Teacher Feature: Howick PS

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to work with Nicole Kaufman and Trevor Hammer who are intermediate teachers at Howick PS. The focus of our work together was to introduce the grade 7 & 8’s to the idea of blogging. After moving all of the students into a circle (which one student commented, seemed a lot like an intervention :), we began. I transcribed our conversation below which resulted in some interesting discoveries.

TEACHER:  What is a blog?/ What is blogging?


  • a blog is like a diary, but it’s not a secret
  • blogging is sharing ideas in more detail
  • blogging is like using Twitter, but you write a lot more

TEACHER: How many of you use Twitter? (most students raised their hands)

TEACHER: Why do you use Twitter?


  • connect with friends
  • have conversations
  • share information and cool stuff
  • share pictures
  • I like it because it’s short and to the point

TEACHER: So what do you see as the difference between Twitter and a Blog?

  • a blog allows you to expand on little ideas shared on Twitter
  • blogs go deeper into stories and ideas; they have a lot more detail
  • I would use a blog to tell a story; you can’t do that on Twitter
  • you can have a longer conversation with someone on a blog

TEACHER: What would you communicate and share outside of the classroom if you had your own blog?


  • fitness and running
  • figure skating
  • baseball and fitness
  • fashion design
  • cooking and baking
  • horses
  • video games and video productions
  • hunting
  • 4H and animals
  • environment
  • sports
  • education 

TEACHERS: What was the first thing you shared online? Where did you share it?

  • Instagram – picture of my dog
  • Instagram – quotes (Churchill)
  • Facebook – picture of 2 dogs
  • Facebook – Justin Beiber
  • Instagram – dog in lumberjack coat
  • Facebook – kid using 1.2 million lego blocks to build the titanic
  • SnapChat – I said “hi” to a friend
  • Facebook or Instagram – picture of dog
  • Instagram – first letter of my name
  • Facebook – video of me going down a hill and hitting a kid so hard he flipped 360°

As the conversation continued, I shared my notes with the students and asked them to look at what they chose to share the first time they posted online (and in many cases continue to post online), compared to what they said they would share/post if they had their own blogs.

It was interesting to note the difference between theses two sets of answers. I pointed out to students that often when we engage with social media, we are bombarded with things like funny pictures of animals (wearing “people clothes”, or with funny captions added to images ie./ LOLCats), famous people and their scandals, inspirational quotes, funny videos of people doing dangerous, ridiculous and sometimes stupid things, etc. I then asked them if they noticed any similarities between the things they chose (or continue to choose) to share online, and the ideas I just shared with them about some of the most popular media trends shared on social media?

It is important to recognize the “unconscious” impact social media has on the choices we make when we use social media. And this was a point I wanted to drive home with the students.

I then shared some YouTube videos with the kids to introduce the idea of digital citizenship and establishing a positive digital footprint. What does this mean to you? What does this look like in your social media channels?

I am very excited to see how Trevor and Nicole move forward with the conversation about digital citizenship and establishing a positive digital footprint with their students. Based on the answers students gave about what they would share if they had their own blogs (fitness, figure skating, fashion design, cooking and baking, video games and video productions, education, etc), these could potentially be some very influential bloggers in the very near future.

If you want to follow Trevor Hammer (Teacher Technology Coach supporting NGL in AMDSB), you can find him on Twitter @TrevorHammer or follow his hashtag #NGLtweets

If you want to follow Nicole Kaufman (Grade 7&8 teacher at Howick PS), you can find her on Twitter @teach_msK


Top 9 Social Media Trends for 2015

Looking back 2014’s top social media highlights, you may recall some outstanding milestones such as the #IceBucketChallenge, Ellen’s Oscar selfie, the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, or the #Bendgate phenomenon.

It was an impressive year for social networks too:

  • Instagram reached 300 million active users
  • Every second, 2 people became LinkedIn members
  • Facebook reached 1 billion active mobile users a month
  • An average of 500 million tweets were sent per day
  • 53% of Google Plus users interacted with a brand in a positive way

To read the full article, click here.

Random FunFact:

First LOLCat ever posted . . .

1905 cat postcard by Harry Whittier Frees


One thought on “Teacher Feature: Howick PS”

  1. Thanks for coming into our classroom. The students have certainly started thinking in a different way when it comes to what they are posting online (or at least they are when it comes to blogging). We have enjoyed taking blogging on and cannot wait to see what else it has it store for us!
    Ms. K


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