Mid November Reflections – Voices

It’s mid November and the leaves have displayed their Fall colours (either still hanging onto trees or splashed across the landscape). We truly live in a wonderful part of the world. 

One of our concentrations is to provide a written voice for every student. Six teams of classroom and LSS/ELL partnerships from six schools launched, each with their own set of laptops or ipads. These teams are using a variety of tools to support voice: Google Apps for Education, student blogfolios to reflect, Solo software (focused on CoWriter offering word prediction) or ipads with DoInk green screen, Explain Everything and padcaster. As part of the journey, the teams meet together to share and push their learning as well as document their ongoing story. Lessons learned and nuggets of connections will be shared here on our Teams page. Even better – ask them yourselves:

  • Maywood – Satpaul, Jason, Halina; 
  • Edmonds – Hayley, Angela;
  • South Slope – Grady, Deb, Jennifer A; 
  • Chaffey-Burke – Carlene, Alan; 
  • Suncrest – Balbir, Joe;
  • Parkcrest – Sheila, Scott;
  • UHE – Kristina (year 2);
  • Marlborough – Ann (year 2) 

We’re looking forward to strengthening our strategies. 

Stories Told: Risk-Taking and Connected Relationships

We left off last year with celebration events for all of our teams. Many things stood out from those gatherings: risk-taking is built on trust, possibility thinking and time to ruminate, ideas start from what we know (a launch page), integration of purposeful technologies requires focused play, assessment is not an afterthought, articulating clear goals and process with students offer a stronger chance at connected learning, explicitly sharing the learning offer opportunities normally not experienced by teachers (eg. standing in front of peers). None of these are new. In each instance, what rose to the top was the consistency of story.

Story plays a valuable role in both grounding a culture (as in the discoveries in Sheila’s class) as well as generating ideas and connections in others (as in Carlene’s or Vicky’s story). They tug at emotional heartstrings. Some may question the need for blogging as another “add on”. I will suggest however, as Clay Shirky put it, “Our ability to connect with one another is transforming the media for organized sharing…”
Our conscious use of blogging or sharing digitally allow our stories to fly to others outside of our brick-and-mortar walls; they invite conversation and grow ideas. imagineercollage640They are not meant to end with us but spark connected thoughts and creativity, going deeper and broader.

These stories are captured for you to explore (click here, or on the image). They are also found under TEAMS > ImagineerTech. If you would like more information, consider contacting the teacher so they can share their story.

Engage in the Experience – Professional Learning

As we organize our teaching/learning environments, it is important to hold time to learn ourselves – to challenge ourselves to engage with new ideas, to seek out new opportunities in professional learning, and to reflect how they relate with personal beliefs.  This is about connecting to what is important.  Only then can we bring powerful experiences for our students.
Here are some possibilities that might lead you to engage on different levels (contact any of our Learning Technologies team for more information or check out the sections in our blog):

blogBlog or other online platform – Why? It’s all about communication and sharing your story, engaging the world (whether it is with parents or to a wider audience) in a dialogue of learning.  Consider how Literature Circles, writing, interactive posters, audio radio shows, portfolios can all tell a story beyond paper and pencil. Start a positive digital footprint for students here.

razkids Raz-Kids – Why? Reading fluency is foundational to solid reading practice. Students need to listen to good text  and practice reading to gain proficiency. The ability to record personal readings multiple times, listen to hear  themselves gives opportunities to self assess their own achievement.

googledocs_logoGAFE (Google Apps for Education) – Why? What’s the one thing that creates great writing – articulated revision comments in writing pieces (and lots of them over time). Google docs provides a seamless environment that connect comments to support the student writer as they grow in their ability to communicate in written forms. The collaborative nature of the application lends itself to focused writing and research projects.

digifootprint_ed Digital Citizenship – Why? Our students are growing up in a world where ‘digital’ is the norm. To some it is as ubiquitous as air. How do we harness this environment for learning? What added things do we need to consider in this world? While the ideals of citizenship and social responsibility are similar in both face-to-face and online environments, the online nature creates new challenges in understanding communication.

Fast Forword-brain-puzzleFast ForWord – Why? Too often we try so hard to support our students who find reading incredibly challenging due to a host of reasons and we see minimal gains. Based on neuroscience and brain plasticity, Fast ForWord and Reading Asistant has offered significant learning success for these students. More information on this process can be found on our Fast ForWord blog.


October is “Connected Educator Month”
.  How is this information connecting to your understandings? Please join us in the ongoing conversation and share with your staffs (send this link to them).