? Are you prepared to have Continue reading Social Media, Twitter and the need for networked support – how far does our support really go?

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Due Diligence and Social Media, Gaming and 21st Century Learning. Will education Institutions be held accountable?

Due Diligence and Social Media, Gaming and 21st Century Learning. Will education Institutions be held accountable? “What?, you’ve been banned from 8 different servers?” I shrieked at my 11 year old son.   “It’s part of the game – to build trust, act normal, get more responsibility from the server owner and then, destroy” he explained. I gasped.   “In many servers, the point is to build and protect. If you are in a server shared by others, you always take the risk of having your things stolen and your creations destroyed…but for some players, hacking into a server and destroying is the main point”. I gasped. “But it’s not nice…..” So he explains, “most teachers and adults aren’t Continue reading Due Diligence and Social Media, Gaming and 21st Century Learning. Will education Institutions be held accountable?

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Seeing with New Eyes – International Perspectives on Trust and Regulation in Education

The conference in Jerusalem, Israel that Van Leer hosts each year  is intended to encourage professional dialogue among educators, academics, representatives of the Third Sector, and policymakers from diverse areas and places in Israel and abroad.    This year, I was asked to attend as a Canadian Teacher Representative, along with Ontario Ministry Officer, Colette Ruduck and our Ontario Deputy Minister of Education, George Zegarac. With the theme of “Trust and Regulation” at the center of our discussions, it did not take long to realize that my context, as a Canadian Educator, a parent, and a student –  was one of privilege and opportunity.   In bringing my Canadian values of equality, diversity, safety and choice with me in these Continue reading Seeing with New Eyes – International Perspectives on Trust and Regulation in Education

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Developing Teacher-Leaders

How are formal, organized and appointed leadership models in schools adapting to teacher leadership initiatives that are self-organized, community oriented, and both deliberate and organic in nature? From teacher training programs, to experienced teachers, to online learning communities  – teacher leadership is becoming the driving force behind some of the most authentic, current and innovative projects and evolving pedagogies in education.  Information is more available and accessible then ever before. Networks are connecting beyond schools, districts and Ministries. Educators are forming learning groups, communities of practice and support mechanisms even beyond the formal direction or moderation from a supervisor or evaluator directly in their organization.  Almost every night of the week educators around the world are learning and supporting Continue reading Developing Teacher-Leaders

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Will we value the skills associated with Social Media like we do traditional literacies?

Children are using social media. Who is teaching them? As a parent,  I see my own children (9,11) communicating online with anonymous friends during their Mindcraft episodes, Wii and Kinect games, Mathelectics and online forums. Often, I observe the server chats trying to picture who is on the other end, wondering if they are aware of networking safety, wondering if their parent, or teacher talks to them about network safety, about how to talk online vs. in private.    While I am thrilled that we are having these discussions online and within our PLN, it continues to concern me greatly that our districts and public education policies continue to put very little emphasis on the teaching of social media Continue reading Will we value the skills associated with Social Media like we do traditional literacies?

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My “Top Ten” Voicethread applications

 VOICETHREAD IS A UNIVERSALLY DESIGNED TOOL ALLOWING EVERYONE TO CONTRIBUTE. STUDENTS, TEACHERS AND COMMUNITY CAN USE ANY MEDIUM TO SHARE, DISCUSS, POST, REFLECT AND PRESENT. OPEN DOORS TO OUR LEARNERS!! A couple reminders that might ease your mind about using this OPEN and FREE tool….. * Voicethread provides tutorials, ideas, and examples. Give yourself some time to explore and PLAY * Voicethread comments can be moderated by the owner * Voicethreads can be public or private and can be shared with one or many people * Voicethread tool is free and is accessible on computers, iPods and iPads *Voicethread can be uploaded to a website or blog using an EMBED code. * Voicethread has been around for about three Continue reading My “Top Ten” Voicethread applications

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