Tag Archives: Today’s Students

The Benefits of a Class Blog

I have admired a number of class blogs over the last couple of years (see the links on the side of my blog for some great class blogs) and they have inspired me to start my own class blog when I have a class of my own. Click here for a previous post about class blogs.

Take a look at the following inspiring YouTube video.

There are many benefits of a class blog, including:

  • they are easy to set up and they are user friendly
  • students are motivated
  • students are encouraged to read and write
  • they encourage discussion and collaboration
  • a community of learners is fostered
  • there is an instant audience
  • interesting websites can be provided to your students via links
  • images can be included to appeal to visual learners
  • they may be accessed anytime and anywhere
  • students gain an increased feeling of ownership
  • authentic learning takes place
  • they allow students to connect with other classrooms all over the world
  • it is relevant
  • a strong connection between home and school is encouraged

Kathleen Morris has written some great posts about blogging that are definitely worth checking out. See here, here and here for some of her useful blog posts and resources.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are you thinking about starting a class blog?

Can you think of any more benefits?

Do you have a class blog? Share your link below!

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Filed under ICT & Technology, Teaching, Web 2.0 Applications

Learning Should be Fun!

I don’t know about you, but I have heard far too many stories about teachers handing out the same worksheet time and time again,  completing boring joint constructions with the same two students participating, writing questions on the board for the students to answer… you get the gist!

I sincerely believe (along with supporting research such as here and here) that learning should be fun!

It is our job as teachers to motivate and engage our students in their learning. We need to be excited about what we are teaching. If we aren’t excited, how can we expect our students to be? The possibilities to make learning fun are endless!

Here are some of the ideas that I have come up with:

  • Integrate technology in meaningful ways:
    • Carefully select computer programs to help students achieve their goal
    • Find useful and interactive websites students can navigate
    • Download beneficial apps on the iPads
    • Allow your students to use cameras and video cameras to document their learning
    • Create WebQuests for your students
    • Find great YouTube videos to show your students
    • Integrate useful Web 2.0 tools
  • Provide your students with choice
  • Create different activities for your students to work on
  • Ensure your students are being challenged
  • Provide hands on activities
  • Allow your students to create something
  • Encourage your students to present their work in a variety of ways:
    • News Presenters
    • Blog Post
    • Website
    • Song
    • Video
    • Series of photos
    • Model
    • Dance
    • Posters
    • Pamphlets
    • Game Show

How do you make learning fun?

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Filed under ICT & Technology, Student Learning, Teaching, Teaching Strategies

WebQuests

The idea of a WebQuest has become increasingly popular over the years and it is no wonder why! A WebQuest encourages inquiry based learning which allows students to research a chosen topic while effectively using the internet and create a final product. WebQuests not only engage students in meaningful learning tasks and allow students to collaborate effectively, they make learning fun and students love them!

Why not give them a go and see for yourself?

Before you create a WebQuest, treat it like any other lesson and include an explicit learning goal. Think about what you want your students to know by the end of the WebQuest and what they need to do in order to achieve that goal. Make the activities funinteresting and challenging. A WebQuest has a purpose, a problem that reading can help to solve.

A WebQuest usually has seven parts:

  1. Introduction
  2. Task
  3. Process
  4. Resources
  5. Evaluation
  6. Conclusion
  7. Final Project

Take a look at the following fantastic YouTube video which explains everything you need to know about WebQuests! Then take a look at the links below to view examples of WebQuests and create one of your own.

Examples of WebQuests

WebQuest Creators

Will you get creative and create a WebQuest?

Have you already created a WebQuest?

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Filed under ICT & Technology, Teaching

Primary School Graduate

Take a moment to think about what qualities you would like a year 6 student to leave primary school with.

These are the words that I would like to be used to describe a year 6 student;

  • respectful
  • a proficient eLearner
  • literate
  • numerate
  • confident
  • globally aware
  • caring and compassionate towards others
  • critically aware
  • high self esteem and self aware
  • positive attitude
  • willing to continue learning
  • capable of resolving conflict
  • problem solver
  • able to express their views
  • good listener and communicator
  • empathetic
  • active citizen
  • open minded

Now think about happens in your classroom. Are you working towards shaping your students to encompass those qualities?

How are you working towards these qualities in your classroom?

What can you work on in your classroom?

What can you add to the list?

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Moving Forward

I attended the inaugural Primary Teachers Network (PTN)  professional learning event, “M.E.S.H. Mapping:  Your GPS to the new curriculum” which focussed on an integrated approach to teaching and learning Maths, English, Science and History in the primary classroom.

The opening speeches by Christine Taylor, Consul General of India Sydney, Amit Dasgupta and Jane Caro were very inspiring as they challenged us to think about teaching in a new light.

Claude Bernard’s quote “it is what we think we know already that often prevents us from learning”, along with remembering that once flying was thought to be impossible, arsenic was good for us and the world was flat, were used to reflect on the beliefs in the past.

As teachers we need to be challenging what has been done in the past and embrace the ‘what if?’ If we have a new idea, we need to try it and give it a go.

We should be asking ourselves “what do we need to be giving our students to strive in their future?”

We need to be teaching our students how to think rather than what to think. We need to challenge their learning and help them to discover who they are. We need to let students discover that there may be an alternate path that may not have been discovered yet.

Christine Taylor outlined that we need to be helping our students to;

  • be literate
  • be numerate
  • critically question
  • use imagination in all KLAs
  • be life long learners
  • think
  • be open to possibilities
  • problem solve
  • play and have fun
  • be resilient and stand up for what they believe in

Amit Dasgupta used the analogy of a 1500 piece puzzle box containing 2000 puzzle pieces. The 500 extra pieces will fit, but will not help you to solve the puzzle. Therefore you need to discard the extra 500 pieces. What pieces are you holding onto that you need to discard?

In order to move forward, we need to do some unpacking. It is a time of rapid unlearning. How much do you have in your mind that you can throw out? Jane Caro affirmed that we do not know what is going to happen tomorrow and we can only anticipate the future from the past, however when you see the evidence showing that something new is working – what do you do?

Do you change your mind or remain stuck in the past?

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Classroom Blogs

Ever since I have joined Twitter I have been not only introduced to the idea of classroom blogs, but also to the amazing potential that they can have for student learning.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the 21st century requires students to possess a new set of skills. Learning needs to be more digital, informal, online, mobile, networked and multimedia and a classroom blog achieves exactly that.

Classroom blogs allow us as teachers to reinvent education in a way that engages, empowers and educates all students.

Classroom blogs have the potential to allow students to find their passion and develop passionate life long learners. They also allow teachers to demonstrate bold digital age leadership and unconstrained vision.     

Watch this youtube clip of 10-11 year olds explaining why they love to blog in the classroom:

Here are some great classroom blogs that have inspired me:

Click here for a link to a fantastic blog a couple of my peers, Zoe and Mel, created as an assessment task explaining more about classroom blogs, including where to start, KLA ideas, a list of benefits and much more.  

Click here for another fanatstic blog post by Kathleen Morris which provides ideas for getting your own classroom blog started.

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano has also written an incredible series of posts on her Langwitches Blog, which provides amazing information for all bloggers, new and old.

Do you have a classroom blog?

Do you know other inspiring classroom blogs?

What are your thoughts on classroom blogs?

Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Filed under ICT & Technology, Student Learning, Teaching Strategies, Web 2.0 Applications

Teaching Strategies & Resources

The NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards includes:

Element 4; Aspect 4.1.5 – Use a range of teaching strategies and resources including ICT and other technologies to foster interest and support learning.

In order to be the best teachers we can be we need to reconsider our methodology. As educators in the 21st century, we need to learn to communicate in the language and style of our students.

This DOES NOT mean changing what is important or redefining good thinking skills.

It means that teachers today need to be adapting materials to students of the 21st century. This way of thinking can be applied to all subjects. It is no longer a question of whether to use ICT and other technologies, but how to incorporate them in order to benefit our students.

There is no reason that a generation can memorise over 100 Pokemon cards and yet cannot learn their multiplication tables or fractions in maths and how power stations work in science.

It simply depends on how it is presented.

If we want to reach every single one of our students, we need to change. It is easy to shrug a shoulder and stick to the usual routines, but is that the kind of teacher you want to be?

ICT and other technologies can BRING CONCEPTS TO LIFE and ENGAGE STUDENTS, which leads to GREATER UNDERSTANDING.

It’s all about being the best teachers we can be for our students and helping them reach their full potential.

I have created the following ICT resources about perimeter and area, with the help of my sisters. It is resources like these that can foster interest and support learning. It doesn’t need to be time consuming, the following are easy to create and can be kept for future use.

IWB RESOURCE – PERIMETER (click on the images to enlarge)

PHOTOPEACH – PERIMETER AND AREA (click on the image)

 

Click here to start using PhotoPeach.

VIDEO – AREA

GO ANIMATE – PERIMETER AND AREA  (click on the image)

Click here to learn about GoAnimate for schools and educators.

These resources can be placed on a class blog where students can freely access them to reinforce their learning independently and in a fun way. Homework activities can also be designed to incorporate revision using these resources on the blog.

Get creative and share your ideas, you just might be surprised with what you can come up with!

References

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon. 9 (5).

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Filed under Graduate Professional Experience 1, ICT & Technology, NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards, Resources, Teaching Strategies