Archive | October 2012

Personal Introduction Wordle

One of the early learning activities in my “introduction to online learning” course was to take our typed introduction and feed it into wordle.  This was the result:



The Known Universe

Came across this video the other day.  Quite humbling.

The other Mr. Rogers

Actually, there seems to be many Mr. Rogers out there, the most famous, of course being this man:ImageWhile I often get asked if iI own a chocolate company, or sell cellphones,  it is that magnificient man that I get asked about most, and not just by staff.  The other day I was in a classroom and wanted to show the students an example of my warhol self portrait.  Not knowing my site’s off by heart I brought up google and typed in “mr. rogers blog wordpress teacher”.  My site was nowhere to be found, but this wonderful site did pop up.  We spent part of the morning looking at some of his art projects and the wonderful work in progress video.  Lots of great ideas that I’m eager to try with future classes

Online Learning Model

Here is my attempt to represent my personal frame of reference in a concept map.  I’m interested in how this map and my opinion of it will change as I progress through the course.  I’m sure there will be additions and revisions as I progress through my courses at Vancouver Island University.

Online Learning Metaphor

One of our final topics for our “Introduction to online learning” course is to create a visual metaphor that represents our ideas around online learning.  Here is mine:

As a bonus, here is a picture of my cat, assisting in its creation:

Student Created Art Project – Tissue Paper Ghosts

I was in a new classroom (for me) the other day and one of my students wanted to show me her ideas for an art project.  Unfortunately we didn’t have time to create these little critters, but I told her I would try to do it with another class.  I was thinking of just putting this image up on a smartboard, with all the materials at the front, and seeing if the students could follow along.  

Historypin | James Bay Community School

I recently came across some old photos at James Bay Elementary, and thought that I would add them to History Pin, with the hopes of incorporating them into a lesson in the future.  It was tricky positioning each photo in street view, but they are all more or less where they should be.  There were many more great photos, but I chose to use only those without any identifiable faces in them.  Hopefully I can add some more as I come across them, and with James Bay Community School celebrating its 40th birthday this year, it would be interesting to incorporate a comprehensive history of the building and activities throughout the years.

Historypin | James Bay Community School.

“Learning is a Journey” – Visual Metaphors

So to spruce up the blog a little bit we need to make, or find, a series of images that represent the phrase “Learning is a Journey”.  I decided to create a couple images using the same techniques I used in a Grade 5 class yesterday.  Basically you create a simple outline of an image, then colour it in with crayons, then crumple up the paper.  The kids love it because of the curmpling, and it produces a great textured effect once you paint over it with water colours!  Here is my finished example of a maple leaf that we made in class:


And here are my “Learning is a Journey” Icons so far:





My Journey

Hello everyone!  I am a second year teacher working in the Victoria and Saanich school districts.  I spent my first year TOCing in both these districts, and am excited to say that I am starting off this school year with a temporary contract at James Bay Elementary.  I hold a previous degree in Psychology, and graduated from VIU’s post degree program in 2011. I got married at the beginning of the summer, and my wife and I are living in North Saanich.


I’ve always been interested in computers and technology, and have been able to keep my head above the water when each new technological advancement arrives on the scene.  It has only been in the past year that I’ve found myself becoming out of touch with this field, and I’m grateful that this course will force me to acquaint myself with all that is new and wonderful in the tech world.


I have taken two previous online learning university courses.  For the most part I found the workload and content delivery to work for me.  Both courses were self-paced, and it was a challenge at times to keep myself on schedule and motivated.  Neither of these courses delivered their content in “chunks”, so it was a little overwhelming being presented with a wall of information and assignments right off the bat.  I am very excited with how this course is being delivered so far.  I find it very helpful interacting and learning with the very tools that we will be using in our own classrooms.


I am excited about the opportunities that open learning provides to build on student’s existing knowledge of computers.  I often find that when I am experiencing technical difficulties in the classroom, there will be at least 5 students who can navigate the problem better than I could.   Our students are growing up in a world full of innovation, and it is our job to prepare them to navigate these innovations, without fully understanding ourselves what groundbreaking advancements may be upon us next.   I think the only way we can do that is to foster an environment where problem solving, creative thinking, and teamwork are encouraged and rewarded, as it is these abilities that will allow our students to embrace each new advancement.


In my own practice I can see myself using many web2.0 technologies to stay connected with my students, and connect them to the many amazing resources that are out there.  While I see great benefits to be had by introducing students to distributive learning resources, I think there needs to be a balance between this and more traditional face to face time.  The social component of the classroom is something that is very hard to replicate, and something that is important in a child’s development.   I think it’s a pretty exciting time to be a teacher right now, and have no idea what this profession will look like at the end of my career!

Warhol Pop Art Portraits

I recently completed these portraits with a grade 4 class and thought I’d share a step by step guide for your classrooms.


  • overhead transparencies
  • overhead projector
  • fine line permanent markers
  • paint brushes and water colours
  • tape
  • construction paper
  • photocopiable card stock paper

This project should take between 2 -3 sessions spread out over two days to complete.


Day 1

  1. Take a picture of each student and crop them so that you have a head shot of each member of your class.  Print these photos out full size on A4 paper.  Image
  2. Hand out each student’s full sized photo, along with an overhead transparency sheet.  Tape the overhead transparency sheet to the back of the photo, so that it will not move while the students are tracing.
  3. Once the sheets are secured, hand out permanent markers.  Emphasize that students are to outline their faces.  I showed my class how to do this on an overhead projector.  The nose and mouth will be the most difficult, so you may want to spend some time practicing with them, and develop some strategies for Imagesimply representing these features.
  4. Once students have finished their tracing they have finished their first session.  It is now your job to take the transparencies, photocopy them, and shrink them down so that they are a quarter of their original size.  Then copy them onto card stock paper for the next days session.  I copied six portraits for each student, just in case they made a mistake while painting.

Day 2

  1. Hand out the student’s outlines on the card stock paper.  Here you can make mention of warm and cool colours, as well as contrasting and complementary combinations.  Also emphasize and demonstrate how to add water to your watercolour base so it is easy to paint with.  Image
  2. Allow students to paint their portraits.  The more outrageous the colour combination the better!
  3. Once students finish have them dry and then glue their favourite four onto a construction paper background.  Done!Image