Category Archives: Uncategorized

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. 


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Posted by on September 9, 2019 in Uncategorized


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: 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


Take 5 to Make Math Meaningful


Mathematicians, researchers and teachers support a constructivist/problem-solving mathematics classroom. This design engages students in critical thinking, individual and collaborative thought and builds upon and improves on their current knowledge while solving the task in front of them. Check out the resources, in alphabetical order, that will help you in asking questions in the math class:





General resources for math teachers:


Harnessing Skynet for Good: Using AI in the Classroom

When we think artificial intelligence, it is very likely that we conjure up scenes from franchised science fiction thriller (Terminator) or complete infatuation with a computer (Her) or even autocorrect on our own smartphones.

Check out a basic video overview on Artificial Intelligence. (5:27)

Examples in Everyday Life article and more HERE.


How teachers can utilize AI in engaging student learning with next practice strategies?

AUTOMATION: assistance with grading. Here teachers can give quick feedback to students through a survey that is autograded. Opportunities for exit tickets, anticipatory knowledge gathering of a new concept/topic or just general interest will give both teachers and students a baseline of information to work from.

  • Chatbots like those found on Snatchbot ( can be created by students and teachers. Examples like Mitsuku, WestJet’s Juliet and Snatchbot gallery.
  • Chatbots for students – these at can be used to get organized or to have a conversation.
  • Siri is found on an iOS device in Settings > Siri & Search. Allow “Hey Siri”.
  • Cortana is a digital agent for Windows 10.
  • A caution for teachers in using Voice Assistants like Amazon Echo Dot or Google Home in their classroom. Currently these smart speakers connect with a personal account which would not use a school division’s filtering system. Once these smart speakers are able to utilize or be connected to a hosted O365 or GSuite Apps for Education teacher account, they would be more secure and safe to use.

Such as text-to-speech or speech-to-text online systems that reinforce and provide tools to remove barriers for students so that they may demonstrate their learning.


Artificial intelligence resources in education are great in providing secondary sources of information and support for learners. The above examples are a small sampling of what teachers can do to provide students with access to machine learning in a purposeful way. Yet it is important to note that AI does not provide the humanity and emotional-social support that is so important in the classroom. School staff are an integral part of making a learning environment the most engaging, safe, imaginative and creative it can be.


Take 30 Days to Challenge Yourself

Goals. Challenges. The New Year. A new semester. A new month. The start of the week. Each of these begs our senses to think about a re-start or a fresh start. One way to get into a habit of doing something, is to establish a 30 day challenge.

Check out what Matt Cutts says about this in his TED Ed talk:

Here are a few 30 day challenges that you or your colleagues may want to take on sometime throughout the year:

And there are even more to improve your health, fitness level, relationships, etc. (My goal was to share educationally/professionally based challenges.) If you are looking for other ideas, check out these books:

What kind of challenges have you taken on? Which were successful? Which would you like a do-over?