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. 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 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.