Monday, 30 January 2017


Today in our technology class we used the resource Plickers. Plickers is a great resource that can be used to collect data about student's understanding of, or progression through a topic. To use Plickers, only the teacher requires an electronic device making it a go to even if your class does not have access to computers.

Plickers is used by giving each student a Plickers card. Students can then respond to questions by holding up their card in the direction that corresponds with their response. Using an electronic device the teacher can then scan the cards and receive data based on student responses. The following is an example of Plickers being used in a classroom.

One of the ways we discussed using Plickers in class was as a formative assessment tool in which teachers could gain valuable data about how their students are feeling about a particular topic. This data would be useful in determining if more time is needed on a topic, or if the class is ready to move on. Plickers is a low stakes way for students to give this information as only the teacher can view student responses.

Another way Plickers could be used effectively in the classroom would be to collect information about student's 'invisible backpacks' at the beginning of each day. Teachers could ask a simple question of their students using Plickers such as:

How are you feeling today?
a) really great
b) pretty good
c) okay
d) worst day ever

Using this information teachers could then gain a sense of if any students may have something going on in their lives that could effect their behaviour or ability to engage during the school day. Using this information teachers could also offer to talk with students who may be having a bad day to see what might help them get through the school day.

Hey, That's My Monster- Storyline Online

The following is a Google form quiz about the story "Hey, That's My Monster". The link for the storyline video is included in the google form.

Using Google form quizzes is a unique and interactive way to assess student's comprehension of a story.

Introducing students to the storyline site could also be a great way to engage in modelled reading with your class.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Genius Hour: Week 2

Blueberry Breakfast Cake 

This week, as I was looking through my dessert board on Pinterest I decided that I would make a blueberry breakfast cake for my Genius Hour project. This cake is a step up in difficulty from the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I made in my first week. This cake is also unlike any other I have made before, as it has more of a coffee cake consistency. I was excited to make this cake because the idea of blueberry and lemon flavours together sounded delicious! I was also excited to have something I could easily grab on my way out the door as a snack for the days when I am at school for long periods of time.

Fell free to check out the original recipe I used to make my blueberry breakfast cake!


1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
Zest from 1 lemon 
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup buttermilk 
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar for sprinkling 


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Grease and lightly flour a springform pan. 
3. In a mixing bowl: combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. 

4. Remove 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture and set aside. 
5. In another mixing bowl combine the butter, lemon zest, and granulated sugar. Beat this mixture for several minutes until it is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides as needed. 

6. Beat the egg and vanilla into the butter mixture until incorporated. 
7. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Beat on low until incorporated. Add 1/3 of the buttermilk and blend until smooth. Repeat these steps adding 1/3 of the flour mixture then 1/3 of the buttermilk until both are combined. 

8. Toss the blueberries in the 2 tablespoons of flour that had been set aside. 
9. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the blueberries into the batter. Make sure you do not rupture the blueberries! 

10. Scoop the batter into the springform pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the top with the turbinado sugar.

11. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.


Waiting for that cake to bake definitely tested my patients as our house filled with a fresh and citrusey aroma! I can tell you was well worth the wait!! When I took the cake out of the oven, I was pleased to see that it looked very similar to the picture in the recipe I had used. The cake was a light golden brown with blueberries dotted throughout. I was also happy that the cake slid off the base of the springform pan easily, as I was worried it may break in the process.

After the cake had cooled we were finally able to try a piece, it was DELICIOUS! The texture was just like coffee cake with the top being perfectly crisp and the inside moist and fluffy. Also, the combination of the blueberries and the lemon zest made the cake taste fresh and light. I feel very proud of this cake as it is probably the most successful attempt at baking I have ever had. My taste-testers also agreed that this cake was absolutely delicious, and helped themselves to seconds. I am adding this recipe to my box as I know I will make it again in the future. The only addition I would make to this recipe next time, would be to sprinkle more turbinado sugar on the cake as it helped to make the top crisp and sweet.

Overall, week 2 of my Genius Hour project was a great success! I am realizing throughout this experience that I actually enjoy baking much more than I had originally thought. I am also starting to gain more confidence in my baking skills as I realize that not only am I enjoying the process, but my failed attempts in the past have not been repeated thus far! I am excited to see where the next couple of weeks lead me with my project. 

Monday, 23 January 2017

PowToon: An Interactive Presentation Tool

I enjoyed using PowToon in technology class today and feel that it could be a great way to enhance classroom activities and projects using technology. PowToon is an interactive way for users to make animated video slideshows to share information on a topic. Thinking about my own future class, I will be excited to incorporate this resource into my planning as it could contribute to enhancing gamification within a classroom setting. PowToon has many tools that I feel can be used to create engaging videos that capture student’s attention and motivate them as they engage with a topic. Creating animated videos has the potential to make teaching curriculum content more engaging and meaningful than a typical slideshow lesson.

PowToon is also a useful resource to introduce to your students as they complete projects and assignments. It provides students with a unique forum to present their ideas in a creative way. When using this resource with your students I think it would be important to start off with an introductory lesson so that students can explore the site and have a better idea of how they can use the resource effectively. By taking the time to let students explore and get used to the site it will lead to a more productive and meaningful use of site.

The following is a brief introduction to PowToon and some of the unique features that it offers it's users. 

Genius Hour: Week 1

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This week I kicked off my genius hour project by baking a fresh batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies...not a bad start! My parents came down to visit for my Dad's birthday so I decided to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies as they are one of his favourite desserts. I also wanted to start off the project by baking something relatively simple.

I found the following recipe on Pinterest that I was eager to try out:


1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
3/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
3/4 cup unsalted butter (melted and cooled to room temperature) 
3/4 cup packed brown sugar 
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon honey  
1 tablespoon vanilla 
1 large egg 
2 and 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats 
1 and 1/4 cups chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate chips) 
1/2 cup chopped walnuts 


1. In a large bowl wisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. 
2. In another bowl use an electric mixer to beat together the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Add in the honey, vanilla, and egg. Continue beating until combined. 
3. Using the electric mixer add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and continue beating until combined.

4. Add in the oats and beat until combined. 
5. Stir in 1 cup of the chocolate chips and all of the chopped walnuts. 
6. Form the dough into balls and place them on a sprayed cookie sheet about 1- 1.5 inches apart (I used an ice cream scoop for this part). Refrigerate for 2 hours.

7. After the 2 hours is up, preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Bake for 12-14 minutes, do not overcook we want the cookies to be soft and chewy. 
8. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool. Press the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips into the tops of the cookies.


Overall, I am pleased to report that my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies were a success!! They were easy to make, and tasted good too. Aside from a few minor adjustments I would make next time I bake these cookies, I was pleasantly surprised with the end result of my first baking attempt. My friends and family also agreed that the cookies turned out well, and most importantly my dad enjoyed the cookies for his birthday!

The middles of the cookies were soft and chewy just as the recipe promised. Also, adding the chocolate chips on top of the cookies after they had been baked made them look more appetizing. I will definitely use this trick next time I bake cookies! Although I did not like the walnuts all of my taste-testers said that they were one of their favourite parts about the cookies. One of my main critiques about these cookies were their size. In order for the middle to cook properly the outsides were more crispy than I would have liked. The recipe said that the dough should make 18-22 very large cookies. I aimed for this amount which meant that my cookies were very large and thick. The next time I try out this recipe I would suggest making the cookies smaller so that they cook more evenly and the outsides are soft and chewy as well. 

Overall I am pleased with my first genius hour product and now I have delicious cookies to enjoy for the rest of the week. I look forward to sharing my next baking adventure with you all next week! 

Genius Hour Project Introduction

The genius hour question that I decided to explore is to improve my culinary skills by baking something new every week. I decided on this topic because I love to bake and I also love to eat baked goods, but my attempts at baking do not usually end in success. I am excited to try and bake something new every week and hope that I will be able to notice an improvement by the end of my genius hour project.

I started my research on this project by exploring Pinterest and saving different recipes that I would like to try out over the next couple weeks. I have linked to my Pinterest dessert board where you will be able to find many of the recipes I will be using. In order to keep track of my progress during this project I have decided that I will be documenting my baking adventures through pictures and blog posts. I have also recruited some friends and family who have eagerly agreed to taste-test and give feedback on my baking each week. I am excited to share this journey with you...wish me luck!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Virtual Field Trips and Genius Hour Projects

Virtual Field Trips: 

Today we explored virtual field trips and how they can be used to enhance learning in a classroom setting. A virtual field trip is a guided exploration of a place or concept without having to leave your classroom. Through preparing pictures, resources, and guiding questions students are able to interact with the concept in a a realistic and meaningful way.

I had the opportunity to create a virtual field trip experience for my students during my first placement. During our unit on government and responsible citizenship I acted as a tour guide and took my students on a virtual tour of the parliament buildings. I found a great website called Online Tour of Parliament that allowed us to interact with and explore the different rooms in the parliament buildings without ever leaving our classroom.

This experience allowed me to see the amazing impact that virtual field trips can have on students learning. Throughout this tour, my students were able to connect with the material in a meaningful way, were engaged in the lesson, and were motivated to expand on their learning and ask questions.

Genius Hour Projects: 

Genius hour projects are also a unique way to increase student engagement by providing them with hands on learning opportunities. Genius hour projects allow students to explore their own passions ultimately improving productivity and motivation. During genius hour projects in a school setting, students choose a topic they find interesting and that they would like to explore. Students then spend time researching their passion project and developing a product that they will share with their peers.  

A teacher's role as students pursue their passion projects is to act as a facilitator as they guide students while allowing them the freedom and creativity to set their own direction. There are many benefits to these types of projects including their unique ability to inspire innovation and creativity in students. I look forward to learning more about genius hour and how I can incorporate it into my future classroom. 

I have included the following video as I feel that it accurately represents the reasons why passion projects are so effective. This video captures the idea that 21st century learners need to develop interchangeable skills that will help them to succeed in all aspects of their lives. The video suggests that we must not teach students answers, but rather provide them with opportunities to ask questions and construct their own knowledge through exploration. Genius hour projects are a perfect platform to accomplish just that!  

Friday, 13 January 2017

Teaching your Students about Copyright

What is Copyright?

        Original work and resources that you may find online are protected by copyright laws. This means that only the author of the original work has the right to use the resource, and others must recieve permission in order to use the resource. This being said, if the copyright laws have been released through creative commons the public can use the work by properly citing and giving credit to its author or creator.

Implications for Teaching: 

(2008). SmartBoard [Online Image]. Retrieved from   

        Copyright laws have specific implications for teaching, especially in a 21st century context where digital citizenship becomes so important. As teachers, we may not show resources in class that are not our original works unless they have a creative commons license. Copyright also has implications for the sharing and use of documents and worksheets that we may find online. We may not use these copied documents unless payment is made to the copyright owner. In these cases, a paid subscription to a site is usually required.

Implications for Students: 
Ribeiro, L. (2008, June 30). Children at School [Online Image]. Retrieved from

        As we encourage our students to become digital citizens it is essential that we teach them about copyright and how it effects them. In order to do this, we must show students how to know if a resource has the correct licensing, encourage them to only use works with a creative commons license, and help them to understand and practice correct citing.

        I think it is important that we also encourage students to copyright their own images that they may share on line in order to further their understanding of the concept. One way this can be accomplished in a classroom setting is to develop a class file consisting of images, videos, and other works that your students create. When students upload these resources to the class file they should give their work a creative commons license where they can choose the circumstances under which their work can be used by others. Not only would this create a compilation of resources that can be shared within your classroom, but it would also encourage the important practice of checking for copyright regulations before a resource is used.