Sunday, March 17, 2013

Spring Break

Like every other teacher in British Columbia, most teachers are on Spring Break. It's a time to rejuvenate, a time to reflect on your practises in your classroom, a time to plan for what is coming, and just a time for a break, to catch your breath for the next months to come. The newspaper and blog will be on a break for these two weeks, thanks for your support and have a nice break.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Adding a Blog to the School Site

The school site with Surrey Schools, is well organized, especially if you're a parent.  All teachers listed, there, all assignments under the parents (the choice of the teachers to use this).   Under the parent  section it's easy to find what a parent would want to see.  But how do you tell if parents are coming to your site?  You can use a google tracker or other site analysis programs online.  But the easiest thing to do is use a blog.

Updates to our school site is constant, with the office staff taking a lead role, working in conjunction with the administration at our school.  One of our girls (Juanita) updates almost every day.  The main page is where she works the most but as I said we still don't know if parents are coming to it unless we ask for an analysis from our IT people.  Two years ago we had a blog attached to our old site and when we migrated over to the new system ( we brought our blog with us. Take a look.  Most schools now have one.

Sullivan Heights is proud to be actively engaging in 21st Century technologies when communicating with our community.  As part of our efforts, we have discontinued our bi-monthly publication of large school newsletters (with the exception of our annual August mail-out) and instead we are using technologies which include Twitter (Our Twitter Feed), a news blog (News Blog) and our home page (Home).

We encourage our communicty to follow us in any of these systems and parents have responded with a 1000 emails now listed on BCeSIS for teachers to email parents any concerns, or just comments about their children.

Below is a list of views, today, yesterday, notice last month of our school blog and the total since we started this a year ago.  Notice our traffic, which is constant all day.  Many parents have signed up for the emails to their phones to keep in contact with our school.  They enjoy the fact that they can read the quick and easy blog text sent to their phones.

Traffice is from google, with people searching for Sullivan Heights, and as you can see most of our traffic is from Canada.  This is just one of many ways we keep in contact with our parents and students.  We even use tags so parents can look up specific entries that relate to what they want (i.e. dry grad).  I recommend this manner of communication to any school.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Twitter, Website, notes online, or just phone calls... Choices galore...

A large goal of education (and our school) is communication with parents.  But with social media galore out there, which one is best?  I've written previously in regards to which tool is best for e-portfolios, but not for the topic above.  And there is a difference.  When considering communication with students many have Twitter accounts, tweet often, can text message with two fingers without breaking a nail, but are parents this adept?  Some of my parents don't have an email address so why would I expect them to have a twitter account for them to follow?  On the other side of the coin is most parents have a phone and receiving tweets is easier than receiving emails.  One thing that is true though is that most parents do have the Internet, at home or on their phone, so it's a matter of getting the information out to them over a website.

There are a number of websites that are made for the is task: Check my Marks,  School Logics, or Student Achieve are but a few of the online marking programs that parents can log into.  All have negative and positive features to them, each range in price.  As a parent they want to see the marks and what their child did not complete.  But as a teacher I want students to see more.  I want parents to see exemplars of their child's work.  I want them to help me with late or missing assignments.  I want parents to understand if their child is doing well in their learning learning process or need assistance from both home and school.  Mostly I want to be able to communicate with parents at a drop of a hat.  So what do I use?  

I need a website with all the child's notes and assessment strategies in it, so if the student is sick the student and parent(s) can continue to learn at home and the parent can understand what skills I am trying to teach/train their child.  I need a marking system that emails parents the child's current standings, which also includes a section for work incomplete, work not handed in, and also something that shows sick days to the parent.  I want to send out a group email to both parents and students informing them of something happening in my classroom.  The markings system MasterGrade handles most of these situations:  emailing marks to students and parents, doing group messaging, attendance and notes under each assignment outlining assessment.  

I want a calendar of deadlines of tasks/projects for parents/students to track to help with ensuring students  develop time-management skills.  Presently I use IDoneThis (, a Web 2.0 tool that emails me, asking what I’ve done for the day, reminding me to update my calendar and help me planning my teaching schedule.  It’s well organized, easy to use, but it does cost.   
Finally I require a system where at a glance I can assess the students' work/portfolios, with an area to comment and to suggest changes or possibly areas of consideration to think about, for further the students knowledge. has this capability with the student blog creation.  Student can upload pictures, files, and write their thoughts of what they've learned, and what they want to further their education.  Best of all, as a teacher I appreciate that all blogs are listed in one section, no need to organize, just a click of the link of the student's name and you're on their blog.  Each blog entry is dated, in order, so you can gasp at a glance what has been completed and what  needs to be developed further.  Both peers and the teacher can comment on the students' portfolios, furthering their learning.  

I want and need many features, but it takes three programs to appease my needs for my students, parents and myself as the teacher.

Take a look at these tools and consider what you would like to use.  

Nicole Painchaud @painchaud_n

Update on the Innovations per Department

At the last department head meeting each department shared some of the innovative things happening in their area.  The sharing showed the efforts and the growth of our school in our innovation, the change in our practises, and our strive to improve our ability to help the students learn.  At our school we feel safe to try new and innovative manners of learning.  The research, the learning by the teachers are passed down to the students, showing the love of learning.  Below is some of the items discussed in the meeting.  This is only half of the departments.  Another one will follow later.

  • ·      Have IPads used in the classroom. 
  • ·      Students more independent and more efficient.
  • ·      When students are finished work they go onto Quizlet and database of flash cards.  Students make their own cards to help them practice their work. 
  • ·      If you wish to see these you can look under the name “Sullivan” and look at the study notes.
  • ·      Practise test for kids.
  • ·      Links on LST web site for students to follow for proactive.
  • ·      Quizzes that are open.
  • ·      This app would be great for languages, with speaking rights automatic right in it.
  • ·      Very eash to do. 

Business Ed.
  • ·      Integrating of courses
    • Marketing and InfoTech – use Photoshop to create ads for the marketing group to assess.
  • ·      IMovie to be taught by Info Tech students and learned in Marketing for students to create commercials.
  • · to create the floor plan for what business they are creating.
  • ·      Students do a business plan in PowerPoint showing new company name, logo, hiring people, time table, etc.

Info Tech
  • ·      Students doing clay animation, and drawing animation.
  • ·      Using IMotion, movie trailer, and IMovie on IPads
  • ·      Creating Social Media Agreement Plan.
  • ·      Working with e-portfolios using Webnode, and Surrey Schools.  Also have tried Facebook, and Weebly.
  • ·      Using peer assessment
  • ·      Using Project Based Learning.
  • ·      Working together to create one course.
  • ·      All grade 8s introduced to Surrey Schools and getting emails and computer passwords to be on the school system.

  • ·      Poetry contest – using IPad video making to send in to Ontario
    • o   $6000 winner for student and $600 to school.
    • o   Send practice to the contest by video so we must record student’s speaking the poem.
    • ·      Poetry Slam
    • o   Vancouver Peotry
    • o   Workshop in afternoon for only 35 students to sign up.
    • o   All spots taken.
  • ·      Speech meet with 10 students.
    • o   One in grade 8
    • o   Give 2 speeches, 1 in advance and then 5 quotes, they get 45 minutes to write up a new speech and present.

  • ·      April One Man Shakespeare open to all Grade 9 – 12 students.
    • o   60 minutes.
    • o   All plays.  Actor has written the performance.
  • ·      Creative writing class, using phones in classroom.
  • ·      Teachers using Webnode, and Twitter to write down work for students to follow.

  • ·      TV set up
  • ·      Turning book shelves
  • ·      Apple TV hookup up to west sides so you can come down to present on the TV
  • ·      30 computers in library
  • ·      PE blogging in library
  • ·      Pinterest site for library – visual and write-ups on books in library.

  • Arron Dais – student lead conferences, physical portfolios with students.  Wiki with all his information
  • Edmodo Ashley, Jacqueline and Jennifer with portfolios
  • French tutoring at lunch – core groups of tutors who are student volunteers.
  • Student lead conferences
  • Project based learning – Jacqueline (Grade 9) and Jennifer (Grade 12)
  • Edmodo outline –
    • can do online discussion – you get an email every time something changes. 
    • Discussion in French.
    • You go onto Edmodo as a teacherand you see Teacher’s home page.  Like Facebook.  Students can easily use the program.    They will need a group code to get on.  Teacher sees everything at once.
    • They chat in French online, even on weekends.
    • Rubric for evaluating social media evaluation is being developed. 
  • Alternative to quizlet – makes a 30% difference in the marks.  Can see at a glance who has been practicing and who is ranked the best.  It uses gardening scenarios to see your plant growing when you get it right.  You can have audio with the info on it.  There are many different languages.
  • You can embed video and make a powerpoint. Tells you the part of speech. 
  • Teacher puts the list together, set up link once for a unit (for the accents) and its always there.

Career Room
  • ·      GTP kids putting in laptops and showing murals in art class, blogs in PE, using the technology to see that.
  • ·      Kids were using phones for photos, IPads and such.
  • ·      Working to incorporate electronic portfolios.  31 work experience in Bryan’s class. Going through Mock interviews.  All students should do this.
  • ·      Project based learning – YPI Youth Philanthropist Initiative - $5000 grant.  Presentation is put together by the students and the YPI comes and judges.   They all chose their charities to help them.  Other schools do this.  They interview them.
  • ·      Skills Canada – We are doing InDesign. And web designing. Provincials in Mid April
  • ·      Coop for 3 weeks in April for authentic work experiences.
  • ·      District programs being worked on.  Prepping for interviews.
  • ·      Use Twitter @careeredshs twitter handle to get info out to the students.
  • ·      Summer program introduction to trades.

  • ·      A school within a school
  • ·      What ?  “Teach to Excite” by engaging student learning utilizing differentiated instruction while maximizing the multiple sens.
  • ·      Why?  Engage and maximize learning making it relevant within a BASES context.
  • ·      So what?  End STATE:  build academic social (and life skills) and employment skills so that after graduation they can become productive members of society – becoming self-sufficient/independent as much as possible
  • ·      Looking at work experience – some outside but everyone can leave campus, so we’re looking at the School Store.  Money management, food preparation, delivery, customer service
  • ·      These skills can be transferred to real life.
  • ·      Made marketing terms – brochures, working with Business Ed (Marketing) to develop learning skills.  Peer tutoring together.  Capacity and connection in our school.

·      Now we have spirit wear, working towards this, the development of new designs.

Social Studies
  • 10 in department (5 part time)
  • Collaborate all the time.
  • Sandy Stevens – Meet the We.   16 students in the library to develop active citizenship.  Want to start a compost. Students become active citizens.

  • o   No problem using technology in the classroom, just ask a student to do it.
  • o   Stacey, Robert, and Randy went to the Apple Store to help with his cart.
  • o   Entire book will be an etext book.
  • o   Stacey and Ann  and Roger did the Project Based on Aboriginal learning.  They are doing it on Prezi and using the smart board.  Aboriginal from Saskatuwan, going back in time.
  • o   Ann doing this in Geography
  • o   Shawn is doing Mind Craft.  Putting soldiers and buildings.
  • o   This is a pilot for the district.