“Oh snap, no tap!” Paying with an Apple Watch – My Experiment at Toronto Retailers

Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised that I dove in and bought the latest Apple Watch, yet another gadget to add to my ever growing tech collection! Luckily I was able to score a deal on Kijiji, those who know me also know I hate paying full price for things if I don’t have to! In this post I’ll tell you all about Apple Pay with an Apple Watch and where you can use it in Canada, and my experience at local Toronto retailers.

I absolutely love my Apple Watch, but was a bit skeptical of the notion of “Apple Pay” and paying for things from my wrist.  I decided to conduct an experiment at local Toronto retailers to combine my love of technology and shopping…my friend Tamara and I hit up the mall and the mission was to try to pay for as many things (that I was already buying) as possible with my new wrist wallet, that sounds weird, but we’ll just go with it.

Let’s start from the beginning, before we went to the mall I had to load all of my cards onto my iPhone ApplePay Mrs.Geek Chic1(and WApplePay Mrs.Geek Chic2atch) via the ApplePay Mrs.Geek Chic3Wallet” App that comes on all new iPhone models. You’ll only have to do this once. I loaded 2 credit cards and one debit card. It was an easy process, and kind of fun too! I used the iPhone camera to load my cards, the camera somehow registers the name and numbers on the card and pulls them up onto the iPhone screen so you don’t even have to type out all the numbers. Nice! Then there were security measures and codes I had to get via secure email from my banks (BMO & CIBC) in order to finalize the card-adding process.

The Wallet App “Pay” part only allows you to add debit or credit cards, but I wanted to have all of my loyalty cards (remember I like to save a buck!) on my watch as well…so I found another App called “Stocard” that allows you to scan in your loyalty/store cards and keeps them on your phone/watch for you. I loaded all of my loyalty cards similarly to the Wallet App, they have a list of frequently used cards, you click it then it prompts you to scan the card. If the card has a barcode you scan it and the number automatically gets stored in the app for you. Here are a couple screenshots from the Stocard App on my iPhone.

Stocard Mrs. Geek Chic
Screenshot of Stocard Loyalty Card App
Stocard Mrs. Geek Chic2
Sreenshot of Stocard App “adding cards”














Now that everything was loaded onto my watch and phone it was time for a trip to the mall. I tried to pay with my watch every time I made a purchase. I quickly figured out that only stores that have “tap” / “contactless payment” compatible machines worked with my watch. Look for the following symbols at the checkout: Tap Pay Logos

Here’s a chart that shows where it worked and where it didn’t based on a few trips to local merchants:Apple Pay Chart Mrs. Geek Chic

Here are some photos of my Apple Watch in action:


In the end I was pretty impressed with the ease of use and functionality of the Apple Watch for using Apple Pay and being able to quickly make purchases without searching through my purse for my wallet and fiddling with all of my cards. However, I was hoping more stores would be equipped and that maybe even I’d be able to leave my purse that weighs a brick at home for future shopping trips. As of today (July 2016) there aren’t enough retailers that have compatible “tap” or “contactless payment” machines to be able to pay with the Apple Watch everywhere. I’m sure as time goes on more and more stores will upgrade to include this feature. For now, I’m going to have to continue to carry my heavy purse around with me so I can avoid “Oh snap, no tap!”* situations!

–Note that Apple Pay will only work in stores with iPhones and Apple Watches, it won’t work on iPad devices as of now.


(As of July 2016, I will update this list as I learn about more stores)
-Apple Store
-Canadian Tire
-Chapter’s Indigo
-Giant Tiger
-Mark’s Work Warehouse
-Best Buy
-Petro Canada
-London Drugs
-Jean Coutu
-7 Eleven
-Shopper’s Drug Mart (Optimum card scanned too!)
-Dollar Tree
-Call It Spring

-Tim Horton’s
-Taco Bell
-Pizza Hut
-On the Go rest stops
-Crepe de Licious
-David’s Tea

-Pizza Pizza
-TTC (Toronto Transit Commission)
-Air Canada
-Ticket Master

Don’t forget to “watch” 😉 for Apply Pay retailers in Canada and let me know if you come across any others. Happy shopping!


*Kudos to Tamara for coming up with the “Oh snap, no tap!” expression!


GeoGuessr – An Addictive Geography Game to Try in Your Classroom

Geoguessr Logo

I recently heard about an awesome online game called GeoGuessr. It’s a game that drops you in random places around the world using Google Street View, then you have to guess where you are by thinking critically, finding clues, reading signs, looking at foliage, etc. It’s so addictive! The teacher in me immediately started thinking of ways to use this cool Ed Tech tool in the classroom. I’d probably try this with grade 3 and up.

-Critical thinking
-Problem solving
-Social Studies
-Mapping skills
-21st Century Skills
-Media Literacy

To play the game simply visit www.geoguessr.com

You can choose to play “single player” or “challenge mode” against other people by sending a link to your opponent(s). You don’t need to have an account to play, but you can open up more features like saving your scores, creating your own maps, getting game stats, etc. if you create an account and log in. There are also preset games of famous places, cities, countries or continents if you’re not into landing anywhere in the world. Here are a few examples:
Famous Places Mrs. Geek Chic GeoguessrParis Mrs. Geek Chic GeoguessrJapan Mrs. Geek Chic Geoguessr

Here are some other screenshots of the game:
Geoguessr Mrs. Geek Chic

Geoguessr Mrs. Geek Chic

Geoguessr Mrs. Geek Chic

Here are a few GIFs of me playing the game:

Geoguessr GIF Mrs. Geek Chic
The one above is in southern Mexico, it was hard because there isn’t much to go on.

Geoguessr GIF Mrs. Geek ChicThis one was rare because you usually end up on a street or a dirt road, but this time I landed inside a building! I looked around and it was pretty simple to find clues (a lot easier than above!). By zooming in on the poster on the wall behind the bar I found that we were at a winery called “Pillsbury”, then a Google Search helped me figure out it was in Arizona.
Geoguessr GIF Mrs. Geek ChicYou make your guess by dropping a pin in the map on the bottom right of the screen. The closer you are the more points you get and then it tells you exactly how far away you are from the correct location. The game is played with 5 rounds, and gives you a total score at the end of your rounds.

It’s a neat game to add to a classroom learning/literature/social studies centre or to explore parts of the world you’re currently studying. You could take it one step further and have students create maps and games for their classmates then have them explore each other’s creations. There are so many possibilities, and my bet is you’ll have fun playing too!

Please leave a comment below if you think of any other ways to use GeoGuessr in the classroom.

Happy exploring!


French Media Triangle – Triangle des médias

If you’re here I’m sure you already know what a Media Triangle is used for, but for those who don’t it’s basically an easy way to have students read and analyze media forms and texts. The triangle prompts the children with questions to help them look at media from different angles and perspectives to help them create their own meaning. Here are a couple examples of Media Triangles in English:MediaTriangle Example2 @MrsGeekChic

MediaTriangleExample @MrsGeekChic









I used to only teach Media Literacy in English for my junior classes because it is it’s own strand in the Ontario curriculum and didn’t explicitly exist in the French Immersion primary curriculum. However, now with the new FSL curriculum came some pleasant changes and additional expectations rolled into Reading, Writing, Listening & Speaking that involve media literacy! I was thrilled, but that meant yet another translation because I wasn’t able to find a French version of the Media Triangle that suited my needs in the classroom. With some searching online I found this French lesson/unit plan from http://www.lavraievieenligne.ca/ which contains a Media Triangle version in French on page 38 which they adapted from ‘A Guide to Effective Literacy Instruction (Grades 4 – 6); Volume 7: Media Literacy, Ontatio Ministry of Education‘. I decided to jazz it up and make it more interactive for my students. I made a plain version that could be a poster or a handout and another one on which the students can answer questions in text boxes right inside the digital GAFE file online.

Here they are:
Click on the images to make yourself a copy, or see shared folder below.

Triangle des médias @MrsGeekChic


Triangle des médias avec réponses @MrsGeekChic





Triangle des médias FOLDER


Please feel free to download, share, make a copy and modify to your needs!


From Intolerance to Acceptance with Patience and a Whole Lot of In-Between – Guest Post by Tamara Bolotenko

My good friend Tamara Bolotenko (@TamaraBolotenko) has been doing some wonderful things at her new school this year and wanted to share some of it with all of you! She’s written this amazing post in honour of International Day to End Homophobia & Transphobia (May 17th, 2016) and has some great resources to share. Check it out!






These are words we hear on a daily basis. Words that, sadly, describe many current societies around the world; societies in which fear of the unknown and distrust of differences propagates hatred, incites violence, leads to oppression, and even translates into discriminatory government policies.






These are all words that we hear often as well, whether at work or in the media, words used to describe utopian societies in which individuals with different ethnicities, cultures, races, religious orientations, genders, sexual orientations, and other diversities characteristics and histories, live together in peace and harmony. And not only do they co-exist, but they also engage in positive interactions with one another on multiple levels many times a day, creating pluralistic communities.

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 11.18.19 AMOne thing, however, that we do not often hear about, is how to get from a world of hatred to a world of peace. How does that shift from intolerance to acceptance occur? Well, the answer is not straightforward; several conditions have to be in place in order for it to be possible to create a pluralistic culture in which every member is accepted and valued precisely for those differences, that in many societies, are reviled.


Open-mindedness and Non-judgment.

People have to be ready and willing to learn about others’ ways of seeing and doing things, without judgment.

Listening and Sharing.

TBolotenko2People must be able to and willing to listen actively and to explain one’s own experiences in order to learn about other groups and in order to teach about themselves. They must be open to and desiring of engagement in positive and respectful dialogue. This is not to say that everyone must eventually agree on everything, rather that we learn to discuss feelings, rationales and thought processes without yelling or screaming or creating “winners” and “losers”. In the end, we should be able to gain another perspective and that makes everyone a winner.

Introspection and Improvement.

Here is where the process gets a little more active, as individuals will have to make time and space for self-reflection and make attempts to understand why they act in a certain way. The goal of introspection is to create a deeper understanding on oneself and others and oneself in relation to others in order to find ways in which to improve oneself. Everyone can improve at something. We are all works-in-progress.

Cognitive Dissonance.


Enduring those periods of confusion when preconceived notions about certain cultures, religions, genders, races, etc. don’t quite match up with the reality of one’s experiences is paramount. No one likes to feel confused and anxious and it is easy to throw in the towel at this stage and revert to prior stereotypes, but that just takes one back to a world of intolerance and prejudice. Stay here. Endure. Overcome.

Patience and Forgiveness.

Change doesn’t happen overnight and committing to an accepting, heterogeneous, pluralistic society is a lifetime commitment. Forgiving yourself when you’ve made an assumption and trying again is key. Forgiving others when they have made incorrect assumptions and having the patience to educate them is also what this process is all about.

In order to try to educate students about how to move from hatred to love, intolerance to acceptance, homogeneity to diversity, exclusion to inclusion, I’ve created a set of 3 posters depicting words associated with a hateful society, a society in-progress and a pluralistic society. Since FSL resources are sometimes hard to come by, I’ve translated them into French as well. Please use freely and share widely. I know that change doesn’t come with a couple of posters, but they are a good starting point for engaging in meaningful dialogue.

I’ve also created a set of 3 posters promoting safe spaces, inclusivity and harmony using the LGBQT flag as the background (in French too!).

Happy “International Day to End Homophobia and Transphobia”. On May 17th, how will you mark this important day with your students?

Here’s the shared folder containing all 12 of Tamara’s posters. 

FOLDER of Bilingual Posters by Tamara


I’d like to thank Tamara for being the first guest contributor to Mrs. Geek Chic! She’s an amazing teacher and friend, go follow her on Twitter I promise you she’ll be a great addition to your PLN!


Tech it Forward – Our Inspired Minds Learning Project Idea

If you’ve been anywhere near me in the past week I’m sure I’ve asked you once (or more!) the question, “Have you voted yet today??”

My amazing teacher friend and colleague Jesselyn and I wrote up this proposal in an attempt to win $100,000 for our downtown Toronto school library. I wanted to share our idea via my blog in hopes to get the word out a little more! We are currently sitting in 24th position, nowhere near the top 10 where we need to be to get into the judging round. I’m hoping we can gain a few extra votes from my trusty blog followers – especially since Justin Bieber, Drake, Prime Minister Trudeau, Members of Parliament, Mayor Tory and others haven’t responded to us on Twitter 😉 (it was worth a try, right?).

Please vote daily until Monday, May 16th here: bit.ly/techitforward

Here’s our proposal, have a look and if you like it please pass it on and VOTE VOTE VOTE!!

Thank you in advance for your support!

Tech it Forward Larissa Aradj Jesselyn DungoIdea Description:

Imagine this… you hear a buzz of people even before you step into the space. You know that this is the place you were looking for. Open and airy, filled with light and all different walks of people. They are paired together, different ages all engaged, pointing to a screen, brows furrowed wickedly solving problems together and there, right then a crack of a smile as the solution is found. Welcome to the LLPS learners hub. The hub of our project would be in the Lord Lansdowne Public School *new* Learning Commons Media Centre. We want to help build community and connections through our Tech it Forward project in which we would reach out to local senior communities in order to build teaching and learning relationships with senior citizens, new immigrants, ESL learners and newbies to technology from our surrounding community. They would come to our school and learn all about new technologies: smartphones, ipads, internet, etc. from our elementary school students. In turn, community members could forward their own learning to others within their family and other community circles.
Learning becomes meaningful when it is made real in an authentic way. Our students are in dire need of these real-time experiences where they can affect their communities. As teachers we are always looking for ways to make learning authentic and meaningful for our students. Research on the internet and texting on their phone are natural extensions of their day-to-day. It cannot be denied that this ease within the digital world has made them leaders in this capacity. This access to people around the world has made theirs smaller than ever before. Those who do not have these skills are left vulnerable to being excluded from these learning communities. Inclusivity can be made accessible to those in our society who are most vulnerable, the lonely amongst our elderly, those new to the country within the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis and those who have no access due to financial constraints. Many of the new strands in the English and French Ontario curriculum documents centre around media texts, being digitally literate, digital citizenship, and having an overall sense of how technology works and how to use it to enhance their learning.
Our parent board, the Toronto District School Board, is promoting the use of technology, digital fluency, collaboration and seeing the students as leaders. Our project hits on all of these aspects, we are just in need of the equipment necessary.

Who we are:

Jesselyn Dungo and Larissa Aradj are teachers from Lord Lansdowne Junior & Senior Public School in Toronto, Ontario. They both have a passion for technology and infusing it into their teaching. This idea would mean bringing more technology and collaboration to our school community. The children at our school are completely engaged in technology and have a thirst for being digitally literate, but it’s difficult to push them in this direction without the resources they need. The students from our school who we consider “digital natives” are so willing to teach teachers who are “digital immigrants” all about new technologies. We thought we would take this notion and give it a wider scope through the lens of connecting the senior citizen community and new immigrant community with our students so the students can take what they know and “Tech it Forward” to others who would like to learn. Larissa has built up Lord Lansdowne’s virtual identity since she moved to LLPS last September. She has created a Twitter & Instagram account for the school (@LL_TDSB) and the School Blog: www.lordlansdowne.wordpress.com where parents and students go to find information, photos and videos of the wonderful things happening at Lord Lansdowne. A digital presence is important part of our schools these days, it builds community and keeps everyone on the same page. Our hope is to build up the more hands-on aspect of our community through this Tech it Forward project. When we see how these new technologies make the world a smaller place, imagine teaching someone’s grandmother or great-grandmother how to Skype with their grandchildren or seeing photos of their grandchildren via email from across the world, through this project we will open doors for seniors that they never thought they’d never be able to walk through and discover new ways of connecting.

Lord Lansdowne Junior & Senior Public School:

Lord Lansdowne Jr. and Sr. Public School is located in the heart of downtown Toronto at Spadina Avenue and College Street. We are a small but mighty school hub of diverse cultures whose parent population includes ESL learners and new immigrants. We are in close proximity to various senior communities and steps away from the Scott Mission for the homeless. Our school is a caring and giving outlet of community support and this project of Tech it Forward would be a natural extension of our commitment to serving the community via helping those understand how to use and access technology. Currently, we are at a stalemate within our funding for technology at our school since we are in the middle of the LOI, Learning Opportunity Index used by the TDSB. We find that we are in an interesting position as those schools who are positioned on the lower end of the index are eligible to receive funding and resources from various community partners in addition to equipment and professional development of which we do not qualify. However, our school community does not have the financial means as those in wealthier neighbourhoods to outfit the school with much-needed technology and as such we find ourselves being the “forgotten middle” when in need of functioning laptops for community projects, and general teaching and learning of 21st century skills. The power of Tech it Forward could give avenues to those students who might not otherwise have opportunities to serve their community in such a real way, fostering empathy, compassion and social responsibility.


Storage Wars Customizable Cross-Curricular EdTech Game #GAFE #HyperSlides

Screenshot Storage Wars Title @MrsGeekChicEncheres Surprises @MrsGeekChicI’ve been busy working on a customizable GAFE cross-curricular game template that can be used by teachers across all levels and subjects. I wanted something that had a hook, was interesting and fun for my students yet still educational. I came up with Storage War$ (Enchères Surprise$ in French, yes there’s even a version française!). I made the English version for my Grade 4 Media Literacy class, so the activities are based on Media Lit strands from the Ontario curriculum. The French version is based on the Media texts strands from the Grade 3 FSL Language curriculum.

Screenshot Storage Wars Doors @MrsGeekChic

Storage War$/Enchères Surprise$ is played by students in Google Slides. Students follow on-screen instructions to interactively play, learn and complete activities. The wonderful thing about this project is that it can be modified for almost any grade level and any subject area. The best part is you can take a copy, use it as-is right now or modify it to match what you are currently teaching. The activities can be completed individually, in pairs or groups.

Students learn through playing and doing the media-rich activities on the slides and in Google Docs/Drawings templates that open as “make a copy” for them to work from. The learning really depends on the content you decide to put into the template. By playing the game and completing the different activities students are able to engage in a vast range of curriculum areas (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, and mostly Media Literacy) all in one template platform. My students began working through the activities last month and are thoroughly enjoying it!

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It’s easy to change the activity slides for this game to make it appropriate for any subject or grade level. You would just have to change slides #20-35 to suit whatever you are studying in your class and make up questions/activities to match.
For more experienced GAFE users, you could even change up the content of the storage locker (change the images on slide #15 and link your new images to slides #20-35) and use items/images from a particular part of history you are studying, have images based on a theme, have less items,  etc. I’ve made a roadmap to make it easier to see how the slides are connected, English version HERE & French version HERE


  • If you don’t have enough technology, students don’t need to each have a device for this game, they could work in groups or in pairs.
  • Use the game in a literacy centre and have students move through the game during centre time.
  • Students do not need to finish the activities in one sitting (there’s no way they could!), the activities should be completed over several days/class periods.
  • This game works well on laptops, Chromebooks and desktop computers. You can also use iPads as long as you have the Google Slides App installed.


FolderPlain (1)


Have fun….yuuuuuupppp!


Here are a few Tweets from when I presented this project at the Digital Lead Learner Marketplace on May 19, 2016:

P.E.N.S.E.Z – French Digital Citizenship Posters

Think Poster Screenshot Mrs.GeekChicI’ve seen these Digital Citizenship “T.H.I.N.K before you post online” posters floating around on the Internet and Pinterest for a while now. Today being International Day of Pink to raise awareness for all types of bullying, I thought it would be a good time to post these printable posters that lead in well to discussions with your students about to cyber bullying. I know for me having colourful reminders around the classroom is always helpful since Digital Citizenship is such a huge part of my program these days. I really liked the idea of them, and as usual couldn’t find a French version. I decided to translate the posters and made a few different versions ‘en français’ using Google Drawings for my fellow FSL colleagues out there. You’ll find the shared folder below, please feel free to download, edit or modify to your needs. Enjoy!

I also wanted to share my list of Internet sites related to Digital Citizenship. There are some wonderful resources, units and starting points that promote great discussions and learning opportunities. Check them out!

Digital Citizenship Sites:
Branché (French): http://www.lavraievieenligne.ca
Habilo-Médias (French): http://habilomedias.ca
Media Smarts: http://mediasmarts.ca
ConnectED: http://www.lavraievieenligne.ca
Digizen: http://www.digizen.org/
Digital Literacy & Citizenship (UK): http://www.digital-literacy.org.uk
Teaching InCtrl: http://www.teachinctrl.org/
Ophea: http://teachingtools.ophea.net
La Souris-Web: http://www.lasouris-web.org/

P.E.N.S.E Digital Citzenship Poster2



P.E.N.S.E Digital Citzenship Poster1 (1)



P.E.N.S.E Digital Citzenship Poster3


P.E.N.S.E Digital Citizenship Posters FOLDER


How to add accents to Google Docs – no more copy & paste!

Still copying and pasting accents into Google Docs?

No need, because there’s an Add-on for that!!

I wanted to write a quick post to share an awesome time-saving tip with my fellow modern language teachers. After the positive and amazed reactions I got at my French Immersion school about this when I shared it with staff, I thought it might be useful for some of you as well! This GAFE tip will really speed up your typing and avoid fiddling around with adding accents from “insert -> special symbols” or copying & pasting from other pages! Try out the Google Add-on called “Easy Accents”!

It’s very simple to use, open any Google Doc, go to “Add-ons” -> “Get add-on”

Then type “Easy Accents” into the search bar:
Easy Accents Mrs. Geek Chic Screenshot

Click the blue “+ FREE” button to add the Easy Accents, next click the “Allow” button on the following screen.

Now go back to “Add-ons” -> “Easy Accents” and then click “Easy Accents – Start”. (You’ll have to start it using this method every time you reopen a different Doc that needs accents).
Easy Accents Mrs. Geek Chic Screenshot2

That’s when the magic happens! On the right hand side of your document you’ll see a drop-down menu, you pick your language then VOILÀ (with an accent ;)) You have all the accents & even some symbols available literally at your fingertips! Just click on the accented letter you need and it’ll appear in your Doc where you last had the cursor. For capitals, simply hold down “shift” when you click your accented letter and it’ll be accented in caps! They even includes those pesky to find French “guillemets”.
Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 9.20.16 PM

Enjoy! I hope this quick and easy tip can save you some precious teacher time!

“It Mitts”, Spice up your Tag Games in PE class!

I’ve been using these car wash gloves from the dollar store in my physical education classes for some time now. You’re probably wondering why…

It mitts -HPE, car wash gloves, gym class, tag gamesI call them “it mitts”! The children who are chosen to be “it” for tag games wear them. There are a few reasons these are awesome to use in gym classes, day camps or anytime you’d play tag with children:

  • The person who is “it” is easily identified with this bright glove;
  • No more children asking, “who’s it?!”;
  • Wearing them reminds the children to be gentle when they tag someone;
  • You can use with any age level. At first I got them for my kindergarten classes, but quickly realized the classes all the way up to grade 6 loved them too;
  • The student’s absolutely love using them!

The student’s faces light up when they see these bright mitts coming out of my gym office! I picked these up at my local dollar store a few years ago. I haven’t seen the exact same ones recently but there are different models of virtually the same idea at Dollarama right now. You could also use those foam hands/fingers from sporting events if you have any around the house.

“You’re it!” Have fun!