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.

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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!

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.

Having a go at global projects.

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It is amazing how a small leap of faith can result in opportunities that were inconceivable before.My Year 4 ICT class is doing a unit on peace and I recently joined the Peace Crane Project to provide the students with an opportunity to celebrate International Peace Day on September 21st. When signing up to the project it asked if you wanted to be part of a classroom exchange. I ticked the box as I’m always happy to make connections. Within 24 hours I had received an email from a teacher in Siberia, asking if we wanted to exchange with them. When I replied that we would love to (Siberia! How exciting!) she asked whether we would be open to extra exchanges like swapping drawings, having a Skype session (we are only 2 and a half hours apart time wise) and generally learn about each other’s environments. What a thrill! Isn’t this what peace is about? To learn and understand each other. These children will never see the world the same again. The students are learning about biomes with their classroom teacher and when I showed them where the school was they were able to identify that the region was tundra.

I am so excited to be part of this experience and it all started by looking for a way to participate in a global project.
If you want to try a global project, you can go to The Global Classroom Project 2013-2014. This is a fabulous community to be part of with great projects.

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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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Where will Twitter take you? It took me to Slide2Learn!

My 9 Steps to becoming a workshop facilitator at the Slide2Learn Conference in Perth.
June 2012 – April 2013.

Previously, I had written about taking a leap of faith and doing something that scared me. I submitted a proposal to facilitate a workshop at the Slide 2Learn Conference. I was accepted and this blog outlines how it happened.

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1. Join Twitter through recommendation of Louise Cimetta @LouCimetta – Coordinator of Digital Learning, Catholic Education Office, Perth

2. Have a positive social experience at Catholic Primary Curriculum Conference with fellow tweeps.

3. Receive feedback from a tweet that results in attending a brilliant social media workshop run by MYSA and featuring amazing educators, Prof. Alec Couros @corousa and George Couros @gcouros
a. Start my own blog – Reflection is good for the soul
b. Own digital footprint – About.me/KerryMuste
c. Find out about Hootsuite to organise my hashtags and Flipboard for magazine like reading.
d. Make further connections, plus meet people that already knew on Twitter. Made the day very relaxed.

4. Make further positive social experiences through tweet up lunch thanks to EduBlogger Extraordinaire Sue Waters @suewaters and meet Couros Brothers, and three lovely Librarians;The Daring Librarian @gwynethjones, Dr. Joyce Valenza @joycevalenza and Audrey Nay @audrey_nay. I also met Phil and Jo Hart, Ms D and Sue Hickton. Great day!

5. Join great Global Classroom project run by Karen Stadler @ICT_Integrator called Crazy Crazes.
a. Learn new ways to share information – flipsnack, voicethread and Skype

6. Create Year 7 class blog to display students Digital Photography Competition and invite Twitter friends to view – they comment and provide audience.

7. Find resources and links to amazing ideas and people
a. Read and follow blogs – favourite George Couros
b. Joined another Global Classroom Project run by Karen called Save Our Rhinos
i. Create YouTube channel to display work

8. Be invited to submit workshop idea to National Slide2Learn Conference being held in Perth. Thanks Slide2Learn team!

9. Facilitate a workshop on Developing a PLN using Twitter at the Conference and meet fellow Tweeps like: Michael Graffin @mgraffin, Global Classrooms Project Co-founder; Amie Meyer @AmieMeyer4; Sam Boswell @sboswellhyde. I was also able to make new wonderful connections from around Australia. It was also amazing to meet and attend workshops run by Tony Vincent @tonyvincent. His keynote address was lots of fun and the Web Keynote by Lisa Johnson @Techchef4u introduced me to another fabulous educator.

What an amazing journey and I owe it all to the power of Twitter. I hope that it will continue to provide me with inspiration, enthusiasm, new ideas and life changing experiences.

Has Twitter made a difference to you?

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.

ICT/Library lessons so far

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Nearly half way through my semester! I am attempting to spend more time reflecting on my learning/teaching, so here goes.

As part of the Global Classrooms project – Save Our Rhinos,  we have been learning about Rhinos but also thinking about Awareness Campaigns. Last year I had a successful project focussing on basic economics that lead to the students planning and running a stall. This year, I wanted to try an alternative and the concept of raising awareness rather than raising money appealed.

We considered awareness campaigns we had come across in different media and we thought about the audiences they were aimed at. Finally, we considered the kind of persuasive language we might use. A rubric for the topic that I provided in my last lesson actually resulted in them trying a little harder to reach the skilled section.

To plan our campaigns we modified the Problem- Action Steps- Outcomes
model I had found at

http://cdn.icivics.org/sites/default/files/uploads/Students%20Engage.pdf

The students are now creating their Awareness presentations. I have introduced Movie Maker to the classes as another way we could present our information.

To tie in with this project, I have used Africa as a learning focus with the younger kids. Although my major focus for the Pre Primary class is learning to log on independently and the Year 1’s are learning to save their work correctly on the network, we have been reading picture books such as

The Princess and the Pea by Rachel Isadora

The Hunter by Paul Geraghty

Natemba by Annette Lodge

Why the Giraffe has a long neck – Tinga Tinga tales

Just Right by Nigel Gray and Deborah Brown

And using websites such as

www.perthzoo.wa.gov.au

www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/animals

Africa Song for kids – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoYp2_MxkMI

 

I have also shown the kids WWF Together App using Apple TV in our lab.

The Year 1 class are developing skills in Publisher as they learn to insert Word Art, images and clip art as well as developing their keyboard skills writing about different African animals. Whilst looking at Matt Gomez’s great kinderchat blog I realised that I could develop their language skills a bit more and have now focussed on them writing their sentences instead of inserting the missing word. Next week I will have a bank of words for them to use on display.

Next blog post I will outline my upper primary classes.

The History of Surfing for Year 6

Ancient China – Year 7

 

Global Classrooms – Expanding their world

Lesedi and the princess

Lesedi and yr one hugs

Robogal Lesedi

Lesedi helping Yr 5's learn about rhinos.

Lesedi joing the Yr 5 class for Indonesian.

Lesedi joing the Yr 5 class for Indonesian.

The Travelling Rhinos Project A Global Classrooms Initiative by Karen Stadler (@ICT_Integrator)Last year I participated in Karen’s Crazy Crazes Global Classroom project and it was such a good experience for myself and the students that I decided to be part of this year’s project.
We have hosted Lesedi, one of the Travelling Rhinos, for the last 10 days and she has proved to be very popular with the students. One of my favourite memories will be the Year 1 class hugging her after they found out that rhinos were being killed for their horns. Participation in the project has meant that not only are we learning about rhinos and their plight but has brought the world a little closer to us and will enable us to focus on our own endangered species and the need for awareness campaigns. Lesedi leaves us to go to Plympton Primary School in South Australia at the end of the week but her legacy will endure as we continue to learn about animals under threat.
Farewell Lesedi. We will be following your journey through Australia and New Zealand.

If you wish to know more about what Karen is doing you can find her blog here.