Friday, 20 December 2013

Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are

A TEDTalk poped up in my Facebook newsfeed - Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are. It had the tag line along the lines of 'Fake it Until You Make It" which spiked my interest as it was a saying one of my colleagues back home often referred to when she was having an off day or moment, so I automatically wanted to watch it.

This jogged my memory of the motivational coach come to talk during the orientation week when I was in Year 12 who also said body language is linked to how we feel and interact.

Cuddy's TEDTalk raises her personal story of "not meant to be here" which can extend to the personal and educational arena. We will have students who feel uncomfortable in a new school, ability wise, social circles, sporting teams just to name a few. It too can pull on us as educators when we possibly feeling a bit out of our depth in a situation, new position, personal life or sympathizing with a first year teacher.

This post may not have a direct correlation for education or the classroom, but felt it was important to share for the benefit of understanding people and emotions - after all we are all human.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Turn a Quote into a Masterpiece App - Recitethis App

Stumbled upon this cool like web app, called recitethis, that turns anything your write into a funky poster type format. Best thing is its so easy to use! All you do is type your text, choose the format and download or share!

This week my class liked my quote "Manners cost nothing… but they are priceless" when I was shocked at the lack of please and thank you's happening in the class. They thought I was so deep haha

So that was my first creations:

But I wanted to try a more creative background…..

Thought this could be handy for: 
  • creating posters for home group/pastoral/advisory
  • getting students to find their favorite quote and sharing
  • using it to summarize an activity
  • anything where they have to create something (anti bullying campaign)
  • "headline" visible thinking routine
  • thank you/get well/farewell cards

Monday, 16 December 2013

Doing something badly... and continue doing it

I rediscovered this quote recently and it reminded me of the TEDTalk I saw by a colleague, Liz Perry.

"I invite you to go out and do something badly.... and keep on doing it."
                                                                                          -Liz Perry

It was a timely reminder that we are not perfect. We are all learners at different stages and its ok to not be good at something! It's fine to give yourself permission to do something badly, then preserver as it gives the opportunity for amazing things to bloom....

So, what will you do badly?

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend

This was recommended to me by a fellow colleague on the Grade 8 team. I showed it to my advisory group as this week looked very busy with many assessments falling on the second last week of term.

Stress is often associated with many negative side effects, but this video takes a slightly different tack, as mentioned in the blurb associated with this TEDTalk:

"Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others."

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Advisory: Goal Setting

Student Goal Setting can be difficult. I feel sometimes we have overdone it - students have seen it year in and year out and can tune out just to say "oh, here we go again..."

Its goal setting time again in my school. I am trying to make it meaningful and achievable to my students. I am not comeplty sure - I guess we will see at the end!

I started off with a quote from Albert Einstien:

Introduced them to the idea of SMART goals, which ia an acyrnoym to advoiding some of the pitfalls of setting goals and not reaching them.

Over the next few advisory lessons I will get them to link about their goals and what it looks like, feels like and sounds like when they achieve them. Visualization an actually recognizing when they achieve it can be a powerful guide.

Then the next lesson I introduced them into planning out a path to your goal with this fantastic and very cute video. I just love it! The cartoons are fabulous and the accompanying music just is is sweet, but i love the fact there is no voiceover - students have to READ and ENGAGE with the clip. :)

Advisory Game: Zip, Zap Boing!

My advisory group loves this game!

The introduced it to me this year and we often play it if we have some down time - its called....


The rules are fairly simple and an example instructional video can bee seen on YouTube. When we get down to the last 3 people, students can only zip or zap (since the boing becomes a bit pointless!). When it is the last two our winner is decided by a face-off. One student says "soup soup" and the other has to respond "soap soap". who ever gets tounge twisted first is is the runner up.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Christmas Idea

One month until Christmas?!?!
It is really that soon??
Came across this post earlier in the year from Passy World of Mathematics. Using 3D nets to create Christmas decorations with cute mathematical greetings. Could be a bit of fun towards the end of the term.
Some of my favorites were:
  • Santa finds all the houses, he uses the Distributive Law to make sure!
  • Rise early and Run to the Tree!
  • Santa told me that Al G. Bra has been a very good boy!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Common Core Math 8: Expoenents and Scientific Noation Resources

Found my recent unit went really well and thought I would share some of my links and ideas. As with most teachers redesigning units and searching for the right resources to adapt their courses for the Common Core can be time consuming, exhausting and frustrating.

The basis of the flow of the unit was based on the sequence I thought back home. But with the deeper understanding and discovery activities emphasised by the Common Core - it went better than I could of expected!

A rough outline (this is not broken into lesson but main ideas throughout the unit):

1. Get students to "discover" the rules. Allow them to see the pattern, discuss, anaylise and come up with a rule before formalising it or showing the rules in the text or other resource
2. Get them using them AND if they get stuck always emphasise to go back to the expanded version.
3. Avoid referring to the Exponent Laws as "laws". I call them "shortcuts" because that's what they are - emphasise the understanding not the process.
2. Summarise the Exponent Laws (Exponent Shortcuts) in different ways - see my previous post.
3. Do exponent laws first before introducing scientific notation. It is a real life application of exponents.
4. Review using the multiplying and dividing patter they have seen before with 10, 100, 1000 etc before using instructional "Learnzillion" videos
consolidate converting scientific notation with round robin activity with Beacon Learning Sheets to
6. Used M.A.R.S Task

Good resources I found:
Engage NY Curriculum Document (147 pages, PDF)
M.A.R.S. Math Task: Estimating Length using Scientific Notation (PDF)
Beacon Learning: Scientific Notation Sheets (PDF)

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Share Out session 25th September 2013

It was out first K-12 Math meeting last night. It was broken up into an introduction and a "share out" session. The introduction outlined goals for the year and set the scene for the future meetings.

The majority of the time was then spent in two halves - 4 share out sessions and then a second share out session run by colleagues of the Lower, Middle and High School. There were topics from technology, from reflections of PD, to instructional strategies.

Mine was titled:  Sharing my teaching experiences provoked from Dan Meyer’s TED talk: Presenting the math problem with minimal structure for maximum problem-solving from inquiry and discovery approaches. 

My first share out session was about a PD course that was run over summer by Stanford University. It was really good as it overlapped with my presentation!

Overall it went well. I didn't have a big audience, but it was good size to have a conversation and not to daunting for me as I need to develop my public speaking and being int he spot light.

I prepared a talk, an accompanying Prezi and a handout. I am trying to have less on my presentations and more visual stimulus. My prezi can be found here but needs the script to accompany it or it wont mean much! A rough script can be found here.

I made a handout of some references that I thought might be useful to the colleagues who attended.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Excitement!!! Project Zero

As soon as I heard this was happening I was over the moon!

Project. Zero. In. London.

I am excited to hear the likes of Howard Gardener, Ron Richhart, David Perkins etc. I remember quoting some of them in my education essays back in Uni not to mention the recent PD on visible thinking recently. Some would say rock stars of education.

The focus of the three days are:

Education in the 21st century is shifting in dramatic ways. We know young people are thinking and learning with tools never dreamed of fifty years ago.  How we as educators respond to these changes will have a significant impact on the shaping of minds in this new century.

At Project Zero, we continue to expand our understanding of what thinking and learning look like and under what conditions they flourish.

This latest Project Zero Perspectives conference will feature plenary sessions with renowned writers and thinkers Howard Gardner and David Perkins. Project Zero researchers Veronica Boix Mansilla, Lois Hetland, Carrie James, Ron Ritchhart and Shari Tishman will also give major talks. Interactive courses will be led by researchers and educators who have been putting Project Zero ideas into practice in schools and other learning settings around the world.

Held in collaboration with the Center for the Advancement and Study of International Education (CASIE), this Project Zero conference will highlight the following research strands:
  • Building a Culture of Thinking: How do we help learners develop dispositions that support thoughtful learning across school subjects? Why is it important to make thinking visible?
  • Educating for Global Competence: How do learners demonstrate global competence? How do educators ensure that learners in their charge explore complex issues of global significance through multiple perspectives?
  • Growing Up in the Digital Age: How are the meanings of local and global citizenship shifting in the 21st century? How do young people conceptualize their participation in virtual worlds and the ethical considerations that guide their conduct?
  • Learning in and through the Arts: What can we learn from the practices of teachers in the arts? How do the arts encourage creativity and certain habits of mind that are necessary in all disciplines?

Friday, 13 September 2013

Exponent Summary

I am teaching Math 8 for the first time. We are doing Exponent Laws (or Index Laws for us Aussie and UK readers). I really wanted to emphasize why the rules work. I often refer to them as "shortcuts" as I sometimes feel when I use the word "rule" with students it gives them the impression that its the only way to do the problem. I started by "discovering" the rules and seeing a pattern before formalizing the exponent rule.

The next lesson, I needed to finish off the rules (or "shortcuts") that we didn't get to in our first lesson. It was clear from my warm up from the start of the lesson that things were going a bit awry... oh no!!!

I decided to try something new. Quickly threw together a template to summarize the exponent rules. It contains the textbook rule, examples, the rule in words, and an example using expanded form to show how it always works - even if you forget the rule! Not to mention the deeper understanding of why they WORK!!

I filled one in so I could use to show them the end product. I really wanted them to connect with the math so I also got them to colour code the sheet - the textbook rule in green, examples in red, rule in your own words in blue and expanded form in black - as I never underestimate the power of COLOUR!

I set my board up the same way as it was on their sheet and hid the headings under blank A4 sheets and "reveled" them as we went along. My rationale, was not to overwhelm them and turn them off the task. I modeled the first one for them on the board, but them brainstormed as a group the rest. As we went a long I projected my pre-made one by sections as we went along. I understand it contained a lot of information (hence only section by section) and said "if you think theres anything more you want to add then do so, its your sheet not anyone else's. This is just my example and I am someone who like to write out details."

My example is below (bad news is there is a mistake on it  - good news is my students spotted it!!!!):

I found we really made progress and the students were a lot more independent. It also made a good reference when they were asking me questions "what do I do here Miss?". It was interesting to see what section each student would naturally go to - the rule, the example, the wording or expanded form for clarification.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Maths and Magic Squares and other goodies...

I stumbled upon David Saldkey's blog Reflections of a High School Teacher. Originally my attention was caught by a fraction slide that I thought would be a great "Warm Up" or "Hook" for a unit I am just planning.

Then, as I browsed down the posts I got exited to see Magic Squares and algebra in action!

The link between the magic square and algebra I have never emphasized. I thought this was great. But then, I saw this below. Talk about taking it to the next level! This this will be fantastic in my algebra class!!

He also had entries on Google Reader, Teacher movies and many posts on Flipping the Classroom (its on my reading list!). Definitely a blog to keep an eye on!

Monday, 19 August 2013

W.H.E.R.E is your lesson going?

During my back to school exploration, I came across a new acronym in relations to planning a lesson.

W  Where is your lesson going? Whats the purpose?
H   Hook for students? How are they engaged?
E    Explore.
R    Revise. is there opportunities to rethink or revise subject matter
E    Evaluate. How can they exhibit and evaluate their progress?

Thought it was a nice quick way to just check you lesson to ensure we are planning opportunities for students to engage, explore, rethink and evaluate during their learning.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Curious Video

The problem solving and engineering and art in this video is exemplary of the beauty of mathematics.

Source: RUSD Secondary Mathematics Haiku Page

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Orientation Day 3 - Common Core Exploration

We had a few things on the agenda of todays orientation. Firstly, Team meetings followed by Library Orientation, a lovely lunch, Child Protection session and a Duck Tour of London (yes you heard right!)

It is compulsory at the school to complete the Child Protection Training before stepping inside the classroom. I had already completed this before starting last term and had some extra time up my sleeve (yay!). I went back over the Grade 8 Common Core standards for Mathematics. Not just my own level, but also the standards above and below my planned classes.

Back in Australia in my old school we spent much time unpacking and exploring the Australian National Curriculum, which for my school would be trialing it for the 2013 academic year. It was interesting to compare the two and see what similarities and differences between the two initiatives. I also thought to myself how grateful I had already had experience reading and synthesizing information from a document like this.

Having taught the final term and preparing the students for their end of year exams, I found the standards made so much more sense to me after going though that experience. With my new found enthusiasm in seeing connections I then got on the track of UbDs. UbD stands for Understanding by Design, which essential is a process/template to work backward in designing a unit to drill down what do the students need to know or key skills. I have used this template before, but with mixed results. The mixed result I feel might spring from colleagues having different ideas of some of the working or sections in the past (not at the current school). I really want to create a great document that can be utalised and useful.
On our internal Portal I watched YouTube video on Understanding by Design.

Which then made me go back to the Common Core Site to investigate further.

How were the Math Standards Constructed. It was interesting to hear about their rational behind the move. Much they spoke about getting through concepts, delving deeper, developing curriculum to raise the bar in education and the idea of "strands" (briefly mentioned in the video below, but prominent in the Australian Curriculum but interestingly enough being moved away from in the Common Core)
 Lots to think about and still to do!!!!

Grrrr! (and some Mac shortcuts)

Oh boy...

Its funny how easy we can get use to something. I wrote my last two posts at work during my breaks on the school Mac. When growing up, throughout university and during my whole teaching career I have used PCs.

I was horrified to see how many mistakes I made - blame it on the shortcuts or the tiredness but it just goes to show how much we can be creatures of habit (and writing posts on my PC)!

Great thing about this situation, is with the help of Google, there are plenty of people on the wonderful world wide web that are very happy to share their skills and tips. I decided to start with some Mac shortcuts (and my frustration of not having a "Snipping Tool" in a Mac  - I leant there was a shortcut though!).

Some useful links are:
Mac for Beginners - user-friendly page and not too overwhelming
Laptops' Mac for Beginners - a list of 22 shortcuts
Mac Centrals' Mac Keyborad Shortcuts

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Orientation Day 2

Todays morning session focuses on the schools philosophy and approach to leaning, teaching and understanding.

The first activity was an icebreaker. The facilitator asked a great question at the end, "why do we do icebreakers?". We came up with reasons as it builds connections within the group, a level of trust, little bit of bonding. We were also told that research shows that getting to know each other before doing a task or exercise produces a better outcome or result. I missed the name of the researcher, but would be interested to read more about it.

We were then part of what I thought was a very effective jigsaw activity.  On our name tag had a colour and a number. The number correlated to one of the 7 Learning Principles at the school. My number was 7, which related to the principle "Learning is encased through opportunities to discuss, collaborate, debate and share their thinking" which we had to fill in a grid.
All the 7's (and other numbers) got together to share how they interpreted and the ideas they came up with. Next, we moved into our group colour (Red, Blue, Green, etc) where we created a group of 7 with someone representing each principle, which we then could share our combined knowledge. Felt it was a great dynamic and interactive way to delve into this type of information. It was also a good way to demonstrate the type of activities and philosophies of the school. 

Next was the Technology session which just reminded me of how much I still want to learn and explore - Google Docs, Evernote, Email functions, Portals etc!!!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

New School Year & Orientation Day 1

So it's a scary thought that a new school year is about to start.

Only a few weeks ago I remember sitting at my desk after the Grade 8 Graduation and Farewell lunches and thinking I didn't want to go.

Now, I am nervous, wishing I had a few more weeks break to delay the inevitable first day jitters. On the flip side, I am also curious to see what the new year will colleagues, new students, new hurdles, new risks and of course new memories.

This week is orientation week for new staff. Although I had taken a maternity placement position at this school last term, I really wanted to be part of the Orientation Week as I still feel new and have a lot to learn. Being "thrown in the deep end" last term, was a great way for me to learn. You just got the job done and ask LOTS of questions as each new event rolled around.  The way I like to explain my experience was it was like rolling one school year into one term. For example: getting to know the staff, getting to know the students, learning your way around the school, learning protocols, using technology specific to this school, student lead conferences, familiar with curriculum, excursions, WrAP testing, overseas filed trip, communicating with parents, subject selection, high school placements, assessment and graduation....phew, what a list!

This orientation will be a great opportunity to go back and fill in the blanks.

During our first section during the introduction each person part of the Senior Management team gave a hint or tip after they spoke about their specific topic. It added a nice personal touch as well as some great "inside tips". They ranged from school related (get to know the Meal Deals at the Canteen) to places to go, things to do to help settle into a new city to suggested apps.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Immersion: Normandy Field Trip

Last term the Grade 8's went on a field trip to Normandy, France to complement what has been happening in the Social Study classes (and for some of them also what they have been learning in Languages). The trip contained many different aspects historically but also a few opportunities culturally.
Ultimately, the aim for students was to ask questions, seek answers, use primary and secondary sources, look critically at evidence, infer causes, consequences, motivations and understand perspectives. Students recorded notes and diagrams into a booklet and were asked to write an essay during their social studies class once they returned to school.
It was a massive undertaking! The preparation pre-departure was mammoth, but very much worthwhile. The logistics of the coaches, accommodation, booklet creation, food allergies, media resources (clips and footage to show at a locations or on the way ), medical information, passports...the list goes on!!

The year level was split in to 3 groups. Each had their own coach and historian. There were three "itinerary days" which the coaches (AKA "moveable classrooms") rotated through. One is as follows:

Day 1: Ponte du Hoc, Omaha Beach, US Military Cemetery at Coleville-sur-Mer, Longues-sur-Mer Battery, Vergers de Fumichon cider press (Cultural Point)

Day 2: Pegasus Memorial, Sword Beach, Juno Beach, Arromsnches 360 cinema of WW2, Mulberry Harbour, Gold Beach, British & Commonwealth cemetery, Bayeux (Cultural Point, free time, optional visit to Bayeux Tapestry),  dinner in Caen (cultural point)


Day 3: Le Memorial de Caen (Caen Peace Museum) , German Military Cemetery, Airborne Troops Museum at Sainte-Mere-Eglise, Utah Beach

This field trip had a great effect on students, but also me. I learnt so much on this trip and found it such a powerful learning experience to hear the stories, see the geography, footage and artifacts from each location first hand. It  created such a bigger and more vivid overall picture. The connections the students made, conversations and questions were quite astounding.
The whole Grade 8 team went on the trip. At first it might seem a little strange a math teacher going on a Social Studies tour, but the real benefit was when we returned back to school. I was able to talk about and connect back to what I saw and heard on the trip with my students. Even though its not my strong point, I could call on my feelings, insights or memories which was a great benefit.
I am really grateful for this trip. Its given me such a deeper understanding and appreciation of the events of WW2.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Immersion: The Globe Theatre

One thing I love about this school I am currently working at is they believe in providing experiences for their students to connect and explore subject matter.

The last day of last term was used to indulge the students into Shakespeare. The following term they were to start their study of a Midsummers Night Dream. The day started with a quiz on Shakespeare, his life and work. It went down really well with students (along with some friendly rivalry!) and got them excited about the trip to the Globe.

We caught public transport to the Globe and split up into smaller groups. We had a phenomenal leader. Each leader was an actor associated with the Globe and had a passion and in depth understanding of their subject area. Our workshop started with a talk about the history of the Globe theatre before moving into the rooms to delve into a Midsummers Night Dream. It was great to see some students remembered little facts that also provided some good discussions during the day.

In the rooms our leader introduced the complex plot of a Midsummers Night Dream beautifully. If you are not familiar with the love story, its quite complicated with a few twists and turns. She managed to keep all the complexity of the relationships but communicated it so simply. She used students to be each character and asked them to raise one hand and point to show who they fancied in the story. It was like a dynamic visual flow diagram!! What a great simple strategy -something to note for future reference! ;)


The English teachers also had organized tickets for 30 enthusiastic students to have the opportunity to see the production at the Globe after school. I was fortunate to be able to join the excursion group last minute. It was just AMAZING. I had never studied A Midsummers Night Dream, but with the quiz and workshop earlier it gave a great background.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Teacher Appreciation

Awww so sweet. It was Teacher Appreciation day! Its the first time I have experienced it! Maybe its an American thing - but such a simple gesture but made my day!

Bags are placed around for students to write notes to their teacher. There were all opportunities for them to write a short note during their lunch break or free time.

Since I was new I was hoping to get one - I was stoked to find I had a few and I even scored some chocolate!! Feeling the love Woooo!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Roll Up! Roll Up! New Pins have arrived!!

New Pins have arrived on Pintrest! If you don't know what Pintrest is then read my post about it here
Check the new pins out! Theres new pins for Math, Science, Technology, Teaching Strategies and a new category of Common Core. Search for MissM or click here to go straight to my Pintrest Page

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Menu Board

Teaching can be such an isolated profession. At points you only know what is happening inside your classroom.

I have had a few chances to go into other teachers classrooms and for them to come into mine. Apart from being a little nervous, its so good to see, hear and learn from what's happening in other classroom. I always find something new and interesting. This is not always possible (time, timetable, etc) so I find it always exciting to have a look on Pintrest or spend some time looking at some blogs - you never know what you might find...

The post on the blog spoke about using Menu's as a way to differentiate activities. There was a tic-tac-toe example. I read an exert from the book Differentiating using Menus and found it quite fascinating - something I wish to read a bit more about and see how I might be able to incorporate them into my teaching.

For inspiration and alternative ways to create choice for students - for example, getting them to choose  a main, side dish and desert options - have I got you curious? Check out this pdf

Ms Bothworth's blog has some great examples of math menu boards.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Quick Response Codes (QR Codes)

I have been noticing more and more QR codes in papers or on posters. You might also recognize them as those funny barcode like stamp. It got my interested and curious to know what they are, what can be done with them and how hard would it be to incorporate into class.
Use a QR scanner to scan the above code that will take you to my blogs homepage! Made with

Edutopia has some interesting ways in whish it could be incorporated. Or even, BBC has an article on QR codes and education.

Initially while surfing the net I came across Michelle Whites blog. She used her QR codes for a meet and greet self tour of the room. What a great idea! All images are from Mrs Whites 5th Grade Blog, and you can read more about her QR room on her blog here.


Many ideas can be found on Pintrest, blogs and resource sharing websites (such as TES, TeachersPay Teachers etc).

Ideas range from using them for sharing information, websites, worksheets, games, scavenger hunts, answers keys, links to videos,summary etc.

In practically different ideas I came across was:

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Real Life Laybrinths

Embarrassingly I have just got around to writing and sending off an envelope to my old vice principal who I worked with. In this envelope contains an article from the London Metro newspaper. I had seen this article early in my London adventure and ripped it out with good intentions to send it to her - then life got in the road. I had kept it for months and finally today I popped it in an envelope and is on its way to the shores of Australia.

The article is about Labyrinths. This year, the London Underground celebrated its 150th birthday. One of the things to celebrate this is they got one of Brittan's leading artists, Mark Wallinger (2007 Turner Prize winner) to create a uniquely designed labyrinth for 270 stations.

Wallinger with one of his Underground creations (Picture: The Standard)

The article, An art legacy for London's Underground can be found here. A short video and article by the Guardian newspaper can be found online also.

The reason I send this to my colleague as she was heavily involved in faith and wellbeing at my previous school. Towards the end of last year I went to a Profession Development where I was first introduced to them along with the history, symbolism and use.

I found it a fascinating mesh of history, faith and art in one creation. I am curious to see how I might be able to incorporate these works of art into a lesson.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Breaking News! TES comes to Australia!

TES is a great resource for sharing and exploring resources in regards to the UK curriculum. 

For those who love using the TES in Australia, they have just launched an Australian version at:

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Angry Birds Quadratics

It was the end of term and the lesson after the end of year exam.....what to do?!?!

A colleague of mine was showing a DVD, but since I was new to the school and also been in a school where end of year videos were frowned upon I went to an alternative activity. All credit must got to Face the Math blog and a copy of the project can be found here (link no longer available, 2015)

Our last topic was Quadratics. I stumbled upon an Quadratic activity with the theme of Angry Birds.
It was math related, real life related and it reinforced all the concepts we had done (x intercepts. vertex, axes of symmetry, graphical form, table form and equation from). There was already an example of the end product that I showed as part of my presentation to get the ball rolling.
Here is some of the classes work.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

What teachers make...

We had a guest speaker come talk to the Middle School today - Taylor Mali.

As per usual, I was excited to hear what will be presented. Then I heard his voice. It seemed familiar, He was a slam poet. Then it clicked. What teachers make.

I was impressed with his short performance in the morning assembly, I went to the evening performance. Thank you Taylor!

My favouites: On girls lending pens (poor sound quality), Miracle Worker (love the part which talks about "writing the assignment sheet and printing them" at 1.50 time mark ), Why love is like a dog


Create: Perimeter and Area

I have been trying to make a conscious effort to more creating and application type activities. I was inspired by a question I saw while flicking thought a textbook.
I took it one step further where I wanted them to write their name, nickname or motto on grid paper and calculate the area and perimeter. Students often have trouble distinguishing the difference between the units. Here its clear the perimeter is the outside of the shape, while the area is the squares inside the boundary (hence why we use squared units when describing area).
Before we started I modeled an example:
Many question came up in the design process - What is a good design? Is it easy to do use whole square, what do we do if we have bits of squares?
Furthermore, more questions like:  can we draw a shape that was the same perimeter and area? what are the units we use, why are they different? Can we draw a shape that has a larger perimeter than area? Draw as many shape with the area of 24cm2, or perimeter of 20cm etc


Creating a culture of (internet) consumers

90-9-1 Rule

I found it fascinating to hear bout the 90-9-1 rule in regards to internet culture. Approximately, only 1% are actively creating, 9% are curating and 90% are consumers. Something to keep in mind!
I hope this blog gives back a little of what the wonderful world wide web has given to me!

Jeff Utecht - Looking For Learning

The Middle School was lucky enough to a small PD session with Jeff Utecht regards Looking For Learning.

How does being connected with technology changed us?
Today we don't remember telephone numbers as we save them in our mobile, Facebook reminds us of birthdays, GPS tells us directions, we can look up an recipe online... etc

How has learning changed when we don't have to remember? How has the "just in time" learning or the opportunity to learn instantly anything you want to with YouTube etc changed us?

As educators, we need to reflect on how can we ensure that students are getting the benefit of being connected and actively learning. On the other hand, how are we encouraging and stating up to date with the available resources and information.

SAMR is an acronym to help analysing how technology is used in the classroom. Is it used just as a substitution, to modify and activity, to add value or do another task in a completely different way.It was interesting to hear about the 90-9-1 rule, showing that even though most people are connected we are using technology in a similar way.
 The diagram below explains the SAMR acronym:

Other interesting points:
  • With new technology, its important to give "play time", say 15minutes. That way, especially in a class environment, you will end up with a class full of information!
  • Teach students the skill to "search" - not just Google. Google in particular has many features that can be used to get great quality information - edit reading level, date published, aces to old news papers, search within domains etc This is something I would love to spend some more time on!