Googleable vs Non-Googleable Questions

Googleable vs Non-Googleable Questions The Lab.

In this post by Ewan McIntosh at @NoTosh, teachers and students are challenged to determine low and high order questions. The latter than becomes the focus for the duration of the lesson.

Why?  McIntosh states:

Every topic, every bit of learning has content that can be Googled, and we don’t want teachers wasting precious enquiry time lecturing that content. We want students, instead, to be using class time to collaborate and debate around the questions that are Not Googleable, the rich higher order thinking to which neither the textbook nor the teacher know the answers.


I tried this with my gr 11 Anthropology Class.


Assessment and Evaluation

presentation: Assessment and Evaluation Oct 2

Assessment in education is essential. Most parents (and yes, some teachers) focus on the end goal: the report mark or the levels the students get on individual assignment. Unfortunately, this only part of the picture.

The Ontario Ministry of Education, in its latest document, Growing Success, outlines the policy for which assessment and evaluation can “improve student learning.”

There are tons of online Professional Development resources and web modules available on the Edugains website. 

I found THIS ONE on assessment for and as learning cheesy, but helpful.

Formative Assessment Ideas

(image created with

Ass for as of

There are some interesting ways to integrate these types of assessments into your classroom.

Four More!   Assessment FOR/AS

Four More is an example of a formative assessment. It “integrates collaboration, movement, and individual accountability.”

fourmore – template

Students are able to “check in” with their peers about the lesson topic.  The activity allows students to get up and walk around and gather additional information about what is being learned.

The Frayer Model: Assessment FOR

The Frayer Model is a graphic organizer to help students grasp a concept or term more fully.

The Ontario Ministry of Education released a great strategy with their “Think Literacy” Documents. Here is their interpretation of the Frayer Model.  Another great .pdf version of the graphic organizer can be found here.

This example is from a geography unit.

frayer example

Assessment OF Learning

Many teachers assume tests are the only way to assess student curricular mastery. Many students find these stakes too high, suffer from anxiety and are unsuccessful. A quick “search” of the 9/10 Canada and World Studies Curriculum document quickly reveals there are two mentions of the word “test.” (note: of the 33 results for ‘exam,’ NONE address the major final assessment!) Therefore, the Ministry of Education has no specific requirement to set formal tests in our courses (ironically, they love testing in Math and English.)  Other options include research assignments, inquiry questions and varied formats for demonstration of learning.


Literacy and History

Literacy & history resources

Resource: Examining Bias in the media (Sir Sam Hughes’s Dismissal)

More Literacy Resources:

1. Think Literacy (Ontario Ministry of Education)

– features ready to use lessons for every area of the curriculum

– outlines general reading, writing and thinking literacy strategies which can be applied across the curriculum

2. Pre, During and Post Reading Strategies

3. Facing History and Ourselves: Teaching Strategies for Critical Thinking and Literacy

4. Pre-reading Strategies

Making Inferences:

Activity: Students make Observations about what happens in the short film. Then they make inferences about what is being suggested by the things they observed. Encourage creative and thoughtful ideas. They aren’t ‘right’ answers, just ‘better’ answers.

Where the Magic Happens

Every day, we ask our students to come into our classrooms and try new things. We ask them to stand in front of their peers and speak, or answer a question on freshly learned topics or throw them into new methods of instruction which are far from the safety of pencil and paper activities. Our classrooms house intimidation!


I once read about a 30+ year veteran teacher who started a new activity every September. She believed it was a way to remind herself about the challenges of being a student. She reasoned that risk taking is hard and learning something new, although exciting, is really intimidating.

I love the image of a grey-haired woman stepping over the chrome engine of a Harley on her first ride, banging away at a drum lesson or leaping into a jazz dance class. She is risk taking. She giving up control. She is experiencing. She lets her self leave her comfort zone and head “where the magic happens.”

Unfortunately, many teachers forget what it’s like to take risks. We become at ease with the topics we cover (our students always seem so shocked, “how do you know all this?” and the answer is often, “I’ve taught it  a lot”). We make excuses for why we won’t or can’t learn something new.

Teachers can be intimidated by technology. There are so many variables in selecting iPad, interactive whiteboard, web activity, collaboration, Google Apps etc. Then, we have to worry about managing those activities once we’ve created them.

My challenge to you: pick something. If it fails? Try again. Do something differently. You’ll get another crack at it in the future. What is there to lose?

MOST IMPORTANTLY:  Let your students guide you. Let the students who know their way around reddit or tumblr show you how to find .gifs or embed videos. Enjoy being a student. Use the classtime to develop a skill or learn a new web too.