Winter Happenings – O365 Tidbits

Well winter has certainly provided some excitement – shoveling walkways and driveways, negotiating hills, scientific discoveries of snow and storytelling. All of this culminates into tidbits of possibilities. 

How is your comfort in O365? – Whether it’s organization of OneDrive or Teams or Forms (for assessment or gathering data), we continue to offer insights in how this platform can effectively support your work. Our O365 Meets Make Writing Joint Learning Series offer entry points for writers of all levels to share their story through “making”, dictation (speech-to-text) or immersive reader (text-to-speech) and just-in-time commenting support. Integrating these powerful tools can strengthen the writing process. 

Using Imagination Pattern blocks to build a story
Beginning, Middle… Make story come alive.

TIP 1: If you use concepts of “making” in your classroom, have students take a picture of it and post to their O365 Word to continue with their writing or use it as a memory cue to allow their story to visually speak. You do not need to ‘break the bank’ on collecting manipulatives for this – using any supplies from the school can spark imagination. The process of creating and table conversation provide a rehearsal of the story in the mind allowing a story to unfold. This may help some students from having to stare at a blank page with no way to start. 

TIP 2: This involves File Management or “organizing your content bits so you can find them again without scanning your entire OneDrive. [Think of this as “Marie Kondo” in action.] Create and name folders to organize content. Open the folder you wish to work and launch a new document, which will automatically save in that folder. Name the document (you can always change the title later). This alleviates ending up with a list of documents named “Document“. If you move the slider on Simplified Ribbon, you’ll see a more detailed toolbar ribbon. 

TIP 3: Dictate (speech-to-text) or Immersive Reader (text-to-speech) belongs to everyone! From time to time, we get tired of keyboarding or our fingers might not work as fast that day. Select the DICTATE icon (a selection of languages will appear) and record your thoughts. It will even add punctuation. [Desktops will require a microphone attached. The microphone on our new teacher laptops work great, picking up our voices from quite a distance.]

Immersive Reader can be found in VIEW > IMMERSIVE READER

This tool offers a variety of supports – reading the text aloud, editable background colours to help with visual acuity as well as dyslexic font and sizes. 




Another handy option might be Translate. Students can write in their first language and the text can be translated into English. This can also happen the other way.  This option is found in REVIEW > TRANSLATE. 

More handy tips will be coming your way soon. You can also subscribe to our site by using the Subscribe widget on the right side so you don’t miss out. 

It’s December – You Know What That Means? HOUR OF CODE TIME

PSSST…. Do you know what is just around the corner?

Come join us as we celebrate and learn during  Hour of CodeDecember 9 – 13th. 

What is it you ask? This is a worldwide effort to show that anyone can learn the basics of code with a series of one hour activities (both plugged and unplugged). Its focus is NOT to become a coder or programmer, but to nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. And when you include reflection, you’ve added multiple core competencies to the process. Who wouldn’t want that! Just imagine all those opportunities to grow your neurons with a community of learners.

There are entrances for every grade and every skillset – all you need is a sense of curiosity and wonder.

Here are some starting points:

Need more information or would like us in? Email our Learning Technologies Team (Amanda Coutts, Janet Chow, Michelle Mactavish, Lucky Saini)

On the Educational Technologies front…

The streets are lined with golden leaves and the air is crisp and clear. It must be November. Hard to believe that we’re well into the middle of term. Quite a few of our Learning Teams and workshop series have started up and I think I’ve visited almost every school site. 

A short synopsis (especially if you’d like to join us or want more information): 

  • Classroom blogs and department blogs – a great way to communicate curricular information and happenings to a community
  • Digital Portfolios with focus on Communicating Student Learning
  • O365 sessions (beginner, OneDrive, Teams basic) continue to see popularity (more sessions coming) 
  • O365 & Makerspace Writing – this Joint Learning Team is in collaboration with Tanis Anderson and started 
  • ADST centers kits making their rounds – they’re out at Douglas Road now and headed to Clinton next. Entry points for all students and staff. 
  • Coding? Tynker (coding lessons launched > if you’re interested, email Amanda Coutts 
  • Coding? Micro:Bits (kits are ready and classroom support is available – email Amanda Coutts 
  • Coding? Minecraft for Education. Joint Learning Team in collaboration with Donna Morgan has started their journey merging Math & Minecraft.
  • All the Right Type Online – this keyboarding program is part of secondary and elementary intermediate program. Email Michelle Mactavish for information on accounts. 
  • Digital Citizenship – ever on the forefront embedded in everything we do. 
  • SETBC Tier 2 Classroom Solutions – at Gilmore focused on strengthening communication and growth mindset
  • Fast ForWord – supporting vulnerable readers. If you wish more information, email Janet.

Coming your way…

  • VR/AR opportunities (email us) 
  • iPads as creation tools – developing critical and creative thinking. 
  • ideas from you are always welcome – let’s chat! 
  • elementary intro training in MyEd reporting (happening now)