Th3 3d 6log

Words, words, words.

Google Classroom

Over the course of this semester, my pod for EDCI 336 (Dechen, Sophia, Danielle and I) have been developing our EdTech resource within Google Classroom. Our primary focus was to take a look at virtual classrooms (Google’s own in particular) and the best practices to use in order to make them work for teachers, students, and parents. Also however, by developing the resource on Google Classroom we were able to play around with the platform, get used to the interface, and practice sharing information in a clear manner. If you’d like to check out the classroom, you can here. In order to gain access you’ll need to enter the classroom code: r7afbme.

Galaxy Song

Hey Y’all,

Another cover of an educational song this week. This time, the ‘Galaxy Song’ by Monty Python. This song does a great job of explaining our small size in comparison to the enormity of our universe. It does so in a rather whimsical manner as well, although I did have to alter a couple of the ruder words. I tried to make the balance a little better on this one, hopefully it worked. You might notice a couple of harmonic errors but I guess that’s all part of the performance. Hope you enjoy!

Coding in Education

This week in EDCI 336, we had Rich McCue come in to talk with us about coding in education. In our increasingly digitized world, it’s important that we teach students not only technological literacy but also about the systems on which computers run. Teaching students the basics of coding will help students better understand how computers work and may instill a passion for computer science. It also is wonderful for developing critical thinking skills. On this basis, I believe teaching students the basics of coding has value in and of itself.

Of course however, with the way our curriculum is currently designed, further justification for covering these skills may be asked for. Thankfully, coding offers almost limitless cross-curricular ties do to its creative nature. Rich showed us examples of coding projects where students explored different curricular areas such as a study of equity vs. equality. The project I tried was Scratch (found here: This browser-based program allows students to code with a drag and drop style coding language. It’s colour coded, fairly intuitive, and a great introduction to coding. The site offers hundreds of tutorials and example projects.

After completing the short introductory tutorial I chose a tutorial for animating names. You can see my final product in the GIF above (hopefully). The tutorial made it really clear how to select the correct sprites to spell my name and select the background. The tutorial was also great at showing me how to change the colour of the letters. The mechanism used to change the colour is the same as the other adjustments, you simply select the variable (colour, twist, fisheye, rotation, etc.). One thing the tutorial did not make clear however was the looping process. In order to make a continuous animation, the variable change must be repeated or looped. I had to do a bit of problem solving to figure out how to get what I wanted to happen into code. This problem solving is well within the capabilities of most middle schoolers. I will likely want to provide additional support for some students however, especially younger ones. Overall however, I believe this tutorial is a great way to introduce students to the language. From there we could go in a number of directions. As far as I can tell at this point, Scratch is best used to create either animations or interactive games. Whilst I’m still in the early stages of exploring this tool. I’m already beginning to think of ways I could use this tool in relation to the curriculum and am excited to explore more.

Game-based Learning

This week in EDCI 336, we had local middle-school teacher and gaming expert Heidi James come in to talk to us. She showed us some of the ways she’s been using Minecraft in the class to teach competencies. My thoughts about gaming in learning, prior to the presentation, were rather traditional in that I saw it as a tool to engage students through competition and/or virtual rewards. However, Heidi’s presentation got me thinking about the ways in which gaming worlds can be used to explore topics in new ways (rather than simply be a motivating addition to regular teaching).

This is of importance given the unit planning I am currently undertaking for practicum. I’ve been informed that I’ll be teaching geometry to a Grade 6 class at Monterey Middle School. In spite of its blockiness (or perhaps because of it), Minecraft offers a way for students to create, manipulate, and explore geometry. Its blocks offer a simple unit whereby students can calculate the perimeter, area, and volume of their creations. In this scenario, Minecraft is more than simply an alluring coat of paint on a geometry lesson, it is a whole new means by which to interact with and understand geometry. I believe math is a subject in which students can flourish when they are allowed to tactilely discover, and one that causes many struggles when abstracted too much for real life. Although I am still in the initial stages of planning, I want my lessons to relate real-world examples of using geometry such as architecture. Minecraft seems to offer the perfect setting for such learning, however my experience with the game (especially in an educational mode) is limited. I hope to explore more the ways I can use tools like Minecraft in this unit and others. I’m starting to see a lot of possibilities here and I’m excited to learn more.

It Don’t Matter Who’s First in Line

Hey Y’all,

This past week I’ve been listening to the playlist of educational songs I posted and one tune in particular caught my ear. So I decided to upload a little version of ‘It don’t matter who’s first in line’ by The Tallest Kid in the World. You can check out the original here. This tune has a catchy melody and a useful (much needed) message for kids. I will definitely be taking some prompts from this tune when writing my own songs. More importantly though, this was a fun exercise in learning an educational song by ear and performing it; something I hope to be doing more of in the future.

Hope you enjoy!

Inquiry, Innovation, and Technology

Hey ya’ll,

Time for another reflection. This past week we had Jeff Hopkins come present to and chat with our class in EDCI 336. Jeff is the founder and principal of the Pacific Institute of Innovation and Inquiry (PSII) whose website can be found here. Side note: that’s the first time I’ve ever created a hyperlink, hopefully it works. PSII is a high school in Victoria that, as the name suggests, uses Inquiry as the primary tool to get students engaged in subject matter. They are guided by their teachers and inquiry tools found here (Did it again!). PSII programs lessons and activities around students current inquiries. Opt-in classes allow students to choose what they feel will best serve their learning. The nature of inquiry means that students at PSII are engaging in cross-curricular content in a meaningful way they can relate to. Learning here is supposed to be fun, engaging, thought-provoking, and student-led. This to me sounds like effective learning. The type of learning I would hope to engage my future students in.

Unfortunately, there are hurdles to this type of learning in the traditional public school system. Inquiry benefits greatly if the structures to support students are already in place. This means support from the school, in the classroom (across classes), and at home. Depending on the district you’re working in, it could be that you face resistance or lack of support for this type of learning. PSII is a private school that parents opt-in to, it may be that you face challenges from home as well. The area you do have control over is your classroom and teaching. Fortunately, in BC teachers have a great deal of autonomy and inquiry-based learning can and has been done in public schools. It would be wise to harness technology in the classroom to further inquiry. In our digital age, students can now have access to a wealth of information across inumerable subject areas, perfect for inquiry. Getting regular access to devices in classrooms can be tricky, especially without support from the district, but will undoubtedly better serve students.

Perhaps the largest hurdle to inquiry-based learning in public schools is that students have typically been learning in a traditional way for years. Inquiry presents a lot of choice and this can often be overwhelming for students. Scaffolding will go a long way to help here, likely a lot more than PSII students are receiving. I think for myself, as a new teacher, I’d try to incorporate inquiry-based learning on a smaller scale at first. For example, a couple of units throughout the year. For as much students are learning to conduct inquiry as they go along, I will be learning how to facilitate it best. I see a lot of potential for inquiry-based learning in my classroom and hopefully my forays into this world will be validating.





Educational Song Playlist

Hello everyone!

This week for my inquiry into educational songs, I have created a Spotify playlist with a variety of songs. I also figured out how to make the playlist work on this blog (hopefully, let me know if it works for you!). This week I’ll be listening to these songs and paying attention to commonalities and differences. I’ll be focusing on the compositional and performative aspects to try to figure out what makes a good educational song (and in some cases what makes a bad one). Most of the songs in this playlist have garnered a significant number of plays. Popularity is only one indicator of a successful song but it’s a place to start. Later on in my inquiry, I hope to take a look at what makes a song an effective learning tools. Give some of these songs a listen if you get the chance.

See you next week!

Copyright and Creative Commons

Hey everyone!

This week in EDCI 336 we’ve been taking a look at copyright, licensing, and public domain. As educators we often use and distribute resources for teaching. This makes it important that we understand rules around copyright so that we can both use materials legally and protect our own resources. This is an area I personally feel the need to learn more about. In order to get started, I’ve tied this area in with my free inquiry to take a look at copyright regarding songs. For my inquiry I plan on sharing, performing, and writing songs. Before doing so, I need to make sure I’m educated about licensing.

To start off, I took a look at rules regarding playing a song for my class. To make things easier, I focused just on Canadian copyright law. Unfortunately, things immediately get complicated. As applied to music, there are six clearly defined types of rights: reproduction, public performance, distribution, digital transmission, public display, and derivatives. These are generally applied to two types of property: musical work (composition of music and lyrics) and sound recording. If I wanted to publically play a recording of a song, say “Je suis une pizza” by Charlotte Diamond, I would likely need get permission and pay the appropriate fees. Thankfully, there are fair use exceptions that will allow me to more easily share songs with my students. Fair use laws are rather complicated and certainly up to interpretation. Given this, the below comments are generally accepted (and my own) interpretations of fair use but I would strongly suggest researching copyright law independently. As far as I can tell, I would be allowed to play a recording of a song for educational purposes. I would also be able to perform the song for/with the class for educational purposes. I would not however, be able to profit of such performances and recordings of them without going through the normal procedures.

In regards to posting of music on this blog, I must look towards rules regarding distribution. If I wanted to share a recording of “Je suis une pizza” on the blog, I would not be able to upload say an MP3 of the file on my blog. I would however, be able to link readers to a place to purchase the recording or legally listen to it through streaming services such as Spotify. I could even insert a Spotify widget into the blog and have you listen to the recording on the site while ensuring the copyright holder(s) receive royalties. Now, if I wanted to cover the song and upload it onto the site this would be generally be acceptable as long as I am not profiting off of said recording. I could not however, post a musical or lyrical transcription without getting the permission of the copyright holder(s).

Finally, I plan to write, record, and share my own songs on this blog. I hope to make it as easy as possible for educators to share this material with the students if they would like. In order to do so, I will create Creative Commons Licenses. These types of licenses allow me to retain copyright of my intellectual property whilst making clear the ways in which I allow others to use my work. In order to make it as easy as possible for teachers to use my work I will likely create a CC-BY-NC license for works. This license allows users to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format for noncommercial purposes only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator. This should make any use of my songs within the classroom easy and acceptable.

It’s been a journey reading through copyright law but I feel much more confident about when and how I can share music with my students. I need to read further into copyright law for other mediums but need a break from this realm for now. I will check back about this subject when I go through the process of creating licenses.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading!



Bethune, Aaron. 2013. Musicpreneur: the creative approach to making money in music.

When we share, everyone wins

Getting Started



As part of my requirements for EDCI 336, I’ll be undertaking an inquiry project and posting progress here on this blog. I’ve decided to take this opportunity to look into an area of teaching that excites me: educational songs. Despite being a music teacher for many years, I’ve seldom used songs to teach concepts. As I prepare to become an elementary school teacher, I want to work on what I think could be a valuable asset as an educator. I’ll be learning songs, looking at what makes them useful to students, and finally attempting to write some of my own. I’m really excited to start this journey and look forward to updating you on my progress.

See you soon!

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