Monday, April 29, 2013

Educational Quotes 1

Sunday, April 28, 2013

My first Facebook Freebie.

Good Evening everyone!

Today on my Facebook Fan page I posted an exclusive Freebie for my followers.

It's obviously not my first Freebie, but it IS the first offered exclusively to followers of my Facebook page.

I've made the following poster in 19 colours:

Click the image to go to my Facebook fan page and grab your copy.

I hope you'll consider following me there too!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Booking Across Canada Announcement!

I hope you're all still with me here, I'm ready to announce the date to post your Canadian books with accompanying free activities.

Drum Roll please.....

June 1st

That gives everyone just over a month to get their posts ready, and is well enough ahead of most Canadian schools ending for the year( and hopefully your rush to finish report cards).

We're still looking for a handful of provinces and territories to participate, and if anyone wishes to post multiple book if you just can't choose, or are worried someone else is choosing the same book, go right ahead.

Please share this party on your own blog, Facebook fanpage, and other social media to advertise the Booking Across Canada party. I will be sharing a link to this page on my Fanpage tonight.


I will be contacting all participants already signed up this weekend, in case not everyone is already following me.

Hopefully if you share this image on your blog to let your readers know it's coming up soon, we can interest participants from the last few regions we need teachers from.

Or alternatively, you can share the link from my fanpage.

Please follow me, I feel lonely with only 3 Facebook followers. Follow me and leave a link to your own fan page  and I promise to follow you back!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Skype Interviews

Have you ever done an interview for a position quite a distance from your home?

A few years ago when I interviewed for my first job in Northern Manitoba, my interview was via phone. In fact, the few times I've been offered an interview that wasn't in my city, it's always been over the phone.

When you're being interviewed by just one person (for example the principal) that's all fine and dandy, but when you're being interviewed by a group of people you've never met, it's really hard because you can't put the names to their faces, and have trouble keeping track of who's asking you a question, and so therefore who to direct your answer to.

Now however, I am noticing a trend towards conducting these distance interviews via Skype, which allows the interviewee the ability to see the interviewers and be able to see their facial expressions in relation to their answers.

The only real downside (aside from lack of or poor connections), is that the interviewee who used to rely on their notes to common questions can no longer rifle through papers for a previously prepared answer. This was great for the nervous type, whose brains froze when asked a question they knew the answer to, but just couldn't verbalize it without a starting reference.

Here's a link to a video with a few ideas to enhance your Skype interview.
In short here are the keys ideas:
1. Have a suitable background: no plain white boring office wall, have a more interesting background to create depth.
2. Include plants for warmth.
3. Use natural light to illuminate your face.
4. Make sure you're well lit, not from behind.
5. Wear a black jacket. Look professional. So, no shirts or other clothes that wouldn't be appropriate on the job.
6. Be aware of the expression on your face.
7. Try to simulate eye contact by looking directly at the webcam instead of the screen, if needed tape a picture to look at.
8. Frame yourself: Turn your body like when a photographer takes your picture.

Some other ideas:
1. Todays cameras are really high quality, so look your best. Wear a bit of makeup to brighten up your face.
2. You can't have pages of notes, but there is nothing wrong with keeping a single page for jot notes to include items you want to be sure to include in your answers.
3. Don't forget your list of questions to ask at the end of the interview.
4. Have a glass of water ready, you'll be talking a lot and nervous, and you don't want to have a dry scratchy throat.
5. Ensure quiet and no distractions for the duration. In my case this will mean ensuring someone has my daughter out of the apartment for a few hours.
6. Turn off cell phones and computer applications so you're not distracted by Facebook and other email notifications.
7. Have a practice run, especially if you've never used the software before.
8. Don't fidget,
9. Don't talk with your hands! This will be a tough one for me.
10. Ask how are you at the beginning of the interview, and when asked how you are, respond with great.
11. Be enthusiastic.
12. Don't forget to smile!

Now my fingers are crossed that I get offered some interviews this year, and get to use some of this advice.

Have you ever interviewed via Skype?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Technology in the Classroom

Classroom Technology in images.

Look for future posts discussing past, present and future uses of some of these technologies in the classroom.

As you can see, there is a lot more to classroom technology than simply computers. Most of the time we are guilty of thinking of just a computers many uses when asked if we utilize technology in our classrooms, but that is only one piece of technology, although admittedly, it gives us access to a world of uses, from teacher blogs, to edmodo, to software and games, and more.

Overhead Projectors

Slide Machine

3D glasses

Film Projector



Elmo Projectors

Computer Projectors




CD/MP3 Players


DVD/Blue ray Players





Portable Handheld Data Collection devices

Surround Sound/ Voice Projection

Reading Pens

Tape Recorders



Personally I love to use my digital camera. It has many uses, from documenting classroom events and kids at work, to videotaping guest speakers and the Christmas concert.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


A good friend, after noticing my post about PLCs on Facebook, suggested RTI as something else I should look into.

It wasn't until I did an image search (my preferred way to do an initial search, as I love images), that I realized I had already learned some about these a few years ago when I attended a conference from MCEC.

The presenter had shown us two different pyramids on the projector, and similar ones to these showed up in my image search.

The above is the typical intervention pyramid in schools. Ideally most students have no need to progress beyond Tier 1.

We were also shown an inverted pyramid, which for many of us was the sad reality of the poor students in our schools. This pyramid (which I can't find an image for), had Tier 1 having few students, and Tier 3 having many, not an ideal situation for ensuring our students receive the intervention the deserve.

So What exactly is an RTI?
An RTI is a Response To Intervention.
It's not simply giving students resource and other interventions, it's similar to a PLC in that we look at the results of each intervention, discuss what has happened, and make new changes to continue in the students recovery.

Check out RTI Network for detailed information.

RTI is a multi-levelled intervention program, with usually THREE tiers of students and their risk factors. Some pyramids I saw in my image search chopped the students futher into FOUR tiers, but from what I can learn, most places divide students only into three tiers.

Please note, there is no one right way to do an RTI in your school, as each school has different needs.

The bottom tier, TIER ONE, is the most populated by our students. It contains the students who are least likely to need intervention, are mostly on track to attain their grade level expectations for the year. Even though these students have the least need for intervention, they are tested regularly and their scores examined to see if they need additional intervention and/or the need to be placed within Tier two.

TIER TWO contains a smaller amount of our students. These students are found to be struggling in one or more academic or behavioural areas, and are placed in this tier to ensure they get additional intervention as needed to prevent the movement to Tier three, and hope for a return to tier one. If they continue to show a lack of progress in this tier after a set amount of time, they are considered to be a part of TIER THREE so they may receive the highest level of intervention as needed. Tier Two is for targeted Interventions.

TIER THREE is the level at the peak of the typical pyramid, and contains the students who are in need of intensive interventions because they failed to show progress in tier two. At this level their interventions are individualized or their own particular needs. Students in this tier may now be considered for special education and resource if their targeted intervention does not help.

Do students know what tier they are part of?
This depends on what method of using this program your school decides to use, but I personally don't think students have any need to know what tier they or their peers are a part of. I believe it's only important for teachers to be aware of where their students fall in their classroom so they can correctly differentiate their instruction to suit their students needs.

Do you use RTI at your school to ID students needs?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Education in the News: March 2013

I found some WEIRD ones this month...

Quebec government changes plan to have mandatory half year English Immersion
The previous government announced this new program which would have seen every francophone student in the province have English immersion for half of grade six. The new government has said that it will not be mandatory, but schools can still do it if they wish. Completely voluntary. I think this program would have been great. I understand that the nationalist party in Quebec is worried that it's people are losing their language and culture from exposure to English, but I believe that they still need to have a good grasp of English which Immersion will help so they can get awesome jobs as adults. GOvernment jobs often require both languages, and for many large businesses, English is a common language across borders.

Confiscated Cupcakes?
A student brought cupcakes to school , but because his mother had decorated them with toy soldiers, they were confiscated by staff due to the violent nature. They were allowed to be served after the mother said to remove the soldiers. This is aking anti-gun violence too far. The guns were on soldiers, who these students would have spent time talking about how soldiers help defend our countries. It could have been a teachable moment, instead of the debate that made the international news.

Truancy Officers in action
In Wales parents are still actively fined by truancy officers for failing to send their children to school. Not only are they fined, but in 2011 there were 500 court cases. I don't even know if there are any public jurisdictions in Canada or the US where truancy officers are part of the education landscape, although I understand there are a couple native reserves who employ this method. Does the fear of fines or public embarrassment do any good to send students to school?

EW! Teacher in Oslo (a substitute?) allowed students to touch and taste her blood sample

Teacher donates Kidney to former student 
Not as weird as it sounds. A teacher whose own child had received much needed platelets through donation, vowed she would return the favour when she could. During a parent teacher interview  she learned she was a match for this former student, and voila! I don't know if I COULD donate a kidney to anyone bu my own daughter, not because I don't want to help, but because I'd be afraid Id need it myself later, or one of my kids would, and I wouldn't have it anymore.

Teacher busted for photoshopping pictures of students
Okay, so it's one thing for a responsible teacher blogger to blur faces or completely cover the faces of our students using photoshop, paint, or another program. But this teacher pasted students faces on naked bodies. I don't know what he was thinking, but I'm thinking pervert!

And that's just the stories I liked best from March. I can't wait to see what I find for April.

And because I hate not to have an image in a blog post, here's my daughter enjoying her second Easter (13 months old):
Ignore the ugly bruise over her eye, she tripped and fell into something at the sitters last week, poor little munchkin.

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