Saturday, February 27, 2010

Podcast Stories

Go to and learn to use this website to post your audio stories. Easy to sign-up and begin podcasting in your class. Stay tuned for some podcasts of stories read to you by Grade 2 students.

Friday, February 26, 2010

project based learning

In today's world of the "net generation" sometimes it is best to accept the idea of students and teens attached to their computers and use it to a teacher's advantage. The idea of project based learning (new to me)using such sites as Webquest can actually awaken a student's interest in many subject areas that were deemed boring and obsolete by recent pressure on students to focus only on the math , business and science subject areas. Using web-based projects for the mandatory Independent Study Unit in History would surely eliminate all the excuses for not wanting to take history, and perhaps even breathe new life into the course itself. It's not difficult for a teen to sit in front of a computer for hours on end, at this point, it's time for teacher's to start using the computer as a mandatory learning tool and not see it as the enemy.

Attached is a website that has the image of the front page of many newspapers from around the world. Updated daily, it can be used in the classroom for world issues, geography, literacy and even cultural studies. (it came to mind when was mentioned in class.....also another great tool to use when teaching history and you need a 3D visual for the students)


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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

That Quiz!!

Wonderful resource site ... no need to sign in ... just click and use. Content in vocabulary (a few languages), social studies (geography), science, and especially Math. Kids can be shown how to use it and go for it all by themselves. Easy to use!!

Privacy Playground, Cyber Sense, and Nonsense and the Net Generation

I found the instructions and interactive games from the web awareness links, “The Net Generation” and “Cyber Pigs”, respectively, to be innovative and informative and they should be used as lessons for media awareness for all, regardless of age. The format that these two sites bring to both students and teachers is very interesting and refreshing. “The Net Generation”, entitled The Growing with the Net: A developmental approach to children’s Internet Use (Ages 4-12), takes on the form of a workshop series and Cyber Pigs adventures called, “Privacy Playground: The First Adventure of The Three Pigs and Cyber Sense and Nonsense: The Second Adventure of The Three Cyber Pigs takes the form of an interactive game reminiscent of the fairy tale story, The Three Little Pigs.

I notice that sometimes teachers usually feel the need to teach technology as a processing tool, but we forget that a computer is more than programs on the OS. With a stroke of a finger, we can access the world through the internet. Therefore, it’s not enough to just teach technology, it is important to remember to instill critical thinking skills in order to use the internet wisely, to authenticate online information and to know what is and isn’t acceptable. Knowing the purpose of a site of whether it is there to inform, to sell or to persuade is an important skill to have.

The above sites teach children the skills to bring critical thinking and problem solving to any text that they read and the lessons are brought to them in an interactive format that would keep them interested. I know that the majority of my students are on the internet for various purposes, and it is important that they are taught the skills on being safe and wise internet surfers. Empowering a student to be safe while having fun is important and “Cyber safety adventures 1 and 2” do just this; students’ and teachers’ interest will definitely be captured with Cyber Pigs’ interactive game.

Although “The Net Generation” is information based, it is very informative. As you read, you will come across in this presentation a webography which is a useful tool for teachers and parents that are looking for some web resources to help them stay informed.

Linking into the sites under the Cyber Safety web page is definitely worthwhile.


Animated Shakespeare ... A few Plays

Animated Shakespeare …

Midsummer Night's Dream
Pt. 1

Pt. 2

Pt. 3




Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Project-Based Learning

In project based learning, students work in teams to explore real-world problems and create presentations to share what they have learned. Some of the benefits for students are a deeper knowledge of subject matter, increased self-direction and motivation and improved research and problem-solving skills. Check out and other similar sites for ideas and topics to explore! Have a look at "Building a Canoe" on the right side of this blog.

Virtual Field Trips

Can't afford to go there ... let me take you there!
Check out
Go to cities of the world and take a tour ... be a tourist without the tacky clothes and not worrying about parking costs, food, being pick-pocketed.
Look at the Pantheon on this blog ... Wow! Imagine if you hooked this up to a SMART Board.

Cyber Safety Review

Cyberbullying, Cybersense and Nonsense

Two very interesting and informative sites on internet safety and awareness are “Cyber Bullying” and “Cyber Pigs” (the second adventure of the Cyber Pigs). I’ve explored both and even though these sites were designed with 9-12 year olds in mind, I found that the information and instruction included in these works should be viewed and offered to all ages, especially high school students who chat and use the internet often and are vulnerable to the dangers lurking on the internet.

Both sites deal with internet safety and awareness on the internet, however, “Cybersense and Nonsense: the second adventure of the Cyber Pigs”, is more interactive. In game format, it lends itself to a much more intriguing way to learn about a very serious topic. “Cyber bullying” on the other hand is structured as a slide show presentation. I found myself flipping through the slides quickly and not paying very much attention to the content as there were many slides and a lot of information to cover.

Games capture a student’s attention and therefore the student is more likely to absorb and retain the information presented. Who doesn’t like to play games? If students can learn to protect their personal privacy online and recognize certain internet marketing ploys through play, then the game format is probably one of the best educational resources a teacher or parent has.

I also believe that games of this type empower young people to make wise decisions on internet ethics and responsibility. In addition, interacting with the program, builds on their critical thinking and problem solving skills. The game not only points out the dangers of revealing personal information and chat room on line, it also addresses issues such as online hate, stereotyping, authenticity of online information and rules of proper internet use.

With so many young people using the internet today, texting each other, chatting online etc., it should be imperative that part of any subject taught in school should include at least one instalment on cyber safety.

Tina D.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Internet Safety

Internet Safety
For this post I chose to take a look at the "Safe Passage" Web Awareness link. I found the presentation to be very informative and think that the information presented can be very helpful for both teachers and parents alike in their quest to keep their children safe online. The presentation deals with a lot of numerical data involving almost 5300 Canadian students in grades 4-11. I have to admit that some of the information I did find quite surprising, such as the percentage of students in survey who give their real name and address in an instant messaging profile (29%) or pretend to be someone they are not (59%). Although this number may not seem high to some, I personally would like to see much lower numbers.

I am very much aware that students use technology much more now than they did when I was in elementary/secondary school. Many children become comfortable using the computer at a very young age and thus once they hit their elementary and secondary years they often know a great deal more than their teachers. That being said, I also think that one too many students have way too nonchalant an attitude about the time they spend on the computer and the problems they may potentially encounter (i.e. cyber bullying, child predators, etc.) On the whole I found this presentation very effective in discussing such issues and offering adults information on how to understand the computer needs and wants of the children in their lives. Our ultimate goal is definitely to keep our children safe and out of harms way, but in the world of cyberspace this is definitely not an easy task.

An excellent point brought up in this presentation is for adults to use the same internet environments as their children to see how they work. I definitely agree that the more familiar you are with the sites your child visits, the more informed you will be and if your child becomes involved in inappropriate online activities you will be that much more prepared to help them. This process will probably be much easier with younger students who will be more willing to share information with you, than with your teenage student/son/daughter who may not be so willing to divulge the sites they visit, or social networking sites they frequent. The bottom line for me after viewing this presentation definitely is that internet safety should be taught to children starting with the first time they log onto the internet. Whether it be in school or at home, we as adults share the responsibility of educating our children how to be safe online, teaching them what is acceptable and what isn't, as well as offering warnings of potential dangers.


Monday, February 15, 2010

AQ Jan. 2010: Reality Check

Reality Check

This should be a compulsory assignment for my junior and senior high school students before they start working on their first formal essays. It's a good and effective way to raise everybody's awareness; both for students' and teachers'. The independent study is well organized and very informative.

Among other tips, every student should know how to apply "triangle method" and before

accepting any information as truth find three credible sources with similar info.

Web Site Assessment Rubrics for W5 are self explanatory and should be included in students' research assignments on permanent basis. Great tool for teachers when looking for reliable web sites. Honestly, before I studied "reality check" I had had no clue how to tell a credible source from less credible, unless they were vividly detrimental. I had difficult time figuring out the validity of some sites and having as little experience as I have had so far with research on-line I would have rather used the expertise of our school librarians in creating assignments on Of Mice and Men , Frankenstein and many others. Well, it's highest time I started taking ownership.

Margaret Komza

Sunday, February 14, 2010



With the end of term 2 rapidly approaching, I have just recently had a chance to review the information presented to us in class on the Smart Board. I also just had the opportunity to download the Smart software. I must say that I am truly amazed with this program and really look forward to becoming more familiar with all it can do. Prior to our two classes focusing on this technology I must admit that I had no clue what a Smart Board was.

I had heard some of my teacher friends talk of using one in their own classes, but to be honest I am not very computer savvy and figured it would be beyond me. John's presentation of the technology in class made me realize that this is far from the truth. It is easy to use and requires little preparation on the part of the teacher. Although my opportunities for using a Smart Board right now are quite limited (as I am in a portable), the Smart Tech software definitely has the potential to make my life much easier. I have spent the last hour on the Smart Tech website checking out the curriculum links. I am truly amazed with all this technology is capable of and can't wait to start using some of these activities with my students. I know they are going to love it.

I am off to start downloading some activities! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


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Teacher Tools: SMART Notebook Activity Toolkit

Make your own activity pages ...
Here are some OFFICIAL and AMAZING online tutorials on how to use the Smart Notebook Activity Toolkit ... Honestly, it's that easy!

Look for more videos ... They are very educational for one to learn how to use SMART software! Check out ... and watch to your heart's content!

Teacher Tools: Free Stuff

Free Software and resources for teachers

Courtesy of Mario

Teacher Tools: FREE ... Comics

Free Comics for teachers ... HBC
Get over there and order ... FREE and Canadian!!!

Animated Shakespeare on YouTube

Alas, poor shlep, I barely knew him ....
If you want to support your visual and auditory learners with Shakespeare proceed to YouTube and type in animated Shakespeare. The BBC has created an entire series of plays and they are on YouTube. The plays are also captioned so that the students can follow along.

Here is one example:

Thanks to Mario for this ... we love him dearly!

Teacher Tools: Google Translate

Google Translate: Translate Text, Webpages, Documents in over 50 languages

Teacher Tools: TumbleBooks & TumbleReadables

Tumble Towards Reading

Children love to use the computers. Teachers want kids to read more.

Why not use the computer to read?
Click the icon to take you there ...

Teacher Tools:

A great website ... started in 2002 as a free public service to motivate children to read using phonics (and phonemic awareness). This site is perfect for pre-school, JK, SK, grades 1, 2, and even English language development (ESL, ELL). It's easy enough for teachers to get on the sige and start to use it right away. Your students will like it too. Shhh!! Don't tell them they're reading.

Teacher Tools: Flickr

If you want a website where you can download cc (Creative Commons) photos, use for and you won't be let down! It's a great site. In the search (main page), click on the "search" button without typing anything in the box. Then, click on "advanced search" link. Then, scroll down until you get to "CREATIVE COMMONS" information. Now, click in the box beside "Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content". Now, go back up to the top of the page and in the "Search for" box type in your subject topic (i.e., "Canada" - if you want pictures of Canada).
Now, all the pictures you get are CC (Essentially no copyright - go to CC website for specific details - but, essentially as long as you don't charge for pictures you're using you can use the pictures). The website is ... have fun!

Teacher Tools: Freeplaymusic

If you want to use copyright free music for your non-commercial use ... go to this website and download cc music ... CC is creative commons licensed.
Freeplaymusic is FREE for home, private, personal, and non-commercial use.
Click on the title or picture on the side ... Check it out!

Former Minister of Education - May 2009

Ministry of Education ... Issues in Ontario
The minister talks about technology and education ... some issues for Ontario teachers to be aware of and be prepared to discuss. An excellent interview with Kathleen Wynne.

Teacher Tools: Game Classroom Website

Check out this site ... useful, fun, and educational!

Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry demo SixthSense

Sixth Sense on

You've got to watch this ... it's futuristic, but not that far ... maybe next month! Affordable and worthwhile ... how useful is that?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Teacher Tools: Wordle

Here's a neat and fun way to brainstorm ... Wordle's the way to go. Click on the icon to go to the website ... Learn more about this easy activity!

Boys' Literacy I

Boys Just Wanna Have FUN Too!
Remember, learning can be fun ... much of what we know and learn happens when we're fully engaged and enjoying things ... in short, when we're having fun, we tend to learn. Go figure!

The Magic of Bitstripsforschools


It's amazing how easy it is to do.
It's incredible how much fun it is to do.

Teachers, don't ruin it!
There's no spell-check!
It's not perfect!

But it is learning ... and it starts with fun.

The adventure is learning ... The magic is understanding!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cyber Safety

Cyber Safety
I decided to do this week's assignment for Cyber Safety on "Fact or Folly". The reason I chose this was many high school students are given their ISU topics to research in the upcoming weeks. Many students do all their research from google or wikipedia. Unfortunately many also cut and paste from the second site.
To avoid this, teachers are asking students for research from more than one site; however, it is impossible from a teachers perspective to know all the websites for all the chosen topics and warn the students if they are on an incorrect or hoax site.
While reading this document, I became aware that an exercise in validating the authenticity of a website can be time consuming when under strict timelines to conduct research. However; this document prepared by the Media Awareness Network is a teacher ready document. It provides the teacher with all the necessary documents and sources needed to teach this material to their students.
The document is a backgrounder with additional links for more info on the topic for anyone interested in conducting a workshop on website validation. The fact or folly document also comes with a prepared power point presentation for any teacher to use with their students, plus hand outs and on line activities. It is a lot of information to absorb, but it is not difficult.
I really enjoyed the analysis of the website created on the topic of the Holocaust. By analysing it using the steps provided by the Fact or Folly document, it is revealed that the site was created by a holocaust denier.
Many teachers and not just students need to be more vigilant and take the extra time to determine the sources of the websites and their authenticity.
I hope to have time to begin this 45 min introduction workshop with my students before they begin their ISU assignments.
Today during our PD session in the department, we all agreed that in such instances, it is best to spend adequate time in class on website validation and citation for research purposes. We hope to perfect our skills in this area within 2 years and incorporate website citation and validation at the begining of the year. The aim is to begin to read and mark actual academic research papers and enjoy the work our students put together, rathar than spend endless amounts of frustrating time figuring out why everything seems incorrect and plagerised to say the least!
By: Letizia

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cyber Bullying

Cyber Safety:
The reason I picked this site is because before any child, or even adult, uses the computer, specifically, internet sites, one should know what to keep an eye out for. One major area is safety; safety in regards to bullying. This idea of bullying on-line seemed to not be taken serious before, because no one was really getting physically hurt, but more and more recently, there have been many other ways of "hurting" and "bullying" another person. After going through the power point presentation, I saw the many forms of bullying and the stats that show just how many people have access to the internet these days. To be a cyber bully, one does not need to be a big, strong and mean person, rather it can be anyone. That is the scary thing about technology, you cannot see the other person, and therefore you feel like you have more power over others. With the students today going on these chat sites like MSN, explaining safety to them becomes even more prominent. Anyone can make up an identity and pretend to be someone or something they're not. This then becomes an easy way to bully and try and control someone else. Bullying now turns into an emotional state of hurting someone, as opposed to physical. People can use words instead of their fists. Technology is a great thing today, and can do many wonderful things, but can also be used for the wrong reasons, like cyber bullying. I would certainly use this presentation in my class.


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