Most important things need to go first. Some of our most vulnerable community members lost everything in a fire early Friday morning. This is a community my husband and I have been actively involved in for over 6 years now and there are past students of both Karley and I who have been affected. Please help in any way that you can: Go Fund Me for financial support and Quadra Village Community Centre for donations and in person contributions. We thank you for supporting these precious, resilient, young hearts that need us right now.

The GAFE (Google Apps for Education) Summit Victoria was this weekend…


Wow! What can I say? I went into this weekend expecting to be inspired and ready to have more tools to bring into my classroom to increase student engagement. This happened, but something else happened too…

Heart. Karley and I say this all the time but this is heart work. The centre of everything we do, in our classrooms/studios and here on the blog, is our hearts. This weekend was so full of heart. Connections with friends and people I met for the first time. Relationships with students remaining the centre of everything we do. Technology supports our practice: it increases engagement, accessibility, and output.

But it is our heart that will always be the most important part of what we do.

It is really hard to sum up this weekend in words so I thought I would give you the key things that stood our to me from some of the sessions and keynotes. I’m happy to give more details about anything (ask in the comments).

Rushton Hurley
Keynote: Singing Songs to Success

  • What if that limitation is a source of strength for that student?
  • Favourite new word: Omoluabi (The omoluabi concept signifies courage, hard work, humility and respect)
  • If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong – today we are going to try something new!

Brad Cunningham
Session: GAFE and Indigenous Ways of Knowing

  • We have only been learning in schools for 200 years, how were people learning before this?
  • We need to acknowledge these other ways of learning.
  • We need to make explicit connections between what we are doing and how it connects to Indigenous Ways of Knowing
  • Decolonize assessment: start with where a student wants to get to and coach them along the way to get there

Read&Write for Google Chrome
Session from Will Lewis at TextHelp

  • Capabilities: Speech to text, text to speech, picture dictionary, word prediction, simplifying text, highlighting while it reads, and the list goes on!
  • If you aren’t familiar with Read&Write this is one you need to get ready to use – It will change things for your students

Mike Jackson
Session: Using Peardeck as a Student Response

  • This Chrome Add-on allows for instant feedback with a question and response system
  • You can using drawing, written, true/false, continuum, number line, etc.

Trevor MacKenzie
Session: Dive into Inquiry

  • The four stages of inquiry: Structured, Controlled, Guided and Free
  • Teach the students the skills and build up to the free inquiry
  • Start with a question and structured inquiry can happen all the time
  • Honouring questions in students: as simple as having a question jar and then work together to help students find ways to answer questions
  • If you aren’t familiar with Trevor’s work you need to read his book!
    (We will do a book review here soon)

Holly Clark
Sessions: The Right Question and Digging Deeper into The Right Question

  • Based on: “A More Beautiful Question” and “Make Just One Change”
  • Getting students to generate a list of questions based on a question focus that inspires students
  • Question focus needs to be: it has a clear focus, it isn’t a question, it provokes and stimulates new lines of thinking, doesn’t reveal teacher preference or bias
  • Students write down as many questions as they can without stopping to answer or judge questions
  • Discuss open/close questions and then work to change questions from open to closed, or closed to open
  • Resource: The Right Question Institute

Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt
Session: Setting Learning Intentions Based on the Spirit of Alliances
*You may remember this amazing teacher and friend of mine from this guest post

  • Rebecca uses the Spirit of Alliances (from our district’s Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement) to have her kindergarten class set learning intentions each day
  • This practice truly imbeds Aboriginal education and First Nations culture into the everyday classroom in a remarkable way
  • I am so inspired to try this in middle school (another blog post will be coming soon!)

Donnie Piercey
Session: Google Classroom: An Advanced Guide

  • How to use Google Classroom to support what you are already doing in the classroom with questions, discussions, and assignments
  • Rubrics attached to assignments (I don’t know about you but this is what I’ve been waiting for ever since I started with Google Classroom!)

Tracy Poelzer
Closing Keynote: Overcoming the Imposter

  • This is the session that everyone needs to hear at the end of all amazing learning
  • Don’t compare yourself to others, don’t let your brain tell you that you aren’t good enough, and spread joy and kindess
  • Tell yourself “I AM a teacher, I AM enough, and I am a really BIG DEAL!”

Okay that’s all I can bring myself to put into words right now. Please ask questions in the comments and if you were at GAFE I would love to hear some reviews and key points from other sessions!