Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The power of Audience

In November I had the pleasure of working with Jeanne on the K12online Wiki Project. Working with someone who is not in your class or not in your country can be a powerful motivator.

My students scribe. A scribe is responsible to put all notes from the days class on the class blog. The student uses text, pictures and links to expand the class lesson. Here are some good Scribes from my room this year. Scribe 1, Scribe 2, Scribe 3.

Now to the title of this post. Audience. It is important that these students see that there is an audience reading their posts. I use Clustr Maps to show all the hits to the site. The only way that scribes know that they have been read is if comments are left behind. Students within my 4 classes,8-16, 8-17, 8-41, and 8-73 are pretty good at leaving comments behind to each other. To date there have been no foreign comments. I would love to see the audience from around the globe comment on these great posts instead of Blurking (reading without commenting).

Since my students are great at commenting on each others blogs I am going to make commenting on other sites part of the scribing assignment.

It will now now be a mandatory part of the scribe to comment on a different website. My scribes will be responsible for creating a link in their post that directs me to where they have left a comment. They will provide the audience for other school's scribe. Will other schools step up and be an audience for my scribes?

I will set up a Schools that Scribe list for my students to use. If you are a school that scribe and you want an audience here is your chance. Email me or better yet........ leave a comment behind on this post requesting an audience.

My students are ready ...... are yours? Ready or not here we come!
Schools that Scribe
S3 Math from Scotland

Linden Meadows 8M
Linden Meadows 8Z

PreCal 30s Danial Mac
PreCal 40S Danial Mac
APCalc Danial Mac

Want some comments. Please comment on this post. I will add you to the list!!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Could we all Be Part of a 21st C School

I have recently blogged about friends and communities. I feel that the 2.0 bloggers out there are a great group of friends. When we meet through comments, reading each others posts, or skype conversation we all are struggling with similar problems. Filter issues, feeling like islands in a very large ocean. Is there a fix to this problem?

In recent conversations with Vicky Davis we have talked about trying out Second Life and creating a 2.0 island. While this would be cool and fun to try it got me thinking. If we already are an island in the sea of unchange what can we do with our first life?

Originally uploaded by muha....

One idea that popped into my head was to create a space, wiki, blog, whatever where all of us island could go and find tools to help our students acquire the skill they need to become more web savvy. Darren and I are creating a How to wiki where our students will create screencasts to help future bloggers with their projects. It will be amazing when there is a screencast for all these new tools (never ending list) made by kids instructing kids on how to use them.

I know there are sites out there that help teachers link with teachers. Chris Lehmann runs a school where all the faculty and students embrace the new reality of information. They are a 21st C school. He made a presentation for the k12online conference. I will be holding a Blog Club to talk about this movie.

Here is what has been going on in my head since I saw the movie. Chris has a school where everyone is onboard using the new tools that our out there. He practices what he preaches. We as educators are probably alone in our building practicing what Chris is talking about. How do we network our kids to see that they are not alone out there. This is the question I am struggling to answer. Our students need to see other students out there in the world doing similar learning. Once they have this audience they will start to participate more and put more effort into their learning.

When I worked with Jeanne the synergy was fantastic. We worked harder on the project because we could work as a team. We were Skyping and chatting all the time while we were editing the wiki. These collaberative projects are needed. Kids need to skype each other during the school day and feel this synergy. More powerful than this would be kids working together on a homework project that involved students from around the world.

I am proposing that we create a Virtual 21st Century school. Where we have classes of every discipline from all over the globe. We communicate to each other and have group projects. Students see that there is an audience for their work and make new friendships and learn about students from all over the world. I am not the person to create this space. Chris Lehmann said that he and his staff worked for 7 months online to create the Science Learning Academy. Hmmm 7 months from now a new school year dawns. Wouldn't it be cool to have a virtual 21st century school where the world took part in great learning experiences.

A dream is only a dream until you wake up and make it reality. I just might wake up soon :-)

Anyone else willing to wakeup with me?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Mentorship the Possibilities

Victor getting some much-needed mentoring from Dr. Chris
Originally uploaded by anders r.

I was lucky enough to present a Numeracy workshop at our local Special Area Groups professional development day in Winnipeg today. It went well. We gave the audience some good foldables ways to change a piece of paper to maximize the amount of knowledge you can write on it. If you want more information about this you can skype me or leave a comment.

In part two of the workshop Darren became part of the audience as I pepper sprayed the audience with a whirlwind of 2.0. I gave them all I had about blogging and using wiki's. The take home notes can be found in this take home wiki. Sometimes hindsight might of been useful. I think I game too much information in a short period of time. Ah well give them more and maybe they will use some!

During lunch Darren and I were talking and the creative juices started to flow. Mentors. Last year I invited one of Darren's students to be a mentor to my kids who were blogging for the first time. He left great advice behind for them. Students need an audience. One way that mentors can be used is to have them leave comments behind on posts encouraging students to edit their posts and make them even better.

To this post

ummm RIGHT!!!!

I need to know how to do the things on the test i've already written it but i do not under stand and think i failed

Richard said...

Well if you need to know how then post an example of a question on the test and someone will show you how to do it by solving it for you.

He also pointed this out to another student who was having problems with a link

Here's a tip. Go to blogger and go to EDIT HTML in your post and change the link name cause it's really... really... long and you can make it to whatever you want. Just look for the code: a href=" " This is where you can change the name)/a Ok. Bye.

So how do we use this power of mentorship to help students this year. Simple. Ask for volunteers. I have student in my own classes that are "excellent" bloggers. They will form the base of my mentorship team.

Darren will ask his students who wants to be part of a mentorship team and they will be available to help student who need help blogging. But what will the responsibilities be for these students? One aspect of their role is to create screencasts that show how to do tasks in blogger and in a wiki. Inserting a picture, logging in for the first time etc. Another part will be leaving comments behind on blogs that ask for help. I would love to see more comments from visitors. This audience is why students try to do good work. The post they create is not only for them but for the world.

bomm web 2.0
Originally uploaded by Txemavk.

Darren and I will create a wiki where students can request help. Mentor volunteers will be available to give advice or give comments. What a great way to use these tools. Tools..... if new tools are invented we have the "super staff" now to try them out and rate them for ease of use and blogability.

I am looking forward to this project and will want to see how it progresses over the year. It is already December (almost) and I am just getting warmed up as the weather cools down. This is going to be fun.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Google Bomb

Did you know that the first Google entry for Martin Luther King is a racist, slanderous site run by a white supremacy organization. Tom Hoffman points out there's a solution here. Time for a good old-fashioned Google bomb.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Here is the code you can put in your blogsite to help the situation.

You can get the code at Tom Huffman's site.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

My First Growing Posts With a new class

Wow time flys. I have whipped through the first few math units and am ready to introduce the kids to Growing Posts. I started this activity last year and it had limited success. This year I want to use Google Documents and have the students network with each other before they complete their posts.

A growing post is one post at their classroom blog. Each day they add to their post. At the end of the week they will have a comprehensive post detailing a certain subject. As a teacher I make sure that the questions that are to be answered are rich in math knowledge and has a 2.0 edge to it. I want to introduce the students to tools such as flickr, bubbleshare, google docs etc. Here is an opportunity to do this.

Here is Growing Post Number 1
It is almost time for Winter Break and this is an important computer assignment. It is called a growing post. It is called a growing post because you create one post and add to it everyday. This assignment can be done at the last minute or it can be done a few questions at a time over the two weeks.

Remember you only create one post. You then edit it as you add more information.

Due Date Monday December 17

You must copy the questions into your Growing Post. They should be in a different colour than your responses.

Tools You can make this growing post simple or advanced. For full marks you will have to use Web 2.0 tools to make it more interactive. You can find many web tools at

Label Please label your growing post using growingpost, percentage.

Title (Place Name Here) Percentage Growing Post

Question 1
What is a good definition of percent? You should use words symbols, pictures and numerical examples in your definition. (suggestion gliffy is an excellent tool for adding detail to your definition.)

Question 2
How are three fifths (3/5), 3:2, 60% and 0.6 all the same? Use pictures and words to show your answer.

Question 3
Show 3 different ways to find 35% of 80. (bubbleshare is an excellent tool to animate the many different ways of finding these answer).

Question 4
Find a link to blogs that deal with percentages. Leave a comment behind and add the link with a review (What the post was talking about....yes you have to read the post and why others should read the post) Hint In the side bar there are links to other schools. Three of them have done work on percentages!

Question 5

What would Students Do?

Here is a little video I put together in under 10 minutes. What would students do with this technology.

I used jumpcut. I only had pics to load. What will this look like with videos and other media? I hope it works.

Now it is for the kids to find and use!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Isn't it strange how easy it is to make friends! I am a personable guy that can carry a conversation and it is not difficult to make friends. But..........
It is difficult to try to get teachers to try new things. I am a total convert to 2.0 technologies and enjoy the challenges they pose as I try to become more adept in using them. I can see the positive effects to get students to try these tools as a means to communicate. So why is it so hard to get adults to try them out.

I am on a personal crusade to find 3 other people in my building to use these tools with their students. I know it will be a tough mountain to climb. Excuses are always there but man all I have to do is get them started. The rest will take care of it self. Have you ever woken up in the morning knowing that you have to go for a run but the bed is sooooooo warm. All you have to do is get out the door (-30 C or not) and start the exercise. When you are done it feels great. The Battle is in getting out the door. For the new recruits I will find it will be a hard sell to get them to try these tools or "get out of bed". I am sure that they will get hooked just as I have.

Back to the friends...... I am amazed at the community of edublogers out there. Darren my mentor and friend lives in the same city as I do. I get to physically touch him if I want to. But that is not my point. All around the blogosphere people are out there touching and helping each other virtually. I get such a quick response from people half a continent or world away. it is as if we are as close together as Darren and I are. It is crazy. I love this community and need to share the wealth of good feelings and synergy that you get when you are a part of it.

Thanks everyone for making me feel welcome. This is where I belong and I hope that in educating the 120 kids that I teach on a regular basis our knowledge will get us through the next many days in style.

Looking for more great ideas................Make it interesting.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

AP Calculus AB (2006-07): BOB # 3

AP Calculus AB (2006-07): BOB # 3

This is why we get kids to blog

Darren Kuropatwa is a friend of mine. He works just down the street from me and I always seem to have my mouth hanging open when his students do such amazing things. Darren is a highschool math teacher who's infectious attitude brings out the best in his students.

His students seemed to be having a conversation about procrastination and they wrote a Blogging on Blogging post to talk about it. When I read the passion in these posts it stirs up my emotional side. When I read the comments left behind on these posts I want to cry because of how they are written with pride and a desire to change. Here are two BOB's. The rest can be found here

Read this
In today's class, we began our third unit. So far, so good. I guess the reason why I'm here is about the whole procrastination thing. I understand where Christian is coming from when he says that he wants to have a conversation with it. I mean, we have this BLOG here for a reason... and I think that we're not using it to our advantage. I know everyone has a million other things to do, but it seems like nobody reads the blog anymore... except to scroll down at the bottom just to see if you're the next scribe. In the beginning of the year, we'd comment each other on our posts. If you guys were to go back to the most recent ones, nobody has left comments. I mean how are we going to be in the HALL OF FAME if nobody reads the blog? I'm kind of disappointed, because I know that when it's my turn to post a scribe, I put a lot of effort into it... don't you guys do the same? Doesn't it feel disappointing when nobody leaves a comment? It makes me think that nobody learned anything from my post, and that I did all that work for nothing. I think that relates to what Christian was trying to get at. Mr. K always says that "MATH IS A CONVERSATION". My question to all of you is, why isn't the conversation happening? This is a whole new unit; we can still help each other out. Mr. K also said in today's class that we need to find ways to catch each other's falls... I am VERY willing to catch your fall, I wonder if anyone is willing to catch mine.i've got your back linger! you know i do =). since it is a new unit, i will turn over a new leaf. i will try and go to the blog and read, learn, and comment. let's step it up, people.

This was an Impressive Post but the comments left by the students were even more telling:
Comment 1
You caught my fall today, Linger :)
And I think that this is a good idea.. we should participate more in the blog. So I am committing myself to comment on each scribe post for this unit. I'll see where that takes me..

Comment 2
What more can I add. Thanks linger for the inspiration. About a week ago, as you guys already know, I was disappointed, because it seemed like the only ones who cared about going to the blog were the ones who posted stuff (including myself). That's why I tried to comment on things, and get your attention. Well, I think some of us really are motivated and would really try to step it up.

This was the blog that Started the ball rolling. I was impressed with his emotional plea. His use of flaming was interesting and the comments by Lani and his own comments showed great reflection and passion.

Please read this post and its comments. I have just copied some of the post below.


Anyhow, that's my ranting for today. I'm bored, so I thought, why not do the BOB now and not worry about it anymore? So here it goes.

Resources. This blog will be about the definition, purpose, and use of a resource.

Webster's defines a resource as a source of aid or support that may be drawn upon when needed. We often say in our bobs or comments that we don't understand a certain question, topic and so on. That's valid because we're not Einstein's (yet), but as responsible students, we are supposed to do all we can to find the answers to our questions. We can't just sit and wait; we have to scrutinize our notes, maybe ask our teachers or parents, go to our blog, read the book and so on. These are just some of the resources available to us. The concern is, we aren't making use of these, isn't that right? Mr. K, in the beginning of the year, said that there was a student who claimed, "Mr. K, I don't know what to do. I'm failing your class, although I listen intently to your lectures...", or something to this effect. "Well," Mr. K said, "have you been doing your exercises? Have you formed a study group? Have you tried to ask me for clarification on some of the questions you have?". To all of these, the student said no. This student only has himself to blame for his failure, because all the help he could have gotten was around him, but he did not make use of them.

Well, it's the same for us. Point is, WE HAVE MR. K, WE HAVE A BOOK, WE HAVE THE INTERNET, AND WE HAVE A (FRIGGIN) BLOG! Let's take advantage of all of these. I must keep this in mind, as much as all of you do. ........

You need to read these posts. They are Amazing. Please leave comments behind for the students. I have.

What A Conference

I am still sitting in front of the computer screen waiting for the next set of presentations to roll out of K12online. But all has grown quiet. Or has it. As part of When Night Falls I stepped up and volunteered to keep the grass movement alive. I will create a Skype cast and have the tapped in room going at the same time just like When Night Falls.

When Night Freefalls
was born.

I can hear you asking now when will this take place. I ask that you wait until my marks are in and the reports go out at the end of the week. Then I will sit down, chat with some people and put up the date. It will happen on a Saturday or Friday in December.

I am excited to try some of the new tools I learned to use during K12Online. In our school we have had electronic portfolio's to showcase the students work. I am attempting to have my 120 Grade 8 students create a wikipage each to be their electronic portfolio. This I hope will be a change from the powerpoint presentations they have done in the past. I can teach the students how to embed video, add pictures from flickr and a variety of other things to make this format more appealing.

Here is the problem. I am the math teacher. I will have to teach the other teachers how to do this in a short period of time. They need to be willing to have this change. I think I can sell these ideas to them. If not then there isPublish always my math wiki and math blogs to keep me warm.

Ah the beat goes on...

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Oh what an annoyance. The Spammers are attacking my classroom blogs. I have turned of comments and deleted all the bad comments but really. Don't these people (computers) have anything better to do.