Thursday, April 20, 2017

Catching up since 2013

WOW, I cannot believe that I have not written on this blog since 2013.  Life has been pretty busy with lots of growing and changes.  When I created this blog, we were using a program called Quest Atlantis, which is not being used anymore and is hugely missed. Due to a variety of challenges, QA was not viable any longer and we have moved on to develop some exciting new programs within our Special Education Immersive Technology Program.

1) We are using 3DU which is an educational virtual world on the Active Worlds platform. We have a variety of worlds that are populated with quests, language worlds (Spanish and French), various history focused worlds like Medieval and Canadian History, classrooms that are built to create community, deliver curriculum, and practice social skills.

2) We utilize many of our school's subscriptions for delivering engaging material for both adapted and modified students. For example, to open up student's thinking beyond themselves, we utilize What in the World and The Canadian Reader for newsworthy current events.  This develops their reading comprehension and critical thinking. This is often the first assignment students do each week as they love doing it. We also use Brain Pop, Mystery Science, Grammaropolis, Discovery Education Streaming, Learn 360, and Tynker for learning computer programming.

3)  One of the exciting things that has been implemented this year has been virtual book clubs. Like Literature Circles in a classroom, everyone comes to our group meeting with a role to present like the Travel Tracer who cover the setting of the book we are reading at the time, Question Quizzer where this student brings three open-ended questions for his/her peers to answer or Creative Connector where a text-to-text, text-to-self, text-to-media, or text -to-world is shared. Student engagement has been fantastic and we have read 4 novels over the year, including: Oryus, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, The BFG, Underground to Canada and more with two different classes.

4) Another thing that I have added in this year is Minecraft. Students LOVE to build in Minecraft and it has shown BIG time in the projects that have been produced this year. Students have built airplanes, castles, archery courses, learned about redstone, exploded a thing or two, and developed a survival plan on a planet complete with shelter, water delivery, food growth, and oxygen.  Students are amazingly talented and creative, and it really shows when given a sandbox to play in.

5) Lastly, but actually most important, is the opportunity to build meaningful connections with each student over the year.  This has been my biggest blessing, as each week I meet 1:1 with every student. We also gather weekly as a group.

It is an honour to work with each of these students and their families.  This program is a full school-year commitment as I have found that every student hits walls and perseverance even when it is hard is of vital importance to building strong work ethic. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me via and we can connect for more information.