Onenote Rocks!!

So, here we are again and I just wanted to share Onenote through a new means; via my Edublog (its been a while anyways, so I am over due).

Let me start with the Onenote Website, which has lots of fabulous resources and ‘learning tools’ (Gosh I am a witty fella) that anyone can access to learn, relearn and relearn again and again:

Onenote for Teachers

Also something a colleague of our within Grand Erie set up and lead;  Jeff Dumoulin’s Onenote Webinar he conducted to share ‘The Greatest Binder Ever’, this is an some insight that Jeff shares on Onenote:

For years OneNote was one of Microsoft’s best kept secrets. More recently it is being discovered by educators around the world for many different uses. Essentially OneNote is an electronic binder sorted into section groups, sections and pages – each page can contain digital ink, text, web links, pictures, audio, video, and files (of almost any type). When OneNote Notebooks are saved in OneDrive, they become syncable and shareable, meaning they can be accessed on almost any device and can be used for a variety of collaborative tasks involving multiple users at the same time. Come see how Microsoft OneNote and “OneNote Class Notebooks” can support powerful learning opportunities in your classroom or school.  

Participants will learn how OneNote (and OneDrive) can be used to build shareable/syncable Notebooks for a variety of tasks including teacher course binders, class (student) course binders, and group meeting or project planning.

If interested I am sure Jeff would be more then happy to share his experience and Webinar with Onenote to you, as he presented the ‘Greatest Binder Ever’ at this years Niagara Connect Conference. You can touch based with Jeff via @JeffDumoulin via his twitter handle.

Secondy I wanted to also share what wee at Hagersville Elementary school hosted and shared with our wonderful friends across Grand Erie through a ‘Onenote Learning Tools’ Webinar:

Learning Tools Webinar

And lastly through one of the most active and wonderful Onenote promoters via twitter @msonenote shared today with me that Office Lens is now embedded within Onenote now!

How to access Office Lens in Onenote

For those not aware of Office Lens it was in Beta version via phone apps, that would take a picture and insert directly through Office Lens into a pre-determined Onenote page, then the actual photo taken through Office Lens that is NOW embedded within Onenote can then be read through the Learning Tools; Immersive Reader (which is super cool).

Finally, my experience with Onenote. My DEC; Krista King @kristaking85 and I have been using Onenote for Documentation in Kindergarten for two years now, we started documenting everything! Oh boy talk about exhausting and not enough time to annotate anything, so we adapted and reset and now focus entirely on Literacy and Math ONLY.

Literacy Onenote is divided up between SK’s and JK’s. Then within each we have the students, and within the students pages we created subtabs for all KCSAP literacy forms (which we adapted directly into check box format within Onenote), LLI, Guided Reading Groups, voice threads of reading, writing photos etc….so many to mention.

Math is basically set up in the same manner.

What I will say about Onenote is this…..It ROCKS!! This tool allows Krista and I to dually document students learning jointly! We work amazingly as a team, but this tool allows US to take things up a notch!! All kinder staff (Teacher, DECE, EA, LRT, Principal and sometimes even Parents) can all work together within Onenote to deliver and monitor student progress, regression and learning through a fantastic visual means.

Onenote even stepped things up and now allow you to insert Sways, Storify Storylines now within the program too. So now Onenote has ‘Storyboards’ of class collaborative learning through inquiry experiences embedded now too! Talk about a wonderful program!

On a side note, I need to give a shout out to Krista. She has been my partner for two years now, we have worked very hard together to create and implement a fantastic program! She has grown and learned so much along the way and pushed me to learn and become that much stronger of an educator as well! This year will be our last together, as I am moving into Grade Three next year for a new journey! A couple weeks ago Krista mentioned to me that ‘its like we are going through a kinder divorce’. Its so amazing how tight you become to your partner in Kinderland (the land of boogers, tears and full moons in the afternoon), but this for me is by far the best part of the program and I wish everyone would look at their partner and become one as Krista and I have become in the last two years! Our program is so much better for it, and the children are the benefactors of our teamwork, hence the ONLY measuring factor that needs to be considered!

Krista by the way is one of our lead people in Grand Erie supporting Onenote throughout the Board! Need help she is more then willing to chat about it (and everything and anything else for that matter too!! hehe you know I love ya but my god insert a mute button this summer….jk).

Next year she will be working with another amazing lady @MrsNewhouse_ they will rock Kinder just as Krista and I have the last two years! Good luck you two!! Have fun together!!

Back to Onenote (sorry for side note), don’t know of it?!!? Look into it you are all missing out!!

Currently I am working on creating a Onenote Grade Three Day Book, that I will embed al my lessons via paperless means within this Notebook (still working on some minor kinks but getting close to something that looks great and will work!

As always stay tunned for more news, I love sharing my ups and downs with others and collaborating and learning along with you all!!





Extra Curricular Digital Learning….

So, I just completed a 3 week online, digital Ipad training coarse that was fantastic!!

The course had 7 Webinars that other Educators created and are sharing various resources to part of the Simple K12 Teacher Learning Community, which can be found online and you can join for a small fee. This site has so many awesome digital learning resources, webinars and tutorials from various educators around the world on all topics within education too.

Video #1: The Ipad Teacher Learning Community (Ipad basics and really cool features that people do not know are embedded within Ipads).

Video #2: 20 + Apps for the Classroom (Tellagami, Socrative, EZ Grade, Nasa Earth and Space, Voice Threads, Spelling City, TED, Quizlet, Smithsonian, Project Noah etc…) so many great apps they showed and explained how they are being used within the classroom. The downside is not to many of these awesome resources are available on our Microsoft Devices.

Video #3: Lesson Planning on Ipads (Using the SAMR Model) which all Digital Lead Learners need to know and thoroughly understand in order to comprehend and deliver a Flipped Classroom.

Video #4: Apps for Classroom Management (Lots of amazing features that are digitally shared to parents too).

Video #5: Assessing Student Learning with Ipads; socrative is something discussed and I love how there is a student, parent and teacher App / Website that all can share and collaborate together (Restrictions built within program for sharing ONLY with students family members controlled by teacher).

Video #6: Ipad Reading Apps (I really loved this one! So many great Apps and awesome Websites for all grade levels even 9-12).

Video #7: Using Digital Storytelling on Ipads to Foster Key Skills (By far THE BEST tutorial) This one works with sharing Apps for Literacy Elements Using Illustrations, Describing Key Details in Literacy Elements, Convey Ideas Through Writing, Using Tech for Collaboration and Encouraging Digital Citizenship.


I would highly recommend anyone using Ipads within their classrooms to give this Certification a go, its very useful and the amount of Confidence I now have with Ipad usage in the classroom has greatly improved!!





Coding in the classroom, lesson #1

So, today I started my investigation on using coding in a kindergarten classroom, and was pleasantly surprised with some of the outcomes.

I worked in a small group with three students in senior kindergarten, whom I was thinking may have a good grasp and understanding of potentially ‘getting coding’. I began with a statement; which maybe next group I would revamp. My question was simple “What is coding?”, these are some of the responses:

  1. Its like cold, Colby, Coat (I guess that’s the kinder letter relation to the extreme; i.e., Coding starts with a ‘c’ sound just like Cold, Colby and Coat)… eh?!!?
  2. Putting codes into a cake (not sure about that one)
  3. Something you type into a phone to get into it like mommys cell phone (ok now we are getting somewhere.
  4. A secret password or code word to get into a treehouse for only specific people.
  5. Codes are like buttons on a keyboard or numbers on phones.
So, a little bit of everything out there, it was interesting to watch the process of learning “What is Coding” during this 30-45 minute small group learning session. From here I used my kids ipad mini’s and introduced Box Island (The most simplest form and means of coding I could find – this is ONLY ISO right now but a Microsoft Tablet program close to it is called Turtle coding for Kids).
I let the three SK’s try the first two lessons on their own without letting them talk with each other. I said no sharing and helping, you can only try yourself and see what you can figure out for 3-5 minutes. What I seen was sheer frustration and madness, some of the facial features where priceless, but told me that they needed each other to problem solve.
So, regroup; we had a talk about what was troublesome. The three shared that they didn’t know what to do with the box (Called Hiro), so I let them talk it out. They were sharing with each other that they would pull down a direction arrow (code key) and then hit the play button but the box fell into water and it kept saying try again, they were all frustrated. I said, “Think about the problem and what you need to do to solve it”.
Teamwork is HUGE in our classroom as Krista (DECE) and I always try to model this to our students, teaching students and colleagues! So, the three set forth and began talking things out, which was adorably cute. Ms. Rylee took the lead and within 5-8 mintues they figured out that the Box (Aka Hiro) wants to get his blanket at the end. They decided they would try altogether on one ipad.
I thought ok lets see what happens: they tried again all huddled around one screen, failed, failed and failed again. I so wanted to take over and show them but George Corous says ‘being an innovator means stepping back and prompting others to succeed’, so I said “Maybe if we used math we could figure things out, cause I heard one of you say ‘coding is like the numbers on mommys cell phone – the password to get in” Funny misconfused faces staring at me! Too funny, but ‘give it a try guys’
They started counting the squares and Ms. Rylee was able to figure out they needed to have 1 direction per block on the page. Now we are getting somewhere! Ms. Layla was able to also determine that “the blocks are now straight, so the arrows must mean turn this way”, we are getting super warm now, Mr. Colby dragged some directions down on screen (not enough to solve the question but tried) pushed play and…….failed. Determined they added one more line of code, pushed play and got a wee bit further but not to the end, therefore failed. After adding a few more lines of code together they solved it! It was awesome to see the smiling faces!! Success, they each grabbed an Ipad Mini and set forth on their own!
Box Island is pretty cool as it lets you try out 15 lessons, which grow in complexity before having to purchase the program (Which gets kids hooked before parents have to cough up the money, sneaky, sneaky but brilliant!). I am going to have to remember this when I write my own apps in the future!
I let the three take off own their own until each had finished lessons up to 8. We reconvened and revisted the question “What is Coding”. Ms. Rylee; otherwise know as Ms. Smartie Pants by her mother said “Maybe Coding itself is more about Problem Solving the Mistakes along the way, the code itself is TEAMWORK” she continued “Without working together we would not have been abe to solve it on our own” Adorably cute eh!?!? All year long Ms. Smartie Pants comes out with stuff like this all the time! Love it!!
At the recent Canconnect Ed Tech conference in Niagara; Angela Maiers spoke of Choose2Matter and showing students that they Matter everyday; so using my newfound knowledge I obtained from Angela I decided to roll with it!! Yes, Rylee you are right part of Coding is problem solving and teamwork, (with a little Corous’ on the side), collaboration and working together makes things so much better with help and support from one another. Layla, Colby and Rylee then shared the following once validated that they Matter, that THEY did it together and THEY did an amazing job!
Here is what they shared:
1. Coding is like math because you have to add lines of code like the arrows and when you make mistakes you are either adding more lines of code or taking some away until you solve the problem infront of you.
2. Its problem solving like the stuff that makes you think, which IS math because its hard.
3. There are steps in the problem, like with math.
4. Some of the problems have lots of steps (i.e., the boxes that need to be moved in order to get somewhere you have to go).
5. The more steps in each problem requires harder math questions like adding and subtracting at the same time.
So, walking away from this actual experience what I currently know is that coding comes in three stages: statements, loops and what if statements. Math itself is problem, solution to problem and answer, three steps too.
Is coding just math?!!? Not sure as mentioned I am only a beginner and learning along with the kids. I do know scratch is graphical codes, which are basically electronic computer based language which behind that scene is all binary, which is all 1’s and 0’s, so maybe it IS math…..
Guess we will find out……

Coding 101 for a beginner….

So, after walking away from the recent Canconnect Conference in Niagara Falls this past weekend I decided one (of many others) tasks I would set my mind to was coding. Getting to know what it is, how it works, finding the best programs for my target audience; primary students, most significantly kindergarten but open to k-3 for future too.

Well, I started searching and using a few applications such ScratchJr and Scratch Lite, which are not the most user friendly for first time users trying to understanding what coding is at its most basic levels. So the search continued until I found Kodable, The Foos (which is cute) and my personal favourite Box Island. These are ISO type applications, so within our Board I was searching and found ‘Turtle; coding for kids’ within the Microsoft Store which are somewhat similar (although less visually appealing), however these are a few ‘go-to’s’ that I would recommend for the most basic of first time users to see, get a feel for and begin to understand what coding is about.

Coding itself for those who would like to know can be done through two means; graphical programming such as Scratch and also electronic (more advanced) and robotic programming; which for the purpose of this posting I will avoid discussing for now until I can actually understanding it more thoroughly myself.

I also looked into Minecraft, which with luck I also found a 14 lesson tutorial on the basics of coding for writing graphical programming by means of statements, cycles / repeats / and what if statements. All of which are embedded within all programing both graphical and electronically, just by different means in language.

Coding by the way is basically a new language itself that you have to see and understand to fully be aware of the true power and ability of writing codes. So, as a beginner users I thoroughly love Box Island (which has 14 activities / lessons for free, than you have to purchase the program for $5.99). It is what I would call visually appealing yet stimulating coding at the most primitive levels, through graphical programming with the four basic directions (left, right, up and down).

If you are interested, but totally new I would suggest starting here with this application.

The other suggestion I would have would be to visit Minecraft and embedded within the beginning page there is an option to do an ‘Hour of Coding’ which then gives you 14 general / basic lessons on coding. You also walk away with a certificate, that you can show off too (You can see mine @ArcherJoe on twitter). This is a cool option for primary students as we could do the hour of coding on minecraft, walk away with a certificate that could be printed out and shared with people, that would give students a general understanding of three types of code; statements, repeats and cycles and what if statements.

Hour of Coding Certificate

Back to Box Island, I use my son; Xander as a guinea pig, like I always do with anything new (poor kid) maybe next year I will cycle through my twin girls too, then its not all on him. Anyways Xander gave Box Island a whirl and after a couple lessons supported by the ‘best daddy ever’ (me), he tried a few on his own. Now, I like to sit back and observe and take notes and learn myself for implementation into my teaching practice in the classroom. So, Xander struggled at first on his own but after a few attempts he found out and indicated that ‘This is just math dad’. I followed up, ‘How so?’, here is his statement; ‘Well when you move to what ever direction you move to you need to count the spaces so you are adding, but you also take away when you have to backtrack and go around things after completing a task to get one step closer to the end’

So plain and simple; starting off coding all you are teaching and doing is basic addition and subtraction of graphical interpretations of what you are visually understanding. Obviously coding is so much more, but for a beginners understanding lets just say that its that.

Not too sure if this helps, or has been informative but it is what it is, this helpls me understand and reflect on my practice so take it as you will!