New Bloggers to the Blogging World + more

Today I ran my second e-portfolio training session, so now have a large interconnected network of staff at this school. The challenge now will be to maintain momentum and provide incentives for them to keep going with it. I’ve been so impressed with the quality of the blogs and the amazing resources everyone has to share, super exciting! Thanks to George Couros for coming to Adelaide and getting this started. Here are St John’s’ brand new bloggers:

Ian     Fliss     Carolyn     Deb     Carlee     Brendan     Amy     Dawn

Thanks again to Col for his help, Ian and Billsy for helping it happen, and Julie and the canteen for feeding us! 🙂

Keep on blogging!

Keep on blogging!

One tool I’m loving even though it’s superficial, is memes. I’ve mentioned them before, but have found this great site documenting the history of the ‘grumpy cat’ phenomenon, which is great for teaching Media students about viral media.

A fantastic resource I’ve been directed to is English For The Australian Curriculum. It provides units of work aligned to the Australian Curriculum for particular year levels. I need to take the time to explore this properly, eg found some great material to add to my ethos unit.

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Mind Maps, Ethos, & Memes

Idea
I have to make a concept map about what I’ve gained about studying leadership for my uni course, so last night I decided to check out Karen Bonanno’s list of web tools that support inquiry based learning and try out some of the free mind mapping tools. I found Bubbl.us the most user friendly, and was able to produce the concept map below quickly and easily. Next time I have to teach students a relational concept I’ll try and do it visually with a concept map like this (I find the SmartArt objects in Word too fiddly and uncooperative).

Concept map I created with Bubbl.us.

Concept map I created with Bubbl.us.

Resource
I have always tried to avoid teaching the same thing over and over because a) I get bored, b) that boredom shows through in reduced energy and passion, and c) it’s a great way to ensure I’m continually adapting courses to suit students and pedagogical skills I’ve learned. As I have become increasingly time pressured, I’ve realised this has become a ‘lofty’ ideal. I need to develop strong units of work that I continually cycle, improve, adapt, modify, etc. This is where wikispaces has been fantastic. It’s incredibly easy (although time consuming) to set up units of work and then change them as necessary to suit student cohorts and changes I’m making to my teaching practice. Time to get more serious about them! I’ve just started a wiki for my year 10 English class, and have put on work from the Ethos unit we just did. I found it a great way to reflect on the unit: what worked, what didn’t, what to keep, what to cut, what to add, etc. And, if I want to teach it again, it’s ready to go.

Story
Had a small victory with a student who was incredibly stressed because she put ridiculous pressure on herself to succeed. I knew there was no point convincing her As aren’t everything, so sat her down and showed her the work of a student who got an A- (asked that student’s permission first!) for the task the class just got back to show her the minimum standard required to achieve an A. I noticed a sharp difference in her behaviour in class straight away. More relaxed, more willing to ask questions, able to have a laugh. I thought of it because I always keep past A standard Year 12 work in example folders to make it clear to them what standard is required – they find it incredibly helpful.

End Note
I want to get in to memes to add a bit of fun into dry material. There’s plenty of meme creation sites such as quickmeme. Eg this one I just put on the Ethos unit page:

Using memes to spice up work.

Using memes to spice up work.