Haiku Deck


A demonstration of what I learned in Session 2. I absolutely love using this with students! They waste very little time with the minor details like formatting text font style, size, etc. It is so much more effective for my grade fours to get down to the important part of their projects. The most difficult part is limiting their characters on each slide!

Learning to Share

One of the fundamental skills a child first learns upon entering kindergarten is sharing. This idea of sharing can be a difficult concept to grasp for many children especially if they have had little exposure of sharing at home. Just as this is one of the first skills we learn as a child; sharing idea’s, lessons,resources etc needs to be a skill that is appreciated by all educators. Of course this is not a new idea in education, but with the world becoming more connected, it is a great opportunity to share using new technologies.

During the second “Learning Leaders” lesson, we were introduced to the wonderful work of Dean Shareski. His work in promoting technology and “sharing” in education is an example for all to follow. The wonderful app, “Haiku Deck” was shared by Mr. Couras, and has proven to be a very useful tool in the class.


<iframe src=’http://www.haikudeck.com/e/ghTKgb6hyr’ width=’640′ height=’511′ frameborder=’0′ marginheight=’0′ marginwidth=’0′></iframe><a href=’http://www.haikudeck.com’ style=’font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:8pt;’>Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad</a>

Discovering New Things

So, my excitement at learning the iPad earlier this year has been passed on, not only to my students but to my own boys as well. Through birthday and Christmas money they each now have there own iPad. It has been amazing what they have taught me. Over the Christmas break alone I have learned what amazing math and language arts apps there are to enrich my children and my students learning, as well as how to make a movie about how my basement cleaned itself.  The app that made this miraculous thing happen is iMotion. My boys spent hours learning to plan, organize, create and yes, think critically. All on how to make the basement clean itself. (or at least make a movie where it appears the basement is cleaning itself). The other amazing thing that happened was that for roughly 2 hours my boys didn’t argue, complain or bicker with each other. The were both directors and cinematographers. Amazing!!

How did I bring this into the classroom you ask? In grade 3 we are currently working on Building With a Variety of Materials. We discussed blueprints, and planning a structure etc. The students then went on to create their blueprint, build their structure, and have someone else build their structure according to the blueprint while making an iMotion movie. It was incredible to see how the students could see the structure being built before their very eyes. They were able to see the hesitations their builder was making and reflect on the changes that they had to make more easily watching it in fast time.

Great fun and learning was had by all. I learned that the case for my iPad may need changing. I also will be purchasing a tripod for other lessons like this. My greatest lesson is that the enthusiasm you have for something can only grow once you pass it on!!


Learning Leader Session 2

I have basically become obsessed with Haiku Deck. It is such a creative way to create presentations, and would be so easy for my grade two students to use!

I created the presentation above as a reflection to watching Dean Shareski’s video at the session this evening. In watching the video there were a number of ideas that stuck out with me, the most important being sharing.  I am a firm believer in sharing resources and am always willing to share my resources, assignments, and ideas with colleagues at school. However, after thinking about the video I am excited to start sharing  my ideas with others online through blogging…and yes, you guessed it…Twitter! Like George said tonight, you can’t just take pennies from the “take a penny leave a penny” dishes at stores, you need to give as well. So, how can one expect to just take resources from online without sharing their own online?  I am excited to start expanding my sharing outside of the school! 🙂



Have you heard of this thing called Youtube?

I was joking around with my kids today about Youtube while showing them a Powerpoint presentation. I guess I should preface all this with the statement that I never use Powerpoint presentations, but I do have this one old file that just works really well for when I need to introduce electric fields in Physics 30. Bear with me. So I’m rocking this Powerpoint, and I’ve got all the best slide transitions from Office ’98 in there, with the typewriter and bullet sounds, and the sentences that fly in one letter at a time and the really looooooong slide transitions, and my kids are all asking what’s up with all this flashy stuff.

I tell the kids that this stuff was literally SOLID GOLD in, like, 2005 when I started teaching in rural Alberta. The kids couldn’t get enough back then. Back in the day, after I wowed the kids with some sweet slide transitions, we’d all gather around my old Windows 98 computer and watch the Youtube video. Yeah, like, the first one. I think it was the dog riding the skateboard.

It got me thinking; Youtube has really come a long way. I think what I like most about it is that there’s a little corner of Youtube for every nerd out there. So, if you’re into dogs riding skateboards, there’s lots of videos about that. There’s lots of videos about everything. Here are some corners that I’m liking right now that you might want to use in your classroom:

1. The Periodic Table of Videos: Can you believe @HKowalchuk told me about this, like, 4 years ago? He must be moonlighting as a chemist or something. It’s great. There’s a little clip for every element in the periodic table, ranging from 1-5 minutes. Explosions, cool reactions, boring explanations, it’s got everything! When I’m teaching chemistry, we watch one to start every class. The kids like them and we’ve learned tonnes of useful and useless information from watching. Plus the host has AWESOME hair.

2. MinutePhysics: Yes, Physics is the king of all Sciences. Yes, MinutePhysics is the best thing on Youtube right now. As the name suggests, take a physics idea (usually cool and cutting edge modern physics) and explain it in language a layperson can understand in about a minute. The style is really clean and easy to watch, and the material is often fits the Program of Studies pretty well. I watch the new one every couple of weeks as soon as it comes out.

3. LD Industries: YES! Shameless plug. When I’m away or get sick of answering the same questions over and over again, I make little Youtube videos on my Promethean board explaining physics problems. My kids watch them. Kids from Newfoundland watch apparently. When I make mistakes, other people comment on it to fix them. Who has time to do that? Seriously.


Splashtop Remote Desktop for iPad

Last week, a student teacher at our school told me about an awesome app called Splashtop. It is a remote desktop app that allows you to wirelessly control your desktop from your iPad. The only things you need to do are; download the Splashtop Streamer  onto your computer and have a Gmail account. This app costs $4.99 but is “valued” at $19.99, so I guess that’s a deal!

I haven’t had much time to play around with it, yet, but have started to use it to control my SmartBoard. Right now, my desktop is at the back of the room, so if I need to put something else up on my SmartBoard, I need to run back and do it. Now, I can just control it from my iPad, which also then doubles as a wireless keyboard.

Even though I can use the school’s remote desktop program on my iPad, I find that this is much easier and it doesn’t go through so many different websites, which inevitably slows things down. If anyone else is using this app, I’d be interested in hearing from you!

Are Textbooks Going The Way Of The Dodo Bird?

Are traditional textbooks outdated? Are they convenient? Are they even practical? Will traditional textbooks go the way of the Dodo bird? Will they become extinct?

recent Scholastic survey commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and released in 2010 found few teachers believe traditional textbooks can engage today’s digital natives and prepare them for success. Teachers say they prefer digital and non-digital resources like magazines and books other than textbooks. Only 12 percent of some 40,000 teachers surveyed said textbooks help students achieve, while only 6 percent said textbooks engage their students in learning. (High School Hustle: Overloaded backpacks and outdated textbooks; a better way?)

I know that the above stats are American based, but I don’t think a Canadian survey would produce different results. So what is the alternative?

Open sourced textbooks utilized with the Ipad seem to be a much more more engaging and interactive way for students to work with content as exemplified in Apple’s video on the subject. I do not have any first hand experience using these at all; however, I think the potential for student engagement and learning is enormous. Not to mention the potential cost saving and practicality of students not having to log around multiple thick textbooks in a backpack or forgetting them at school when they have homework (I have yet to meet a student who forgets their iPad at school).

To be honest, I am not sure at this point the number of resources that have been made available in this format; however, I do know that some main education publishers such as Pearson and McGraw Hill are already partnering with Apple to create new a “new textbook experience for the Ipad“. In reading on the subject I have found a few of our neighbors to the south that have started projects to phase our traditional textbooks, replacing them with digital versions such as California, Utah and Washington. I a currently hoping to find some Canadian schools or divisions who have started utilizing open sourced textbooks. Regardless, I am definitely excited about this concept and am interested in continuing to explore this for the future.