Sunday, April 25, 2010

Delicious Bookmarking

Thanks Victoria for making me join up to Delicious, have been aware of this tool for a while but never really thought I would benefit from using it. Alas I was wrong already tonight I have saved 4 different websites and I love the idea of tagging them. After a couple of times realised what I thought was a longwinded procedure was not. Can see it will not take long to build up my library, plus the good thing about this Victoria has already shared all her websites with me. Will spread the disease with the rest of my team at our pod meeting tomorrow. Thanks Vic.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

School Holiday Power Blogging - Post No. 7

Yesterday was our whole school professional development day "Saving Your Sanity" was presented by Colleen Deveyrac - "I am deeply committed to helping people formulate innovative and dynamic plans to reduce stress and to help children and youth recognise their full potential."

Colleen provided us with proactive ideas and strategies to help teachers effectively teach children with autism, ADHD and Oppositional Defiance Disorder. In her interactive lecture she provide many opportunities for teachers/professional to share their thoughts/ideas about a variety of concerns e.g. role of the teacher has changed in the past 20 years, students are not passive learners, ADHD brain v's a neuro-typical. Different scenarios were provided and strategies were given, Proactive v's Reactive, what sort of teacher are we? We unpacked the meaning behind Discipline/Punishment and the possible effects this has on our learners.

Throughout the day Colleen constantly referred to her love of the website youtube and the profound effect it has on our students who struggle to communicate and the ability it gives to create powerful messages to share to create greater awareness within our society - no to mention support one another.

As teachers it is our responsibility to ensure that every opportunity is provided for all our students to share their thoughts and ideas - to give them a voice, to help nurture creative and innovative thinkers. Using our ever changing technology to break free from the classroom walls - I need to make this happen more !!!

It was a great day and as Colleen summed up at the end of the day the most important thing is "You!!!!" - so have just come back from 2 hour walk, thanks Edwina - you're in charge of the route next week.

School Holiday Power Blogging - Post No. 6

I have recently downloaded this iPhone application "BC Reader" ($4.99) thanks to a recent post from Manaiakalani . Sadly I don't have an iPhone but I do own a husband who does and he happens to be one of those ones that is constantly losing business cards and then blaming those near and dear to him for throwing them out. Now all our treasure hunts will be over ....

Just one more iPhone gadget that is really cool and is a goody, Debbie you will like this - it's called "Shazam". Hold your iPhone in the direction of where the music is playing the phone will listen for a small period of time, scan for the song, name the song and then ask if you would like to down from itunes to your iPhone - how simple is that, I love it, only problem is I don't have an iPhone - there's another hint Mother's Day is coming up???

School Holiday Power Blogging - Post No. 5

After visiting Amanda's blog a few weeks ago I read her post on Apimac Timer that she downloaded and uses for a variety of reasons but most importantly in her class rotations. I loved that idea, as am always looking for new innovative ways to manage my classroom. After further investigating I realised this was an apple device, so promptly went searching for a pc version and I originally downloaded one from Download 3K but had to convert music to wav files and then when I did this I found it wasn't that straight forward to work.

So since then have been reading Victoria's blog and have now downloaded Prime Time Freeware so watch this space and I will let you know how we go in the classroom.

School Holiday Power Blogging - Post No. 4

During the term I was lucky enough to attend a Sue Larkey Autism Course. What an inspirational lady and not to mention entertaining. The convention room was packed and she shared with us a multitude of scenarios that she has been involved with over the years. The day was engaging, she kept us involved throughout as we were given opportunities to be involved in discussion with other professionals as we delved into the complexities and issues related to this disorder.

We were given a variety of strategies to support these learners and I have already set in place social stories for my students. However, I think the most provoking moment of the day was a short video that she showed "Autism Teen Finds Inner Voice" - it just highlighted to me ... where would we be today without the technology we have available to us to provide these trapped people the ability to be able to communicate and the importance of providing a multitude of teaching and learning tools to support our diverse learners.

Friday, April 16, 2010

School Holiday Power Blogging - Post No. 3

Even though it was the last week of the school term I was very excited about our whole day school professional development meeting with Pam Hook and Julie Mills - our inspiring SOLO taxonomy gurus. Having been to several breakouts during Learning at Schools was looking forward to finding out some more information on this "Structured Overview of Learning Outcomes".

I had done a little dabbling in my class and pod, however, was not entirely sure we were on the right track. Pam gave us an overview of the SOLO concept which certainly challenged my thinking. In Pam's own words it's a "brutal" simplistic framework that allows students to easily identify at what stage of thinking they are at, students can easily recognise what steps they need to take to improve their achievement and also provides teachers with very clear guidelines of where to next in terms of teaching. Most importantly it highlighted the importance of never under-estimating our learners.

We investigated the need to develop a whole school curriculum concept map and this will be an area of focus for our staff this term. Having an opportunity to be involved in choosing macro concepts and micro concepts will provide a more structured way of ensuring we meet all the requirements of our curriculum.

We created some "What If ...." questions to support our Water Conservation inquiry for term 2. What if questions are aligned to an identified achievement objective and level from the NZC, they help students explore the concept, context and achievement objectives identified through other perspectives, differences, alternatives, controversies and disputes. These were some of the "What if ...." questions that 5 staff members came up with in 5 minutes.

Here is a video from demonstrating the use of signals by Our Lady Star of the Sea, a school that has had recent pd on SOLO. "Brutal and Simple".

School Holiday Power Blogging - Post No. 2

I am in the process of updating our knowledgenet pod pages for middle and senior school. A big thanks to Bridget have nabbed some of your child friendly search engines. These will definately come in handy during our Water Conservation Inquiry this term.

wikipeida for kids

Yahoo for kids

Ask kids

Any Questions

Kid Rex

Kids Click

Quintura for kids


Monday, April 5, 2010

School Holiday Power Blogging - Post No. 1

Helped present at our Cluster Share afternoon with Victoria. Was very scary even though my only job was to make sure I clicked at the right times for Vic and then spoke very briefly on our Inquiry section. Well done Victoria on completing the presentation on behalf of our school it was great and good to see you using a new tool that you saw in use at Learning @ Schools in Rotorua this year. Here is the link to our presentation.

Was interesting to see what each school has planned for 2010 and the similar pathways that Botany School are taking e.g. dabbling in SOLO taxonomy to lift our students level of thinking.

Belinda introduced our Cluster Share and purpose of afternoon and importance of "sustainability" in light of the contract ending.

She showed a you tube clip which I found extremely relevant in terms of gathering "followers" It talks about the IMPORTANCE of being a "1st Follower" it is an under-appreciated form of leadership, the "1st Follower" transforms a "lone nut" into a leader. We are need more 'FOLLOWERS" desperately.