This blog post includes a 5 minute video, a lesson plan and examples of student that show integration of visual art curriculum and Computational Thinking in my grade 3 classroom.

Thank you to Bea Leiderman, Carolyn Skibba, Douglas Kian and my experience at the Apple Institute in Berlin for this idea.  Using Keynote and Kandinsky is Bea’s idea. It’s brilliant. Bea, Carolyn and I went to the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin where we saw Kandinsky’s work. We also had in depth workshops on Keynote. The combination of these experiences at the Apple Institute in Berlin lead to this idea and a project. Bea, Douglas and I are currently working on a project where we are investigating how these ideas of art, coding, and Computational Thinking might fit together. This is the early stage of this team project.

This video gives an overview of the lesson and a chance to peak inside my grade 3 classroom:

Visual Arts Expectations

These are the expectations from the Ontario Arts Curriculum that apply to this lesson:

Elements of Design:

• line: variety of line (e.g., thick, thin, dotted)

• shape and form: composite shapes; symmetrical and asymmetrical shapes and forms in both the human-made environment and the natural world

Principles of Design:

• variety: slight variations on a major theme; strong contrasts (e.g., use of different lines, shapes, values, and colours to create interest)

Creating and Presenting:

D1.1 create two- and three-dimensional works of art that express personal feelings and ideas inspired by the environment or that have the community as their subject

D1.2 demonstrate an understanding of compo – sition, using principles of design to create narrative art works or art works on a theme or topic

D1.4 use a variety of materials, tools, and techniques to respond to design challenges

Reflecting Responding and Analysing:

D2.2 explain how elements and principles of design are used to communicate meaning or understanding in their own and others’ art work

Exploring Forms and Cultural Contexts:

D3.2 demonstrate an awareness of a variety of works of art and artistic traditions from diverse communities, times, and places

Computational Thinking Goals

Karen Brennan and Mitch Resnick published a paper in 2012 describing a framework for teaching and assessing Computational Thinking (CT). I learned about this paper from a presentation by Julie Mueller at a CT event for teachers in August 2016.  Based on this framework, these are the CT goals of this lesson:

Coding Concepts (actual computer science concepts): Sequencing and Debugging.

Practices (thinking habits): Being incremental and iterative, testing and debugging, reusing and remixing.

Perspective (beliefs about self): Using technology to express oneself.



Source: Wassily Kandinsky [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Source: The Smile of the Flamboyant Wings, 1953 by Joan Miro

Teacher Prior Knowledge/Experience:

Student Prior Knowledge/Experience:

  • Time to play with Keynote

Lesson Part 1:

Bell-work and Minds On:

As students enter the classroom, give them the option of taking either a Miro or Kandinsky colouring sheet. While the students settle and the teacher takes attendance, students colour the colouring sheets anyway they like.

Introducing the Project and Meeting Miro and Kandinsky:

Introduce the project by showing an example. This was created by Bea:

Next, show examples of Kandinsky and Miro works. Ideally show the same art work as the colouring pages and several more.


Explain how the art is abstract. Show how the example has movement that happens with just a single click.

Go over the success criteria:


Teach Art Concepts:

Have students compare their colouring pages to the actual artists’ works. Notice the main differences. Miro uses curved lines and primary colours whereas Kandinsky uses many different colours but has more geometric shapes and straight lines.

Teach Coding Concepts:

Introduce the coding concepts of sequence and debugging.

Working On It:

Now it’s up to students to create their own Kandinsky or Miro style art, or a mixture of both.  You should model how to find shapes, lines, and how to add animation. There are two ways to animate and they are shown in the screenshots below.

First, tap on the More button (…) and then select “Transitions and Builds.”

Or, tap on the object you want to animate and tap on “Animate.”


Warning: Many students will figure out how to add the animations but won’t be able to link them together.   I skip telling them this step so they are confronted with having to problem solve and debug.  Once they have a need for this information, I show them how, though many figured it out on their own.  The screenshot below shows how to link the animation. To sequence the animation tap on the object, then tap Animate, then tap the heading to get the options you see in the screenshot.  Notice that you have to change “Start Build” from “On Tap” to “With Previous Build” or “After Previous Build.”img_0486

Once students have completed their projects ask them to share the Keynote files with you.  You could do this by using Airdrop or having them save the Keynote file to Google Drive.

This is the end of the first part of the lesson. Now you will need some time to convert those Keynote files on your Mac to mP4. This part was time consuming.  I wish I could export keynote files to iMovie on iPad. But, at this point you can only send a copy As Keynote, PDF, or PowerPoint.

Teacher’s Homework Prior to Part 2:

This part is not fun.

  1. Open each file in Keynote on a Mac and export the file as a Quicktime. (File>Export To>QuickTime…)
  2. Then, open each file in iMovie and export as MP4.
  3. Share these files with students. I used Google Drive.

Lesson Part 2:

Bell-work and Housekeeping:

Give students instructions to retrieve the MP4 file you created with the Keynote files.  Ask students to open the file in iMovie. Review the success criteria.

Teach Art Concepts ~ Reflection:

Students use iMovie to create a voice over audio recording explaining why Miro or Kandinsky would like their art work.  Review the key elements and principles of design for each artist. Give students time to do their reflection and upload videos to Seesaw.

Teach Coding Concepts:

When students are finished uploading their art reflection, have students use Apple Swift Playgrounds Learn to Code 1 to reinforce coding concepts. Have students work on the Command puzzles.

Examples of Student Work:

Here are examples of the animations prior to students adding reflections.

Here are examples including the reflection:

What is Swift Playgrounds?

Swift Playgrounds is a free app that runs on iPad, as long as that iPad is running iOS 10 or later. It’s such a large and powerful programming app that it needs the power of an iPad to run. This is why you can’t get it on a Chromebook and why it is not web-based.




What makes Swift Playgrounds special?

  1. It will help your students bridge the gap from block based coding to real programming.  Working with block based programming tools like Blockly and Scratch is a great way to get started, but how do kids learn to write actual lines of code? Swift Playgrounds is designed to solve that problem. Users can tap on lines of code and drop them into the project or use a keyboard to actually type out commands.
  2. Swift Playgrounds is a modern programming language designed to be simple and intuitive yet powerful. You can develop an app completely on iPad using Swift Playground except for the final step of preparing the app for the app store using XCode.
  3. Swift Playgrounds works on both an iPad and Mac. With Swift Playgrounds, you can start a project on iPad and transition to using a Mac.

How to get Started

In Swift Playgrounds you can develop your own Playgrounds from a template (I found this too hard for me at this stage) or you can interact with pre-made Playbooks. Start by downloading Learn to Code 1, 2 and 3.  Each one is a series of puzzles that you need to solve using lines of Swift code. The objective is to get Byte or one of the other avatars to move through a 3D world to collect gems, toggle switches and more.


You and your students will learn:

“the fundamentals of Swift, the programming language used to create apps for Apple products.”

Fun fact: I’m working through Learn to Code 1 and I have completed all the puzzles for the following computer science concepts: Commands, Functions, and For Loops. Next up: Conditional Code.

Here is a screen shot of my next puzzle:

Are there lessons and resources?

Puzzles are grouped by computer science (CS) concepts such as Commands, Logical Operators and Conditionals. At the beginning of each set of puzzles there is a mini lesson explaining to the user the CS concept. In addition, there are free Teacher Guides and an iTunes Course that include complete lessons, videos and Keynote slides to help teachers guide students through learning computer science concepts in Swift Playgrounds.  The Teacher Guides also include all the solutions to the puzzles. 



The Learn to Code 3 Teacher Guide has just been released too:


Hour of Code

Try downloading the Hour of Code activity which is a few puzzles from Learn to Code 1:fullsizerender-2


There is also a Facilitator’s Guide for the Hour of Code:


What do students say?

I ran a Swift Playgrounds coding club for 8 weeks and here is what some of my students had to say about learning with Swift Playgrounds:

What else can you do in Swift Playgrounds?

If you know about Tickle then you already know that you can use other apps to program robots and smart-toys.  Just like Tickle, Swift Playgrounds can be used to interact and program robots. Wonder Workshop, the makers of Dash, have created a Playbook that works with Dash called Dashbook. Read about and download the Playbook here. Below is a screen shot of what the Dashbook looks like:


This is one of the activities I will be doing this week with my class to celebrate Computer Science week which is December 5-9 2016.

Going even Deeper with Swift

If you want to go even deeper, I recommend following Brian Foutty and subscribing to his  iTunesU course on Swift.



Or check out Paul Hamilton‘s YouTube Playlist with ideas and challenges to go further with Swift Playgrounds.

Computer Science Education Week is December 5th-9th. Classrooms across Ontario, throughout Canada and around the world will be diving into Hour of Code activities. As we do this, I would like to ask a couple of questions:

1) Should students learn to code? 

2) Should teachers teach coding?

3) Is coding in the curriculum?

1) Should students learn to code?

What would your students say if asked?  Members of my coding club share their thoughts in the video below (their answers may surprise you):

2) Should teachers teach coding?

Yes: We should use coding as a teaching tool if we think that it is the most powerful and efficient tool to teach a concept.  John Hattie says that almost every single intervention and tool in education can be found to be effective. He encourages us to “Ask not what works, but what works best.” Listen to John Hattie’s keynote from the Education On Air event held on Friday, December 2nd 2016 (watch from 19:23-19:50) to hear these very words and other related ideas:

No: We should not be using coding as a teaching tool if there are other more effective ways to teach the curriculum expectations.

Yes: We should teach coding because it is an opportunity to develop computational thinking. Computational thinking is modern problem solving.  George Polya’s four step problem solving method was introduced in 1945. Remember these four steps:

  • Understand the Problem
  • Make a Plan
  • Carry out the Plan
  • Look Back

This method for problem solving has been effective for teaching math for a long time, but will it be an effective model of problem solving for the future? The problem solving skills and habits of mind listed below are more fruitful for the current world we live in and the types of problems our students may face now and in the future:



Yes: By 2020, there will be over 200,000 unfilled jobs in Information Technology says ICTC.  50% of those jobs will be indirectly or directly related to app development.  If one of the roles of education is to prepare our students for employment, then we should be giving all students opportunities to learn to code since students are likely to get work where they are either coding or working with a developer/programmer.  It is up to us to ensure that all students, including ones in my video above, to understand that learning to code is relevant to their lives.

3) Is Coding in the curriculum?

The short factual answer is no.

If you look more creatively at the curriculum the answer might be yes.

If you search the Ontario curriculum documents or the Achieving Excellent document, you will not find any explicit mention of coding or computational thinking.


The only place I found anything close was a reference to computational strategies, which is not the same as computational thinking.

However, teachers can use coding as a tool to teach the curriculum, just like you might use a chocolate sundae making activity to engage students and teach about procedural writing or you would use a ruler when working on measurement.

According to people like Dr. Julie Mueller, coding and computational thinking is “hiding in plain sight” in the curriculum. This is a perspective that was presented by Dr. Mueller and her research collaborator at a session in August 2016. The same thinking and problem solving that is foundational to science, math, inquiry in social studies is also foundational to computational thinking. Also, some have found that there are many expectations in many documents, such a math, that can be explicitly taught with and through coding.  See for example Integrating  Coding into the Elementary Curriculum by Lisa Floyd, secondary school teacher.

And, while coding is not in the curriculum, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has written an open letter to the minister of Education Mitzie Hunter encouraging educators to dip a toe, ever so gently, into computer coding:

kathleen-wynne quote about coding

Show Up and Refuse to Leave Keynote


Net Smart by Howard Rheingold

Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks by Nicholas Christakis

Presence by Amy Cuddy

Mindfulness by Ellen Langer

Websites/Apps: (Also mentioned in Demo Slam)

GoNoodle Body breaks and meditation for kids




The Hidden Influence of Social Networks TED Talk by Nicholas Christakis 21 minutes

Your body language shapes who you are TED Talk by Amy Cuddy

Let it Go ~ Think About it by GoNoodle


GAFE and iPad: BFFs 4EVR

This is a beginner session.  Please bring an iPad.

View GAFE and iPad: BFFs 4EVR slides here  or at 

Get your own copy of GAFE and iPad: BFFs 4EVR slides here


Get Google to Give you Time ~ Productivity Tips

This is an Intermediate session.  A lap top or Chromebook is recommended.

View Productivity slides here or at

Get your own copy of the Productivity slides here

Copies of Book Talk assessment (to use with Autocrat Mail Merge) here

Assessment and Pedagogical Documentation with iPad

This is a beginner session.  Please bring an iPad.

View Assessment with iPad slides here or at (Case Sensitive)

Get your own copy of the Assessment with iPad slides here


The Leaders

Thank you Lucy Gray, Steve Hargadon and your colleagues for organizing this event. I suspect that Julie Lindsay also helped out, so thank you goes to you too Lindsay!

The Resources

A google doc (here) includes all the links for this event as well as a schedule for the day.  Julie Lindsay’s soon-to-be-published ISTE book on Global Education is another resource to look out for. 

The People

Thank you to these people for pushing my thinking.

The Day

This was my first visit to any kind of Global Education event.  The day alternated between ignite talks and round table discussions. I have organized my notes to share some highlights from the day.  You’ll get some quotes and key points from the ignite talks and round table discussions that resonated for me. I hope you enjoy them too.

Opening Ignites

David Young is the president of VIF International Education who co-organized and co-sponsored the event.

His message was that Global Education should be for all students. He would like to see more people engaging in global education. He believes it should be integrated throughout the grades and curriculum.  Key points from his talk were:

  • Very few students have the opportunity to engage in global education despite the desire from the world of work to have workers that are globally engaged, aware and active.
  • Global education should not be an add-on, it should be the lense through which we teach and learn everything at school.
  • All teachers should teach from a global perspective.
  • Technology allows us to bring global education to all.
  • Digital badging can provide acknowledgement of skills developed in this space.

Lisa Parisi‘s ignite included these gems:

  • “At first it was about the technology, then it became about collaboration and globalization.”
  • “It is impossible to ignore the global issues we face each day.”
  • “People study in schools about animals, climate and other things from other countries but almost never about the people.”

Round Table Conversation

Topic:Design discussion: How to design authentic global collaboration across the curriculum. Includes the new ‘norms of global

Leader: Julie Lindsay

How do you support discussions between students from classrooms all over the world? Do you communicate asynchronously and synchronously. Do you have teacher directed conversations or less structured time for kids to be kids and just talk? Perhaps not surprisingly, the experienced people in this group believe that a balance of approaches is ideal.  Due to time zone challenges, sometimes a synchronous conversation is not possible. Some teachers would have evening events at their school with students and families to Skype or Google Hangout with other classrooms. I thought this was a clever solution.  As for the conversations, students need some unstructured time to be themselves and let a bond develop. However, participants in the discussion warned that you need to get past the “I like pizza, you like pizza” type discussion and into deeper topics.

Near the end of the time together, people talked about Student Personal Learning Networks. “Who do you have in your online network that you don’t see everyday?” Is a question Julie Lindsay thinks all students should be able to answer.

Terry Godwaldt from The Center for Global Education and Bob LaRocca from Primary Source were also part of this round table. These are new-to-me people with new-to-me organizations. Later in the day Terry talked about Taking It Global.

Near the end of the hour together, Julie talked about A Day in the Life.  She says she puts students into a virtual classroom for synchronous communication. But also has students connecting asynchronously through various blogging and social media services. I love how she said: “It all works, *just*.”  Time zones are a challenge, probably the biggest.

Someone in the group asked where to get in touch with people to get started. Here is what people shared:

Global School Network

IVEACA International Virtual Schooling

Flat Connections

Global Education Conference

Global Educator’s Network

Taking It Global

Cultural Relay Fitness for young girls!

Eyes Wide Open shared by Deb Schiano

International Education Resource Network IEARN


Julie Lindsay’s ignite was titled “Putting the Global into Online Collaboration.” She has lived and worked in six different countries. She is global, and yet, she has a dilemma with the term. Her supervisors for her doctoral program told her to drop the word ‘global’ from her dissertation. So, she has been thinking about what global really means. Is the use of the word ‘global’ acceptable, necessary or redundant when talking about learning online. Great question.

Favourite Quotes and thought bites:

  • What does the word ‘global’ add to online learning.
  • Is ‘global’ a mirage?
  • What happens when we put ‘global’ into online collaboration? What is different? Is there a new understanding of time differences, cultural and daily life?
  • Global is all-embracing and covering the entire world.
  • ‘Global’ and affirmative action.

Julie proclaims that the ‘Global’ in ‘Online Global Collaboration’ is not redundant.

Then, she got ground level and practical by outlining the  Norms of Online Global Collaboration:

  1. Being prepared to connect and communicate.
  2. Having a purpose shared outcomes.
  3. Paraphrase use clear common language.
  4. Perceive: ask for help and share knowledge.
  5. Participate and be visible online.
  6. Positive and encouraged DC, build empathy, assume best intentions.
  7. Produce. Productively co-create and encourage learners to compare, contrast and create.
  8. Be open to the potential and  serendipitous learning that will happen if you let it.

Up next was Amy Shaffer from Connected World. She is intelligent and also quite darling.  Her slides are here. “Do you consider yourself as a creator?” she asked right off the top. She believes that when you bush buttons and see things happen, that we then build faith in the world around us. She uses doorknobs as an example. The doorknob is a button you bush everyday, and it works every time. So you trust that it works.  This is the idea behind The Wonderment. “It’s a space that gives kids that button to push” she says.  A sense of belonging is important in working to make change. And this is the ethos behind The Wonderment.

Screenshot of The Wonderment Website

Amy Shaffer wants to give kids a way to actively engage in their own world at their level.  More great quotes from Amy:

  • You can’t leave behind the possibility for genuine human interactions.
  • The world is waiting and wanting to hear from our students.
  • Education without action is like food without exercise.


Round Table Conversation

Topic: Beyond Mystery Location Calls

Leader: Billy Krakower (Who brought his own power cord!)

  • Pro tip: Use TouchCast to practice Mystery Skype. Use a green screen to upload a different picture so it appears that you are coming from another country.
  • When mystery Skyping, have students keep the same job for 3 times.
  • Skype around the world in two hours.
  • If time difference is a challenge have the Skype at night and make it an event with parents!
  • Link to check out Sharks for Kids

Friends I was delighted to see:

Jen Roberts, Andrea Singer, Jon Samuelson, Jackie Gerstein, Monica Burns,

New connections and First Face2Face Meetings:

Tweeps: Dave Potter, Kristen Downey, Bob LaRocca, Amy Shaffer,

F2F Meet up: Scott BedleyLouise MorganGallit Zvi, Robyn ThiessenTerry Godwaldt


Do you use the Daily 5 and CAFE in your class?

Perhaps you are familiar with this series of books:
I attended “Hacking the Daily Five” presented byVictoria Olson MsVictoriaOlson and Sara Boucher @MsGeekyTeach. Victoria and Sara demonstrated how to integrate technology with the Daily 5. They focused on Google and iOS Apple tools. To get session resources, go to the links below:

They gave a Daily-5-Disclaimer saying they don’t follow every aspect of the Sister’s Approach.  They hack it.  Victoria and Sara do stick with the 5 parts of the program. In each of these areas, I learned something new.

Read to Self New Learning:

    • Literably A website where students can read text and the online service provides a running record.  I think this is pretty cool, but I like that Victoria emphasized that nothing beats the classroom teacher sitting down with a student. Nothing.
    • Google and Explain Everything: Victoria fills a Google folder full of books she has downloaded from Reading A-Z.  Students can then bring those books into Explain Everything and record their reading.  The key idea for me was the idea of using Google and Explain Everything to make a library of things for students to read. I would like to put in shared reading from the previous week, books I have written, classbooks, as well as texts I have access to use.

Read to Someone New Learning:

    • Have two students record their reading and then switch iPad devices.
    • Invite guest authors via Skype and Google Hangout or even invite parents to read to students if they can make a short break during their work day!

Listen to Reading New Learning:

    • Use Popplet or PicCollage to have students create a retell, summary, character analysis or other task to show their reading comprehension and experience with the text.
  • Tools and Websites for Listening to Reading:

Work on Writing New Learning:

Word Work New Learning: 

Websites for Word Work:

And, I was really happy to meet Erica Oakhill and Gloria A (a fellow Canadian)!

Mini Keynotes iPadapalooza #iplza15

Instead of a traditional keynote, 10 speakers were each asked to do a 3 minute talk.  Here were the people and the big ideas.

Sketchnote by Meghan Zigmond ~ used with pride and permission!

  • Rabbi Michael Cohen The pencil is a mighty tool, the iPad too!  (Plus amazingly hand drawn slides).
  • me – The life story of Kevin Mitnick, all time hacker, rapped to the tune of Fresh Prince.  Hack the classroom.

Gost in the Wire

  • Amy Mayer There is a big difference between compliance and engagement. And, “If your kids ask you for a worksheet you are doing it right.”
  • Reshan Richards  Knowing That and Knowing How, Learning THAT and Learning HOW ASSESSING THAT or ASSESSING HOW. #QFAT (Qualitative Formative Assessment Tool).
  • Rafranz Davis You have to make an effort for equality. Real Change is Intentional.
  • Carl Hooker #UndeadLearning Fighting the Zombie apocalypse.

Day 1: One More Thing ~ Adam Bellow

You can see Adam flying his drone, as well as a wonderful overview of the entire event in this iPadpalooza Highlight video.

Adam Bellow’s opening keynote really hit on a lot of 2015 trends: coding, fear of failure, sharing, risk taking and drones. He geeked up, as we like to do in edtech, especially when he flew a drone programmed by Tickle.  His emphasis was on people over shiny things, even though he talked about technology gadgets and apps and services. His putting-people-first message was post App, post idevice. His keynote was centered on being connected to each other and the importance of sharing. By highlighting how quickly the new tech becomes old, he brought a freshness to the people-and-pedagogy-first message.  Student engagement has been a big selling point and focus for edtech evangelists, but he points out that the superficial engagement of new hardware and software is fleeting. Bellow reminds us to focus on the people, the connections, and the learning.

My favourite Adam Bellow Quotes:

  • “It’s not about the apps and tech it’s about culture and people.”
  • “It’s not about what you do but what you share.”
  • “Failed Ed tech initiatives start with a list of things to buy.”
  • “The Device doesn’t matter because they don’t last anyway.”

Tools, Sites and Apps Mentioned in Adam Bellow’s Keynote:

Day 2: 10 Lessons from Steve Jobs ~ Guy Kawasaki

1) innovators learn to ignore naysayers  a.k.a. “BOZOs”
2) costumers can’t always tell you what they need
3) it’s not about the current curve
4) design matters
5) big challenges beget BIG CHANCES
6) less is more
7) changing your mind is a sign of being smart
8) value does not equal price
9) “A” players hire “A+” players
10) the perfect combination to market and sell anything: maximize uniqueness and value
BONUS: some things need to be believed to be seen.
Guy Kawasaki

Day 3: Eric Whitacre

You may have seen Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir, if not, take a look.

This was an outstanding, life enriching, keynote. Having a passionate knowledgeable person walk you through something they love is a profound experience.  Eric Whitacre talked about how he got into music, the virtual choir, his process and stories of music and composers. It was an hour of magic.

My favourite phrases and quotes:

When talking about hearing choir music for the first time:
  • “It was like I was standing in the middle of a cosmic Swatch watch.”
  • “It felt like someone was speaking my true name.”
  • “I was surround by a see of people escorting me to the next level.”
On being a composer:
  • “Being a composer is an odd job. I try to steal fire from the gods.”

Golden Bricks

I also especially liked how he talked about how all music, all songs, have a ‘Golden Brick.’ The golden brick is a simple piece of the song that is the anchor of the song, speaks the emotional essence of the piece and often repeats throughout.  He had us listen to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.

He explained how the “ba-ba-ba BOOM” was the Golden Brick of this piece. Here he is watching the visualization and pointing out the brick as it repeats.



Here is a recap of the sessions I attended at iPadpalooza 2015.


Share it’s so Human –  Felix Jacomino

Share. Tweet. Blog. Crowdsource. Connect. Rinse and repeat daily for best results. Felix Jacomino shared his thoughts and interviews with edtech influencers through his session.  A perfect follow-up to Adam’s keynote, the message to share was becoming the anthem of the conference before noon on the first day.

I think you have probably read or heard about Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work both by Austin Kleon.  We love this, don’t we?  Always worth a visit to these ideas, don’t you think?

Did you know that Command + F1 on your Apple computer will toggle between presentation mode in keynote and mirroring your desktop.  I didn’t!  Thank you Felix!

Tools, Sites and Apps Mentioned in Felix Jacominio’s session:

Conferences to attend that promise to be as fun asiPadpalooza

Crowdsourcing & Crowdsharing

Tools to help make sharing easier (if you use Google Blogger):

Mixing Paint and Pixels In The Creative iPad Classroom ~ Cathy Hunt

Cathy Hunt‘s general art resources can be found here and iBooks to download are here.  In the session, Cathy emphasized the importance of capturing the process as well as sharing out the product.  She encourages students to do time-lapse photography of their art making using iMotionHD and an iPad stand. She suggests getting iPad stands like the one pictured below or like this or like these.

ipad standShe taught us that an inexpensive stand like this is essential for taking pictures of the process and it’s also important that students grapple with setting up their work stations.  For presentation and sharing the student’s product, she uses Book Creator.

A Book Creator tip that I think you’ll love is to have students crop photos in a square shape and then add to the portrait or landscape books in book creator. This will make for a very consistent look throughout the book allowing for consistent white space for writing descriptions. Primary teachers, don’t you think this would be great for classroom books too?

When we opened an app for the first time she would tell us to “touch the heck out of the screen.”  Touch Everything may be the simplest instructions for figuring out any app that I have every heard in my life.  Brilliant. Stop teaching apps, just open then up and say “Touch Everything” – it’s the Bibbiti Bobbiti Boo of iTeaching!

Using the headphones to trigger photos was another great tip.  Plus, she keeps things simple and easy and goes around taking pictures of student’s art work on their iPads as an easy workflow solution for assessment.

Making kaleidoscope's with MegaPhoto and Craft supplies.

Making kaleidoscope’s with MegaPhoto and Craft supplies.

Art Apps Mentioned in Cathy Hunt’s session:


iGoogle ~ Jennie Mageira

Jennie Mageira knows that many iOS users want and need to be Googly too. This session was about blending the tools together. Her session resources are here.

Jennie points out that Google classroom is great, but there is still a place for Shared Google folders through Google Drive.  She demonstrated that Shared folders is the best option when you want students to be able to see each other’s work.  Good point, Jennie, good point!

She breaks down the apps into those for creating, consuming and connecting.  All the apps she recommends can be seen here.

As a presenter, Jennie Mageira has excellent plan-b-ability. When she was not able to mirror her iPad on the Apple TV, she was quick to turn on Photo Booth and use that to show her iPad.  I think this smooth and nimble use of technology is exactly what we want to strive for and want our students to strive for. There are always glitches and it’s key to problem solve and move forward. Mageira is a pro.

Individualizing Staff Instruction with the ITP ~ Amy Mayer

Amy Mayer is a YouTuber for teachers.  Her channel, FriEd Technology has a vast collection of how-to tutorials to support others. Again, the theme of sharing persisted in this session too as Amy talked about supporting staff.

Her top tools and tips for coaches and learning coordinators that are getting buried by email:


Using canned responses in gmail

Follow Michael Jaber on twitter if you need another guardian angel like Amy to help you out!

I went to the session to hear Amy speak, but you may be interested in seeing her Individual Technology Plan form if you do support teachers who are trying to integrate technology in your board or district.


Explain Everything & #QFAT – Reshan Richards

Reshan Richards, creator of Explain Everything, introduced the notion of #QFAT ~ Qualitative Formative Assessment Tool ~ and makes it so clear how to use iPad. He says there are four ways to capture content on iPad:

    • Photos
    • Screenshot
    • Video
    • Screencasting

He engaged his audience to use a combination of these and the game Disruptus to get depth of thinking and use the tools effectively.

Explain Everything and Disruptus

Crafting Creativity with Canva ~ Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson did a standing-room-only session on Canva which is a tool for making beautiful content!  What I liked most was learning about her process for making her Canva pieces.  She keeps a Pinterest board called Delectable Designer Designs where she collects samples of visual messages and content that she likes the looks of. Then, she uses these to guide her own creations. Circle back to Felix’s session, we were evoking Austin Kleon’s book Steal Like An Artist!  It’s useful to know where to start, right?

She also has two more boards to check out for lesson plans and ideas:

Canva Lesson Plans – Pinterest

Ways to Use Canva – Pinterest

For finding more eye candy for creative content creation, Lisa also recommended Creative Market. She also uses images from Noun Project in her Canva creations. Smart!  She also pairs her Canva creations with Thinglink such as this Outlander themed SAMR model interactive poster:

Dean Shareski

Dean Shareski says “Creativity is like a muscle you have to exercise it daily.” He spoke to leaders about being a creative leader like Chris Kennedy who writes a blog titled The Culture of Yes. Every April 1st he writes a gag blog. Dean suggests that it’s important for leaders to work creativity muscles in this way. He reminded the leaders in the room to engage in “cheap failure” (Clay Shirky’s words) and take risks by playing games such as Pecha Flicker Improv.

He also did a session titled “The Airing of the Grievances.”  I didn’t get to go because I was presenting, but I love the title.  You and I can creep his slides here.

It’s all about the sharing and the people!

People I was thrilled to see

….and you may want to follow so all the names will take you to their twitter accounts:

Tracy ClarkCarl HookerLisa JohnsonJennifer FloodDon Goble, Jessica Young,  Debbie SmithMeghan ZigmondSue Gorman, Jennie MageiraCathy YencaReshan Richards, Dean ShareskiJames RichardsonCraig RobleBrian FouttyRafranz DavisCathy HuntRichard WellsCarolyn FooteKyle PearceFelix JacominoAmy Mayer, Todd Nesloney, Rabbi Michael Cohen, Chris Parker


With thanks to….

Massive T-Rex size thank you to Carl for inviting me and for Tracy for letting me stay with you.


Ontario has a renewed vision for education with four main goals.  But, People for Education is kicking it up a notch!

Ontario has goals and targets.  These goals will be measured and yes, EQAO data is part of the picture.  I am cheerful to see from the Achieving Excellence document that there will be a broader focus on gathering data beyond reading, writing and math (through EQAO).  There is a breeze of change and freshness as I see that the government will be looking at broader indicators of success.

Then, there is an even bigger gust of wind from People For Education.

People For Education, and their tireless, no-nonsense and brilliant Executive Director Annie Kidder, are looking at even broader goals and other measures of success that are “publicly understandable, educationally useful, and that reflect the range of skills that students will need to live happy, healthy, economically secure, civically engaged lives.”  On many occasions, Kidder has made the point that EQAO tends to narrow down the purpose of education.  If we only measure reading, writing and math, then that becomes the focus for improvement.

The initiative to achieve this is called Measuring What Matters Most: A New Way of Thinking about Skills and is best described as:

“a multi-year initiative to support the development of educational goals and measures of success which reflect the broad and essential range of skills that graduates—and our society—really need.”

and also,

”The initiative will establish a set of broader goals and measures of success in education that are publicly understandable, educationally useful, and that reflect the range of skills that students will need to live happy, healthy, economically secure, civically engaged lives.”

I think this complements and extends the mission statement from the Achieving Excellence document:

“Ontario is committed to the success and well-being of every student and child. Learners in the province’s education system will develop the knowledge, skills and characteristics that will lead them to become personally successful, economically productive and actively engaged citizens.”

I also think it goes much further than Achieving Excellence.  While the renewed vision mentions innovation, creativity and critical thinking, Measuring What Matters: A New Way of Thinking about Skills explicitly describes what these important skills actually look like and mean.

For example, here are the skills and competencies for creativity:

Skills and Competencies are clearly outlined for:

  • creativity
  • citizenship
  • social-emotional development
  • health

Thereis also a connection made between creativity and critical thinking:

“Creativity and innovation skills allow students to learn more effectively in all academic disciplines and subjects. Critical thinking—a “sister skill” to creativity—involves a process of conceptualizing, seeking accuracy and clarity, resisting impulsive solutions, being responsive to feedback, planning and being aware of one’s own thinking.”

The Measuring What Matters initiative is a multi-year plan with national reach.  I see a lot of discussion and hear a lot of talk of creativity and citizenship in particular, I wonder if the skills and competencies will help administrators and teachers across Ontario and Canada start to bring these ideas down from the conceptual and into the practical application of the classroom.