Happy International Peace Day from St Thomas More Catholic Primary School!

Such a wonderful project to be involved in. Another #globalclassroom success story.

Cranes 4 Peace

This year our St Thomas More peace cranes are flying once again to Elkanah House and the Mid Pacific Institute to the students of Mrs Stadler and Ms Kurashige. We are so glad to connect again and we are also excited to announce that we are sending cranes to Ms Gordon’s class at St Christopher’s School in Richmond, Virginia, USA.
This year, the year three class have joined the year four class and have written cinquain poems and learned how to fold origami cranes. We have found out that learning how to fold origami cranes requires perseverance but we are feeling pretty proud of ourselves.

The year four class will be completing their haiku poems tomorrow, decorating and folding their cranes. Hopefully, Mrs Muste will be able to send them on their way by the end of the week.

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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.

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.

WA and the USA connect through Edmodo

Another global classroom success organised through the power of Twitter and connected through the simplicity of Edmodo!

It has been our privilege to connect this term grade one and two students from  Dalkeith Primary School in Perth and Windsor Primary School in Arlington Heights, Chicago. As our American friends school year draws to a close, I thought I would share a snapshot from an activity we did and wish them a fabulous summer break.

The students and I have learned so much about life at both schools. We have enjoyed learning through shared mini movies, pdf’s and comments made by the children and teachers at both schools.  We have also shared pictures and movies about life at our school.

Today we read Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon by Patty Lovell and David Catrow. We chose this story because it is an American book. Molly Lou Melon is also an awesome character and her story is one that everyone should read.
Windsor School are reading books by Australian author, Mem Fox. We know how fabulous those stories are because we have them in our library at school.
Both schools did story corners and you can see an small selection of ours below

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Reading aloud to students. Sharing my choices.

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I get to spend about 30-40 minutes in the library with the students from Pre Primary to Year 7. In this time I promote books, help students to select books, issue and return books but my absolute favourite part of the time we spend together is when I get to read out loud to them.

The PP’s and Year 1’s get read picture books and I will show some of my favourites another time as I wanted to share the books I’m reading to the other grades.

Year 2 The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl.
I haven’t read a novel to Year 2 before as I wasn’t sure they would be able to hold onto the plot over a week but emboldened by last year’s success of “The One and Only Ivan” by Katharine Applegate (which I read to the Year 3’s during ICT/library) I decided to give it a go. They loved “The Magic Finger” and when we finished it this afternoon they requested “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”.

Year 3 Charlie Burr and the Three Stolen Dollars by Sally Morgan
Great Australian novel and perfect for this age group. Fun to read out loud and a little bit naughty.
I’m hoping this will lead to the other books in the series being requested.

Year 4 Bartlett and the Ice Voyage by Odo Hirsch.
An oldie but a goodie, full of rich vocabulary. This starts off a but slowly but with good voice acting is an interesting read.

Year 5 Cairo Jim and The Sacred Alabastron of Chronos by Geoffrey McSkimming
Also an oldie but with links to Ancient Greek mythology. Percy Jackson isn’t the only character dealing with mythical characters. A book that requires courage to read out loud as a macaw is one of the main characters. Lots of ‘Raark’

Year 6 Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
I was really looking forward to this but as a read out loud it is not as successful as I’d like. I find the conversation a bit clumsy, however, the students are still happy to listen. One student couldn’t wait to find out and bought the books.

Year 7 The False Prince by Jennifer Neilsen
This absolute gem was brought to my attention by my Teacher Librarian friends on Twitter. I’m really enjoying this read as the dialogue reads well and the characters are nicely drawn by the author. One student has held off from reading the sequel. Seeing him intently listening is a great reward.

I wonder how many other Teacher Librarians get to read novels to their students? Reading to a child is such a joy and provides many learning opportunities that add to their literacy.

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.