We’ve UPDATED Our WordPress Blogging Platforms

You all know that we’re a tiny bit WordPress crazy for a large number of reasons (too long to list here). And just in case you didn’t know, this includes our classroom blogs,  secondary department blogs, library blogs,  secondary and some elementary student BlogFolios (ePortfolios), as well as our district blogs. (The school websites, although wordpress-based fall into a slightly different category.) 

We’ve made some updates (backend and frontend) that have taken us to the next level. These can be grouped by communication (always the most important) and aesthetics (who doesn’t like ‘cool’). You’ll see new themes to choose and old themes retired from the list of theme options. Each theme has its own look and feel. It’s all about personal choice. New plugins such as Events Calendar, WP Smush (optimizes images for web), Easy Google Fonts, new MailPoet 3, and Post Grid offer a wider variety of options. As well, there are the tried and true: 

  • Gravity Forms (survey collection, signup form) – a powerful drag/drop tweakable form to collect all types of information. As an example, we helped one of our schools to use it for students to sign up for their own day of pro-d – Wow! Better yet, the information is stored within the blog so no need to be worried about where it lives. 
  • News Announcement – a scrolling information list to share reminders that pop out
  • Google Language Translator – no need for explanation here
  • NextGen Gallery – who doesn’t love images

If you or someone you know would be interested in a bit of face-to-face support or want to see what others are doing to get your innovative juices flowing, hop over to the Staff Development calendar for a new session called: Make Your Blog Site Work for YOU!  (Wed May 2nd; 3:30pm at Schou-TLC). 

We’re interested in hearing how you’re using your blog or if you would like your blog to do certain things. Drop us a line here or email our team. We’d love to hear from you. 

Happy Autumn

stones_640Welcome back to another exciting year of connections, relationships and opportunities to be inspired through learning. If you are like me, you’ve been pondering and sparkling with ideas about how to move the Redesigned Curriculum forward. Sometimes a story unpacks the journey better than talking. So we’ve put together some of the stories from our teams as they explored the curriculum and what it means to learning. Click here or you can go to the top toolbar and select CURRIC STORIES. These are not meant as full units. Rather, they serve to illustrate learning windows into the process. There are more to come and we’re eager to share starting points of conversation.

documents-158461_640Planning is an art and teachers come at it through different ways. Our teams have been using a “KDU Planner” (short for whatever works). Many of the curricular areas have been created using this format, open for any teacher to add their own teaching notes and activities, merge and colour code cross curricular, copy/paste into report cards – basically whatever you wish them to be. Click here if you wish your own copies.

Professional learning is extremely important as we continue our learning work with students and staff. Workshops, Learning Series across a variety of areas are being finalized; some have been set and are available on our Announcements (to your right). As we continue to update this area, come back often or you can subscribe to this blog site.

Please share this post with anyone on your staffs. Wishing you all a fabulous year of curiosity and wonder.

Digital Citizenship

2014_ribbonHappy new year. Like all new years, it is a time of  anticipation and new beginnings. Especially with all the technological changes that our students have at their fingertips. While they may be really comfortable at texting and bouncing from one interchange to another, there is a significant difference when using technologies for organized multiple purposes. Powerful research skills, understanding bias in published content, online communication and decision making all need practice to be proficient. Questions such as how do we teach internet safety, what happens to our digital footprint, how do we engage in dialogue on cyberbullying,  what about copyright as we consume and create online, what about privacy, are all front and center in our lives. These topics can all fit under the larger umbrella of Digital Literacy and Digital Citizenship.

Digital Citizenship might be described as the ability to integrate technologies to fully engage in  an increasingly global and digital world. These skills or competencies reflect the need to analyze, learn and explore a world, that for the most part has not yet been conceived. A bit daunting, yet each topic area can be broken down. The key is to purposefully embed these into your everyday curriculum from early elementary upwards.

Over the next months and year, we will be actively delving into this area with practical ways that support the classroom.  You can start by joining us at our District Pro-D on February 21th.   Come and be a part of the developing journey as it unfolds. More information and registration will be in the District Pro-D calendar.