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.

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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.

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!

TeachMeet 2 – A Montessori Experience

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Our second TeachMeet in Margaret River was hosted magnificently by Margaret River Montessori School. We were treated to presentations by two of staff members, Jan and Lee-Anne. These presentations introduced us to some core principles in Montessori education but were not exclusive. I know we all learned something we could use in our own classes. Helen from Margaret River Primary school entertained us with the app, AutoRap and suggested we give class instructions in a novel new way. Nicole from St Thomas More CPS, gave us a brief look into Genius Projects. I know for a fact how fabulous they have been in her Year 7 class. Our principal, Marty, outlined how the peer forum we call the Breakfast Club is helping support staff with curriculum and classroom management ideas and I gave a quick pitch for Twitter as a PLN tool.
All in all it was a fun afternoon get together with some new faces and new ideas. If you haven’t been to a TeachMeet yet, see if there is one near you. Western Australian educators can look here
Next, the TeachMeet at Cape Naturaliste College in Vasse on the 25th November. Our first Middle school event.

The Day Teachmeet came to Town

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What do you call it when thirty educators from different systems and different towns come together to listen and learn from each other in their OWN time?
You call it professional, dedicated and courageous.
You also get to call it a Teachmeet and now it has come to the capes region of Western Australia.

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Thank you all the wonderful educators that attended the evening who contributed to its success. Thank you to Bhavneet Singh (@BhavneetSingh12) for her encouragement and technical support.
Thank you to my principal and colleagues for their support and  I look forward to the second Teachmeet next term.

If you would like to know more about Teachmeets you can go here.
If you would like to see if there is one near you in Western Australia, go here.
In other parts of Australia, go here.

Here is a Storify of the #tmwa tweets.
Consider hosting one today.

Believe you are making a difference.

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Looking for inspiration I plugged ‘inspiration’ into Pixabay and saw this image. I resonated with me as I started the year feeling a little jaded. I have been on a remarkable journey over the last two years and have tried to share my enthusiasm with others through blog posts, Twitter and presenting at conferences. Have you ever felt like your message wasn’t being heard? Yeh, me too.

Now on the first term holidays, my brain has time to reflect and I realise I’m feeling energised again. I have to believe that it makes a difference even if I don’t hear about it. I read recently that you get back the energy you put out so I’m putting it out there and hoping for the best.

This last term I had a fantastic experience collaborating with a classroom teacher and art teacher on a narrative + manga + anime project. I tweeted about it. The kids seemed to really enjoy it and I know we did.  Their pride in their achievements at the Sevensation Film Festival held on the last day of term was wonderful to witness. Their parents were pretty impressed too.

I went to a great ICT PD day run by Adrian Torrese (@Adriant_Torrese) and re-connected with my tribe (thanks Amie @AmieMeyer4 ) and to really top things off I’ve made connections with other teachers for #globalclassroom projects next term. My thanks to Kathleen Corley (@KathleenCorley) and Nicole Burrows (@Nicburrows) for their enthusiasm and collaboration. I love Twitter for making connections and gobal classrooms are my passion.

I believe I can make a difference or I wouldn’t be a teacher. I will spend my time showing others I believe they are making a difference.

 

3 Things I Learned This Year.

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What I learned from 2013

  • Be brave!

Submitting my first submission to present at the Slide2Learn Conference early this year was one of the scariest things I’ve done for a long time.  It required me to step up and challenge myself and present to adults and also put myself out there by saying how much Twitter had changed me as an educator. I enjoyed the experience so much that I agreed to co-present with @mgraffin at the state ECAWA conference in the October holidays. Another fun day. I am also hoping to present next year, hopefully they will accept my submission.

  • Be global

I was thrilled to be selected as a #globalclassroom Lead Teacher this year. I was an enthusiastic participant in several amazing online global projects and I know my students thoroughly enjoyed them as well. I am  passionate about global education and how it can provide so many opportunities for students to engage with their learning, connect with other students and provide an authentic audience. Skype and Twitter were pivotal to the success of these activities.

  • Be flexible

I started the year by adding some comfortable furniture to the library in the hope that the teachers and students would see the space differently. I have been encouraging teachers to consider flexible learning spaces in their classrooms and I am excited that several classes are planning changes for 2014. I look forward to blogging about it.

This time of the year for us southerners is exhausting. End of school year coinciding with Christmas is always a challenging time but I’m glad I’ve taken the time to give thanks for the lessons I’ve learned this year and hope to build on them next year. Thank you to everyone that shared in my learning this year. I appreciate every opportunity I was given.  2014 looks exciting!

A Week as @EduTweetOz – A Reflection

@EduTweetOz is a Twitter account for “Australian Educators from all sectors to share their ideas, experiences, questions and passions” Each week there is a guest host and I was fortunate to be host from October 6-13, 2013. The following is a copy of the reflection I wrote for the EduTweetOz blog.

I am a huge fan of Edward de Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats (Did you see them being used in “Redesign my Brain”?)and I use them in many classes for students to reflect on work they have done. I find it encourages them to consider their work in a holistic way. So to reflect on my experience as @EduTweetOz host I am going to use them. (Primary teacher remember )

Blue hat – Thinking
• Having the opportunity to connect with educators from around Australia was a very satisfying experience and I am thankful to @EduTweetOz for giving me this opportunity.
• It was a very interesting experience being the representative instead of the individual and at times I felt I had to go back to my own avatar to continue the conversation so as not to speak as the representative.
• I had selected to talk about a few topics so I was prepared but I did find that various conversations did just spontaneously happen such as using images in my professional blog.

White hat – Facts
• I am a relative newbie to twitter but thought I might be able to add to the discussion as a rural Catholic educator who was also a Teacher Librarian. I am also a passionate advocate for #globalclassrooms and I thought this would be a great venue to talk about it.
• October is also Connected Educator month and Twitter is an amazing tool for connecting educators. I wanted to show my support and promote connections that would lead to better learning opportunities for our students.
• I volunteered to host as I thought it would challenge me as an educator and broaden my PLN as I would be exposed to educators that I might not already follow. I did find many educators to follow and learn from in my week.
• The admin of @EduTweetOz were very supportive and supported me during the week.

Red hat – Feelings
• I was excited and nervous to be host. The idea that I had to tweet intelligently for a whole week frightened me but the challenge was exciting.
• The @EduTweetOz PLN was very supportive and I was grateful to those people who responded to my tweets and engaged me in conversation. It would have been a lonely week without them. I hoped that people were able to gain something from the conversations, I know I did.
• I enjoyed connecting people and recommending links that I thought others might enjoy. Retweeting was almost a job in itself as the PLN is more diverse and bigger than my own.

Black hat – difficulties
• Daylight savings had just commenced so I was now 3 hours behind the east coast of Australia. This made it difficult as I missed the morning shift of tweets and I had to make sure I was online around 5pm so as not to miss the evening shift.
• I apologize for not using #EduTweetOz enough.

Yellow hat – positives
• Focussing the light on Teacher Librarians as ICT specialists in schools was one of the positives of the week. It was an opportunity to connect other educators with some fabulous TL’s that I follow and who inspire me. This in turn led to them suggesting other TL’s.
• I was hosting during the second week of the holidays and I was presenting at the ECAWA conference at the end of the week which gave me the opportunity to spend time tweeting and tweet in the conference back channel and promote the #WApln.
• I was challenged in my thinking and about my thinking especially with respect to connecting within Australia and how I was using my blog in particular how I used images. I am resolved to build better Australian connections for my students.
• I encourage others to take on the role as I think they will also benefit from the experience and we would benefit from hearing the voice of different educators around Australia.

Green hat – Creative hat
• As a direct result from being host I am taking on the challenge of learning about Google hangouts so that I can extend the connections and learning of my students with other students within Australia.
• It would be interesting to have a guest educator from another country host especially someone who is recognised globally as a leader in education or has to educate in a vastly different environment than our own.

Peace Building Through Global Connections

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During my planning phase for semester two, I came across the Global Education website. This great website has units that focus on global issues and links them to the Australian Curriculum. I found a unit called Peace Building which suited my age level and was a topic I’m passionate about. However, I wanted to connect my students with other students so I began a looking on the web to find a project that we could join that would facilitate this. I found the Peace Crane Project and Pinwheels for Peace.
The Peace Crane Project asks that you create an origami crane using a piece of paper that has a peace poem written on one side and a peace illustration on the other. These cranes are then displayed on International Peace Day or you can exchange them with another school. I clicked on the exchange button and was contacted by a teacher in Smolenskoye, Siberia. This was very exciting and I was able to email my exchange partner and we agreed to try and continue the exchange through snail mail and through Skype. The tyranny of longitudinal distance can play havoc with Western Australian schools as we are often too early or too late to Skype but Siberia is only a few hours difference.

I also Tweeted this information on Twitter and Karen Stadler contacted me and said that her school had also joined this project. I also happen to notice as I was scrolling through the Peace Crane Exchange partners that another Twitter colleague, Melvina Kurashige had also joined. I sent a tweet to Karen and Melvina highlighting this fact and after a tweet storm between us a blog was created where all three schools could share their Peace Crane work. Please take time to visit and add your message for peace on the wall and see our work in progress. You can find us here.
Since it’s creation on August 28th, we have had two other schools join us!
Once again I am in awe of the power of Twitter and global projects to connect educators and lead to real opportunities for our students.
I am so excited to be part of this community and with International Peace Day just around the corner, I hope that you too will reach out the hand of friendship.

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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