Annual Learning Plan 2014-2015

It’s that time of year again – ALP time! With this school year well underway, I have officially finalized my Annual Learning Plan.

Here are my goals for this year:

1. Earn my Masters Degree in Educational Technology (long-term goal) (Ongoing Professional Learning)

2. Development and Implementation of Cronyn Chair Initiatives (K-12 Digital Literacies/21st Century Learning Continuum) (3 year goal) ((Leadership in Learning Communities)

3. Collaborative Planning (Managebac) (Professional Practice)

4. Continue to utilize technology effectively to enhance and support the learning process. (yearly focus; related to Goal #1, and Goal #2)

5. Headmaster’s Task Force: Student Centred (Co-Chair) (Leadership in Learning Communities)

Over the year, I hope to blog about some of the action components I have taken toward these goals.


Student Led Conferences: Round 1

This term my division (Kindergarten to Grade 6) introduced Student-Led Conferences as a method of reporting student learning to parents. This was the first time we formally held these conferences and it was a learning experience for everyone. Although I had not conducted student led conferences myself before, I had heard a lot about them and had done some research. We were also fortunate to have another teacher on staff who had done them before. One excellent resource that my team used was from The Ontario Ministry of Education: Student-Led Conference Webcast Series.

Preparations for student-led conferences took various forms. Beginning in September students began keeping a portfolio of their work samples with reflections attached. I have chosen to have my students do a hybrid-portfolio with a traditional paper/binder component and a web-based electronic portfolio ( I think that this provides a nice balance for keeping record of students work in different forms of media depending on the task. It also allows the web-based electronic component to be accessible to parents at any time, so students can be frequently sharing those components with parents. In the portfolio binder, students have divided their binder into various sections – Math, Language, Units of Inquiry x 6, Specialty Subjects, Extra-Curricular, and place any work samples they would like into the binder. Most students want to select samples that would be considered their best work, but students are welcome to place any work samples inside. All formal assessments (i.e. math assessments, summative tasks, published writing) are also included in to the portfolio.

Approximately 1 week prior to the student led conferences, students began role-playing their student led conferences. As this was our first time doing these, it was also the first time for many of the students so this was a really important phase for developing their comfort level and confidence. Each student selected 2 pieces of work that they wanted to share with their parents – 1 piece from a homeroom lesson (i.e. math, language, unit of inquiry), and 1 piece from a specialty subject (i.e. french, music, art, phys.ed). If students wanted to include a performance in their portfolio from a task, students were able to use video recording equipment and show their parents a video during the conference.

The evening of student led conferences, appointments were made so that students would arrive every 5 minutes and stay for 15 minutes (i.e. 4:30-4:45, 4:35-4:50). This would mean that there would be 3 or 4 families in the classroom at any given time to allow for appropriate space. When the parents arrived, they were provided with a generic list of questions developed by our PYP Coordinator that they could ask their child to help them explain their work. Very quickly it was clear that 15 minutes would not be enough time, as once students began sharing they were quickly headed in their desk to find more things, over to the iPads, and to get their French binder. It seemed like sharing was infectious! The smiles on their faces as they were showing off their work was wonderful! Luckily, I my schedule was not full so the room was never over crowded but in the future I would schedule the conferences every 10 minutes for 20-30 minutes.

Following the conference, in class students were asked to blog about their experience! The feedback from the students was very positive. A lot of students were surprised how interested their parents were in their work – the steps they took to learn it, what connections they made to the Learner Profile, questions they still have.

We are going to hold student-led conferences again in the spring and I am looking forward to seeing the development. I am hopeful that students will be able to show their growth from September by comparing their work from the beginning of the year with more current work.

Although portfolios do take a large amount of class time to manage and organize, when you host events such as student-led conferences it makes it clear that it is a good use of instructional time. I am going to continue looking for new strategies for students to reflect on their work/artifacts as this seems to be the most challenging part for students.

iPads: First six weeks

I have had iPads in my classroom now for approximately 6 weeks. With 8 school iPads, 3 iMacs, 1 laptop, and my personal iPad we can almost reach 1-to-1 if we need to.

Although my students had mostly used iPads previously, they really didn’t know how to “use” iPads in the context of learning.  They knew the basic functions (how to turn on and off, navigate to a specified app, change settings in the system preference), but having them think of them as a learning device instead of an entertainment device was the first shift in thinking that I broached. Developing an acceptable use policy, as a class was a great first step in getting them to view them as a tool for learning. I also have been very careful in selecting the ways in which students utilize the apps to so they are not used as an extra activity students can do when they have finished there work. I think that the time spent in this page was critical to future success with iPad/1-to-1/BYOD type programs. It is important to not make any assumptions in students knowledge when it comes to technology – they may be very good with technology, but they have often not learned how to use it for learning.

Prior to starting the iPad project, I did a fair bit of research to examine how other schools and teachers were implementing iPads in the classroom. There was a huge spectrum of usage – from drill and kill style digital worksheets to individualize personal learning. I wanted to be deliberate, focused, and purposeful from the introduction in my classroom as I could see there was a lot of experimentation that had already taken place and I didn’t want to waste anytime. From my research, my belief was that iPads were great devices to increase student engagement, allow students to demonstrate their understanding in multiple ways through content creation, and provide students with a medium to share their learning with a broader audience.  This has formed the basis for how the iPads are being integrated into my teaching practice.

The next challenge was to select apps for the iPads that would facilitate these goals. I also wanted to select apps that would be easy for students in Grade 4 to use independently (without assistance – but not necessarily as only 1 student), flexible across subject disciplines, build students digital literacy skills, and complement each other (weave together). Although this was not a requirement, all of the apps that I have utilized so far have been free. There are a great deal of free apps out there.

How have we been utilizing the iPads to support learning in the classroom and work toward our goals?

Increase Student Engagement

• A favourite activity so far has been utilizing the website Today’s Meet to have a back channel going on during a lesson or activity. One iPad per group of students (2-4) allows the students to share and post there ideas that are going on during the activity. Often students thinking will get deeper during the session, as they see each others ideas and build a deeper understanding.  As I teach in the PYP, our programme is designed to be inquiry based the back channel has been a great way of recording students thinking and wonderings during our lesson. As the website Today’s Meet allows the ‘room’ to be archived the conversation can be saved and utilized for in the future.

• Other apps/websites such as NearPod, and Socrative allow you to embed assessment questions into a presentation and allow students to become active participants.

Content Creation

• Apps like ScreenChomp, Explain Everything (fee), and Educreations turn the iPad into an interactive whiteboard screen with a recording feature. This allows students to write and explain their thinking orally. We have utilized this for explaining how we are solving math problems so far, but can also be used for explaining sequences of events such as the water cycle, or explaining a diagram. This apps can also be utilized to create “flip-classroom” type video lessons.

Share Learning

• I selected KidBlog as our online sharing platform. This allows the students to post their work so that it can be shared with myself, the other students, and their parents. It also allows them to develop an e-portfolio of there work over the school year.

Annual Learning Plan 2013-2014

Each year, as a professional I make an annual learning plan to set some professional goals and create an action plan as to how I am going to achieve them. These are the goals that I am going to be working on for the 2013-2014 school year:

1. Earn my Masters Degree in Educational Technology (long-term goal)

2. Development and Implementation of Cronyn Chair Initiatives (K-12 Digital Literacies/21st Century Learning Continuum) (3 year goal)

3. Assessment (yearly focus)

4. Continue to utilize technology effectively to enhance and support the learning process.  (yearly focus; related to Goal #1,Goal #2, and Goal #3)

Below I have outline more details related to each goal and provided professional rationals for the selection of the goals based on my schools Teacher Performance Appraisal system.

1. Earn my Masters Degree in Educational Technology (long-term goal)


1. Enroll in Michigan State University MAET – Overseas 3 Summer Cohort Program.

2. Continue to monitor professional resources related to technology integration (ISTE, MSU Colleagues)

3. Share knowledge gained from Year 1 through hosting workshops at my school.


Domain #2: Professional Practice
Competency #5: The teacher uses appropriate technology in his or her teaching practices and related professional responsibilities.

Domain #5: Ongoing Professional learning

Competency #1: The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and applies it to improve his or her teaching practices.

2. Development and Implementation of Cronyn Chair Initiatives (K-12 Digital Literacies/21st Century Learning Continuum) (3 year goal)


1. Develop partnerships with other teachers on campus to increase reach of initiatives (i.e. Director of Residential Life re: Digital Citizenship Curriculum, Digital Citizenship Week)

2. Attend professional conferences related to this area of research.

3. Research possible guest speakers that could speak with students, parents, and/or teachers.

4. Host workshops for teachers related to Digital Literacy and the curriculum


Domain #4: Leadership in Learning Communities

Competency #1: The teacher collaborates with other teachers and school colleagues to create and sustain learning communities in his or her classroom and school.

Competency #2: The teacher works with other professionals, parents, and members of the community to enhance pupil-learning, pupil achievement, and school programs.

3. Assessment (yearly focus)


1. Work on implementing more standards-based assessment methods (e.g., new Primary/Junior report card, IB Summative Tasks, strategies for anecdotal notes, e-portfolios)

2. Student-Led Conferences


Domain #1: Commitment to Pupils and Pupil Learning

Competency #2: The teachers is dedicated in his or her efforts to teach and support pupil learning and achievement.

Domain #2: Professional Knowledge

Competency #2: The teach knows a variety of effective teacher and assessment practices.

Domain #3: Professional Practice

Competency #3: The teacher conducts ongoing assessment of his or her pupils’ profess, evaluated their achievements, and reports results to pupils and parents regularly.

4. Continue to utilize technology effectively to enhance and support the learning process.  (yearly focus; related to Goal #1,Goal #2, and Goal #3)


1. iPads Initiative (formative assessment apps, visible thinking apps, e-portfolios)

2. Host workshops for other teachers to share strategies.


Domain #3: Professional Practice

Competency #5: The teacher uses appropriate technology in his or her own teaching practices and related professional responsibilities.