Friday, 18 February 2011

Riding the Wave

This week it felt like I was riding a wave, it was an exhilarating and exciting ride but there were a few rough moments I felt like it was going to be all head over heels. I have had some success this week, the first was that I eventually got going with #365classes photos (my student version of 365 photos). The great part was I have got two struggling boys hooked into taking daily photos and they seem to love the process and of course the comments. Next step is to build the literacy around them. I was hoping to get more students from other schools involved and commenting, like we do the 365 Photo group does. Still interest may grow over time, or perhaps I need to try provide another sharing platform other than Flickr but not sure how that may work as yet. Below are some of my students photos.

As part of our unit study we have been exploring Recycling City and the students have been answering questions in their books on about the site which requires a sort of scavenger hunt search. On the second day I decided to try liven, and speed things up by doing an oral scavenger hunt. I asked a question based on the site and small groups raced each other for the answer and they then got a chance to ask their own questions. The success for me was the amazing engagement and quality of thinking as the students tried to give the class hard questions.

IWB Board Game
This year is the first time I have really used an Interactive Whiteboard as a serious tool. Last week I had a group memory/mix & match type game, while this week was a board game show below. It is freely available from an excellent site called Super Teacher Tools, which I also use to generate random groups. I had to stop my group teaching to take a photo of the great mathematical talk and engagement from students who don't usually get focused.

Meet the Teacher evening was held this week and I only had parents of five students visit and was encouraged by the understanding and agreement I got from those parents when I explained e-learning and the journey we were on.

Another great literacy tool we have been exploring is the comic site Strip Generator. It is an incredibly simple site to use-engage-telling stories and I made a screencast to guide students, most preferred to figure it out themselves. Cyber bullying was the learning context but I am hoping they will be whipping up stories and comics throughout the year as their confidence grows. This is a first time student effort below.

cyberbully by anonymous

I got a new girl student who I sat with a group of girls. They squashed around the table and eventually asked if they could rearrange the desks and seemed amazed when I encouraged them too.  I have been struggling to get students to move away from 'claimed' spots, perhaps one way is to give them more ownership.

Today our school was accepted into the EnviroSchools program, which was through my inquiries to them. To their credit they took the initiative and arranged a meeting with our principal and our new Enviro Team. I like it because they take a no pressure approach, and show how easy sustainability and environmental action can drive student inquiry learning and real change at school and in the community.

Finally I have reached the end of the wild week, and it's time to relax and reflect.