TeachMeet Returns

  

Thanks to the generosity of committed educators in Margaret River, TeachMeet returned to our town last week. We are so fortunate that our teachers are willing to share their passions by volunteering to present.

We heard 

  • How Google Classroom has transformed a year 6 classroom enabling access and collaboration.
  • How Bee Bots can be used effectively in literacy and math in the Early Childhood classroom
  • How Class Dojo is an effective behavioural management tool
  • How to become a global classroom using the Global Peace Crane Project
  • The amazing resources available in iTunesU and iBooks

We were also extremely fortunate to have Mr Craig Kemp, the Head of ICT and Learning Innovation at Avondale Grammar in Singapore, Skype in and encourage us to form a global Professional Network and make global classroom connections for our students. You can find Craig at http://www.mekempnz.com or on Twitter @mrkempnz 

If you haven’t experienced a TeachMeet yet, I encourage you to find one near you. I would also encourage you to take the plunge and present. TeachMeets are full of people wanting to learn and sharing your passions make them even more useful and relevant. 

Nice work, Margaret River!  

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Engagement is the Key. Making school fun.

Michael Fullan

It’s wonderful and exciting how separate actions can lead to one destination. I have been reading Stratosphere by Michael Fullan in preparation for my new role this year as an ICT integrator and I am finding lots to think about as you can see by my yellow sticky notes popping out.
At the beginning, Michael states four criteria for integrating technology and pedagogy.
(i) irresistibly engaging for students and teachers
(ii) elegantly efficient and easy to use
(iii) technologically ubiquitous
(iv) steeped in real life problem solving

I’m really engaged by problem based learning and found Lee Crockett’s Solution Fluency a great way to structure a unit of work incorporating technology and literacy. I believe this unit covered three of the four criteria. The initial scenario is outlined below.

scenario
The students understood this was a hypothetical situation but in reality it gave them a great vehicle for finding out what was great about our school and celebrating it with their peers and parents. They were incredibly engaged and came up with great promotional videos after weeks of organising, structuring ,capturing the right shots and interviewing. I was uplifted by their efforts and believe that the Solution Fluency backbone made it successful.

working on promos

I was reminded of this project when reading this Integrating Education Technology post by Michael Boykin this morning and the statement that technology could be used by students to ‘show what they know’ which is one of my favourite mantras for Ed Tech.

Oh and as I have taken up the #bloggermore2015 challenge I have also tried to improve my blog post by adding some power words in the hope that it will improve my writing after reading Jon Morrow’s post. See more here.

Thinking and Walking: A Path to Creativity

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For the last year I have been able to walk to work. Initially I started walking for my physical and mental health. There is a real benefit to having a mental space between work and home, especially when you interact with many people in a day. I know my family have noticed.

What I didn’t realise was how creative this time would be. I find solutions to challenges, new ways of tackling lessons and new ideas popping into my head all within a fifteen minute walk. I’m not saying it happens all the time, sometimes it’s just a beautiful walk and that is a blessing too.

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This reflection made me realise that I expect my students to think creatively whilst sitting down. This got me wondering if they moved around would they be more creative too? So, I am going to test this idea by getting the students to walk when brainstorming ideas. Whatever the outcome, it will be fun.

This lead me to wonder if there had been any research on this and I found a study by Dr. Marily Oppezzo and Daniel Schwartz, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Education, that may explain why.

Are you already doing this? I would love to hear about it.

Global Classroom Gratitude

I had to write and say how thrilled and honoured I was to be nominated as a Global Classroom Lead Teacher 2012-2013. I think I fall into the category of ‘most improved’ as I haven’t run any projects myself but have been an enthusiastic participator. Previous posts have outlined the fabulous projects I have been lucky enough to participate in.

Where I like to think I have made a bit of a difference is in the promotion area. I am talking about global classrooms and the power of Twitter to transform our classrooms whenever I can. I truly hope that if I keep talking about it and participating, more people will become involved and our children will truly become citizens of the globe.

I would also like to say how nice it is to receive recognition. Teachers often work in environments where recognition doesn’t come along very often. We happily save for posterity any letters of gratitude we receive and I know I have an thank you email pinned up on my board at school. These small reminders keep us going.

Below is the list of this year’s nominations. I hope you celebrate the achievements too and are inspired to join the community and participate in the next wave of projects.
Global Classroom Project Leaders 2012-2013

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Global Classrooms – Join in on the fun!

skype
On the 26th June, I celebrated my first Twitter birthday. It’s hard to believe that only 12 months ago I was unaware of how significant this social media platform would be to my development as a teacher. I have written before about how Twitter has enabled me to make connections in the world and how these connections have helped not only me but the classes I have been teaching. In my role as a Teacher Librarian who also teaches ICT from K-7 in a rural Western Australian school, global connections have meant that my students have been able to learn from other students in the world, reach out to people and to have an authentic audience for their work.

This semester, I have been very fortunate to be involved in two very different initiatives organised by teachers in two different continents.
Mrs Karen Stadler’s (@ICT_Integrator) Save Our Rhino’s project from Elkanah Primary in South Africa enabled the students to learn about endangered rhinos knowing not just that they were endanagered but how people around the world were passionate about saving them. This connection with people is what makes the global classroom aspect so powerful. It was also a great link for us to learn about our own endangered animals and hopefully educate others in the world about them.

Ms Katy Gartside’s (@KatyGartside) 9-to-9 Skype Marathon run by her Year 5 Class at The School of Columbia University in the USA was brought to my attention by Katy’s twitter feed. I have Skyped with Karen last year and I love the opportunity for the student’s to have the face to face experience with kids from other classrooms, so I expressed an interest in participating. Luckily for us, we were able to connect with times, not always possible in the US due to the time differences betweeen us. We were the 8.45pm session for them and the 8.45am session for us. The Year 6 students in my class were blown away by the articulate students running the session and learnt a lot about community but more about the similarities and differences in their own schools. We reflected on the session and I think every child loved the Skype experience.

I encourage every educator to make connections globally. Twitter has been for me the most effective way to make these connections and I have found the people to be generous, supportive and inspiring. If you would like to join Twitter I would recommend you follow the above two educators and Michael Graffin (@mgraffin) who is the #globalclassroom Project Co-founder, you won’t be disappointed.

Reflection on the term so far – Part 2

;surfing
Image courtesy of M-Pics/Freedigitalphotos.net

 

Last year, I started a Surfing history unit for the upper school and am now reteaching it to the current year 6 class. I like to add local content to my lessons wherever I can and our school is in an international surfing destination and many of the students surf. This term there was also an International Surfing Contenst run here. I find that many students are surprised to find out how recently international surfing came to our town.

We are learning note-taking skills using digital, online (websites and class blog) and paper sources. We have written a biography on Duke Kahanamoku. We are also creating a timeline using Excel and soon they will be taking on an individual research project. Choices include women in surfing, surfing offshoots like kite-surfing, the dangers of surfing and the future of surfing.

We created Movie Maker presentations last year but this year the class have access to 7 iPads and I am thinking about how we can use them to create the presentations. I am on a steep learning curve but am relying on the skills the students already have to teach me.

The Year 6’s have a class blog which their teacher uses on a daily basis to put up reminders, notes and links to information and websites that will help the students during the week. I have also included links to my lessons and have found that if I take the time to add content the students are more prepared for my lessons.

Next term the classroom teacher is considering using Edmodo as well and as this class were one of two classes I used Edmodo with last year, she need only do a basic run through and the students will be up and running with it. There are many benefits to using Edmodo including the ability to submit assignments.
Great Wall of China</a Image Courtesy of Cescassawin/freedigitalphotos.net
We are one of a few Catholic schools left in Western Australia who have Year 7’s. This year I thought I would tackle an Ancient History unit linked to the Australian Curriculum. I chose Ancient China. So far we have watched a segment of the Disney movie, Mulan and compared it to the story of Mulan and considered what features of Ancient Chinese Culture had Disney kept. We did a geography lesson and learnt about the natural barriers in Ancient China that were instrumental in developing Chinese culture. We have been learning about the various dynasties, some of the main characters and now they are involved in a Silk Road Board Game group project. It would be amazing if I had the ability to get the students to create an online game but it is beyond me at the moment. However, it is certainly something to strive for next year.

Here is a slideshow of today’s lesson.

Although we don’t have middle and upper primary “library lessons” here at school, our dedicated IT time is about 100 minutes which gives me plenty of time to develop the skills that would normally be classified as library lessons.

Next semester I will be focussing more on literature and am hoping to explore QR codes to deepen the engagement with the books in our library. I would like to try book trailers and will probably hold another event in the library like last year.