Friday, February 29, 2008

Vow of Silence

Today we are observing a day of silence at school. Students are making a statement without speaking at all to show support for children around the world who are unable to speak out on their own behalf. I am impressed with the feeling of respect throughout the halls and classrooms.

For more information see:
Canadian Kids Making a Difference
Kids can make a difference
O Ambassadors TM
United Nations cyberschoolbus
World Health Organization: Children's Environmental Health site

Photo Credit:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wiki Wonders

This morning when I checked my RSS feeds I saw Vicki Davis' invitation to attend, virtually, the workshop sessions she is giving in Illinois over the next two days. This was an opportunity for me to try something new so I tuned into her uStream presentation on using wikis. It was an amazing hour.

I have been using wikispaces for a few months now and am impressed with how easy it is for a beginner to use and the number of features it offers. Vicki taught me so much more. She set up a page with worksheets that made it easy to follow along and jot down notes as her presentation was broadcast live. She also set up a backchannel chat using Chatzy which allowed participants, attending the presentation live or virtually, to ask questions and share information. Her moderator was excellent. He provided links, answered questions and passed information on to Vicki. Very impressive!

This was a master teacher modelling best practice. If you have the time, tune in to her presentation tomorrow on Web2.0 teaching. It starts at 8:45 PST.

Image used under a Creative Commons Licence:
by Ross Mayfield

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Read. Wonder.

Celebrate your freedom to read this week. Read a banned book. Visit the Online Books Page for a list of banned books and other resources.

March 8 in International Women's Day. The UN site has some good resources.

I got to play with the too cool for words iPhone on the weekend. I had to give it back. I am currently a pleasant shade of green.

Zunal is a webquest site which provides a template for creating your own or lets you browse through hundreds online in the archive. Here's one example for Gr. 9 socials on WWI. You can browse or search by keyword.

"Toward a Definition of 21st-Century Literacies" adopted by the NCTE Executive Committee this past week is well worth the read.

Be sure to check out Moira Ekdahl's TL blog published every Friday. In her current posting she talks about Social Bookmarking sites and Freedom to Read Week. Check out the account she has started for TLs at

Find of the Week: An Archive of WW2 Memories: written by the public, gathered by the BBC. I have been compiling a list of writings by people who have experienced life in a war situation. This list can be found in

Image used under Creative Commons license: by florian b

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Friday Findings for Feb. 22

More from Larry Ferlazzo: Best Ways to Create Online Content Part 2, Part 3. and Part 4.

A new and interesting source of online ProD comes from the BCEd Online Community. You can join in a live session or listen to an archived one. It's easy to sign up for an account at BCedonline. I moderated my first session last week on using with help from Audrey and Hazel. It was a very humbling experience all told! Hazel will present a session on Google Docs on March 12. The live sessions take place at 3:30.

Last week's presentation on literacy with Linda O'Reilly proved useful. She showed us these titles which I would recommend for high school libraries. The first three are available online through Indigo and the 4th can be ordered from the OLA Bookstore (866-873-9867)

Fires in the Bathroom by Cushman
Going With the Flow by Smith & Wilhelm
Teenage Boys and High School English by Pirie
Instructional Strategies for Teaching Content Vocabulary by Harmon

Judy O'Connell has a useful annotated list of web2.0 tools to use with students on her Heyjude blog. I would add Google Docs and Google Notebook to that list. The students here are loving them.

Image used under Creative Commons Licence

Monday, February 11, 2008

Friday Findings

Friday Findings Published Wednesday due to Circumstances Beyond My Control. LOL

Technology Update:
Kickin' and Screaming is a blog post which looks at various opinions around why some teachers are resistant to adopting technology. Great food for thought.

Pixton is a comic strip generator to explore.

Larry Ferlazzo has posted some good, free web2.0 sites Create Online Content Easily, Quickly and Painlessly. His suggestions are always pertinent and reliable. One of my faves: The Historic Tale Construction Kit. Too much fun and perfect for Gr. 8 socials!

I was lucky enough to be gifted a copy of Alan November's "Empowering Students with Technology" book this week. Check out his website for some great resources.

Need a quick tutorial to help explain a web2.0 tool? Check out The CommonCraft Show. They have dynamite videos on blogs, social bookmarking, Google Docs and much more. Here's a sample:

180 Technology Tips provides links to online tutorials that are short (under 5 minutes) and have ideas for educational uses. Scroll towards the bottom to see the list or sign up to receive A-Tip-A-Day in your email.

GoogleFight Use this page to compare the effectiveness of different search terms.

Plagiarism Issues
Microsoft released a new survey today Teens Less Likely to Download Illegally When They Know the Laws. There's still a lot of work to do to ensure our students are ethically literate.

The new Curriculum 2.0 wiki has some useful resources around information literacy for 21st century learners.

And this little beauty from Weird Al Don't Download This Song

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A New Focus

I have been inspired by Moira Ekdahl's wonderful T/L Weekly Special Report blog for Vancouver TL's and have decided that posting similar information here would be a valuable way to use this space.

This week:
Stacy Reed has collected resources for teachers and students on her wiki Librarian Chick. Well worth a look.

I am seeing more potential with wikis and although I started out using pb wiki for library related information I have recently become a fan of wikispaces. They are offering a free subscription for a year to educators. I'm finding their interface very user-friendly. To view the pages I use to support Web in the Classroom workshops click WIC. There are sections corresponding to each chapter as well as information on useful web2.0 resources.

On Friday, Feb. 15, Seycove is hosting Linda O'Reilly who will speak on reading strategies. Attendees will receive a copy of her resources on CD. This session runs from 9:00-12:00. Please RSVP me if you would like to attend.

Last week, Els Kushner, from NVDPL came in to do a session in the library on Graphic Novels during the lunch hour. I was away that day but one of the English teachers was inspired by her presentation.

Photo Attribution: Ihtatho -
Used under the Creative Commons license.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Seeing through a Creative Lens

This photo made me think about how much the creative energy of my students inspires me. I hope that changes in technology will bring more opportunities to value original and creative thinking in schools. Enough of the "sit, git, spit" style already. I heard an adminstrator speaking to a group of tech mentors this week and was heartened to hear him say that if educators don't change with the times, soon, there will be serious consequences for students entering the work force. He also said that it's not good enough to wait for the "younger generation" to take over teaching positions currently held by aging staff members.
It's not your age which defines how you teach and learn. As teachers we all need to start looking for ways to change and adapt our practice. There are so very many opportunities now for students to become self-directed learners and producers of information. How we help them to acquire new skills will impact on their effectiveness in our rapidly changing world. Let's loosen the reins a little, give them sound guidelines and be amazed at what they can accomplish!
To read more about the skills we should value read Doug Johnson's blog post Life long abilities, behaviors and attitudes.