Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Teachmeet North: Social bookmarking and handy resources for educators

This is my presentation for Teachmeet North at StAugustines, Brookvale on Wednesday 21st March, 2012. Sometimes my basket overflows with amazing resources. Hence, my love of pearltrees (social bookmarking) and sharing resources with each other. The above powerpoint was joined with a previous post of the International teachmeet on PEARLTREES (social bookmarking) Click here to view.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

A day in the life of a teacher

Even though my day was jam packed and hectic,  it was rich in experience.  It is tempting to say it was a blast, but in truth, it was a challenging day.  Today was assembly day, which means our normal five lesson day PLUS the addition of a 60-90 minute assembly.

After the feat of seating over 1660 students and 140 plus staff, the format is usually as follows:
Welcome by school leaders, acknowledgement of country (overseas visitors see here) funky video prayer reflection, address by our principal, presentations of awards (sports, debating, pastoral care, social justice) showcasing of talent (fantastic singers, musicians, drama) and wrapping up proceedings with a slideshow (pictorial presentation) of the weeks that were.  Observing and appreciating the talents of students, I am in awe. I am AMAZED at the talents of these kids!.  Our creative arts department never ceases to stage and pull off terrific numbers.  How fortunate are the students, to blossom where their talents lie. I often wonder though about the students that are never directly involved.   I would love to see some other presentations such as student photography, a mini debate or public speaking piece, examples of students online creations or other products (we do see some of this via the slideshow at the end-the Italian masks were spectacular!) a student read out their work of fiction or present a reflection of their project.  I send emailed images of students learning in RE and Food technology to be included in the final slideshow, however I am feeling I need to provide more of an opportunity for the students that, apart from being in the audience, may love a chance of being afforded their "15 minutes of fame".  Perhaps a dramatic representation of what we have learnt in Food Tech or RE so far or a sample of the Year 7 and 9's podcasts, created on their new Android tablets or our Year 11 Food technology learning journey blog (click here to take a peek) or the collaborative google map that has circulated the globe bringing first hand accounts of countries staple foods into our learning environment in Sydney? (Click here to view) There is a tutorial link on the map as well, if you are interested in creating one for your classes. We received drop pins from 19 countries (29 comments of Staple foods and so far over 6,500 views. You do require a google account to edit).

Next assembly is Term two- I have set myself a goal of facilitating a Food technology or Religious Education student piece/s.  Hopefully by students that have never been involved before. #newexperiences #newchallenges

Image by @7mrsjames
Then the madness begins.  Five lessons compacted into under 4 hours plus recess and lunch.  I made green cookies last night to celebrate St Patrick's day and hopefully inspire some conversation around the questions why do we wear green? Who was St Pat?  The students LOVED the colourful cookies, some saying they were better than the birthday cupcakes we shared last week. Nice! Recess duty then (this photo was my view during recess duty Friday) and another lesson. Period 4 was a non teaching period. Bathroom! I organised my on line attendance rolls and checked student drafts before lunch (two classes submitting next week another class the following week).  

Preparing cookies for St Patricks day @7mrsjames

During lunch I walked across the school to check my pigeon hole prior to the weekend and on the way back came across a younger student crying as he has been teased in the canteen line. This breaks my heart. To see someone so upset over comments that are unnecessary.  After consoling him and spending time chatting about options, he decided to go to his next class.  Needed to grab a coffee and eat before next two classes. By the time I walked back the bell had gone. Two more lessons. The final lesson started with "housekeeping" and checking kids were organised with tablets, books, folders, diaries and water. Next, we had a little fun trailing a game called  Ninja Kitchen game teaching concepts of food safety and cross contamination via a challenging online game. (Thanks to my new Home Ec friends at Home Economics Connect Ning.)

The school day draws to a close and I wish I had time to process and plan for the week ahead. To file. To sort, to create engaging lessons. Instead this is achieved at home. Although  the learning experiences provided at school are mostly intended to be academic, I dream of a day where we can allow students to engage in the direction of their own learning AND learn how to manage this, I dream of more time- not more pay, I dream of a curriculum not so content heavy, I dream of a KLA called LIFE. A KEY LEARNING AREA that is dynamic and evolving. Which encompasses the basics of not only functioning in life but living a satisfying one. A KLA that focuses on relationship, communication, emotional health, dealing with random issues that arise, building a PCN (pastoral care network), effectively managing time and resources, smartphones, technology, dealing with school work/time management, cybersafety, digital citizenship.  A KLA of fun and laughter.

Are the present KLA still "current" to today's youth and tomorrow's leaders?  Are we adequately supporting and equipping our youth with the necessary skills they require?  On the day of the announcement, that Alex's family are te receive a SIX figure payout from the NSW department of Education (read story of Alex's suicide here) I wonder what truly matters to kids (and their families).
To belong. To feel safe. To feel encouraged. Something Alex did not. How terribly sad. We all know kids learn best when they feel confident and inspired. When there is passion. A spark.  I want to be able to create more opportunities of building capacity in those entrusted into my educational care. There is so, so MUCH more I would like to achieve as an educator.   Just not feeling I am there.....YET!

Driving home, I see these clouds above me.  Hope.

Keeping the conversation alive.

Monday, 5 March 2012

International Teachmeet March 2012: Pearltrees

International teachmeet screenshot by @johngoh

The last two weeks has seen:

  1. The Hills Crestwood #teachmeet (post here)
  2. The inaugural #tmbrisbane (see wiki here)
  3. The #tmwr2012  (world record breaking attempt) Sydney gathering (post coming!) AND 

  4. Culminated in the 2nd International teachmeet hosted by @abromz  and @BartVerswijvel on   Saturday night 8pm AEST (reflections on the first international teachmeet organised by Arjana and Bart can be found here)


You can visit the International teachmeet wiki by clicking here.   22 presenters from 15 countries presented on Adobe pro connect in a webinar.  Bart created the video below:

An aspect of Teachmeet that I personally find rewarding are the relationships that are formed with fellow educators.  Secondly, the introduction of various resources and web tool, excites me.  On Saturday night @ShellTerrell mentioned this site which she heard at another teachmeet via @ElindaGjondedaj  You can view my International teachmeet presentation using, below.

Give Pearl a whirl (Social bookmarking)

International teachmeet presentations 3rd March 2012 in Jeannette James (7mrsjames)

Created by @7mrsjames using Pixton

Teachmeet international presentations:

Name of Presenter TwitterHandleCity/Country Title of Micropresentation
Shelly Terrell@shellterrellTexas, USAThe 30 Goals Challenge for Educators: Dare to Believe
Chuck Sandy@chucksandyJapanStepping Back Further
Bram Faems@bramfaemsBelgiumMaking stop motion movies with Movie Maker
Jeannette James@7mrsjamesAustraliaGive pearl a whirl - online organisation
Elinda Gjondedaj@ElindaGjondedajAthens, GreecePractice Speaking Online
Janet Bianchini@janetbianchiniAbruzzo, ItalyFun with Comics
Vicky Loras@vickylorasZug, SwitzerlandWord of the Week
Fiona Beal@fibealSouth AfricaCreate wonderful online magazines
Miranda Burke@CapricornLSParis, FranceHelping your adult professional students expand internationally
Sanja Bozinovic@bsanjaVelika Gorica,CroatiaUsing a wiki with students
Nataša Ljubić Klemše@NatasaLJKBjelovar, CroatiaICT initiatives from the 1st grade of primary school
Marijana Smolčec@mscro1Ogulin, CroatiaStudent-Teacher-Facebook
Jennifer Verschoor@jenverschoorArgentinaGames for young learners
Cheryl Arnett@c_arnettCraig, Colorado, USALet's Go to Disneyland!
Tóthné Bán Gyöngyi@dondi64HungaryOne Topic Every Month
Sue Lyon-Jones@esolcoursesUKTeaching with Technology - A Basic Checklist
Julian S Wood@ideas_factoryEnglandUsing online Generators to inspire Learning
Anna Loseva@AnnLosevaMoscow, RussiaA tale of two cities (and a bunch of ESP students): Moscow-Grenoble connected
Maja Dakic-Brkovic@maja_proleceUzice, SerbiaPodcast in Piano Lessons
Alina Balan
Ploiesti, RomaniaExtracurricular activity implying ITC
Lucas Van de Paer@vandepaerlucasBelgiumEvernote, your digital workbook
Barb Hoskins Sakamoto@barbsakaKitakyushu, JapanSix Word Stories
Suzana Delić@Suzana_DelicZagreb, CroatiaVideoconferences in Schools

Huge thanks to Icha and Cherry who were there with us, but didn't present due to technical difficulties and poor internet connection. 
Yitzha Sarwono, @yitzha_sarwono
Cherry Mathew Philipose, @cherrymp

Keeping the conversation alive,