Sunday, January 31, 2010

SMART Board Fever

Smart Board: Semester 2 starts on Monday and I already resist thinking about using overheads and blackboard. Good sign...maybe SMART motivation is kicking in to "make old lessons new again." Two Grade 11 Academic English classes and one Grade 9 need to be introduced to their course outlines, assessment & evaluation , plagiarism threats, reading materials etc. Then for their first assignment they will research two articles for pro and con arguments whether Canada should keep sending our troops to Afghanistan. It is their task to develop a formal persuasive essay that deals with this question. Seems to me that smart software would make my lesson more interesting for a class of 34 eleven graders who grew up in the internet reality so different from the one I grew up in … yet they still need to go through article reviews and essay writing. It would be great having them go over the two articles together in class looking for arguments and supporting examples before they sit down to write their own essays.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

The SMART Board

Smart board Presentation:

I was really looking forward to this presentation. For me, it was like the main event of the course. The reason I was excited about it was that I know what many, many possibilities that can come out of the smart board and smart board resources. The presentation only reaffirmed the ideas I had of the smart board. Just getting a few samples of the activities/lessons that can be done was wonderful. As well, having all those thousands of links at our fingertips ready to go, only reduces the "excuses" of saying the technology is "too advanced, confusing or requires lots of work" to understand. Only spending time on the board and its resources, will one be able to get more comfortable and confident with it. Having two at our school, and getting the chance to use one next term, really allows me the chance to bring the lessons to life for the students. My class will definitely like the smart board, and want to participate more because of it.


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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Going Graphic


Assistant Professor of English Education at the University of Texas

James Bucky Carter

The article "Going Graphic" by James Bucky Carter sets out to show how graphic novels and comics should be integrated into existing curricula and libraries to benefit both reluctant readers and students who are already motivated readers. By discussing how some teachers believe that graphic novels are too risky to bring into class, how others resist any form of new literacy, and finally how many think that comics are only useful for remedial readers the author concludes that there is a lot of misinformation concerning the potential of graphic novels. The message is clearly understood and it is an interesting read.

The author successfully introduces some clever bits of information about the long history of the form when he says that: "sequential art narratives date back to the earliest cave paintings." He also brings in the observations of librarians who noticed "drastic increases in circulation" once comics and graphic novels were introduced to their

libraries. Finally he deals with the misconception that comic books are for children only by reminding teachers who make that assumption to read every single panel before they decide to bring them in the classroom.

I am in general agreement with all the author's stated positions and I believe that this article would be very useful for many teachers who just like me are looking for ways of motivating their students. Overall I would rate it as a great read.

Margaret K

The Joy of Blogging

Review on article: “The Joy of Blogging” by Anne P. Davis

I had heard about blogging and was always curious about it. It seemed like the modern “it” of technology; I mean this in regards to the social sense of communicating. After learning in class how easy it is to set one up, then use it, I am ever more intrigued by blogging. For this week’s assignment, I have chosen to read and reflect on “The Joy of Blogging” article by Anne P.Davis. I found the article very interesting and understood how useful blogging can be in the classroom, and around the world. Reading how the gr.5 class undertook a yearlong blogging project was neat. The excitement of the kids to get into the computer labs to check out their personal blogs and the comments from others was great to see. I personally, would feel as excited as the kids to see what others thought about my personal piece(s). I also liked how the teacher posed the concept of installing a water fountain outside in the playground. By doing this, the kids don’t have to always be running in and out of the school, and it would be great for doing sports outside, then having some refreshing healthy water to quench their thirst. Lastly, the part on the importance of math to us raised by the student received a nice respond by a math teacher here in Canada was cool to read about. This idea of building connections from all over the world is what true learning is all about; take education/learning outside the classroom walls. Blogging, I can’t wait.


Ethan's Muskox

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Comic Life

I was able to check out Comic Life at one of the schools at which I was a supply teacher. I used it several times since to check out features. It seems as though the board only has it installed on the more recent computers. I’m not sure if it would run on the older models. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to use the basics and make a blank comic. That’s when I realized I had no pictures on my network account. During a computer lab session with a grade 4 class, I was able to download some Harry Potter pictures and use those. Yes, I know that that is probably against copyright laws but I figured since I wasn’t going to publish and distribute then I would be safe. A few of the boys in the class saw what I was doing and were intrigued. They watched over my shoulder as I explored the program, giving Harry, Ron and Hermione some nonsensical dialogue. By the reaction of the students I can see how effective using graphic novels can be with piquing the interest of young male students. The article we were given, written by Manfred von Vulte, explores this further. I look forward to using this application in a future classroom. Based on the samples shown us by John and what I was able to produce, I think it would be very useful and effective in the classroom. I’m sure that if I were to use images more of interest to the female students I’d be able to interest them as well.



Whenever I can, I will surf the net or sign up for a workshop to see what new and interesting lesson, video or idea I can find in order to use or incorporate in my lessons. Several years ago I was given a website that I am sure many of us have been given, but never thought of actually launching and “checking it out”. This particular website will have icons that will link one to other websites for all areas of the curriculum and for various grade levels. There are ideas from k-12. I use the science section a lot, as there are interactive lessons that can be used on the Smart Board. An actual activity that is already done for you and the students will love it and learn at the same time. The website is

You do not need passwords or userids. I noticed that the site is maintained, so there is no fear of it being stale. Once in the website, I go into Science and find Simple Machines.

When I click on the Simple Machines heading, it takes me to the following website:


Learn 360 Website Review

I recently was forced to view this website at a department meeting (since most teachers don't have time to click on all links sent by the IT office). This website is fantastic for all teachers at all levels. There are video, audio, pictures and articles in almost all teaching subjects available on this site. The best thing about the site is that all material has been approved by the school board and each video is already cut into short segments making it easier for teachers to get to the point of the video they actually want their students to view. This is great if you have the last 5 to 10 minutes of a class left over and you have a video to tie up your lesson and keep the students focused until the bell.
You can also download the material onto your key so that you don't have to waste time trying to connect to the slow speed internet provided in the schools.

The site is

The username for TCDSB teachers is tc_[your tcdsb username] and then your password


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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rubrics Galore ... FREE

Website Review

I recently discovered a website that has made my life as a teacher a lot easier. It is a website that allows you to create and print rubrics for any subject or activity you can imagine. What I love about the website is that it is extremely user friendly, very versatile in allowing you to customize what you want included in your rubric, and best of all it is totally FREE! Not only are you able to create your own rubrics on this website in a matter of minutes, you are also able to download and print pre-made rubrics that may be of use to you. Another useful piece of information is that you don’t have to register with the site in order to gain access to the rubric maker. What I usually do is make my rubric, copy and paste it to Microsoft Word and then save it for future reference. Just yesterday I used the website to create a rubric for a book report during my 20-minute prep time. Since I don’t have the luxury of having internet in my portable I really appreciate tools that make the most efficient use of my time. I really encourage you all to check out the website below. It definitely is a teacher lifesaver!


tina's blog

Review on the play “Jersey Boys”

They came from the wrong side of the tracks, only to become one of America’s top selling bands. The story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is brought to life on stage by a wonderful cast of really talented actors, singers and dancers. Whether you are 17 or 70 it was a real experience to watch this exciting show. My ticket was a Christmas present, but I enjoyed the show so much, that I would go again. Valentine’s perhaps?

by: Tina

Thursday, January 21, 2010

'Common Crafts' in plain English

I loved the style and simplicity of the ‘Common Craft’ videos. They do a great job of getting some technical information out in a very simple manner.

But I was thinking, they reminded me of an advertisement I had seen somewhere.…. Then it came to me.
Check out the link below and notice the similarity in styles;
I guess "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" but Who is imitating Who?

Author: Lou (AQ Winter 2010)

YouTube: Chris's Hawk

Friday, January 15, 2010