Category Archives: Achieve Outcomes

My #oneword for 2017


Pigs + Innovation?

Design Thinking

Entrepreneurial Spirit

Critical Inquiry

And many more concepts are certainly part of the education vernacular in 2016. These are not new concepts, however what is NEWer, is that schools, administrators and teachers are re-inventing the use of flexible learning opportunities by changing how the school day looks and feels. No more, ALL students should use the same No.2 pencil AT THE SAME TIME, but more time given by teachers to provide a space for students to engage in some really interesting learning.

The commercial below reminded of the amazing ‘innovative’ work that I get to see within PSD70 and via the #psd70 hashtag of engaged and effective learning!



To continue your learning, check out:



The Alberta Education system should strive to install the following qualities and abilities in our students:

  • Engaged Thinker: who thinks critically and makes discoveries; who uses technology to learn, innovate, communicate, and discover; who works with multiple perspectives and disciplines to identify problems and find the best solutions; who communicates these ideas to others; and who, as a life-long learner, adapts to change with an attitude of optimism and hope for the future.
  • Ethical Citizen: who builds relationships based on humility, fairness and open-mindedness; who demonstrates respect, empathy and compassion; and who through teamwo9rk, collaboration and communication contributes fully to the community and the world.
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit: who creates opportunities and achieves goals though hard work. perseverance and discipline; who strives for excellence and earns success; who explores ideas and challenges the status quo; who is competitive, adaptive and resilient; and who has the confidence to take risks and make bold decisions in the face of adversity.
  • Some great documentation is found with the Cross Curricular Competencies, created by the Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium (ERLC).


  • Critical Challenges found in Alberta’s Social Studies Program of Studies (password-protected). Once in LearnAlberta portal, then search “Critical Challenges” and you’ll find a goldmine of resources!
  • The Critical Thinking Consortium is also a great place for these resources. Some free but to dig into some more amazing stuff, get a membership! They also have some Critical Challenges but also so many more resources.

Empower your 2016 with One Word

creativePhoto Credit: artoyzflickr via Compfight cc

As of four days ago, my twitter stream has been flooded with teachers and students expressing their #oneword for 2016. I do remember tweeting my one word for 2015 but when I looked back at my blog, I see that it had been five years ago when I shared my #oneword (called Ultimate Word) and that is sad.

As I am multilingual, I wanted to pay homage to my two other languages – French and German for this post. So my #oneword will be joined with #unmot #einWort. My hope is that both French and German teachers and students will share their thoughts and actions regarding their word for 2016 too!

If you are not sure about this #oneword movement, Michele Price does a fantastic job describing it at

My 2016 word is
creative             créatif               kreativ

It is an extension of my professional growth plan that I write up every school year (see Go Ahead, Be Creative! from Sept. 2015).

  • I want to be CREATIVE with my learning – try new things, learn in new ways.
  • I try to be CREATIVE already in my cooking and my family sometimes likes it, maybe I will ask them to be creative with me and more of my efforts will be rewarded.
  • I would like to be CREATIVE in how I think about an issue or a problem that requires solving. Yes, logistics and emotions are there but what if I thought more creatively about it, could I come up with a solution(s) that maybe would have never been thought of? Hmmm.
  • I want to be CREATIVE in how I work out. Since I have a SmartTV, I should check out more YouTube videos that may garner some interesting healthy moves.

So now that you’ve had a moment to read my #oneword #unmot #einWort, what will yours be? and why?


Effective Classroom Instruction Using Tech: Non-linguistic Representation

graphicorgPhoto Credit: modellearning via Compfight cc

Eight years ago, the authors Pitler, Kuhn and Malenoski took the eleven essential instructional strategies that were identified originally by Marzano, Pickering and Pollock. These essential instructional strategies allow teachers to then use them purposefully to steadily improve student learning. In this digital age of learning and in considerations of this research, I have included not only an outline of how technology could be used to complement and enhance these teaching strategies but also specific technology tools/resources.

This is the fifth of a series of 11 posts on this topic.

Essential Instructional Strategy #5

In non-linguistic representation teachers focus on the use of visual, kinesthetic and whole-body systems to allow students to gain, store, reflect and recall knowledge. Technology allows an effective way to gather and represent student learning.

Within the learning environment, various resources may be used. Below is a complementary list of actions and ideas, but by no means is it an exhaustive list. Please add your ideas in the comments section if you like.

  • The use of graphic organizers to represent knowledge.
  • Having students create physical models of the knowledge and then take pictures to incorporate into a showcase blog or within Google Drive.
  • Having students generate mental pictures of the knowledge they are learning. Use Read&Write Gold/Google to have think about the pictures but also find them online. and LearnAlberta have curricular-specific images while Google Image Search > Search tools > Usage rights (change) will allow you to find copyright-free ones.
  • The use of pictures, infographs or pictographs to represent knowledge.
  • Having students engage in kinesthetic activities representing the knowledge such as using the Wii, Makerspaces and LegoRobotics.
  • Use charts and graphs with Excel and GoogleSheets.


1 – Pitler, H., R., E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works. Alexandria: ASCD.

2 – Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Also look at Dean, C.B., Hubbell, E.R., Pitler, H. & Stone, B.J. (2012). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement, 2nd Edition. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.



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.


Going for Growth


In Alberta, every teacher must develop and implement an annual plan for professional growth that shares the various activities a teacher will undertake throughout that school year in regards to professional learning. The Alberta Teacher’s Association has in-depth tutorials found HERE for those teachers new or unsure of how to develop a professional growth plan (PGP). Although the literature and various research and exemplars online make this plan look like a boring document, it really doesn’t and shouldn’t be!

Over the years my plans have varied with 2-3 goals, tying closely to a school’s Ed Plan and ensuring that I can achieve most or all of it during the school year. As of the past few years in my current role as Curriculum Educational Technology Facilitator with Learning Services, I find that my PGP continues to have established goals, outcomes, strategies, support and indicators of success, HOWEVER, I now also include an overview page – sort of an overarching BIG set of ideas. (See last years at I then share with my colleagues and superiors and of course, now the public via my blog. I also post it on my Office wall to view and read daily. These actions generate some good discussion both off and online which I appreciate and respond to. I don’t believe that my PGP is a stale, sit-on-the-shelf type of document. To me, it’s an ever-developing document.

PGP’s are for teachers to acquire and apply new knowledge/skills, enhance reflective practice, contribute to various professional learning communities and have an impact on student achievement. My actions, accomplishments and blogging are closely linked with my PGP as well as other Teacher Quality Standards. I hope my example gets your thoughts and ideas flowing!!

My draft PGP overview is in the photo above and my 2014-15 goals are:


Facilitate, cultivate and design learning environments and instructional design for staff that provide rich experiential learning and sharing opportunities connected to PSD’s Vision, Mission and Inclusive Ed philosophy.


  • Acknowledge the diverse needs and contributions of all
  • Offer physical spaces and PD to develop knowledge, skills and engage learners
  • Create virtual spaces and connections both local, national and global
  • Access resources, services, information and collaboration opportunities
  • Hone academic, social/emotional and physical skills through knowledge-building, creativity and innovation
  • Utilize a variety of resources, technologies and spaces to support learning through thoughtful instructional design and collaboration as well as effective assessment of learning
  • Model and share learning experiences to empower real-world and relevant learning experiences


  • Learning Services Team
  • Senior Exec
  • Admin Teams
  • Learning Coaches
  • Inclusive Education Leads
  • Frameworks: Fierce Conversations, Cognitive Coaching, Bucket Filling, Cooperative Learning, Critical Thinking, Universal Design for Learning


  • Ongoing
  • Monthly meetings: Lead Team, Learning Coaches, Inclusive Education Leads
  • Bimonthly: Learning Services Team

Indicators of Success

  • Contribution to Learning Services work is recognized
  • Learning Services Team work plan is moving PSD Vision, Mission and Commitment Statements forward as per Admin meetings, PSD Voice, Student Advisory Committee


Advance, model and assess the successful use of inclusive technologies to meet business goals, enhance team productivity, engage PSD staff, and remove barriers for students.


  • Refine instruction for essential digital literacy, research and inquiry and communication skills
  • Build opportunities for staff learning and innovation to be demonstrated, shared and showcased
  • Intentionally plan for and assess the success of technology integration in the work and learning environments
  • Build staff capacity to ensure sustainability and attainment of PSD/School Ed Plan/Tech goals
  • Advocate for the essential and effective uses of technology
  • Refine and demonstrate strong digital literacy skills
  • Explore and connect personalized learning while embracing the use of digital literacies and skills to empower independent learners
  • Foster an active online networking culture
  • Assist staff in taking ownership of their digital rights and responsibilities in building their digital skills


  • Listservs: QIAT, ATLE, ORC
  • Alberta Education, School Technology Branch
  • PLN
  • ERLC Advisory Committees
  • ATLE and ATLE ProLearn
  • Frameworks: TPACK, SAMR, UDL, DI, RTI, SETT, LTPF
  • Twitter feeds
  • Blogs
  • 2Learn
  • GAFE
  • Synergyze
  • PSD – IT Dept, Senior Exec, Lead Team, Learning Services, staff, students


  • Ongoing
  • ATLE Conference – November 2014
  • GAFE Summit – March 2015

Indicators of Success

  • Staff utilizing, documenting success and sharing how they are using technology in learning, for efficiency, etc.
  • Marked improvement between Fall 2013 and Fall 2014 ET/IT survey with Admin
  • Well attended PD sessions and follow up work with staff

We Can All ACT and EXPRESS!


Technology Integration in the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Environment

UDL is a framework for designing educational environments that help ALL students gain knowledge, skills and enthusiasm for learning. It has three guiding principles that parallel three distinct learning networks in the brain: recognition, strategy and effect. We’ll look at Multiple Means of Action and Expression and how certain tools like the iPad, laptop and Chrome environment can be utilized to achieve this principle.

There are many ways that we can assist students to express themselves clearly. For the iPad I like:

  • 30 Hands – easily create stories, presentations, demonstrations of learning. You can also create a whole course with modules (like folders). A free iOS app.
  • Fotobabble – is an image and audio (talking photo) free iOS app where students can interpret their art projects, stories or other classwork. Show off class field trips. Give voice to a character in a book or from history. Give opportunity for language learning to speak. Talk about interesting things around the school/classroom.
  • Word Foto – takes your photo and inputs text within it. It is a $1.99 iOS app. Students can take a picture of themselves and share their interests. They can take a picture of their art work and explain it with key words. They can utilize a picture of character from a book and describe he/she. They can take pictures of objects and describe them in another language. Take a picture of a science concept and describe it.

For the laptop:

  • Discovery Education Board Builder – this is an interactive poster that can be built within Discovery Education. Students can embed all sorts of media. Must have a subscription to Discovery Education to use.
  • Graphic organizers from ReadWriteThink – when I search for “graphic organizer” I receive 253 results with various grade levels and lessons. This website is a gold-mine for teachers.

Within the Chrome environment:

  • App: VoiceNote – this is a speech to text application that is easily used.
  • Extension: Kaizena – this is a voice comments extension that connects to specific Google documents.
  • App: ClassDojo – this is a behavior/classroom management system.

There are other tools that allow students to express themselves that I have also included in the Multiple Means of Action and Expression document.

Photo Credit: Pörrö via Compfight cc