Category Archives: #peel21st Blog Hops

#peel21st Blog Hop: A Few of My Favourite Things

Well for most our 2nd #bloghop has come and gone but I share some of my favourite things to go with what several of the others shared earlier in the evening.  Please check out what the others have shared by following the links below my post.

My Favourite Things!

My favourite things are just a few of the gadgets the students @CountrysidePDSB have been getting their hands on this fall.  From tinkering and exploring with the littlebits to learning to code with the Ozobots and Dash there have been hours of fun learning.

Littlebits – tiny electronic boards that magnetically snap together to create circuits that can do just about anything you can imagine.  Students have been explore with some of the kits (SynthKit – DeluxeKit – SpaceKit) and we look forward to exploring more in the new year when we break open the ArduinoCodingKit and the CloudBitKit)

Ozobots – these tiny #bots have produced children who just won’t give up as they attempt to make these little machine do unimaginable manoveurs with a variety of colourful lines and dots.  Of course the kids believe they can some how “code” with their lines an instruction that will tell these little guys to jump but have not realized that they might need a hand from Dash and his launcher to make that jump to the next step.

Dash – Dash admittedly has been quite some fun….at first I took Dash on a tour of the school….knocking on some doors and mooing like a cow or quacking like a duck, I even programmed Dash to ask the Grade 1’s for some Jellybeans from the floor that they were using to create patterns.  But there is some much more that Dash can do with the Apps developed to control him.   We have been exploring Go, Blockly and Path.  Most of our time has been spent with Blockly where the students have learned to visually code with blocks in order to complete challenges that Dash must complete. Some students have simply enjoyed dragging and dropping blocks into the workspace, clicking RUN and watching Dash move about.  In the New Year I hope to venture out to more classes to let them explore the world of coding with Dash as well as putting Dash to work during our Nutrition Break coding camps.

A hopeful gadget for our Coding club is BB-8 from Sphero but I’ll need to do a little reading before I can justify its price tag.  For now I am quite pleased with what Littlebits, Ozobots and Dash have done to give our students some experience with new technologies and coding.

I would be happy to hear what others think.  Don’t forget to read on….

1 Jason Richea
2 Heather Lye
3 Amit Mehrotra
4 Jason Wigmore
5 Melanie Mulcaster
6 Jonathan So
7 Jim Cash
8 Tina Zita
9 Maggie Fay
10 Sapna Gandhi
11 Pam Taylor
12 Gina Loutrianakis

#peel21st November Blog Hop: A New Year

Tina said it right….

“This hasn’t been a typical fall start up but we know all around there have been amazing moments of learning.”

I’d like to share two pieces of my 2015-16 puzzle…

First, in the days leading up to the new school year there was great excitement.   As the year began at Countryside Village we were preparing for the unknown, why?  The answer was old news, we are holding at the Peel Hotel “James Grieve Public School” as we await ministry approval for the funds to build the “Countryside Village Public School”

Still, my nerves were getting the better of me because I would start the year with a class unlike last year. It was however, a small class of “9” with just 1 male student. My thoughts, “We were out numbered!”  On the first day,  he was concerned, myself not so much.  Who wouldn’t be happy the have a 1 to 9, teacher to student ratio.  The learning that could go on.  The REALITY was, my class would grow as the houses closed in the CSVPS neighbourhood and the learning would go on.

My other Ah Ha moment of this school year was just as we are doing here….Getting them “my students” going….on Blogging!  I started the year with a plan to have my students keep a blog that would serve as a place to share their/our learning journey throughout the subjects as we dive into learning with an inquiry approach.  I knew that this would be a challenge much like the shift in learning that they would experience here at Countryside Village.

Looking back at the first severals weeks of the school year, I introduced the idea of blogging, many students had that look of shock.  I guess it may have been the fact that they had never blogged before.  Some showed signs of interest, some did not.  We started by exploring the Edublogs dahsboard to get familiar with the interface that we would use for blogging.  Some students explored the App for their device, others would get their first experience using a Google Chromebook.

Most of my students were interested in customizing the look of their blog.  With the 100’s of themes, every student had the chance to put their own mark on the blog that they would keep.  From there we set up categories and a menu structure for their main page.  This would serve the purpose of keep entries with common threads connected and in one place.  Once this was done, we were ready to begin writing or so I thought we were.  Where would we start?  Something random?  Something with a purpose?

After a little thought, I had the class start with a Bio page, a place for future blog followers to get to know the author, the learner that would be sharing their journey.  Within a few days, the Bios began popping up in my reader and on the student sites.  From a few sentences long to paragraphs, the students began sharing a little about themselves.  We had made the leap.  The students were now blogging.  The next steps, more posts!  Topics, unknown!

Here are some of the other memorable moments from the 1st couple months of the 2015-2016 school year as shared by some #peel21st colleagues!

Jason Richea

Jonathan So

Amit Mehrotra

Tina Zita

Jim Cash

Melanie Mulcaster

Heather Lye

Erica Armstrong

Matt Fletcher

Jason Wigmore

Matthew Forestieri

#Peel21st Blog Hop – When Tech and Numeracy Collide

It’s the 3rd #peel21st BlogHop I have had the opportunity to work with many classes this year in a variety of different capacities; support teacher, co-teacher, filling in on that day when there was no supply to cover the class or simply when I had the opportunity to drop in and see what was going on when I heard excitement.

Area/Perimeter and Minecraft with the Grade 3’s (@CSVGrade3) and (@PGsInquires)

The students in these two classes were so enthusiastic about Minecraft and being able to teach their teachers how to build a variety of different structures that in turn their teachers turned that energy into a teaching opportunity.  What I  happened upon was students constructing various structures within their Minecraft world to represent various Areas and Perimeters.  The level of engagement was significant and it was clear that the students had developed a good understanding of the concepts being explored.  The best of all, it was being done using one of the most popular games amongst students.

I did not have the opportunity to take any photos of the students working within Minecraft however, here is some of the non-tech exploration of Math and Minecraft that evolved from the tech.

Math meets Google Earth and The Pyramids

The Grade 8’s @CountrysidePDSB are your typical group of Grade 8 students whatever, that may actually be.  About two weeks prior to a visit in the computer lab they approach their teacher and asked is they could learn about the major empires of the world.  This idea evolved and resulted in the learning about the Egyptians.  Now they’ve likely done this before back in Grade 5 but she went with the idea and great things happened.  Eventually, Tech met Math when she presented them with the following challenge, “Pick 3 of the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids. Research their measurements and calculate the volume and the surface area for each.”  I happened to venture into the lab on this day when the group was feverishly researching the dimensions of the ancient structures.  I at first questioned the likelihood of being able to find the data readily available somewhere on the internet or for that matter readily available in some sort of book on our library shelves.  Moments later, the idea came to me, why not explore the pyramids using Google Earth, it would show each in 3-dimensions.  The students continue to plod along with their plan of finding the measurements and using known formulas to solve the challenge at hand.   I pushed my crazy idea of using tech and Google Earth and the result was…

A 3D view of the Great Pyramid of Giza

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Some approximate measurements using the ruler tool and the 2D image.

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The length of one side

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 9.02.19 PM


The height of that side

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 9.01.51 PM


Look we figured out how to use the ruler tool itself to do the area calculation and the others below.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 9.01.26 PM

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Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 9.00.05 PM

Using information that was readily available online at their fingertips along with a basic tool “The ruler” a few members of the group gathered the necessary information and applied previous knowledge of perimeter, area and volume to solve the challenge.  Of course as some of the images show, they figured out how to have the tech-tool solve the challenge for themselves.  All in all a great meeting of tech and math.

The Math of SGTS

SGTS, what’s that?  Sorry, top secret unless it has leaked or you caught one of my prior blog entries.  But in working with our Grade 6 class @CountrysidePDSB and their space inquiry we will be working with various mathematical concepts that will help the group predict where our package may end up, how fast it will get there, how long it will take to recover and.  Of course being able to work this out will be a key component to further mathematical exploration that will focus on data gathered during the testing.  More to come regarding this meet up.  Follow the Twitter feed @SGTS_CSVPS

Learning in the 21st Century: What does it mean to you?

I had been anxiously awaiting another #peel21st Blog Hop when Jason @jrichea put out the call “tweet”.  Topic, “Learning in the 21st Century: What does it mean to you?”  in 100 words or less.  “Not a problem”, I said.  And so, I left it at that and the week passed quickly and so did the weekend.  And earlier today, as I was working with the Grade 3’s @CountrysidePDSB my mind began to wander into “blogland”.  Ideas, and thoughts floated about my head like a child excited to see the Christmas catalogues arrive in the mail. And…my thoughts about “Learning in the 21st Century”:

  • Knowledge at our fingertips
  • The 6C’s
  • More powerful technologies in our hands, apps, web tools and more
  • An understanding that learning in the 21st Century and beyond is much different than what we have experienced in the past.  A focus on ideas, creativity, connectedness, risk taking and problem solving.
  • The following, TedTalk



Susan Campo –

Shivonne Lewis-Young –

Greg, Pearson –

Phil Young –

James Nunes –

Donald, Campbell –

Ken Dewar –

Graham Whisen –

Heather Lye –

Lynn Filliter –

Debbie Axiak –

Alicia Quennell –

Jonathan So –

Jim Blackwood –

Jason Richea –

Tina Zita –

Engy Boutros –

Sean Broda –

Sean Coroza –

Josh Crozier – 

George Couros –

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