Author Archives: cnorman14

The One Where I Instantly Regretted Adding an App

I have to start off this post by telling you that two things annoyed me about this app right from the get go.

  1. It made me feel old…like super old. Apparently you have to be 13 years old or older to have a snap chat account. So by default snap chat sets the year to 2008 when you are registering for an account (because nobody my age should be downloading this app). But in my case I felt like a contestant on The Price is Right spinning that giant wheel to try and get closest to a dollar without going over to get into the showcase round.
Actual attempt of me trying to get to my year of birth

2. They ask you to take a selfie so they can make an avatar for you that is supposed to look like you. Because of shadows and terrible lighting my avatar came out looking like AJ from the backstreet boys (post fame) when he was experimenting with his facial hair. Here is a whole post dedicated to terrible facial hair on 90’s boy bands.

I am going to add a third point right now because it just came to me after writing the first two points:

3. I have made reference to “The Price is Right” and “The Backstreet Boys” in a post about snap chat which is geared to an audience that won’t even get those two references which is making me feel even older.

Me walking in to teach Math on Monday to my 7/8 class

So just out of spite for the rest of this blog post I will use Backstreet Boys songs for my subheadings because I Want it that way:


It seems to me that EVERYBODY that I have taught in a grade 7/8 class who has a phone has Snap Chat and at least once a day I tell them to get off Snap chat. So for the purpose of this blog let’s look at it from a different perspective and say why fight it and lets embrace it. Is there potential for this app in the classroom?

Quit Playing Games

Initially after playing around with this app I only see value in the filter feature.

This could be my album cover for my 90’s boy band tribute. Come to think of it maybe I should shave.
Here I am as Walter White (another reference that dates me) *sigh*

We’ve Got It Going On

Time to do some research and see how some educators have used this app in their classroom to engage their students because there has to be some educational potential to this app.

The first website I came across was Mud and Ink Teaching Adventurous Teaching Starts Here. Thirty seconds into reading this blog post about 6 ways to integrate Snap into your classroom my creative inquiry based teacher brain kicked into gear and started thinking about my lessons and projects I do with my students and how this app could take some of my ideas to another level.

One example they gave was #booksnap:

This is a great idea from Mud and Ink Teaching

Or this idea about raising awareness:

This is another great idea from Mud and Ink Teaching

I am already thinking about how I could use this strategy and connect it to Orange Shirt day coming up on September 30th. There are 4 levels to engagement:

  1. Informational    (ie. A tweet or facebook post, a handout)
  2. Involvement      (ie. Literature night, bagels and books)
  3. Engagement      (ie. You and the families come together by asking for their input, “What do you want to know” through Google Forms then maybe share strategies or hints for success through various platforms)
  4. Leadership        (ie. Where parents lead, we give up control)

I am thinking this app/activity could get the students past the first level (informational) and at least get them to level 2 if not level 3.

Ok Snapchat I might have to take back my initial thoughts about you because I am starting to see some value.

Ditch That Textbook is a great website I like to read and follow on twitter @DitchThatTxtbk:

It gave me the idea that you can subscribe to various Snapchat accounts and watch their stories. So I looked up some and found this cool Snapchat story to subscribe to called, “Craft It Yourself” and it had stories all about science experiments you could do at home with relative ease.

A cool science experiment talking about air pressure that I found on Snapchat stories

Ok so after a bit of research and some self reflection about my sensitivity to my age I can see some positive things with Snapchat. So why is there so much apprehension about this app in regards to teenagers.

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart

After a few conversations with parents and slao a few google searches I can see why so many people are apprehensive about letting their kids download the app.

  1. Exclusion — You can see everyone of your friends location who have the app. Which basically means you can see when you are not with that group of friends who are all hanging out. This would have destroyed me when I was that age to see all my buddies at one location and then realize I wasn’t part of that group. I can’t imagine what it does to the mental health of teenagers who are already a little insecure and trying to figure out their place in the world.
  2. Addiction — Streaks! Apparently there is this thing called streaks on your account. It tracks how many days in a row you have snapped with another person. Kids wear this like a badge of honor and it becomes very important for them to keep these streaks going. Heaven forbid if you go on a camping trip with no cell service. Business Insider goes into this aspect in more detail here.

3. Bullying — Back in my day if you were to define bullying it happened during school hours and probably resulted in some words or fists getting hurled your way in public. It was dealt with at the school and then you could retreat to your home and find some sanctuary or safety (because the internet wasn’t a common thing yet). But not in 2021… Kids can get bullied 24/7 in too many ways. Snapchat is just another way to bully another kid. “Although the Snaps disappear without a trace, their messages can leave lasting impacts.” This is a great quote from an article I found from Bayview Therapy. The one feature that made Snapchat stand out when it was first created might be the one thing that makes it so damaging to kids. Kids think that these images or texts that they send disappear after a certain time but they are quickly learning that this isn’t the case. Here is a news story about a lawsuit against Snapchat that forced the company to make some changes to better protect youth against cyberbullying.

Conclusion: No Place

I can honestly say because of this assignment I know no more about snap chat then i did at the start of the week. Are there pros to the app in terms of educational purposes 100% there is. Are there concerns for the mental health and well-being of students with this app 100% there is.

So my final thoughts on this app is that although I can see potential in it for future lessons I can’t in good faith use it in class knowing the potential drawbacks in regards to student safety. Student safety is always my top priority.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my decision about snapchat! Thanks for taking the time to read this blog if you made it this far. I have to go now and delete an app from my phone.

The One Where He Gained 20 Pounds For His Major Learning Project

I have chosen to go down the path of self learning for my major learning project. I debated many different things to attempt to learn: guitar ( but decided two months of self taught lessons would only give me enough courage to play acoustic versions of Weezer songs around the campfire and I shouldn’t subject my family to that) or a homemade Golden Tee video game for my basement ( I priced it out and it would have ended up costing more than this class and there was a 76% chance that I cut off a finger in the process so I decided to pass).

I am ashamed to admit this but at least once a day I have to fight off this craving in my brain for a Boston Cream donut.

Over the last couple years I have become a Boston Cream aficionado or donut snob for lack of a better term.

My next Halloween costume

And in all my research I have come to the conclusion that nothing is better than the delicious and satisfying taste of a fresh Boston Cream. Trust me I have when I say I have I put in the research on this topic. My waistline and bank account can verify this statement.

So the more I thought about this project I thought about making my own Boston Cream donut. And that is how I decided that I am going to teach myself how to become a baker and perfect the best Boston Cream Donut in the province (self proclaimed of course).

To Be The Best You Have To Beat The Best

I am excited to continue my research on this topic. First I will gather samples of my competitors: Country Corner, Tim Horton’s, Robins, Everyday Kitchen, and of course the Holy Grail of Boston Creams the Wadena Bakery and Coffee Nook.


Aside from paying for donuts I have no prior knowledge of how a donut is made. I assume a Boston Cream is just two smaller donuts squished together and filled with cream in the middle?

Near perfect representation of my cooking skillset

If you deconstruct this donut I will have to become familiar with many things: how to make a chocolate topping sauce, the delicious fluffy not too dense donut itself ( that somehow has a hole in the middle, and the make it or break it part of the real whip cream filling ( don’t @ me on this but I believe the only thing that should go into a Boston Cream donut is REAL WHIP CREAM I’m looking at you Tim Horton’s) (Actually please @ me on this topic because it will get my engagement up on this blog post @curtisnorman14 :))

How will I learn all of the knowledge?

I plan on doing a lot of research through YouTube baking shows/ tutorials, I might have a lead on some people that really have knowledge of how to bake @cweber78 and are willing to give me a few tips, I hear there are these things called cookbooks that I will look into, and last but not least I am going to have to rely on my beautiful wife to show me where/how all these wonderful kitchen instruments that we have accumulated in our house work! And as this journey progresses I look forward to discovering new resources I don’t know exist at the moment.

How will I document this journey?

I haven’t fully committed to a process yet. I am toying with the idea of starting my own TikTok dedicated to the journey of perfecting the ultimate Boston Cream. I also like the idea of a weekly VLOG. Either way I will have to come up with a catchy #. I am thinking #theultimatebostoncream or #thebostoncreamcurtis or #saskatchewancreamdonut none of these are jumping off the page at me yet but I’m sure some random Sunday the hashtag will hit me while I am trying to walk off the pounds that my test/research will put on me.

In conclusion, I would love some feedback on the following:

  1. if you know of a store that sells a Boston Cream donut that I need to try,

2. a catchy hashtag,

3. and most importantly do YOU believe a Boston Cream should be filled with real whip cream or pudding? (your response might determine our possible friendship moving forward in life).

The One Where He Overthought Every Post

Full disclosure: I am an over-poster… I post too much on my Facebook account. I probably annoy my friends from high school that I haven’t seen in person for 20 years because they know every time my kids have lost a tooth

or my thoughts on professions mini putt-putt on the French TSN channel (not sure how I even ended up on that channel)

or my thoughts on the Perogy poutine from Coney Island.

My rule for posting on social media is simple: if I wouldn’t post it on my bulletin board outside my classroom on parent teacher interview night then I shouldn’t post it on my social media feeds. (it took me a long time to figure out this rule).

I think social media gets a bad rap in this day and age. So I am going to reflect on the pros and cons that have happened in my personal and professional life due to social media.

So what are some of the positives if any:

  1. I have been able to keep in touch with friends and family members from near and far, and former teachers and colleagues from over the years. (Funny moment the other day when I was about to say hi to a person at the grocery store but then realized I had never actually been introduced to them IRL I just see them a lot on social media because I am friends with their over-posting parent. )
  2. I have been introduced to and able to learn new things. For example, putting cheezies in the freezer. ( I even created a blog post about this)

3. Learning Network — I never really got into Twitter until I took #ECI834 last semester. Until that point I thought twitter was basically an app to complain about refs calls against your favourite sports team (hello 13th man). I was wrong…big time wrong! I now see the value of twitter as a learning network. I am connected with fellow educators from around the globe who are inspired and passionate about teaching and the best part…they like to share!!!!! The amount of lessons and ideas I have acquired and incorporated into my lessons and staff meetings in invaluable.

Too soon?

4. I am responsible for my school’s social media feeds (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram). I like that I am able to promote our school and all the wonderful things that are happening in our building by our hardworking staff. I believe this outlet helps set a tone for the school and surrounding community.

5. My last point and I am not quite sure where it should fall under positive or negative is social media revealing peoples true feelings or values. I still remember last year when I saw a comment made on a news story by a person who I knew quite well. The comment that person made was not nice and it went against all my core values and it really bothered me that this person thought that way and I never knew it for all that time.

So is it a good thing or bad thing to know this? Is the ostrich method of burying my head in the sand better or worse?

Photo by Jean van der Meulen on

Now lets look at the negatives when it comes to social media in my personal and professional life:

  1. Wasting my time! This picture sums it all up:
Think of everything I could have accomplished 😦

2. See point #5 from the Pros list above…

3. The pressures of posting the perfect life… I know and realize that every house has dirty dishes and kids throw tantrums over silly things but envy does creep in sometimes when you see vacation photos or picturesque suppers when you are rushing to feed the kids McDonalds before an early swimming class and late hockey practice. I have one friend on social media that keeps it real by posting the ups and downs of parenting and it is refreshing to see (its like seeing behind the curtain in the Wizard of OZ …SPOILER ALERT!)

Photo courtesy of:

Thank you to anyone who made it this far in my blog. I am about 4 years away from my first born asking for a (insert relevant social media app for 2025) and this makes me nervous and excited at the same time …ok more nervous, like really nervous, than excited because I can see both sides of the argument. I can only hope that I lead by being a good example and have set a solid foundation in place for him to make the right choices and learn from the inevitable mistakes that come with such unassuming power.

The One Where He Hopes His Mark is as High as What the Delorean Needs for Time Travel!

This has been a great learning experience!

It was tough to sum up my learning in 6 minutes. The one thing I will take away from this class was how great my classmates were.

Seriously because of you guys my teaching changed. The amount of resources you shared and willingness to answer questions whether through Twitter or Discord was unbelievable. Thank you to everyone! Take care and hopefully see you in the FUTURE!

PIVOT! The One Where They Tried to Move a Couch/Online Prototype


Did you ever see the Friends episode where they tried to move a couch up the stairs to their apartment? Here is a quick clip.

How does this iconic sitcom moment relate to my online course you ask? Well I pivoted a lot this semester in my thinking. And ended up getting stuck a lot during the process. (not as stuck as the ship in the Suez Canal though) “This is great! Is it? Maybe? Sure?!?! It’ll be fine. PIVOT! I am never getting this couch/prototype to its final destination.”

Workers are seen next to a container ship which was hit by strong wind and ran aground in Suez Canal, Egypt March 24, 2021. Suez Canal Authority/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

These are my thoughts as I completed my course prototype this weekend. It’s funny how much we can second guess ourselves when we have time to reflect. I think my course prototype is good. I like some of the things I changed as the ECI834 class progressed throughout the semester. Here is my initial blog post about my course prototype. PIVOT! Do I think I will adapt this course as I teach it? For sure. We all do that as educators hopefully. Being static is never good for anyone especially teachers in a classroom. So I present to you my (somewhat) final overview of my course prototype.

I chose the Power and Authority unit, more specifically sections 8.3 and 8.4 from the grade 8 Saskatchewan curriculum guide, for my course. The reason behind this was because I find it a fun/engaging unit to teach because of the discussions you can have about why citizens choose to run for government and the impact we can have on political systems. I am hoping for some rich discussions to happen between the students in the forum section, some great questions being generated from the modules, and a chance to further inquire about those questions in the final project. I like the flexibility in my course. I would say it is a hybrid model. You will see later in this post that certain sections lend themselves better to an asynchronous component while others have the option of being asynchronous/synchronous. At any point depending on the situation you could make simple adjustments to make this course either synchronous or asynchronous or a hybrid model depending on your comfort level.

I have chosen to use Google Classroom for my LMS (see link at bottom of post). The reasoning behind this was quite simple. I am familiar with this program, I use it daily in my classes, all the students I currently work with have access to google through their RBE account. I did research some other LMS systems earlier in the semester and was quite impressed with what is out there. It is interesting to see other LMS’s and how they can be slightly tweaked to try and stand out compared to others.

In my google classroom course I have broken it down into 4 sections. A guardian section that explains what we will be learning and how they can bring the course to the dinner table! I am hoping that this course will encourage guardians to get involved and have discussions at home and help the students understand the outcomes better by relating it to their own experiences. I borrowed this idea from @danmcguirempls he reached out to me on twitter early in the semester to check out his LMS and give feedback. I saw they had a section for guardians and realized that was the one piece I had been missing from my previous google classrooms. It was a forehead slapper when I saw it. How could I not have had a section for guardians? It is especially useful I find for the middle grades because communication between students and home about what they are learning in class is not always there.

My next section I have is the modules. I choose to have 7 modules worth 5 marks each. The modules will make up 35% of the final mark of the course. I only have one module fully completed and that is module 1, “Redesigning Websites to engage youth in politics.” Some things I like from my module 1 are how I broke it down into 3 parts: activate (the hook/appetizer), development (the main course), and the bump it up (the dessert). In the activate I asked the students to create their own meme of how they felt about politics and how engaged they were. I think this will engage the students in the lesson. In the development part of the lesson I attached a video I created that looked at the websites of the two main political parties in Saskatchewan. They then have to dive deeper into the websites and compare and contrast them. As for the dessert part of the lesson what I call the bump it up I ask them to give feedback and improvements to the leaders of the political parties about what they can do to try and engage youth more through social media. I attached a rubric to the module that will be the same for every module 1-7.

The next section was the forum/discussion section. The forum/discussion section is worth 30% of their final mark. This part of the course can be done asynchronously. It can be a living breathing document as the course progresses over the weeks.  I find great value in the students asking questions, learning and engaging from each other. I have posted 3 initial forum questions that will hopefully engage the students. There would be flexibility to this section depending on where conversations go during class or what current events we could connect to the modules.  In one reading we did this semester by Bates he talked about developing online meaningful discussion. Bates really made me think about the discussion forum section of my prototype. I chose to make it worth 30% of the final grade. I must see some value in it having weighted it so heavy but I also didn’t want it to be something the students saw as something they had to do but rather something they wanted to do that just happened to be worth 30% of their final grade.  I attached a rubric to the discussion forum so the students could see what my expectations are.  

The final section of my course prototype is the final project. It is worth 35% of the final grade. I went with an inquiry based method for the final project. I talk about it here in a previous blog post where I also reference Bates again and his thoughts on inquiry based learning.

I like to give the students guidance but also freedom to choose something they want to inquire more about. So that is why I gave them 3 choices and what I call an I.N.T.U. section (I Need to Understand). The students will present their final project synchronously to the other students. Students will give feedback to the presenters after they present.

The Creation Process

When I first found out that a major part of our mark for this class would be creating an online course I thought PFFT! perfect this will be easy because I have been doing that for years already on Google Classes.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. ECI 834 challenged my thinking and comfort level more than I could have imagined. I went through a variety of emotions this semester ranging from frustration to aha moments that brought joy and happiness. I created many posts this semester that challenged me to rethink my pedagogy and how I did things for years. Here is an blog post I created where I thought I was a tech savvy teacher because I always had the computers booked out.  The frustrating part of this course was learning everything that is out there in the internet universe and how much you can engage students yet I never discovered them till now. I guess the saying “better late than never” really implies in my case. I was so excited about what I was learning this semester that I started a Tuesday TEaCHer talk with the staff at my school.  It was slow to begin with but 6 weeks in we have gained momentum and there is a group of us challenging each other and collaborating together and the ones that are benefitting are the students.

I have attached an invite link and class code if you want to check out my Course Prototype in more detail.

Here is the invite link:

And here is the class code (if the above link doesn’t work): s2y64xe

My final thought:

I sure hope this couch looks good in my apartment now that I finally am about to get it through the doorway.

“What if it doesn’t match the drapes? PIVOT!”

Let me know if you ever want to move a couch sometime/collaborate on an online course.


The One Where He Put Hawkins Cheezies in the Freezer

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on

You might be wondering how Hawkins Cheezies in freezers and online collaboration go together. And that is a valid question.

As I contemplated this week’s blog prompt about how are students going to interact on our online course prototypes I reflected on my own interactions and collaborations.

At first I thought to myself, “I don’t do much collaboration online.” But then I thought about Facebook and my latest interaction this week that resulted in some new knowledge through discourse with peers. A friend of mine posted, “Tuesday Tip: Hawkins Cheezies are the best. But have you tried them out of the freezer???  If not you need to, game changer!”

Actual screenshot of interaction from earlier in the week

Side note: Thanks to my great grandma Norman and our weekly visits as a young impressionable child I developed a deep love of Hawkins Cheezies. She would always have some on hand for us to sample each time we visited.

One of the greatest ladies ever! My great grandma Balkwill

Well I contemplated blocking my friend at first for posting such blasphemy but them I decided to try this madness and come to my own conclusions. And OMG am I glad I ever did because Hawkins Cheezies just went from a 10/10 to a solid 15/10 which I thought was impossible.  

Photo by cottonbro on

And isn’t that the goal of all teachers who want to see their students attempt online discourse…new knowledge or ideas that come out of interactions.

In reading Bates text 4.4 about Online Collaborative Learning it made me realize I need to step up my online collaboration game in my online course. Originally I had participation in online forums/discussions as 30% of their overall mark. 30% for what?!?! I was going to pose a couple questions and have them respond to each other? Is that worth the same as a final project or taking part in 7 activities/lessons?

So now what???

Ideally iwant my students to engage because of intrinsic reasons (gaining more knowledge/ engaging discourse amongst peers) rather than extrinsic (just because its an easy 30 marks).

So how do I do that?

Everything Bates says in the text makes sense:

  • I must provide good resources and activities to accommodate discussion and collaboration
  • Forums must be seen as a key component of the learning and not an add on
  • Teacher presence is key
  • Clear guidelines and clear goals
  • Frequent check ins
  • Read and discuss textbooks should help guide discussion not the other way around.

I don’t have an answer yet for what my online course will look like over the next couple weeks but I will be contemplating it quite often and looking for activities that facilitate discussion and collaboration rather than are the result of reading a text.

I am definitely going to have to look for topics to talk about then add resources to have the discussion continue.

Is that going to be easy in an online course geared towards grade 7 and 8’? Yes. Is it impossible? No. Is it going to be rewarding if I can unlock this riddle? Yes!

There is nothing more Canadian than Hawkins Cheezies but through online collaboration and discourse we just upped it another level of Canadianness by adding below 0 temperatures to them.

Photo by Pixabay on

Anything is possible!

How are you planning to create meaningful discussion and collaboration in your online courses? Is it possible with younger grades? Does it need to be just text based? I’d love to hear your thoughts?

The one where the teacher gave feedback like Blockbuster video instead of Netflix (Don’t be a Blockbuster)

So I always struggled with giving good feedback to students regardless if it was face to face or as we are encountering now remotely. This thought is what will guide my blog post this week.

I quickly realized after a few google searches and Dr. John Archer library queries is that it is a pretty deep rabbit hole you can go down.

Photo by Janko Ferlic on

In my internet travels I ended up on Holly Clark’s website. She had a quote on her page from Grant Wiggins who summed up what he learned from reading many research papers on giving students feedback and he basically summarized that we should teach less, give better feedback and this will produce better learning.  

Next I watched a Ted X talk Holly Clark gave at TEDxLangleyED and this inspired my blog post title. She gave a great analogy about you can either be Blockbuster or Netflix and disrupting how we look at education.

Blockbuster did a great job at renting movies until Netflix came along. Blockbuster didn’t make the change it needed and we see how that ended.

Phot courtesy:

SO how do I give better feedback?

I first looked at what makes feedback great. Most of the research came up with the same points:

  1. Timely
  2. User friendly
  3. Personal
  4. Actionable

How I give feedback now…

SO basically every assignment I give is out of 4. For a student to receive a 4/4 they need to complete the Bump It Up section of the assignment. Bump It Up is essentially an exit slip on steroids. It tells me they understand the lesson and also extends their learning at the same time. It seems like I have gotten into a rut of reading the students Bump it Up answer and simply giving it a 4/4 and then not much else for feedback. I don’t explain why it is a 4/4 or what they could do to make it even better. I need to get out of this rut.

A screenshot of what marks look like in my Google Classroom right now

This lead me to the next part of my blog post…

How I am going to give feedback moving forward!

One word: Screencastify.

Screencastify is a simple add-on tool for Google Chrome and it is free.  Screencastify is a screen recorder for Chrome. I am going to attempt to give verbal feedback to student’s assignments and projects verbally. Here is a quick video I created of how to do it and how quick it is.

So in conclusion I can either sit here like Blockbuster and continue to give 4/4’s with little to no personal feedback or I can become Netflix and see how I can disrupt the existing market!

I’d love to hear how you give feedback to your students virtually?

The One Where They Were on a Break(out) room

Accepting feedback can be awkward at times for a variety of reasons. Maybe you don’t want to accept the truth or maybe you don’t agree with the feedback. I don’t know why or what the deal was but I felt very comfortable in accepting feedback in our breakout room on Tuesday night.

Photo by Ann H on

I was lucky enough on Tuesday night to be surrounded by a group of educators (thank you to Tessa, Kelly, and Curtis!) that were very passionate about their courses, very creative in their thinking and very constructive in their feedback. I left that class on Tuesday night with this feeling like I just left a TED Talk or something.

I ran upstairs to my wife and interrupted her Netflix series just as she laid down to relax after getting the kids to bed and told her you got to hear about these courses these people are doing. I thought my course was good but there is a grade 1/2 course about math and she did this “I do, you do, we do” and had it organized so nicely on google classes and it was just great and then there was this other one  about digital citizenship and I’ve never taught that before in my classes and the way she broke down the lessons and obviously her font choice was top shelf and then there was this one on Minecraft and treaty education. I chose to stay an extra 45 minutes after class just to listen to Curtis and Raquel talk about their course because we ran out of time in our breakout room talking about each others courses so much and asking questions. I wanted to stay because I know someday I want to teach this Minecraft course with my students.

It was an excellent class and made me realize I’m doing the right thing by pursuing this master’s degree if I get to surround myself with people like this, it’s just really exciting!

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on

The other thing I took away from Tuesday night was I felt safe in my group asking questions. I was confident that I was on the right track with an idea for my course but I knew I was kind of missing some parts. I told the members in our breakout room about my idea for the second module where I was going to interview Derek Meyers and I went in with this idea but it wasn’t sitting with me right I wasn’t sure of the right approach for this module. I just asked them, “what do you think you guys would do?” and they were just like students, students, students, which makes sense because they’re good educators and getting students involved as much as you can is always the best approach. I originally was just going to do this interview solo but they led me down this track to believe I should have the kids do the interviewing. Besides the kids already came up with the questions in the group forum of my LMS so I might as well have them ask him the questions. Letting the kids take ownership in it was way better because the kids were engaged, they took something away from it and it was personal.  I don’t think I would have done that if it wasn’t for the people in my group breakout room giving me feedback!

Now as far as my course goes I really enjoyed the feedback I did receive. I liked the feedback I received over adding the parents section which I borrowed from this LMS that I was asked to give feedback on by Dan McGuire.   

 I like the fact that I feel like I added value to other people’s courses just by asking questions. I was also able to look at it through multiple lenses such as a parent, middle years teacher, and administrator.

I loved this class!  It was great and very rewarding.  

The One Where the Students Couldn’t Fast Forward the Assigned Video

Edpuzzle had me puzzled! At first glance just by the name I associated it with puzzle maker, a website used to create various puzzles for your classes. For some reason I decided to click on the link anyways and boy am I glad I did. This is the best decision I made since the time I convinced myself to buy an airfryer!

<a href="http://Photo Credit: <a href="">shatristoreae</a&gt; Flickr via <a href="">Compfight</a&gt; <a href="">cc</a>&quot; data-type="URL" data-id="Photo Credit: <a href="">shatristoreae</a&gt; Flickr via <a href="">Compfight</a&gt; <a href="">ccPhoto Credit: <a href=””>shatristoreae</a&gt; Flickr via <a href=””>Compfight</a&gt; <a href=”″>cc</a&gt;

Why is edpuzzle the best? Quite simply you can take any video on the internet and add it to this website and assign it to your class. Oh wait there’s more…

<a href="http://Photo Credit: <a href="">Nathaniel Leung</a> Flickr via <a href="">Compfight</a&gt; <a href="">cc</a>&quot; data-type="URL" data-id="Photo Credit: <a href="">Nathaniel Leung</a> Flickr via <a href="">Compfight</a&gt; <a href="">ccPhoto Credit: <a href=””>Nathaniel Leung</a> Flickr via <a href=””>Compfight</a&gt; <a href=”″>cc</a&gt;

… you have the ability to pause the video at any point and insert a multiple choice question, note, or open ended question. The cool part of this concept is that the students can’t fast forward the video to the end and say they watched it because the video won’t play till they answer the question correctly or read the note and press continue. The website works similar to a nearpod lesson where you can track your student’s progression through the video. So if a student tells you at the start of a lesson that they watched the video you can go and see their progress and replies to the open ended questions.

I did a video review which you can watch here.

Here is a link to a preview assignment if you want to see for yourself..


  • Students are held accountable
  • You can emphasize various points in a video by inserting notes or questions the students must acknowledge
  • The students can rewatch certain parts of the video if they don’t know the answer
  • You can do this with any video on the internet
  • Students can’t fast forward to the end of the video
  • They have a considerable sized library full of prepared videos organized by grade and subject
  • You can create a community of teachers and share videos


  • I personally didn’t like the notation when I typed in question for math that had dividing and fractions involved

Content Creator

This tool is perfect for a hybrid model or flipped approach. In my previous attempts to flip my math class I had issue with student retention in viewing videos. I had to take the word of the students that they watched the whole video. I tried to retain their attention for the whole time in various ways to some success but not always. I had to keep track of the view count or dive into the analytics of the video to see how much they watched on average.

With this tool that removes the guessing of whether a student watched a video or not. As well you can see their level of understanding by how they answered the open ended questions. You are able to see what part of the video the class struggled with and emphasize that outcome in class or through a zoom meeting. It is incredibly easy to create content and adapt other people videos.

My overall rating:

I will be using edpuzzle more than my air fryer on Super Bowl Sunday. (which is saying quite a bit!)

Check out Trevor Kerr’s blog post or Catherine Ready’s post about Edpuzzle to see how our reviews compare or contrast.

Course Profile: The One Where the Students Asked Really Good Questions

The One Where the Students Asked Really Good Questions

Course Profile: Grade 8 Power and Authority: The impact of citizens’ willingness and ability to actively engage in the Canadian political processes. 

Target Student Population: Grade 8 students ranging in age from 12-14 years old. 

Course Format: This course will be an inquiry based blended learning approach with some synchronous and asynchronous classes over a 4 week period. There will be a mix of face to face lessons, forum discussions requiring student participation, asynchronous lessons requiring students to watch short videos and complete a corresponding assignment, participate in a Q and A with local politicians, and complete a project based on questions they form throughout the course.

<a href="http://Photo Credit: <a href="">posticker96</a&gt; Flickr via <a href="">Compfight</a&gt; <a href="">cc</a>&quot; data-type="URL" data-id="Photo Credit: <a href="">posticker96</a&gt; Flickr via <a href="">Compfight</a&gt; <a href="">ccPhoto Credit: <a href=””>posticker96</a&gt; Flickr via <a href=””>Compfight</a&gt; <a href=”″>cc</a&gt;

Course Toolset: Google Classroom, Youtube (check out my channel), wevideo, face to face instruction, internet, Google slides, and Google docs.

Course content: This course focuses on the Power and Authority from the Saskatchewan Curriculum guide located here. All the lessons, activities, and assessment will focus on the outcomes and indicators located in the Saskatchewan Curriculum guide. 

Assessment strategies: Rubric for final project (35%), exit slips(formative) required after each lesson(35%), and class forum/discussions (30%). 


Some concerns that I have about this format are: 

  • access to internet/devices outside of school,
  • access to computers during school day, 
  • language comprehension for EAL learners, 
  • and participation in lessons. 

Ways I will attempt to alleviate these concerns are: 

  • allow extra time at school during the day for students without devices at home to complete the work (recess/lunch hour/ morning), 
  • be flexible with my day plan and schedule activities around availability of computer carts ( being a homeroom teacher allows me flexibility in my daily schedule), 
  • collaborate with the EAL teacher for learners with language barriers as well utilize the EA time that is allotted to the class and access the google read write program, 
  • do frequent check-ins with students, notify guardians about course expectations, have a visual schedule with reminders each week of expectations, and chunk assignments to simplify the project/lessons. 

Rationale: This unit lends itself well to the Inquiry based learning model and the blended learning model. I am attempting to extract some thought provoking questions/ideas throughout this course from the students.  The inquiry model implemented in the assigned lessons, discussion questions, news articles, and interviews with local politicians will challenge the students to explore their thinking process. The reason I made this choice was a combination of the way I currently structure my classes (scroll down to the October visit by my former Superintendent) and after reading  chapter 4 of the Bates textbook. I like the idea of a student feeling like they have some control over the learning process by asking questions that they come up with after being introduced to concepts. If a student feels like they are the ones making the decision in their learning they will be more engaged in the learning process. By using a blended approach it will give the students some accountability over their learning. By using asynchronous classes/videos the students can go at their own pace and explore ideas further on their own. I prefer the project based assessment as a way to really challenge a student’s thinking and creativity. I chose the Google Classroom platform because it is supported by my school division and I am confident in using it. 

<a href="http://Photo Credit: <a href="">Sylvie Gilson</a> Flickr via <a href="">Compfight</a&gt; <a href="">cc</a>&quot; data-type="URL" data-id="Photo Credit: <a href="">Sylvie Gilson</a> Flickr via <a href="">Compfight</a&gt; <a href="">ccPhoto Credit: <a href=””>Sylvie Gilson</a> Flickr via <a href=””>Compfight</a&gt; <a href=”″>cc</a&gt;