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My Journey with Twitter!

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I have been a on Twitter since, March 2017. I attended a conference with two of my colleagues regarding how to be a better educator. One of the speakers was George Couros and he challenged all of the educators in the room to join Twitter to start creating an online presence and connect to other educators. One of my colleagues and I accepted his challenge and joined immediately! After joining, I wasn’t really sure what to do next. I started following the people from the conference and occasionally sent a message back and forth with my coworker but that was where my Twitter usage stayed for several years.

When I became a new Administrator, I started to follow more educational leaders to gain insight into how to become more effective in my new role. One of my favourite leaders to follow includes @joe_sanfelippo who shares his #1minwalk2work. I have used his work to not only motivate myself as a leader but my staff each week.

From Twitter @joe_sanfelippo

Other leadership accounts I follow include @PrincipalProj and @JonGordon11. I have enjoyed finding ideas and strategies to use within my role as a leader to help strengthen my skills and support my staff.

I would say I am skilled in the retweet! This was primarily how I have shared information I have liked up until the Winter of 2022. When I embarked on completing my Masters of Education, the second class I took was EC&I 834.

Dr. Katia Hildebrandt was my professor and she had us get onto Twitter throughout our class. I very much enjoyed following my classmates and reading their posts. During this class, I learned a lot about #edtech and started to follow leaders in educational technology such as @alicekeeler and @catlin_tucker. These two accounts helped me grow tremendously in my skills around educational technology by giving various tips and strategies to use educational tools in the classroom more effectively.

During this class, I started to link my blog posts to my Twitter feed and began to receive comments from not only my classmates but other users within my school division and the educational world. Twitter became a great professional learning network for myself during this time.

Well, here I am again taking EC&I 831 with Katia. This term I am learning from a whole new group of classmates about social media and open education. I am enjoying the interaction through posts and links my fellow learners are sharing. I am also becoming braver and better at creating my own tweets. I was a fangirl this week when I shared a post from @alicekeeler and she thanked me for sharing it! Overall, I have found many strengths and a few challenges with my Twitter usage that I can share.


  • Building a professional learning community
  • Learning from colleagues and educational leaders globally
  • Finding strategies and ideas to use to better my skills as an Administrator
  • Challenging my current practices and helping me develop as a person and professional
  • Connecting with educators across the province who I would not otherwise have the opportunity to work with or learn from


  • Creating an eyecatching tweet
  • Learning how to create a concise tweet (I am wordy!)
  • Linking other accounts and hashtags to my posts
  • Finding time to sift through the information on Twitter

I think when I joined Twitter early on, I would have benefitted from doing some research to help develop my tweeting skills. This article from sprout social would have helped me develop on my skills on Twitter early on. This video has 5 great tips to help make your Twitter experience better.


Although, I have lots to learn still about being a Twitter user. I am no longer apprehensive to share and connect on Twitter. I love the sense of community it is creating as a professional platform for myself. I am looking forward to trying something new such a taking part in a Twitter chat. I will continue to use Twitter as my professional platform to learn and grow as an educator and leader.

What do you use Twitter for? Do you have any recommendations of accounts to follow in education and leadership?

Finally, if I don’t follow you already please find my on Twitter @MrsKSimon and I will be sure to follow you back!


Power Tools…Here I Go!

After gathering all of my materials, the time has come to become familiar and conquer my fear of certain power tools namely the compound mitre saw (which I had to ask my husband to give me the correct name for). Before actually using the tools, I thought I should watch some educational videos to prepare. This basic safety video was a great reminder of things to remember when working with wood and tools. It was a bit of sober acknowledgement of how you must be very safe using saws as it could quickly turn into something horrific!

An easy to follow cartoon video about safety tips in woodworking

I also watched this video by Weathered Wood Home on how to use a power drill which I have used before but not often. I feel that this tools will be easy to use and won’t require too much practice!

Now, it was time to look into the mitre saw to gain some proper insight as to how to work it. This video was a straightforward introduction to the saw and had great safety tips to go with it.

Although, these videos were great starting points for using power tools, I found it best to learn side by side with someone skilled in using these tools aka my husband. I felt pretty confident in my skills using the hammer, screwdrivers and cordless drill so I felt my time was best spent becoming comfortable with the saw. As you can see by my face, I wasn’t very confident in using it when I began.

My heart was pounding!

Although, I did pretty well with my first try, I still needed to trim a little off the edge to get the correct measurement I was practicing.

Starting to feel a bit more confident!

Since, I want to put a cap edge around the top of my raised garden bed, I also need to practice making angles.

The more I practiced using the saw, the more confident I became! Combining the safety knowledge and tool usage I learned through videos with hands on practice was an effective way to learn. In this learning journey, pairing the knowledge with the practical application of hands on tasks helped me develop my skills in using power tools. I believe you can’t have one without the other. If I had just watched videos and read articles around tool skills, I don’t think I would have been able to just simply pick up the tool and build. I also think that if I had just jumped in without watching the videos, I wouldn’t have gained some valuable knowledge around using power tools and safety before starting.

Next up… time to build! Hopefully the weather will cooperate for me to spend a good chunk of my weekend, building my raised garden bed. Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading! Please let me know if you have any building tips for my raised garden bed and/or have ever built your own.


Tik Tok in Education: Yes or No?

Cristiam Oliveira GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I’ll admit that I really had no idea what Tik Tok was when I created an account over a year ago. I kept hearing about it from colleagues and students so I thought I would check it out. However, fast forward a year, I still feel like there is a lot more to discover about the social media platform. First, I thought I would do a little historical research to figure out more about this worldwide app. Brandtastic’s blog gave a great overview about the history of Tik Tok. Some interesting facts I learned was that it was created in 2016 as a lip sync app in China. In 2022, over 60% of users were under the age of 25. Tik Tok is not without controversy as it has been pushed towards being banned in the United States and off of government employee phones. However, it continues to be one of the dominating social media platforms in the world.

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All I have used it for is watching videos which in the evening can turn into a full hour session in an instant! I still have not made my own videos and truthfully don’t think I ever will! If I were to take the plunge, this getting started video would be very helpful to those just starting out on Tik Tok, though.

I learned from this instructional video that to create a Tik Tok video it is a three step process of recording, editing and posting. However, the process of adding filters and music seems to be daunting. I am more in the discovery phase of Tik Tok. After downloading the app, I used it solely on a personal level to watch funny videos at the end of the school day or check out a trend a colleague or Professor suggested such as Pot Roast’s Mom.

However, recently I have started to explore it professionally as well. I have found many helpful tips and even funny videos on #teachertiktok. Some of my favourite accounts to follow professionally on Tik Tok include @farmerlovesphonics who has helped me research and provide strategies and instructional practices to staff that align with the Science of Reading. I also enjoy the tips and ideas regarding addressing challenging behavior and social emotional learning from @behaviorconnection. These accounts are just a couple of my top followers for professional use.

Something new to me as I explored Tik Tok further this week was creating collections. This is a feature I found very useful instead of simply saving them to favourites, you can create categories. This week I created a gardening category to support my major project for this class, a general school collection for professional ideas and a motivation collection that I could use with students and staff during discussions and meetings.

Speaking of students, I was thinking about how Tik Tok could be used safely, to support student learning. I would probably use some of the motivation videos in lessons with students to support social emotional learning. I might also use funny animal videos to increase engagement. As I currently work with younger students up to Grade 4, I believe this would have to be mainly teacher controlled. As I sit in my office at school, I can’t seem to get onto Tik Tok at the school which makes me wonder if it is blocked for usage at the school level. This could be a problem when trying to use it for educational purposes. However, with older students, perhaps you might engage them by challenging them to create a video for a project or topic they might be learning about. Again, strong guidance and safety protocols would have to be adhered to as many parents may not feel comfortable with their child using Tik Tok.

So, after reviewing the social media platform, I still have many questions about how to use Tik Tok appropriately in schools. As a mom of an 11 year old, I am working to teach my daughter digital citizenship and internet safety but she still believes a lot of what is out on the internet even though it might not be factual. Therefore, for the students I work with I would primarily use it as an option to share appropriate videos with them during a lesson or on google classroom. I will continue to use the professional ideas and accounts I have found within Tik Tok to support my role as an Administrator and Teacher. I will continue to use Tik Tok both personally and professionally as a place to watch interesting and humorous videos. I like to check out the newest challenges such as #skipping challenge. However, the next Tik Tok star will not be me!

I would like to know your thoughts on Tik Tok. How do you use Tik Tok on a professional level? Do you allow students to access it? What are some of your favourite Tik Tok accounts to follow?

Thanks for reading and sharing your answers!


Planning Time!

The long weekend seemed like a great time to start planning my raised garden bed build. I always get the itch to start planting and greenhouse shopping around this time. I really need to reign myself in and budget wisely otherwise I could easily end up with way more plants than I need. I believe this approach will be needed for planning my raised garden bed as well.

I started by researching the best types of wood to use for my garden build. I went straight to my favourite planning social media platform Pinterest. I had already started a board titled “Gardening That I Love” so I decided to browse and add to my search of what type of wood I should use to build the garden bed and any designs I liked. I especially enjoyed this blog post from Deanna at Homestead and Chill titled “7 Ways To Make Wood Garden Beds Last: Nontoxic Sealer & More”. I decided that I wanted to use cedar as I thought it would be easy to find. Boy, was I wrong! Rural Saskatchewan it turns out is not the best place to shop for cedar. I spent most of Saturday morning calling local lumber yards all within an hour of my home with little or no luck in sourcing cedar fence boards.

In the midst of this calling adventure, I began looking at different designs that I might like to use as inspiration or plans for my own raised garden bed. The look and simplicity of this design was something I was really interested in.

However, the location I chose in my garden area was a corner section where the grass was spotty and the land was flat. Therefore, I wanted something that would meet in the middle providing a garden bed on each side. I did not have any luck finding a design to match the area I wanted to build the raised garden bed in.

Area to build my raised bed by Kendra Simon

I guess it was time to design my own! After calling around to several places, I finally found luck in Regina sourcing 6 foot cedar fence boards. Using this information, I planned my design around using the 6 foot cedar fence board for my original plan. It seemed to resist rot and was budget friendly upon my research.

Garden Bed Design by Kendra Simon

Now, I wondered what this design would truly look like plotted out and when I would be able to get to Regina which is almost 3 hours away from where we live. So, I started by plotting out my design, with a little help from my husband! The visual provided great clarity as to whether or not my design was what I was looking for. It turns out, I wanted to make some adjustments to my original design as noted in this video.

Updated Drawing of Design by Kendra Simon

I realized that 6 feet did not provide enough room on either side for a large amount of space for plants to grow and develop. It would really limit the amount of plants I could put into the raised bed. Adding an additional 6 feet on each side seemed to be the best plan to go with. Now, all I needed was a plan to get the wood! I called a few family members to see if they were going to the city soon. However, no one was planning a trip. So…with no big plans for our family this weekend before our weekends become full of sports events, we decided to take a Sunday road trip to Regina for wood and a few other household items.

Doing a little price comparison, we found that Rona seemed to be the best deal in the city for cedar boards. I am thankful for the knowledge my husband has in this area as I was given a mini-lesson on picking the best boards for the project. Each of the 36 boards (a few extra for good measure) were inspected to ensure they were not warped or cracked. After combing through two different bundles, we were able to pay and load up!

After, accomplishing our task, we couldn’t resist a little stop at McDonald’s for our daughter and of course Costco for the whole family. These are luxuries to those of us who live in rural Saskatchewan!

The next steps in my learning journey will be researching all about safety when using power tools and actually practicing before trying to cut into my precious cedar boards! Stay tuned for my next post about how I overcome my fear of the power saw. Let me know if you have any tips or suggestions to help me along the way to building my raised garden beds.

Thanks for reading!

If I Dream It, Maybe I Can Build It!

The warm weather has me dreaming about gardening as I begin to think about my major project. I have decided to tackle the learning project and learn about carpentry. Since I want to be outside as much as possible in the Spring, I figured what a better way to combine my love of gardening and learning about carpentry than to build a new raised garden bed in my current garden area. I love watching DIY shows but haven’t been brave enough to tackle anything on my own. I often have these big plans for my husband to build things for me but not this time! I am going to tackle this learning myself and even conquer a bit of a fear of power tools.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

Although I remember taking an Industrial Arts class in high school, I do not recall any of the skills I learned back then. I have often held boards for my husband but that truly has been the extent of my carpentry skills. I do know how to use basic tools such as hammers and screwdrivers but that is all I know. I have used the power drill but often sink in the screws too far! I have never wanted to go near the saw. So I am thinking I need to start at the beginning and watch educational videos on tools and safety. I’ll admit that my biggest fear is using the power saw! This article from wikiHow is a great place to start my learning. Once I feel, I have a grasp on this information, I believe I will need to head to the garage and get a live lesson from my husband on using these tools. I believe I will need to practice using these tools until I feel confident to move on and start my carpentry project.

The next step in my learning process is to research and find answers to some inquiry based learning questions. Here are my essential questions I will be researching as I begin my learning project:

  • What are some different garden bed designs that I would like to build?
  • What type of wood is most durable for garden beds?
  • What additional materials will I need to complete my project?
  • Do I have all the tools I will need to build and complete my project?
  • What dimensions will my garden bed be based on the outdoor area it will be placed in?
  • How will I need to prepare the area for the garden bed?
  • Are there any plans I could follow or step by step directions to complete my project?
  • What types of plants and flowers will I fill my garden bed with?
Photo by DA Capture on

I have the dream of being able to create a beautiful garden bed for our yard. However, I think it is going to take perseverance and a lot of patience to develop my learning and skills. Perhaps, this learning and skill development will give me the confidence to try other carpentry projects in the future! So, here I go diving into this adventure with a lot of hope and the excitement that I am going to learn to create something for our yard that we will enjoy for years to come! Stay tuned as I walk you through my weekly progress on this project. I look forward to your feedback and tips if you have any knowledge in this skill area. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!


Social Media: A Love, Hate Relationship But Mostly Love

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I have always been intrigued by social media and use a few different platforms both personally and professionally to connect, learn and keep up with the current world. The first social media platform I joined on a personal level was Facebook. I loved being able to see pictures and posts from family and friends. It was a great way to keep up with my sister and watch my nephew and niece grow up even though they lived five hours away from me. One of my favourite features on this platform is the memory section! It is interesting to see that I used to post a lot more and it has saved me on occasion by helping me remember birthdays of those I care about.

However, I have found in recent years, my use on Facebook has declined. I no longer post what I am up to. I find the feed to be quite sparse with posts from family and friends. Instead it has become filled with more ads connected to my searching habits. During the pandemic, I began to search for a sense of community professionally. While working from home, I enjoyed watching live talks from Dr. Jody Carrington who helped myself and my school staff through navigating online teaching and trying to feel connected during such a trying and isolated time. Recently, I have started using Facebook for more professional communities. I have a strong love of literacy and have joined several groups based on current research. It has been a great experience seeing what other schools across North America are implementing into their literacy programs.

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Instagram has been my go to platform for all things related to healthy lifestyles such as recipes, fitness ideas and a little fashion inspiration! I find it is a platform, I mainly use to scroll for ideas and not so much as a connecting piece with others. Once again, I do not enjoy how my feed becomes inundated with ads related to my searches. One look at a clothing website and suddenly several ads pop up daily related to this website.

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I’ll admit when I first heard of Twitter, I thought to myself that I didn’t understand it and was never going to join. However, I attended a conference in March of 2017 which I just looked up on my profile for reference and to learn my Twitter anniversary. George Couros was speaking and he challenged the audience to get connected to Twitter as a professional learning community. This platform has been my main professional outlet to connect and learn from other educators and scholars ever since. I am not good at creating my own tweets very often but enjoy retweeting a positive message and/or quote. Recently, I found myself watching an Ed. Tech tournament on the feed which had people voting for their favourite Ed. Tech tool. I watched and voted daily. I am proud to say that Canva which is one of my favourite Ed. Tech tools was the champion.

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Social media has allowed me to learn and grow from others based on my individual interests and choices. It allows me the opportunity to feel connected both personally and professionally with people I wouldn’t normally be able to on a daily basis. However, the downside is that I often find myself navigating through ads and have seen an increase in propaganda and political divides filling up my feeds on all of my social media platforms. I need to remember to unplug once in awhile because time passes so quickly when you are scrolling in the evenings! I am curious to see how these platforms change and which new platforms emerge in the future. As my thirteen year old niece informed me, “Auntie, Facebook is only for old people, you need to join Snapchat. I’ll send you my username so you can connect.” So far, I haven’t accepted her invite but who knows what might happen in the future! Which social media platform do you use professionally? Thanks for reading!


My Edtech. Journey-Summing It All Up!

April is here and the end of our EC&I 834 class is nearing! I can’t believe how much I have learned and grown in so many ways. Looking back, I was very nervous when I looked at the syllabus. I wasn’t sure how I was going to create a blended learning class and learn new forms of technology in 4 short months. But step by step, it happened! I have thoroughly enjoyed Wednesday evening discussions with my classmates and the approachable and comfortable style our professor Katia introduced new information and challenged our thinking and learning. I am pleased to have re-entered the Twitter world and find I am finding lots of professional growth opportunities on this platform. I had been curious about blogging and now look at me…a blogger! Discord was something new to me but it was a great tool that made me feel if I needed any question answered someone would always offer to lend a hand of support. If you ask my students, they would share that having Mrs. Simon take a course about technology has benefited their learning in engaging and skillful ways! Just check out the larger version of their padlet they created about why they love technology and why they like using it in the classroom. Some might say it’s because of the gifs!

Made with Padlet

I had never had a Youtube channel before and now my 10 year old is envious that I can have a channel and wonders why she can’t have one, too!

As I close this post, I want to thank Katia and all of my fellow classmates for your comments and connections throughout our course. I look forward to staying connected on Twitter to see what you are up to and I am sure I will see some of you again as we continue our graduate studies. After feeling a bit burnt out by technology during the pandemic, I feel excited and rejuvenated to integrate authentic online tools and supports into my teaching. It has become part of my daily practice and will continue to guide my planning and instruction to support diverse learners in the future.

Well, here it is! Thank you for checking out my summary of learning created on Canva. It was another tool I have been wanting to dive into and it’s free for educators.

Created on Canva

Here is a list of items referenced in my video.

Thanks for reading and watching!


ECI 834-Final Course Prototype Overview and Reflection

I can’t believe we are nearing the end of our course as I prepare to submit my course prototype. Looking back, I had nervous thoughts about creating an online course which at first seemed daunting and a bit overwhelming. However, the step by step process outlined for the submission of our projects really helped make things feel more manageable and gain confidence that this was something I could do and have very much enjoyed creating!

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As I started thinking about creating my course prototype, I had a little experience using the Google Classroom LMS platform having used it during our emergency online teaching at the start of the pandemic. However, I now realize that I did not understand all of its features and uses. I was just using it as a basic platform and not for a fully blended learning classroom. In our class we discussed different LMS platforms such as Moodle, Brightspace, Seesaw and Canvas. Although, I liked many of their features I found that Google Classroom best fit the needs and learning level of my Grade 4 students with its simple to navigate features that my students would have no trouble using.

Course Overview

Google Classroom Header Screenshot

When I started thinking about creating a blended course, I knew right away that I wanted to create a course using project based learning and inquiry. I started to gravitate toward Science. I am currently teaching Grade 4 Science to 20 students in rural Saskatchewan so I thought looking at Habitats and Communities would be a great course to create and pull in outside resources and virtual experiences. I started by looking at my school division’s assessment rubric and then curriculum outcomes to plan and create a backwards universal designed course. The course was designed to be a blended learning model used both synchronously and asynchronously depending on the needs of my students. I have taken into consideration the accessibility needs of my students by ensuring students who need a device or internet support will be able to gain access to these tools. I also, have considered students who will need adaptations by providing adapted assessments and extensions such as Google Read and Write to help meet individual learning needs.

I have developed the course around seven different modules. Module 1 is set up as an introduction to habitats and communities and allows the opportunity for me to gauge my students’ prior knowledge. Module 2 is designed for students to create a clear definition about what a habitat is and to explore different types of habitats within a small group research task. As the course moves along, opportunities will be provided for students to start thinking about and building up to creating a project in Module 6 using a choice board. These projects will be launched in Module 7 in a virtual museum for others’ to view.

Virtual Museum Screenshot

As I reflect back on the creation of this course, I have refined and changed many areas from when I initially created my Course Profile which can be viewed here:

The Creation Process

It has been quite a process building and refining my course prototype. The more I explored and learned during class through our discussions and lectures, the more thoughts I had about how I could strengthen my course for learners. I especially enjoyed learning about all of the educational tools I could use in my course. I was so excited to test drive them with my students! Together we explored Padlet, Jamboard, Flipgrid, Kahoot and Quizzez. Their honest feedback helped me decide which tools would be appropriate to use in my course. Their top 2 favourites were Flipgrid and Padlet because they enjoyed making engaging posts and videos. They taught me how easily it was to add a gif to their Padlet and boy did they run with that! Reviewing these two tools in my previous blog post helped me figure out which tools I should implement in my course. I have ended up using Flipgrid in Module 1 to create an engaging activity designed to build community and get my students excited about our learning on habitats and communities. As I reflected on how to engage learners at home who may be accessing the course. I kept going back and forth between using Zoom and Google Meet. When discussing this dilemma with my fellow classmates, there were both pros and cons to using both tools. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t need to pick one over the other because they will have different uses within our blended classroom. Google Meet will be used for students to meet in their small groups. I chose this tool because it is embedded right within the Google Classroom in the left column for students to quickly click on. Zoom will be used when accessing guest speakers. I find most outside resources use this platform. My plan is to use this tool for listening to elders and when accessing virtual learning experiences from the Saskatoon Zoo Society. The link will be placed in the particular module it is needed for.

Over the February break, I spent time really setting up my course shell and module 1. I designed module 1 to be an Introduction to the course.

Module 1 Screenshot

The first task for students is to watch my instructional video going over the learning target and the tasks in the module. Students then need to complete a pre-assessment on habitats and communities using Google Forms. I also created an adapted assessment using pictures for my students who are unable to read and/or type their responses. Once completed students are asked to create a Flipgrid video sharing their favourite space in their habitat. I created an example video to share with them. The next task is to comment on their classmates’ videos. Finally, I have asked students to share in a KWL chart using Google Jamboard K-what they Know about habitats and communities and W-What the want to learn about habitats and communities. After creating Module 1, I was able to gain some valuable feedback from my 2 reviewers. I appreciated their recommendations and suggestions which I shared in a previous post here:

Their ideas around adding guidelines for my activities in Module 1 led me to creating checklists for the Flipgrid activities to help students understand what was expected of them. I also appreciated the question around accessibility in regards to low bandwidth. This is something that does present a challenge to many families. My hope is that by surveying and knowing my students’ needs before starting the course, I will be able to work with families to help decrease these barriers.

Creating Module 2 led me to start thinking about how to incorporate group work into my blended learning course.

Module 2 Screenshot

For consistency, I plan to start each module with my instructional video. The next task for students is to create a definition of what a habitat is using Google Jamboard. Students will then be asked to watch a video using Edpuzzle and stop to answer the questions along the way. The big task in Module 2 will be exploring different types of habitats. Students will be placed into six small groups and asked to work together to create a google slide or 2 to add to our slideshow on Different Types of Habitats. I have included a guideline checklist for each group, a planning sheet for each group to work on and the slideshow for groups to add their information about the habitat they researched on. I also made an adapted slideshow for a student who is non-verbal and unable to research independently. The final task in module 2 is for students to complete a self-assessment on how well they worked within their group using Google Forms.

Reflecting Along the Way

As I look back from the beginning of this course, I can’t believe how much I have learned through this process.

  • The weekly small group discussions throughout the course have played a significant part within my learning and refining of my course prototype. Our discussions around what a blended learning course is and the different LMS platforms really helped focus my design. Valerie Irvine’s talk about her work and models made me think about what modality my course should be set up as to best meet the needs of my learners. Thoughts on accessibility related to our readings in the Bates‘ text made me question whether I was allowing all learners access to my course and limiting barriers around accessibility relating to technology and individual learning needs.
  • Our weekly blog posts also helped me grow as I reflected on my course creation. I had never blogged before but was surprised at how valuable it is to look back on my learning and the process as I created my course.
  • Re-connecting to Twitter has also supported the development of my course. The weekly suggestions from my classmates’ were very valuable and helped shape the tools I used in my course. I was also able to connect to many professionals who shared technology tools to support online classrooms such as Alice Keeler and Dr. Catlin Tucker.
  • The readings and last week’s webinar helped me question and re-vamp how I view blended learning. The webinar I chose to watch was “How to Effectively Use Assessment in Online and Blended Learning to Help Your Students Succeed” by Dr. Stephen Murgatroyd. His thoughts around assessment included making sure it was authentic, accessible and continuous. He also shared real examples of projects and assessments students he worked with completed. As I watched the webinar, I was reminded as to why I chose to create my course around project based learning. Today’s learners have content at the tips of their fingertips due to the internet. So as a result, instead of simply teaching content students need to develop 21st century skills to succeed in the current world. Project Based Learning lends itself to this skills development according to this article “How Project Based Learning Builds 21st Century Skills”from Edutopia.
  • Not being afraid to explore and try out new tools has been something that has helped me grow and develop my course. I acknowledge that my technology skills were “forced” to develop as a result of the pandemic and emergency remote learning. However, I have enjoyed having the opportunity to learn about new tools that will enhance my students’ learning as well as my own skills through the development of this course. I did not think I would be blogging and creating instructional videos housed on youtube during my Masters’ program but here I am. One thing I am still learning is how to be concise and to the point as I have had to make my videos over several times!
From Everett Public Schools

Final Thoughts

As I conclude this post and share my walkthrough of my course prototype, I will continue to think about how I can build and finish this course to use with my students this Spring. I will be adding more content and can’t wait to share it with my learners. It is a course that I hope to use for years to come. However, I am aware that it will have to be changed and/or adapted in order to meet the needs of my future learners. At the heart of all my teaching is building relationships and creating connections. My hope is that there will be many opportunities throughout this blended learning course for students’ to authentically connect with each other, local knowledge keepers and myself as they grow in their learning and skills.

I hope you enjoy taking a look at my course through this short walk through.

I have also included a link to my teacher slides and notes for the course.

Thanks for reading!


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Course Feedback and Accessibility Considerations-EC&I 834

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This weekend was all about feedback for me as I dived into report cards and reviewed the feedback given by two of my classmates on Module 1 of my course prototype. I appreciated the thoughtful and encouraging words Jacquie and Amaya shared regarding my course and the items they felt were strong in my prototype. They shared that they liked my course outline and “I can…” statements so students clearly know what they are working on. They also found the pre-assessment through google forms to be a tool that would help me gauge prior knowledge and adjust my course as needed. The Flipgrid activity for students to share their favourite space in their habitat was also well received and thought to be engaging for students. I am glad my thoughts around including these activities were positively accepted and seen as purposeful.

I also appreciated how thorough they went through my course to ensure it was up to par and added great suggestions for improvements moving forward. As I am new to creating and saving videos on YouTube, I am thankful that my link was checked and did not work. I was able to go back to my channel and it was listed as private which was an easy fix! They also shared some thought provoking questions for ways I could add to my course to make it easier for my students to understand. These questions and ideas as well as my reflection on each of the were as follows:

  • What kind of pre-teaching would I doing with my students around digital citizenship and learning about technology? I believe that I have been teaching digital citizenship and learning about technology all year within my classroom. This document from the Government of Saskatchewan helps guide conversations around digital literacy. Within, the Good Spirit School Division there are lessons designed to teach students about digital citizenship. I am fortunate to have a wonderful digital learning consultant, Michelle Morley who has helped me guide students in this area and learn technology skills. It is something that I will have worked on throughout the year to ensure students are successful at engaging in my online course.
  • Adding a guideline for students to know what should be included in their flipgrid videos and also a guideline for how to respond to other student’s videos. These are great suggestions that I will add to Module 1 to help my students know what is being asked of them when creating their Flipgrid videos and also how to respond appropriately.
  • Am I considering the bandwidth available if students are working on the course from home? I have surveyed my students and their families throughout the year regarding technology. Before beginning this course, I would talk to families so I would know their needs around accessibility. Perhaps, they may need to utilize a hotspot and a device which our school division provides when needed to support students’ learning at home.
  • I shared that some of my students are on IIPs. What is being done to address their needs and adaptations? For each module, I will create adapted tasks and activities so that my students with exceptional needs will be able to participate in the course. One example for Module 1 is the adapted pre-assessment I created using pictures instead of having the student complete the google form. I also find the option of assigning specific tasks to individual students within google classroom to be a great feature to help support differentiation within the course. Students who need to have tasks read to them will be able to use Google Read and Write. Each module will have instructional videos. If I was using this course with a student who was hearing impaired I would add closed captions to these videos to support his/her needs.

Here is a link to my course introduction and instructions for Module 1. I welcome any additional feedback to strengthen my course for learners.

Accessibility-Questions to Increase Access

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I found it interesting that the last two questions from my reviewers were about accessibility and access. This tied in well to our last week’s class discussion and the reading from Ch.9 of the Bates text. I really liked the model from Bates regarding SECTIONS. I believe as a teacher you need to know the demographics of the community you teach in to ensure students can have their needs met. I think it is very important to gather information around access and accessibility from all of your students’ families to help plan a course that all students will be able to access without barriers.

These questions are great to reflect on for your own individual circumstance. I do agree that these are NOT questions that are easily answered or implemented. It is not a one size fits all model just like planning for your students. However, using them to guide your planning will help you gather information to support your students in a meaningful way.

Within my own course, I will ensure that student’s accessing the course from home will feel supported whether they are in need of internet through a hotspot or a device to complete the learning, it is my responsibility to connect with my students and their families to help support them to gain access to my course. I plan to video my module instructions so students will be able to gain access at a later time if they have missed school or had low bandwidth. Perhaps, having a trial run with families would help alleviate stress at home before the course launches. This could be done virtually or in person depending on the situation.

Along with knowing my students’ needs regarding access to the course, I also need to consider the individual learning needs of my students such as those that have individualized plans and record of adaptations. I plan to create adapted assignments and tasks for my students based on their skills and needs. For example, one of my student’s requires visual supports which I plan to use when creating assignments for them to complete. Other students will require reading support through Google Read and Write which I will ensure they know how to access. I think using both visual and verbal instructions will help students understand tasks and assignments. I also plan to allow students to submit assignments in a variety of formats such as through video, written, audio to also increase accessibility. These are key considerations I will make when implementing my course this year. However, if I plan to use the course again in the future I will need to make changes and engage in learning about my students’ and their individual needs to ensure accessibility limitations are addressed each year.

Thanks for reading!


Creating Meaningful Interactions in Blended Learning

This week in our EC&I 834 class we discussed how to create community in an authentic way with our students online. I’ll be honest, it had me reflecting back to emergency remote teaching and learning in March 2020. I believe I was simply just navigating how to teach online and provide my students with learning opportunities that I did not spend a large amount of time thinking about how to build a sense of community and/or how to provide opportunities for students to collaborate with each other. We did participate in daily zoom lessons and little activities such as scavenger hunts but as I think back to these moments, I would have done things very differently. I am so glad I get to create new opportunities in my blended learning prototype where building community and providing positive interactions between students and the teacher will be implemented into my course.

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Creating Community

As an educator, I use a trauma informed lens like in the article Understanding Trauma-Informed Education when working with my students. Before any learning can occur, a relationship must be built. A pivotal shift as a teacher and parent came from the work of Dr. Gordon Neufeld. His work on attachment and that relationships matter really solidified for me that children need secure attachments and relationships to learn and grow. As he states in his TED TALK- Relationship Matter, “relationship is the context in which learning naturally occurs.” I want my students to feel that they belong and feel safe in our classroom community. This is at the forefront of my teaching both in the classroom and online environment. Students need to feel comfortable and supported in order to take risks in their learning.

At the beginning of the school year, I asked students to share a photo of their family. We have showcased these photos on the shelves in our classroom. I want them to see themselves and their families as part of our classroom family. I am thinking about including a similar activity into my course where students would share a space within their habitat that they are most comfortable with and post in our course as kind of an icebreaker activity to build relationships and a sense of community. We also built our classroom expectations together this year and review them daily. At times, they need to be updated or changed. These expectations will also be utilized in our blended learning classroom.

Collaborative Learning

As Bates shared in Chapter 4.4 , it is important that learners have clear expectations and guidelines for behaviour, understand their role and know the goals for their learning. In order to create a strong collaborative learning process, I will spend time helping students understand what is expected. We will come up with additional expectations for how to collaborate and interact with each other online before beginning our course. Creating student jobs’ when working in groups will help keep students on track and understand their role within the group. Each member will be responsible for a task and will help them be accountable for the learning process. For collaborative work within my course, I would utilize Padlet for brainstorming at the beginning of our course about what a habitat is and continue to utilize this tool to gauge students’ background knowledge as we move along through our course. I would also use Jamboard to set up a KWL chart to share knowledge and questions to drive learning during the course. Jamboard would also work well for students to use when they are beginning their project work. It would be used a collaborative tool for students to put their thoughts and ideas on in their small groups. When creating their projects for our course, students will be able to utilize Google Docs for their research findings in their groups and may choose to use Google Slides to create their final project with. Flipgrid would be used to as a discussion tool throughout the course to assess student learning and provide opportunities for self-reflection and feedback to each other. I really liked when Katia shared the video students created on “How to Write a Quality Comment”. This activity made me think about how as a class we could create something similar for providing feedback to students’ posts and videos in our course. We could create a simple how to video based on our discussion together in person and virtually and come up with a top five list for giving feedback to others’ work. This would naturally be another stepping stone to what we have already been doing in the classroom when providing feedback to our classmate’s projects using the template 2 Stars and a Wish from Learn Love Grow.

Additionally, I see my students using Zoom Breakout Rooms for for collaborative work and small group learning. I may use Google Forms for ongoing assessment of their learning and to give feedback to each other throughout our course. Utilizing these tools for student collaboration and interaction will support relationship building regardless of whether students are able to be in the classroom environment or accessing the course virtually. I chose these tools to promote student collaboration and engagement. It will give students’ the opportunity to learn from others, engage in meaningful activities and provide time for reflection and sharing feedback in order to develop their critical thinking skills and learning.

Teacher-Student Interactions

Helping students, learn to navigate this blended learning course will challenge me to ensure my assessments are supporting their learning as we move forward. Katia shared the Voice Recorder Pro app during class. I believe this tool would be a great tool for giving students feedback throughout the course. Each student has their own individual email address which I could send my recordings to for students to listen to privately. I also really like the video comments I could send back to students on their Flipgrid posts. I believe this feature would be great for my elementary learners who may not have the best typing skills but are able to share orally. Giving written feedback would also be part of my course through Google Classroom. I appreciate that the Google Read and Write feature will allow students regardless of their reading ability to hear my feedback. I want to be authentically interacting with my students throughout the process and not simply marking the final project. As the article about “Situated Learning” indicates I need to rethink my role as the teacher and instead become the “facilitator of learning” and help students reflect on their progress and create a collaborative environment for learners throughout the course. I see my presence and role within the course as a supportive one, encouraging students to work together, seek deeper understanding and ultimately apply the knowledge they gained throughout the course.

Concluding Thoughts

This week’s post has given me a lot to think about as I move forward in creating my blended learning course. Developing a sense of community will strengthen the collaborative process. Building relationships is vital to ensuring students feel safe and secure to share and try new experiences in their learning. Creating clearly defined expectations and roles will help students’ find their voice, take ownership and be accountable as learners. My role as the educator needs to take a supportive stance. Using ongoing feedback given through different methods, will allow students to see areas that are strengths as well as areas in which they can work to improve upon. I want students to work through the learning process and not simply create a finished product. When looking at the outcomes for my course, I believe it is vital to look at the skills students need to develop in instead of simply teaching the content. Students need to be able to investigate, analyze and assess habitats and communities as stated in the Grade 4 Science Curriculum. I definitely have a lot to think about and plan for moving forward with my course development. I look forward to engaging in discussions with others’ around how to strengthen my blended learning classroom in these crucial relationship building areas.

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Thanks for reading!


Learning, Literacy and Leadership