Conference agenda

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Friday, February 17

Esquimalt Secondary

847 Colville Road

Victoria, BC


8:00 Registration Opens

8:30 – 9:45 Networking Hot Breakfast & Educational Resources

10:00 – 11:45 Morning Session

11:45 – 12:45 Lunch

12:45 – 2:30 Afternoon Session


Tri-District Teachers and CUPE $50.00

TTOCs & Student Teachers $30.00

Out-of-District Teachers & Educators $65.00


Register early to avoid disappointment!

Low enrolling workshops are subject to cancellation.

Presented by

Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association

Registration Questions

Contact Sue

Conference Questions

Contact Patricia

Brochure notations

Morning workshops are designated by the letter A#, afternoon workshop are designated by the letter B# and all day workshop are designated by the letter C#. Please select one morning and one afternoon workshop, OR one all day workshop.

morning WORKSHOPS (10:00 – 11:45)

(a1) The Magical Teenage Brain (Gr. 6-12)

Presenter: Gary Anaka

Bio: Gary Anaka is the top Brain-Based Learning facilitator in BC today. He is a Learning Assistance Specialist with over 32 years of high school teaching experience. He has presented to thousands of teachers and support staff in over 45 BC School Districts since 1997. The scope of his work can be viewed at

Summary: Today’s schools are full of teenagers struggling with learning challenges, boredom and stress. Many forces detract from the brain’s ability to learn. Find out how the teenage brain thinks and learns. Gain some valuable, practical, cost-free, no-effort strategies to boost teaching effectiveness in the classroom.

(a2) F.Y.R.E. (Force Youth Resource and Education) Group (k-12)

Presenter: Jonathan Berry, Lisa Hansen, Dane Hansen and Brooke Hansen.

Bio: Jonathan has run the Pathfinder program at Spectrum for 6 years. The program provides an alternate classroom for students with learning disabilities and mental health issues. Jonathan’s background includes: foster parent, group home manager, youth worker, teacher at psychiatric hospital, and teacher at an alternate education high school. Jonathan has a M.Ed. in Curriculum with a focus on Alternate Education.
Lisa Hansen is a mother of two children who both have ADHD and Learning Disabilities. She has worked for the F.O.R.C.E. (Families Organized for Recognition and Care Equality - a society for kids’ mental health) for 6 years and has been the Parent Liaison for the Friends for Life Program for 5 years. Lisa has also been involved in The Invisible Disabilities Parent Support Group, the Family Partners Committee and the Progressive Recovery Group.
Dane Hansen graduated in May 2009 and completed his Secondary School Apprenticeship in Carpentry. He received the Secondary School Apprenticeship Scholarship from the Industry Training Authority for sustained and exceptional work as an apprentice and is on his way to completing his Red Seal Certification. He was in Air Cadets for 5 years and plans on becoming a pilot. Dane volunteers at the F.O.R.C.E. and volunteered for one year on the City of Victoria Youth Council.

Brooke Hansen graduated in May 2011 and completed the Outdoor Recreation Career Prep Program. Brooke is currently working towards her Lifeguard Certificate. After travelling, Brooke plans on completing the diploma course Exercise and Wellness and work for recreation centres. Brooke also volunteers at the F.O.R.C.E. and spent one year on the City of Victoria Youth Council.

Summary: In March 2009, fifteen youth, who had a variety of mental health challenges, came together to discuss what a youth/peer education group would look like and came up with goals to work on and achieve. They decided they wanted to talk about what worked for them in school and to share what they found helpful. They call themselves F.Y.R.E. (F.O.R.C.E. Youth Resource and Education Group). This sessions will bring together some of these youth, a parent of two of the youths and a teacher who taught some of the youths. The intent is to share what they found helpful and how it supported their mental health challenges. The teacher will share some tools his school uses to support students with learning disabilities.

(a3) Composting with Kids (K-6)

Presenter: Nashira Birch

Bio: Nashira Birch is the Education and Outreach Coordinator at the Greater Victoria Compost Education Centre. She has her BA in Child and Youth Care and has spent 15 years working with children and youth. She has also worked in landscaping and organic farming. The Greater Victoria Compost Education Centre provides education and resources to the public and to schools on composting, soil, organic food gardening, and climate change.

Summary: This session will be an interactive exploration of compost education in the classroom, both with and without a compost. It will include a crash course in composting how-to, composting in the classroom, and options for school-wide composting. We will also look at how composting can be incorporated into the curriculum, resources for teachers, and ways to engage students.

(a4) An Intro to Storyoga™ & Some of it’s Playful Elements (K-2)

Presenter: Vanessa Braun

Bio: Vanessa Braun is an Early Childhood Educator and Certified Yoga Instructor. She is also the founder and instructor of Storyoga™ - a self-designed program that fuses together children’s literature with the joyous movement of yoga. Vanessa has been working with children for over seven years and continues to be inspired by their free spirit, creativity, and sense of wonder. Summary: Gain the knowledge and tools you need to bring Storyoga™ into your classroom! During this interactive workshop presentation, participants will explore: what Storyoga™ is, the benefits for children, the six key elements and Vanessa’s top 10 Storyoga™ books.

Special Notes: Participants receive a comprehensive workshop handout. Please bring a yoga mat if you have one. Resource materials will be available for purchase (cash or cheque only).

(a5) Teaching the Dyslexic and Right Brained Student (K-12)

Presenter: Karen Hope-deGraaf and Howard deGraaf

Bio: Karen Hope-deGraaf is an adult Dyslexic with 3 grown Dyslexic children. She spent the past 30 years researching Dyslexia and creating her own teaching methods. These methods are appropriate for Dyslexic and Right Brained students of all ages.

Summary: Includes the following: description of dyslexia and how it relates to right brained and left brained learning styles, checklist of a dyslexic student’s’ specific learning style and appropriate accommodations, strategies for dyslexic students, software that helps to teach literacy skills and a simple to use screening tool to determine if dyslexia is the learning issue.

(a6) Discovering the Pacific: Using Real Time Data to Engage Students in Marine Science (Gr. 6-12)

Presenter: Natasha Ewing

Bio: Natasha Ewing grew up in the East Kootenays, but realized her passion for the ocean during summer vacations to the West Coast. To pursue her dreams of becoming an advocate for ocean health, education and research, Natasha earned a Bachelors’ Degree in Biology and Ocean Sciences from the University of Victoria. Combining her passions for education and the marine ecosystem, she now develops educational programs for Ocean Networks Canada, an underwater observatory supporting a new generation of coastal and deep-sea research.

Summary: Dive into the depths of the Pacific Ocean to explore the sights, sounds and properties of the big blue. Ocean Networks Canada operates an innovative underwater observatory that enables transformative ocean research and technology development through a system like no other in the world. Expand your knowledge of marine health, conservation, energy resources, and natural hazards. Learn how to bring the marine ecosystem into your classroom and create engaging and experiential lessons through the use of real-time data.

(a7) Science Old! Science New! PLO Connections Too! (K-8)

Presenter: Brian Herrin

Bio: Brian Herrin is a retired elementary school teacher who loves to share science ideas and strategies that demand engagement by students. His workshops are hands-on and come with some equipment and a comprehensive handout. His aim is to have you go away with something to do with your students on Monday morning that will definitely create some oohs and aahs.

Summary: You will engage in science using simple materials that are easily obtained. Physical science principles will be explained with some equipment to take away as well as some seeds and plant material that you may find useful in your springtime classroom. You will definitely learn by doing as you actually experience what your class will do and gain clear understandings of what is happening. Strategies and surprise activities will be featured throughout.

(a8) A New Rhythm at SCHOOL (K-5)

Presenter: Matthew Hodgins

Bio: Matthew Hodgins is a Canadian Percussionist who, for 15 years, taught and performed in London, Bristol, and the South West Counties of England. Highlights for Hodgins include: education at London University, Glastonbury Festival 2004 & 2005, Border Trio (2005-2010), and over 500 UK drumming students. Matthew is now offering his years of experience encapsulated into Djembe Drumming Workshops. For more information view

Summary: Djembe drumming needs no introduction. Logistics and knowledge, however, may hamper the success of group drumming in school – until now! Hodgins says “Djembe is a sound canvas for children, and if you appreciate drumming music – you can pursue Djembe rhythms in class”. View the interactive demo at: www.drumming-solutions/DVD. In line with B.C. prescribed learning outcomes, Hodgins’ workshop will explore drumming cultures and traditions for their relevancy and will share and promote ideas which can be developed within a lesson plan. Hodgins will demonstrate key practical methods on the drum and he guarantees to impart worthwhile ideas for professionals to develop. He also expects to share ‘facts & figures’ with those who want a whole class set of drums.

(a9) Everything Google…well almost (Gr. 6-12)

Presenter: Barry Janzen

Bio: Barry Janzen has been a teacher in the Greater Victoria School District for over 20 years and was the 2011 Western Canada recipient of the MindShare Learning 21st Century classroom video challenge. Barry has delivered professional development workshops in the area of technology and curriculum integration within his school (Mount Douglas Secondary) and the district for the past 4 years.

Summary: This hands-on workshop will take participants through the process of creating and using Google docs, maps, and calendars focusing on the practical application of these tools in the classroom. Participants will explore the many uses of Google in the classroom and how to utilize these tools for student engagement, collaboration, and presentation of work. Teachers will learn how to create and manage students’ accounts, observe student progress, and provide feedback directly on student documents.

(a10) What's New and Wonderful in Children's Literature for Grades K - 3

Presenter: Tricia Kearns

Bio: Tricia is an enthusiastic and dynamic presenter who has devoted her professional life to children and books. As a teacher, school librarian, manager of The Children's Bookshop, and outstanding consultant to schools, she brings a wealth of knowledge about the best children's books and how to use them in the classroom. Tricia has a Master's Degree in Library Science, worked as Teacher Librarian for 15 years in Honduras, Spain and California, and spent five years in New York City working in children's publishing.

Summary: Outstanding children's books can be powerful teaching tools. This workshop will present the latest and greatest new books and creative ways you can use them as springboards to enhance your teaching and engage your students. All books will be available for purchase on site in vendor area with a 15% discount.

(a11) Adding some Pizazz to your P.E. Program! (Gr. 4-7)

Presenter: Allison Leppard

Bio: Allison is a Grade 6 teacher at Journey Middle School in Sooke. She has a passion for P.E. and Dance. She has taught K-7 P.E. and has had the opportunity to work on the district committee for developing the P.E. and Dance Curriculums and Teacher Resources for K-7.

Summary: Looking for some innovative ideas to add a little pizzazz to your P.E. class? Come learn some activities that you can use on Monday! We will have fun exploring dance, simple gymnastics and other innovative activities that can be creative, cooperative and fun! Please wear comfortable clothing and footwear to participate.


Presenter: Neil Mckinlay

Bio: Neil is a Victoria-based meditation teacher. Working under the direction of Reggie Ray, he offers classes that help others realize the most of their lives. This same inspiration informs his work as a personal coach and intuitive healer/guide. More information at

Summary: Meditation is a great way to address the stress in our lives, but many of us are overwhelmed at the thought of adding “one more thing” to already busy schedules. “Five Minutes in a Chair” is designed with this situation in mind. In this workshop, participants are introduced to a practice that can be done almost anywhere. Providing the tools and perspectives necessary to begin meditating today, this event offers us a way to relax and rejuvenate.

(a13) CRAAP Detection: Evaluating websites the fun and memorable way (Gr. 6-12)

Presenter: Darinka Popovic

Bio: Darinka Popovic earned her Masters from the University of Alberta in Teacher-Librarianship. Darinka has taught grades K-8 and has spent the past 12 years as teacher librarian.

Summary: Your eyes do not deceive you! I did use the “word”. Students need a memorable method to attract them to learn about quality websites. The C.R.A.A.P method provides a unique way of remembering how to determine if a website is just right. We will explore the tool and look at a number of websites that will make this task much more interesting.

(a14) An Online Independent Novel Study for Middle and High School Teachers (English and French)

Presenter: Rebecca Steele and Hélène Bérubé

Bio: Hélène Bérubé teaches Français Langue at the secondary level at The Link. Hélène has participated in various global online conferences, follows numerous educational blogs and is actively using Twitter to find new ways to teach French Immersion. Rebecca Steele teaches secondary English at The Link at the SJ Willis Education Centre. She has been a distributed learning teacher for 6 years and is a Blackboard Administrator for SD61. Rebecca graduated with her Masters of Arts in Learning and Technology at Royal Roads University in 2009.

Summary: This session will introduce an independent novel study, housed within Blackboard, a learning management system available to all teachers and students in SD61. Participants will be given a guided tour of the unit from the students’ perspective. The unit allows teachers to introduce/use Audacity, Glogster, video clips, and word processing. Blackboard is the ‘tool box’; it allows teachers to organize and contain the unit by housing documents, links, video clips, discussion boards, blogs, etc. It is password protected and can act as a virtual classroom. This is ideal for independent learning. Interested teachers will have the opportunity to have a copy of the unit and arrangements will be made for assistance to personalize for his or her own classroom. The workshop is delivered in English and the novel unit is available in both English and French for teachers of both languages.

(a15) Creating your own Website using Weebly or SchoolNotes (K-12)

Presenter: Keely Thornton and Mark Brown

Bio: Keely Thornton is in her 5th year as a Teacher-Librarian and has found her calling working within school libraries. Her long term goal is to create readers out of every single one of her students and to lure them into the library on a daily basis. Mark Brown teaches Grade 6. While having always been a believer in “the simplest solution is the best solution” he does have a SmartBoard in his classroom. His post-degree work was on the subject of integrating technology into the classroom. An avid outdoorsman, he plays with things you can't plug into a power supply.

Summary: Have you ever been curious about creating a website for your classroom, school library, or personal life? Have you ever wanted to reach out and connect to those around you using simple technology? Have you ever wished that there was a place for parents to check on their child’s homework assignments? Join us for an introduction class on creating your own website using the free hosting site Weebly or SchoolNotes. We will help you set up the account and show you the highlights of these easy to use and fun web tools.

(a16) Introduction to Words Their Way (K-5)

Presenter: Carolyn Vincent

Bio: Carolyn Vincent is a primary teacher with a mosaic of teaching experiences to draw on. Recently, she spent 6 years as a Literacy Coordinator in the Sooke district. Seven years ago she introduced Words Their Way to Tapestry and has continued to be a fan of this effective method of teaching spelling. She has had the honour of meeting and learning directly from the Words Their Way team at a conference.

Summary: Words Their Way is a developmental spelling program that can be used on its own or in conjunction with your own words/spelling programs. Part of the WTW magic is the efficient assessment that allows you to immediately find out where your students are in terms of hearing and seeing the patterns. (And, oh yes, there are the many exceptions!) WTW is a brain friendly method of learning the intricacies of our language and it is all done with sorting and noticing.

(a17) Creating interactive stand-alone quizzes using Quizscript (K-12)

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