*Please note all opinions expressed here are my own and do not reflect on my Principal, School, School Board or even my own husband.

**Also note that although I am a teacher, I do have a learning disability. You may see evidence of this through my writing with my many run-on sentences and homonym mix-ups. I still have good ideas and won't let that stop me from expressing them and I tell my students the same thing.

***Even though many people think teachers know everything, I do not, in fact I know I have a lot to learn and that is part of why I love teaching. Feel free to teach me knew things, but when you leave comments, I ask that you be nice about it - thanks.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Holding Teachers Accountable- Part 2 - Parent/Teacher Relationships

How to communicate with your child's teacher in a meaningful way.

I realize that not everyone reading this will have a job, but if you do, think about how you feel when someone you work with doesn't tell you about something you are doing wrong.  Instead of them pointing out your mistake and helping you improve, they go and tell your boss.  How do you feel?  This happens more than you know when parents go directly to the Principal to get answers instead of talking to the teacher first.  Going to the Principal is a good option, but not until after you have tried a few of the below strategies first.

Let's face it - we're all busy - parents and teachers... and kids for that matter.  A lot of teachers nowadays will be communicating with you via technology.  They may have a website or blog or send emails home.  A big part of communicating is to help keep you in the loop and yes admittedly, keep you off their back.  If we communicate with you up front, hopefully we prevent some added communication from being needed.  I teach in the community I live and have been known to have a parent-teacher interview at Farmboy, the swimming pool and even last week at Hewitt Park on Friday night.  I like teaching and take pride in my work and talking about it is fun for me... but not every teacher wants to talk about work in their spare time and I respect that. We need to remember that teachers are people too, they have families and problems to go home to just like you.

Most teachers are readily available by email now and a quick questions can often clear up mis-understandings... and most of teachers are happy to do so.  Truthfully it makes our job easier when your child is doing what they need to be, so a quick email in the short term often helps us out in the long term.  I would say that 90% of the issues I encounter are a child not understanding what I said, misinterpreting details, students not sharing the full story with parents or students simply having a different perspective than the teacher. Most of these are quickly cleared up in an email or with a quick phone call. Some parents are not taking that step. How many of you have had a friend complain about what the teacher is doing or not doing?  (I'm guilty, I know I have) Instead of complaining (or at least in addition to venting) advocate for your child and work with the teacher to find a solution.

Things to remember:

1) Teachers are not perfect, we are human, we do make mistakes. I often apologize to students or parents for something I have said or done and being forgiven is appreciated.  (I'm not talking about real bad things here: I forget to bring something from home that I promised a child, I forgot to mark their journal entry last night, I didn't communicate with a parent about an incident at school...) It happens.

2) Kids are not perfect, they make mistakes... usually more often than me!  When your child tells you something, remember they are a child.  It does not mean they are not being truthful and it does not mean it does not reflect how they feel, but there is an adult perspective that is worth hearing and knowing about before you jump to conclusions.

3) Parents are not perfect... and they like to protect their babies.  I'm a parent and I know that when my son comes home from school in tears, my heart breaks.  I want to fix it anyway possible, but that isn't always the right thing to do.  Sometimes a kid feeling sad or bad is a good thing. Sometimes working through these types of issues makes them stronger and more resilient.

Things NOT to do:

1) Do not show up at the classroom at 8:30 a.m. before class upset about something and force the teacher to deal with your issue.  This is not fair to the teacher or the class. You can set a teacher off for the whole day doing this. (I have seen my fair share of teachers in tears first thing in the morning - including myself twice)

2) Do not blame the teacher without first asking what happened.  You are the parent to your child, you want to believe your child and take care of them, but it is important to hear what the adult has to say.

3) Do not say negative things about your child's teacher in front of your child.  Your child has to spend 6 hours a day with their teacher.  You want to help develop a positive relationship, not make a negative one fester.

4) Do not wander into your child's classroom uninvited.  Do not snoop through the teachers desk, drawers or file cabinets... I know you think I would not have to say that... yet it is here for good reason!

5) Do not email or expect a conference with the teacher every week or every day - you can burn your bridge fast that way.

Okay, so what should I do:

1) Respect the teacher. Talk to them politely, make eye contact, shake hands, smile... I know seems obvious, right.

2) Acknowledge all the hard work that the teacher is doing.  The long hours of marking, the cool lessons they have planned, the interesting discussions you had at home because of a lesson they taught...

3) When you have a question, ask it nicely. Maybe say what your child said and wonder if that is correct or if they are missing some information?  Ask for clarification.

4) If your child is coming home repeatedly with questions unanswered, lots of homework, feeling bad about school, feeling bullied... then request a meeting with the teacher.  Let them know what you would like to address at the meeting so they can prepare for it.

5) Volunteer to help. Supply goodies for class parties, attend the field trips when you can, offer to photocopy or prepare crafts for younger grades, read with students who need extra help.

6) Support the teacher.  When your child has messed up - acknowledge it, deal with it at home and support the teachers decisions and disciplinary action.

What if...?

1) My child's teacher does not communicate with parents - no blog, no website, no emails, no paper newsletters?   Ask the teacher if there is a way to find out what is happening in the class.  Is there a blog or website to get updates?  Even if you know the answer is no, it lets them know that maybe this would be used or appreciated. Ask if your child is supposed to be writing in an agenda or if they can use their device to take photos of the homework, notes or anchor charts.  Let the teacher know you appreciate getting any emails or calls letting you know how your child is doing, if he is falling behind or if she got a new assignment you need to be aware of.  And as a last resort make friends with a parent whose child is a talker - they will be able to tell you what is going on and you can then prompt your child from there.

2) My child's teacher is not teaching using methods that benefit my child?  I try to use a balance of methods hoping that at certain times all students will benefit from the teaching style, but not all teachers like: chaos, noise, group work, building things or mess and I've also know teachers who do not like quiet - they thrive in action. You've got a couple choices here, personally, I think that having a different style of teacher for 1 year is a good thing in the long run.  It may not be your child's best year, but they will learn new strategies to cope and it gives you an opportunity to help them persevere and be resilient in times of uneasiness.

That said, if your child is really struggling, you need to ask for a sit down with the teacher and brainstorm some ideas. Let the teacher know of strategies that have worked in the past, see if one or two of these ideas could be implemented or tried with your child. Examples: My child worked with a peer buddy last year in Math and that really helped them, is that something we could explore for this year?  My child needs to get up and move every 20 minutes or so, can you have a little symbol she uses to show you that lets you know she is going for a little walk.  (My students hold 3 fingers like a W and that tells me they need a break and are going to stretch their legs and clear their mind in the hall for a few minutes)

3) My child's teacher makes fun of them, belittles them, embarrasses them? I've done this before... unintentionally of course, but some children are very sensitive and in this case I think it is worth mentioning to the teacher. I wouldn't be accusatory because 95% of the time this will have been done unintentionally, but making students feel bad is not acceptable.  Well... I can make them feel bad when they have made bad choices and they should feel bad if they just punched someone in the face, but I should not make them feel stupid or worthless at any point, ever! If you do find that your child is being bullied by a teacher (repetitively, on purpose making them feel bad) then it's definitely time to advocate for your child.  If you've talked to the teacher once already and they know the situation and have continued to treat your child with disrespect, then it is time to take the next step and talk to your Principal.

4) My child's teacher is not helping them or following their IEP? If your child has an Individual Education Plan, then it is a teacher's job to use it to benefit your child.  It may call for your son to have reduced tasks or your daughter to be allowed to use a computer. These are not optional if they have been determined to be necessary in aiding your child to learn. Start with a teacher conference and go over the IEP and what you would like to see done to help your child. If you do not see results, you should have an LST or LRT (Learning Support or Resource Teacher) at your school and that would be your next step.  These teachers are designed to help the other teachers support the students.  It could simply be that your teacher has never made these types of accommodations before and needs to be walked through how to do it. After all this if you don't see improvement, it's time to discuss the situation with your Principal.

This post is already really long and I am sure I have missed things.  Please feel free to point out scenarios you have encountered and what has worked for you and your child. Just remember there are tools out there that you can use to help keep communication open: Agendas, blogs, email, phone messages, parent/teacher conferences, Learning Support Teachers and of course the Principal and Vice Principal.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Holding Teachers Accountable... (Without EQAO) - Part 1

Let's do a little Math shall we...

1) How long does a child spend at school each day?

1 Day of school = 6 hours give or take recess

           x         195ish days of school in a year

                    1170 hours of school

2) Do you spend 6 hours on a school day with your child?

I see my kids for an hour before school and I am lucky to be home after school, so I see them for about 4 or 5 more hours before they go to bed - depending on the kid. So I am actually pretty close to seeing my kids for equal amount of time as their friends and teachers at school.  Those of you who work early shifts or work until 5 or 6 o'clock may actually see your child less than those who are at school.
Knowing that my children spend as much time at school, 5 out of 7 days a week, as they do with me... I want to know that my kids are in good hands.  I want to be re-assured that they are safe, healthy, happy and since they are at school, indeed learning.
So how do we know what is happening at school? 

Well we have a few options and it depends on your children and their teachers of course, but this post is:

Part 1- Keeping open dialogue with your child.  

Asking "How was your day?" often is met with "fine" and "What did you do today?" is typically met with "nothing" or if you are my son, "stuff".  So you have to know what kinds of questions to ask.  As a teacher, I like to email my parents every few weeks to let them know what is going on and I try to give Discussion Prompts.  Here are the ones I sent last week:

Discussion Prompts:

1) What is a Pentomino?  And what did you do with them?
2)  Did you hand your journal in today, if not how many entries do you have left to complete to get it done?
3) Who did you work with for Choose Your Adventure Stories today and what is your story about?
4) How do you draw a dog using a #5?

You can see that knowing what to ask could be very helpful, but you don't always have these questions handed to you. So, you have to keep having conversations so you know what to ask.  Start with questions like the following, but don't ask them all in 1 day:

-Who did you play with at recess?  Have I met that kid before?  What are you playing?  After you hear their name a few times, maybe ask if they want to get their phone number and have them over for a play.  (these questions ensure your child is being social, helps you know who their friends are and if they are keeping busy and out of trouble at recess)  My son's answers have recently changed to "we just hung out" or "we just chatted" and so I am encouraging him to do that some recesses, but also play wall ball or manhunt to mix it up a bit.

-What did you do in Math today?  Don't get an answer?  Prompt with things like fractions?  Multiplication?  And sometimes they will remember... my child says, "nope, that graphing thing we are doing" - then I say, "what graphing thing?" And all of a sudden he remembers they are doing a survey for the whole school and I find out what it is about and can inquire about it next week again. If you don't get a response, ask them to bring home their notebook or workbook to show you. (This allows you to see what they are working on in class and how they are doing, if you see a lot of blank pages or incorrect answers, you can follow up at home with more practice or talk to the teacher to see if you should be concerned)

-Does your teacher ever read books out loud to you?  Oh, yeah, what book are you reading right now?   What is it about?  Do you like it?  Why or why not?  Do you sit at your desk when they read or go to the carpet?  Do you take turns reading out loud or does only the teacher read?  Do you ever read in small groups or with partners?  Have you ever read out loud to your class or to your teacher? (This gives you an idea if the teacher is doing read alouds, shared readings or guided reading groups and helps give you an idea of what kind of books your child likes to read and why)

By asking your child questions like these, you will start to get a sense of what their classroom is like and how their teachers operate their classrooms.  Hopefully you are hearing good things from your child.  When they are happy or excited about school, then you feel comfortable letting them spend 6 hours a day there. As we all know, there are different types of teachers.  Personally, I think that is a good thing - this means over the course of a number of years, your child will receive a variety of teaching strategies and learn to deal with various types of personalities and expectations.

There are times however, when the answers you get are not satisfying or they worry you. Then you have to determine what you want to do about it. Do you need to talk to the teacher and find out what is going on? Do you need to remind your child/yourself that there are 25 odd kids in the class and monitor more closely? Do you want to check with another parent in the class to see if their child is having similar issues?

In my next post, I'll talk about Parent/Teacher Relationships and what to do if you are not hearing answers you are happy with.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

EQAO testing

This year I teach Grade 5, but more often that not I teach Grade 6 and that is an EQAO testing year.  In fact, EQAO is running right now.  I can't say I miss it!

First, if you are reading this out of Ontario, EQAO stands for Evil Questions Attacking Ontario... oops, no that is what the students call it, it actually stands for Education Quality and Accountability Office.  Students in Ontario write standardized tests in Grade 3, 6 and 9 and a literacy test in Grade 10.

Let me be clear, I absolutely believe their needs to be accountability in any field of work.  I want my doctor to know what she is doing, I want a bus driver who is driving students to be well trained and I want teachers, including my own children's teachers, to be good at their job. If I am being honest, I want the quality of education that my children get to be inspiring!  I want them to want to learn and come home excited about their day at school, but I try to make my expectations reasonable and am happy when they simply enjoy going to school on a daily basis and that they are indeed learning.

The question is, does the EQAO test provide accountability?  Personally, I think there are just too many flaws with the system to make it do that.  Let's start a list:
  • Grade 6 teachers have to rush their curriculum to be done by the end of May to ensure students have learned everything they will be tested on.
  • Teachers are strongly encouraged to have every student write the test, even if we know it will cause a student distress: ESL students, ADHD students, students with learning disabilities, students diagnosed with anxiety... 
  • If your school scores high, you don't get any funding to improve.  For years, my school received NO literacy coaching, NO money for new resources and little access to board workshops because the test showed we were doing above average. (Therefore we fell quite behind in current teaching methodologies and spent years catching up)
  • If your school scores low, then you receive funding and coaching, which is great.  However from colleagues of mine who taught at OFIP schools (Ontario Focused Intervention Partnership) it was often overwhelming. Teacher received so much coaching and direction that there was little room for creativity or inquiry based learning.
  • Students write exams for 6 days, often in a row, and for 2 periods straight OR until they are done the test of the day. 
  • There is no choice in activity, there is no partner to brainstorm with, no Chromebook to use for research, no time to revise answers later after you have thought about it.... it just isn't done in the way students normally work.
  • Questions are standardized and quite often asked in a way that they may not be in the classroom, often wordy and sometimes confusing.
  • You can not help a child with the test.  I can't give a prompt or a reminder, or clarify what a question is asking, they can't look back at their notes or use an anchor chart that they would have been able to use in class.  
  • The test only tests Language and Math, so all those students who are good at Science, Gym or Drawing don't have a chance to show their strengths.
  • Is it really testing students or teachers?  I know that this test is supposed to test cumulative skills throughout the grades, but IF you have a Grade 6 teacher that does not teach their students the relationship between a triangle and rectangles or ratio or about rotations... students are... well, they are screwed, because they absolutely test specific Grade 6 curriculum expectations. So then does the test tell you about the students and where they need help or that they had a crappy teacher for 1 year?  
  • It goes completely against what the current teaching methodologies are promoting.  We're being encouraged to have students critically think, to work collaboratively, to not memorize, but understand,, to apply knowledge they have learned, to offer feedback about their thinking... this test does not include any of these.
  • Every teacher is different and some Grade 6 teachers teach to the test.  Which they say is really just teaching the curriculum, because that is what EQAO tests.  I agree with that to an extent, BUT when you: re-use old test questions, have students write super long explanatory answers that you would not otherwise have them do, have them show their work in multiple ways with Numbers, Pictures and Words, teach students "how to write a test" - guess on answers, tell them not to leave anything blank, write a much as they can... then we are losing sight of what is important.  AND then, we compare this Grade 6 class, to a class who has a different teacher who may use hands on, collaborative teaching and inquiry based learning, where students have not had to sit still for 2 hours and write a test without being able to ask a simple question. All of a sudden this doesn't seem so standardized does it?
This isn't even a comprehensive list, just what comes to the top of my head...

So why can EQAO be valuable?  

Administration can use it to determine areas of weakness in your school and to plan School Improvement Plans, but my question is why do I need this test to tell me where my students are weak?  I know where my students are weak this year, I don't have to wait for some test to tell me when I get results back next fall.  Okay, sure maybe I couldn't tell you they were weak specifically in the communication area of patterning, but I don't really believe that is where I want to focus my time either.  My class is weak in the area of resilience.  They make a lot of excuses for themselves, blame others for their lack of effort, they can not solve a problem on their own and guess what?  I think this is much better data than what EQAO will tell me.  I'd much rather spend provincial money on a motivational speaker that could help inspire my kids to keep going or take responsibility for their own actions, maybe invest in a program that would help them apply real world problem solving skills. (and don't get me wrong, I know my class needs to work in this area, but we are working on it and that is part of my job and I love my class)

I saw on a website that it costs over 30 million dollars to run EQAO for 1 year.  WOW!  Imagine what else we could do with that money. 

So how should we hold teachers accountable?  Stay tuned for my next post to find out my thoughts :) In the meantime, feel free to add your standardized testing thoughts below. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

School Dress Codes

Hi folks, I received an email from my Vice Principal reminding us about dress code seen as the weather is getting warming. It sparked some interesting discussions from our staff... and all of a sudden I had the inspiration for this next post. 

Here is what the Dress Code expectations are for my school board:

The dress code is based on the expectations of a professional learning workplace and should reflect a safe and respectful environment and is in compliance with OCDSB Policies and Procedures (P.014.SCO). The standards should reflect the following;

  • respect for learning
  • reflect the decency of a professional work environment
  • respect for the rights and dignity of others
  • respect the safety of persons and property and;
  • is free from the promotion of violence, drugs and alcohol.
Students who fail to live up to the dress code standards will be expected to change to meet the dress code.

So, I guess my question is:   What is reasonable or respectable in my opinion will vary from how someone else views it - pretty subjective, right? IF we go by this code, then personally I don't have an issue with spaghetti straps (which normally we don't allow at school) or even a bra strap showing for that matter, as long as it is reasonable.

For me, I would say no mid riffs showing, no see through shirts, no upper thigh showing, no butt cracks showing, no black bras under white shirts, no muscle shirts with hairy armpits... 

The issue with tank tops for me is not the strap itself, it is the low fronts or tightness.  For younger girls, really who cares if they wear spaghetti straps - I don't. But for more developed girls, often this becomes a different issue with let's say "extra cleavage" showing...  if we are going to get into that, well then I'VE got a problem myself... just saying!  

And let's not forget about boys: muscle shirts for sports seems reasonable, but during class time maybe not as necessary or fitting the "professional work environment" code. Plus I don't want to see his boxer briefs sticking out the top of his pants AND I don't want his pants down to his knees either. 

I don't appreciate ANY form of racism, sexism or swearing on T-shirts.  Freedom of speech may exist, but I don't believe these are necessary or appropriate for an elementary school setting and I wouldn't appreciate anyone wearing shirts like that in public at all. Unfortunately for me, I only have power over kids who sit in my classroom and not the guy across from me at the mall.

My philosophy: If you see a student wearing something that you wouldn't let your own child wear - address it.

Personally, I don't think it is in anyone's best interest to enforce a lot of dress code worries. 
  • For teachers, let's face it, it becomes one more thing we have to focus on and I'd rather spend my time engaging a student than battling them about their attire. Plus certain teachers are more vigilant with these types of rules, then others, which leaves certain teachers being the "mean" teacher and others being the "teacher who doesn't care" - this then takes us to a lack of consistency which causes issues in itself.  Then we have the whole issue of male teachers, asking female students to put on a sweater - like that's not awkward at all I am sure. 
  • In the case of students, teachers end up being that person who is nagging them about one more thing and then they aren't going to come to us when they have a problem or need to talk.  Kids need to be able to show their identity and uniqueness, but at the same time, students need to feel safe and not uncomfortable with what someone else is wearing.
  • And parents, well as a parent, I model what I think is appropriate and only purchase clothes for my child that I would let them wear.  I don't have teenagers yet... wait, my daughter just turned 13, so I technically that is a lie. She's not buying her own clothes yet and let's hope that when she does, she knows what is appropriate.  It is our job as parents to teach children to: respect their own bodies, expect others to respect our bodies and to know the difference between "looking good" and "looking trashy".
  • For administration like our V.P., well I'd rather he be helping a student than have to dish out punishments for dress code violations.
In the end, it all comes down to respect.  Kids need to learn to respect and appreciate not only their own bodies, but the people around them. They need to dress in a reasonable and appropriate way to not make others feel uncomfortable.  If I feel uncomfortable with what they are wearing, then as a teacher, I feel it is my job to say something about it and ensure the other kids in my class don't also feel uncomfortable.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Thoughts on Digital Learning

I will admit that I personally, am not a very “Techie” person, I mean... I don’t even carry a cell phone around with me and I still type putting two spaces after a period (apparently young people don’t do that anymore). That said, I believe that we live in the 21st Century and that if we do not teach our students how to use, and be safe with, technology that we are doing a real disservice to them.

As a teacher, I always have a stream of questions on my mind…. What does this kid really need to know?  What is going to help them be a better person in the real world?  What is going to help them get a job in 10 years? 16 years ago when I started teaching, that wasn’t quite as challenging to answer, but nowadays, technology is changing so fast that I can NOT even predict the skills they will need to know in the future. Will they have to know how to write cursive anymore?  Likely not, but let’s hope they can still read it by then ;)  

Example: Last year one of my former students “invited” me to “like” his Facebook page and “follow” him.  He was taking a travel course at Algonquin College and his final mark depended on how many “likes” and “followers” he had on his Facebook page. He created a fake page about a Segway Tour you could take around the market and Parliament Hill.  When I had him in my class 10 years ago, I did not even dream that is what a final project might look like - I mean, Facebook barely even existed then.    

So, how do I teach technology, if I myself am not an expert with the technology and I cannot predict the future?   The answer is… I don’t teach it.  The kids teach me.  I allow the students opportunities to “play” on devices, not play as in fool around and play games, but play as in tinker. I give them opportunities, choice and options: I point them in the right directions, I guide their thinking, I discover cool programs and show them… guess what, if they like it… they use it! AND if they don’t want to use technology, they don’t have to. (Well... unless, I’m forcing them to answer a survey online or watch a youtube video to reflect on or revise a peer’s work on Google Drive…)  

Example: In my recent “Not-So-Book-Report” assignment students had to make a creative portion to help prove their understanding of what they read.  I had many students choose to build a diorama or draw pictures of their characters, but I also had students make: stop-motion videos, imovies and use drawing programs to walk us through the plot of the story and these were some of the most engaging projects for the audience to watch.

The single most important thing I think I can teach a child right now, is to be adaptable. Technology is changing and changing fast. It doesn’t matter if they know and understand every program, it matters if they have a basic sense of how programs (and social media) work. I think our new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau and President Obama would both have a thing or two to say about how Social Media helped them win their elections. Did you know that Trudeau has 2 million likes on Facebook?  Did you know that the highest number of likes come from the age group in their 20’s - amazing!  He is targeting young people, the future of the world, and it is working.  He is engaging them through Technology.

Okay, so I’m ranting a bit, but you can see I am passionate about this, right?  

What is actually happening in our classrooms?

-In the last 3 years my school has become more Google Savvy, using Google: Drive, Mail, Slides, Calendar, Sheets, Forms and slowly moving into Google: Read & Write, Classroom, and Sites.

Examples from my class: I send my class emails with instructions for their “Weekly 5” language stations and links to videos I want them to watch.  We used Google Drive to look at photos and then wrote the BEST sentence we could and any student with a device could be typing AT THE SAME TIME - cool, right?  They could see what the other was writing and be inspired!  Students who choose to submit journal entries on Google Drive receive teacher comments right on their document and can “resolve” issues after they fix errors or add more information. In fact, I can be at home in the evening making suggestions on a student document and they can be working on it at the same time. Group work projects can be done in the same manner. Math surveys no longer have to be tabulated by hand, we can do our survey using Google Forms and it does a lovely tally and will even make a graph for us (although, I still make my class draw their own graphs in most cases to keep learning balanced).  We use Google Slides for our spelling lists and each time I give them new words to learn, they type them into their slide show, so they can always reference it.

-BYOD- students are allowed, even encouraged in some classes, to bring in their own device to enhance their learning.  Students who have quick access to their own device can use them as a: calculator, dictionary, thesaurus, research tool, voice recorder, camera to take photos of notes or anchor charts, agenda/homework tracker, math converter, calendar, timer… and of course they can access everything GOOGLE.

-Digital Citizenship, is being added to the OCDSB Character Wheel, because a good citizen is a good citizen in the virtual world, too!  Teachers are being encouraged to embed mini-lessons on internet safety, security of devices, importance of communication with parents, keeping a balanced life and not always being behind a screen… into their everyday classes as they would with other Character Education traits.

Where we are headed?

I think as parents we look into the future and see a land where paper and pencil are obsolete. We envision that our children won't be able to read cursive writing and that they will no longer know how to communicate face to face with people. In the movie Back to the Future they predicted we'd all be on hover boards right now, but I don't see that happening, but who's to say what will happen. All I can do is control what I feel is appropriate for right now.

My mind is working on the idea of a Learning Commons in our library and a Maker Space for extra-curricular use. They are being talked about in great length online and I even went for a tour of our local library’s “Imagine Space”, which includes: 3D printers, Makerbots, a Green screen and Laser Cutters for public use.

-The most recent new learning tools for students I want to look into more:

Other websites you may have not seen that have been on my radar for awhile

English Resources:

Storyline Online: http://www.storylineonline.net/ (stars reading stories)

Wordle: http://www.wordle.net/ (word clouds)
Tagxedo: http://www.tagxedo.com/ (word clouds)
Prezi slide show: http://prezi.com/
Vocaroo: http://vocaroo.com/ (Voice recorder)
Math Resources:
Science Resources
National Geographic for Kids: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/

Social Studies Resources
Art/Music/Dance/Drama Resources
Reader’s Theatre’s Scripts: http://www.thebestclass.org/rtscripts.html

General Resources

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ (pinboard)

National Film Board: http://www.nfb.ca/

Khan Academy: Khan Academy