iPad App Reviews: Sesame, Kids Discover, MyBlee


by Rochelle T
kach

 

This week’s blog includes three apps I’ve recently shared inside Cube for Teachers:

1) Sesame: Assessment app
2) Kids Discover: A collection of Social Studies and Science apps
3) MyBlee: Mathematics app


1) iPad app Review for Assessment: Sesame

::Desktop:sesame.pngSesame provides K-12 educators with a smarter way to communicate, capture, organize, and plan assessment. Sesame allows educators to organize their assessment documentation based on classes and then individual students. Through the Sesame Snap app, teachers can then take pictures, videos, and make accompanying notes on students’ progress. In the sesame website, educators are able to then easily create assessment tools by choosing pre-made criteria that aligns with the curriculum (i.e., Ontario or Alberta curriculum). These assessment tools will then show up in the app where teachers can assess students’ work based on the curriculum expectations they are teaching. The reason this app is such an important and useful tool for educators is because formative assessment measures that focus on students’ progress rather than their products are so valued in 21st century education. Sesame is a powerful 21st century tool. Read the full review of Sesame at the Teaching with EdTech blog.

2) iPad App Review for Social Studies and Science: Kids Discover

Kids Discover is a great app to enhance science and social studies lessons. Each app focuses on a single non-fiction subject. These apps are extremely interactive and provide developmentally appropriate reading, videos and activities. I would highly recommend these apps for grades 4 to 6 as they align well with the Ontario curriculum expectations for these grades. Some features include: HD images and videos, 360º virtual tours, scrollable animations, and audio narration. Read the full review of Kids Discover at the Teaching with EdTech blog.

3) iPad App Review for Mathematics: MyBlee

MyBlee is an effective app to promote self-directed learning in mathematics. I have used this app for the past two years with the student I tutor and highly recommend it. Some of the quality features MyBlee has to offer include: individual student profiling, specific lessons on key concepts within math strands, built in scaffolds, immediate feedback, multi-modal interactivity, and motivating reward systems. Read the full review of MyBlee at the Teaching with EdTech blog.

Rochelle Tkach is a graduate student in the Masters of Education program at Brock University. Her research interests focus on how educational technology can enhance students’ 21st century skills in science, language arts, and literacy. Rochelle is also working as an Elementary Occasional Teacher for the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN). She is currently completing an internship with the DSBN/Brock Educational Research and Innovation Hub and the start-up edtech company, Cube for Teachers. Follow her @RochelleTkach on Twitter.

Cube for Teachers is a community of educators sharing their favourite web resources into a free curriculum-aligned database.

For more information contact Cube for Teachers at info@cubeforteachers.com.

Reflection: FETC 2015

    By Susan Kwiecien: Co-Founder of Cube for Teachers

The FETC Conference

Recently, I attended one of America’s largest Edtech conferences with colleagues from Ontario.  FETC   (Florida Educational Technology Conference)  is an international conference for the integration of education technology into the K-20 school community that had over 9000 attendees and showcased 480 vendors (video). I was amazed by the number of sessions running throughout the day – people gathering to share their learning in conference rooms, concourse hallways and even on the exhibit floor. There was definitely no shortage of learning going on!

By attending FETC, I was delighted to see that no matter which side of the border educators reside, we all share one goal in common – strategies and resources to best support our precious learners.

Many teachers I met were on a quest to find relevant teaching resources. Sessions that shared resources appeared to be very popular to educators. As these resources were presented, I was simultaneously checking inside Cube for Teachers and saw that the majority had already been shared. It was a testament to teachers using Cube for Teachers, that they have been sharing valuable web resources.

I will be sharing many of these resources in upcoming Cube for Teachers blogs.

Tom Whitby

Tweetups

The FETC experience is not solely an 8am-5pm experience. There are usually PD events that extend into the evening as these events are also about building one’s network and collaborating with peers. As a result, I attended a fantastic ‘tweetup’ and  connected with many people I’ve come to know through my Twitter PLN such as Tom Whitby (@tomwhitby) and Steven Anderson (@web20classroom) who have co-authored a book called, “The Relevant Educator: How Connectedness Empowers Learning” that discusses the importance of connecting with educators online.

A great book…I highly recommend it.

While at the tweetup, I also bumped into Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1), who has compiled an extensive list of subject and topic specific resources on his website (cybraryman.com). If you’ve ever participated in an educational hashtag chat on Twitter, you’ve likely seen him sharing valuable resources with educators. It was great to learn that Cube for Teachers already has a place on Jerry’s Canadian resource page. Thank you Jerry.

Cyrbaryman

Cybraryman - Jerry Blumengarten

In Canada, our next big EdTech conference will be Connect 2015 (@CanConnectEd). It is the Canadian National Conference that connects educators with technology for 21st Century teaching and learning. This year will be The Cube’s 3rd year attending and participating at this event. We look forward to reconnecting with our Canadian and American PLN.

New to The Cube?

Cube for Teachers (@cubeforteachers) is a collaboration portal for educators and contains nearly 25 000 shared web resources and continues to grow on a daily basis as teachers continue to share their most favourite links.

Best regards,

Susan Kwiecien
Co-Founder of Cube for Teachers

Why Cube?

    
By Susan Kwiecien: Co-Founder of Cube for Teachers 

As educators, how many of us have searched endlessly for educational resources in numerous locations such as massive search engines, through word of mouth, printed lists from in-services, emails, wikis, etc?  Also, how many of us are constantly on social networks in the hopes of catching that valuable resource before it slides off the bottom of the page into the depths of the abyss?  Regardless, as locations for resources continue to expand it spreads our time even more thin as we search for ideas in order to meet the needs of our precious students.  Getting your hands on those resources when you most need them has always been the greatest challenge.

Looking for effective resources and support materials should not be an ongoing game of treasure hunt.  As a teacher I can speak for all of us when I say that the motive behind this exhaustive search is to simply meet the needs of our valuable diverse learners.  However, as educators, our time is valuable and best spent in front of our kids, not searching the world for resources. It was because of this premise that Cube for Teachers was created.

As educators ourselves, we understand the importance and necessity for collaboration. The Cube’s philosophy was to create a platform for teachers to collectively share their favourite educational resource links into a central, organized and efficient hub. There are thousands of sites out there with amazing resources, we simply point to them from one location thanks to the ongoing collaboration of teachers like you. Providing teachers with a platform to house all of their favourite links in one location is paramount with Cube for Teachers.

Cube for Teachers is Ontario’s curriculum-based bookmarking community made exclusively for K-12 educators – and it’s free!

As well, not only can teachers share, search and save educational links to resources, they can also create their own personal teacher “Groups” (professional learning communities) for resource sharing and ongoing discussions for ideas, support and professional development.  Collaboration and Communication: two essential skills that define 21st Century learners.

Although there are already over 24 000 links inside The Cube, imagine the power if educators from across Ontario were to each share just one their most favourite educational resources!  Three minutes of work could result in a few hundred thousand links – not a bad trade-off you might say.

We’d love to hear from you.  Send us an email and let us know how The Cube has met your needs or ideas as to how The Cube can better meet your needs.

Together We Are Building Better Education.

We wish you all a successful and rewarding New Year.

Sincerely,

Susan Kwiecien,
Cube for Teachers

A Great Opportunity for Teacher Graduates and Candidates

           Pic from Flickr User, Benson Kalahar

Are you a recent Faculty of Education graduate or are you graduating in the coming months? Either way, you’re ready for the next step – employment.

The truth is…the landscape is saturated. Graduates seeking employment exceed the number of positions available.  Compounding the problem is the addition of a new cohort of graduates vying for the same teaching positions.

The reality is that it may take a few years to secure a permanent position only after countless hours of volunteering and competing to get onto a supply list.

In today’s market, you need to stand out!

Your Digital Footprint

A digital presence in this profession is increasingly the norm. Every resource and tool you share online, defines your brand as a qualified educator.

A well-established digital footprint relevant to education demonstrates your knowledge, your dedication and your ability to curate credible information. Your digital footprint is your portfolio – it highlights your resourcefulness, your ability to collaborate and your willingness to share knowledge with an established educational network.

Your digital footprint matters. It has become an essential part of today’s teaching profession.

Your digital footprint distinguishes you from other candidates seeking the same permanent positions.

Cube for Teachers

Cube for Teachers is getting graduates noticed. Through the curation of credible links, understanding of pedagogy and the sharing of thoughtful blog content, graduates are defining themselves as a valuable addition to teams.

Cube for Teachers is inviting passionate teacher candidates and graduates to share their knowledge on various resources through Cube for Teachers’ blogs.  In doing so, you’ll be reaching and helping thousands of teachers, administrators and system leaders – providing them valuable resources while getting your name out there.

While you are helping Ontario’s educators learn about valuable web resources, Cube for Teachers is helping you build your digital footprint so you can demonstrate your knowledge to peers, administrators and system leaders.

Blog Content Ideas

  • Write a critical review of a specific curriculum resource;
  • Describe the benefits of a teaching tool and how it can be integrated into a lesson;
  • Write a review of a cluster of resources with a similar theme (i.e. inquiry-based resources);
  • Offer a reflection regarding a particular topic, blog, etc.

Consider a recent post in the Cube for Teachers’ blog.

Support

Whether you choose to write one blog or many, The Cube’s Administrators will provide feedback and advice to put your best ‘footprint’ forward.

That’s It!

The Cube continues to unite educators and system leaders.  Don’t miss your opportunity to participate and build your digital portfolio.

The infrastructure is already built.
Your audience is waiting.

To learn more about opportunities for blogging, contact The Cube Support Team.

Sincerely,

The Administrative Team
Cube for Teachers

FDK Blog Post 2 – The First Week of Full-Day Kindergarten


By Melissa Calder

 

As the final stage of Ontario’s FDK program is rolled out this Fall, many educators find themselves teaching Kindergarten for the first time. My social network circles are buzzing with conversations about “surviving the first week of FDK” and how to start the year off on the right foot.

Below I have included a handful of links full of information, wisdom and suggestions from seasoned educators.

Setting the Stage for Success (in Kindergarten)

12 Tips To Start A Successful Kindergarten Year
Leslie, the author of, kindergartenworks.com, shares her top 12 tips for fostering a successful year in Kindergarten.

8 Survival Skills for the First Day of Kindergarten
What does a kindergarten teacher need to do to survive? Here are eight handy survival skills from Edutopia.org

The Big List of Kindergarten Routines
Routines are BIG in FDK and Kindergarten Teacher and blogger, Karen Jones offers a list of the routines and procedures that she has found helpful in her classroom.

The Flow of the Day
Another wonderful resource from EduGAINS (Ministry of Education, Ontario). Learn more about the important pieces involved in planning the flow of your day through these short videos.

Past FDK blog posts: The FDK Blog Series, The Basics

We’d love to hear from you! Are you teaching FDK this year? What resources would you like to see here? Simply send us an email and let us know your thoughts, questions and ideas.

Looking for additional teaching resources pertaining to curriculum, strategies and tech tools?  Be sure to check out  Cube for Teachers with 22000+ shared links by teachers.

Sincerely,

The Administrative Team
www.cubeforteachers.com

FDK Blog Post 1 – The Basics


By Melissa Calder

 

In this first post of our FDK Blog Series, we delve into the foundation of the Ontario Full-Day Kindergarten program. You’ll find links to the Ontario FDK curriculum, an FDK primer from TVO, plus essential Ministry of Education documents.

SIX Essential Resources

Past FDK blog post: The FDK Blog Series

Cube for Teachers contains thousands of shared web resources worldwide and organizes them into 3 main topic areas:  Curriculum Resources, Tools and Technology, and Other Teaching Resources (including strategies, best practices, current topics).

 

The Administrative Team
www.cubeforteachers.com

The FDK Blog Series

By Melissa Calder

 

Are you teaching Full-Day Kindergarten (FDK) this Fall? If you are, you are certainly in good company! FDK will be available in all boards of education across Ontario as of Fall 2014.

We know that preparing for a new school year is a mixed bag of excitement and anxiety (we’re teachers too!) so we’ve put together an FDK Blog Series here at The Cube to explore play-based learning and the wonderful world of Kindergarten to help ease the transition into the new school year.

Below, we’ve included a few links to resources that delve into the history and evolution of FDK in Ontario. Stay tuned for our next post in the series entitled, “FDK: The Basics

Quick History: Resources outlining the history of FDK in Ontario

In 2007, the Ontario Liberals announced their commitment to the province-wide Full-Day Kindergarten program, as part of their election platform. Full-Day Kindergarten was not new to Ontario, as some school boards operating in marginalized socio-economic communities did receive support funding for all-day Senior Kindergarten prior to 2007.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario document provides further information about the beginning of the FDK Program in Ontario.

Former Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty, asked Dr. Charles Pascal (OISE) to to recommend the best way to implement full-day learning for 4- and 5-year-olds.
This document provides the highlights of his advice:  Implementing Early-learning in Ontario.

We’d love to hear from you! What types of resources and/or topics would you like to see shared in this series? Although we have great blog posts planned, we love the challenge of finding ‘just right’ resources for The Cube community. Simply send us an email and let us know your thoughts, questions and ideas.

Looking for additional teaching resources pertaining to curriculum, strategies and tech tools?  Be sure to check out  Cube for Teachers with 22000+ shared links by teachers.

Sincerely,

The Administrative Team
www.cubeforteachers.com

 

New Teachers: How’s Your Ontario Curriculum Content Knowledge?

Blog by Melissa Calder, OISE Graduate

Phew! We survived the seemingly never-ending winter. As gardens bloom and classroom teachers begin end-of-year activities, B.Ed students (teacher candidates) are preparing for convocation. Are you a recent grad, hoping to land a job in teaching? Feeling the crunch of competition for those oh-so-few positions available? I hear you: Me too. I am one of the thousands of newly minted teachers in Ontario.

With the education job market being being what it is in Ontario and the provincial election looming where education remains a hot topic, I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the road ahead. Of course we knew upon applying for teacher’s college that landing a job would be an uphill battle, so bemoaning the lack of employment prospects seems redundant and counter-productive.

Sage advice offered by our teaching mentors and professors encourages new grads to keep volunteering, continue to upgrade with AQ’s and of course being available for whatever comes our way. All valid ideas. But what about beefing up our curricular knowledge? Can you honestly say that you truly KNOW the Ontario curriculum? You may have the curriculum documents at the ready on your device or in paper format on a bookshelf, but do you feel confident with your content and subject knowledge? Pop quiz: In which grade do you introduce the concept of solar energy? What about structure and function of the major organs of various human body systems? How about the elements of art? Stumped? I was too until I began using Cube for Teachers.

Cube for Teachers is an ESSENTIAL resource for new and veteran teachers alike. It’s a goldmine of lesson plans connected to specific Ontario curriculum (K-12) documents and strands, a database of resources, a place where you can connect with other educators and ultimately a time-saving platform. Resource links are added to Cube for Teachers by Ontario teachers for Ontario teachers and tied to fields specific to education! Want to find resources for teaching a Grade 1 unit on solar energy that is cross-curricularly connected to math and art? No problem. You will also find resources related to teaching practice, classroom management, professional development and educational technology. The list goes on and on.

I encourage you to explore Cube for Teachers. Learn about curriculum expectations and the related strands. Ultimately, it is our responsibility as teachers to truly know our craft. Knowing, understanding and implementing the rich Ontario curriculum is essential to our future roles as classroom educators. Set yourself apart from the rest of the thousands clamouring to get their dream job – you know how to teach and by joining The Cube, you’ll know what to teach and how to connect lesson plans to curricular expectations. Having solid content knowledge will surely impress hiring committees and panels – and will ultimately make you a better teacher.

Take note:  You’ll want to register before your Faculty email address is discontinued which sometimes takes place upon graduation. Membership is free. Once you have created an account (where you can save unlimited resources and lesson plans), you are able to change your email address to one that you check regularly.

 

Are You An Edublogger?

No doubt, blogging has become a popular way for teachers to share ideas as well as build upon their own professional development through reflection, research, and discussions.

If you are an edublogger, how do you share your work? Perhaps you post it on micro-blogging sites a few times in the hope that it gains traction or gets posted on other websites.

Unfortunately, most other websites will simply post a link to the landing page of your blog site. Those who land on your site still need to locate your blog area and sift through past blog posts. To the busy educator in need of support and ideas, searching for specific topics this way is not practical.

Again without a searchable retrieval of your individual blogs, you are dependent upon the marketing from those who have (1) read your blogs (2) shared your blog links and (3) are fairly connected. Another teacher who may benefit from your reflections, unless part of ones network, may never discover your individual blogs.

Cube for Teachers takes on a different approach to foster effective collaboration.

In Cube for Teachers, edubloggers are able to break down their blogs, link by link and attach searchable information that is now at the fingertips of every teacher within The Cube. Teachers within are not dependent upon ones connectedness to others. When an educator searches, they are automatically connected to every link shared inside Cube for Teachers. Thousands of teachers are now part of the Cube for Teachers community. In fact, we are now seeing hundreds of links added every day inside Cube for Teachers as teachers continue to collaborate – why not include yours?

So, how would we recommend you share your fabulous blogs within Cube for Teachers? It’s easy.

Here’s how…

1) When you add a link in Cube for Teachers, we recommend sharing it in the topic area called “Other Teaching Resources”. Typically this area includes web resources pertaining to teaching strategies, helpful hints, views, tips etc.

 

2) When filling in the fields, be sure to include your name and the word “blog”. This way, someone can search for you by name along with the keyword “blog” and retrieve all of your blog links in one search. They can add additional keywords and refine their search to pinpoint a specific blog of yours.

As well, teachers can also add your link into their favourites or share it with professional learning communities inside Cube for Teachers.

Cube for Teachers is providing teachers with a voice and a choice – redefining the way Ontario educators are connecting and collaborating.  Soon, we’ll be expanding across Canada and beyond.

Share your blogs today and assist teachers who are in need of your reflections and ideas.

Sincerely,

The Administrative Team
www.cubeforteachers.com

 

Teaching Resources and EdCamp London

Teaching Resources

As teachers continue to share links in all 3 topic areas within Cube for Teachers, we’d like to highlight a few neat resources recently added in our third topic area: “Other Teaching Resources”.

11 Tips For Students To Manage Their Digital Footprints
This blog from TeachThought highlights ways that students should manage their digital footprints.

20 Ways to Provide Effective Feedback to Your Students
Within this blog you will find 20 ideas and techniques on how to give effective learning feedback that will leave your students with the feeling they can conquer the world.

63 Things Every Student Should Know In a Digital World
In order to prepare our students for tomorrow, Terry Heick identifies 63 key points and has organized them into 13 main categories.

20 Signs You’re Actually Making A Difference As A Teacher
As a teacher; you lesson plan, constantly assess, network, collaborate, differentiate, use technology, and inspire thinking and so much more. Besides test scores, you are making a difference in so many ways. Check out this blog for some alternative measures where you are making a difference.

Latest News: EdCamps

Have you ever attended an EdCamp? We at Cube for Teachers highly recommend it.

EdCamp London – April 12th

“Often called an “unconference” EdCamps are gaining in popularity as a method of professional learning that is participant driven. There are no keynotes, no planned sessions and no cost. Each EdCamp is as different as its participants. Sessions are created in the morning based on the needs of the participants. EdCamp is about people who love education hanging out with people who love education. So if deep, impassioned conversation about education and learning interests you register today for EdCamp London at www.edcamplondon.ca. Learning is not a spectator sport, so come and play.”

Contributed by: David Fife, Vice Principal at Michell Hepburn P.S, TVDSB – member of the Organizing Team for EdCamp London.

Sincerely,

The Administrative Team
www.cubeforteachers.com