Monday, 27 June 2016

The Final Countdown...

To Unplug Or Not To Unplug... That Is The Question.

It is obvious that our society is dependent upon technology.  Simply look at how we as teachers are required to input and track data.  Everything requires a device, Wifi, servers, and multiple online databases.  In the video Unplug to Play, Marv Minton starts off the Ted Talk with an image of kids "spending time together" as they are all on their devices.

I shared the first video this week  If this video doesn’t convince you to put down your phone, nothing probably will, with my grade eight math class. They found it interesting and they agreed that it made some awesome points, but when we discussed what they do to put their phones down, it was a different story. They said they have rules about no phones/tech at the dinner table, but then explained that no one really follows that rule. Others shared that the only time they are really unplugged is when they go to remote locations for their family trips where there is no service.

Forgetting My Phone

Personally I enjoy getting getting away from my phone, but I do not do it enough. I love having my phone on me, when I forget it at home (once a year) I usually panic until about 10:30 then I can feel my heart slow down and I begin to relax a little. By the end of the day I usually realize how less stressed I feel and contemplate leaving my phone at home more often... which never happens.

Check out this awesome BuzzFeed about the 16 Stages of Leaving Your Phone At Home.

Full Unplug

In terms of completely unplugging I do not see this happening. In the article The Pointlessness of Unplugging by Casey Cep from the New Yorker said
"Few who unplug really want to surrender their citizenship in the land of technology; they simply want to travel outside it on temporary visas. Those who truly leave the land of technology are rarely heard from again, partly because such a way of living is so incommensurable." 
I have developed a lifestyle that is connected. I have made the choices to use technology to stay connected to family, friends, colleagues, etc. I have made the choice to do my part in helping the environment by going paperless in as many ways as possible; bills, communication, assignments, or sharing family information. I am not willing to give up the lifestyle I have worked hard to foster.


As for communication and being a proficient communicator, I feel that by growing up in the age I have I have a huge advantage over the youth of today. That brings me to the question of how to develop strong communicators within my classroom. As with most topics this semester I believe that technology can assist with this task. Through using tools like Google Read & Write students are forced to enunciate and be proficient with their English language for it to work properly. I also believe that giving students the opportunity to record their voices for presentations helps build confidence that will eventually turn into being able to stand up in front of their peers unaided and speak with confidence.

What Is The Answer

As with the concept that has followed through the class. To unplug or not unplug is to black and white of a statement. It should be about a balance. Is it appropriate to be on my phone/laptop/or simply watching TV while we are having a family dinner and attempting to have a meaningful conversation, obviously not. Is it acceptable to share a proud dad moment with family and friends when my child does something, or share that outstanding assignment that a student knocked out of the park. It's about sharing and spending quality time and then knowing when to put the technology down and live in the moment.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Summary of Learning

The great debates were an amazing way to get through the topics Alec and Katia designed for us this semester.  

Debate #1 Technology in the classroom enhances learning.

The first week started out with me having an amazing opportunity to work with a couple of outstanding individuals,  Erin Benjamin and Jeremy Black prepared for battle with our topic of Technology in the classroom enhances learning.  We felt that we had an easy topic which being in a tech class should have transitioned into a smooth victory…  Not exactly what we had planned.  Steve, Chalyn and Kayla did an outstanding job laying out the negatives that can be felt in any classroom regarding technology.  The largest piece for me was Chalyn’s Wordle around the difficulties with technology within a public school setting. Things such as not enough devices, wifi down, or students being more distracted, are all situations every teacher can understand.   This debate set the tone for the remaining battles.  

Debate #2 Schools should not be teaching anything that can be googled.

Before this debate around teaching googlable material, I was pro Googling.  As the debate proceeded I began to contemplate why I was all for Googling.  The argument around memorization and the lack of ability to do simple repetitive tasks I agree with 100%, but at the same time our students need to learn how to find information in the world today.  The access to this information has never been faster or easier, what we need to do is teach our students the appropriate methods of inquiry, and educate them how to find GOOD information.  There is a pro side for google able material though.  Who needs the memorize the multiple different ways to cite via MLA, APA, Chicago, etc., or memorizing fun facts like the important dates of the war of 1812.  These things are important, but not as important as the process it takes to find out how/what these things are.  

Debate #3 Technology is making our kids unhealthy

The debate around Technology is making our kids unhealthy gets me going every time.  Society seems to find a reason for poor choices.  Are we as healthy as we were 50 years ago.  Science shows that we are living longer, but we are more aware of diseases.  Are there things we could be doing to ensure we take better care of ourselves.  Yes, of course.  Is it technologies fault that we are making poor choices.  Nope.  Teachers, parents, children need to make healthy choices when using their technology.  The 5 Crazy Ways Social Media Is Changing Your Brain Right Now video was very interesting, but again it comes down to personal choices you are making for yourself, or the example you are setting for your students or children.  

Debate #4 Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids.

How much to share? What are we allowed to share?  Who is allowed to make the decision for the student?  This was one of my favorite debate topics.  As the Techy teacher in my school, I am usually the go to for how to and what program to use for a variety of teachers.  I use my Twitter, I blog, and use GAFE for almost every assignment.  How do I develop my students digital footprint that they will be proud of, and will not have a negative effect on their future.  The great conversations that happened that evening and the blogs I read through Alec’s tweet were awesome. There are a multitude of good ideas out there for how to protect youth, some are pipe dreams and others are simply overly complicated, but they all boil down to, the role models for the students need to help guide them in their choices as to what they should be putting online.  The students need to be OK with what you are posting, and you need to have parent consent.  The conversation needs to take place at any age, and the weight of consent will change from young to old, but in any situation the answer needs to be yes from all parties involved when being open and sharing anything about kids.  

Debate #5 Technology is a force for equity in society.

Equity is not the same a Equality.  There is a large variance of equity due to technology.  If you live in the right area, you are afforded more opportunity.   Those areas are improving, and the use of technology is improving those areas drastically.  For those living the in more remote locations or underdeveloped places within the world, then technology is not exactly as beneficial as it is for those in more of an urban area.  Within the urban areas, there are still issues, such as funding inequalities, lack of training for the technologies, poor infrastructure that limits the capabilities.  These are all very real situations, but as an educator I feel it is our responsibility to do our best to incorporate technology into the students lives as much as possible.    

Debate #6 Social media is ruining childhood.

This debate around whether or not social media is ruining childhood got me using my parent hat more than my teacher hat.  I want to see my child and my students have every opportunity available for them.  We need to monitor and ensure that our kids, and students are using the tools safely and properly.  I love to share things about my daughter Lily, but am I oversharing? Will what I share make her feel uncomfortable in the future? Shannon shared her thoughts about children losing their innocence of childhood through the over sexualization of today’s society.   As a grade ⅞ teacher I have this conversation often in the fall and spring and soon enough I am sure I will have it as a parent as well.  Whatever hat I have on I know that the conversations around using social media need to be open and consistent to ensure the safety of children.  To do this, we need to teach what is now become and multifaceted citizenship concept, not only face to face but digital, within our classes.  

Debate #7 Public education has sold its soul to corporate interests in what amounts to a Faustian bargain.

As Dean Shareski suggested, schools should develop relationships with corporations, especially ones that have the students best interests in mind.  Yes all corporations want to make money, but there are corporations out there with a high level of integrity and are willing to partner with the educators, versus organizations that are in the field of education simply to make money.  Organizations that help work with groups like STEM programs, or GAFE are amazing, because they are designed to enhance the learning for the student, while giving the teacher the autonomy to make the decisions of how to use their tools.  

Topic #8 We have become too dependent on technology and what we really need is to unplug.

We have not yet heard this debate, but throughout the course and the pre-readings I am going to say that, yes we need to get away from technology from time to time. Like many of the other debates, the motto of appropriate use, and monitoring how we are using the technology is very important. I love the summer for this, as I plan on going fishing, walks, and simply generally being outside in the sun with friends and family enjoying each others company.

Deals with the Devil, or maybe just not with Bill Gates?

Faustian What?

Photo Credit : Pixabay Open Clip Art

When thinking about the question,  has public education sold its soul to corporate interests in what amounts to a  Faustian bargain?    I had to think are the Google apps, Edmodo, or  other tools really that terrible?  Back in 2013 I began using Edmodo as a blended classroom tool, now within Regina Public we are apart of the Google Apps for Education movement. I appreciate the tools that we've been given.  I feel that the students are progressing at a faster rate with their writing skills, reading skills, and their abilities to get through more of the content in curriculum subjects such as social, health, or the sciences.

Budget Cuts... How Will We Afford New....

When looking at our current political and financial landscape here in Saskatchewan,  we are being forced to face the reality of budget cuts. When faced with budget cuts,  or lack of funding,  in any aspect of life I've always been proud of myself for being resourceful. When the money is not directly handed out I've simply found a way to get more whether that's through fundraising donations or some form of corporate sponsorship for any event that I've been a part of?  Keeping this in mind what is wrong with public education doing the same thing?  

As part of the readings with week we read an article from the Globe and Mail around major tech companies supporting STEM programs, I say go for it!  Everyone knows the latest and greatest Tech is expensive.   With the downturn in the economy in the last 10 years between the 2008 crash and the low oil prices for the last year-and-a-half budgets are being cut all over the place why not turn to corporate sponsorship's, why not have major companies like Microsoft, Dell, or Google help support the classrooms across all of Canada.  

Corporate Agenda's Are Not For Education

The article from Forbes on the Gates Foundation seemed to be of no use for this argument.  I understand that they are trying to make a connection between corporate sponsorship and graduation rates, but that is not how I see corporate sponsorship functioning at its highest levels.  The schools need to connect themselves with corporations or foundations such as the Gates Foundation and they need to work together, not have all mighty Bill tell the educators how to do their jobs.  When collaboration takes precedence over pride the benefit will be for all the individuals involved.  


In the debate Dean Shareski talked about the relationships between the corporations and the schools. I feel this is an important point because the concept of the partnership being a relationship will hold both sides accountable in these situations. With the ever changing landscape of education, especially Ed Tech, it is fiscally impossible within our budgets to stay up to date with the newest and best products.  I feel if divisions, schools, and teachers partner with companies such as Dean talked about, who have their mantra about keeping the students best interest at heart, then those are the companies we should be working with.

Katia shared her experience in Baltimore, Maryland, with the Edison Schools, where the company purchased the rights to take over the school and see if they could improve the test scores.  The school was regimented and forced the teachers to use their material in teaching.  Eventually they lost their funding due to even lower test scores.  This is another example of why corporations should not be in charge of a school, but should act in partnership with the trained educators.  

Are all Corporations Corrupt?

Justine wondered if all educational companies have this ideology.  I would guess not.  Corporations are in it for profit.  What the decision makers for the school boards need to do is, research and find the motivation behind the corporations that they want to develop relationships with.  What is the reason they became that company, do they have a belief/need/desire for benefiting students behind them.  Finding those companies will take some work, but if we can partner with those companies who are in it for the children as much as they are for the capitalist reasons then that would be the ones I would choose.

Teachers Need To Be Trained With The Tech Tools 

There is an argument around teacher training,  knowledge, or ability to teach beyond the individual's skill set has come up quite frequently throughout the last number of the debates.  The Globe and Mail article, Why tech giants are investing in STEM programs for students, quoted Elyse Allan, who is the president and CEO of GE Canada,  saying

“It is important to engage the kids early because we want to make sure that as they go through school they are motivated to take the courses they need, to have the skills and educational background to data and science and those kinds of technology jobs”.  

Through corporate sponsorship we would be able to connect with the skilled and knowledgeable people from the variety of  Corporations that design  and develop  the tools that we are seeking the corporate sponsorship for.  By doing this I feel we will be doing our job as educators in preparing our students for the upcoming world they are going to have to live and function in.  

When it comes down to it, I feel as long as you are using the technology to benefit the learners within your classroom, teaching to the curriculum provided by your government, why not use technology, why not use GAFE over Edmodo, or Pearson as your main science text over another resource.  If it is going to benefit the student, I feel it is our duty as educators to utilize that tool if it is afforded to us.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Social Media - Not All That Bad

Alec asked the question If we had the chance would you go back 10 years to get rid of social media?

I have thought about that question and even posed it to a couple of colleagues today.  Most of their answers began with a resounding no, but then almost all of them quickly paused and pondered and then made some comment around how it would get rid of a lot of "problems" such as behaviour, bullying, and lack of attention of friends, family and children.  Once they came to this realization none of them could give me an answer on either side of the fence.  They all like it for the positives and can't really imagine what the world would be like without social media but they do see a lot of negatives with it as well.

At the end of the debate I voted agree.  Mostly because I was confused and had to make a choice.  Personally I love social media and my wife and I post pictures of our daughter frequently.  We do this both in a closed setting through private photo sharing and more open sites like Facebook and Instagram.  Am I worried about what she may think of in the future of the photos/videos that we have posted?  No, I am comfortable with what my wife, myself, and our close family and friends choose to share online.

The debate brought up some questions for me to think about.  I found myself thinking more as a parent than an educator, but I also feel that to be a good educator you should treat your students as if they were your own children.  Some of my questions were:

How will this affect Lily in the future?

Will it harm her mental health?

How will this world be better for Lily with social media?

As I read the Huffington Post article by George Bowden on how Social Media Affects Child Health posted by Amy, Logan, and Carter, I found the hook grab on to my feels as tightly as I could imagine. What if "Rebecca" in the story turns out to be my daughter? It is going to tear me up inside. I hope as a new parent that I can strive to keep all lines of communication open with my daughter. I want her to learn through as many experiences as possible and in our world that means learn how to live with an online identity along with the "real world". Any form of bullying is going to affect my daughter, but I feel it is the parent's responsibility to talk, teach, and work through these problems ongoing as they develop. Parents and teachers need to have open lines of communication of what is going on and affecting the child. I am hoping that with the guidance of all the adults in Lily's life she will feel protected and secure enough that the bullies, trolls, or whatever other nomenclature comes into jargon will not hurt her.

Jan Rezab has an awesome TEDx Talk about how social media can improve the lives of the users. This is how I view social media. It is an opportunity for people to learn, connect, interact and hold companies, industries, and governments accountable for their actions. We live in the most informed time and it is because of social media. Because of this Jan says it perfectly when he says

``The individuals today have more power than they ever, ever have before. They have power to talk and change companies, to change governments, to change institutions.``

Alec made a comment how Facebook is the worlds leading site for news. For Millennials this is certainly a fact.
Photo Credit :
How can social media be considered a negative when one of the main way the youth of today get their information from are these social media platforms.

Now all these platforms can have a negative affect on our children.  I worry about how will my daughter view herself because of her digital presence that we have helped create? Will she be easily affected by the negatives or will she be surrounded by a plethora of positive experiences that the few negatives that come across will be easy to deal with?

Shannon makes a very valid point in her blog post, Losing the Innocence of Childhood this week,

"More concerning to me, however, is the increased sexuality placed on this age group.  The pressure for girls of this age to look and act like teenagers is overwhelming."  

This scares me to no end.  As a middle years teacher we see all young teens trying to impress and prove they are old enough to do what they want constantly.  I have a hard time having the conversations with my students about what is appropriate or not for certain age groups.  I cannot imagine having the conversations with my own children, whom I will not want to disappoint let alone say no too, all while wanting my child to fit in and become the person they want.

The Forbes article, wrote by Susan Tardanico, Is Social Media Sabotaging Real Communication, that was posted this week brought up the following question for me. Will Lily be a capable communicator or will we need to spend extra time on learning how to communicate similar to how parents have to do extra at home reading practice?  I worry about how Lily will function when she gets older.  All the horror stories out there, similar to Sharon's from the article about her daughter, who was away at college was portraying herself vs what was really going on.  I know I am going to do everything I can to develop a positive, open relationship with my daughter, but I am sure every parent does this, so how can we tell when things are not going as well as they are portraying?  Students in our classes are doing similar things.  They talk about all the positives going on, but then have serious issues they do not want to bring forward, because they are worried it will make them look young, immature, or unable, thus demonstrating that they are not "old enough" or too young for certain activities.

Andreas makes a very good point in his blog, What's the point of comparing childhoods?  Let's get with the times! this week.

"Yes, social media is definitely making our kids grow up quicker, but part of the issue is that we need to start looking at it for what it is, and not comparing it to what we had when we were younger. Times have changed, and with this change, we need to also change with it."

I feel like every generation of teachers and parents are going to battle the new frontier.  This will not change, because our world is every changing.  If we want to be proficient at either we need to be willing to learn and adapt as the new technology comes in.  We need to be confident in our abilities and our ignorance's that we are willing to learn from our students and children when they know more than us.  It is always frightening and usually a little demoralizing when children are more proficient at a task than you, but it happens more than we are willing to admit and if we want to get with the times, maybe we should be more open to learning from our youth.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Leveling the Playing Field?

Equity, Equality, Fair, Right?

To say technology leveling the playing field for everyone,  is a very bold statement.   does technology increase the equity for everyone.   During the debate, many people got caught up in what the  definition of Equity vs Equality.  Alec then shared one of his most recent tweets.

Photo Credit: Craig Froehle
   I feel like we got lost in a misunderstanding state for a few minutes with this, but at the same time there is a huge part of the debate that this connects to. Just because we can be equal does not mean that we are being equitable.

Does Socioeconomic Status Mean Ineptitude or Wasteful?

Ian said that the socioeconomic status of people will be a determining factor for how well the individual can utilize the technology. I understand where the comment is coming from, similar to how one of our colleagues mentioned that a student had taken a laptop out to the parking lot and demolished it, or how Steve talked about his time in London and a number of families pawned the tools they were given. I want to add a little positive experience to the dark area of the lower socioeconomic situations. I worked in a community school that was very transient, poorly attended and a high EAL population.

In 2013 because of Alec's EC&I 831 I decided to create and utilize an Edmodo classroom. Through developing the lessons, and creating the projects for the students to work through I was able to create a blended style of a classroom. Now many of my students did not have the tools at home, but instead I utilized small group teaching method and had the students do most of the learning through the laptop via videos of my previous teaching, reading the required reading (many using Kurzweil). Soon I found my attendance began to improve slightly and the kids seemed to enjoy being at school more often. They were able to work at their own pace and I could enrich those that needed and modify for those that required.
Photo Credit: Flickr - Stewardship - Transforming Generosity

Worldwide Access... Really?

With that little soapbox shout-out off my chest lets look at the rest of the issue. Katherine and Bob touched on increasing access worldwide and how utilizing open classrooms through social media, or even self learning sites such as Khan Academy are positives for everyone. While I am in this class because I believe using technology is the way of the future of education, I also know that you can not replace good teaching. Yes these tools are amazing and they can help your student develop a deeper understanding of what concept you are attempting to cover, but if you are not using them appropriately they are as useful as a dried up ball point pen on a Scantron sheet.

The tools must be used appropriately and with the proper amount of education behind them. As Erin Benjamin points out this week "assistive technology improves achievement of students with learning disabilities".  There are so many tools out there to help, but there is not a one-tool-does-it-all. Think about your EAL students who barely understand our English alphabet, the child with ADHD that needs to move and learn kinesthetically, or your visually impaired learner who gets very little out of a visually appealing video. Those are three very real, probably in most classroom situations, type of learners we all have to deal with everyday.  

Time is Money

Think of the cost, not only financial but the time it also takes to invest in the teachers to learn how to properly use these tools. Here is an example for you. In the fall Regina Public Schools had a one day in-service for their Learning Resource Teacher's, Librarian's, and a few other teachers to learn about Google Read & Write (RW). Say you have one LRT and one Librarian for every school in RPS, that's about 45 elementary schools with 12 high schools, so approximately 57 teachers. 57 teachers using a 5 hour in-service is 285 hours. That is a lot of time spent on a tool that is not being used very much in my school. I have not had the opportunity to learn of the RW full capabilities but I have dabbled in having some students use the playback tool for them to check their writing.

Photo Credit: Pixabay 

What about that financial cost?  I am fortunate enough to teach in a affluent community that BYOD days are easy and the students/families are more than willing to send their tools from home.  Also when I show my students a new piece of software they are more than willing to convince their parents to go out and purchase it for them.  I have also had the chance to work in a building that was not so financially available.  This comes down to the school board and government funding.  Speaking from a teacher within the city, I believe that if you set up your classroom and time manage appropriately you do have the resources available to you.  It can be difficult, but it does eventually work.  When looking at the remote communities. I look at the Huffington Post article by Sunny Freeman on Canada's Digital Divide.  Freeman explains that while urban areas have 100% broadband coverage, when we look at remote communities within our far north communities, such as the "36,000 residents spread across a landmass nearly three times the size of Texas, have the worst levels of connection. Only 27 per cent of communities in that territory have internet access." This is where there are some serious lack of funding and in turn will create a huge digital divide for the majority of those who live within similar remote communities.  

Final Thoughts

With all this in mind, I have to say that as an educator within a urban center, I feel that technology is a force for equity within society.  There are as in with all of our debates so far parameters with this statement.  The teachers need to be educated on the tools we are given, so we can utilize them to their fullest potential.  If/when we are not given the appropriate guidance then how are we supposed to be the leaders/teachers of the new software?  The parents have a role within this as well.  They will need to be involved in their child's learning, they need to take a proactive approach, especially when the tech tool is a specific one designed for assistance with a diagnosis, or specialized learning plan put in place for the individual.  The parents then need to also be educated on how the tool works, and what its capacities/limitations are.  Finally the students need to be held accountable and be responsible for the use of the technology and how they are using it.  When the tools are misused, they break, or the can harm the user, (don't use a corded powertool while standing in a puddle of water) such as appropriate digital citizenship should be put to use.    

Monday, 6 June 2016

Digital Footprints and Ownership of Material

What side of the road will I end up on this week?

The battle of right and wrong has been a struggle this week.  I have attempted to develop on a clear cut yes or no/agree or disagree but I have been stuck on a couple of points.

1 - Who has the right to decide for a student to have themselves or their work posted?

With that being said, who has a Delorian to check out what the world is going to be like in 20 years?
Photo Credit: Pixabay Peggy_Marco
Will the fact that I post a picture of a student succeeding at a task, will they all of a sudden be embarrassed that they did so well and for some unforeseen reason be able to take me to court over a trivial math/science/ELA project?  Unfortunately this is a huge portion of why I am worried about what I should/can post.

The other side is that using social media and creating a digital footprint is still such a new concept that who knows what the regulations are going to be.  This connects to my question Alec tweeted last week. "At what age can students start to choose the matter of their digital footprint?"  I appreciated the conversations that transpired from it and really enjoyed Doug Robertson's blog where he talks about a Digital Temporary Tattoo.  Now this concept is interesting, and he certainly does not give any feasible ways to have a digital temporary tattoo but the idea makes a lot of sense to me.  As we know, kids are silly, reactionary, instantaneous beings that do most things before processing what the pros/cons are of almost every situation.  Which leads me back to my question of who has the right to decide for the student?  Can a 13 year old that is living not in the moment but in the second really thinking about what impact this will have on them in the future?

2 - If we don't embrace this concept of openness and sharing will we be doing a disservice to our students in not truly preparing them for the future?

Part of being a good teacher is being open with students and parents about what is going on with the student on an ongoing basis.  How we are doing this is what is changing.  I love to use GAFE (Google Apps For Education) but the issue with that is it is closed off from the parents.  The students can change their passwords and although I can change them back when needed the parents are not going to  like that arguement.  So why do I not share with the parents on an open platform like a classroom blog or a twitter account of what we are keeping up to?  I keep an updated homework board on my class blog, but I am not sharing much information as to what the students are working.

Why should I if I have already created the assignment, added the videos, links, etc.  What if I decide to be the teacher who backs away from sharing?  Should I go back to leaving the parents and children to have conversations around the dinner table?  That was a tradition I remember about growing up were the supper discussions about everyone's day.  It did only last until I was about 11, then myself and my siblings were each in every activity possible and family meals meant a McDonalds drive thru when we were all in the vehicle at the same time.

I know I am supposed to be getting to what side of the fence I am on this week but I am perplexed and befuddled still.  If the imaginary world that Robertson dreamed about was around I am 100% in for posting, but it is not and I am more worried about our Liberal government taking a similar stance to how France is reacting to parents posting baby photos online.  I understand that sometimes people will dislike something from their past, but as a teacher I would never post anything in malice, or post something that could be misconstrued for anything but a reason to celebrate.

With that being said I am going to step onto the side that is willing to utilize sharing and developing digital footprints for my students in a positive manner.  We use our media releases as an all encompassing document, but I think to ensure all the students and their parents know and understand what I want to do is more than a simple picture of their work but to begin cultivating that positive image.

3 - Who owns the material that is being cultivated?

This brings me to the conversation we had about ownership of material.  Alec did say that most school divisions own the teachers work.  That got me rolling just a little.  I feel that when I take my time to develop a unit, project, or even something as simple as a worksheet that I should be the owner.  Sadly I am not according to my superintendent.  If it is anything created for my role as a teacher it is owned by the division.  That made me think about putting down the old computer at 10:00 pm when I was working on my upcoming unit for the remaining portion of the school year.  Why should I put in all this extra time in developing something I feel is amazing when I am not the owner... But then I realize if I don't finish then my students will have nothing to work on and then it will be a madhouse.  I promptly continued.

As for the students work. It is all their own property.  They are the owners of their work.  This brings me back to my first question of who has the right to post their material online?  With this being my focus I feel the teacher must get permission from both the student who owns the material and the parent before posting anything.  I don't know if it needs to be done every time or if a simple blanket copy of an agreement can be added to our standard media release will suffice for the entire year.  Certainly something to look into.

Grade 6-8 Swimming

June 1st, 2016

Dear Parents,  

Our grade 6-8 classes will be going swimming at Wascana Pool on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016. The busses will leave Jack Mackenzie at 12:45 pm and return at 3:15 pm. Please pack a towel, flip flops, sunscreen, bathing suit, water bottle, hat, mosquito repellent and sunglasses. There is a canteen at the pool if you would like to buy treats, but your child will need extra money for this. Please pay $3.00 online before June 10th, 2016 to cover the cost of the trip and sign the permission slip below.



Kelley Reoch
Kevin Yeske
Angela Scott
Kyle DuMont
Jaime Riou
Jenn Foell

I give _________________________________ permission to swim at Wascana Pool on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016.

Parent Signature _____________________________________________

Confirmation of payment #                                                                           

Grade 8 Farewell Info

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Dear Parents/Guardians of Grade 7 students:

This is a friendly reminder that we need your help to ensure that our Grade Eight Farewell is a success.  As we have done in previous years, the grade seven students and their parents, provide the desserts/dainties and the service for the reception following the farewell ceremony.  This is happening on Tuesday, June 14th.  Many of you have already responded to our original newsletter.  Megan Hunt, Barb Wagner, Linda Forster, Candice Oremba, Katherine Zimmer, Amy Hu and Rae-lyn Snyder, Amy Hu, Karla Sillinger and Nancy Hasapis have all volunteered to take the lead role for organizing the reception on the morning and the evening of the reception.  Their email addresses are:

Megan Hunt
Barb Wagner
Linda Forster
Candice Oremba
Katherine Zimmer
Rae-lyn Snyder
Amy Hu
Karla Sillinger
Nancy Hasapis

  The attached list shows what contributions are being provided from each family.
We do not yet have a commitment to provide dainties/squares from all of our grade seven students.  Remember, next year this event will be for you and at that time you will be taken care of by the grade seven class of next year.  All food items need to be brought to the staff room on the morning of June 14th and they must be entirely nut-free.  Thank you for your assistance.


Kelley Reoch, Kyle DuMont, Kevin Yeske, Angela Scott

Family Name
Food Item



Vegetable platter

Fruit platter

Fruit tray



Fruit tray


Chocolate Chip Cookies

Fruit tray

Dainties, fruit or veggies





Haji Mohammad

Veggie tray









Fruit tray
Fruit tray


Fruit tray/brownies











Puff wheat cake and cupcakes

Fruit tray, veggie tray
Bottles of pop


Fruit and veggies


Dainty tarts