2018 will mark my 15th ECOO “BIT” Conference. Once again, I leave feeling inspired, recharged and committed to being a strong, caring and innovative teacher. LOVE was a dominant theme – woven through the presentations and conversations. LOVE. I had an opportunity to view the film, To the Orcas, with Love (LINK) by a local filmmaker, Natalie Lucia. In her film, Natalie emphasizes her goal – to inspire children and adults to fall in love with the world or some part of it, at least. She shares her journey (and passion) of working and living amongst the Orcas in British Colombia, Canada and how it changed her. Her motivation to inspire all people to reflect on our own role Continue reading To Bring “IT” Together 2018 – with Love, Zoe
Dear Reader, It was almost three years ago that I shared with you why I stood strong with my Union. “Why I Protest”. Then, for several weeks, I spent my days in solidarity with many teachers across Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, and across Ontario, in Protest against Bill 115, a legislation that would eventually force a contract upon us and force Teachers to return to work without respecting a mutual bargaining agreement – one that would could improve our Standards of Education. Now, three years later – the Elementary Teachers across Ontario are once again asking the Government, and the public, to support Public Education with the highest possible standard. In this round of contract negotiations, ultimately, teachers Continue reading Why we Protest…Class of 42 students (My Story)
Starting January 2015, I began facilitating a series of Collaborative Inquiries focusing on History, Geography and Social Studies (Ontario Curriculum) with Pre-Service Education Students at Brock University. The objectives of this 10 Week course were to: 1) have a strong understanding of approach, content and rational of the Ontario Social Studies, History and Geography Curriculum, 2) use 21st Century tools and teaching methods to design lessons and learning opportunities for students, 3) have a strong understanding of the theories and research regarding History and Geography as it relates to Education and 4) to use collaborative inquiry planning tools and 4) to publish and share a series of co-created TLCP’s Teaching Learning Inquiry Cycle (adapted from Ontario TLCP) Continue reading The Big Ideas in Social Studies, History and Geography – Collaborative Inquiries
The IEP for the Gifted Learner As a teacher for Gifted and Enriched students, I have spent many hours working with teachers, parents and learners on developing Individual Education Plans (IEP) for Gifted and Enriched learners. The IEP has a clear purpose and its process for development is not a difficult one to grasp. Regardless of school, district, or even country, the IEP has similar characteristics: To identify the learner’s strengths and weaknesses, to set measurable goals and objectives, to identify the tools and resources (including people) needed, to identify the strategies needed to achieve the goals and finally, as a team, to commit. Yes, there are subtle differences in language from district to district (modification, accommodation), but the Continue reading The Strength Based IEP – let it work for the Gifted Learner
The purpose of this lesson is to inspire and engage students to use creative and critical thinking skills to make decisions and designs that impact an urban area. This cross-curricular approach to Design Thinking, allows students the freedom to use and connect their inquires to real examples. The activity is intended for group or collaborative learning and uses a combination of whole class and small group facilitation with access to a variety of tools. The final product is a Design and proposal of a chosen Urban Landscape in their own community. Minecraft (and lego) are ideal platforms for students to use resources and tools collaborative to display their concepts. The example lesson (below) was facilitated with a group of Continue reading Design Thinking ~ Make Urban ReDevelopment a Reality in Minecraft
This lesson was facilitated with Grade Five Gifted Students. This is an example of how to combine a variety of collaborative tools (Collaborative thinking/planning, Blog, Web2.0 Doc, Minecraft) with a hands-on approach to building and designing prototypes that focus on world problems. Minecraftedu, large amount of assorted lego, a class full of engaged students and a teacher/facilitator provided the necessary resources. It was incredible to witness the dialogue, creativity and critical thinking as the students explored and designed their ideas into something concrete. Inventions Big Idea: How do past and present inventions impact our world of today? This is a sample lesson that can be used at a variety of ages and grades. Because this lesson is based on the concepts Continue reading Design Thinking, Teaching and Learning with Minecraft and Lego
Dear Reader, It is with great concern and much confusion that I write this post, as there are so many dichotomies at play in the conflict between the Ontario Government and the Ontario Teachers Federations. I spend my days in solidarity with many teachers across Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, and across Ontario, in Protest against Bill 115. To clarify, I am participating in a “pause” of any non-instructional work that I do during the school day, which includes all extra-curricular activities, clubs, and homework help. It has not been easy. I love teaching and like many of my colleagues, working extra hours, participating in trips, plays, concerts and sports is a huge advantage of this profession. I can’t Continue reading Why DO I protest? I am looking beyond the present.
I dedicate this post to my son’s teacher – Christopher Stewart. I thank him – sincerely – for giving my son the gift of art. My little guy had a rough start at school. For the first few years, he wouldn’t speak (at school) in front of any teacher. We worked with his teachers (excellent teachers!), and specialists and educated ourselves about selective mutism and how to help our little guy cope better with this anxiety. This year – his third grade- was different. From the start, Mr. Stewart made it very clear that he was very passionate about art and insisted that children need to be exposed to art. In fact, he integrated his curriculum whenever possible with Continue reading One Teacher’s Passion about ART changed everything for my child
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Doug Peterson (AKA @dougpete, AKA yoda <my master>) in Windsor, Ontario. It may have appeared that the purpose of the visit was to ‘Faceoff at Maxwell School”. But the real purpose was to connect face to face with a colleague and friend that has truly impacted my professional growth by inspiring and teaching me to think outside the box and challenge me in so many ways –to be authentic, creative and innovating in my teaching and learning. My visit with Doug has truly made me reflect about a dichotomy of learning that I have been thinking about and I ask, why has this learning community Continue reading Who is your Doug Peterson?
JUST THINK…… Web 2.O promotes sharing, openness, transparency, and collective knowledge. Web 2.0 tools are low cost (sometimes free) and accessible anywhere with Internet access. These tools are available in several mediums (video, text, audio, images). They don’t require a great deal of computer or tech knowledge to use and are generally usable on any computer or mobile device and from almost anywhere in the world. These characteristics would at first glance seem like a perfect recipe for any teacher, classroom or student. But they come with a price. Content is public. Anyone can post anything about anyone at anytime, from anywhere. Regardless of skill, knowledge, age, or ability, anyone can publish his or her work. And yet, even Continue reading Do we need Social Media policies?