Blog Archives

#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

Notability iOS and OSX – #peel21st blog hop

I jumped at the opportunity to share a favourite tech tool when Tina sent out the Tweet.

Of course my enthusiastic, react before I think attitude got myself signed up to share about a tool that I had yet to consider sharing about.  Problem, of course not, I am also the “What app? What is its name? Ok, I’ll try it type”  Over the next week I thought about the tool that I would write about.  A couple days ago as I was using one of my now go to tools, I finally decided that I would share my experiences with  “Notability“.

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 9.12.20 PM


While I have used many note taking apps, Evernote and OneNote to name a couple. Notability has demonstrated versatility within one app and across the Apple platforms that I have yet to find efficient with the others.

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 9.04.54 PM


To date I have typically found myself creating notes on my iPhone and them working with them further on my Mac.


First you can link with your Dropbox, Google, Box account for easy backup and access elsewhere.


There is then the flexibility of being able to share via a variety of services both suited for Apple and non-iOS/OSX based devices.


Notes can be created on various different backgrounds or paper styles.  Blank being created for sketching on imported photos, etc.  Graph and lined great for students who have difficulty without or who are trying to create something that needs structure.


Basic features on the iPhone allow text based notes, sketches, photos from the camera or camera roll which then can be annotated as well as audio notes recorded.  I have yet to experience a limit to audio recordings within an individual note.

Overall, I would say that this has been the all-in-one note taking tool that I have been most pleased with.


Check out the other tools from our #peel21st bloggers;

Team Canada - Official Olympic Team Website

Official home of Team Canada. Discover athlete stories as well as Olympic rosters, sports and schedules. We inspire Canadians through the power of sport.

Learning About Learning

by Donna Miller Fry (@fryed)

Ms. Armstrong

Adventures in Modern Learning

The Mad Spaceball

Space Is a Serious Business. Let's Have Fun with It!!


musings of a passionate inquirer

Zite's blog

Just another site

Epiphanies in Environmental Education

Curriculum Beyond the Classroom


Just a small town girl sharing her meanderings about life.

Peel21st Project 188

Sharing to "Inspire", One Day at a Time!

Math in the Middle

... Because one thought leads to another ...

Bits and Bytes

Integrating 21st Century Competencies


Committed to: Providing relevant, responsive education so that each student becomes a life-long learner and contributing citizen in a diverse, digital world.

The Paperless Classroom

Online courses by Learn it in 5 Creator Mark Barnes

Pernille Ripp

Teacher. Author. Creator. Speaker. Mom.