HONOR the CREATOR – Course 5 Project Reflection



Here is my reflective video explaining the HONOR THE CREATOR Unit.  I taught this unit to Grade 7 MYP Design students.



The main purpose of this unit is for students to have a better understanding of copyright, fair use, and Creative Commons.  After learning more about these concepts, students create a music video to honor the original creators of the songs they used.  Students produced a variety of music videos, mostly they, either:

1. Created their own visuals (photography/video) to go with a Creative Commons song.

2. Used Creative Commons visuals (photography/video) to go with a Creative Commons song.

3. Used Fair Use to remix/mash-up copyrighted media.


Here is my unit planner.


Here are some examples of student work:

Masao’s Rhapsody in Blue Tokyo Mix

Melanie’s Video using Pop Danthology 2014

Shala’s Orange Love Music Video

Jules’ Pop Stop Motion Video

Jessie’s Video on Exploring Japan in Seasons

Ohmey’s “Am I Wrong” Video

Hina’s Video for April Showers

Overall, the unit was a great success.  I feel like the unit challenged both me and the kids.  We had some great conversations and there were endless STOP – Teachable MOMENTS!  I had a lot of questions I had to talk my way through – so many covers and lipdubs done on YouTube that aren’t pulled down, even though they seem to violate Fair Use.  In the end, I say that it is up to the original creator, in the end, it promotes their music too.  This is a really great resource I found after the unit, that I’ll use next year to promote more discussions.

As I assessed the videos, it was easy to see that most kids really “got it” – and a few kids I needed to check in with more.   Overall, most students earned a higher achievement level on this project than they did on the previous two design projects this year.

I wish I asked some students to share their final videos with the musician that created the music to begin with (where possible)- some of the kids created great music videos for these artists.  I’m thinking that I can create a resource of how to share their work – as all of this sharing is optional (next year).

I look forward to hearing your feedback.  I struggled to get everything into a 10-minute video, but I got most of the important things in it.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how my COETAIL colleagues’ final projects went, as well, over the next few weeks!


Reflecting and Presenting

Photo Credit: aguscr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: aguscr via Compfight cc

As I start to put together my final product presentation to share with my cohort, I realize that I have so much (too much?) to say for a 10 minute video, so I want to reflect in 3 different ways for Course 5 and the end of COETAIL:

1. My original plan for the Course 5 project: Bringing the Responsible Use Policy to Life.

2. Honor the Creator Unit (a 7th grade Design Unit) which students learn more about copyright, Creative Commons and Fair Use.

3. My COETAIL reflections – How’s it’s changed me and my teaching and learning.


I plan to do all of these in the next month or so, however, after reading through our assessment criteria or feedback form, I decided that the Honor the Creator Unit is a much better unit to present in the ten minutes allotted.  I feel it really shows how COETAIL and an authentic use of technology really enhanced my teaching and my students’ and my learning.  Since there is also a final product to the unit and assessment, I think that this suits the expectation of how I will receive feedback.

I feel like I’ve done a good job on teaching the components of the RUP to our community, but it’s on-going and a bit harder to present for Course 5.

So, hopefully, I’ll be posting my movie reflection for Course 5 in the near future, with the other two reflections coming in the following weeks.


Video Project Feedback Form

My 7th graders are finishing up their “Honor the Creator” videos this week.

The purpose of this project is for students to create a music video which shows that they understand Copyright, Fair Use and/or Creative Commons.  I am looking for their knowledge and understanding of these concepts and their video production and editing skills.

I have found that they often struggle in getting objective feedback of their projects to use when they reflect and write their evaluations and test their specifications, so I’ve created a model for them to use.

What do you think?

I want to tell the kids that they have to have at least 20 people evaluate their projects.   At least half of these people must be outside of their Design class.

Anyone interested in sharing some of the videos with their students?

I’m really struggling with whether I should keep the feedback form anonymous or not.  Should evaluators have to register their name?  Will this impact the feedback?  Will it prevent kids from evaluating their own product multiple times?

Any thoughts on this?

Responsible Use In Japanese 日本語


My final project has taken some unexpected twists and turns in the past month.  I think this is why I love “teaching technology” and why it’s so exciting to be a teacher in the 21st century.  As most of us know, it’s important to teach, explore, talk about issues, concerns, and opportunities that are occurring RIGHT NOW.  So, this often means I have a great idea or read an article at 10 PM and then I plan a lesson before bed, then develop it over my morning coffee, and deliver it a few hours later.  And the cycle repeats.

First off, a few months ago, a company in Japan, CA Tech Kids, came to visit our school.  We were looking for ways to develop our programming curriculum and provide opportunities for our students outside of school and they offer workshops all over Japan for programming and gaming/app creation.  The elementary tech coordinator at my school spent all day hosting CA Tech Kids, showing them what we do at Canadian Academy and how we integrate technology.  I spent an hour with them that day, sharing student work and how I use technology to enhance my instruction.  They were particularly interested in how my students and I use social media in my classroom and they were also intrigued by our Responsible Use Policy.  These are two things that are presently not very common in Japanese schools.

To make a long story short, they invited my colleague, Kae Shigeta, and I to present last weekend and be a part of their panel discussion on technology and programming in education.


It was an amazing experience.  My Japanese is not up to par to present (that’s a bit of an understatement) , so Kae had a massive part in our presentation – not only presenting her own examples but translating all of mine too!  She is really helping make our Responsible Use Policy reach more people in our local community than I could have imagined.  Since we had limited time to share, we decided to focus on: Communicator & Balanced.

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 10.07.58 PM

Balance by carolynprncss via Flickr

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 10.07.39 PM

Gloomy Hard at Work by Inga Pylypiuk via Flickr Creative Commons

I think the most valuable parts of this presentation were:

1. The Responsible Use Policy is partially translated into Japanese !!!  (We only focused on parts of it because we only had 30 minutes and we gave examples of how we were teaching/embodying the attributes in our classes).  I am asking students to help me translate the rest (both the document and the presentations), and I’ll ask Kae to proofread it in the end.  This will be a great resource to our community.

2. Kae and I carved out a lot of time to brainstorm, design and create the presentation and then revise it.  We both have heavy teaching loads, so this doesn’t happen as much as we’d like, so it was fantastic.  She’s an amazing colleague to work with.  It also made us really think about our digital citizenship articulation – where we are and where we need to go.

Presenting or Singing Karaoke?

Presenting or Singing Karaoke?

3. Presenting in-tandem English/Japanese added another whole interesting layer to our presentation.  I have never presented like that and it was a bit tricky.  I didn’t want to read straight from cards, but I didn’t want Kae to have to work extra hard to translate my off script tangents, either.  Not knowing the audience (about 100 Japanese parents/teachers from the area), was really difficult too.  Japanese audiences are often taciturn, so it’s hard when you are speaking to a group and not getting much feedback from them.

4. The owner of CA TECH Kids, Tomohiro Ueno, at the end of the presentation, said he really was impressed with our Responsible Use Policy and he wants to create one for his company.  He not only has professionals in his company, but he also “employs” interns from the top technology universities in the area and they work with thousands of students per year.

5. The Japanese government is starting to publish a lot of press releases lately about technology in schools, primarily programming and the use of iPads.  In general, Japanese schools are behind the times with their technology with little to no technology resources/instruction for most public schools.  One of the concerns is that the government is paying for devices for schools, but there is no real curriculum or professional development structure to support the teaching and learning.  There were a few teachers in the audience and it was great to hear their perspectives.  I think it would be a great opportunity for us to share with schools in our area.


Overall, this was a fantastic experience.  Kae and I have talked about doing this again possibly for teachers at the Apple Store in Osaka, as they often have teacher nights and allow for presentations.

And now, this again leaves me with these thoughts – I love how connected I am with so many different people.  This truly is the spirit of teaching and using your PLN.  This idea was started as a project between Katy, Ju and I and now has become so much more.  And, it keeps growing.  There seems to be more opportunities to share and grow,  every time I stop and listen to teachers, students and parents around me.

Next post, I will be back to reflecting on what’s going on with my students:

How is the implementation of the Responsible Use Policy impacting them and our community?

Parental Control

Good Listening

Listening Intently

The past three weeks I have been focusing on PARENTS as a part of my Course 5 COETAIL project.  My goal is to make our Responsible Use Policy more than just a document on our website and more than a document our students only review once per year, in homeroom on the first day of school.

First, I had an evening session with the parents. My Middle School Tech Leaders, who are a fantastic, articulate bunch of kids who struggle with technology some days, but truly embody our RUP and extend their learning (and life) with their digital devices, helped plan and lead the event.

Parent-Student Fishbowl

Parent-Student Fishbowl

In this first session, How Can We Foster Responsible Digital Citizenship, I shared what we are doing at school and reviewed the Responsible Use Policy that was developed under the lens of the IB Learner Profile.


Next, I shared the Balance Activities I did with my grade 7 & 8 students.  Parents were shocked and fascinated by the results.

photo 3 photo 5photo 4


But, I think the most powerful part of the night was the fishbowl activity.  I started with this quote from To Kill a Mockingbird:


Students started talking, some timidly at first, about how they struggle with technology, what they wished their parents understood about technology and how technology has made them better learners.

Seriously, they were amazing.

They were empowered by sharing their knowledge and opinions and the parents just sat there and listened.

Photo Credits: CATV

Photo Credits: CATV

Then, it was the parents turn.  They were as equally brave and honest in our mixed group setting.  One of the last moms who spoke started to cry, “I have failed my son.  I let him tell me he was finished with homework while he played video games and his grades dropped…”

That mom got a lot off her chest and I think it was great for everyone in the room to hear.  In the overall culture of our community, most people are stoic.  Some people voice their opinions, but rarely do we hear one of such frustration and sadness.  It was great for the other parents, students and teachers to hear.

I’m hoping the parents were thinking, “Wow, I’m not alone.”  I hope the kids were thinking “Wow, she really loves her son.  Our parents want what’s best for us, but they struggle too.”

It was touching, when I saw two moms walk up to this mom, who is fairly new to our community, and hand her their phone numbers on little ripped pieces of scratch paper from their purses. They told her they could empathize with her.  They both have sons a bit older than her son and they have gone through some rough patches, but in the end, their sons have gotten through it all (and are using their digital devices more responsibly).

We tied up the night with the “What Nows?”.

This week, while the middle school students are further north in Japan on the ski trip, I am offering Parent Tech University for parents.

Today was my first day of these parents sessions and it went well.  I was actually fairly anxious about the session.

I love teaching kids.  I know my students well.  It’s a bit harder teaching parents, especially when it comes to technology.  I am empathetic, and I hope they understand that, even though my children are much younger than theirs.

I want to help, but sometimes I don’t always agree with their strategies or philosophies on technology and expectations, so it’s challenging.  They are sometimes anxious and embarrassed about their tech knowledge and skills.  They don’t always freely ask questions like their inquiring children have been taught to do through the PYP and MYP programs.  But, in the end, I learned and they learned, and I feel it is opening up communication more and forging a more open relationship between parents and teachers.

My purpose for these sessions is to empower the parents.  I want them to feel more in control of their child’s tech use.  I really think the message I want to send to parents is to “Be Aware“.  I want them to know what their kids are doing.  I want them to set realistic boundaries and learn from their children.  I want my students and their parents to be able to talk about/share technology rather than argue about it.

Now, I need to reflect more about where I’m “going to go” with the parents.  I already have a meeting time in April  to speak with upcoming 6th grade parents about technology in the middle school.

Does anyone out there have regular tech sessions with their parents?  Is it monthly?  Do the topics follow the students’ curriculum?  Are the topics voted on/requested by parents?

Feedback is appreciated!

1620889_755443187800882_1800830535_n (1)This picture from the Parent Tech Night cracks me up.  We had a high school student from CATV – our student run media production group – take pictures.  I look crazed talking about our Responsible Use Policy.  And, of course, it was up on our school’s Facebook page within a day of the event.  I’m wondering what the parents who didn’t attend were thinking.  I wish I looked more passionate and a little less crazy:/


Improving my Honor the Creator Unit – The COETAIL Effect

Photo Credit: qthomasbower via Compfight cc

As a part of my COETAIL Final Project, I’ve decided to improve my Honor the Creator Unit, which I’m currently teaching to my Grade 7 MYP Design students.  The purpose of this unit is for my students to have a better understanding of the media they use, use it appropriately, and gain a better understanding of what it means to be a designer/creator in the digital world.

Last year, I taught this as an interdisciplinary unit with our librarian and the students created book trailers.  They used Creative Commons and their own media and we shared the book trailers through their YouTube accounts and on a loop in the library.  It was a successful unit, but this year my students are different.  They really wouldn’t love making book trailers.   Unfortunately, I wouldn’t say they were a class of readers and I needed to hook them in a different way.

At the beginning of the new year, NPR shares many “Best of” lists and I saw one on my Facebook feed: NPR’s Music 12 Favorite Music Videos of 2013.  That’s when I had an AHA! moment.  This class is really into social media and watching endless YouTube videos and sharing them.  So I changed the task a bit and added in more content that I have become more comfortable with after Course 2 of COETAIL.

Here is my Honor the Creator unit planner (sorry I exported it from Atlas Rubicon and the formatting isn’t great).


Improvements/Revisions I made on this Unit from last year:

1. Product change – It is still a video project, so I can continue to develop students pre-production/editing skills in Design class, but I think students can connect better to music videos.

2. Pre-assessment –

VIDEO EDITING: Students had a design challenge to create a video in a one-hour class.  Since they did it in class, I was able to walk around and really see what they were doing.  (Like taking a screencast of a Youtube video to get media – YIKES!)  This also allowed me to see where the kids where and how to prepare differentiated lessons for video editing skills for them.

COPYRIGHT, FAIR USE, CREATIVE COMMONS: This was a very easy “entrance ticket quiz”.  Here are my results.  I’m thinking I can only go UP from here!

I quantified their responses using the following criteria:

3 Deep Understanding, 2 Sufficient Understanding, 1 Minimal Understanding, 0 Incorrect understanding

3. Hook Videos – 

I used the recent copyright issues between GoldieBlox and the Beastie Boys to make it more real-life.  I also showed students Scary Mary and DJ Earmworm’s Mash-up to have them analyze if they are Fair Use (this is modified from a Common Sense Media lesson).

4. The Creative Community – IRL (In Real Life) – 

I asked different creators/a copyright lawyer to share their experiences with copyright/fair use/creative commons.  I had high hopes for this, and got some great responses, but unfortunately with time zones only one could come in and speak to the class, the rest, I had to post on my blog for students to access.

Here are the blogposts I wrote on my class blog:

Design 7 – Video Pre-assessment

Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons

We’re Going To Watch Music Videos All Class

More Inquiry into Music Videos

I’ll keep sharing what is going on in my classroom as it is happening.  I welcome any feedback/ideas for this project.

The Calm Before the Storm: The Beginnings of My Course 5 Final Project Resources

Photo Credit: therangonagin via Compfight cc

On the eve of starting back to school after Winter Break, I’m thinking about my Course 5 project.   In a nutshell, for this project, I want to bring my school’s newly adopted Responsible Use Policy to life.  I have many grand plans for this project and for my middle school. Unfortunately, I am wary of doing it well. I know the craziness of the semester will occur and in the end it may not turn out exactly the way I want it to, but I feel like I have some good ideas and a few good structures in place before school starts tomorrow.

I’ve started planning here and I’ve decided to document this “unit” using the new MYP Next Chapter Planner template.

Here is the document I will be using to keep all the resources together, as you can see, it is organized by the IB Learner Profile.  I came across YIS’s Digital Dragon site for their Digital Citizenship scope and sequence and decided to loosely follow the same format.

I’m very visual (and a planner), so I’ve also created a calendar so I can plan out the semester and activities.

The last thing I have decided – at this point – is to not focus on the whole RUP.  I am of the mind of “do less better” and quality over quantity.  I cannot truly bring the WHOLE Responsible Use Policy to life in the next 4 months well.   I want this program to be sustainable, I want it to build year to year and I want it to be flexible, so as issues arise and when technology/tools change, that this “IB Digital Learner Profile program” can easily change and be modified. I would like it if other IB schools can take this ‘program’ and adapt it to suit the needs of their students and community.

I’m thinking for this project that I will definitely focus on students being BALANCED, COMMUNICATOR, PRINCIPLED, CARING and a THINKER when using technology.  I will develop the other learner profile attribute activities and lessons outside of this project.

The more I plan and reflect about my project, the more I keep thinking…

How does a school know their RUP/Digital Citizenship scope and sequence is good?

How do YOU measure success?

How can I measure success?

As always, I’d love any feedback and suggestions anyone has for my project.  Hearing what other people do at their schools and listening to other perspectives is always helpful.

Course 5 Stirrings: Breathing Life into A Document

Photo Credit: Stuart`Dootson via Compfight cc

I’ve had Course 5 Project in the back of my mind for months now. I’ve been thinking about what I want to do, what my school and students need and what inspires me to work on for the next 4 months for my final project for COETAIL.

Here are some ideas that have been floating around in my head:

1. Gamification – maybe digital citizenship, maybe food tech skills, but I’m struggling to make it authentic and get “beyond the badge”.  I do want to look more into this, but I think I will do that outside this course.

2. Digital Citizenship – lately, there have been many issues, specifically in grade 6 & 7 with Digital Citizenship at my school.  There’s been gaming in classes, there’s been sharing of passwords and illegal downloading, even a student misrepresentation himself on the web.

Now, this is not a great snapshot of my school. I work at a great school with great kids.  BUT, this is the reality – they are middle schoolers.   They are making mistakes, and I need to be more proactive.

At our school, we are participating in TLCs (Teacher Learning Communities), most of which focus on parts of John Hattie’s book, Visual Learning for Teachers.  He repeats over and over, “Know Thy Impact“:

The current 7th graders are struggling with their technology.  I know I can make an impact with our kids.  I know them.  I know what they are doing on their computers, I am fairly current with technology.

Last year, Katy, Ju and I created an RUP which is structured to support IB Learners.  I’m very proud of the document we created.  I pushed for it to be accepted at our school and it is now up on our website.  But, I haven’t done a great job of making this come to life.  I did a few activities at the beginning of the year, and I did one this past week on Balance, but I definitely need to do more.

This week, I asked the seventh graders:

Is technology is making you a better or a worse student?

Photo Credit: net_efekt via Compfight cc

It really created a rich discussion in my classroom.  I begged for their honesty, even if I didn’t want to hear it or if they were afraid to say their thoughts to a teacher.

I listened.  I felt more like a counselor for that lesson this past week; it was one of the best lessons I’ve done lately.  I need to continue on with this.  I am still (sort of) young and I understand social media and the technology they are interacting with daily.  If I don’t do it, really at my school right now, I don’t know who will.

So, for my project, I’d really like to make our RUP come to life.


I’m definitely going to be fighting with time.  I do see almost all the grade 7s and 8s in my Design class, I can integrate lessons into that class, but I need to make sure that it is being reinforced outside of my class.  I’m going to have to figure out when is best to work with grade 6.  I also want to work with parents and teachers and open communication with our whole community.

I’m not sure how I show that I’ve made an impact or that my students have grown in this area.  Digital Citizenship is tricky to evaluate and assess.  I don’t want to teach it to the kids as “expectations” all the times, but I want them to take ownership of their RUP, and how it promotes to a good community.

I never want to lecture to the kids about digital citizenship It takes time and creativity to design lessons that are engaging and “safe” for discussions and actions to take place.

How can I show that I have made an impact or am successful in the end?

I’d love any suggestions to my project.  I’ll continue to post and get a unit planner designed soon for feedback.

Our headmaster states on occasion, “We create our own culture.”  I believe this statement to be true.

I want my students to be positive ambassadors on their digital devices in their homes, on campus and where ever they may be on the internet.