Learning is....
Planting a seed in our brain... learning to water, nurture and grow it.... so we can live on the fruit of our learning and plant more seeds.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Making it work in your classroom - the two Helens

This is another installment of my reflections from ULearn12.  Welcome to my reflections on breakout #4:

This breakout was hosted by the two Helens:  Helen King and Helen Squires.  They teach at Point England School which is a member of the Manaiakalani Trust Project.

Point England School is in east Auckland, Tamaki.  The school is in a coastal area, well resourced with good technology and vibrant environments and teachers, where kids have a dream.  The school does a survey every 6 months about how the children are enjoying learning, using their netbooks, and how they learn.

The kids like using the netbooks as they are in control; they like having their blogs to share their work and have an audience that will comment.

How do they learn at Point England School?
Learn, create, share -  is the model used at Point England School.

'Four Pou' to hold up the 'whare':
  • values based culture  -  teach behaviour explicitly in term 1 each year
  • content knowledge  -  teachers have to be clever and be able to find out for themselves
  • pedagogical knowlendge  -  know how to teach
  • evaluative capacity  -  using a variety of assessments and analysing
Underneath the 'Four Pou' is:
Learn:  Google dogs, netbooks, hands on things/doing stuff
Create:  Make stuff, write stories, tell stories, claymation...
Share:  Podcast channel, school news channel produced by Y7&8 and presented by Y5&6, share normally, blogs, Google-docs/sites

How do teachers deliver: 
Google sites are used by the teachers to enable children to do their learning at their own pace.  The Google sites provide information for the kids, sites to use, activities you want them to complete.  Teachers no longer have planning folders and folders of resources - everything is instead online, public on the sites.  Consequently they really have to have the ideas behind the planning, teaching and learning solid.  Kids are always aware of what they are learning.  Google sites have become essential to Helen #1.

The children find the activities they are required to do on the site.  The children make movies to show their learning.  The movies help their learning, particularly when they got stuck one time, a movie enabled discussion to happen and move the learning on.  Get kids to make movies about how they learn, the process of making - do as an interview.

Point England School developed a CyberSmart curriculum -  they looked at the positive side, what the children should be doing rather than what they shouldn't.  Kids made movies about this.  If the kids find something online that they are not happy about about them, they screen shot it and sent it to the teacher to enable a discussion to happen.

Using multimedia in Helen's class changed the way the children interacted with the media and each other.  In Helen's class the tables move frequently, no set place to sit, no set place to learn or teach.  The movie making has improved the kids key competencies.  They choose to work collaboratively because they know they get a better result.

Helen's big tip for getting started using Google Docs:
Don't use a template.

I'm looking forward to trying this out!!!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Mike Scaddan - Making Magic Memories

The last time I saw Mike Scaddan speak was when I was a 'baby' teacher.  The local Principals' Association organised for Mike to come and speak to the teachers in our district, and I thought he was magic.  So I was excited to see that Mike was one of the breakout presenters at ULearn12.

Breakout #3:

Teachers are magic.

There is something I don't know that I am supposed to know. I don't know what it is I don't know and yet am supposed to know, and I feel I look stupid if I seem both not to know it and not know what it is I don't know. Therefore, I pretend I know it.


This is nerve-racking since I don't know what I must pretend to know. Therefore I pretend to know everything.
I feel you know what I'm supposed to know but you can't tell me what it is because you don't know
that I don't know what it is.
You may know what I don't know, but not that I don't know it, and I can't tell you. So you will have to tell me


R. D. Laing

There are three reasons to question:
  • want to know
  • someone else has the same question and is waiting for someone to ask it
  • good for the presenter, so they know what you want to know

Everything is memory

Without reviews, memories are misshapen or destroyed.
As a result, learning has to start from new foundations everyday.

Sensory input:
Experience & environment
Repetition or strong emotion
Sense and meaning

Senses will be activated by an experience and it will go through filters.  If it gets through immediate memory, gets through working memory, gets through emotional & repetition and sense and meaning, then you have it - a memory.

The order we learn from birth:
  • Olfactory  -  smell
  • Gustatory -  taste
  • Kinaesthetic  - movement  (especially the male - they need to fiddle, touch, move do.  The male right side brain is 15% bigger than the left side of the brain - it is the movement side of the brain;  the female left side brain is 15% bigger than the right side of the brain - this is the language centre of the brain).
  • Tactile - touch
  • Visual  -  for girls about 6, boys about 8
  • Auditory  -  happens about puberty

Memory - strongest to weakest:
  • Emotional  -  aisles in your memory
  • Procedural - Body language e.g. to ride a bike, to type.
  • Episodic  -  what happened in order
  • Conditioned Reflex  -  if I said cup, you'd say saucer
  • Semantic - content without context  (last by a long way)

Locational memory - kids doing maths on the mat, then they go back to desks with worksheets and become less accurate.

Kids who forget what you said - say:  where were you when I said it?  Get them to go to that location.... hopefully they will then remember.  -  the auditory kid.

Boys have to have rules, who is in charge, will they be applied fairly - then how can they break them?

Repetition is so important - talk about it, do it, explain it, show it - each time repeating the same content.

Everybodies brain is different.  A child's brain is different to a adult's brain, a teenager's brain in different again, an elderly person's brain is different again.

Boys are born with 50% of the hearing of girls.  They don't hear all the tones that females use, don't read the faces of the girls.  Boys need it straight and direct.

Multiple Intelligences is output.

How would you structure reviews?
  • Lego reviews:  each child answers a question, gets a piece of lego; each group uses their lego to build a tower.  Good for factual review or key words.  One team member with teacher at a time.  Upbeat music good.
  • March reviews:  put the skills to a march-repeat song.  Mollenburg March (the bread ad).  One tune, one review - or else it get mashed up.
  • Interviews:  in partners they interview each other about the lession.
  • Old McDonald review
  • Visual reviews:  Smartboard, graphic organisers, pictures, mindmaps.
  • Kinaesthetic reviews:  moving along a line from one end to another to state if you agree or disagree with a statement.  Frisbee throw: catch and answer - dial a friend if struggling.  Knots in a string for identifying things in order and then telling a friend what each knot was.  What grabbed you:  alligator clip on finger, add alligator clips for the other things that grabbed you.  Dice: six things to talk about on board.  Child rolls the dice and they talk about the thing of the number they roll.
  • If you didn't do a review, why bother teaching the lesson?

Fish clap!!  This is so cool!!!  With a partner, stretch your arms towards each other and gently press together.  Now 'clap' your hand against your partner's arm.

If I lift the bar children will grow.

Three things that I will take away from this session are:
  • More physical movement
  • Using the reviews
  • Repetition

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Kevin Honeycutt - Keynote #3 at ULearn12 - Collaborate, Innovate and Educate

Ok, so I am doing this completely from notes on Twitter.  After last year at ULearn11, I found that using my laptop all the time meant a flat battery and not many opportunities to charge.  It was tricky to balance during keynotes too.  Also my shoulders and neck needed realignment from lugging the laptop and other gear about.  This year I bought a tablet so that it could fit in my handbag and would be easier to use at keynotes and not damage my body.  However, until I find a good app for notetaking on it, Twitter seemed to be my best option  -  besides, I can also use the tweets of others (thank you to the others).

So after being in Kevin Honeycutt's breakout the day before, I was interested to see what his keynote would be like.  Yes, some of the same stories resurfaced, but Kevin had plenty more in his goody sack to share with the ULearn12 faithful.

  • Don't wait to get good at something to do it.
  • Make a video for your great grandkids so they know who you are.
  • Video your teaching so that the students can "rewind" when they fall behind in their learning.
  • Treat the scariest kid in your class like they are the only one you trust.
  • Twitter allows us to be surrounded by great minds and peers when we need them.  Twitter friends have your back; they are your support crew.
  • Do unto others as you would have done to you online.
  • Technology is another "language" and kids learn languages quickly so immerse kids in languages.
  • Our kids are good, but they are kids... they sometimes do stupid things - but we love them still!!
  • When it comes to Twitter/Facebook/other social networks:  Think before you push the button!!  Think:  Am I proud of this?  Would I mind if I am famous for this for the rest of my life?  Our kids need to think about this before they post.  Your kid's name is their brand!  Are they peeing in their pool before they get into it?  Google alert your kid's name for life so you know what they are doing online and what other people are saying about them.
  • These devices are like windows - the kids are using them to talk to other people, so they need to learn digital etiquette.  Teach the kids to manage their devices rather than their devices managing them.
  • What technology do our kids have in their pockets?  There is more tech in their pockets than what took man to the moon.
  • Party telephone lines were the original social network.
  • If you clean it up too much it's not going to be good learning.
  • Are you listening teachers?
  • Kevin makes his kid pay "rent" on his laptop  -  produce a piece of work you are proud of; if you like using apps, create an app.
  • If we get kids doing great things with technology, they won't have time to do bad things with technology... or anything else.  The trick is to help them learn to do it responsibly and safely.
  • Technology creates a buffet of opportunities.... but most of our learners are just eating the napkins.
  • Google the video on YouTube 'Charlie bit my finger'.  It really illustrates the idea think before you act.
  • Book recommendation:  The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton.
  • Kids are doing amazing things now.  A 16 year old can be counting up the takings for the day, shutting and locking up a shop for their boss, holding the boss' livelihood in their hands - and the next day they have to put their hand up for permission to go to the toilet.
  • An invention is an idea that no one agrees with.  How can we make it ok to invent?  It is messy, but we have to give the kids choices.
  • Kids can do anything, sell anywhere.
  • If all we are doing is getting kids ready to pass tests, we are creating middle management.  Why do I need to learn this?  Make it matter.
  • Teaching in juvie is like PD for teachers - full of angry people who don't want to be there and one of them may shank you.
  • http://www.rescuetime.com/  -  website recommended by Kevin to help with time management.

  • You are a safer when you drive with your spouse - they want to live too.  How good are you at texting and driving.  Draw a perfect circle with one hand and a triangle with the other at the same time.  Were you successful? 
  • Kid:  "I can't draw!"  If you are not willing to be bad at something, you'll never be good at something.
  • Cognitive blisters  -  kids always stop learning the guitar at the same place, when they get blisters on their fingers.  It is the same with other forms of learning, except the blisters are on their brain.
  • Band and Voice Band on the iPad look like heaps of fun and so creative.  Voice Band can turn your voice into a guitar!!  You can make the music sound like real music.  Anyone can be a musician!!  Check out more about it here:  http://www.wavemachinelabs.com/Products/voice-band
  • Don't just snack on other people's brilliance - produce something!!
  • Good teachers may plant the seeds they do not use in the shade.
  • Make the kids hate you for a day so that they will love you for a lifetime.
  • If you don't start, you can never get better.  Don't wait.  This is your life and you only get one shot at it.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Educamp The Tron

I will now interrupt my reflections on ULearn12 with Educamp The Tron.  This was held on Saturday 3 November at Hamilton East School.  I first heard about it when I was at ULearn12 and met some key members of the group organising this event.  The first highlight was that it was free PLD.  The second highlight was meeting a lot of people who I have been following or talking to on Twitter.  The third highlight was those "Oh so that's...." moments when you learn about something new or get that better understanding.
After initial introductions and a little sharing about ourselves (and stickering ourselves with our names and twitter handles), we had a smackdown!!  Yeah, for those of you who haven't done a smackdown before (it was my first), various participants had two minutes to introduce and explain various digital/web based technologies that will enhance your teaching, the childrens' learning or grow you as an individual.  This was recorded on the Google Doc for Educamp The Tron.
Below is a list of some of the things that were introduced and that I shall be exploring for my own learning.  I have included links as and where I could, but the link to the Google Doc above will also be helpful.
  • www.pinterest.com  -  A content sharing service that allows members to "pin" images, videos and other objects to their pinboard. Also includes standard social networking features ...  and I have signed up....
  • www.evernote.com and evernote clearly  -  The Evernote family of products help you remember and act upon ideas, projects and experiences across all the computers, phones and tablets you use.  I still have to look into this.
  • www.storybird.com  -  Storybirds are short, art-inspired stories you make to share, read, and print. Read them like books, play them like games, and send them like greeting cards.  This was highly recommended by Kirstin as being child inspired.
  • www.audioboo.fm  -  a mobile & web platform that effortlessly allows you to record and share audio for your friends, family or the rest of the world to hear.  It was recommended as a good way to record the development of children's oral language and them reading poems, etc.  I've yet to look further into it.
  • www.edmodo.com   -  a microblogging network for teachers and their students, similar to Facebook in layout.  Edmodo provides a safe and easy way for your class to connect and collaborate, share content, and access homework, grades and school notices.  You can have as many groups as you want.  When kids go in they can view their calander to do what you want them to.  You can set up quizzes for the kids to do.  Kids don't have to have an email account to use it.  So I've signed up.
  • www.photopeach.com  -  you can automatically make your own free slide show in seconds. Upload photos, pick music, add captions in the show, and more!  This was also highly recommended by Anna.
  • www.edorigami.edublogs.org  -  still looking into this, but I think it is supposed to be good for reflection after a unit, getting feedback from the students. 
  • www.geocaching.com  is about finding little things in hidden places.  Better for big people who can drive than little people who can not probably.
  • www.scratched.media.mit.edu  -  where educatiors can share stories, exchange resources, ask question, find people.  Good place to get children to make things.  Give minimum intoduction, get them to do something and share it back, get them to do something and share it back.... it will grow. Logic problem solving....
  • https://sites.google.com/site/initialipadsetup for everything you need to know about introducing iPads to your school.  It is tried and true. 
  • Did you know that there is a calculator feature on Google? Just type into the Google search the calculation you want to solve, click search, and wham!  There is your answer a long with a calculator face.  Each new calculation you put in, it remembers your previous answers above. 
  • www.wikieducator.org.Digital_citizenship  -  Elements of digital citizenship, modules for learning and teaching, written collaboratively by NZ teachers.   
  • Digistore  -  Software for Learning will soon be moved into the enabling for e-learning contract.  http://softwareforlearning.tki.org.nz/ and http://digistore.tki.org.nz/ec/p/home.
  • www.wallwisher.com  -  Wallwisher is an Internet application that allows you and those you network with to post your thoughts on a common topic using electronic sticky notes on a shared digital wall.  
  • www.diigo.com  for bookmarking - you can set up a class account so that students can bookmark. 
  • Oz/NZ Educators - Google to find this active group on the net.  You can sign up to get lots of new sites sent to you. 
  • www.thinglink.com or www.meograph.com for tagging maps to tell stories, etc. 
  • www.timetoast.com good stuff for history. 
  • www.connected.org.nz for people in the Waikato to be connected to the e-teaching community. 
  • http://emergingleaders.school.nz/ignite-evening/  -  this is on Thursday 29 November, an opportunity for likeminded teachers to meet and share.  You need to register.  It is at 6pm for 6.30pm start @ Southwell (or possibly a lisensed cafe!) with drinks and nibbles.  Fastpaced, fun, thought provoking, social, local, global.... 5 minute talks by each person who have an idea to share with 20 pictures.
  • www.Youblisher.com  -  to make books that can be inbedded into your blog.  Anna recommended this as a good way to get that 'flick' feeling onscreen.  Within minutes, youblisher will turn your magazines, catalogs, business reports, presentations and all other pdf documents into publications with flippable pages! 
  • #kidsedchatnz  -  use this hashtag on Twitter to find out about the group that is setting up classroom chats on Twitter between classes. 
  • www.moturoa.blogspot.nz  -  check out this super cool blog!!
And then we broke for lunch.  When we came back, we broke into groups to discuss the things that we were interested in in smaller groups.  I had another A-ha moment or two here, and found other had similar opinions with the directions writing and School Journals have gone down recently.

Daily 5 for Literacy:
What is Daily 5?  Check out these two links for more:  http://www.thedailycafe.com/public/department104.cfm or http://www.the2sisters.com/index.html
Essentially it is about ensuring that your students get a good dose of reading and writing each day:
1.  Read by yourself
2.  Read to someone else
3.  Work on your writing
4.  Listen to reading
5.  Word work
The interesting fact is that Daily 5 is based on the work by Marie Clay.  These American ladies have taken Marie Clay's good work, and fed it back to us after the erosion we have been experiencing in Literacy is recent years.

The Book Whisperer:
Also recommended was the Book Whisperer http://www.bookwhisperer.com/
The book whisperer - google it -  buy the book  -  like it on Facebook!!
TIP:  Pull out a book in the library, read them just enough to hook them, and put it back on the shelf... watch them clamour.

Quad Blogging:
What is Quad Blogging?  Four classes each have their own blog - each class is focused on for a week and the other three classes visit that blog and make comments.  It drives traffic to the blog.  DeputyMitchell on Twitter is a co-ordinator for this programme and a source to find out more.

Blogdipping - if you want your blog to be promoted send them a post and she will post.