Monthly Archives: May 2014

This is What Learning Looks Like

“In the end, learning looks the way our students need it to look.” – YES learning in my class looks different day to day. Really depends on where the kids are that day and what they need.

Excellent blog reflection!

Pernille Ripp

This past Friday, my incredible students participated in the 4th Innovation Day I have done.  While it is hard day for me because I tend to get bored, since I cannot jump in and teach, I always marvel at the energy and enthusiasm throughout the room.  The sheer driven desire to create something fueled by their curiosity and imagination never ceases to astound me, and this day is always a highlight for the students.    At one point, I tweeted out the following picture

photo (16)

captioning it “This is what learning can look like…”  Immediately, someone replied, “This is what learning SHOULD look like!”  (Emphasis added by me).  At first, I agreed, nodding, yes, this is what learning should look like.  Then I stopped, thought about it, and I realized, no, this is not what learning should look like at all times.

If learning looked like this every day, I would…

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Voting for the Canadian Family 8th Annual Teaching Awards is Live!

We are on day 2 of voting for the Canadian Family 8th Annual Teacher Awards.

I’ve had the opportunity to view each profile and I can say I’m proud to be among such amazing educators.  There’s even another Peel Teacher Xochitl Lugo from The Valleys Sr. Public School in Mississauga  #peelproud 

Of course I really want you to vote for me but I also want you to do your research.  I already feel as if I’ve won this award.  Being nominated and then selected from hundreds of great candidates is amazing.  But I’m not going to lie I would love to win the prize of $2500.00 for my school – Massey Street Public School.  

So vote every day, please spread the word and share it with your family and friends.  I would be ever so grateful for your support!

You can follow the excitement on twitter #CFTeacherAwards 



The Makey Makey and the Peel 21st North Network Meeting #Peel21st

Last week my colleague Michelle Philpot @K5_RP and I participated in another Peel 21st North Network Meeting.  We had been asked to share about our experience with our Grade 5 Coding Club and the Makey Makey.  Of course we said sure we love promoting our Coding Club #MasseyCodes but we kind of had that what did we just get into feeling as truth be told neither of us really know how to use the Makey Makey.  No worries, we would get our coders to teach us.

In case you aren’t familiar with it, the Makey Makey is an invention kit which turns every day objects into keyboards. It can be really simple as hooking up a lime to it and playing Flappy Bird or using it to run your blender.  It’s fun for all ages and a quick search on YouTube will open you up to the possibilities.  

Anyway as time drew nearer for the North Network Meeting Michelle and I grew more nervous.  How would we competently talk about this to our peers when we didn’t really get it ourselves.  We then had the brilliant idea to bring along some of grade 5 experts and let them do the talking.  The kids were excited and nervous and made us promise that they would use the Makey Makey but we would do the talking.  Sounded like a great deal to us! 

As it turned out only 1 of our students, was able to attend but we felt like he was the star of the event.  His shyness over talking about it quickly fell away as he explained the how and why of the Makey Makey.  He even shared his opinions about the Raspberry Pi and why he didn’t think it was a great Minecraft Server 🙂  

It was a proud teaching moment for Michelle and I.  We don’t teach grade 5. She’s Kindergarten, I’m grade 3 and neither of us our computer programmers or anything near that but we both recognized the importance of coding and bringing it to our students.  It’s allowed many of our students to shine in a way that they don’t get to in their classrooms.  They also problem solve together, collaborate together with laughing and a smile on their face the whole time.  It’s pretty awesome to see!


J teaching all about the Makey Makey

Proud of Our Green Team!

Today was a proud moment in my teaching career.  This year, I took on with one of my co-workers, Sarah Kelly, the Eco Club.  We had very large shoes to fill as the teacher we took over for had retired the previous June and she had already implemented many great initiatives at our school.  Sarah and I decided that it was time to promote those initiatives and add a few more of our own and go forward with Eco School Certification.  We are so proud to announce that officially today we will be an Certified Eco School!.  We are still waiting to hear our level of certification (bronze, silver, gold) but our goal with the kids this year was to reach the bronze level. 

The best part of this year was the student engagement.  We generally have a full house of students come out to our weekly meetings.  On top of emptying blue bins they love to make posters, do weekly announcements, perform at assembly and share their Green Team messages with their peers.  We started out as a grade 3-5 club but recently we have had grade 2 students asking us to join so of course we said sure.  I like to feel that we are creating a culture in our school of individuals who care about our planet and are going to make significant steps to make it better.  

Here’s a recap of some of our major campaigns this year:

-What Goes in the Blue Bin (December assembly, posters, announcements)

-Boomerang and Litter Less Lunch

-The Great Gulp (this was taken on by a student teacher at our school – amazing) the whole school drank tap water at the same time and then we used it to reinforce bringing a reusable water bottle

-Earth Hour and Lights off/Monitors Off campaign 

-Spring school and city park clean up (Adopt-a-Park) we even did an ice storm clean up of the branches 

I can’t wait to see what we come up with next year.  We already have some great ideas brewing thanks to Tracy Appleton   and our site assessor from Ontario Eco Schools.  




The Green Team waiting for our Eco Schools Site Visit to being


Canadian Family 8th Annual Teacher Awards

I’m very excited to share that I was nominated (by one of my awesome colleagues) for the Canadian Family Annual Teacher Awards.  This will be its 8th year and I’ve been told that hundreds of fantastic teachers were nominated but I was selected as one of 12 finalists.  To be honest when I received the email a few weeks ago I thought it was spam I had to read it over a few times before it set in.  Then I was super embarrassed. I don’t love being in the centre of attention. I know makes little sense considering how much I promote myself out via social media but self promotion feels different than this.  I’m happy to say that those feelings have passed and I’m really proud of myself and grateful that my colleague took the time to nominate me.  Said colleague is equally deserving of this kind of recognition as what this person does with the students at our school is inspiring.  I’m actually lucky to surround myself with many amazing educators both on social media (LOVE my twitter PLN) and away from the keyboard.  Much of my strength of an educator comes from their positive influence, encouragement and support.  If I didn’t stumble upon the #geniushour people on twitter I never would have jump feet first into the #geniushour journey.  If I didn’t meet George Couros at  the Teaching and Learning in a Digital World conference my board, Peel District School Board I wouldn’t have changed the way I viewed Social Media and 21stC learning in the classroom.  I was already using it but I’ve become a lot more bold and my students love having a global audience.  I also may not have connected with George’s brother Alec Couros and been part of his Social Media and Open Education course EC&I831 where I learned about maker spaces and coding which led me into establishing a coding club with one of my colleagues, Michelle @KP_R5.  You can actually follow our coding club adventures on Twitter #MasseyCodes.  I’ve developed a great connection with the Early Literacy Teacher  and Instructional Technology Resource Teacher  both on and offline and my practice is stronger because of their expertise.  The Peel 21st North Network meetings where I’ve had the opportunity to share as educator and participate as a learner has also contributed to my growth.  In fact just following along with #Peel21st and connecting with my local PDSB colleagues has been so valuable.  Even after hours I always have my husband, Phil Young @_PhilYoung to connect and collaborate with.  In fact he’s the one who set me up with a Twitter account in the first place 🙂  

There are hundreds more experiences and people that I could talk about that have developed my strength as a teacher these are just a few examples to show that being a finalist in the Canadian Family 8th Annual Teacher Award isn’t just me but rather if I win will be the collaboration of many, many educators and people.

Top 3 finalists will be featured in Canadian Family September issue and will have a prize of $2500 for school resources.  Voting starts tomorrow Monday May 26th and I hope to have a lot of supporters!


I was so proud to be part of such a great event!

Miss Kit Kat

Yesterday we had two learning opportunities for staff to share strategies and ideas for gaming, gamification and coding in the classroom. Now I have to confess, I’m not a gamer. It may be hard to believe but I have never played Angry Birds or Candy Crush. My nephew will always know more about Minecraft then me. I know there are many benefits but not being immersed in the world myself, I think sometimes I miss some of the potential.

“Ooooo” he said.

I was rushing out of our network meeting as I bumped in to two friendly high schoolers. You could tell they knew something was just not right but curiosity kept them from leaving. I politely said the library was closed and they politely responded with ok.

On their way out, one gentlemen turned around and said “Miss, would you mind telling us what is going on?”

“It is…

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