Monthly Archives: December 2015


A final focus for my project I wanted to “connect” my students  and myself to the global community as well as connecting my parents to the classroom.

Blogging unlocked the door…

My students have been working hard all semester at learning how to be safe online while blogging and commenting on blogs.You can read our work on Kidblog. The students looked for our digital literacy symbol on our daily visual schedule and were disappointed on the days it wasn’t scheduled.  For the first while we had only parents commenting on our blogs. We were able to connect to two classrooms via #S2SBC on Twitter. There is a google form to fill in with your contact details and classrooms around the world can connect. I was able to share this with my EC&I 832 classmates and they were able to connect their students also. Our class is also waiting on a connection via the Google+ community Classrooms without Borders. This community allowed my students to take a virtual field trip around the world and look at schools if different places. It was an “Edventure!”s2sbc

The students were excited to communicate with other kids via their blogs. It gave me an opportunity to discuss how to respond politely and the importance of asking a question to encourage the conversation to continue. Students were able to watch as email alert notifications came through on the interactive board. Blog connectThey established a procedure (self driven) to take the first 5-10 minutes of our blogging time to look for comments and reply. Once a week we read our connected friends’ blogs and commented on at least two. We continue to use this forum to talk about exciting news, our learning as well as explore any topics we want to learn more about. The progression of the students has been amazing.

My blogging continues to develop. I have a unique perspective as an educator in a Supportive Learning Environment classroom. Sharing this on Twitter has allowed me to connect with educators all over the world. I find myself drawn into Twitter and scanning for more valuable connections. I was honoured to be asked to write for EDWords blog and will be considering this in the new year.


Class Story …

This year ClassDojo added a class story (much like a Twitter feed) and this allowed me to connect the parents to what their students were doing and learning about in the classroom. It was well received by the parents. The ClassDojo app also added a chat option so that I can communicate directly with parents on their device. One thing that I really like is that I can have multiple parents sign up (blended families, living with grandparents etc) and send out important announcements so that everyone is receiving the same information.

Parent Communication

I also share the Class story feed with the students as I post and it gives them pride to see themselves and know that their parents are seeing it. Often I will end the post with a prompt for the parents to ask their son or daughter at home about their day at school. I am hoping that this encourages a conversation beyond “How was your day at school?” “Good.”

In the end it is all about communicating… with our students, parents, colleague and the global community. We need to model and teach respectful ways to give and accept feedback.

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Posted by on December 14, 2015 in Major Project


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Blogging in a Multi-grade Classroom

For the bulk of my major project I have spent some significant time blogging with my students and have seen tremendous growth. We have had some exciting times over the past few weeks! The benefits of blogging are endless. According to the article Blogging as Pedagogy no matter what grade level, age group and subject area. Blogging supports four primary areas: Reading, Writing, Reflecting and Sharing.


It all started with a note…

I needed to get my parents and guardians on board with blogging and of course needed permission to publish publicly. The blogging letter was borrowed and edited from My version of the letter is available for you to edit also.

While we were waiting for signed permission slips the students were practicing locating the site, logging in, starting a new post and saving it as a draft. Using KidBlog (click the link to visit us) was the easiest option to allow for a gradual release with the students.

blog privacy

As we began many of them couldn’t get much beyond a few words on the screen in the time allotted. As we progressed the students went back and edited posts and learned how to select a pre-loaded header to add to their post or it often became the subject of their blog post.

1st post sample2nd attempt

The grade 2-4 students experienced very little difficulty generating blog posts. When they became more proficient in writing them, checking for capitals and punctuation we discussed adding a picture to go with their post. This was a great opportunity to discuss creative commons and giving credit to a picture. I showed the students how to use Photos for Class because it downloads with the citation already attached. The older students in the class are able to complete this independently now and know that they can’t just take any picture off the internet.

3rd attempt

Because I have a multi-grade classroom blogging looked a little different at each level. My grade 1 students shared their ideas with the Instructional Assistant to write on a whiteboard. This usually only consisted of a few sentences and the students typed them into the computer on their own. The challenge was that they had difficulty transferring the lower case letters from the whiteboard to the uppercase ones on the keyboard. So for a while we wrote on the whiteboard in all capital letteVoice blogrs. We have access to android devices so to make things easier for the younger students I created a QR code to take them to the login screen and allowed them to use the voice to text option on the devices. This posed a bit of a problem as they had issues with speaking to loudly, softly, quickly or with a speech problem. What they were wanting to say often was not what the program typed. It did create frustration for the students.

One of my grade 4 students was very interested in Youtube videos. He found a viducksdeo at home that showed a duckling and a man. He was amused by it and decided that he wanted to write a blog on ducks and put the video into the blog. He was motivated to write and we worked together to insert a hyperlink into his blog on Ducks.


The older students also chose a topic to research and blogresearch blog about. I guided them on safe internet searching and helped them select information that they could include. At this stage it was difficult to teach them about plagiarism. That topic will be covered in future writing classes.

We have published almost all of our blogs and look forward to making global connections. This opens the door to reading and responding while practicing responsible digital citizenship.





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Posted by on December 7, 2015 in Major Project


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Behavior Tracking Apps

October – November 2015

My teaching position is in a supportive learning environment classroom. In my classroom I have students who have significant behavior challenges and are on eIIPs.  Each term we are required to goal set with the students and collect data on how they are achieving their goals. Initially in the classroom we were tracking behavior data on an 11 x 17 sheet of paper and then transferring this information to other documents and calculating percentages from there. The information was then funneled into the student communication books which are transported back-and-forth so that their parents know how their day went. As a final step the information is also put into our anecdotal records so that our administrator can see any major incidents that happened during the day. Just as it sounds, it was very time consuming and redundant. Another concern was that it didn’t really provide any feedback for the parents in a clear way. This led me to another part of my major project. So for the month of October and into November I wanted to explore some apps to track student behavior in my classroom and utilize technology to make the process smoother but also find a way to communicate with parents. 

Initially I saw some reviews online of Behavior Tracker Pro and thought it would be a good fit for my classroom. When I went to download the app I noticed that there were several other app options and decided to choose two additional ones – Easy Behavior Tracker and Behavior Tracker.

Behavior Tracker Pro is by far the most expensive of the three apps and I hesitated purchasing it. It was my first choice app as it appeared to provide much of what I needed. It allowed me to take frequency and duration data. It also allowed me to take ABC data ( antecedent behavior consequence), high frequency behavior data and interval data.BTP

This app has the capability to insert a video of the child displaying the behaviour which may be helpful in a clinical situation but in a classroom situation we need to be careful about video taping our students.

I was excited to be able to graph the data which would make it easy for parents to understand but it became too complex with the amount of behaviours we were tracking.

This review highlights all of the capabilities of the app and I was sold on the ability to graph the data to show parents. Unfortunately it wasn’t ideal for our classroom. We ran into difficulties tracking the behaviour when multiple students were experiencing difficulty. We needed to be able to record instantly simultaneous things with different students. This app allows you to focus on one student at a time. I could see it being useful for clinical observations but not in a busy classroom.

The next app Behaviour Tracker that I downloaded actually met most of our needs but was outdated and had some glitches. There was no simple way to get app support as the developer appears to have moved on to other things. I was able to enter my student information and add a picture for quick access. I could also customize the behaviours I wanted to student list1 behaviourobserve. This app allowed me to take data quickly
on several students with a simple touch. I touched the student’s name / picture and a selection of behaviours appeared.

One really great things about this app is that it time and date stamps the behaviour so that you can identify patterns. There is an option to have a timer start when you select an observed beha
viour. This was a good thing in the beginning to track how long a student was ‘off task’ but the timer stays on the screen and doesn’t allow you to select anything else while it is going. This creates the same problem as the Behavior Tracker Pro as you can only focus on one student at a time or gives an inaccurate indication of time (1 second etc) because another behaviour or student was selected.


Another great feature of this app was the ability to indicate the teacher’s response to the behaviour (redirect, intervene etc). This gave me the opportunity to see if my responses were met with a behaviour correction or further off task behaviour.

This app has the ability to generate reports to email to parents but it is in a simple list format with the date and time. I found that this wasn’t very helpful.


The final app I explored briefly was the Easy Behavior Tracker. It was a mid priced app and would be beneficial to use in a high school or upper elementary. It was very easy to setup and user friendly however it is more for recording a single incident with a student. It didn’t have the specific capabilities that I needed for charting frequency of behaviours.EBT 3

After reviewing all of these and thinking about student privacy I began to question the use of any of these apps. What access do the developers have to the information? Can they only access information housed on their site or can the mine the app for data?

In order to get something that we could use in time for three way conferences a colleague developed an excel form and it generates graphs to share with parents. Simple and powerful.

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Posted by on December 6, 2015 in EC&I832, Major Project


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