TDSB Google Camp 3.0 -Get Your Teacher Mojo Back!

TDSBCampLogoYesterday I was lucky to be a part of an amazing Google Conference put on by the Toronto District School Board called Google Camp. Myself and 500+ like-minded Ed Techie Google-loving TDSB educators, admin and staff were motivated and inspired by keynote speaker George Couros and endnote speaker Dean Shareski. I feel so lucky to be working for such an amazing school board with such awesome teachers and leaders! The sessions I attended gave me some great ideas to continue using GAFE (Google Apps for Education) in unique and engaging ways with my students. We actually broke the Internet (just kidding!) but the hashtag #TDSBCamp was trending at the number 1 spot in Canada and number 3 in the world yesterday!

The great thing about Google Camp is you can continue your learning way beyond the camp day. All of the session presentations and resources are all posted online.

So, if you feel like partaking in some self-directed professional development, head over to, look through the session titles, pick any of them that interest you  – you’ll be sent to a Google Doc with the session description and presentation slideshow links.

TeacherMojoFBI must say that days like yesterday renew your love for teaching and make it much easier to push through the moments when you feel like you might just burnout and not make it to June. Based on my reflections on the amazing speakers yesterday I’ve made a list of ways to help get your “teacher mojo” back.

  1. Attend a teacher conference! Anytime I’ve ever attended a conference I always have a renewed energy for teaching. I know ETFO’s ICT Conference is coming up in April- watch out for it, I went last year and it was incredible!
  2. Get onto Twitter to connect with other teachers! This is truly the BEST professional development I’ve ever had. You can find anything you need and connect with wonderful educators from all over the world. Talk about an amazing support system- having each other as resources is invaluable!
  3. Share something you’ve made with a fellow colleague. I know sharing something I worked hard to create or an awesome lesson idea really makes me feel good!
  4. Try something new. Get out of your comfort zone! My Beginner’s Guide to Google Drawings session was full of brand new GAFE users who had an open mind and were willing to spend a Saturday learning something new with Laura and I.
  5. Reflect! George Couros made a great point, he asked, “Would you want to be subjected to you as a teacher for 6 hours a day?” Think about it…

Now go unleash that teacher mojo!!



Free eMagazines from Zinio on your tablet in less than 10 steps!


Extra Extra eRead all about it!

Zinio- FREE digital magazines on your computer, Smartphone or tablet from the public library

Let’s face it, as teachers we don’t always have the time to sit down and enjoy a great magazine, let alone trying to make time between marking, reporting and lesson planning to get to the store to buy one! I know you all want to feed your guilty pleasure of knowing the latest Bachelor drama, Donald Trump’s latest hairdo or who will be appearing on Ellen this week.

Well…you can get eMagazines for FREE from many public libraries through a website/app called Zinio without leaving the comfort of home. There’s a huge selection available, some of the popular titles are; Apple Magazine, Family Circle, National Geographic, Cosmo (in several languages), Rolling Stone, Reader’s Digest, The Economist, Canadian Living, and Us Weekly, just to name a few.

There’s something for everyone. They even have children’s magazines such as Click, Ask, Babybug, Cicada, Nickelodeon and Spider that will be perfect for your students!! The magazines can be read on your PC or Mac computer, iOS devices (iPad, iPhone), Android, Kindle Fire/Fire HD, Nook HD, Blackberry Playbook, or Win 8 Phone.

Why would you want to download magazines?

  • They’re FREE!
  • You can take out as many as you want at a time (no limit!)
  • It’s much lighter than carrying them around in your already giant teacher bag
  • You don’t need to return them to the library
  • No late fees
  • They don’t expire in 2-3 weeks like eBooks
  • You can read back issues that are no longer on newsstands
  • There are FRENCH eMagazine titles for my French Immersion colleagues
  • You can read them offline once downloaded to your device from a network
  • Little hands or paws can’t rip this kind of –zine
  • Why not???

I thought it would be nice to share a step-by-step tutorial (in less than 10 steps) to help you get your favourite magazines in eMagazine format and start enjoying them right now. I’m going to explain how it works specifically for the Toronto Public Library; most other libraries work the same way and have helpful links to get you through it. Grab that Toronto Public Library card from your wallet, or go apply for one at any branch before you begin because for this you will need to have a valid, up-to-date library card. (If you haven’t used it in a while, remember you need to renew it in person at a branch once per year!!)

1)   Begin by going to the Toronto Public Library website. Click on “Downloads & eBooks”.


2)   Click on the red “Access Online” button.


3)   Next you will be able to search for titles in the search field on the left or choose a genre you like from the drop down menu.


4)   Once you’ve chosen your magazine, click on the blue “Checkout” icon beside your magazine image.

5)   Now you’ll be asked for your email and password, chances are you don’t have an account yet, so click on the link above that says “Create New Account”. Next enter your library card number and click “next”.

6)   Fill in your name, email and create a password then press “Create Account”.

7)   Now click “Start Reading”.


8)   Next you’ll be taken to the Zinio website (in a new tab), you have to login again. If you don’t already have a personal reading account you’ll have to create one (different from the Library one you just created, annoying, I know, but so worth it! And you only have to do this once). Click on “Create a Zinio Account”, enter your information and create a password.

9)   Login and you’ll see your reading list with the title you chose included there. Click on the magazine and start reading!!

If you want to add more titles (I know you will!) you can just click on the tab to go back to the Toronto Public Library site and repeat only steps #4 and #7 to check out your new title. Previous issues are also available for some magazines; they will be pictured under the current issue.

Finally, if you’d like to read your shiny (literally!) new magazines on your Smartphone or tablet you must first download the Zinio app for your device. You’ll have to enter your account email and password (that you created in step #8 above), then when you login the magazines you picked on your computer will magically be there for your reading pleasure, you’ll just have to wait a few seconds for them to download! I know, I know, you are probably thinking, reading a full-size mag on my small iPhone screen..?!?! Well, they’ve thought of that. You can flip through the pages, then when you see an article you like, instead of constantly pinching your screen to zoom you can click on the convenient little “text” button at the bottom and your article will show up optimized for your Smartphone screen (and easier on your eyes).

Now you’re all set, go grab your drink of choice and enjoy some good articles (and don’t forget all the celebrity gossip) with no need to sneak peeks at the grocery checkout line anymore!

Happy reading!


I did a quick Internet search and found that Zinio eMagazines are also available from the following Public Library websites across Canada, and probably many more. Check yours today!

Edmonton Public Library

Calgary Public Library

Winnipeg Public Library

Windsor Public Library

Sarnia/Lampton County Library

London Public Library

Hamilton Public Library

Mississauga Public Library

Ottawa Public Library

A WONDER-ful Book Talk & iPhone/iPad Sticky Note Ideas

I read the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio to my grade 4 class last year, they really enjoyed it and it brought up many great discussions. You can link it to the language curriculum as well as it ties in nicely with the Health Education curriculum as well.
If you’re interested in promoting the book to your students feel free to use this book talk I made:

Reading and appeal levels:
Junior, Intermediate (elementary)

Ontario Curriculum Links:
Grade 4 Language – Reading
By the end of Grade 4, students will:
read and demonstrate an understanding of a variety of literary, graphic and informational texts, using a range of strategies to construct meaning;(

Grade 4 Health & Physical Education –Understanding Health Concepts
C1.3 describe various types of bullying and abuse (e.g., social, physical, verbal), including bullying using technology (e.g., via e-mail, text messaging, chat rooms, websites), and identify appropriate ways of responding [IS] (

As a fun activity while reading the book I had the students pretend “tweet” as one of the characters on these iPhone stickies/Post-it notes I found at the dollar store (in less than 140 characters of course!). My colleague Laura did a similar activity with these sticky notes to practice chapter summaries in less than 140 characters. Oh what us teachers can do with dollar store goodies! 🙂 

Last June I “real” tweeted out a photo of their stickies:

I haven’t been able to find these iPhone Post-it notepads at my local dollar store lately, so I decided to create my own, they aren’t sticky, but who doesn’t have a glue stick? Feel free to download them and use for your own classes. Please comment below and let me know what you used them for! I added one with lines to help the littlest tweeters.

iPhone Stickies L.Aradj
Click HERE for PDF version of the stickies (like above).
Here’s the Google Drive shared folder with iPhone & larger iPad versions:

iPhone/iPad Stickies/Post-its FOLDER


“Vedettes du S.P.O.R.T” Gym Classroom Management Posters in French

Les Vedettes du S.P.O.R.T

Vedettes du SPORTWhen I taught Health & Physical Education in English a few years ago I used the “S.T.A.R.S” system to help with behaviour management and to keep the students motivated in the gym. I had no luck finding a French version anywhere so I made this loose translation, it’s the same idea, but as you’d expect with any translation I had to change the acronym. In French it works as “S.P.O.R.T” instead of “S.T.A.R.S”. My students love it! We concentrate on one letter per month and after each class I choose 2 students who exemplified that particular letter/trait very well and they get to sign the “wall of fame”.

In English:VedettesDuSportLAradj
S= Stay on task
T= Try your best
A= Actively participate
R= Respect yourself, others and the equipment
S= Sports Etiquette & Fair play

Example of Wall of Fame for “Sportivité”

En français:
S= Sportivité
P= Participation Active
O= On reste concentré(e)s
R= Respectez vous, les autres et l’équipement
T= Tentez votre mieux








Here are the posters I made to hang up in the gym in black & white PDF (click to download):

SharedFolderAnd here’s the Google Drive shared folder:

Vedettes du S.P.O.R.T Posters FOLDER


Welcome to! Here’s to a new adventure!

Here goes nothing! After several years of blogging for an audience of mostly parents of my students via school-wide and classroom blogs, today begins my new adventure with a new audience: TEACHERS!

My goal is to share, inspire and to make teachers a little more geeky through my Ed Tech tips, tricks and resources. 

Welcome and thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoy my new blog!


Geekily yours,

That day in 2009 when I got my first Smartboard…

{Previously posted on on old my classroom blog in 2009. I wanted to keep this little throwback to my first real step into the EdTech world…What a ride it’s been since the Principal at Dewson invested in me and my vision for technology & education!}

Here are a few photos of the new addition to our classroom–the SMARTBOARD. This new teaching technology will be shared with the other classes on the 2nd floor throughout the year. Ask your child about it, it’s amazing!!!!!
IMG_1977 IMG_1973