Friday, February 26, 2016

Building Your Digital Literacy Tickle Trunk - BYTE Conference 2016

     Three years after my first presentation at BYTE (with the wonderful Tyler) I was back at it again today sharing about digital literacy and citizenship at the 12th Annual BYTE Conference (which has now moved to Brandon after calling Neepawa home for many years). It was so energizing to be back in a classroom setting after almost 8 months and connecting and sharing with so many enthusiastic and inspiring educators! It was a very busy day but I was happy to reconnect with many of my favourite Tweeps like Andy, John, Zoe, John, and probably many more that I can't remember now (sorry; I love all of you!).

     If you are not in the loop, the sessions at BYTE cover everything ed-tech-related: including tutorials on specific tech tools, trouble shooting tips, professional learning networks, specific learning activities hosted online and much much more. This year had a Digital Citizenship/Literacy theme and featured over 60 sessions! If you'd like to see some of the awesome sessions that were offered, the schedule is available on the BYTE Conference website.

     Now, to be honest, this year I attended the conference strictly as a presenter and did not take in the amazing sessions that were offered by my colleagues. Being that this was my first time "back" since going on maternity leave and considering my mom had to attend with me to care for Jaxson during my sessions (he is still nursing and can't get too far from me yet!) it was just easier for me to focus on my own presentations and spend time with him during my off-session time. With that in mind, a big shout-out goes out to my mom for all of her help and for taking off work to travel to Brandon with me :)

Building Your Digital Literacy Tickle Trunk

digital literacy tools, digital citizenship tools, teaching digital literacy, teaching digital citizenship, kirsten thompson

     I presented directly following the KeyNote speaker as well as during the last slot of the day. My first session had a larger attendance than the second but I feel like that was to be expected during the last slot on a Friday afternoon; oh well! In both sessions I had a relatively good mixture of elementary, middle, and high school teachers but they fell all over the spectrum in regards to their comfort level with digital literacy. Some were incorporating a few activities/conversations, some had explored resources but hadn't started anything officially, and some were completely brand new to the idea. One exciting thing was that I had one attendee who was a regular reader of my original blog, Miss L's Whole Brain Teaching, and was very enthusiastic when she realized I was the author of it :) I felt pretty happy about that!

     Overall I feel that both of my sessions went really well. Participants seemed receptive to the information that was shared and I am very confident that everyone left with at least one tool that they connected with and can share with their students! I've embedded my slides below, each resource features:
- an introduction slide summarizing important information
- a screenshot of the homepage
- 1-2 additional screenshots of important features
*Let me know if you have any questions/comments/etc!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Digital Footprint: Fakebook Assignment

     Our students are considered "digital natives" and have most likely had an online presence since birth (thanks to enthusiastic parents and family members). Their digital footprints are more deeply rooted then ever before and it is vital that they are aware of their own digital footprint and how to ensure that they are positively representing themselves online.

fakebook, digital footprint, digital footprint assignment, digital footprint activities for high school, digital footprint activities for middle school

You can head over to the Teaching in a Fishbowl TpT Store to 
download this activity for FREE

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Indigenizing the Curriculum

     As professionals tasked with the education of Canadian youth, educators require understanding of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit practices, in order to effectively apply appropriate pedagogy within their classrooms. Deyhle, Swisher, Stevens, and Galvan (2008, p. 344) illustrate the process in which Indigenous peoples of North America have fought towards building an educational model that addresses the biases found in current models and strives to reshape education from an epistemological perspective. The authors’ lament over the multiple instances of cultural genocide through post-colonial education systems and call for a shift to self-determination in Indigenous education (Deyhle et al, 2008, p. 337) that echoes the ideologies of the five-point program of education advocated by reconstructionists (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2013, p. 45). Fueled by both equality and equity, the program calls for a model that includes the examination of a society’s cultural heritage, unapologetically addresses controversial issues, is committed to bringing forward social change, and enhances the educational experience of all children (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2013, p. 45).

     In Manitoba educators see this call for action outlined in the 2003 curriculum document, Integrating aboriginal perspectives into curricula,
     The goals of integrating Aboriginal perspectives for Aboriginal students are:
     - to develop a positive self-identify through learning 
      their own histories, cultures, traditional values, contemporary 
      lifestyles, and traditional knowledge
    - to participate in a learning environment that will equip them with 
     the knowledge and skills  needed to participate more fully in the 
     unique civic and cultural realties of their communities
     The goals of integrating Aboriginal perspectives for non-Aboriginal students        are:
     - to develop an understanding and respect for the histories, 
      cultures, traditional values,  contemporary lifestyles, and
      traditional knowledge of Aboriginal peoples
     - to develop informed opinions on matters relating to Aboriginal 
      peoples (p. 2).
Within Canada these sentiments have recently been reverberated through the 2015 report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada,
     63. We call upon the Council of Ministers of Education, 
     Canada to maintain an annual commitment to Aboriginal education 
     issues, including:
     i. Developing and implementing Kindergarten to Grade Twelve 
     curriculum and learning resources on Aboriginal peoples in 
     Canadian history, and the history and legacy of residential
     ii. Sharing information and best practices on teaching curriculum 
     related to residential schools and Aboriginal history.
     iii. Building student capacity for intercultural understanding, 
     empathy, and mutual respect (p. 7)
This author is employed at a school situated on Treaty 2 territory and whose classroom demographics reflect approximately 50% of students from First Nations and Metis ancestry; many of whom have experience living or regularly visiting family within the borders of a nearby First Nations reserve. In alignment with the reconstructionist philosophy that supports experimentation and the challenging of outdated structures (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2013, p. 45) the school in question has identified the implementation of aboriginal perspective into academic curriculum as a school priority within their formal school plan (School Planning Report, 2013-2014, p. 2). Moving beyond surface-level identification, the school has supported staff and students in this shift by providing resources and ongoing professional development opportunities through the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba.

            Integration of an educational model that appropriately and effectively incorporates an indigenous perspective does not guarantee success for indigenous learners who have unfortunately become accustomed to a Eurocentric model with roots in assimilation. Phenomenologist Abraham Maslow argued that a learner, “...whose basic needs – say, love or esteem – are not filled will not be interested in acquiring knowledge of the world” and that these needs will take, “...precedence over learning and direct his or her behaviour” (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2013, p. 119). Deyhle, Swisher, Stevens, and Galvan (2008, p. 335) shared that indigenous learners are faced with a system that forces them, “ remove themselves at least emotionally from a school environment that considered them motivationally and cognitively deficient”. This results in a cyclical momentum in which the learners’ personal narrative convinces themselves that they don’t care about education as a coping mechanism for their disappointment (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2013, p. 140).

     The Manitoba curriculum document, Integrating aboriginal perspectives into curricula, specifically identifies that,
     - All students will be treated with dignity and respect
     - Student motivation should be provided through intrinsic rather 
     than extrinsic means (p. 18)
This author has observed that students of First Nations and Metis ancestry often demonstrate low levels of confidence in the classroom and often appear apathetic towards their own academic success. The First Nations and Metis people of Canada have been subjected to generations of colonialism and the students walking through the classroom door have a vastly different worldview than their teacher who has had the privilege allocated to her by her European background. This author feels that integrating indigenous perspectives into her pedagogy assists all students in regards to building their self-confidence and sense of value. By encouraging all students and assuming that everyone has something to contribute to the experience educators can address those students’ basic needs and set the platform for them to acquire knowledge of the world (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2013, p. 140).

Deyhle, D., Swisher, K., Stevens, T., & Galvan, R.T. (2008). Indigenous resistance and renewal: From colonizing practices to self-determination. In M. Connelly, F.M. He, & J. Phillion (Eds.). The SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Manitoba Education and Youth. (2003). Integrating Aboriginal perspectives into curricula: a resource for curriculum developers, teachers, and administrators. Manitoba, CD: Manitoba Education and Youth Publication.
Ornstein, A. C., & Hunkins, F. P. (2013). Curriculum: foundations, principles, and issues. New Jersey, US: Pearson Education.
Ste Rose School. (2013-2014). School planning report. Retrieved February 13, 2016 from's/SchoolPlan/SchoolPlan.pdf
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Calls to action. Retrieved February 13, 2016 from

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How Does Theory Help Curriculum Development?

The curriculum development process can be organized into four, seven, or more steps depending on which model and theorist the development plan is based on (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2013, pg. 13). Regardless of the model that is chosen, curricularists need to recognize that curriculum development is a lengthy process that requires professionals to make judgements to best serve the social and political realities of their situation while meeting the needs of a diverse group of learners (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2013, pg. 13). A strong theoretical background is essential for curricularist to ensure that their curriculum development is backed by the concepts, principles, and relationships that exist in their field (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2013, pg. 15). A curriculum developed around theory ensures that educators can effectively research their data to help guide pedaogogical practices.