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Showing posts from 2010

Activboard Training

We've just had our second training session on our new Activboards and it went really well. It was good to go through the basics again as like anything the first time round doesn't always lead to knowing what to do when you eventually get to use the tool.

Some of the things I'm looking forward to trying in my room is the dual pen option, having two children at the board rather than one will make it even more useful in my classroom program. I'm also looking forward to using the Shark Attack flipchart we downloaded.

Starting out on the Activboard or any new technology for that matter can be a bit daunting but I've found the Activtips secion of Promethean planet really helpful for learning new things. The free professional development tutorials are also really useful when you're first starting. It would be a good to get a few more videos up that are free to download especially things like a tour of the toolbox. Perhaps Promethean has this in the pipeline.

Joy Allock - Switched On To Spelling

Another great session with Joy Allock was had today.  I enjoyed being reminded about the importance of teaching spelling explicitly and knowing that there are rules out there that we tend to take for granted as adults but our kids don't actually know.

I've used the Switched on to Spelling resource a lot when I was teaching year 5 and 6.  It's probably the most useful spelling resource I've ever come across if used correctly of course.  The detail in the way to teach it is fantastic especially if you're just starting out.  It's also a great way to refresh yourself if you've been teaching spelling for a little longer.

One of the interesting things I guess you could say about the statistics Joy introduced was the difficulty we have in getting children to catch up when they don't have the vocab they need from the start.  I know that it sometimes looks like a mountain but I do still believe that children can catch up and do catch up even when the task of get…

Reggio Approach Part 2

We've started the term with some great intentions on following this approach and I've really enjoyed the professional discussions our team has had over the last two weeks around how it's going to look in our classrooms.  Here's a few of the things I've been mulling over....

What happens to core subjects - reading, writing, maths We still teach them and move them around so that they are based on theme/topic as much as possible They are still our core business so we can't just leave them outWhen do we find the time to demonstrate/model project based learning and fit in core subjectsAt the moment I've got a seperate project time that's outside of reading, writing and maths Hoping to change this so that it's more integrated into reading, writing and mathematics time rather than a seperate thingWhen children aren't at a point of reading or writing effectively what do you do for their independent projects?Teacher scaffolding of children is very importa…


Speed Geeking, Unconference, EducampNZ Well worth getting up for, on a spectacular Saturday morning in Auckland!I had a great time along with Wendy one of the DP’s at Rowandale.I was a bit concerned before attending as I’ve never experienced a day of professional learning where there isn’t a planned agenda and set times for things.I was surprised to find the day zoomed past and it was great to get input from everyone there as to what we wanted to discuss or find out about.
The smackdown at the start of the day gave me plenty of new and exciting ideas to develop both in my classroom and hopefully across our school.I thought Barb D’s idea of surveying the staff for what they want for morning tea would be great fun. I’ve just starting using Google Docs with a form to get staff to record ICT issues/concerns/queries.It had taken a bit of training but we’re starting to make better progress especially when it comes to scheduling technician assistance and repairs.There were plenty of other idea…

Active Activboard ---- It's Arrived

"what's that Miss?"  "it's an Activboard" "can we touch it?" "who put it there?" "I think it does the tv thing" "no look it does her laptop too" "does it turn off?" "it's soft look"

I managed to explain what the board was for and even turn it on during our first day back this term.  I had 21 year two children focused, engaged and willing to participate in what we were doing.  I introduced the board by showing them a flipchart I'd made about our topic this term - Superheroes Lost in Space.  We started our KWL by brainstorming what we already knew about space, this was helped along by the great introduction assembly the teachers put on to start the new term.  The children enjoyed the photos of themselves I'd added into the flipchart.  We took superhero photos last term so I'd used the snapshot tool to make them fly through the flipchart.

Day two involved using another part of the sam…

The Activboard - Before It Arrives. . .

I'm very excited about the possibilities that come with having an interactive whiteboard in my classroom.  I've had the advantage of one before - a Mimio and it did change the way I taught.  This time I'm keenly anticipating the arrival of an ActivBoard.

As the Director of ICT I've already had a peep at the software and I'm starting to develop bits and pieces for use in mine and other teacher's classrooms.  The software - ActivInspire is relatively easy to use and similar to other IWB software that's available.  It's probably a little more powerful in my opinion than the Mimio Notebook software I used to use.  I've started off by creating a topic related flipchart that teachers might use to introduce this terms integrated topic about space.  Morning procedures are my next port of call.  Taking the roll on the board and having short activities that children can participate in before 9am sounds like a good place to start. 

I've also looked closel…

Building Blocks to Literacy

Hmmm... a one day conference that makes me think early on a Saturday morning! Actually it was well worth it both for new ideas and reaffirming what we are doing is going down the right track. I haven't heard Barbra Brann speak before so was interested in gaining some insight into the way she has developed the building blocks to literacy programme.

The conference allowed us to see a variety of activities and approaches Oteha valley and Arahoe school are using with the building blocks to literacy programme. Here are a few of the thoughts I had during the day along with my notes from the Keynote speakers:

"Children are often pushed into formal learning before they are ready" I agree in theory. However as a year 2 teacher I can't see how I can justify stopping children from writing and formal reading instruction until they have all of the skills deemed necessary to the programme. This is one area of the conference that really made me think, challenging my firm belief…

Differentiated Coaching

I can teach children, I've been doing it for 5 years but now I've been asked to help teachers improve their skills both in my role as Director of ICT and as a tutor teacher for those new to the profession. I guess I haven't really given much thought until now about how that is different to teaching children but it is... a lot different.

I've just come back from a day where I learnt about exactly that - teaching or in this case coaching teachers. The day was run by Interlead and called Differentiated Coaching.

We looked closely at how different teachers need to be coached in different ways. Using the Myers Briggs personality test we analysed different ways of coaching different personality types. It was stressed throughout the day that although we might test as a certain personality we can all exhibit most of the personality traits at different points in our lives so there is no hard and fast rules that are going to work for everyone. However it's still wort…

The Reggio Approach

I've been lucky enough to participate in some fantastic professional development lately. One of the courses I've attended was "The Wonder of Learning Through the Environment"  a one day conference about using the about using the Reggio approach. This was held in the beautiful grounds of St Cuthberts College and hosted/organised through Reanz (Reggio Emilia Aotearoa New Zealand). They were fantastic hosts and we really enjoyed the chance to have a look around the grounds during our lunch break.

I haven't done very much research into the Reggio approach it has tended to be something I'd like to have a look at but never got around to doing. So this opportunity really appealed to me. The approach is one that allows children to have more time to discover and experience the world in their own time rather than sticking to the rigid schedules we sometimes have. The videos and information we received from the schools, kindergartens and early learning centres tha…

Getting on board with Mac.

I've always been a proud PC girl and never really ventured into the world of Mac's.. well now I have to! I have shifted jobs and am now part of a fantastic Mac based school.

I've been pleasantly surprised, I was expecting to have to forgo many of my loved PC applications and change me work flow dramatically to fit into the mac environment but I haven't had to. I can still do much of the usual day to day activities I would have done I my PC.

I am however still annoyed that the government hasn't supported schools with Macs by ensuring they to have the latest Microsoft software available to them. I know that many people out there are adverse to using Microsoft products especially on a Mac however I still believe office has it's place inside and outside the classroom. I would dearly love to have the latest version of office Mac but this doesn't look possible with the high cost of having to license machines ourselves rather than grabbing the PC licenses …

New Beginnings

Well I'm starting at a new school on the first day of term 2 and really looking forward to the change. I'll be teaching year 2s instead of my usual year 5 & 6 and I can't wait to try out all the great web resources I've already discovered. Check out my delicious links for just a few of the websites I'll be using.

One of the things that concerns me most is keeping up with the movement children make at year 2. Yes, year 5 & 6 make movement too but nowhere near as quickly and as often as I expect the year 2 children will. I am going to need to change quite a few of my teaching techniques and probably spend a little more time ensuring the children are understanding the procedures and expectations I have for them in our classroom. I think this will be a great challenge and a step in the right direction in terms of my teaching career.

If you have any wonderful ideas that you've tried and have really worked when teaching year 2 children I'd love to he…

Inspiration amongst tough times

With all the talk about National Standards at the start of this year, the debates that will follow and no doubt the interesting times we face with negotiating our contracts this year I think it's important to continue to look at what we are here for as teachers.  That's to teach the children, our adults of tomorrow, to help them to learn, grow, prosper in a world with an uncertain at best future. 

I've been inspired by the video I need my teacher's to learn (below)

I think we all need to jump behind the eyes of a child occasionally and actually see our classrooms from their perspective.  What are they actually engaging in?  Is what we are doing in our classrooms really any relation to these children or are we just doing it because that's the way we always have and it worked 10 years ago so why won't it work now?

Don't get me wrong the debate around National Standards needs to happen and we all need to make sure that our education system doesn't end up …