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Showing posts from 2018

Getting Re-EnergiSed

Not long ago I was able to attend the Sydney 2018 Google Certified Innovator Energiser.  I wasn't going to miss this! Many innovators, that had already been to previous events around the world, raved about it and Sydney was just as fantastic!  

It was another chance to connect with educators who have a passion for driving education forward, changing the way we've always done things and looking into ways to solve education problems that are common in many parts of the world, so the rushing, organising and rather stressful end to the week to get there wasn't going to stop me.  

Before the serious part of the day kicked off there was food - of course we were at Google so the food as always was awesome... 

During the course of the day we took part in sessions on culture change by he Obyrant group, heard from Googlers about Jamboard and caught up with what was happening in the Innovator program.  We also had the chance to explore and innovate a few education problems through openi…

Photo of the Day - Full time in the Classroom

I've spent the last few weeks in the classroom with a group of amazing year 4 learners.  They already had an awesome blog setup that I had the privilege of adding to while I was in the classroom.  One of the initiatives I introduced the learners was to post a photo of the day.  Each day a new student was chosen as our photographer and they were able to take photos of our learning during the day.  Towards the end of the day learners were able to chose a photo they wanted to post to our class blog.  They were then able to write a sentence or two about the photo and why they chose it.  

While this was a pretty simple idea it was very powerful especially for those learners who find social interaction difficult - being the photographer allowed them to have a reason and purpose to talk to other students.  Part of our procedures around photographer for the day required students to ask before they took a photograph.  

This was part of our procedures as we talked at length about how importan…

Saturday Suite Tip: Sharing with Classroom

If you're a Google Classroom user you already know how easy it is to share documents with your students. How about sharing sites and getting them all on the same page at the same time? Check out the Share to Classroom extension to do just that...

Share to ClassroomShare to Classroom is a Google Chrome Extension that makes it easy to get your students onto the same website as you at the click of a button.  

It's as simple as it sounds..

Goto the website you want your class to be on
Click the 'share to classroom' extension
Share it to the classroom your students are part of
They'll get a notification to say their teacher is sending them to a site and all the need to do is hit yes and they're there.
What is an extension?An extension is a little add on for your Chrome web browser that extends its capability.  Sort of like apps there's an extension for pretty much everything you can think of from creating QR codes to blocking ads or creating GIFs and Screen cast…

ISTE 2018 - Gathering Great Ideas Even if You Weren't There!

In case you hadn't heard the last few days ISTE has been held in Chicago.  A massive event for educators, full of great educators, of course and lots of different EdTech and non-EdTech companies.  

I would much prefer to be there in person!  But for those of us that can't make it there is a massive amount of information, ideas, excitement, competitions etc. shared virtually.  I have participated virtually the last few years, with Twitter being my chosen way of being able to see, hear and enjoy just a little taste of the event.  

So here's what I collected this year... 

I'm sure they'll be a few more posts later, as a few of these ideas definitely work with what we're learning next term but for now just a few bits that might interest you.. 

Saturday Suite Tip: Useful Feedback

Are you working with a team to create a document? Are your students creating their own works of awesomeness? Want to make quick suggestions, send encouragement or correct a mistake. Have a look into the commenting and suggesting features in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drawings
Commenting If you've been using Google Suite (formerly Google Apps) for a while you'll know that comments are easily added to your Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drawings in one of a few ways:
Clicking the plus button next to your item or selected text Clicking the insert > comment menu Clicking the comment menu at the top right of a doc and pressing comment

Those that have commenting or editing rights to a document can see the comments.  If a user has viewing rights only they will not be able to see comments.  Comments are a great way to add encouragement, agree, disagree and suggest options moving forward.  
If you want to direct a comment at a specific person add where email is the…

Workshops from PMA Day

Workshops I had the privilege of attending the Primary Maths Association day a few weeks ago and what a great day it was.

I enjoyed taking part in three workshops and a keynote.
Where is Maths Going? (Keynote) See previous Post hereCounting CountsRich TasksComputational Thinking in the Maths Classroom I have added a few notes I took during the workshops below.  These are just what resonated with me and what questions I had from the workshops. Counting Counts Presented by Anna Noy

What I took away from this workshop:
- Reminder about teaching sets, comparing sets and removing and adding items to a set
- The need to count dissimilar objects not just sets of the same objects (usually counters) and how we can count anything even if we can't touch it
- How to check students understanding of counting what do happens when they are asked to count a group that isn't in a line?  Can they stop at the right spot?
- Helping students know when to stop counting by using containers, movement …

PMA - Primary Maths Association - PLD day

Thinking about Mathematics... I had the privilege of attending the Primary Maths Association day a few weeks ago and what a great day it was.

I enjoyed taking part in three workshops and a keynote.
Where is Maths Going? (Keynote)Counting CountsRich TasksComputational Thinking in the Maths Classroom My takeaways and questions from the keynote are detailed below.  Watch out for future posts on the three workshops I attended.
Where is Maths Going?Presented by Dr Fiona Ell
I really enjoyed the future focused keynote looking at big ideas in mathematics teaching and learning in New Zealand and where we might be heading.  It was a timely reminder of what's important with regards to teaching maths and what we might have missed in the last few years with the focus seeming to be on Number only.  Dr Fiona Ell outlined research in a number of areas that show teachers that make the most difference.

She structured the keynote around a treasure map with destinations that we might visit and impor…

Checking out a Makerspace

What an awesome day!  This week I travelled to Papamoa to check out some professional learning with Paula Jamieson and her team about their school Makerspace -Whare Wahianga.  This was well worth it, if you get the chance to visit do!  The team at Te Akau Ki Papamoa were very welcoming and willing to share their resources and their journey.  Here's a few hightlights/takeaways..

The Space The Makerspace at TAKP (Te Akau Ki Papamoa) has been purpose built complete with flexible moveable furniture created in conjunction with Woods Furniture and plenty of resources.  The space was setup by Paula and each class gets to visit the space regularly throughout the year.

It was so good to see furniture options that are working and definitely gave me inspriation for what might work in a different location.  I love the large table with large bins under it what a great idea for any space, not just a make environment.  It's on wheels too how cool is that?

But it's not about the space or …

Saturday Suite Tip: There's Power in Photos

Sure Google Photos is great to store all those pics of your latest holiday but you might want to take a closer look at the features that can be useful in the classroom.

Google Photos
Google photos is available on most devices with Android usually getting the latest updates a little quicker than iOS (iPads & iPhones).  Many Android phones come with Google Photos built in so there is not need to download the app, however if you're using an older phone or don't currently have access to Google Photos on your phone you can download it here for Android and here for iOS

Google photos is a place to store your photos in the cloud and is attached to your Google account.  Photos are stored at reasonably high resolution so unless you're a professional photographer and require original files that are very high resolution you shouldn't have any issues getting all your photos stored in the cloud.  

Working with Text, Business Cards, Landmarks and BooksWith a new update Google Photos…

Saturday Suite Tip: Okay Google - Google Assistant in the Classroom

Need someone to help with all those awesome questions children come up with in the classroom? Want to find an answer quickly or play a game for that five minutes before the bell? Check out
Google Assistant

What is it?A great often overlooked feature is Google Assistant, it works to varying degrees on Google Home, mobile devices and Chromebooks and can be a very useful addition to a classroom. 

There is an ever increasing number of things you can ask Google just by talking to Google Assistant.  On most Android phones it's just a case of saying 'Okay Google' or 'Hey Google' within ear shot of your phone and then asking your question.  There may be a little more setup required if you're using an older version of Android or a device that defaults to the manufacturers setup.  If you're in posession of a phone that already has Google Assitant you wont need to install the app.  If you don't have it here's a link to it on the Play Store and in the App Store

Saturday Suite Tip: Speaking another language

Need to add a macron? Speak and write in a language other than English? Want to translate your document? Take a look, at the language features within Google Suite

Language SettingsWithin a Google Suite account, it is possible to change your default language.  To change your settings go to and switch to your preferred language.

While there are many languages available not all are there yet.  Languages are being updated all the time so do send feedback to Google about requiring your language and make sure you check back regularly.  

Adding MacronsIf you're not able to have your own language as a default you can still add things like macrons fairly easily in most Google Tools.  One option is to use special characters just like you would in other word processing programs.  Basically click the Insert menu then special characters, draw your character and it will be inserted wherever your cursor is located.  

Another way of adding macrons is to use an add on for Goog…

Have you Broken out recently?

If you haven't heard of it before BreakoutEDU is a great resource to try in almost any classroom.  It's like having your very own escape room in a box.  

Escape rooms are great fun why not give one a go for your next team development session there are plenty to chose from here in Auckland and many other locations around the world.

What is it? BreakoutEDU is the classroom version of an escape room.  Both physical and digital versions are usually based on a theme or story.  The Physical version involves working as a team to unlock the many locks on a large BreakoutEDU box.  Clues are hidden or in plain sight around the space you're working in and can be anything from putting a puzzle together, finding essential information in a video clip to deciphering a secret code. 

The BreakoutEDU community are a wealth of information on game suggestions, working through issues and sharing new games.  There are Facebook groups for most subject areas that are just a click away if you nee…