Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Something New Every 30 Days


I was searching the web for information and videos on goal setting for my Year 11 Pastoral Care class for 2012 when I came across a TED talk by Matt Cutts titled "Try something new for thirty days". The concept is interesting and could be applied to large or small goals. A person chooses something you would like to add or subtract from your life and then attempt to do (or not do) that thing for the next 30 days. For example I would like to improve core strength and could decide to do 50 sit ups per day for 30 days. Matt's idea being that if you can do something for 30 days it can become a habit and potentially something you will continue doing. He also suggests that it is a good short term way to achieve goals - at the extreme end Matt wrote a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. He just made sure he completed 1667 words per day!

My intention is that at the beginning of every month (starting March) my home group, including me, will attempt to try something new for 30 days. I will encourage my students to move between personal 30 day goals and school based 30 day goals. As a group we will reflect on this process throughout the year by blogging.

Friday, 23 December 2011

A Window on the Classroom

It is very easy in a lot of schools to turn up to school, go to your classroom, teach your classes and never have another adult sit in on your class for the entire year (teacher or parent). Sure other teachers will pop in and ask you for something or have a quick look at what your students are doing but rarely do they stay. This isolation that teachers experience is often fostered by teachers themselves. We feel safe in our classrooms teaching as we always have, we're professionals after all we don't need prying eyes looking at what we do and how we do it.......do we?

My answer would be yes. Having other staff observe our lessons, inviting the principal or line manager to see what you're doing in the classroom can be very beneficial for improving teacher pedagogy if done well (this is nothing new). Even inviting parents in to view classes has its benefits, including these three; firstly it can strengthen the connection parents feel with the school, secondly if done well can improve the school's/teacher's standing within the community (teachers can always do with good publicity) and thirdly gives parents a starting point at home for conversation about school with their children.

In a traditional sense i.e. having bodies physically in the classroom is difficult when time/work constraints hinder peers sitting in on your classes regularly and parents don't feel comfortable entering a classroom that has students older than nine years of age in it, and even then they can't stay because of busy schedules. To over come this I am going to create a class blog for my junior PE classes (Reception, Year 1 & 2). It will provide me with a platform to share student work and class activities with parents and other staff without them needing to be in the classroom. They can stay informed about what their child is doing in PE (taught by me to release the class teacher for non instructional time) and health (taught by classroom teacher). I know this is not a new idea but it will be the first time our school has done this.

An added benefit of undertaking this will be involving the junior primary staff (2 teachers) in the process. Blogs are not used by staff at my school and through my junior PE blog they will be able to see how I use a it to open up the classroom to parents and other teachers. I will also involve the work they do in health so it is not just me sharing. Hopefully this will be a practical way of developing the use of blogs in my school.

I know this is starting small in relation to what a lot of teachers around the world are doing but if successful I would love to see our students connecting with other schools from around the world and sharing their learning, ideas and culture.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Educreations


One of the newer apps I've downloaded recently is Educreations, a great tool for creating screencasts on the Ipad2. Simple to use much like the ShowMe app but with the flexibility of creating multiple pages easily. I have created some Educreation presentations for my Year 12 PE class next year around various concepts to support their learning and revision through the year. I have also been doing this through Screenr, Screen O Matic and the ShowMe app.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Tinkerbox

     

Tinkerbox is a creative tool that teaches basic engineering concepts and allows students to complete a series of tasks requiring problem solving. Students can invent their own problems to be solved as well.

Being the last week of school I tried it out with my year 9 English students who had finished their English tasks. I worked with 5 students who as a group went through the problem solving tasks on the whiteboard (connected Ipad2 with VGA cable), helping the person driving the Ipad2 to solve the problem. We did this for one lesson and the students were really engaged.

Their task now that they know how the app works is to invent their own engineering masterpiece. They were all give paper copies of all the tools available to them via screen shots I had taken on the Ipad2. In the help menu it shows all the tools and explains them. So armed with this they will be creating and drawing their invention on paper and then trying to replicate it in the Tinkerbox app in front of the class up on the whiteboard. The class will work with the student offering suggestions until the invention works.

We haven't finished this process yet but it has engaged the kids in a creative and collaborative process at a time in the year when most students find it hard to focus on anything.

Monday, 12 December 2011

My Work Hours

After reading some letters to the editor bagging teachers and the amount of time off we get I decided to work out how many hours I work a week over 48 weeks. This leaves me with 4 weeks annual leave 'just like everyone else gets' as the not so subtle letters to the editor reminded me. The article that attracted so much attention was in The Advertiser and was informing the public about SA teachers getting two more student free days to help implement the Australian Curriculum. The Advertiser is very good about writing these sort of articles in an even handed way so as not to generate public backlash against teachers (it's hard to be sarcastic without the appropriate tone).

Now I know these hours are very approximate as I have not kept records but they are fairly accurate. I am also aware that some teachers work a lot more and some work a lot less. So.....

40 wks @ 50 hours = 2000hrs
40 weekends @ 1 hour = 40hrs
2 camps working extra hours in am and pm. 4 days @ 7 hours = 28hrs
2 days prior to school starting mandated by government = 18hrs
Week 10 term 4 kids off - teachers off in this week if 37.5hrs T&D completed in own time during year or supposed to work = 37.5hrs
Term 1, 2, 3 holidays. 3 @ 15hrs = 45hrs
Xmas holidays = 30hrs

Total = 2198.5hrs

Equates to:
2198.5hrs/48 weeks with 4 weeks annual leave (normal)= 46hrs per week.

I'm not sure what this achieved but it was interesting to work out. So in the end to compare myself to the 'average worker' I do 45.8 hours per week for 48 weeks with 4 weeks holiday in a job that regularly makes top 5 most stressfull career lists.

Data from TimeMotion App

Here is a graph of the data from my 8/9 Volleyball class. This was just a test run and only focused on each student for 2 minutes. The girl who stood still (did not move!) for 93% of her two minutes instantly tried harder the next game. In the future I will use the data to generate discussion about movement and does this corallate with those who are successful in sports as well as being able to investigate energy systems used.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Drop Box



I have been looking for something that will allow my students to present their work to me and allow me to draft or mark this work online. I've decided to try Dropbox which also has the added benefits of me being able to add and access my own files from anywhere there is internet access. Students will need their own Dropbox account for this to work. I have not used it yet so not 100% sure of its potential yet. Certainly everything I have read suggests others think it is a very good web 2.0 tool. Also a bonus that there is an app for my Ipad2 which adds more flexibility.

Watch introductory video.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Blooms Revised Taxonomy and apps

What a great resource. Handheld Learning in Physical Education has a post talking about Blooms and apps. What apps apply to which components of Blooms. The post links to the Edutopia site which has articles in a series looking at apps that fit each of the six areas of Blooms.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Time Motion app for Ipad2

Today in my 8/9 PE class I used the Time Motion app to collect data on student movement during their volleyball games. The time motion app allows you to record (for a single student) the % of time spent standing, walking, jogging, fast running and sprinting. Normally you get the data and then email it but as there is no WiFi in our gym I copied the data from the Ipad2 against the students name on a piece of paper which was fairly painless. Each student that I observed was watched for 2 minutes. It then took ten minutes to enter that data on a spreadsheet and produce a graph that showed my classes movement intensities. Today was just an experiment but in the future this data will be excellent for students to analyse and make links between those who are successfull in games/sports and the amount of effort (movement) they put in while older students can look at which energy systems are dominant during a particular sport based on movement intensity. Such a simple app providing powerful data!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Putting students images on a class blog

I've created a class blog for two of my PE classes in 2012 (reception class and 1/2 class). The purpose of this blog is to provide a window on the classroom for parents. It will be private and show images and video of students as they participate in my PE class through the year. It will include my program and curriculum outcomes (SACSA Framework). I am still yet to run it past parents at a meeting at the start of next year and hope that no one has reservations about their child being put on a private blog and probably on YouTube, also private. I see it as an excellent way to connect parents with their child's classroom and what happens at school.

What I'd like to know from others who have created class blogs is how you go about having a class blog that is not private yet still put student images on it. How do you convince/get this past parents and the school? I view class blogs that are open to anyone on the net and wonder what type of processes the teacher and school has used to allow this to occur. I ask this question because in the future I'd like to have blogs that are not private and that enable collaboration for example with another class somewhere in the world. I would love to hear others opinions and thoughts.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Always Learning

There is a great analogy used by my Deputy Principal who borrowed it from a Principal that was at our school for a short time. "You would not want a surgeon operating on you who never updated his/her training, learnt new methods or consulted with colleagues and so it goes that you would not want a teacher who never engaged in these things educating your child".

Friday, 25 November 2011

Twitter

I was initially sceptical of twitter but over a short period of time have been converted. I do not have a huge following nor am I following a huge number of people either, but it is slowly building and the resources and professional sharing has been excellent. I need to try and find more time to communicate with those that I do follow as it is quite obvious the more you contribute the more you get back.

If you don't have a Twitter account I recommend you get one!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

I just got my IPad2


I guess I'm a bit excited as I just got my IPad 2 the other day and have barely got off of it. I have been downloading apps non stop starting with the pegeeks PE Apps app. This has been excellent as I've been able to use this as a starting point which has so far given me 15 apps that I think will be useful in my classroom/PE classes.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Will Web 2.0 help me improve my students learning?

I've been looking at Web 2.0 tools for about 4 months now and it has really motivated me to try a variety of things even to the point where I have a Twitter account for which I saw no use 2 months ago. I'm also getting an Ipad2 mainly based on the fact that I'm excited about how it might help my teaching and improve student learning. I started this personal blog and have since used blogs with 3 different classes and set up two for 2012 for my year 12 PE class and my Reception and year 1/2 class - both with totally different goals in mind. I'm still learning how to use these effectively with students. I've used tools like Youtube, Screenr, Slideshare, Ask 500 People, Blogger, Edublogs, Voki, Google Docs, Glogster, TubeChop and Twitter. I have also looked at a number of other tools but not used them yet.

The question I have is has my teaching and therefore student learning improved because of my use of these tools and as I get better at using them will it continue to improve? The answer is I don't know! What I do know is it has motivated me to think about how and what I'm teaching in a deeper way. My motivation is high when using these technologies and students seem to engage with them. The key word there being 'seem to engage'. I guess if I'm honest I don't really know if it's a novelty thing or if it will be sustained long term. Am I getting through to the students more effectively than the teacher in a classroom with a lot less integration of Web 2.0 technologies?

To try and answer this question I intend to survey my students before the end of 2011 on there thoughts about Web 2.0 technologies. Hopefully this will help me find out how much it motivates students and therefore increases there willingness to engage in their learning which could lead to the assumption of improved learning.

I guess this picture sums up for me what I hope Web 2.0 will ultimately do for my teaching and my students learning.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Khan Academy

I had heard of the Khan Academy but had never really known what it was about until I read an article about Salmon Khan. I then went further and viewed his TED talk from March 2011. What an impressive story and even more impressive resource.

The Academy covers mainly maths, science and history. There are lots of teachers out there creating their own screencasts of content relating to the subjects they teach. I hope to create a range of screencasts for my year 12 PE students and put them up on my Youtube account in 2012.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Creating a Screencast using Screenr


This seems like an unreal tool, 5mins of free screencasting per screencast. Add your own images and record your voice over the top in what is an amazingly easy and quick process. Log in by using a Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo account. If you don't have one of these quickly create a Google account by Googling 'create Google account' (will take 5 mins for someone who thinks they have no idea about these things!).

I can see all sorts of applications for using Screenr from junior primary to senior secondary.  Ideas could include:

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Can Twitter be a Professional Learning Tool?

If you think Twitter is for people to share when they put the rubbish out think again. Billy Merchant (PE Teacher, New Zealand) talks about how he uses Twitter as a professional development tool and also with his senior PE students.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Blooms and Google Tools


On the website Free Technology for Teachers I found this great tool created by Kathy Schrock which has placed a range of Google Tools alongside Blooms Revised Taxonomy. So if you like using Blooms and enjoy the wide variety of Google Tools out there this could be a useful interactive graphic.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Why Integrate Technology Into The Classroom?

A thought provoking article about education and technology by Jake Glasgow http://www.the21stcenturyteacher.com/ . The article provides a great list of reasons to use technology in the classroom.

I have linked one of the videos from the article which has young people talking about how they use technology.

The one thing amongst others that stood out to me about using technology in the classroom is the fact that regardles if we like it or not technology of the IT variety is only going to continue to grow. It is everywhere, all around us. If we ignore technology in our classrooms we are not allowing our students the opportunity to work and learn in an environment that replicates the real world, be it at home, socially or the workplace. As teachers we have an obligation to prepare students for this world even if we don't see it as our world.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Writing Reliefs for Relief Teachers


I'm away for 3 weeks this term and face the frustratingly long process of preparing my lessons for someone else to teach. Having recently developed class blogs I had the idea to use this format to set up my lessons for the relief teacher. I decided not to do all my subjects this way but did do my Year 8/9 Health and Year 9 English classes. I already have a Year 9 class blog so used this to present my work for the weeks I will be away.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Incentive Based Motivation

Recently I posted a video about how fun motivates people to do things. The video below is by career analyst Dan Pink. He presents researched based evidence that incentive based schemes in business do not produce results and in some cases can be detrimental to creativity and productivity. I couldn't help but think of the suggestions in the past 1-2 years of teachers pay being linked with incentives. Dan says that research clearly states that external incentives like money work well for tasks that have a clear goal or end point such as working on an assembly line or entering data into spreadsheets but are detrimental to tasks requiring people to think outside the square and be creative. Which area does teaching fall into?

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Wiimote - Record G Forces Applied to Wiimote


The following ideas are courtesy of Jared Robinson at http://www.thepegeek.com/ and Ben Jones who Jared credits in his video explanation of how to set up the Wiimote and gives some ideas about how to use it.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Why IWB's?

The following presentation is by Chris Betcher http://chrisbetcher.com/Why IWBs

Handwriting?


An interesting if not one sided article slamming the poor handwriting found in UK schools.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Year 12 PE 2012

After doing some reading of Jared Robinson's blog www.thepegeek.com I have decided to try a few things next year in my Year 11/12 PE class to improve student engagement in the course and their attitude towards the revision of work.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

iPhone - The Possibilities

The more I see in relation to iPhone apps the more I like it as an educational tool. Go to this link http://thepegeek.com/2009/10/21/how-to-make-powerful-virtual-learning-tours/ to watch a video explanation of an iPhone app called Runkeeper. Has more applications than for just PE - SOSE, English, Science, Maths etc.

Checkout this link http://thepegeek.com/2010/06/28/two-essential-iphone-apps-for-phys-ed-teachers/ to see two apps used for tracking students attendance in class and recording observational data on students. They are looked at from a PE teachers point of view i.e. don't need pen/paper/diary etc to take roll or record observational data during lessons which are not based in a classroom, just need an iPhone.

Both these links are to Jarrod Robinson's blog www.thepegeek.com. A great blog about IT in education with a PE focus.

Fun Motivates People

The more we can inject some fun into our classrooms the more we can motivate our students to learn. I don't mean fun for the sake of it, like 'free time' or an 'early minute' which might be fun for the students but has no real benefit for their learning. I mean fun that engages and makes students want to learn, deliberate planning by the teacher to make learning fun and improve the learning outcomes for students. Check out this video by TheFunTheory.com which I came across on www.thepegeek.com . It really goes to show what fun can do!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Sifteo Game Cubes

Wow these are amazing! I found the video below on www.thepegeek.com. These little cubes have great possibilities for student learning. This video is from 2009 before they were released for sale. They are now actually available at https://www.sifteo.com/.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Ask 500 People

A great site which allows you to ask a question and then get feedback from all around the world. Here is a question I put up that one of my Stage 1 PE students is currently asking in an issues study. When term 4 starts I'll see if she wants to use the data in her work.
http://www.ask500people.com/questions/which-is-more-important-in-reducing-obesity-nutritiondiet-or-physical-activity

What a great way for individual students or a class to find out how people around the world feel about an issue.


Thursday, 29 September 2011

Mr Robbo PE Geek

At the Primary School ACHPER conference at Flinders Uni I attended a talk by Shane Pill on technologies in PE. He mentioned a guy, Mr Robbo (Jared Robinson), who was a bit of a guru with IT and PE. The link to his site is on this blog under Teacher made Blogs and Websites.

What a great site it is with some really thought provoking posts. I found this great quote directed at those teachers who don't want to change and develop their skills and knowledge as the teaching landscape changes around them. The quote from Jared Robinson below is in relation to Web 2.0 tools and the different ways students are choosing to learn.

 ".....its a teachers role to promote lifelong learning, but isnt it somewhat hypocritical to not expect the same of ourselves".


Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The way we raise (and teach) our boys

An inspiring talk about how we raise our boys and the limitations and expectations we place on them in regards to how they should act and treat others. How do schools and teachers contribute to the way boys grow up? Do we contribute to the negatives mentioned in the video?

TfEL DVD Teacher Resource

The TfEL DVD provides teachers with a wide range of resources that link to the Domains and Elements of TfEL. A great starting point if you want to improve a particular element of TfEL.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Voki - Motivate Your Students to Write!

I created these avatar using the Voki site to help explain briefly what the site can offer. I used the text to voice function to create the dialogue.



Friday, 12 August 2011

Slideshare

I was looking for a way to get PDF's, PowerPoints, Word documents etc onto a blog as these types of documents are unable to be uploaded to a blog as far as I know. Slideshare enables me to do this. It also has a huge number of presentations on a wide range of topics that anyone can access.
What can you do on Slideshare (as far as I know at least the first 4 dot points can be done in the free version):

  • Upload presentations publicly or privately

  • Download presentations on any topic and reuse or remix

  • Embed on blogs, websites, company intranets

  • Share on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn

  • Zipcast: free, no download, 1 click web meetings

  • Leadshare: generate business leads with your presentations, documents, pdfs, videos

  • Slidecast: sync mp3 audio with slides to create a webinar

  • Embed YouTube videos inside SlideShare presentations

  • Use SlideShare PRO for premium features like branded channels, analytics, ad free pages etc


  • SlideShare 101
    View more presentations from Amit Ranjan

    Sunday, 7 August 2011

    Does the Internet and Gaming impact on Boys?

    Philip Zimbardo makes some interesting points about the amount of time boys spend gaming and the amount of porn viewed by teenage boys and the impact that this may have on relationships and the ability to be intimate (emotionally and physically) with the opposite sex. It seems easy to blame the internet for societies problems but he does raise what I think is an excellent point about boys brains being digitally rewired for chance, novelty, excitement and constant arousal making them totally out of place in todays analog classrooms which by comparison are static and passive. I think this throws up massive challenges for teachers who have to constantly be aware of new technologies that will support learning in the classroom and how to use them. Education departments also have to provide the infrastructure and budgets for schools to provide appropriate software programs for their students.

    Monday, 18 July 2011

    Know any kids who love to draw?


    I found the following website called SKETCHEROES http://www.sketchheroes.com/. Students can use the step by step tutorials or create their own account which I think allows them to do their own online sketches (I haven't created an account so not 100% sure). Looks interesting, if you have students who love to draw maybe pass it on to them.

    Saturday, 16 July 2011

    Website - Blogging for kids

    http://kidslearntoblog.com/ Kids learn to blog is website that offers the following - free information about blogging for kids. blogging sites for kids, blogging guides, Internet security for kids, safe chatroom for kids, free blogs for kids and more. It also has a membership section which offers a Blog of the Month Club for Kids.

    Friday, 17 June 2011

    What do my Year 9's think of blogging?

    I did a quick survey of my students to find out what they thought about the use of blogs in the classroom based on their limited use of their class blog http://www.findinganswersyear9.blogspot.com/

    Question 1: Do you think using a blog is a useful learning tool?
    A Yes it is excellent
    B Yes it is good
    C It's ok
    D No I don't like using it

    100% chose B

    Question 2: Now that you have used a blog which of the following do you think a blog would be most useful for?
    A Posting assignment/task work instead of working in books or word processing. Teacher can then draft work on the blog and provide feedback.
    B Working on group tasks - sharing information and commenting on each others work. Working as a group to solve problems.
    C Posting work so that another class/teacher can give their comments and feedback.
    D A combination of the above.
    E I don't think it is useful at all.

    12.5% chose A, 12.5% chose B, 75% chose D

    So based on their limited experience the year 9 students seem to be very positive about the use of blogs in the classroom.
    However they are not using the blog yet in a genuinely collaborative way which is how I intend them to use it. They have made attempts at being collaborative but not in an independent way. Hopefully this collaboration will increase as their experience grows.

    Thursday, 9 June 2011

    How to create a blog

    My Year 9 Blog

    The students have finally got some posts up on our class blog - findinganswersyear9.blogspot.com. The question that students had to research was what is the weirdest sea creature? They each had to find a creature and post a picture and some writing. They are now going to pair up and find out something new about their partners creature and post it in the comment section. Hopefully this can encourage and foster some collaborative skills. In time the aim will be to start generating questions/problems relating to topics students are studying in different subject areas. The students would love for other PBAS staff (and anyone else) to visit their site and leave comments under their posts. Anyone can leave a post - just select 'Anonymous' in the drop down menu after you click on 'comments'. You can leave your name in the comment if you want the student to know who left the comment.

    Saturday, 21 May 2011

    Blogging with Students

    Having set up this blog I am now keen to try and see if blogging can motivate my Year 9 Home Group to learn. I have set up a blog and all the kids are authors. My first idea is to post an interesting question each week and have the kids post their answers. They will then read each others posts and by doing so shared their learning. Students will then have to comment on someone elses post, providing feedback. This process will be a part of their pastoral care time as well as some time commintment outside of school. Students will contribute to the design of the site as well as the types of Widgets (applications) that we put on the site. There will be some discussion around site content ie 'this is not Facebook' it is a site to discuss learning, appropriate language for a blog, acknowledging sources, what is constructive feedback etc... An idea to generate the questions each week/fortnight will be to approach other teachers of the Year 9's and see what topics they are currently teaching and then generate questions that focus student learning in those areas.

    Tuesday, 17 May 2011

    Beware the straight A student

    An interesting article. http://www.bethknittle.net/WP_Blog/ Beth (a Middle School science teacher and now a K-12 Technology Intergration specialist)discusses an article by Doug Johnson "Beware the straight-A student".
    Are straight A students great learners or just great at learning how to play the system. "It seems that if you are organized, follow directions and stick to the script you do well.  But if you are distracted by other interests, question what is asked of you, and seek to try things differently you are non-compliant and a failure at school". Beth Knittle. This raises the question are we really teaching our students "how to learn"? Example - I have had to teach my Year 9 English students how to write a persuasive text in term 1 this year in preparation for NAPLAN this term. We completed 3 or 4 persuasive texts one of which was around the issue of uniforms in schools. The students had a lot of opinions on this topic and it generated a lot of discussion. I had to stifle this discussion (I think my comment was along the lines of "well you could take that to SRC ..... now how do we construct a paragraph using the arguements we have generated?") and refocused students on producing the piece of writing. As teachers I suspect we do this a lot, particularly as they get older. If students are continuously stifled and not allowed to discuss, indepth, the issues that interest them then at some point they will lose the will to discuss anything indepth at all in a classroom.

    Monday, 16 May 2011

    TED Talks

    Found this great website that has talks from a diverse range of people on a diverse range of topics. Plenty of talks on education (just use the search tool on the site). A great resource for teachers and students. See the link on the left hand side of this page. Insightful, persuasive, motivating...............

    Sunday, 15 May 2011



    This slideshare is from a maths teacher going through things he does in a day as a teacher of senior secondary kids (he is a maths senior). It is long but has some really interesting things in it. He talks at length about his use of technology including Smartboards, Slideshare and blogs which he uses extensively with his classes. He takes you through a blog and explains what he has in it. This slideshare was being presented to another group of teachers live so when he narrates he at times is talking directly to other people. Can skip through the slide share by using the back and forward arrows.

    Tuesday, 10 May 2011

    Teaching Reading

    The comment below (in italics) is in response to an article from the following website http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/4584491.stm(2005). The article is about a reading program being trialed in a poor performing school in the UK. I thought the following response from Claire Platt summed  up the use of programs in schools beautifully - particularly the last sentence.

     I am an experienced teacher and literacy consultant for the Primary National Strategy. There is too much confusion regarding the teaching of phonics. The Ruth Miskin programme described above teaches phonics in the same way as Progression in Phonics, Playing with Sounds, Jolly Phonics, THRASS and other schemes. In my opinion, it is not the scheme that is important - but systematic, direct teaching. If you place too much trust in one scheme, you may not offer a balanced curriculum. Having seen Ruth Miskin's materials, I am concerned about the lack of teaching of writing and contextualised learning that is present. It is time that government and the media recognise that low standards in reading are not caused by a lack of a particular teaching method or scheme - but by a lack of teaching!Claire Platt, Newton Abbot

    We should ensure our staff are trained to the highest level we can in the programs we use and the pedagogy required to ensure student learning.

    Monday, 2 May 2011

    Scootle and the Australian Curriculum

    Scootle has developed a program that links its resources with the Australian Curriculum. The link is also in the Web Links Teacher Resources. You need to develop a Scootle account. Some great resources on Scootle in general.

    Thursday, 28 April 2011

    Letting Students Resubmit Work

    After viewing the Redos, Do-Overs.... video (see Web Links) I changed my mind about students submitting work after a due date. I often give zeros or a severely reduced mark for late work. I would still do this but the change I would like to make is to develop a policy of 'If the student is not happy with their result they can redo the task' and receive a new result counting towards their final grade. There would need to be guidelines around this and advertised to the class so they were aware they could redo learning tasks. If a student wants to put the effort in to improve their learning while keeping up with their other work I would be all for this. I'm not sure how many students would take this up but those that do will have improved their learning and get a real sense of achievement from redoing a task.