Category: Course 5

COETAIL 12 is a Wrap!

Congratulations! You did it!

Wow we made it! Online 12 can now take a breather and be proud of finishing off Course 5 with a bang. I was so impressed by the dynamic and original projects created and shared during what might be the most unusual 15 months any of us have ever lived through.

You are the first COETAIL Cohort to start and end your the course in the midst of Pandemic. We have all had to be flexible in our professional lives as we transitioned from in person, to virtual, to hybrid on multiple occasions. Personally, too, we have felt the effects of not being able to get back “home” and spend time with family and loved ones. I can’t express how impressed I am with your ability to change plans on short notice and take on entirely new learning contexts at the same time as completing COETAIL.

Innovative Final Projects

I have been so impressed seeing you in action, reading your rich reflections and seeing so many of the BIG COETAIL CONCPETS embedded into your Final Projects. It is wonderful to see these big ideas such as:
  • CARP and Visual Literacy
  • Self- Advocacy
  • Authentic Audience
  • Feedback
  • Student Action
  • Intuitive use of Technology to redefine T&L
  • Coding
  • Music
  • Collaboration

AND so much more… I urge you to watch each other’s projects if you have not had a chance to do so yet.  We learn so much from each other and a ten minute video and a read of a blog post can really get us thinking about things differently. Don’t forget making a comment will also make someone’s day!

Creating and recording final projects took on exciting pathways this year because of the manner in which schools have been operating. While this has been challenging at times the creativity and depth of your projects were not affected.  COETAILers partnered with learning teams at a distance using multiple forms of technology, while connecting with students in both synchronous and asynchronous ways. Here are just a few examples from the amazing COETAIL Course 5 projects:

Andrea Goodrich’s project focused on empowering students through Choice, Voice and Action. Students chose a social issue using the UN’s SDG’s, researched about their topic and then wrote and performed TED Talk’s for audience.

Julija Balčiūnė‘s project was a great mixture of Gamification, Coding, Music, CARP and so much more. I loved hearing the students create, modify and share their music creations through design principles, collaboration and feedback. “During this unit, students could see each other’s works and leave meaningful comments to each other on a Seesaw Blog. I was surprised how often students were reacting to the feedback received after the submission of their creations, which helped them improve their works and resubmit even better soundtracks.”

Images by Julija Balčiūnė

Luis Carlos Moreno cleverly embedded both the ISTE standards for Educators and ISTE standards for Students seamlessly into his Podcast Final Project. There was so much collaboration in the way that this project was created, refined and finally recorded. After reading LC’s post and watching his video you really get a sense of the power of involving students in the learning every step of the way.
ShaleneLaRae’s  final project really pushed how to give more voice and choice into the learning for her students. At the same time of developing their self advocacy skills the students continued to develop their technological toolbelts to share their stories. Students honed their skills with Movie Maker, Padlet, Flipgrid, Near Pod and G-Suite products. As a result of them using them more regularly in the classroom they were able to choose the tool to match the task. Now that is empowering!
Overall, there are almost too many highlights to fit into one blog post. If you want to check out more of the awesome COETAIL online 12 Final Projects, then click here on a Padlet that houses them all in one place. 
Thank you all once again. I have really enjoyed getting to know you from afar and learning about you, your students and your schools. I hope our paths will cross again in the near future.

Telling Your Story

Lights Camera Action

Making videos seems  to have been on everyone’s mind during the past year or so. As schools transitioned back and forth from distance, hybrid, and in person learning creating short videos, as a way of teaching asynchronously, has been an important part of what we have all been doing. Whether you have been using Loom, Screencastify, or another tool to create some teaching videos then I am certain that you have been experimenting with digital movie creation over the past year.  I know I have certainly spent more time coaching teams and individuals on how to do screencasts!

By now you have likely put together some of the components of your final video project, or at least you’ve started thinking about it. I remember back to my time  when I was creating my final project video and laboring over camera shots, balancing audio, and if my voice-overs sounded natural. I thought it might be helpful to put together a few tips…some from me, but also a few from a few experts out there who I have learned from.

Telling Your Story

Creating a video is something that takes time. It is not a quick skill to master and as you edit and tweak your creations it is something that you will always think you can improve on. For me creating a video project is a about telling a (your) story, getting the audience excited or inspired and give them a feeling or emotion. If this is your first foray into video creation then this video will be for. It features some wonderful mobile filmmakers who share their tips and advice.

Video Tools to pull it all together

I have used a variety of tools to create the final movie and wanted to share some of them with you. All the tools are similar in that they will help you create a final video, however some offer some features that are a little more specialized. Whatever tool you end up using as splice and paste your final project I recommend that you choose something that you are comfortable using.

This is, of course,  not an exhaustive list and there are so many tools out there that will help you put together a wonderful final project video.

Video Considerations

  • Have a script…but don’t follow it to a tee: Having a plan for what you are going to say is a great tool for staying on track, but sounding too stiff can make your video come across as rehearsed and insincere. Aim for a conversational feel.
  • Choose visuals that enhance your story: Choose visuals that help rather than distract. This also goes with titles, transitions, and animations. Over-doing it with wild animations and transitions can seem fun, but if they become the focal point you’ve gone too far. You also want to try to pick one style of title or transition and stick to it as much as you can. Repetition in your design ties the whole look and feel of the project together. For example: choosing the same font style for titles throughout the video.
  • Wondering how to get animations you can use? Some awesome options include Keynote, Visme, and even Canva! Just download the animations you create as video files and add them to your video editor. If you download animations with a transparent background you can layer it over video clips using a green screen feature like the one in iMovie.
  • Pick great music: Music sets the mood of your video and keeps those watching it engaged. There are a lot of awesome free ways to get free (or paid) music. Some of my favorites include YouTube Audio Library and Epidemic Sound.
  • Balance your audio: You might have different clips throughout your video from various environments and speakers. By adjusting the audio for each clip within the video to match, you make the viewing experience (and listening) a lot easier.
  • Cutaways: This is a technique used by documentary filmmakers. While the narrator is speaking (you), you can cut away to show footage of your kids working, your school environment, or any other footage that communicates your ideas.

Those are just a few ideas that came to mind when considering how to create your video. I am looking forward to seeing your final products!

Photo by Wahid Khene on Unsplash

Looking Ahead

Here is what is required ideally before the May 2 deadline so that we can give feedback to each other by May 16. 

  • 4 blog posts of your choice. Take a look at the prompts located here for inspiration
  • 1 Community Engagement post. See the rubric here.
  • 1 final reflective post containing your project and video. This post should be a reflection on your process, what you learned, and contain your project materials and video. Please see the questions located in the of Learning section of the My Courses Tab (Course 5). I will be looking for reflection on those in your final post.

If you have any questions at all please reach out! I am here to help and support you.


Community Connectors and Collaborators

Nearly there…

Not long to go now….Your 18 month journey of being a COETAILer is rapidly coming to an end. But being part of the COETAIL community this is really just the beginning of being part a community of connectors and collaborators.

This year has been like no other in our lifetimes with so many changes, challenges and disruption from our norms, prior to December 2019. I want to let you know how inspiring it is to see how you have all been rising to the challenge of in person/blended/hybrid/distance etc etc… learning and showing leadership within your school communities and around the world. Thank you!

I want to take this opportunity to remind you that we are aiming to have four blog posts and one community blog post completed by May 2nd. We also hope to have your final project shared with our community by that date so that we can provide meaningful and thoughtful feedback to our cohort by May 16th. That is the last day of the course.

As ever please let me know if I can help and support you in any way. I am just an email away.

We are in the final stretch and I can not wait to see all your deep thinking and big takeaways in your blog posts and your final projects.


My next blog  will feature some tricks and tips in creating videos for your final project but this week we will focus on being a Community All Star. 

Community Connectors and Collaborators

For this element of the course, we expect you to continue on your own and stay involved in the COETAIL community, build your own PLN, and collaborate with educators around the world.

There are new COETAILers who need your support and encouragement. Check out COETAIL 13 blog posts, who are currently finishing up Course 1 and leave a comment or two. There are groups and discussions around specific tools and topics, and, of course, your own blog in which you can continue to share your own learning as you work on your final project and teaching in general. 

Your involvement in the COETAIL community, as well as your work building your PLN, must be detailed in a reflective blog post, which includes documented evidence of consistent and ongoing dialogue with others in your PLN. Your blog post must include a reflection on the process of collaborating and connecting, as well as clearly documented examples of that collaboration (these can be screenshots, direct links, or other creative ways to demonstrate your involvement). As we are asking you to go beyond the expectations of previous courses, these documented examples must be more than just blog post comments. They need to be sustained interactions with others on a variety of social media platforms. 

Some of you are already beginning to reflect on how you are connecting and collaborating with your communities. Lets take a look to see if it sparks some inspiration.

Andrea shared a video about her reflections of being part of the COETAIL community and how she had been connecting with other COETAILers throughout the course. Including Zoom conversations with the COETAIL 12 educators (see screenshot below). When is there ever too much Zoom!!

A. Goodrich 2021

Luiz wrote about the way he has been inspired to connect and collaborate with others through Twitter Chats. As part of his deep dive into this he also took on the hosting a first IB cross-programme chat on Twitter which he co-hosted and included #PYPchat #MYPchat #DPchat around the “Approaches to Teaching” Topic. Impressive!

Cindy has documented how she has been delving into many different ways of connecting out with Twitter Chats, Guest blog posts, future colleagues, COETAIL 12 cohort and other educators cohorts that she is part of. Wow!

There is no right or wrong way of sharing how you have connected and collaborated with our community. Take a look at the  rubric here for further support and guidance.

Looking Ahead

Over the next 5 weeks, you will be in the middle of the final touches to your Course 5 project and  also finishing up your posts. Here is a reminder about what is required before the  May 16 deadline:

  • 4 blog posts of your choice. Take a look at the prompts located here for inspiration
  • 1 Community Engagement post. See the rubric here.
  • 1 final reflective post containing your project and video. This post should be a reflection on your process, what you learned, and contain your project materials and video.

If you have any questions at all please reach out! I am here to help and support you.


Inspiration is Everywhere, Say Something!

How do we find inspiration to write a blog post? How do we find something that sparks our ideas and gets us thinking that someone else needs to hear about it? How do we speak up and share what is important?

This week I was working with our Grade 5 team, planning for their upcoming Model United Nations (MUN)Conference, in April. If you are not aware what MUN then it is 2 day conference centered around a dilemma. Students take the role of  delegate from a country and share ideas and create resolutions in a bid to solve the problem of the summit. This year the students are focused on the challenges to do with climate change and we have focused on some of the SDG’s, with students being asked to research their countries stance on the specific Sustainable Development Goals. Particularly SDG 7 (Clean Energy), SDG13 (Protect the planet), SDG 14 (Life Below Water) and finally SDG15 (Life on Land).

Screenshot from Sustainable Development Report 2020 – Global trends on SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy

Screenshot from Sustainable Development Report 2020 – Panama rating on all SDGs

As we were talking and making plans for how best to share relevant and appropriate information to our 10-11 year old’s we found a really useful resource. The Sustainable Development Report 2020 was the perfect resource that we needed as it gives an annual review of all countries performance on the 17 SDGs. The resource contains SO much information but it is shared in such a great and interactive manner that students (and adults) can find information around a countries performance on meeting the Global Goals.

It got me thinking about what does it take to share something that is important to us? Sharing can be telling or giving something to a friend, or relative. Sharing can also be sharing to a wider audience through blogging or social media. 

With so much information out there, some of it good and some bad how can we do our bit as educators to Say Something and share the relevant and real stories/data that need to be shared so we can make a difference to our local and global worlds.

You see inspiration is everywhere. We just need to the ones who share it out.

Luis Carlos shared that for his most recent blog  post titled “Speak Up!” came form a friend who was in similar situation of being a locally hired educator, at an International School. ” A few days ago, a co-worker, previously in the same situation as me and now an expatriate in an international school in India, sent me the link to an article that made me think even more about this issue. The title, “Are you white enough?” says a lot on its own.” His post connects with Bobbie Harro’s Cycle of Socialization from C4 and has Luis Carlos wondering  “There is the possibility that later it will be me who enters the international school circuit. I can’t stop thinking that I will contribute in a certain way to perpetuate this cycle. I hope it will also help by weakening the paradigms of hiring based on skin color, nationality, sexual orientation, and native language. “

Melanie shared how she is being flexible in her approach to C5 as the life of a teacher in 2021 (hybrid, blended, in-person, virtual etc) keeps on throwing curve balls all over the place. “In real life, I’m not super flexible. If I work at stretching everyday, I can lengthen my muscles but only to a point. If I keep stretching, I can maintain my gains but that’s it. No more lengthening. Just like in real life; I can lengthen, shorten, change my lesson plans and teaching methods to adapt to switching from virtual to on campus learning for weeks at a time. But only to a point. At one point, no matter what I do, I can only maintain and it feels like there’s no gain. I just want to get through the lesson and try my best to adapt it to virtual learning.”

Andrea is seeking to inspire others to join the #COETAIL community as she shares “As my personal COETAIL experience comes to an end, I want to hopefully inspire some of you out there who are considering joining…As my COETAIL journey comes to an end, I can honestly say that this has been one of the best professional development opportunities I have been apart of. I have grown my PLN, added a trunkload of new resources and tools to my teaching “toolbox,” and witnessed my students benefit from the deep learning experiences I have created throughout the past year.” Check out her great video reflection on her time with COETAIL.

You see, inspiration is everywhere. From reflections, from flexibility, and from friends sharing an article which got us thinking. The important part to all this is continuing to share our ideas and thoughts with a wider audience.

I am go to leave you with a read aloud and the wonderful Peter Reynolds who is reading his book “Say Something”.

I wonder what will you say?

Getting Creative with Course 5

Some of you may find that your plans for your Course 5 project are completely up in the air right now. While I know this may be a hurdle you feel like you just can’t handle right now, you might see how this can also be a great opportunity to feature some of the wonderful things that can be achieved with virtual /hybrid/blended learning. If you keep the focus on student learning you will be coming at it from the right place. As always I am here for support so don’t hesitate to reach out.


Course 5: Change as Opportunities

It is hard to believe that we are nearly 4 weeks into our final course of COETAIL. As schools continue to reopen and then close, all over the world, I am reminded time and time again the importance of looking after ourselves, our students and our work colleagues.

Personally, my school is attempting to begin the reopening process. After 354 days of virtual learning all teachers will be allowed on campus tomorrow (March 1st). Then we will welcome back our students on March 8th.

Whatever your scenario is right now I hope you are doing OK. Please know that whatever your current school situation then the COETAIL community is here to help and support you.

As with all change then there is also opportunities.

This week I really enjoyed reading Michael Fullan’s new paper “The right drivers for whole system success”. It offers a roadmap for the future and how we make changes in our systems to create better tomorrow.

Michael Fullan, “The right drivers for whole system success”

“The best stance we can take is to know that almost, everything will be different. In short, this prolonged ambiguity creates a tangible opportunity to make positive change happen.”  Michael Fullan, The right drivers for whole system success

I wonder how your C5 projects might include some of these drivers for success?

Making a start

Getting started with C5 is a little daunting at first. The course feels a bit different from others as you are not pointed on the direction of materials or asked guiding questions. Instead you can choose what you write about. My advice for you, if you have not yet started is find something that you are working on right now and start documenting the what, the why and the how in the form of a blog post.

If you want to sneak peak into how others of our community have started to blog in C5, then check out a few of these posts to get you thinking.

Simona wrote her first post of C5 and it was centered around the preparation that she is making for her Final Project which is about creating a Museum for her students.  “In Preparation for ISB Museum/ The Researcher”. It is great to see how Simona is documenting the process of getting the Museum up and running with images, videos, and written reflection. I have a feeling that doing this will really help when the time comes to make the final video reflection for C5.

Luiz took some time to share his thinking around social media and especially Twitter. I enjoyed reading his thoughtful reflection about ways in which we can use technology to connect to a larger audience and to other sources of information and inspiration. He end the post with some great questions. I am sure he would love for you to continue the conversation. “What is the best way to get the most out of Twitter? What tips or advice do you have? Is it about followers or the use of hashtags? Who do you like to follow on the platform?”

Cindy Kaardal “My COETAIL journey”

Cindy is taking the opportunity to move through the design process in creating one strong lesson that incorporates technology to transform learning. She is focused on asking her students to give feedback to each other using the 6+1 traits. Her second post focused on the idea of bringing clarity to what she was asking her students to do. She shared information from Julie Dirksen from her book “Design for How People Learn” and reflected on the types of objectives. The final objective is as clear as crystal!

Whatever your current scenario I hope that these blogs might help to kickstart your Course 5 journey. 

Next time out I will be writing about the different video tools that we might be wanting to use to put together our final projects.

Course 5 Considerations – What should you be doing right now?

  • You should be thinking about the 5 blog posts required for the course and how you might space those out over the time you are given. Please see the Online12 calendar for dates.
  • Throughout the course, please comment and link in the gradesheet
  • You are continuing to work on your final project. Check out some previous Course 5 projects here!

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash


Time to Bring it All Together!

Course 5 is here and there has been so much learning along our journey’s so far. It is hard to believe that a year ago we were getting to know each other with our first blog posts.

Fast forward 12 months and it is time to bring it all together with your #COETAIL final projects. I am so excited about seeing it all come together in  the culmination of all of the things you have learned throughout your COETAIL experience!

Photo by palesa on Unsplash

Your Voice!

Course 5 is all about you, and how you will be showcasing your understanding of the ISTE Standards for Educators and your personal journey as an educator. The subject of your blog posts will be up to you as will reflect your individual thoughts and experiences as an educator. They will also be reflective of your current teaching environment (in person, from a distance or in a hybrid environment) and tailored to your unique challenges or successes as an educator, right now.

That’s one of the things that makes COETAIL so exciting….with educators coming from countries spanning the globe, we get to hear so many perspectives and viewpoints on what is happening in our schools and classrooms and learn together.

Course 5 Components

  • Blogging: 6 posts in total. 4 on a topic of your choice, 1 about community engagement & involvement, and one about the final project. (See the My Courses tabs for more details). There aren’t due at certain times, however it is expected that you post throughout the course to show how your thinking may be evolving throughout the course.
  • Peer Comments
  • Final Project (check out this awesome YouTube playlist of projects)

Here is an example of a final project created by COETAIL’er Matt Broughton. 

There are some great ideas in “8 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content” from CopyBlogger. One of the things to remember is that readers are impatient and thus the importance of employing scannable text.

What can you do to engage your readers so they lean into your content, stay on your pages, and interact with your information?

Since we covered it so long ago in Course 1, it might be good to revisit now. Here are a few tips to remember when writing for Course 5!

  • Break up walls of text. Don’t forget to add images into your post to break up those overwhelming larger paragraphs.
  • Don’t forget the headers! Share ideas in separate chunks of text and include headers about them to help the reader scan your post easily.
  • Use lists and bullets….but not too much. Including short lists can aid in readability but ensure you aren’t overusing them. Ask yourself if your ideas can be shared in a list form at any point.

Here we go!
As usual, please let me know if you have any questions about your Course 5 final project and how I might be able to help!