Learning Flipgrid

In my last post I celebrated my success of getting Flipgrid set up, creating a group and adding my students. Today was another success as my students were able to add their first videos. They were able to login independently, use their headphones to record their video, and watch other students’ videos.

In the coming days, I look forward to figuring out how to share our videos with @Farris0120‘s class. I also look forward to watching their videos. I know I still have much more Flipgrid to learn.

Day 1

Day 1 is in the books!

My starting weight is 194.1 lbs. I will get some neck, waist, and hip measurements tomorrow. I have the myfitnesspal app programmed to lose 1 pound per week. This translates to eating 2120 calories per day, and expending 1280 calories per week.

Today I consumed 1612 calories and burned 462 calories stationary biking. At this rate I am going to run out of energy very quickly. I have learned already that I can eat more than I ate today. There is no doubt that I will burn way more than 1280 calories per week through exercise. That number will be over 2000 for sure, not including the walking and working out I do with the kids daily at school.

I feel good about my day (except for being hungry and craving junk food haha). I feel that I am off to a good start!

The Plan

I begin my personal wellness project tomorrow, and I have to say I am actually quite excited about it. In the next two-three months I hope to establish some new lifestyle habits that will improve my quality of living. While one of my goals is to lose 8-10 pounds, my main focus is on improving my eating habits.

The myfitnesspal site/app seems to be a pretty slick tool. Both the food and exercise sections have a full library of foods and activities that simply allow you to select and add them to your daily lists. It calculates caloric intakes and expenditures for daily and weekly periods. It also generates daily caloric intake targets and weekly expenditure targets to assist you in meeting your pre-determined goals.

My nutrition goals are to eat more fruits and vegetables, focus on portion control, and reduce the amount of snacking that I do, which will in turn help me reduce the number of sugary foods that I eat. My diet as it currently is is not really that bad, but replacing morning cereal with fruit, yogurt, and granola is one simple way to improve it. Also, bringing only healthy food to school for lunch and snacks will force me to eat healthy during the day. Night will be my most challenging time as it is when I snack most often. Not buying snack foods, and sheer will power will have to get me through the evenings.

I have always been very active and diligent with my exercise habits. Work, completing my masters, and a two-year-old have made that more difficult. This project will force me to workout diligently to ensure that I am meeting my weekly caloric expenditure goals. The exercise routine that I envision is:

Sunday – muscular strength

Monday – aerobic

Tuesday – rest day

Wednesday – muscular strength

Thursday – yoga

Friday – aerobic

Saturday – aerobic

Aerobic exercises will consist of mainly running as long as the weather allows, along with stationary cycling. Muscular strength exercises will be mainly body weight and abdominal workouts. Yoga is something that will be new to me, but I think I will experience the most significant gains from it. I hope it helps my strength and flexibility. I plan to use some virtual workouts through youtube and other apps for many of my workouts. I will post them as I use them.

As tomorrow is my first official day, I will be posting my baseline stats and my progress for the day.

Welcome to Flipgrid!

Friday was an exciting day for my Grade 3/4 Health class and I. It was our first attempt at using Flipgrid. For most of you this is going to sound silly because you are much more familiar with and comfortable using virtual learning platforms. Today I was able to add all students to our group, they were able to log-in, and I was able to demonstrate how to create an introductory video. This was a huge victory for all of us, especially me. We are now setup and ready to create our introductory videos to meet our new friends in @Farris0120‘s classroom. Hopefully tomorrow night I will be making another post celebrating the first video posts of my students.

A Switch in Focus

I had previously written about a project that @Farris0120 and I had planned. While our classrooms will still be coordinating and working on many of the goals of that project, I have decided to complete a personal project as my main focus. I was having difficulty nailing down a specific focus for my initial project idea. While I see significant value in exploring blogging and virtual connections, I don’t foresee my teaching timetable providing my with ample time to explore it fully and properly with my students. I also would like to improve my own knowledge base before beginning a journey that large with students. With that said, Lynnette and I do still intend to do many virtual activities with our students. Hopefully they can establish some connections. I intend to continue blogging some of my learnings and experiences throughout this process.

Now, on to the new project:

Schitts Creek Comedy GIF by CBC - Find & Share on GIPHY

I live a fairly healthy lifestyle and am always conscious of taking care of my body. However, I have always known there is room for improvement. I have always had some changes I would like to make in mind, but have never found the motivation to do it. This class project presents the opportunity I have been looking for.

My two main goals are going to be to improve my eating habits, (particularly eating more fruits and vegetables and cutting out some sweets/snacks), and losing 8-10 pounds.

I am going to use the website/app myfitnesspal to help me on my journey. The app will allow me to track my caloric intake and expenditure. More info. on the app will follow in my next post.

I will provide weekly updates on my progress (including data analysis based on my caloric intake/expenditure, weight loss progress, challenges and successes), and will also be completing a weekly wellness reflection to describe any changes in how my body feels.

I am excited about this project as it is something I am passionate about and I will have motivation knowing that it will improve my health and lifestyle. More details will be forthcoming as I prepare to begin my journey on Monday, September 27.

Who Am I?

A Professional:

  • Currently a Vice-Principal in the Regina Catholic School Division
  • In my 13th year of teaching

A Learner:

  • Completing my Masters of Education in Educational Leadership
  • EC&I 832 is my second class outside of the EDL strand
  • Learning about social media and technology is pushing me outside of my comfort zone

A Family Man:

  • The best part of my day is coming home to my wife and two year old son

A Co-(Ad)Venture

I have often been the guy that has marveled at how others use technology in their classroom. Always watching from the fringes with trepidation and a lack of confidence that I did not have the skills, imagination, or creativity to incorporate it into my own teaching. Well, I still lack the confidence, I don’t have the skills (yet!), I don’t have enough imagination to even bring myself to watch Star Wars (no I have never seen any of them!), and my creativity is questionable at the best of times. But the time has come….to dive in head first….and hope it turns out a little better than this:

fat diving GIF

The last year of pandemic learning has brought educators many challenges, but has also allowed us to explore new horizons. It has opened our eyes to new ways of learning and creating connections. Technology in education is here to stay.

Online learning was difficult for teachers and students because of the lost face to face relationships. There is no doubt that teachers want our students in the building (particularly in an elementary setting where I teach), and a huge majority of students and parents feel the same way. Teaching and learning just aren’t the same when comparing being in the same room vs. being on a computer screen. But what if we explore the connections that can be made in a virtual setting? Can students form connections with other students they haven’t met before? Can students teach and learn from each other via online platforms? If viewed through a different lens, can we turn the potential positives of technology into valuable personal and educational experiences? This is exactly what @Farris0120 and I are seeking to discover.

Using my Grade 3/4 and her Grade 4 Health classrooms, we are setting out to make some personal connections while also learning some valuable social media and technology skills. While our ideas are fluid and will evolve as our project progresses, below is a summary of our plans so far:

Purpose: To explore the use of technology and social media to teach each other and establish connections between students in different schools in a common school community. Students will develop skills that enable them to understand the positive power of social media and technology as a personal and educational tool, that can foster relationships and friendships via asynchronous and synchronous communication.  We will use ‘real time’ communication on Microsoft Teams as well as personal video logs via Flipgrid, as a way of sharing with each other, teaching, and responding to peers, including the following –

*Virtual Teams meetings between classrooms.

*Student Teaching and Responding to Blog Posts – both written and recorded video

*Classes/Individuals will teach a lesson/share information.

*Analysis of the effectiveness of both written and oral communication, via technology.

Curricular Ties

– Health 3.2 Inner Self

– Health 3.4 Families

– Health 4.3 Relationships

Our ultimate goal is to teach children that open communication via technology can foster relationships beyond the digital world and can be a valuable learning tool.  Presenting social media and open communication in a positive way can affect how students will view and use technology in the future and potentially trigger the desire to create and maintain a healthy digital footprint.  While students will be learning about digital tools and communication they will be teaching their peers, albeit virtually, and sharing ideas that they can relate to, understand, and learn.

As this is my first venture into this world, I am both excited and nervous. I am excited to learn and hope our students can learn as much as I know I will.

Social Media: Good? Bad? Both?


having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone.

When describing my relationship with social media, I can’t think of a better word than ambivalent.  While I value the many positive and neat ways it can be used to communicate, learn, and educate, I can’t seem to ignore the negative aspects and the way it has changed our lives and world.

My activity on social media is also somewhat ambivalent.  While I browse Twitter and facebook daily, I have not posted on facebook in at least ten years and have sent one tweet in my life.  I appreciate the opportunity to follow what friends and family are up to and enjoy following sites and accounts that interest me.  However, I don’t feel the need to post details about my own life.  I value my privacy (and don’t feel that I’m exciting enough for others to want to follow!).

I see social media and technology being used in so many great ways in educational settings.  The access to information that kids have at their fingertips is something I longed for in my elementary school days.  There is no doubt that many sites and platforms offer great learning opportunities for all different types of learners.  I am hoping this class can kickstart my personal motivation to learn and implement more technology into my own teaching.  Working with an EC&I 831 classmate, we have plans for a project that will allow our kids to interact and learn using digital platforms such as Seesaw and blogging sites.

I sometime wrestle with technology’s place in education.  The world is heading in a direction where these skills are becoming increasingly necessary, but are they coming at the cost of basic skills?  Where is the balance between learning to read/hand write/develop basic math skills, and relying on technology to do it instead?  Are we becoming too reliant on technology just because it can help, or are we allowing students to experience success they may not have achieved otherwise?  Lots of questions, lots of great answers on both sides of the argument.

My two largest grievances with technology and social media are how we have allowed it to take over our lives and how it has allowed for the spread of misinformation.  I am guilty of being attached to my phone.  I feel naked without it and must force myself to put it away.  Even when I do I find myself wanting to check it to see if I have received any texts, emails, or sports alerts.  I need to do a better job of setting it aside and being more present in other parts of life.  As for misinformation, look at the situation we find our world in right now.  We are so divided.  Social media, technology, and the spread of misinformation bears a lot of this blame.  I tell my students all the time that they need to think for themselves.  Look at issues from all sides, check the facts, then decide on what you believe.  Unfortunately, too many adults in our world can’t do this and set a bad example for kids.