Strand A, Coding, and the new Ontario Mathematics Curriculum

Where's the joy? Creating something, and sharing it, is an exciting and motivating endeavour. With the new 2020 Ontario Mathematics Curriculum now guiding mathematics in classrooms across Ontario, I think there is renewed excitement and potential to encourage creative learning with students, especially with coding activities. Unfortunately, after accessing and reading through a long list... Continue Reading →

Summer Learning 2018

Don't get me wrong. In the summer, I think it is essential for teachers to relax, unplug, take a break, spend tons of time with family and/or friends, and enjoy some sunny summer weather. The summer break makes us fresher in the fall and reconnects us to other parts of our lives, friends, family and... Continue Reading →

Text-based vs. Block-based coding

Scratch 3.0 and the same code in javascript This blog post is more of a curation project than a blog post. I have put in one place various statements, beliefs, arguments, for or against, the use of block-based programming/coding with students. Some are clearly pro 'text-based,' some pro 'block-based,' while others are mixed and point... Continue Reading →

Rethinking Empowerment

No, I am not rethinking "empowerment" in the sense of is it a good or bad thing? But after reading a very thought provoking essay called  Empowerwashing Education by Benjamin Doxtdator @doxtdatorb I am rethinking how I have used the term and what the term means and implies. The first thing that jumped at me as I started... Continue Reading →

5 ways to turn the ‘hour of code’ into the ‘year of learning’

Last year I posted an article called Turn the Hour of Code into the Year of Learning. This year, I wanted to share a few ideas about how you might do that. After checking out some hour of code activities with your students (this year, officially, December 4 - 10), take a look at the... Continue Reading →

Learning Design by Making Games (in Scratch)

During the summer of 2016, I read this book (left) edited by Yasmin Kafai and Mitch Resnick. I was inspired by Chapter 4 (called Learning Design by Making Games). In it, Kafai described her study in which a group of 4th grade students spent one hour per day (over a six-month period) writing, designing and... Continue Reading →

A critical thinking paradox

Okay... indulge me! Try this experiment (and try it with your students, too!): Activity #1  - Think of a topic in which you have a strong interest, and broad, expert knowledge/skill. Then, search the web and find three really good sources of information for that topic. Activity #2 - Think of a topic in which... Continue Reading →

Modern Literacies

I received an email from a teacher colleague last week and it contained a single sentence--a question: "I wonder if you might give me your definition of modern literacies?" I was intrigued, not only by the question but also by the reason behind asking it (which she explained in a later email).  In any case,... Continue Reading →

Show me the math!

Where is the math in coding? As much as I think that the connections between coding and mathematics are obvious, I think that there is a process involved in noticing and noting when mathematical concepts are demonstrated--some are clearly in use in students' code and are easy to notice; other concepts are also in use... Continue Reading →

Star Wars and the micro:bit

“I wanted to make it play the theme from Star Wars.” So began a Grade 5 student’s response this week when I asked her what she was working on with her micro:bit program. It was her very first session with it but she, and the rest of class, did have several other experiences in recent... Continue Reading →

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