Pizza, Pedagogy & P.D. – ManACE TIN – Nov. 8

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Want to be inspired by practical classroom pedagogy over a supper of pizza this Thursday? If so, make certain to register below for the Technology Information Night (TIN) hosted by the Manitoba Association for Computing EducatorsManitoba Association for Computing Educators (ManACE). This opportunity is being held in Winnipeg on November 8, 2012 at St. John’s-Ravenscourt, 400 South Drive, from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm. While it is free to register for this learning and sharing opportunity, $5.00 will be collected per person at the door to offset the food costs.

Innovative educators will share their ideas and resources through the following three presentations:

Window to the World
Facilitated by Erin Malkoske & Leslie Dent Scarcello
This presentation will provide an overview of blogging with early years students.  Whether you’re considering a classroom blog or individual student blogs, Erin & Leslie will show you how easy it can be for you and your students to break down the barriers imposed by classroom walls by using your blog as a window to the world.

Creativity & Collaboration – Making Video Mashups
Facilitated by Christin Mackay
Bring a little joy to your classroom by enabling your students to demonstrate their creativity when it comes to producing collaborative video projects.  In this presentation, Christin will demonstrate how she and her Grade 4/5 students recorded and produced a short video that was inspired by viral video techniques.

Rocking the Airwaves
Facilitated by Matt Henderson
As recipients of a ManACE SEED Grant last year, Matt and his students will highlight the ways they’ve taken to the airwaves to amplify student voice.  Whether you’ve caught a CSJR broadcast or you’re looking to broadcast the learning that’s taking place in your own classroom, you’ll want to tune into this presentation.

To register please visit:

Come out to learn and network with some very dedicated and creative Manitoba educators.

Please help spread the word about our upcoming ManACE TIN within your school/division.

Take care & keep smiling :-)

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“Tools For The 21st Century Educator” – P.D.

Application or Web App, How To, LwICT, Professional Development, Tutorial No Comments »

Sisler High School, the Winnipeg School Division, Eyeconic Media and Microsoft Canada will be hosting a five day Professional Development session on cutting edge ICT skills for digital learners during the week of July 9 – 13, 2012. Our goal is to engage and empower educators through hands-on workshops.

Although the cost for each workshop is $50.00, anyone may sign up for individual morning or afternoon workshop sessions which are of interest:

  • Workshop 1: The Cloud Classroom – Monday July 9th, 9:00 am -11:45 am
  • Workshop 2: Web & Gaming Graphics – Monday, July 9th, 12:45 pm – 3:30 pm
  • Workshop 3: Video Conferencing in the Classroom – Tuesday, July 10th, 9:00 am – 11:45 am
  • Workshop 4: Video Editing for the Web – Tuesday, July 10th, 12:45 pm – 3:30 pm
  • Workshop 5: Photo-imaging for the Web – Wednesday, July 11th, 9:00 am – 11:45 am
  • Workshop 6: Introduction to Web Design – Wednesday, July 11th, 12:45 pm – 3:30 pm
  • Workshop 7: Web Graphics & Animation – Thursday, July 12th, 9:00 am – 11:45 am
  • Workshop 8: Audio Composition – Thursday, July 12th, 12:45 pm – 3:30 pm
  • Workshop 9: Game Design for the Web – Friday, July 13th, 9:00 am – 11:45 am
  • Workshop 10: Online Teacher Presence – Friday, July 13th, 12:45 pm – 3:30 pm

Additional P.D. details and specific workshop content can be found in the E3 Workshop Booklet which may be downloaded in PDF format.

There are still some workshops seats available, so register as soon as possible at: Eyeconic Media (

Take care & keep smiling :-)

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ManACE TIN: A $5 P.D. Investment on Apr. 18

DS106, How To, Info, LwICT, Professional Development, Social Networking, Tip No Comments »

In today’s economy people are always looking to invest wisely. This same strategy applies equally to K-12 teachers who must get the best possible return on their educational investments. In other words, if you invest some of your time, talent, or treasure, do you substantially gain in your educational pay-out.

As a K-12 teacher, would you be willing to invest $5.00, together with two hours of your time, to gain the following:

  • Opportunity to hear three, 20-30 minute, presentations from educators who share innovative ideas and strategies for engaging students
  • Chance to meet and learn from like-minded K-12 educators who utilize technology to enhance their teaching
  • Classroom-based activities that you or a colleague might be able to adapt for your own students
  • Supper of pizza, salad, and refreshments

If you feel that the $5.00 investment, together with two hours of your time, is a fair trade, then I recommend that you attend the Manitoba Association for Computing Educators (ManACE) Technology Information Night (TIN) on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. This event will be held at Sargent Park School at 1070 Dominion Street from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm. If you are unable to attend, please pass this information along to other educators who may be interested. Better yet, print this full-size poster from the link at the end, and place it in your staff room to share this amazing learning opportunity with others.

This PD opportunity is open to all as there is no need to be a ManACE member. All that is required is that one register on-line to help organizers plan appropriately. Show up at the doors with your $5.00 and be prepared to be provided with both educational possibilities and pizza.

The following three interesting presentations will be shared:

Building Broader Minds with ‘Bee-Bots’
Presented by: Kathy Routhier, Winnipeg School Division
Many educators have begun to explore the use of robotics with students of all ages. Some robot hardware & software packages can be expensive to implement in classrooms. Others can come with too steep of a learning curve to appeal to younger students. But not Bee-Bots! Find out how Bee-Bots can challenge your student’s problem-solving and inquiry skills.

Teaching in a BYOD Environment
Presented by: Roy Norris, Louis Riel School Division
How would classroom teaching and learning change if your students were told they could “Bring Your Own Device”? What if this wasn’t just an opportunity – it was an expectation? What would you do differently as a teacher to provide meaningful opportunities for your students to leverage the power of the devices they bring to school with them? This presentation, by a Grade 9 teacher involved with Dakota Collegiate’s BYOD program, will address some of the opportunities & challenges encountered as Dakota Collegiate has broken new ground with their BYOD initiative this year.

“DS106″ – The ABC’s of Digital Storytelling
Presented by: Brian Metcalfe, Life-Long-Learner
Are you interested in powerful, creative ideas and activities to enhance your day-to-day teaching? If so, you need to learn more about a free, 15 week digital storytelling MOOC (massive, open online course) known as DS106. Participants, who enroll in this first year university course, are expected to engage in the learning process through creating, commenting and reflecting within their own blog. However, through sharing first-hand experiences and providing highlights of daily creative challenges and assignments in photography, audio and video formats, it is hoped that the audience will see the potential for adapting many of these creative projects to engage their own K-12 students.

Remember to register and attend. I’m sure that after participating in this Technology Information Night, you will leave knowing that your small investment has yielded a practical, and powerful pay-out.

Take care & keep smiling :-)


ManACE Memos – “Another ManACE TIN – April 18th in Winnipeg

ManACE TIN Posters (in PDF format):
Large Colour Poster (11″ x 17″) & Small Colour Poster (8.5″ x 11″)

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Why does teaching local stories matter?

Professional Development, Social Networking No Comments »

Educators are invited to attend the next TeachMeet on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011 at the Manitoba Archives building in Winnipeg. Come and joins us and learn “Why does teaching local stories matter?” Specific meeting details and agenda are outlined below:

Date: December 8, 2011
Time: Doors Open at 6:30,
Presentations start at 7:00 pm.
Location: Archives of Manitoba,
130-200 Vaughan St. Winnipeg, MB R3C 1T5
Theme: Why does teaching local stories matter?

The last TeachMeet of 2011 focuses on teaching local stories. Governor General Award winning teacher and current PhD candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Rose Fine-Meyer, explores the importance of using local stories to connect students to a larger narrative.

Representatives from the Archives of Manitoba and the Manitoba Museum will provide examples of resources available to teachers to use in the classroom. Vincent Massey High School teacher, Kathy Slovinsky, will also provide a classroom perspective on teaching local stories. The event is open to all and those in attendance are encouraged to bring examples and stories from their own work in exploring local stories.

Event Timetable:
6:30-7:00     Show & Tell (research room) + light refreshments (reception area)
7:00-7:10     Introductory remarks & welcome to the Archives of Manitoba
7:10-7:30     Rose Fine-Meyer
7:30-8:10     Panel discussion with presentations from the Manitoba Museum,
7:30-8:10     Archives of Manitoba, and high school teacher Kathy Slovinsky
8:10-8:30     Questions/Discussion with audience
8:30-9:00     Show & Tell continues (research room) & refreshments (reception area)

It is recommended that interested educators visit the TeachMeet web site at: Visitors should join the TeachMeet mailing listso that they can be advised of upcoming meetings and special information. In addition, one can click on past meeting date links to gain access to a variety of classroom-based resources.

Please share this information with any interested educators, in particular Social Studies or History teachers, so that they can take advantage of this opportunity to learn about new resources and expand their personal learning network (PLN).

Take care & keep smiling :-)

Credit: Information forwarded by email from Marie Zorniak.

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Dan Pink Recommends a ‘FedEx day’ for Students and Teachers

Activity, How To, Professional Development, Project 5 Comments »

As the school year draws to a close, many teachers begin preparing a major class project to help students demonstrate what they have learned during the current term or year. Administrators, on the other hand, review possible ideas that might be incorporated into professional development opportunities which they may schedule in the Fall. Rather than dust off former year-end assignments or consider the more traditional in-service components, I’d like to encourage all educators to consider creating a “FedEx Day”.

A “FedEx Day” is based on an unusual practice of the Atlassian company in Australia. Once each quarter, on a Thursday afternoon, all software developers are instructed to work on anything they want during the next 24 hour period, provided it is not part of their regular job. However, in true FedEx tradition, each participant is expected to “deliver” an overview of the results on Friday afternoon adhering to their slogan “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”

I was first exposed to the FedEx learning opportunity when perusing a Nunavut teacher’s “Against the Wind” blog entry. Brian Barry has created a rather unique blog component entitled “A Short Conversation with… ” and I was particularly interested in the one featuring Daniel Pink. Having watched Daniel Pink’s TED talk video “Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation” and the corresponding RSA Animate video “Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us”, I was eager to see what Daniel had to share with educators.

Brian Barry asked Daniel Pink the following question:

Can you recommend a couple of things teachers could be doing in order to better tap into their students’ motivation?

Dan suggested the following three ideas:

1. Try a FedEx day with students and even teachers;
2. Spend a little more time on why so that students understand the purpose of projects and how topics relate to the real world; and
3. Let students complete their own report cards as a supplementary resource to facilitate the life-long-learning process of goal setting and self assessment.

I was immediately intrigued by the learning opportunities that FedEx projects might provide in the educational sector. My son, who is currently in Silicon Valley, has indicated that many of the powerful technology-based companies like Google also utilize this “free-time” exploration concept. For example, Google allows employees to spend one day each week to focus on projects important to the individual employee. Interestingly enough, 50% of Google’s products, including Gmail, originated from the 20% time allocation for employees’ “personal passion projects”.

FedEx Day/Projects by Teachers for Students

Mark Barnes captured the essence of Daniel Pink’s messages regarding three principles of motivation when he stated the following in his “Virtual Language Arts Class” overview:

A Results Only Learning Environment is founded on the principles of autonomy, mastery and purpose. The concept is that people will learn more and produce more willingly when they are given the freedom to choose the outcome (autonomy), feel like they are perfecting something (mastery) and believe that they are contributing to the greater good of their world (purpose).

I recommend teachers follow the steps below to engage students in an educational FedEx project:

1.  Teachers should investigate the following web resources in order to gain a clearer perspective on the elements of a FedEx project:

2.  Discuss the FedEx project with students encouraging them to search for additional FedEx resources and ideas to share with the class.

3.  Brainstorm possible projects and interests.

4.  Determine the FedEx project day(s) and “delivery” schedule.

5.  No marks will be assigned to this endeavour as the focus will be on learning, however some educators may wish to develop, with student input, a rubric for choosing FedEx “award winners”.

6.  Request “working titles” of projects by individuals and groups.

7.  Although students may work individually, teachers may wish to encourage collaboration through a group endeavour. Each group, which may not exceed four members, must organize themselves so that all members contribute equally to the project.

8.  Two possible strategies that teachers might use when reviewing group work are based on “score-card” submissions (which can be downloaded at the end of this article). Teachers might ask group members to complete a “score-card”, similar to the one shown at right. One technique  recommends that each team (of two to four individuals) must submit a single team “score-card”, which the members complete as a public, joint-venture, indicating the agreed-upon effort percentage of each team member. An alternative strategy is to have each team member complete, in private, an individual “score-card” indicating how s/he considers the effort demonstrated by each team member (which must total 100%). Once this private, individual score-card is completed (and signed at the bottom by the student who is assessing all team-mates), it is submitted “in confidence” to the teacher. Lastly, some teachers might prefer to ask all groups to complete both a team and individual private “score-cards”. If the sets of team and individual “score cards” could be duplicated on two different colours of paper, teachers might learn much from comparing the “score cards” results from the private, individual team members’ percentages with the public, team-completed single “score-card”.

9.  Provide help and direction in the weeks preceding the FedEx Day for students who are having difficulty deciding on a project topic. Help students get organized and on schedule as some will find the perceived “lack of direction” to be new and challenging. Facilitate goal setting so that all students are clear regarding what they hope to accomplish.

10.  Determine how long each person or team will have to share their creations during the “delivery” celebration.

11.  Begin the FedEx Day or Project and arrange to have all projects submitted at the agreed-upon deadline.

12.  Facilitate project sharing during the “delivery” phase.

13.  Establish a voting procedure so that all students complete rubrics on the projects of classmates.

14.  Based on the completed rubrics, announce FedEx award winners.

15.  Consider how students might be able to share their FedEx Projects on the web so that other students and teachers might benefit.

16.  Ask students for feedback after they have had time to reflect on the process. In particular ask students to identify improvements that can be made.

17.  Perhaps you might like to share ideas, resources or feedback with our readers about your FedEx Day by completing a “Comment” submission at the end of this blog post.

FedEx Day/Projects by Administrators for Teachers

... I realize that my most productive learning experiences, occurred when I was pushed outside my “comfort zone”.

Upon reflection, I realize that my most productive learning experiences, occurred when I was pushed outside my “comfort zone”. Early in my career, it was while I was creating, researching and testing classroom-based learning activities to include in my thesis. More recently, I was asked by my superior to team up with a very talented Language Arts Consultant to conduct workshops for students and teachers to support learning through digital storytelling. I learned and benefited in amazing ways when I was forced to examine past teaching practices and collaborated with colleagues to become engaged in new educational strategies to help students. Moving from my previous individualistic, comfortable way of doing things to a somewhat anxious, collaborative endeavour provided me with a powerful, personal learning opportunity which, in my mind, made me a better educator.

With this in mind, school administrators might consider incorporating this FedEx model into future professional development in-services.

I’ve identified the following steps after reading the powerful professional development ideas and strategies shared by Lyn Hilt in “The Principal’s Posts” blog. In her post entitled “Inspiration delivers”, Lyn describes an innovative FedEx professional development day for her staff. After reading Dan Pink’s “Drive”, which focuses on human motivation, she stated:

I finally finished reading ‘Drive’ a few weeks ago and I knew I wanted to explore the idea of helping my teachers be more autonomous in their learning. I wanted to ensure our organization was striving to reach mastery (but never attaining, of course, since mastery is an asymptote) and develop a strong sense of purpose for our actions.

1.  Make certain you understand the basic premise of a FedEx day for staff training by perusing the following web resources:

2.  In particular, review the following two blog posts, together with the corresponding comments found at the end of each entry:

to focus on how innovative administrators have incorporated and adapted FedEx Days to help their own teachers to:

  • learn in an autonomous manner;
  • seek mastery through on-going improvement; and
  • develop a strong sense of purpose for their actions.

3.  Time permitting read “Drive” by Daniel Pink in order to get a more extensive background on ways of motivating educators and students.

4.  In preparation for the FedEx PD Day, ask all teachers to spend 15 minutes of their own time to view the following three inspirational Vimeo videos:

5.  To help teachers become actively engaged in the planned FedEx P.D. learning opportunity, request that all staff members arrive at school with their personal “sentence” that exemplifies their life or role as an educator. For example, Dan Pink suggests that his sentence would be “He wrote books that helped people see their world a little more clearly and live their lives a little more fully”. These individual defining sentences will be shared. The risk-takers on staff may choose to attach their own name to their “sentence” while those who guard their privacy may wish to contribute their sentences anonymously.

6.  As an administrator, share your personal sentence with your staff. Collect “sentences” from all staff members explaining that these will be shared on-line.

7.  At the start of the FedEx inservice, consider “T-sing” your staff with considerations similar to the ones that Lyn shared:

  • Task – Choose tasks that benefit and impact student learning. Think differently!!
  • Technique – Design your activities and project work in your own way, so long as the end result is a benefit to students.
  • Team – Work with anyone you want to work with today – you do not need to work with your grade level teams. Consult with the many knowledgeable people in our school! Individuals that choose not to collaborate will still be responsible for “delivering”. Consider the importance of the collaborative efforts!
  • Time – Use your time as you see fit.

8.  Rather than schedule this innovative FedEx P.D. day to fit into the traditional 9:00 am – 4:00 pm full day inservice, consider alternative time formats. Some administrators might choose to organize the equivalent full day workshop from noon on one day to noon the following day. Those with the luxury of a longer period of 1.5 days may choose to start at noon on Thursday and run the FedEx project until dismissal time on Friday. May I suggest that if you are running this FedEx activity over two adjacwent days, you might consider ordering in pizza, submarine sandwiches or suggesting “potluck” for those who choose to work at school over the supper hour on the first day. Teachers, who are engaged and collaborating, may not want to stop. Providing a supper, on site, will reap benefits as the collaborative energy and synergy are maintained well into the evening.

9.  While educators are working on their projects, administrators should “touch base” to gain feedback regarding the progress of each staff member.

10.  Throughout the day, administrators are encouraged to enter, or designate a secretary, to enter staff “sentences” on Wallwisher or on a school web page or blog. I encourage all readers to view the “the sentences” shared by the risk-taking educators at Brecknock Elementary School where Lyn Hilt is principal.

11.  Just prior to having educators share their respective FedEx “deliverables”, display your staff’s sentences so that all can be motivated by the shared commitment and passion.

12.  Provide a forum to share “deliverables” and determine a time frame for each presentation allowing important time for questions and clarification.

13.  Gain feedback form staff with suggestions for improvement.

14.  Share your ideas and perceptions through the comments at the end of this blog post so that other administrators, teachers and students might benefit.

Take care & keep smiling :-)

– Flickr Creative Commons image: “FedEx Logo” by MoneyBlogNewz

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