September – Connecting Picture Books to STEAM

Librarians/Learning Commons personnel and teachers  are always asking me for ideas on how to incorporate Makerspaces or easy Technology implementation ideas when they are working with students. Below you will find some Early and Middle Years ideas for one month. 

Book Suggestion STEAM Activity Extra Tech Tips
Back to School: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Teacher Guide

Use a box to design the Fastest bus for Pigeon to drive on his own. Bus must be powered with only one push from the designer. Measure the distance in little student feet or centimetres and larger feet and metres for older engineers. Have small Pigeon cut-outs for students to include in their design. (See How to Draw the Pigeon pp5-6 and Reproducible p9) Digital Portfolio – a good time to start using/adding to digital portfolio in whichever platform for K-4. Do an introductory activity or have them reflect about this STEAM Activity.
The Dot

The book’s hashtag #MakeYourMark will have a whole new meaning with this maker project. Use paper plates to have students use maker supplies to create a DOT that represents them. Add a different element by having partners interview each other and design a maker DOT for their new friend.  Sign up for the International Dot Day Celebration. There are many activities found on this site. As well, if you have access to iPads with the Quiver app, print off a Quiver sheet for students, have them create their dot and then see how it is transformed into 3D with augmented reality. 

In this innovative picture book, add an “A” to STEM to make STEAM. Using fine art, students practice mathematical problem-solving with four basic principles: keep an open mind, form unusual number combinations, use multiple math skills, and find patterns. Students are asked to find solutions to the questions poised for each painting. Have students either video or create audio excerpts discussing their painting. Connect the video/audio to a QR code and attach it to the original student painting. Parents can scan the QR code with their smartphone to view/listen to their child.
Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women

Have students use cardboard (or other supplied materials) to create their own invention. Using Google Keep or other online drawing tool, have students draw out their own invention before creating it. 




Emotions in the Classroom

Helping students navigate their emotions in their world is important to success throughout the school year as well as life.

Research shows that when teachers help students learn to manage their feelings during the school day, they become better problem solves and communicators when involved in an emotional issue. They are also better able to engage in the learning environment. 

In an age where the media and medical organizations are saying that teens (and even younger) are stressed out, overly anxious or even depressed, there needs to be opportunities for them to recognize and manage their emotions in a healthy way.

Watch this engaging, informative and unforgettable TED Talk by psychologist and author Susan David:

Dr. David offers 4 steps in teaching children how to work through negative emotions. They are feel it, show it, label it and watch it go.


Validate the emotion instead of saying “don’t be _____”.


Accept any emotion instead of using expressions like ‘boys don’t cry’. We are humans, not robots and our feelings make us honest with ourselves.


Ask students, ‘how do you think (this person) is feeling?’ Teacher them to understand what is fear, panic, resentment, etc. Look at facial expressions, body placement.


All emotions have value, but they will also pass. Give examples of what an emotion feels like and then what it feels like after it passes and what was done to help it pass.

When experiencing similar emotions in another situation, Dr. David says ask ‘who do you want to be in this situation?’ and ‘what’s important to you about this?’ Students will feel stronger as they start to learn that it is not how they feel that is important, but HOW THEY RESPOND to the feeling that makes the difference. Show students how to use emotion rather than be used by it – ‘what’s the function (of the specific emotion)?’

Literature for the Classroom

Book Riot has a great list of 23 Children’s Books About Emotions for young’ens. For teens, check out Epic Reads 10 Young Adult Books Guaranteed to Give You All the Feels.



Summer Break!

brown wooden dock over body of water

Photo by Vincent Albos on

Summer break – my time to catch up around the house with gardening, cleaning, visiting, vacationing and maybe even sleep in (just a little). It is also a time for me to recharge and reflect. You won’t see me blogging until the end of August. My twitter and instagram accounts are much more active so feel free to follow those!


GSuite in Action: GSlides

Classroom Uses

Google Slides is a presentation editor that users can work on individually or collaboratively. They can be used at any grade level with any subject area. Check out the various examples below!




  • Flat Icon – students can show what they are learning visually with icons



  • Writing with Pictures
  • Writing/Picture Prompt






















GSuite in Action: GSheets

Classroom Uses

Google Sheets is a web-based application that allows users to create, update and modify spreadsheets and share the data live online. They can be used at any grade level with any subject area. Check out the various examples below!



















  • Flippity add-on – turn GSheets into Quiz Show, tracker, flashcards, etc.






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Posted by on May 12, 2019 in Uncategorized



Share Your Learning

Here’s my podcast on two great edtech tools. Listen in!

Get students sharing their learning via Adobe Spark and FlipGrid. I provide an overview of each of these tools and how to get started.


Read through the 5 Ways to use Adobe Spark Video in your classroom and you will be able to instantly add these ideas throughout the year for any student-centred projects. A great opportunity to work on refining thoughts and ideas while also producing something unique and a showcase of what a students knows! Check out the tutorial at


Students can compose a dialogue for a TV/radio commercial, a phone script, a talking poem or even a memoir. Flipgrid is an online video response platform. Teachers can post topics, videos or links and students respond to the prompt through video reflections. Check out Getting Started with FlipGrid if you are new to this tool.

From all the video responses, using created criteria, peers could choose their top 10 responses and teachers can then create MixTapes that highlight some of the creative thinking over a certain period or concept. Showcase Student Videos with Flipgrid MixTapes.

The ottomat3ch podcast is a look into the IT and ET insights, tools, resources, cool gadgets, policies and anything geeky that can be used in an educational environment. You’ll leave with practical pointers and authentic advice.
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Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Uncategorized


What’s Your Type?

Adobe just released this great interactive survey for people to find out their Creative Type. The 15 question survey assesses your overall habits and tendencies (how you think, act and see the world) and hones in to help you better understand your creative side.

We know that personality types are not just in one category or another, yet I see this survey a great one for teams or even students to get a better understanding of their creative potential as an individual (and if you do it and share with team, how it can used in that instance).

Here’s my Creative Type according to the survey:


  • the strengths and potential section are bang on
  • I like the middle column where it further explains my Adventurer Type (in work).
  • I’ll be asking my work colleagues to complete it to see where their Creative Types land. It will be interesting to see if there is an Artist amongst us and do I already collaborate closely with them?
  • Read more about the scientific study of the creative process and the creative personality via the Adobe Create Magazine April edition.

Go ahead, I dare you to take 10 minutes (or less) to complete your Creative Type survey.