Curriculum: Week of December 16, 2012

What’s Happening:

  • AIS Tech Coaches are out and about instituting large-scale, scaffolded professional development in support of integrating iPads into teaching and learning. Be sure to check out the schedule of tech integration professional development opportunities, in addition to on-demand access to some of their previous presentations.
  • Student literacy is being supported through the teaching of contextual vocabulary and the use of the Cornell note-taking system which helps students to synthesize and apply learned knowledge. Each of these initiatives supports the development of two traits of writing: Word Choice and Ideas respectively.
  • A tool to help teachers evaluate and create quality MYP unit planners in Atlas has been launched and introduced to many teachers during collaborative planning time.
  • NESA Spring Educators Conference! It’s time to start planning to attend the NESA Spring Educators Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. The conference takes place (April 5 – 8, 2013) during AIS’ Spring Break (April 5 –  13). This is a great opportunity to do some professional development and get some rest and relaxation by the pool or on a beach. The early bird registration deadline is March 1, 2013.

Share what is happening in your classroom! How are you using iPads to extend learning in your classroom? How are you making curriculum come alive for your students? Please let me know so that I can share what is happening and provide you the support you need for success.

Guest authors are encouraged to submit their thoughts and ideas for Curriculum Weekley to me via email (

21st Century Thought of the Week:

Copyright All rights reserved by

We are confronted on a daily basis with all kinds of information. Some of it is random. Some of it is trivial. Some of it is bogus. Some of it is of little interest/use. But some of it is vital to growing on a professional and/or personal level, to supporting the inquiry of students in our classrooms, and to feeding our own human curiosity. Much of what we (and our students) tend to do when searching for information online is to:

  1. Open a browser.
  2. Point to Google.
  3. Enter a few words to describe what we want to know more about.
  4. Follow one or two of the first links on the first page that Google offers up.
  5. Read and believe.

When confronted with the amount of information that our students are on a daily basis, it is imperative that they learn how to weed, cull, curate, and make sense of information. In his blog post Become a Google Apps Ninja, Jeff Utecht confirms the issue we, as educators, are faced with in educating learners in the 21st century.

It’s about searching and finding information

Below is a series of grade appropriate lessons created by Jeff Utecht to teach students good information searching techniques. Lessons include such skills as introducing students to Google and simple search syntax, ad placement, authenticating resources, finding resources at appropriate reading levels, and finding current research.

At AIS we are working to help students to make sense of the plethora of information at their fingertips. The use of Cornell Notes in various classrooms is intended to help students drill down through mountains of information to get at the most important ideas. The beauty of the Cornell note taking system is that an entire column of space is reserved for students to inquire about, and make sense of, key concepts. The obvious benefit of the Cornell note taking system is that it sets students up to be able to synthesize information and then to apply newly found knowledge.

Article(s) of the Week:

Infographics are a powerful new tool to use for teaching and learning. Infographics allow students to comprehend, interpret, and analyze complex information in a quick and clear manner. Infographics are not just for consumption though, teachers and students can also challenge the learning process by creating original graphics for themselves. Knowledge is power, but infographics make knowledge powerful!

App of the Week:

Explain Everything

  • What does it do? Explain Everything is a screencasting application that records on-screen drawing, annotation, object movement and captures audio via the iPad microphone. Import Photos, PDF, PPT, and Keynote from Dropbox, Evernote, Email, iPad photo roll and iPad2 camera. Export MP4 movie files, PNG image files, and share the .XPL project file with others for collaboration.
  • How can it be used to support learning? Explain Everything can be used to create tutorials or how-to clips for staff or students. Students could demonstrate their understanding by producing procedural texts using Explain Everything. Professional, interactive presentations can be created right on the iPad, by simply taking a series of screen shots, ordering the images and including any necessary written instructions. When the the visuals are ready, simply hit the little red record button and add your voice-over to the presentation.

Video of the Week:

Blog* of the Week:’s Infographics in Educational Settings  page shares numerous resources to support the creation and use of infographics in educational settings. Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.They can improve cognition by utilizing graphics to enhance the human visual system’s ability to see patterns and trends.

* is not exactly a blog, it’s more of a content curation site. 🙂

Book of the Week:

mindsetMindset: How You Can Fulfill Your Potential by Carol S. Dweck reveals a truly groundbreaking idea-the power of our mindset. Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success-but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals-personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.

Curriculum: Week of May 20, 2012

What’s Happening:

  • Have an iPad app recommendation for the AIS teacher/student iPads? Use the link in the left-hand column iPads @ AIS to find the procedures and online form to make your request.
  • The 4th round of apps are (and have been) available for AIS teacher iPads. Returning teachers, be sure to update iPad so that you have a variety of apps available to you during the summer break.

Do you have something you’d like to share that is happening in your classroom? How are you using iPads to extend learning in your classroom? How are you making curriculum come alive for your students? Please let me know so that I can share what is happening and provide you the support you need for success.

21st Century Thought of the Week:

What’s your plan, Stan?

All rights reserved by Bill Van Loo

Ah, Summer Vacation! The months that teachers allegedly live for. In the education profession we are truly blessed with some amazing down time. After the first few weeks days, I find myself a little lost without the normal routine of a busy and rewarding work day. So, like many educators, I take the gift of time to ride my bike, visit with family and friends, hang out at the beach or the pool, and work towards accomplishing some of my professional development goals.

There are so many opportunities to grow professionally during the summer months. It could be as intense (and expensive) as a university course to move you closer to that graduate degree or additional teaching endorsement, or it could be as laid-back as reading the novels on your upcoming syllabus and spending some time reading a scholarly article or two about the author.

The internet provides each of us with the ability to create our own personal learning plan. Here are some ideas to  get you thinking…

  • ed2go offers lifelong learning and career training courses. I took a great course called “Classroom Podcasting” a couple of summers ago. It was asynchronous (meaning there were no time and place constraints) and was flexible enough to fit into my summer schedule.Ed2go offers numerous course selections listed under Teaching and Education Courses. Cost is $139 for a 6 week course that includes 12 lessons.
  • Create your own program of study using YouTube videos and/or educational blogs. A Google search of your area of interest will get you started.
  • TED offers TED talks that are truly “ideas worth spreading.” Have you heard of the new TED-Ed? This service allows you to view (and create!) “lessons worth sharing.” The “flip this video” button allows you to turn any TED video into a customized lesson that can be assigned to students or shared more widely. You can add context, questions, and follow-up suggestions.
  • Attend a professional conference. They are all over North America and offer great opportunities to connect with teachers from many of our home regions. It is becoming more and more common that conferences will live stream sessions that are free to attend virtually. Also, following the conference hashtag (#) via Twitteris another way to glean ideas and find some great resources. (Of course, this only makes sense if you know about Twitter hashtags.)
    • ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) Conference in St. Louis, Missouri; July 1 -3, 2012.
    • BLC12 (Building Learning Communities 2012) focused on expanding the boundaries of learning in Boston, Massachusetts; July 18 – 20, 2012.
    • CMI12  (Curriculum Mapping Institute 2012) in Saratoga Springs, New York; July 10 – 14, 2012.
    • iste 2012 (International Society for Technology in Education) is the largest educational tech conference in the world with some 15,000 participants in San Diego, California; June 24 – 27, 2012.
  • Online conferencesare another option.
    • LearnNowBC offers free Moodle Meets, one week online courses, or “Professional Learning Potlucks”, led by experienced educators. Moodle Meet topics focus on the resources and skills needed to use technology in the classroom as well as on the skills needed to teach and learn in a virtual environment.
  • Catch a Classroom 2.0 LIVE Webinar. Either live or recorded.
  • Join and explore a NING.
  • Subscribe to a professional newsletter via email.
    • Education Week offers education news and insight
    • eSchool News offers up “technology news for today’s K – 20 educator.”
    • Edutopia for what works in education produced by The George Lucas Educational Foundation
    • the Journal Transforming Education Through Technology

Please share your summer learning plan in the comment section!

Article(s) of the Week:

When people say that the iPad is not a creation tool, it’s mostly because those of us who write this stuff are coming from the perspective of the experienced, advanced desktop/laptop user. Based on that, everything mobile is a disappointment. What is more, I’ve noticed a trend that those who point out its lack of creative potential have often never used it for creative endeavours themselves.

App of the Week:

I am obviously in an app rut, using the same apps over and over. Any suggestions?

Video of the Week:

Another example of what can be done with easy-to-use digital tools:

Zero to twelve years old in under three minutes

Blog of the Week:

I love Mashable! It’s my favorite place to go for information on social media and technology.

Mashable is the largest independent news source dedicated to covering digital culture, social media and technology. Mashable’s 20 million monthly unique visitors and 4 million social media followers have become one of the most engaged online news communities. Numerous studies and leading publications have declared Mashable the most influential online news outlet and a must-read site.

Infographic of the Week:

Curriculum: Week of April 22, 2012

What’s Happening:

  • Check out the (very beginnings) Free Professional Development section of the Curriculum Weekly . There are a plethora of golden opportunities right at our fingertips to learn something new, refresh skills, and make professional connections. The link will always be a work in progress and available in the left-hand column.
  • Have a iPad app recommendation for the AIS teacher/student iPads? Use the link in the left-hand column iPads @ AIS to find the procedures and online form to make your request.
  • Taking Charge of your Professional Development is coming to you as an end-of-the-year professional development opportunity. This will be a series of three one-hour long workshops. Finally, here are the “further details”!
    • Wednesdays, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., ES Muliti-Purpose Room
        • May 2: Welcome to the blogosphere of learning! Find out about the numerous blogs written and maintained by professionals in all areas of interest. Discover how to use an aggregator to collect and organize blog sources on your desktop and mobile devices.
        • May 9: Join the blogosphere! Learn how to share your ideas and passions with the world via your very own blog. The basics of setting up and maintaining a blog for personal or professional purposes will be covered.
        • May 16: Learning in 140 characters or less. Discover the world of Twitter and what it has to offer you as a lifelong learner and professional educator. Learn about tweeting, tweeps, hashtags, following, retweeting, shortening URLs, and setting up your own Professional Learning Network.
        • Sign up using the Google form below. You don’t even need to leave this page!

Do you have something you’d like to share that is happening in your classroom? How are you using iPads to extend learning in your classroom? How are you making curriculum come alive for your students? Please let me know so I can share what is happening and provide you the support you need for success.

21st Century Thought of the Week:


Collaboration in Education-

two or more co-equal individual voluntarily brings their knowledge and experience together by interacting toward a common goal in the best interest of students for the betterment of their education success.


Some rights reserved by Roger Smith

We are all familiar with the expression “two heads are better than one.” When more than one set of ideas is put forth and discussed the benefits to all involved can be truly amazing! The article Maximizing the Impact of Teacher Collaboration highlights the importance of keeping collaboration on track to increase productivity. Working together in the true spirit of collaboration takes time, effort, and commitment.

Time needs to be carved out of schedules. Sometimes that time is provided. Other times we have to find (or create) the time. It is essential for people to take the time to sit together, to  talk, to listen, and to really hear. Taking the necessary time to process and reflect is also important. So often it is so much easier for each of us, as individuals, to just “get ‘er done!” On a team of one (is that really a team?) where there is no discussion, projects can move a lot faster. BUT, are the results of these projects as worthwhile with no input from others? Are they as valid?

Effort is vital in putting forth ideas and taking them to a level that Stephen Covey refers to as synergy. In my mind, synergy is collaboration nirvana. Through the fruits of the labors (in this case ideas) of each individual something better results. The effort to collaborate prevents the development of empirical islands. This effort helps individuals to feel supported rather than isolated. What level of effort are we willing to put forth is shaping new ideas through the combination of my idea and your idea?

According to commitment is “a pledge or promise,” an “engagement; involvement.” The onus to collaborate falls on the shoulders of many. An institution must often promise the time needed for collaborative projects, while employees must pledge to use the time to engage in creating together. How committed are we to engaging with others? In listening and supporting?

The expectation for collaboration is stated in  the IB’s Programme standards and practices document (Standard C1: Collaborative Planning). The emphasis on collaborative planning and reflection is inherent in the IB programmes. Best Practices in Teaching acknowledges the direct correlation between collaborative teachers and student success. Collaboration between teachers can be a powerful tool for professional development and a driver for school improvement by providing “opportunities for adults across a school system to learn and think together about how to improve their practice in ways that lead to improved student achievement” (Annenberg Institute for School Reform, 2004, p. 2).

Article(s) of the Week:

Why iPad? – thoughts from the EdTechTeacher team

App of the Week:

HootSuite for Twitter

      • What does it do? HootSuite lets you manage multiple social networks in one app. You can manage your social media profiles, like Facebook, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Twitter from almost anywhere (e.g., iPhone, iPad, iTouch, and desktop).

      • How can it be used to support learning? Certainly a useful tool from a professional development standpoint! There are so many learning opportunities available via social networks. HootSuite allows users to organize and categorize information into manageable chunks.

Video of the Week:

Everything is a Remix

Podcast/Blog of the Week:

Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing. Covering the grammar rules and word choice guidelines that can confound even the best writers, Grammar Girl makes complex grammar questions simple with memory tricks to help you recall and apply those troublesome grammar rules. Whether English is your first language or second language, Grammar Girl’s punctuation, style, and business tips will make you a better and more successful writer.

Each podcast episode deals with one grammar point and is typically well under 10 minutes in duration. Learn how to properly use an ellipsis, write an email message, differentiate between affect and effect, possessives, or how to speak like the Irish.

Mignon Fogarty is the host of Grammar Girl and founder of Quick and Dirty Tips.  Prior to becoming a grammar guru, Mignon was a magazine and technical writer, and an entrepreneur.  Mignon has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University.