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Showing posts from 2015

Google Expeditions - Just WOW!

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Awesome Day!
I was very very excited about our school being chosen as one of the schools to be in the Google Expeditions Pioneer program.  What a great opportunity for our students to try cutting edge technology that is just well Awesome!  

I'm sure my management team thought my enthusiasm was a bit strange when I said we'd be using Google Cardboard to fly around the world, underwater, to the moon and basically anywhere our students could dream up.  They soon caught on to why I was so excited when they got to test out Google Expeditions for themselves.   I think the excitement in the room as the staff wondered all over El Capitan was on par if not more than when the students experienced their first expedition.

Here's a peek at the students and staff enjoying Google Expeditions throughout the day...


A few of our year six students had already presented their efforts with Google Cardboard at the Student Summit earlier this year so were very happy to see that Google Cardboard …

Taking Time to Celebrate

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Today I graduated for the third time, this time with a Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice - Digital and Collaborative Learning.  With my fellow graduates I enjoyed celebrating our success in learning alongside other Unitec graduates who'd also completed their current course of study.  So why am I blogging about this?

Firstly to acknowledge that what myself and those who also graduated, have done, is awesome!  We do deserve a pat on the back and a grand ceremony as well as time to enjoy our success.  I'm really happy my employer was able to give me a day to do that, and I know not all graduates would have been able to take up the opportunity to celebrate like this.






I had a few conversations today about the importance of celebration.  Most of these centred around celebrating because we'd put a lot of work into getting our qualification.  This was especially important because this particular qualification was done while most of us were also working full time.

It …

GEG NZ Student Summit

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Kudos has to go to our amazing learners for their ability to face their fears of presenting in front of a crowd of students during this event and doing an awesome job!

We had a blast and learnt a lot!

One of the things I wanted to do as part of my Moonshot from Sydney was to get our learners out of the classroom and striving for dreams, big dreams!   This was one way I thought we could get them to realise their potential and show others how truly fantastic they are.

Myself and two other teachers - a year 6 and a year 2 teacher have been working together this year and decided that this was a great opportunity for our learners.  ... We'd been playing around with a few things over the term and decided to take them a little further and get our students to present on them... they were

- Animation using Google Slides
- Google Cardboard - Photospheres

The only problem we had - narrowing down the students we could take, we would loved to have taken both classes but needed to be realistic…

Day 20 of 20 Days to BlogTastic - Student Voice

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Day 20!!!   

Yes this is the last challenge in 20 days to BlogTastic.  If you'd like to know more about this training click here.

Today we're wrapping up with ensuring your blog has student voice.  I've included a few more ideas for making it easier for you and your students to post to your class blog and a bit of challenge to look at creating individual student blogs in the future.

Mobile Blogging
Use the blogger app which is available for Android and iOS.  Make your students authors on your class blog using their email address, they then use this same email address to login to the blogger app and they can post from almost anywhere.

If you're in a situation where students have access to extensive wifi when they're around the school and to mobile data when they're out on trips this is a great way to get blog posts up and finished even before you've returned from the trip.

Photo Collages
A great way to get evidence of learning from your students is to use a photo c…

Day 19 of 20 Days to BlogTastic - Further Post Ideas

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Day 19 of 20 Days to BlogTastic explores a few more options for posting to your class blog.   If you'd like to know more about this training click here

Today is another chance to think about how your blog integrates into your classroom.  It's also a chance to look at creating a posting schedule for your students so they can take over your class blog, with you posting on a less frequent basis.  
Here is an example of a class blog post schedule...


Here's the link to make a copy of this google doc.

More Post Ideas
What you post on your classroom blog really depends on you and your classroom environment.  Think carefully about what you're going to use your blog for and what would benefit your users.  
Here are a few more ideas.. 

Provocations - plant a seed for future learning post a video, link to an article, photo, map, artefact that links to your next learning steps or that might spark an inquiry from your studentsCompetitions - Create a competition each week - simple like …

Day 18 of 20 Days to BlogTastic - Mascots and Travel Buddies

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Do you have a class mascot or travel buddy?  Do they currently feature on your class blog?  Welcome to Day 18 of 20 Days to BlogTastic, click here for more information on this training.

What's a Travel Buddy
A travel buddy is usually a small soft toy that goes on adventures around the world.  They often come with their own book and sometimes even have their own blog.  The idea is that they get sent to your buddy class that's often on the other side of the world and that class writes about their adventures in your travel buddy book.  At the end of the year the travel buddy is sent back with lots of tales to tell about his/her adventures.   

The great thing about having a travel buddy connected to your class blog is you get to hear about the adventures on a more regular basis.  There are a couple of ways you can do this...

Give the class you're connecting with a blog email address that they email blog posts to and these posts are then published to your blogGive the class you'…

Day 17 of 20 Days to BlogTastic - QuadBlogging

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Wow, we're into our last four challenges of the 20 Days to Blogtastic... 
A great source of inspiration, collaboration and connections for your learnings is to sign up for a QuadBlogging group.  Today is Day 17 of 20 Days to BlogTastic please click here if you'd like more information about this training.

Quadblogging involves you getting together with three other teachers and sharing your class blogs.  This starts off as a four week journey and often lasts much longer than that.  

Basically one blog from the group is the focus each week, the other three classes make a really big effort to read and comment on that blog each day.  The blog that is focused on makes a really big effort to post regularly during the week.  Then another blog is chosen.  You move through each blog in the group over the four weeks.

QuadBlogging Aotearoa (New Zealand Teachers)
The amazing Barbara Reid runs the Quadblogging Aoteraroa Group on our Virtual Learning Network here in New Zealand.  It's a great…

Day 16 of 20 Days to BlogTastic - Social Media and Other connections

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Today we're looking at connecting your blog with social media and other ways you can connect your community to your blog.  If you'd like to find out more about the 20 Days to BlogTastic Click here.

Social Media - Twitter 
Do you have a Twitter account?  Does your school have a Twitter account?  what about your classroom?  

Why not tweet out a link to your latest blog post at the end of each day?  This could be a student job if you have a class account.  The other option is to make this happen automatically - Twitterfeed is a great way to automatically post a new tweet every time you make a new blog post.  

On a side note if you haven't explored KidsEdChatNZ on Twitter take a peek it's a great experience for students to have on a Wednesday afternoon (NZ Time).

If you're looking for personal professional development Twitter is a great place to start.  This video quickly explains some of the benefits of Twitter...



The #EdChatNZ site has great resources for getting started w…

Day 15 of 20 Days to BlogTastic - Homework, Notices and Calendar

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Welcome to Day 15 only 5 days to go in 20 Days to BlogTastic.  Today we're looking at Homework, Notices and Calendars.  If you'd like more information about the 20 Days to BlogTastic please click here.

Homework
Another way to integrate your blog into your classroom is to post homework activities to it.  I'm personally not a fan of endless homework sheets and projects but a quick reminder about practicing basic facts, reading with a family member and helping out at home is great.  Maybe you could make a time each week that homework is posted to your class blog and let parents know this.

You might also like to encourage more comments by getting students to comment on what they've done for homework each week.   For primary school students if students don't have internet access at home this becomes part of their morning routine or one of the comments they make during literacy tumbles.  For high school students this becomes something they do when they first get to class or…

Day 14 of 20 Days to BlogTastic - Following and Hit Counters

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Getting others to follow your blog is a great way to ensure they're always getting a reminder about you making a post and it's more likely to result in a comment.  We're at Day 14 of 20 Days to BlogTastic, if you'd like to know more about this training click here.

Adding a 'Follow by Email' Gadget
This gadget allows your readers to follow your blog by entering their email address.  They get an email every time you make a new post on the blog.

This video explains how to get a follow us or follow me gadget onto your blog.







Hit Counters
A great way to make your blog visible everyday in your classroom is to use a hit counter.  You may have already added a hit counter in an earlier challenge - great you'll already have a few statistics to start with.  

You might like to add the blogger 'blog statistics' gadget to your blog - this is a simple hit counter.  If you're feeling like you need something with a little more sparkle, here are a few more places you mi…

Day 13 of 20 Days to BlogTastic - A week in the life of...

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Celebrating every learning success is a daunting prospect when you think about how many blog posts that would involve... however when you release your control of your class blog back to your students (yes even New Entrant students can make their own blog posts with the right tools), it's not such a big task. 

Today's challenge - Day 13 out of 20, is about reviewing and reflecting on your learning each week with your students.  

If you'd like to know more about the 20 Days to BlogTastic training please click here.

A really easy way to start this off is to create a Google Slide deck with a slide for each day and a title something like ' A week in the life of The Brilliant Bats - Room 55).

Here's a template you can use with a few different options...




To download a copy of this template to your Drive so you can continue to use it click here.

How To Use The Template
This really depends on your class situation...  
You might choose one or two students who are responsible for doc…

Day 12 of 20 Days to BlogTastic - Amazing Writers

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We're going back to looking at success today with a challenge about writing success.  This is day 12 of 20 Days to BlogTastic, if you'd like more information about this training please click here

Writing is a great learning area to showcase on your blog and can be given so much more purpose when it's integrated into your blog. 

Here are a few ways to use your class blog during writing time...
Brainstorming and planning for writing in a digital formatAdding comments to your blog posts that are Kind, Specific and Helpful via text or recording them via voice messages Commenting on other classes blog posts and linking back to you or your class blog as evidenceRecording their finished writing and posting it to your class blogPublishing writing in a digital formAdding opinions on a topic into post comments or recording opinions using a service like croak.itBrainstorming
There are plenty of ways to brainstorm both digitally and using good old pen and paper.  Why not post your brainst…

Day 11 of 20 Days to BlogTastic - Keeping Track of Projects

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Today is day 11 of 20 Days to Blogtastic, to get more information about this training click here.

We're looking into labels a little more today.  Labels are a great way to keep track of posts about a particular topic, project, person or event.  We went over this quickly when we looked at making our first post in Day 3's challenge.  Hopefully you've been labelling your posts on your blog, don't worry if you haven't you can always go back into each post and edit it to include appropriate labels. 
Let's look at the basics with labels... 


How to create a labels gadget
The labels gadget can be created by going to the layout settings area of your blog and then adding a gadget and selecting labels.  
You can then choose how that gadget is displayed.  You can also choose which labels are displayed in this gadget.  You can also have more than one labels gadget.  This is entirely up to you and your class!


Here's a video that shows you how to add a labels gadget

Adding Label…

Day 10 of 20 Days to BlogTastic - Commenting Basics and Share Everywhere

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The only way to get visitors to your blog is to let people know that it exists we're focusing on sharing our blogs and giving and receiving comments today.  
One of the many great things about blogs is the ability for others to leave comments on your work, this aids collaboration and gives your students a real audience. 

Better late than never... Today is Day 10 of 20 Days to BlogTastic, if you'd like to know more about this training please click here.

Sharing Everywhere
Here's a few places to start sharing your blog address (refer to Day 1 for how to get your blog address)
School newsletterClass notes homeSchool website and other social media - Twitter & FacebookIn your email signature In an email to all staff in your schoolIn an email to your teaching friends, family and colleaguesQR codes on your classroom door and notice boardQR codes in the office of your schoolScan is a QR App that allows you to scan QR codes.  Here's their intro video that explains a bit about wh…

Day 9 of 20 Days to BlogTastic - Making Posting Easier

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Today is all about celebrating success and creating blog posts to go with it.  If you're keen to find out more about the 20 Days to BlogTastic please click here

Your class blog should be all about your students right?  Sometimes it's difficult to get students doing the posting especially if they don't have their own accounts to work from.  So here's a few ways to make that a little easier to achieve in your classroom.

Easy Blogger - iPad app 
If you've got iPads I highly recommend purchasing the EasyBlogger app here's a link to it in the app store.  It's really simple to use once setup and yes even 5 year olds can post to your blog using this app without too much prompting from you.  They can choose to post a photo, text or video.  They can also add voice to the photo and text if they want to.  

The other great thing about this app is they can use content from the camera roll on the iPad, so if they've made a puppet pals video for example they can import …

Day 8 of 20 Days to BlogTastic - Celebrating Success

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Today is all about celebrating success and creating blog posts to go with it.  If you're keen to find out more about the 20 Days to BlogTastic please click here

Celebrating success in learning is something I feel strongly about.  I think it's really important to celebrate those things we've worked hard at, we've shown resilience to get to and persisted until the end.  I believe it's important to celebrate individual and group success.  

So what ways can we celebrate success on our class blogs?  Here are a few ideas...
Weekly certificate recipients Student of the week Moving up a reading, writing or maths levelBuilding understanding/skills in a rubric Getting to the next stage in a projectFinishing a project Maths warm up championsClass Dojo winner for the day/week/termMost correct questions on Skoolbo/Mathletics/Study LadderI'm sure you can think of other examples that would be specific to your classroom situation.  Here's a few links to celebration posts te…

Day 7 of 20 Days to BlogTastic - Morning Statistics

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Welcome to Day 7 of 20 Days to BlogTastic, we're looking at morning statistics today.  If you'd like more information about this training please click here.

I got this idea from a teacher at Rowandale - Michael Davidson.  Earlier this year Michael regularly posted a morning bar graph on his blog that his students have helped to create. Here's the link to this year's graphs.  

Morning Statistics
This activity is completed by the students as soon as they come into the classroom or while you're taking the roll.  There are plenty of things you could look at...
Calendar mathsDays of the weekMonths of the yearNumber of days at school so farNumber of days left in the week / term / yearCountdown to big eventsWeatherTimeRainfallTemperatureWind speedType of weatherForecast Quick questions with bar graphOpinions about news article Favourite thingsThis or that questionsVote for story / type of activity / display Who's here / not hereattendance percentage for the class as a who…