Archive for April, 2015


Monday, April 27th, 2015



Monday, April 27th, 2015


Using Digital Tools to Explore Conics in Math

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Recently our school district, LBPSB hosted our second annual EdTechTeam GAFE Summit.  During the Summit I was fortunate to hear Tim Lee Amplified IT (@AmplifiedIT) | Twitter talk about the graphing calculator Desmos.  I was enthralled and a little later looked into it further.

Before I continue with the story of our  Desmos Desmos | Beautiful, Free Math journey, I think it is important to share that when I look at technology tools, my overriding framework is one of pedagogy.  I always ask myself:

  • How will this enhance student learning?
  • Will it provide teaching and learning opportunities in different and improved ways?
  • Will it allow students the opportunity to publish their work?

Well, the answer to those three questions was a resounding – absolutely!

Not being a Math teacher I sought out a teacher at one of the schools I support.  I asked Jane Preston from Lakeside Academy if she would be interested in meeting with me so that I could show her Desmos.  She was pleased to have an opportunity to learn something new.  Jane and I met and WOW!

Every year Jane does a Conics project with her students.  She explained to me that normally it takes three weeks and the students do it with paper and pencil.  The past projects have been very successful but the questions remained: Where their creations shared with a wider audience?  Where they able to animate their creations?  If they worked on it at home how were they able to collaborate and help each other out?

Well, the answer to those questions led us straight to GAFE and Desmos. Jane was thrilled with what it had to offer her students.  We developed a lesson plan and Jane created her very first screencast explaining to her students what Desmos is all about.

For the past couple of weeks the students have been borrowing the set of 20 Chromebooks that I have and they have been actively designing and creating their Conics designs.  Below I have attached two videos from her students explaining what they have been doing. They will be exploring sliders and different ways to add colour to their design.

They will be exploring sliders and different ways to add colour to their design.


You could hear a pin drop

This blog post was written by Kim Meldrum – Consultant at Lester B Pearson School Board.

Interested in contributing to DCPinAction?

Friday, April 10th, 2015

We are looking for teachers who are doing amazing things with Digital Citizenship in their schools and classrooms. If you are a teacher and you would like to contribute your achievements, then please complete this form:


Pause and Think Online

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Teacher Daphne Amster at Edgewater Elementary school and her Grade 4 class created a video based on Common Sense Media’s Pause and Think Online. This project idea encourages students to create a video showcasing the elements of the song, and to think about how they can become good Digital Citizens.

The Video

The Project

The project is based around an existing video which encourages students to become good digital citizens. The song focuses on body parts and encourages them to make connections between how safe, responsible and respectful behaviour online is very similar to that of the offline world.

The original Common Sense Media video is below.

Digital Citizenship in the Math Classroom

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

A lot of Math teachers are not interested in Digital Citizenship; their subject is very paper based, they don’t see how Digital Citizenship could possibly fit into their subject area, or they simply don’t think that it is their job. I think that they are wrong.

Why? Well it’s fairly simple, given the right tools and few ideas you can actually lead your schools Digital Citizenship Curriculum from your Math classroom.


As we all know a lot of Math is all about thought processes. If the thought process doesn’t make sense, then often the work on the paper, and at the end of it all, the solution doesn’t make sense. Students are inherently bad at showing that thought process, because all we ask them to do is show their work (i.e. the mathematical steps) but not to show why they did this. But by blogging, we can get students to do a problem, and then write a blog post about what they had to do, how they solved the problem, and why. You can use whatever blog platform you want, but if you’re using Google Apps for Education, it makes sense to use Blogger.

Once you begin blogging, you can now open up conversations about appropriateness of content, and about freedom of speech.

Digital Portfolios

Students spend a lot of time in Math working on activities with manipulatives, completing work on paper, or completing exercises from workbooks. The problem with this is they have no evidence for the future, the number of times that my classes have completed a puzzle to just put all the bits away, with no record is shocking.

The solution is easy though, use a Digital Portfolio to get students to record what they did, they could take photos with a phone or tablet, and record their accomplishments. This gets them to reflect on their best work, and to showcase it for the future.

There are plenty of ways to do this, but a Google Site, or a blog are the simplest methods. Using a website is teaching your students important web design skills.

Online Communities

Using an online community in Math can be rewarding, it’s easy to set up your own, using tools like Google Groups, or Classroom (if you prefer you can use Edmodo, or Schoology). This is a great way to begin Math conversations, and to talk about appropriate use of discussion forums, and how to stay safe.

The inclusion of Digital Citizenship is an important one, in all subject areas. No matter your experience and knowledge you can help your students learn.


GAFE and Creating Reflective Learners (Part 2)

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Following on from Part 1 of our series of blog posts on using GAFE and Creating Reflective Learners, Kim Meldrum, Educational Consultant at LBPSB, talks about using ScreenCastify in Part 2.

ScreenCastify is another Chrome app that can be used with students of all ages.  It is a powerful tool that allows students to explain their learning/creation process.   The student you are hearing in this link made a drawing with Google Draw and is explaining to me how he made it.  This is an example of how you can use Draw and ScreenCastify to provide opportunities for your students to learn how to verbalize the process of their learning.  Another suggestion would be to have your students create a screencast of them reading their written creation and self-checking for fluency.

ScreenCastify is an amazing tool to assist students in developing their oral language skills.  It is critically important for educators to remember that no matter what age our students are, reading and writing develops from strong oral language skills.