Time for Talk: The unexpected benefit of trains & travel

Picture this: sixty-six international educators boarding the train for a weekend excursion in China. Cues forming (well, more like scrums) ready to board. Selfies snapping sporadically amongst the group - as well as a few with inquisitive onlookers. Upon arrival, unforgettable landscapes and cultural experiences await. As beautiful as the Shaolin Temple and Longmen Grottoes were, the real story of this blog lies in the train ride.

It is here that a conversation about robotics unfolded with my friend and colleague John Burke from Arizona. I had the pleasure of meeting John last year at SFLS and was delighted that we were both back again this summer. We had over two hours on the train, refreshments in our hands, and so much to talk about in light of our shared interest in STEM. With no time limits and no pressure, our conversation just ebbed and flowed. We talked about the previous school year - what new things did we try? What went well? What flopped? I shared our success at WCDSB'…

What "More and Less" Are Encouraged?

What "more and less" would top your list?

This question has been on my mind since attending a seminar by Liu Baocun from Beijing Normal University during my two week experience at Shijiazhaung Foreign Language School in China.

He spoke about current experiences of students and teachers in the Chinese educational system. Many of these were evident while teaching grade 7 and 8 students during the two week summer camp. First and foremost, I will note the great care that the teachers I worked with had for their students - wanting the very best for them and working very hard to incorporate new practices into their lessons. All of this with obstacles such as very large class sizes (40 - 60 students per class) and testing. This is something that I have come to find transcends borders - the close relationship between students and teachers. Our conversations, although challenging at times with language barriers, were tempered with a common love and understanding of our profession. It …

Prism Puzzler 3D Printing Project

I am so excited to share the process of our Prism Puzzler challenge. It was one of those learning tasks that just kept rolling. Each stage increasing in complexity and depth of thinking. Students were engaged, motivated, and demonstrating deep learning competencies throughout. The learning just made sense to students. They could visualize their learning and make connections during each stage. An educational WIN! When utilizing unconventional teaching strategies and methods, this does not always happen (refer to my first posts this year on failure) but it such a joy when thinks unfold as this did.

Specific Curriculum Expectations:
– solve problems that involve the surface area and volume of right prisms and that require conversion between metric measures of capacity and volume
– estimate and calculate the area of composite two-dimensional shapes by decomposing into shapes with known area relationships
– sketch different polygonal prisms that share the same volume
– determine, through invest…

Deep Learning Lab

NPDL Deep Learning Lab
In his opening remarks, Michael Fullan challenged us to consider our own definitions of creativity and adapt these definitions throughout the Learning Lab.
Mine started something like this: Creativity is generating novel solutions to real world problems. 
I was blown away by Daan Roosegaarde's presentation.  Studio Roosegaarde Creativity starts by LOOKING. Be annoyed, be fascinated, be curious. — Jessica Weber (@missjessweber) May 1, 2017
The principle of MAYA- most advanced yet acceptable! — Jessica Weber (@missjessweber) May 1, 2017
@DaanRoosegaarde "3 phases of innovation" from a new Idea:
- Not possible
- Possible, not allowed
- Why didn't you do this before! #npdl — Bill Corcoran (@BCor_2) May 1, 2017
Definition refined: Creativity starts with LOOKING. It is generating novel solutions to real world problems THAT MATTER.
Insight Session 1: The Story …

Fall to your Knees with Deep Learning

At her session called The Right Question at the Ontario GAFE summit,Holly Clark spoke of those 'fall to your knees' moments as educators when something goes so absolutely right, when the learning is so tangible, that you feel like falling to your knees in pure bliss and gratitude for what you are a part of.

I have learned through my experimentation with varied pedagogical approaches and adoption of new technologies, that these moments are to be treasured and are what fuels passionate educators to continue with their pursuits to innovate and inspire. For each 'fall to your knees' moment there are also moments of failure that serve to 'reflect and refine' practice. Both moments equally as important and rich with learning for students and educators.

I had a 'fall to my knees' moment witnessing my Grade 7 students so enthralled with their heat design projects that time stood still and it seemed as though I was in some amazing innovation incubator somewhere…

GAFE Summit 2017

GAFE Summit Schedule
@rushtonh inspires us to think about what would be ridiculously cool at our schools and figure out how. — Jessica Weber (@missjessweber) April 8, 2017
@rushtonh shares this inspiring story. It's about connecting, creating, and caring. #ONsummit — Jessica Weber (@missjessweber) April 8, 2017 Video link for Dads and Dudes: — Jonathan So (@MrSoclassroom) April 8, 2017
Redefining the Math Classroom with  @watnunu

Sandra's resources

Love these math games! (like Kahoot but self-paced)
Vimy Ridge on trends what about Pokemon?
Check out Google Public Data

Problem solving using Google Slides (think about all the possibilities with tables!)

Interlude ... because sometimes you just need a laugh! Than…

Voyageurs of Learning

“Joseph-Nicholas Delisle and his nephew by marriage, Philippe Buache, were obsessed by the idea of a vast sea, connected to the Pacific in northwestern North America. Beginning in 1752, Delisle and Buache published a series of maps and memoirs describing this mythical 'Mer de 1'ouest'; some of their maps appeared as late as 1779 in Diderot's Encyclop├ędie. The 'Mer de l'ouest' had been a strong motive for exploration but as early as the 1740s few others dared place it on a map”. 
(Library and Archives Canada) During our second day of Innovation Stations a rather interesting metaphor struck me. We were discussing how as early users of this educational technology, we have a responsibility to document our learning journey, successes and failures, so that others might learn from us and to provide documentation of our thinking processes for our own reflection.

Maybe this is a little like the early explorers of Canada, such as Delisle and Buache, who dared to envi…