Weekly Tech Tips and Tidings


Photo Credit: mattwalker69 via Compfight cc

This week try out some seasonal activities, work on comprehension and delve into edtech research!

Tech Tips and Tools

  • Google Certified Teachers created lesson plans for INTERSTELLAR, a new movie from Christopher Nolan that touches on topics from climate change to space travel to the theory of relativity. Find the right lesson plan to take your classes even further with Google Play for Education.
  • Rockin’ Around the Geome-tree – Educator Tom Rose of Chowchilla High School in California uses Geogebra, a free web app, to bring complicated math concepts to life. “The app’s ability to move things around and dynamically see what changes and what doesn’t goes much further than the most well-written lecture notes,” Rose says. “Students love working with GeoGebra, and have no problem loudly saying ‘YES!’ when I tell them it’s ‘a GeoGebra day’ rather than another slideshow from Mr. Rose.”
  • Follow Santa around the world with Google Maps Santa Tracker: Take your students on a tour of Santa’s Village to learn about holiday traditions from all over the world, access complete standards-based lesson plans, and enjoy fun holiday games.
  • GAFE Tools you can trust:Google knows that trust is earned through protecting privacy and providing top-notch security to schools and students. Learn more about their commitment on our Google for Education Trust Center. This includes their detailed paper, “Data Security, Transparency, & Privacy: How Google Protects Your Data“.
  • Moon walks with Neil & Buzz – See the moon like never before with Google Earth Moon View. Zoom in on astronauts’ footprints, watch rare footage of the Apollo missions, and take a tour of moon landing sites with Apollo astronauts narrating the whole experience.


Discovery Education Tidbits

  • DEN Trend Report – this week concentrates on building strong teacher leadership, teacher evaluations, global warming, engaging girls in tech and games to reimagine learning.
  • The Envelope Please – this strategy has students making a prediction to enhance and check on their comprehension.
  • Zaption Premium Access – take a Digital Learning Survey and get premium access to Zaption Pro which turns online videos into interactive learning experiences that engage students, deepen understanding and track student progress.


MediaSmarts News


Instructional and Ed Tech Strategies and Supports for K-9 Math

Teachers are always looking for strategies, resources and information in order to help set up their classroom environment in a more universally designed format. For Alberta teachers, there are several resources already available. One just needs to the time to go through and plan appropriately. Check out the information below to help plan engaging, captivating and relevant learning opportunities for ALL students:


  • With this document, one can go from the grade level and see specific outcomes above and below that grade level to see what to expect from students
    • For example, on pp.32-33 shows that students should “use patterns to describe the world and to solve problems” and see what the expectations are from K-9.
    • On p.59, the grade one achievement indicators may be used to determine whether students have met the corresponding specific outcome. P. 66 has grade two, p. 79 is grade three and so on.
    • The continuum is organized under the number sense, patterns & relations, spatial sense and statistics & probability strands and was developed by BC teachers to give an overview of the WNCP math program.
    • As well, all of our curricula have these continuums, take time to check these out!


  • Use the rubrics from the Inclusive Education Library
  • This section of the Inclusive Education Library includes grade-level Math Rubrics for assessing student’s understanding of various math concepts. These are to be used at the start of the school year – a great way to gather info on a student and then select the appropriate strategies and supports!


  • Review Math Processes
  • Alberta Education has produced quality Videos and Fact Sheets on the seven math processes and has developed corresponding parent FAQ handouts. Great to also show students!


  • Use performance-based tasks from Alberta Assessment Consortium
  • The subscription-based website – – offers many opportunities for teachers to take well-developed tasks at any grade level and subject area (math or otherwise).


  • Great questions to ask student mathematicians
  • For the most part, teachers are comfortable with the math concepts and the activities however they may not have the edge on extending students’ mathematical thinking with specific questions. I find the questions below a good start….

math questions

  • Check out Inclusive Strategies and Supports (Math) Division I, II, III info
    • There are also a variety of Instructional Strategies and Supports available for teachers to use in Language Arts, Math, Differentiated Instruction and Gifted. As this blog is about Math, let’s take a look at the Mathematical Instructional Supports and specific resources associated with the universal, specialized and targeted sections for Division I, Division II and Division III.
  • Check out Math Planning Guides
    • LearnAlberta has math planning guides at each grade level. Just search for “planning guide” and choose your grade level. These guides are a tool for teachers to use when they are designing units and assessments. They are based on the Understanding by Design process created via Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe.

Review each of these resources, share them with your colleagues, try them at various times throughout the year, plan to use more the following year. All of them will certainly have an impact on how teachers and students interact with math and numeracy in the learning environment.


Get Media Literate Here!

During this week, MediaSmarts hosted its 9th annual Media Literacy Week. There were various opportunities for students to engage and talk about media literacy and how youth creates with multimedia. Some highlights include:

  • Facebook Canada, the Canadian Teacher’s Federation and MediaSmarts met with high school students from Greater Toronto Area to see what fantastic projects using social networking platforms were being developed and utilized. (See the new app created by one group from Manitoba!). Other teens from across Canada were taking part in the Encounters with Canada program that was live streaming this event.
  • Hands-on workshops were alkso offered and hosted by #FeedtheDeed, Facebook, Canada, Girls Learning Code, Mozilla, National Film Board of Canada and Twitter. Interested in hosting your own? Find out how you can take part here.
  • If you missed out on te events, have no fear since there are some available for online viewing. Check out the events calendar which is running all y.
  • Transforming K-12 Webinar with NAMLE where K-12 leaders and practitioners talk about how they are finding ways to integrate media literacy and youth media into teaching and learning in formal learning environments.
  • Learning from youth media organizations webinar where youth media organizations discuss their experiences engaging youth in media creation.
  • Manitoba students talk about the positive uses of social media to a local radio host.

Weekly Tech Tips and Tidings

tech tips2

Photo Credit: Sky Noir via Compfight cc

This week we have a variety of tips ranging from Google, media info, interactive chrome apps, and upcoming PD sessions (in and out of school division).

Google Apps for Education


Tech News from MediaSmarts

  • Beyond gaming, the VR boom is everywhere—from classrooms to therapy couches – Creators all over the world are looking beyond entertainment to adapting head-mounted displays for everything from psychotherapy, special-needs education, and space exploration to virtual luxury car test drives, virtual travel, and even VR movies.
  • Terror fight turns to Internet – The Canadian government says it’s looking for a way to stop terror groups and their followers from using the Internet to advance their cause as a debate emerges over how to fight threats to Canada while preserving civil liberties including free speech and privacy.
  • Your Next Psychologist May Prescribe a Video Game – A game developed by gaming tech experts and health researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas simulates everyday experiences and social situations that are typically difficult for those with autism or anxiety disorders. And it’s just one example in a growing trend in which video games are forms of therapy.
  • Museums Morph Digitally – Museums are being redefined for a digital age. The transformation, museum officials say, promises to touch every aspect of what museums do, from how art and objects are presented and experienced to what is defined as art.
  • Anti-spam law targets software starting January – Canada’s controversial anti-spam law has already forced businesses to change how they communicate with consumers by email. Early next year, the law will also start targeting software makers.


Tech Tips and Tools


Discovery Education Tidbits


PD Opportunities – November


Math Instructional Supports and Strategies – Division III


Photo Credit: Jorge Franganillo via Compfight cc

* For professional reading

- AbEd Math Video Series – includes My Child’s Math, 7 Processes, and Math: It’s everywhere videos.

- AbEd Fact Sheets and Useful Links – 7 mathematical processes fact sheets series, K-9 fact sheets for parents.

- AbEd K-9 Mathematics Achievement Indicators

- Boaler, J. (2013) Setting up positive norms in math class.

- Lockhart’s Lament (first six pages) -

- Walle, J. (2004). Elementary and middle school mathematics: teaching developmentally. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.



  •         Develop and use mathematical language

- communication in math can occur while constructing a Foldable (cross-curricular integration) from Zike, D. (2003). Dinah Zike’s big book of math: for middle school and high school. San Antonio, TX: Dinah-Might Activities

  •         Activate and build background knowledge

- JUMP Math – In JUMP lessons, students practice inquiry in manageable steps. They are expected to discover and understand mathematical concepts by answering questions and working through challenges on their own, but they are also provided with a good deal of rigorous guidance and support from the teacher. JUMP Math publications include a student assessment & practice book (grades 1-8), Smart lesson materials, Teacher’s guide, Answer keys, Unit tests, Curriculum guides, Confidence building units, Teacher’s manuals for CBU’s.

- IXL software for supplementary support – as a warm-up or cool-down for the day’s Math activities or twice a week during a regular schedule, has a subscription cost per student.

- Math Planning Guides with outcomes, evidence collection, instruction plan, assessment and follow-up at each grade level found in LearnAlberta and extras found on Chalkboard > The Classroom > Curriculum > Mathematics K-9.

- Alberta Assessment Consortium (AAC) Math Performance-based tasks at various grade levels

- Math Problem of the Week from University of Waterloo –

- More problems of the week from MathCounts (US organization) –

- Utilize this process of Think n Draw, Talk about it, Try something, Does it make sense?

  •         Reference and use models and exemplars

- Big Book of Math (as referenced above)

- keep student exemplars from year to year (with permission)

- Discovery Education Canada > Curriculum Standards Search > Math > Grade level will offer video clips for specific outcomes.

  •         Use manipulatives and pictorial representations to explore and express learning

- Use Kushnir, D. (2001). Cooperative learning & mathematics: high school activities. San Clemente, CA: Kagan, to structure activities and interactions to allow for positive interdependence, individual accountability, equal participation and simultaneous interaction.

- have manipulative kits available

- use the SMART Notebook Gallery

- Problematize math by using Walle, J. & Lovin, L. (2006). Teaching student-centered mathematics. Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon.

- Implement strategies and work through questions and tasks from Small, M. & Lin, A. (2010). More good questions: great ways to differentiate secondary mathematics instruction. New York Reston, VA Scarborough, Ont: Teachers College Press MCTN Nelson Education

- Utilize for math and cross-curricular lessons

- Asking effective questions – provoking student thinking/deepening conceptual understanding in

the mathematics classroom

  •         Connect numbers to their own real/authentic-life experiences

- challenge all students to a monthly or per unit question using Westley, J. (1995). Puddle Questions for Math: Assessing Mathematical Thinking, Grade 7. Chicago: Creative Publications

to assess their mathematical thinking


  •         Create scaffolded hands-on activities for students to work with a partner or in small groups to:

o    learn and use mathematical words

- word walls

- collaborative class Google Doc

- Frayer model



o    create connections between personal  experiences and new mathematical concepts

-Numeracy Nets for each grade level ($138 each for grades 3-8 by Pearson) which is an assessment and planning tool that uncovers students’ misconceptions, enhances instructional responses and improves student achievement. Appendices show correlation with specific approved Math resources!!

- Leaps and Bounds (grades ¾, 5/6, 7/8 by Nelson) provide interventions for various topics in each strand. Each intervention can be used for whole class/small group/individual. Use a diagnostic, choose a pathway, then an intervention which is either open-ended or guided. Teacher’s Resource and Student Blackline Masters cost around $300 together.

- Use Creative Commons images, take photos from around the community, brainstorming, compare/contrast maps or even check out the Bad Maths Flickr group.

- use the Think Pair Share Kagan Cooperative Learning Structure which provide students with food for thought on a given math problem enabling them time to reflect and share these ideas with another student. See more ideas in Andrini, B. & Kagan, S. (1991). Cooperative learning & mathematics: a multi-structural approach. San Juan Capistrano, Calif: Resources for Teachers.

o    learn to use manipulatives

- fraction circles, base ten blocks, balance + counters) to represent numbers and problems in a variety of contexts

o    use visual models and supports

- open number lines, hundred chart, rekenreks, strings, place value mats, open array, grid paper, LearnAlberta Gizmos,, Discovery Education Canada, Paperport Notes iOS app grid paper

o    revisit and review key concepts using a variety of learning experiences connected to real-life experiences at home, school and in the community

- Khan Academy (online videos), ShowMe/Educreations (iOS apps) demos by students/teachers

- problematize math examples from (and check out Dan Meyer and other noteworthy math bloggers!)

o    develop and apply personal strategies

- write, type, use audio or video in math journals/blogs, think alouds

o    explore multiple ways to express learning

- create math picture book such as building one from Read & Write Gold/for Google Vocabulary List, posters – paper and GlogsterEdu

- use Growth Mindset Feedback (added comments) throughout. Originally  from



  •         Use direct teaching, repeated modelling and guided practice and small group and individualized instruction to:

o    Create hands-on multisensory activities to introduce and explore new math concepts and/or experiences

- iOS apps: Educreations/ShowMe

- LearnAlberta Math Gizmos

- National Library of Virtual Manipulatives –

- SMART Notebook Gallery

o    Support development of vocabulary related to numbers

- math journal/blog

- iOS apps: Fotobabble, Wordfoto

o    Explore, discuss and record how numbers are used in the physical environment at school, at home and in the community

- math station/centres

- collaborative small group Google Doc

o    Have access to math materials and visual prompts that are modified for ease of use

- box of manipulatives at point of instruction

- embed visuals into lessons, introduction to concepts

o    Create and use visual records from previous learning experiences using photos, anchor charts and experience charts

- build a math folder in Google Drive and make a math journal, add various Google docs and presentations created throughout the year

- utilize specific graphic organizers to target thinking

- save parts of math videos (Discovery Education, LearnAlberta, Khan Academy or student/teacher-created) for certain students to review as many times as they need

o    Explore and record number operations and basic math concepts using visual prompts, concrete objects, pictures, photos and dramatizations.

- view (subscription) on specific math concepts and create own hip hop video explanation



Weekly Tech Tips and Tidings

tech tip

Photo Credit: Matthew Clark Photography & Design via Compfight cc


This weeks shares are all about how to get your Google muscles working, read what national news is occurring with technology in life and learning, connect with some interesting trends with Discovery Education and check out a few cool tools to engage your diverse learners.

TechNews from MediaSmarts
Why Chicago is mandating coding education – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel believes the language of the future is code writing — and he wants every kid in Chicago to be prepared.
This App Teaches Millennials About the World Before They Try to Change It – As much as selfies and student load debt, the drive to make a difference defines the Millennial generation. But 18-year old Patrick Finnegan is worried about his fellow millennials. “A lot of people my age talk about changing the world,” he says. “But they don’t know anything about it.”
Sensory marketing: the brands appealing to all five senses – From virtual holidays in Hawaii to plane food playlists, brands are using new technology to interact with consumers
How Facebook Is Changing the Way Its Users Consume Journalism – Facebook uses mathematical formulas to predict what its users might want to read on the site, from which, a study says, about 30 percent of adults in America get their news.
Report: Teachers Better at Using Tech than Digital Native Students – It’s time to give up the notion that “digital natives” are more tech savvy than their teachers. According to a recent study of middle school science students and teachers, the teachers tended to have greater technology use.

Google Apps for Education Updates
How Googlers Collaborate: Sheets and Groups (6 mins. video)
Google Groups, all you need to know (5 mins.)
Google Forms tips and tricks (6 mins.)
Google Slides for awesome presentations (4 mins.)

Tech Tips and Tools
Citelighter – an online research tool that provides an organizational framework for research. Enables students to quickly find and record facts and automatically cite sources. See video intro HERE. Free version includes content-capturing tools, outlining tools and GDocs integration. Available as a website, Chrome app, and Safari extension. (Grades 6-12+)
Online Voice Recorder is a free application which records sound from the devices’ microphone which you can trim and save. It is available as a website and Chrome app.
Insert Audio into a GSlide – currently this is no direct way to insert audio into a GSlide, however one can create a YouTube webcam video and insert it. Check out the sample GSlide HERE.

Discovery Education Tidbits
Den Trend Report – see what’s trending in education this week covering things like effective technology use in the classroom personalized learning, student’s perspectives on technology, infractructure, gamification, etc.
From the Ground Up – The Science of Soil. A joint venture with Discovery Education and Nutrients for Life for grades 3 and 7 Science students that looks at agronomy career spotlights, family activities, interactive lesson plans, etc.


Weekly Tech Tips and Tidings


Photo Credit: Takashi(aes256) via Compfight cc


This week’s information concentrates on healthy use of tech, hacking, games, alerts, democracy and being creative in the learning environment.

Tech News from MediaSmarts

  • Media’s future: New dimension for movies, games, TV, social – In the past we sat on the couch to watch TV, drove to a theater to see a movie, picked up a controller to play a video game and opened up a specific website or app to connect with friends online. Now, the lines between these activities are blurring—we can do all those things just on our smartphones. But 25 years from now, the distinctions between, say, watching a movie and playing a game will blur.
  • 5  Reasons We Love Taking Selfies – Behavioral economist Dan Ariely, author of The Upside of Irrationality, and a Wall Street Journal columnist, breaks down the highlights of why we take selfies—  those ubiquitous self-portraits snapped on our smartphones.


Tech Tips and Tools

  • Easily create an intro and/or review activity with Jeopardy Rocks (K-12+). It’s a free website that automatically creates a link to your game.
  • Field Trip iPhone and Android free apps allow users to be alerted when they pass by interesting places, points of interest, etc.
  • TinEye is a reverse image search engine. You can submit an image to TinEye to find out where it came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or to find higher resolution versions. Use it as a Chrome extension or from a website.


Elections Canada

As educators, your role is more crucial than ever in showing the relevance of our parliamentary and democratic institutions to students – the voters of tomorrow. Elections Canada offers elementary, secondary and ESL teachers free educational resources, tools, activities, information and links, all designed to make your work a little easier.


National Democracy Challenge

Students (aged 14-17) have an opportunity to win an iPhone, a Go Pro Headcam or a trip to Ottawa to participate in the Encounters with Canada or Forum for Young Canadians simply by submitting a video, image or piece of writing answering the following theme: Show us why Canada should vote! For full contest details and entry, click here. Contest closes November 30, 2014


Kids Write 4 Kids Creative Challenge (Grades 4-8)

Ripple Digital Publishing is inviting aspiring authors to participate in this unique youth publishing opportunity. The Kids Write 4 Kids creative challenge provides an opportunity for youth to share their creativity and passion through stories. A panel of judges will select stories to be published as ebooks available at iBookstore, Amazon Kindle and Kobo. Visit the website for complete details! Deadline for entry is March 31, 2015.


Ken Spencer Award for Innovation

How are you embedding real-world learning inside and outside your classroom? Now’s the time to gain some valuable recognition for the changes you have provoked in your classroom, among a group of classes, a department or your whole school. Apply for the Canadian Education Association’s Ken Spencer Award for Innovation and inspire CEA with the way you’re designing teaching and learning environments for a post-Google generation of learning. Seven cash awards totaling $15,000 are available to be won for your school!



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,022 other followers