Middle School TeachMeet in Vasse.

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Feedback after the initial TeachMeet in Margaret River in August led to the idea of organising Middle School Event. Garry, who had been a presenter of the Big History Project, volunteered to host a meet at his school,Cape Naturaliste College in Vasse.
So, the hunt was on for presenters that could give a middle school perspective.
Fortunately, Cape Naturaliste College SOSE department provided three presenters and the Maths department added one.
Marie demonstrated how the comic creation website Pixton could be used to engage students in Year 9 Modern History and synthesize information they have read. Her students created really interesting comics on the Assassination of Franz Ferdinand.
Mandy found a creative way to link hashtag creation to history lesson in Year 9 and 10. Students had to read information and create a hashtag that summarised the information. They then had to discuss why they had chosen that particular hashtag. A great way to engage students who are already using hashtags in social media websites like Tumblr.
Ben’s Sustain-a-Build project involved research, collaborative work with peer mentoring and creative design to create 3D models of a sustainable town. TED Talks of other students around the world doing similar projects inspired the kids.Benefits of this project were the engagement of students who enjoyed creating models and the collaborative work that needed to be done to finish the project. I particularly liked the separation of roles into designer, architect and landscaper. As my husband is a Town Planner I might have liked the designer role to be called Town Planner :). Ben also mentioned how nice it was to be able to display the final works for the rest of the school community to view.
Gareth from the Maths department gave us his experiences as a first time HOLA (Head of Learning Area). He found the benefit of the role was the advocacy role for his department and taking a lead in curriculum but managing a budget and resources was a challenge. Ben also stated that as a HOLA, flexibility was important as every day brought new things.

We were also treated to presentations from two independent schools in the region, Yallingup Steiner School and Cornerstone Christian College.

Konrad, the Principal of Yallingup Steiner School introduced some of us to the core ideals behind Steiner Education. I know that I was interested in their Cape to Cape Walk Program where the students from 9 years old on, walk sections of the Cape to Cape track. This links in beautifully with science, geography, local Noongar history and art to name a few.
Bob from Cornerstone Christian College outlined how Middle School is organised at his school and stressed that authentic relationships with the students is the key to a successful middle school program. Middle school teachers were usually only middle school teachers. I was also interested in their integrated projects.

I couldn’t resist the temptation to speak about the benefits of Twitter for developing a PLN and for accessing great professional development. However, at this meet I was representing my new school, MacKillop Catholic College.

Thanks again to the teachers  who attended in such a busy term and to Garry for organising a great meet and providing yummy food as well.
I believe TeachMeets are here to stay!

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