Monday, 27 February 2017

Genius Hour Post 5 + Learning Object - Haiku Deck

Welcome back!

It has been a while since I posted about my Genius Hour project! The infographic is looking, well, informative; I am adding my final details. My research on vitamin B12 is also progressing; slower than I would have hoped, but progress is progress.

Over the weekend, I volunteered at a sleep-away camp. The meals had lots of fruits and veggies, but for someone who doesn't eat meat, there weren't a lot of protein or iron-rich options. By Sunday, I did notice a difference in my energy and alertness levels, having not eaten too many of my usual foods, like nuts, beans, or leafy greens. I thought it was an interesting experience, seeing just how much our food can impact not only our overall health, but also our day-to-day functioning. I am getting myself back on track now that I'm home again. This "eating healthy" thing is definitely an on-going and very important endeavour!


During our exploration of technology tools today, I had the chance to learn about Haiku Deck. Essentially, it is a slideshow creation platform online that sources images and backgrounds from Creative Commons (no copyright infringements here!). According to sources like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, Haiku Deck is an easy-to-use tool for creating visually appealing presentations in a fraction of the time it takes on traditional platforms.

I could easily see Haiku Deck being incorporated into a Genius Hour project. Either students could use it to present their findings, or the teacher could use it as a tool to present the project and guide students' learning. It would be most useful for visual learners and students who need text organized into manageable chunks. Also, Haiku Deck is usable on mobile, tablet, and desktop devices, making it more accessible for students.

Maybe for my next presentation, I will try creating a Haiku Deck; with the ability to embed videos, and the option to download and save the presentation, I can see it working really well for my purposes.

Until next time!

Best of Ontario Educators

Welcome back!

Today we explored a daily newsletter posted and curated by Ontario educator Doug Peterson. While checking out the newsletter archive, I came across an article entitled "The more innovative I have become, the less classroom management I have to deal with".

Essentially, the article is about giving students agency and control in their learning environment and on their learning journey. The argument is that it builds the student-teacher relationship, allows for diversity in the classroom to thrive, and creates students that are more engaged, focused, and excited about their work. The part of the article that caught my eye the most was the quote by Alexander Den Heijer : "When a flower doesn't bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower". That is so true! By adapting the classroom and our teaching practices, creating flexibility in the learning process, and honouring student voice, we can create strong, positive, and effective learning environments for all of our students. And if classroom management is positively affected by these changes, even better!

Until next time!

Monday, 6 February 2017

Genius Hour Post 4

Welcome back!

My infographic on iron in the vegetarian diet is coming along; it’s a work in progress since I’m simultaneously learning how to use a tool called “Piktochart” while compiling my research and information! I’ve already been putting my learning into practice; over the weekend, I bulked up on my iron intake with stuffed peppers and a salad. I had black beans, quinoa, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and tomato sauce (all high in iron), and tomato, strawberries, and leafy greens (which all increase iron absorption); I hit most of the iron-rich foods featured in this graphic from "The Vegan Junction".

This week my focus shifts to vitamin B12 and omega 3’s. Stay tuned for how that works out. I can’t wait to see how the next step in my Genius Hour project influences my eating habits!

This experience has been positive so far; my Genius Hour topic is something that I am personally interested in, so doing the project doesn’t feel like the regular course work that I am used to. I would definitely consider implementing a Genius Hour project (or something similar) in my own classroom. I see it working best with older Junior students, or the Intermediate division, since they have developed their own interests and have basic research skills.

If I were to do Genius Hour again, or if I were to use it in a classroom, I would be sure to organize and implement a stricter timeline for the project to follow. Since this is the first time trying this project, planning out a five week schedule has been a little tricky, whether it be carving out specific times to work on the project, or pacing the research and learning at a good speed in order to stay on track. While the results are great (more knowledge and understanding and skills related to research and of course the Genius Hour topic!), some students might struggle with the open-ended nature of this project, so implementing a timeline or schedule would help those students stay on track and succeed.


Until next time!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Genius Hour Update 3 + Educational Technology

Welcome back! Since I last blogged, new developments have taken place in regards to my Genius Hour project. Some are good, some not so much, but that's all part of the researching and learning process.

I have learned that identifying the "ideal vegetarian diet" is a fairly subjective process; some resources and schools of thought recommend a specific amount of protein, while another source might list a completely different daily intake of protein. Add onto this the varying opinions on daily intake of iron, many vitamins, and omega 3's, and you've got yourself a real big mess to untangle!


In general, the recommendation was about 17-19 milligrams per day of iron for women above age 19. My focus this week was finding a substantial list of vegetarian munchies that are iron-rich; I'm happy to report that the options I found are delicious and abundant. I am developing an infographic that will display my findings!

Here's your vegetarian-related fact of the day: coffee and tea contain tannins, which can inhibit the absorption of iron. So delay your "cuppa joe" for at least an hour before and after consuming iron.

For next week; moving on to vitamin B12, and maybe even omega 3's. I'm tacking those vegetarian diet deficiencies one by one!

Educational technology

Part of our 8Y24 class has been taking the time to explore and become familiar with many new and different technological tools, such as Google Drive (Forms, Sheets, Gmail, Blogger, etc.), Powtoon, Twitter, Pinterest, Popplet, and so much more. My "ah-ha" moment would be using Google Forms. I consider myself pretty familiar with Google and its products; I frequently use Docs, Slides, News, and Scholar. However, I had never used Forms before, and I like its functionality within the 21st century classroom. I think it's a great tool to get quick feedback from students, whether for diagnostic assessment purposes, as a quick check-in, or to seek their thoughts and ideas. I would use Forms in my own classroom if I was interested in hearing students' answers or opinions without worrying about some students being influenced by their peers' responses.

Overall, I'm still keeping my mind open to educational technology. I can't see myself using a tool like Powtoon as a teaching tool, but can see its appeal to students for a visual presentation. On the other hand, I am appreciating the further exploration of tools I was previously familiar with, like Pinterest and Google. Hopefully I will continue to develop these skills and familarities over the rest of the semester!

Until next time!