The One Where He Put Hawkins Cheezies in the Freezer

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on

You might be wondering how Hawkins Cheezies in freezers and online collaboration go together. And that is a valid question.

As I contemplated this week’s blog prompt about how are students going to interact on our online course prototypes I reflected on my own interactions and collaborations.

At first I thought to myself, “I don’t do much collaboration online.” But then I thought about Facebook and my latest interaction this week that resulted in some new knowledge through discourse with peers. A friend of mine posted, “Tuesday Tip: Hawkins Cheezies are the best. But have you tried them out of the freezer???  If not you need to, game changer!”

Actual screenshot of interaction from earlier in the week

Side note: Thanks to my great grandma Norman and our weekly visits as a young impressionable child I developed a deep love of Hawkins Cheezies. She would always have some on hand for us to sample each time we visited.

One of the greatest ladies ever! My great grandma Balkwill

Well I contemplated blocking my friend at first for posting such blasphemy but them I decided to try this madness and come to my own conclusions. And OMG am I glad I ever did because Hawkins Cheezies just went from a 10/10 to a solid 15/10 which I thought was impossible.  

Photo by cottonbro on

And isn’t that the goal of all teachers who want to see their students attempt online discourse…new knowledge or ideas that come out of interactions.

In reading Bates text 4.4 about Online Collaborative Learning it made me realize I need to step up my online collaboration game in my online course. Originally I had participation in online forums/discussions as 30% of their overall mark. 30% for what?!?! I was going to pose a couple questions and have them respond to each other? Is that worth the same as a final project or taking part in 7 activities/lessons?

So now what???

Ideally iwant my students to engage because of intrinsic reasons (gaining more knowledge/ engaging discourse amongst peers) rather than extrinsic (just because its an easy 30 marks).

So how do I do that?

Everything Bates says in the text makes sense:

  • I must provide good resources and activities to accommodate discussion and collaboration
  • Forums must be seen as a key component of the learning and not an add on
  • Teacher presence is key
  • Clear guidelines and clear goals
  • Frequent check ins
  • Read and discuss textbooks should help guide discussion not the other way around.

I don’t have an answer yet for what my online course will look like over the next couple weeks but I will be contemplating it quite often and looking for activities that facilitate discussion and collaboration rather than are the result of reading a text.

I am definitely going to have to look for topics to talk about then add resources to have the discussion continue.

Is that going to be easy in an online course geared towards grade 7 and 8’? Yes. Is it impossible? No. Is it going to be rewarding if I can unlock this riddle? Yes!

There is nothing more Canadian than Hawkins Cheezies but through online collaboration and discourse we just upped it another level of Canadianness by adding below 0 temperatures to them.

Photo by Pixabay on

Anything is possible!

How are you planning to create meaningful discussion and collaboration in your online courses? Is it possible with younger grades? Does it need to be just text based? I’d love to hear your thoughts?

5 thoughts on “The One Where He Put Hawkins Cheezies in the Freezer

  1. Hawkins Cheezies in the freezer eh? Might have to do that this week. Thanks for the post. Like you I’ve also fallen into the trap of handing out participation marks in my classes. I guess one has to keep in mind that participating in activities has to provide intrinsic value for the student. How to find that value and highlight to students the return on their investment remains a challenge I’m still struggling to figure out. I think one part of collaboration that we must keep in mind is resistance/friction. Participation should be easy and have little to no drawbacks or consequences. I think anonymity can be one way allowing students get over the initial hump of collaboration. Many of our students have completely separate lives on social media and I wonder if by allowing them to create their own little personality for a course could be another way to get things flowing. Just spitballing here. Thanks again for the Cheezies recommendation, I look forward to trying it out!


  2. Something I question often is if I had to define participation, what would that look or sound like? All too often, I talk silence as non-participation, when in fact participation could mean a multitude of different things for each and every person. Something that Bates brought to light as well, is that different cultures have different norms and maybe participation in one culture looks like non-participation in another. I’m not sure if assessing participation can be done by an external person other than the participant, although, I am also unsure if we should or shouldn’t be assessing participation. Sometimes I think that if we clearly define what participation can look like, then for sure, we can. However, does that leave other people out? I am clearly thinking aloud, and have no real answer, but it’s something that I definitely have thought a lot about.

    Great post, it really made me think! Thanks!


  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on collaboration. I really liked your focus on intrinsic motivation in terms of collaborative learning. I think that is the problem often with discussion boards is that they become a chore rather than as Bates suggests an intrinsic part of the learning.

    In regards to your last questions I think that interaction definitely does not have to be text-based. I think tools like flipgrid make video-based interaction smooth and easy. I think for elementary flipgrid could be a great fit once they get the hang of it even in younger grades. Audio interaction is also possible and can play a role.


  4. I will definitely be trying this frozen Hawkins cheezie thing! Love how you included your great-grandma in your post.

    We are having students collaborate in small groups during face-to-face classes, but we are also using FlipGrid. I agree with Jamie – it’s a great tool for discussion so students can share their ideas and respond to each other without having to write everything out. I think it ups engagement for sure!

    You could check out Nearpod too! You could put a reading/video on a slide and then have a Collaborate Board with a question for the next slide. Students can all add their responses and then read and “like” each other’s responses.


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