Working at Alberta Education has been a fascinating, always learning experience. For the past two years I have had the pleasure of helping to refine and validate the draft Career and Technology Foundations (CTF) curriculum. We have been working with fantastic educators to ensure that CTF will work in their classrooms, no matter where they are in the province. I’ve never worked at Alberta Education before, but I understand that we are using a more collaborative model than has been used in the past.

At the same time, Alberta Education has been exploring new ways of working. One of the challenges of doing things differently is figuring out how to do things differently. For example, Alberta Education doesn’t normally post curricula on their web page while they are still in draft format.

This school year CTF is available for provincial Scaling Up, which means that it is available for teachers to use in their grades 5 to 9 classes, but it is not mandatory that they use it. Because of this, the CTF curriculum needed to be available on the Alberta Education website, even though it is still in draft form. It’s taken a while for all of us to work through the hoops to get it all posted and approved but we are now really excited that the CTF website is up and running.

Check it out – I’d love to know what you think about our innovative, draft, elective curriculum.

I have signed up for another Mooc – Connected Courses – because it looks really interesting, many of the Tweeps that I enjoy learning and playing with are signing up, and I am a serial cMooc addict.

I am really excited about the course, the content and the instructors. Alec Couros, Alan Levine, Howard Reingold, Laura Hilliger, Jim Groom and Mike Wesch have probably had more of an impact on me and my teaching practice than all of my professors and administrators combined. I participate in learning spaces that they have designed like #Etmooc and #DS106. I read their words and watch how they model open leadership in online spaces like Twitter, Google+ and on their blogs. I have even had the pleasure of learning from most of them in online sessions. Michael Welsh blew my mind wide open the first time I saw The Machine is Us/ing Us and his work has continued to impress me ever since. I am so excited to see them all together in one (virtual) space. Plus Connected Courses features other instructors that I haven’t had the pleasure of learning from yet.

I am a media and computer teacher in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Right now I am seconded to Alberta Education, where I have been working on the refinement and validation of the innovative, draft Career and Technology Foundations Curriculum for the past two years. Prior to teaching in the K-12 system I taught computers to adults and other nerdly things through my computer consulting company, Innovations, and other techy jobs.

I am very interested in community building and the value of connecting with other educators. I am currently working with a team of co-conspirators to lay the stage for the Open and Connected Learning Mooc, for Alberta (and other) educators (and learners). #OCLMooc starts on September 24th so although I am very excited about Connected Courses, I more likely a lurker than an active participant.

Fortunately, since it’s not my first experience in a Mooc, I know lurking is ok too.

In just over three weeks The Open and Connected Learning Mooc (#OCLMooc) starts. Our goal is to share information, resources and best practices about connected learning and open education, while connecting Alberta educators with each other, and learners from around the globe.

For me the most important part is connecting Alberta educators. When I was teaching in the classroom I was always trying to connect with others who taught the same subjects as I did – it was a great way to share ideas and best practices. My school board was setting up communities of practice with teachers in different grades; but not for options teachers. So I have been making my own connections as I developed my PLN (professional learning network). Over the past few months I realized that I connect, collaborate and play with others around the world much more frequently than I do with Albertans.

There are some fantastic educators here in Alberta; many of them already connect and share open resources. The number of Alberta EdCamps increases every year. Our goal with #OCLMooc is to increase their number and provide an opportunity for them to connect with each other.

Although we say #OCLMooc is for Alberta Educators, it is open to anyone, whether they are an educator, or Albertan, or not.

#OCLMooc is purposely being developed in an open fashion. Verena and I picked the dates and suggested an outline and then invited people to join us as co-conspirators as we worked out the rest of the details. We could have built the whole course ourselves but we know that the course will be better if it is developed by a team who share their ideas, connections and experience. Our goal is to use tools that most people have access to, so that they can develop their own open learning experiences in the future if that interests them.

The details of #OCLMooc are being solidified now. The Blog Hub has been set up, the weekly Twitter chats have been scheduled (Tuesdays at 7pm MST from September 30 – October 28) and we’ve scheduled our first two events. We are really excited to have Dave Cormier as our guest speaker for the Welcome Event and members of the PostEtmooc community sharing their experiences with cMoocs in our first synchronous event, cMooc Stories. Other events and activities are being planned by co-conspirators who have taken responsibility for different weeks.

Although the course hasn’t started yet, connections already being made by the co-conspirators, who have joined us from all over Alberta, as well as British Columbia, Illinois and California. I am looking forward to connecting with others once the course launches on September 24th.

Please consider joining us for #OCLMooc, you are welcome to participate as much or as little works for you. You can find out more on the course site. Here is a link to the sign-up sheet if you are ready to join right away.

I am looking forward to learning with you.

We had a great time yesterday at the Fort Edmonton Volunteer Party which was held in the 1920s Midway. The best part was the jazz trio who played live in front of the Freak Show Tent.

The Jazz Trio

The Jazz Trio

We started with a ride on the ferris wheel.

The girls on the ferris wheel

The girls on the ferris wheel

Tom and I on the ferris wheel

Tom and I on the ferris wheel

We checked out the fun house.

Fort Edmonton's Fun House

Fort Edmonton’s Fun House

Trying out a new look in the fun house

Trying out a new look in the fun house

Tom in the fun house

Tom in the fun house

Jasmine and Paris in the Fun House

Jasmine and Paris in the Fun House

Jasmine and Paris leaving the fun house

Jasmine and Paris leaving the fun house

I showed the girls how to use stilts.

I love stilts!

I love stilts!

We all rode the carousel.

Jasmine and Paris in front of the carousel

Jasmine and Paris in front of the carousel

Tom and I on the carousel

Tom and I on the carousel

And we all tried out the brand new Chair-o-Plane.

Jasmine on the Chair-o-Plane

Jasmine on the Chair-o-Plane

Jasmine won a basket of candy, I think that was her favourite part of the party!

Thanks Fort Edmonton, we had a great time at your thank you event.

This summer I have had the pleasure of volunteering in the gardens at Fort Edmonton. Although the gardens are beautiful, I hadn’t paid as much attention to them as I had to the buildings before. Spending time weeding them gave me a chance to get to know them a little better.

The Fort Garden

The Fort Garden

The first garden was grown by a heritage interpreter 15 years ago behind Kenneth MacDonald house. The garden has now been surpassed by the many other gardens on the grounds because it is shaded by trees, just like my garden at home. The garden at the front of MacDonald house grows plants with medicinal properties that his Metis wife would have known about.

The Garden at Kenneth MacDonald House

The Garden at Kenneth MacDonald House

The gardening hub at Fort Edmonton is, naturally, at Ramsay’s Greenhouse, which I have to admit I had never even been inside before.

The counter at Ramsay's Greenhouse

The counter at Ramsay’s Greenhouse

I would love to see the greenhouse in spring before the plants are moved into the gardens, but it is a great space, even when empty.

Inside the greenhouse

Inside the greenhouse

Although I had admired the Peony Garden in previous visits to the Fort, I didn’t know much about it’s history or why there was a garden devoted to just to Peonies. I learned that the Silver Heights Peony Garden was first established by Dr. James Brander in 1921 and was the source for many of the peonies found in western Canada today. By 1930 the five acre site in Bonnie Doon had over two hundred varieties of peonies. The peonies grown at Fort Edmonton are descended from plants purchased from the Bonnie Doon site, collected by a heritage gardener who combed through receipts and tracked down plants still growing in Edmonton.

The Peony Garden

The Peony Garden

I spent a morning weeding purslane from the Peony Garden, which gave me a lot of time to watch the goings on on 1920s street. A lot of time is spent weeding purslane from the Peony Garden because it is a very persistent plant, it can grow back from just a leaf left on the ground. Ironically just after I spent the morning weeding purslane, I read about it served in a fancy restaurant. I guess purslane can be considered friend or foe depending on whether you plan to eat it.

1920 Street from the Peony Garden

1920 Street from the Peony Garden

One of my favourite gardens is the Salad Garden behind the greenhouse where greens, herbs and edible flowers are grown for the kitchen at the Selkirk Hotel. I would never have known it was there if I didn’t spend a pleasant morning weeding it.

The Salad Garden behind the greenhouse

The Salad Garden behind the greenhouse

One of the best parts of working in the gardens, aside from working with the plants and learning from Bill, one of the Heritage Gardeners, was feeding the weeds to the pigs. It seems much more efficient than bagging them for curb side pick up.

Pigs eating weeds at Fort Edmonton

Pigs eating weeds at Fort Edmonton

I am planning to continue to volunteer in the gardens, because there so much I want to learn about how some of the plants were used. I would love to learn more about how the plants in Ottewell’s Garden were used as dyes and the medicinal uses of many of the plants grown on site.

Ottewell's Garden

Ottewell’s Garden

19. August 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: News · Tags: ,

We just got back from visiting relatives in Saskatchewan, including my cousin Michelle who is a beekeeper. Her company Zee Bee Honey produces honey and bees wax candles which she sells at farmer’s markets and in stores around Regina. Jasmine took an interest in Michelle’s bee keeping operation and suited up to check out the hives with Michelle.

Jasmine Suiting Up

Jasmine Suiting Up

Jasmine and Michelle, ready to go

Jasmine and Michelle, ready to go

Approaching the hives

Approaching the hives

Opening a hive

Opening a hive

Examining the frame

Examining the frame

Jasmine and a frame full of honey

Jasmine and a frame full of honey

Jasmine approaching with a frame full of eggs

Jasmine approaching with a frame full of eggs

Bees on a frame

Bees on a frame full of eggs

Jasmine with a frame full of eggs

Jasmine with a frame full of eggs

Leaving the hive surrounded by bees

Leaving the hive surrounded by bees

The final week of The Local Good’s 31 Days of Edmonton Challenge has drawn to a close. I’ve enjoyed sharing my Edmonton experiences and reading about what others are up to around Edmonton. Here is how I ended the month off.

July 21

On July 21st I tweeted a photo of dinner. The lettuce and herbs were from my garden and I had picked up the potatoes, tomatoes and cucumbers at Eden’s Market yesterday. Making something with products from a local Farmer’s Market was #10 on The Local Good’s Challenge List; they also suggested that we share the recipes but we didn’t use any recipes.

Market salads

Market salads

July 22

On July 22nd I shared a photo of our tomato wall. It’s been a few weeks since I took the photo and the tomatoes are almost ripe!

The Tomato Wall

The Tomato Wall

I also shared a photo of the Alexander Circle Fountain in Glenora. I had trouble deciding between this photo and one that had two kids biking around the fountain; I choose this one because I liked the timeless look it had.

The Fountain at Alexander Circle

The Fountain at Alexander Circle

July 23

On July 23rd I shared a photo I took while soaking up the sun in Government House Park.

My shoes at Government House Park

My shoes at Government House Park

July 24

On July 24th I shared a photo of the Ferris Wheel at Fort Edmonton that I took after doing some weeding in the gardens.

The Ferris Wheel at Fort Edmonton

The Ferris Wheel at Fort Edmonton

I also Tweeted about how much I was looking forward to Keri Zwicker’s performance at the Bothy. Keri is in my book club and I know she is a great musician but I had never heard her perform before. I walked down to the show with another neighbour Muffy (who is also in the book club) – it was a great show! Keri performed with her husband Nathan and Maria Dunn. Enjoying local musicians was #13 on The Local Good’s Challenge list.

Keri Zwicker performing at the Bothy

Keri Zwicker performing at the Bothy

July 25

On July 25th I tweeted to The Local Good that I was letting Mother Nature water my garden and shared this photo.

Mother Nature Watering my Garden

Mother Nature Watering my Garden

July 26

On July 26th I made bread and I shared a photo of the dough just before I punched it down after the first rising.

Bread Making Day

Bread Making Day

I also shared a photo of the beautiful produce we picked up at the Downtown City Market on 104 Street. Visiting a local farmer’s market was #9 on The Local Good’s Challenge List.

Produce from the 104th Street Market

Produce from the 104th Street Market

July 27

On July 27th I shared the link to a City of Edmonton survey about urban farming that @Lactucia had tweeted out. The Local Good’s Challenge #20 was “help out Sustainable Food Edmonton by contributing information about gardens they may not know about”.

I also shared a photo of Sunday dinner, lamb chops and roasted veggies from 104 Street Market. Making something with products from a local Farmer’s Market was #10 on The Local Good’s Challenge List; they also suggested that we share the recipes but we didn’t use any recipes.

Sunday Dinner

Sunday Dinner

July 28

On July 28th I shared this photo of the Seeing Edmonton car at Fort Edmonton and commented on how much I had enjoyed seeing and sharing Edmonton during the month of July.

The Seeing Edmonton Touring Car

The Seeing Edmonton Touring Car

I also shared this photo of Paris riding to the library on her new bike.

Paris biking to the library

Paris biking to the library

July 29

On July 29th I shared a photo of the new fun house at Fort Edmonton. I haven’t checked it out yet but I am looking forward to it once the girls are back from camp.

Fort Edmonton Fun House

Fort Edmonton Fun House

July 30

On July 30th I tweeted a photo of the Legislature Fountain. This is the first summer I have been able to see the Legislature without scaffolding since I moved to Edmonton.

The Fountain at the Legislature

The Fountain at the Legislature

I also shared this photo of the tents being set up at Hawrelak Park as they got ready for Heritage Fest.

Setting up for Heritage Fest

Setting up for Heritage Fest

July 31

On July 31st I shared this photo of one of the busy bees in my garden. I think bees are one of Edmonton’s hidden gems (#4 on The Local Good’s Challenge List).

Bee

Bee

I also tweeted my thanks to The Local Good for hosting 31 Days of Yeg.

Thanks to The Local Good

Thanks to The Local Good

I completed 13 out of 31 of The Local Good’s suggested challenges in July, although as I mentioned in my week 1 post, I think it is more interesting when people all share different Edmonton experiences, so I wasn’t limiting myself to The Local Good’s Challenges.

Here is what I was up to in week 2 and week 3; and here is The Local Good’s Storify of Weeks 3 & 4.

I really enjoyed participating in #31daysofYeg and I hope The Local Good does more challenges like this.

This is the third week of The Local Good’s 31 Days of Yeg Challenge. I’ve been playing along since the contest launched. It’s been fun reading everyone’s stories of Edmonton in the #31DaysofYeg Twitter stream and it has encouraged me to blog more consistently.

Here is what I did last week for 31 Days of Edmonton:

July 14

On July 14th I shared a photo of the lilies I had just transplanted. A house is being torn down a block from here (which is a shame in this neighbourhood of hundred-year old houses) and neighbours were invited to help themselves to the plants in the gardens – how nice! I transplanted several clumps of lilies into the front gardens.
Transplanted Lilies

July 15

On July 15th I shared this great photo of a dragonfly, they have been doing a great job taking care of the mosquitos in the last few weeks.

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

I also shared this tweet about Edmonton’s first Food Forest Project. I wish I could have helped with the planting bee, but I had an all day meeting so I had to miss it. I enjoyed all of the photos that were shared in the Twitter feed.

Food Forest Project

Food Forest Project

July 16

On July 16th I shared this tweet about how much I enjoy seeing gardens in alleys. Here is the garden in the alley across from my house.

Alley garden tweet

Alley garden tweet

July 17

On July 17th I tweeted about how strange it was to not see the 102 Avenue Bridge as I travelled on Groat Road. This was challenge #4 – Tweet something that is missing in Edmonton #notinyeg.

No more 102 Avenue Bridge

No more 102 Avenue Bridge

I also retweeted this fantastic photo from The Grand Market on 124th Street. I didn’t make it to the market this week, but I thought some of my tweeps from #31DaysofYeg might be there.

124 Grand Market

124 Grand Market

July 18

On July 18th I tweeted about watching in the K Days parade, enjoying lunch at Taste of Edmonton (challenge #7) and cooling our feet in the City Hall Fountain (challenge #26). Paris and I had a great time after deciding to go at the last minute.
K Days Tweet

July 19

On July 19th I shared a photo of the pot hole that has been filled in on 126 Street. I am so glad it’s been filled it, it’s the biggest pot hole I knew of in Edmonton. This was also challenge #4.

Filled in pot hole

Filled in pot hole

July 20

On July 20th I volunteered to work in the gardens at Fort Edmonton and I shared a photo of one of the gardens on 1885 street. Many of the plants in this garden are used in dyes.

One of the gardens at Fort Edmonton

One of the gardens at Fort Edmonton

I’ve had a great time exploring Edmonton for the last few weeks, I’m looking forward to another week of fun.

Related Posts

Here is The Local Good’s Storify of Week 3 of the challenge.

Here is my post about week 2 of the challenge.

Here is my post about week 1 of the challenge.

Paris and I watched the K Days Parade the other day. I have never been to K Days, but I hear it has been going through an identity crisis, and has undergone several name changes. I know it is a big fair, but I wasn’t able to figure out what makes it different from other fairs by the parade.
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It was a long parade. There were some nice floats but there were so many businesses represented, at times it seemed like I was watching a long commercial.

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It was the first time I have seen helium balloons in a parade for a long time. I watched a pig fly.
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There were princesses and fairy godmothers.
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The Enoch Cree had beautiful dancers with their float.
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I have no idea why Angry Bird was there, and I wonder about Copyright violations.
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Paris was excited that Animecon was represented.
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We had planned to park near 105 Street and watch the parade from there, but construction and lack of parking moved us to Churchill Square where we were able to take in Taste of Edmonton as well.
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There was a group of kids working out by the stage.
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Drift made us lunch, it took us a long time to decide.
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After the parade we cooled our feet in the fountain in front of City Hall. My favourite fountain goer was a young girl with an umbrella – she seemed to be having the most fun.
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I’m participating in The Local Good’s 31 Days of Yeg this month. Everyday I share something about my experiences in Edmonton in a tweet with the hashtag #31daysofYEG.

The Local Good encouraging us to buy local

The Local Good encouraging us to buy local

In true self-directed learner fashion I’ve hacked the rules a little bit – I am casting my net a little wider than the 31 choices suggested by Local Good. Here is a summary of my first week, and the Local Good’s archive of the first week. I am enjoying reading all of the stories about Edmonton from other participants.

Here is how I spent my second week.

July 7

On July 7th my youngest daughter Paris celebrated her 12th birthday at Launchpad Trampoline. I had been to launchpad twice before to chauffeur the kids, but I had never spent any time inside. It’s a smart set up, comfy chairs for the parents and many different trampoline set ups for the kids to play on. The girls had a great time.

 July 7th Tweet for 31 Days of Yeg

July 7th Tweet for 31 Days of Yeg

July 8

On July 8th I shared a photo of Frank weeding the Lettucine wheel. Unfortunately the photo ended up sideways in the tweet, something Twitter for iPad has started doing to some of my photos lately.

Frank weeding the "lettucine wheel

Frank weeding the “lettucine wheel”

July 9

On July 9th I shared a photo of the neon Roxy sign against the evening sky. I took it while walking along 124 Street, on my way home from an excellent dinner at Tiramisu.

The Roxy

The Roxy

July 10

On July 10th I shared a photo of storm clouds gathering over my neighbour’s house. There was so much energy in the air but the storm I was anticipating never did materialize, eventually the winds died down.

Watching a storm roll in

Watching a storm roll in

July 11

On July 11th Jasmine and I climbed the stairs to the Talus Dome and explored how the reflections dance as you move around it. I learned more about it on the City of Edmonton website The History of the Talus Dome.

The Talus Dome

The Talus Dome

We then climbed down to the riverside below the dome, under Whitemud Drive and chatted with the fishermen that we met there. I was surprised to learn that there are 35 species of fish in the North Saskatchewan. I saw a photo of the 35 pound sturgeon they had caught before I got there, too bad the fish are too polluted to eat. This was challenge #11 from the Local Good: “Meet a stranger today — say hi to someone you don’t know and learn about them.”

Fishing under the Whitmud

Fishing under the Whitmud

July 12

On July 12th instead of stumping local plant expert Robert Rogers with a wild flower to identify I tweeted a photo of the caterpillers in my plum tree and asked him what to do about them. I didn’t expect him to respond since it didn’t look like he had a Twitter account, but I tried it anyway because it was The Local Good’ s challenge #17.

He didn’t reply but @DebMerriam retweeted it to #yeggarden (a hashtag I didn’t know about) and suggested I try a horticultural oil spray.

Conversation about the caterpillars in my plum tree

Conversation about the caterpillars in my plum tree

I also shared a photo of the beautiful full moon as it was rising over the trees in my backyard. I noticed beautiful full moon photos from around the world in my Twitter feed after I sent it out. My favourite was Verena Robert’s photo from the Calgary Stampede.

Full moon Rising

Full moon Rising

July 13

On July 13th Tom and I had an adventure that started with a ride across the High Level Bridge on the Historic Street Car.

The Historic Streetcar and the Legislature

The Historic Streetcar and the Legislature

The Sourdough Boat Races were taking place and the train conductor pointed the rafts out on the North Saskatchewan River below us. I had never heard of the boat races before but I guess they have been taking place for 55 years; we’ll have to check them out next year.
The Sourdough Boat Races
After disembarking from the street car in Old Strathcona we walked among the artists set up along Whyte Avenue for their annual Art Walk.

Whyte Avenue Art Walk

Whyte Avenue Art Walk

It was a sunny 30 degree afternoon and we were scorched, even on the shady side of the street so we stopped for a beer on a patio before walking back across the High Level Bridge and heading home. Next year we’ll have to take the girls, our resident artists, to the Art Walk with us.

Riding the streetcar was challenge #19 from the Local Good, the rest of the adventures were a bonus!