Tag Archives: Skype


14 Jul


The Pastoral Care systems at our school are simply amazing. I can say this because I see the great care our teachers take with our students. I have been thinking do we at school support the whole child?  There are multiple ways to support the whole child.  Some schools design curriculum maps and the teachers work in professional learning teams to share instructional strategies.  Some schools post a mission statement.” As I approach the holidays I have been focusing on the whole child and factors that impact student understanding.

Wet and Cold

Recently, I drove to work in the dark and in the rain.  I arrive at school each day at 630am. Hey I don’t want a medal it is my job. But some days I have students arrive just behind me. Is this right? I turn on the heaters and let these students in. It got me thinking. What does your school do for students who wait in the rain to catch the bus or arrive ridiculously early?  Do you think it would be difficult to learn if you spent the first part of your day in soaking wet clothes or being at school since 7am two hours before the start time?

Tertiary Knowledge

Some families know how to support tertiary institution readiness.  There are several families who begin this process in primary school.  As an educator Charlotte and I often talk of next steps. Several students enter College without an end in mind.  They may receive counselling from a teacher or counsellor, but this varies from school to school.   Some schools have an advisor/advisee program where students learn how to search for a school, what majors are available, how to complete an application, financial aid options, and how to apply for scholarships.  Some people say that the path to tertiary institutions is a game.  Based on my observations, some students know how to play the game and some don’t. Is this right?


Most educators would agree that reading is the cornerstone of education.  Some students go home and they have three bookshelves, the newspaper, four laptops, and magazine subscriptions waiting in the mailbox.  Thousands of students go home with their textbook and the book they checked out of the school media centre.  How do we support students who do not go home to the equivalent of the “Teens” section at Whitcoulls?  This is a topic that needs to be addressed in every school.  Some schools have a library program in.  Students receive books that are at their level or high-interest books.   If reading is an essential life skill, then how are schools supporting students who don’t own books?


I my classes with a flipped learning environment in mind but I always check which of my students have access. It must be uncomfortable going home knowing that you will not be able to access the Internet to complete your school assignments.   Some students are able to use Khan Academy to get academic support with their math assignment.  What do the students do when they can’t connect with Khan?  Not only is Khan offline is some homes, the student cannot text, FaceTime, Skype, or share a Doc with her peers.  As schools move to more 1:1 classroom, it will be important for teachers, to consider that students have a different opportunity to learn. What does your school do to support students and to equal the playing field when it comes to access?



Skype as a Tool

1 Jan


Teachers are good at becoming experts in a wide variety of subjects, but it’s always nice to be able to bring in the outside perspective of someone more experienced with the topic you’re covering in class. Over the years I have spent a great deal of departmental money on bringing in experts. Experts in various professional fields have a tendency to be busy, making it hard for them to commit to an in-class visit. But a Skype call’s much easier to fit into a packed timetable.

Calls with experts can be set up as a Q&A or more of a lecture, depending on what you prefer. You can give students the assignment of doing some research and coming up with questions in advance, so they have an opportunity to interact with the expert and learn more. This can take a lot of different forms depending on the subject you’re teaching. A professional artist can do an art critique of your students’ work in class. A musician can provide an informal music lesson over Skype. A museum curator or university lecturer or local personality can discuss different items in their collection, saving the time and money of a field trip.

You can always get more out of these interviews by giving related assignments to students. You can have them summarize what they got out of it in a paper, short video, or podcast. Indeed podcasts are great. The stuff podcast are especially good. Or ask them to create something related to what the expert discussed, like a piece of art that would fit into the collections at the curator’s museum.

Well then Skype has so much potential and I hope to develop it in 2016. What was a tool that you had success with 2015 in the classroom?


Video of the Week

10 Nov

A touching video about how two young women combat the tyranny of distance using technology.  Have the tissues at the ready.


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