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Showing posts from November, 2014

How I Got Hooked On Science Fair

Tonight I met with several members of the Simcoe County Regional Science and Technology Fair committee. It's only my second year on the committee but I truly enjoy spending time with the other members. On the way home tonight I took some time to reflect on why.

At a glance the members of the science fair committee seem pretty diverse. Although many of us are teachers, some are not. Those who teach do so in public schools, Catholic schools, private schools and colleges. Some of us have young children at home (who occasionally get dragged out to meetings) and some are retired empty-nesters. We often hold our meetings in restaurants and I'm betting it's hard for strangers to figure out what could possibly bring us all together.

Two years ago I attended the regional science fair as a judge. It was my first time at the fair (my school hadn't participated anytime in recent history) and all it took was one conversation with a 4th-grade scientist for me to be hooked. There is …

Twitter and My PLN

Our recent board-wide launch of our New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL) project saw students, parents, teachers, and administrators gather in the same space to share their vision for education. We discussed barriers to progress and helped find ways to overcome them. We talked about the value of community connections and the power of student voice. We struggled with the open-ended nature of the project and the feeling of responsibility that comes with creating new learning in our schools.
During the NPDL launch we were encouraged to share our thinking throughout the day through Twitter. Many of us were happily ‘tweeting’ during many of the presentations and discussions. We tweeted to help us share insights, distill out the ‘big ideas,’ and acknowledge the contributions of other individuals around us. At about the midpoint of the day I overheard a comment from a teacher that could have come from me six months ago. To paraphrase, he said: ‘It’s a shame so many people are so busy Twe…

'Bring IT, Together' Conference Debrief - Part 2

Part 1 of my conference debrief can be found in my previous post:
http://aszerminska.blogspot.ca/2014/11/bring-it-together-conference-debrief.html

This post is a summary of my take-aways from conference sessions I attended. They're here for me more than anything, but I would like to invite you to browse - you might find something interesting to you! If you want more information about any of these presentations I'll do my best to help you find it. I have included Twitter handels for presenters if I have them.

STEM Lesson: How to extract DNA from a banana
Martha (@marthajez) and Drew Jez from Fair Chance Learning. Loved this session; as a science teacher I love the idea of recording observations using video and photo documentation as well as in writing. The USB microscope for class viewing was neat. We Skyped with a scientist to discuss our findings and ask questions (VROC program). Partners in Research, in addition to VROC, offers other exciting opportunities including STEM summe…

'Bring IT, Together' Conference Debrief - Part 1

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As a new blogger this is my first attempt to summarize a conference experience in writing. I don't want to assume that all readers have been to a conference before, so I'll attempt to describe the overall experience before sharing the good bits.

Picture a place where hundreds (sometimes thousands) of like-minded people converge in a single location to share their passion. There are conferences for dentists, weavers, physicists, philosophers - if you can think it up, it probably exists. Last week I spent three days in Niagara Falls at 'Bring IT, Together 2014,' a conference hosted by ECOO (the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario) and OASBO-ICT (Ontario Association of School Business Officials - Information and Communication Technology). This conference is for people interested in the use of digital tools to transform education and there were over 1500 attendees. Over three days I attended three keynote speeches, four in-depth hands-on technology sessions, and …

Much more than a new perspective.

I became a teacher in 2003. I taught science for 10 years before, give or take a mat leave or two, before taking on my current central role. I had (and still have) excellent mentors who taught (teach) me the value of routines, relationships, organization and balance. I could have taught very happily for 10 or 20 more years without changing anything.

In April I saw the job postings for IRT positions in an email attachment. I read the attachment more than once, but thought up many excuses for not taking action. There were commitments I had made to the school that I didn't want to back out on: student government, academic awards assembly, etc. There was my family to consider; a new job might mean irregular hours and would certainly take me farther away from home. The third major excuse I made was that I was probably not cut out for this type of role. I am an introvert and have always carefully navigated my workplace spaces and relationships in a way that allows me to feel calm and in…