International Day of the Girl

@mzshanksalot, a teacher and Computer Contact at Windsor Ontario’s Marlborough Public School can be very passionate about her personal beliefs.  This passion has spread to a group of young ladies who have created a video for the International Day of the Girl and shared it on YouTube.  The event caught the attention of the local newspaper and the story can be read here.

I love how technology has allowed these young ladies to share their voice on a very important issue.  In this case, they used PowToon.  It will be difficult to watch this video and not become emotional about their message.  How do YOU enable students to share their voice?

From YouTube, here’s a description about how the video was created.

A video about facts of girls around the world and the day for them. There are also quotes on what we should do and artistic pics representing education importance for girls…


Social Media and Flooding

You have to be hiding to not read or see the news coming from Calgary and the flooding that is hitting that city.  It was the top news stories on all of the channels that I watched this morning – CNN, CTV News, CBC News.  The only thing that brought a smile was the US reporting where they referenced the “Royal Canadian Mounted Police” whereas the Canadian channels reported as Canadians would say “Mounties” or “RCMP”.

The video was horrendous and yet, as I watched and switched channels, I couldn’t help but notice how staged for the news things were.  There’s Prime Minister Harper; there’s a professional clip showing the action from the Bow River, …  The reports are well scripted, shot, and have professional voice overs.  You would expect that coming from such professional news organizations.

But there’s another side to the reporting.

The common citizen, affected by what is happening right in front of their eyes are capturing the event live, as it happens.  It’s not part of their job; it’s not their assignment; they’re not getting a pay cheque for their efforts – they’re sharing what they’re seeing for themselves, their families and the world.  The video is shot in the first person; sometimes great quality, sometimes not so great.

However, there is a sense of authenticity to it.  It really comes from the heart.  Here’s just a random video from Jordan Danik, posted on YouTube.  As I write this, it has 183 views.

Much more can be found here.

My thoughts go out to Calgarians and friends from Alberta.

I also wonder about classroom moments and discussions about this on Monday.  If your access to social media is blocked, is this an opportunity lost?  News is often reported and fully covered there first.  Is this not a perfect opportunity to leverage the power of social media in the classroom?


This Week in Ontario Edublogs

It was another wonderful week of reading in Ontario Edublogs.  Here are some of the great things I read recently.

The Number Line
Sheila Stewart has Klout.

Inspired by another blog post, she spends some time sharing her thoughts about putting a number to one’s participation in social media.  Then, she concludes with the question “Quantity simply does not mean quality, especially with social media….unless I am missing something?

I think we need to get a deeper understanding about what a Klout score is.  If you dig, it’s really not about Quantity.  Klout tries to attach a number to quality.  The mathematician in me says that if this is true, there has to be an algorithm to make it happen.  I dug to an authoritative service, Quora to do some reading and found a link to a great mathematical talk about how to reverse engineer a Klout score.  It’s certainly not an easy read.  So, Klout tries to attach a number to influence and how people react to your online presence.  I’m reminded as to how Google ends up ranking search results.

Like it or not, we live in a world where many results are summarized to a number.  Dare I make a reference to standardized tests?  Now, school districts have workshops about how to improve your standardized tests scores.  Should we have workshops about how to improve one’s Klout?  I guess if it’s important to you.  My personal tact has always been to be who I am and be happy about it.  I never think about how something I might do would affect my score and I never invite people for a coffee based upon their Klout scores.    Recently, I was in Thunder Bay and did invite her out for a coffee and a chat.  She spoke well for a 54.    Oh, I’m going to hear about that now!

Anyway, just in case it matters to Sheila, I gave her +K in Ontario and Education while I had logged onto Klout just in case she needed a boost.  Quite frankly, I’d rather have a good blogpost or Twitter engagement with her.

Always Learning
Stratford Ontario is an absolutely wonderful city to visit in Western Ontario.  There are a few Twitter people that I follow from there and now I can say that I follow a celebrity!

Congratulations to Tracy Bachellier for her recognition with an Avon Maitland DSB “Always Learning” award.

In recognition, the district created and posted a YouTube video outlining her accomplishments.

Way to go, Tracy! I’m sure that the school appreciates your contributions.

EQAO Musings
In a world where you can easily bash EQAO and other standardized testing, Lorraine Boulos tries to show the other side of the situation.

The post includes a thoughtful look at how one educator uses the opportunity to improve her craft.

I really like the concept of self-reflection about teaching with the goal for improvement in the classroom.  It’s just a shame that it takes a standardized test to make it happen.  I suspect that Lorraine would do so whether the test was there or not.  She does identify the challenges of trying to cover the entire curriculum while making room for EQAO.

Inquiry-based teaching is not daunting. Just do it!
If you’re looking for inspiration for bringing Inquiry based activities into your classroom, you need to read Louise Robitaille’s latest post.

It’s a reblog of a colleague’s thoughts about Inquiry.  It’s a good read and gave me another blog to add to my list of future reads.

In the meantime, “Just do it!”

Celebrating our Pet Rabbit Inquiry
All good things come to an end and so did Rabbit Road for Joanne Babalis’ class.  Of course, kindergarten classes never miss an opportunity to have a good celebration.

In this case, it was a Rabbit Picnic.  Imagine a celebration complete with rabbit food and guests!

Hopefully, Hop the class rabbit, shared some of the goodies brought to the picnic!

Above and beyond the idea and concept of an interesting celebration, the post serves as an excellent example of how you can document classroom activities and invite parents to know and understand what’s happening in the classroom.

Once again, it was another great week of reading.  Please support these bloggers by visiting and bookmarking their blogs and visit the complete collection here.

Pinterest Boards for Educators

If I was looking to enter the fray of “numbered resources for whatever”, I could have called this post “9 Pinterest Boards for Education You Must Follow” or something like that.  Fortunately, the nine of them all originate from one master!

The Pinterest site is curated by Med Knarbach and it’s a very nice, visual collection of resources.  I’ve used a number of online resources to collect things – most notably my Diigo site which certainly predates Pinterest.  I’m not about to move everything to a new platform but if I was starting out now, I might want to consider this approach.


Pinterest provides an engaging interface and easily allows for following boards and repinning.  In this collection, look for Pinterest boards titled:

Together, it makes a nicely curated collection.  The only thing that’s missing is the ability to tag individual boards.  Maybe the visual presentation makes that unnecessary?

Check out the boards – follow one or follow them all.

You can get to the top board which brings these all together here.