How hip hop can teach you to code

Sometimes, it is just in the way something is explained for it to finally click. Although I have never written a hip hop song in my life, I have written a lot of poetry, preferring the kind with severe constraints such as sestinas or villanelles. When I translate the idea of the template of a poem into programming, it makes perfect sense! Now I want to make a programming template for poem formats…

I just gave away too much information about how my brain works didn’t I?

Oh well…

The artist may change, but the template remains the same

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3 Powerful Apps for Creating Green Screen Videos with Students ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

I am thinking off setting challenges for my kids this summer and one of the challenges I was thinking of giving them is to make a movie – either an original script, or do like the main characters in the great book (and now movie) Me, Earl and the Dying Girl, where they make cheesy re-creations of classic movies and are hugely influenced by Werner Herzog (you gotta love that.)

Although I doubt they will build a huge boat and try to carry it over a mountain, I think they might need a green screen app, don’t you?

Although the first two of the apps mentioned in this article cost money, I think the most expensive is $2.99. I am definitely going to try them out!

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Ten Creative Ways Students Can Have a Better Summer Break | Edudemic

I have read that students (especially low-income students with no access to books and enriching materials or activities) come back in September with a significant loss of skills. Not that I think we should get rid of summer break (I like summer). And I am a big proponent of letting my kids have unstructured time, though I know this might be unpopular – most students I talk to seem to have every minute of their break planned ahead of time, from going away to camp to family vacations.

Until they decide that all they want to do is watch TV all summer. The Summer Reading Challenge is my own personal way of getting students excited about keeping up their reading over the summer. However, this article gives some other ideas as to how we can motivate students (and our own children) to take control of their own learning and start exploring the world!

School breaks are an exciting time for students. With (usually) no homework and lots of free time, they’re pretty much the ultimate kid fantasy.


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Pearson board cuts 18 librarians in elementary schools

I am going to pause from my usual tips and news about the Tech world to talk about the recent news from the Lester B. Pearson School Board concerning the cutting of 18 elementary librarian jobs. Of course, being a librarian, I am a tad biased about the news. But I still have to bemoan the short-sightedness of this measure.

Here is a quote from the article:

“A librarian is not just someone who sits behind a desk, shushing people. A librarian organizes the books, makes sure the books are appropriate, teaches the children how to research, teaches them about important things such as plagiarism and copyright.” -Suann Stein-Day, Board Chairman

Well…yes… but, librarians actually do much more.


Having a librarian in your school means that students can have access to books outside of library hours (though I am not sure that was the case in all elementary schools, as I think many of the LBPS shared librarians?) But if done, right, there should be a librarian who is accessible to students during recess and lunch as well as after school. The presence of a  librarian in a school provides support to not only the students but the teachers. They are essential and passionate pushers of books. They get to know the kids and know which books will work for their audience. They are fearless promoters of reading.

Other literacies

In this digital age, it is even more important that our students learn how to use the equipment at their disposal. A lot of talk has been given to the idea of Digital natives, this generation who have never known a world without the internet. But that does not mean they know how to use it efficiently., Sure, they are great at posting stuff to Snapchat and instagram. But ask them something simple such as double spacing lines in an essay or how to evaluate a website and they are lost. Librarians are invaluable in teaching not only information literacy, but more and more, the different aspects of Digital citizenship, from knowing how to plug in effective search terms in Google to the mindful use of social media.

Librarians make the Space

Any school librarian will tell you that they not only provide necessary research support to staff and students, they also add value to the school with the various clubs and projects they lead. One of the librarians who is losing her job, Kathy Conroy, was instrumental in the highly successful Battle of the Books event our school has competed in for the last two years. Her dedication, commitment and passion, spending way more time than she was paid for to organize this amazing event, was awe-inspiring. And this is just one little thing she does during her day.

Most importantly, the librarian creates a safe space where those students who feel that they don’t fit in, who are shy and awkward and live inside their heads, can come and hang out. Whether they are using the computers or sinking in a corner with the newest paranormal romance, the librarian ensures their space is inclusive, inviting, safe and encouraging.

I think it is short-sighted to cut the spaces and resources in our education system where the student can finally take control of their own learning, where they can explore books and resources and information on their own, supported along the way by the librarian. If we want our students to graduate with a modicum of critical thinking, with empathy for their fellows, with an idea of who they are and what they are interested in, cutting libraries and librarians is the exact opposite way to go.

“How can you have a library without a librarian?” said Lester B. Pearson School Board chairman Suanne Stein-Day. “That’s a question I’d like to ask the education minister, François Blais.” Stein-Da…


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Google Released A New App Called Google Photos ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Whoah. Ok. Just downloaded this app. Stay tuned for a rAPPido Review next week… but so far, it offers way more functionality than the built-in photo app: I built a quick collection and it automatically turned my photos into a movie, offering me soundtracks and export options. It is free but as always, I wonder what the privacy policy is…

Can’t wait to play around with it!


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How (and Why) To Use Student Blogs | Edudemic

Here is a very succinct and thorough guide to setting up students blogs in the classroom, from what platform to use to privacy settings to discussing with your students what they need to think about to make a good blog. If you were thinking of trying out a student blogging project for next year this would be a good place to start!

Blogging doesn’t just mean putting diary entries out on the web for the world to see. It can be a way to learn more about yourself and any other subject.


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