Week 4 : Learning and Teaching Tools 1… part 2

What busy lives we all have.  I have noticed quite a number of people posting to their blogs about their previous week and all the work related activites it included, and hope we all realise that we are not alone in this problem.  I too attended a Penguin novel selection presentation and also the local SLAV meeting where Mary Manning spoke about the National … I mean The Australian Curriculum. (I have made a brief post about this on our Ning for anyone interested).

Nonetheless, I did get through lots of the activities and tasks for Week 4, most of which I am quite impressed with and think I will use again or refer to other staff members. I have used FUSE before, but it is great to be reminded of things. We tend to find something new and go mad with it to the detriment of what we were using before. A further exploration of FUSE took me to the Level 5 & 6 Reading strategies for VELS domains, where I found details of Pause, Prompt, Praise. This will be a helpful system for our parent volunteers who regularly listen to the Year 7s read aloud.

I was not aware of Google sites but have started to set up a website to be used with Year 8 next semester for Issues work. Not sure how it will go, but the KLAH and I were planning to revamp the unit, so I’ll make a start and see what she thinks. I can see possibilities for classes using this tool too, to present group research, where they could each have their own page on the site outlining their part of the project.

Google docs is a favourite of mine for personal use, but I am now thinking about loading our Library Procedures Manual to it so we can share, access and collaborate on updates to this living document.

I am enjoying investigating all that Google has to offer. I will certainly be returning to Google for Educators, and will alert the teaching staff to it too. In my browsing, I found a short powerpoint called Success in teaching teens to search the internet. I think it would be a good one for the staff who think that because kids can enter a search term into Google, they can research! It also includes an activity that I might modify for our Year 8 Reseach project introduction next year.

I have used Flickr previously, but so long ago that I had forgotten my login details. It was good to revisit it – even if it meant I had to start a new account and so have no access to photos I had previously loaded. This is not something the students have access to at school, but I will endeavour to become more familiar with it myself and think about possible uses to see whether I need to make a case for this one.  Not sure yet.

I have already posted about my play with Gliffy, although sadly when I went to open the file at school to print off my hard work, it would not load!!!  Might have to sign up for the free 30 days to  be able to access all the features. I will try again with this one, although I could probably do something similar with Inspiration  as I am already familiar with it. I found Bubbl.us a bit fiddly for the same reason but I guess it took me a while to become confident with Inspiration too, so I shouldn’t dismiss it yet.

I did like the Essay Map although we have had whole school PD this year on the 4 Square method of essay writing which we are attempting to use across the school. I think I will send it off to staff though as a similar step-by-step process where you are required to enter supporting evidence for the points you are making. I think it would be good for all year levels, as it is quite clear but you could add as much detail as you need. I might try it out with a year 7 group when planning for their oral presentation next term.

I had had a very brief look at Wallwisher when I saw it mentioned on Bright Ideas blog some time ago. I am glad this course gave us time to explore it a bit more. I have set up a page for the Library staff to use as a kind of  ‘Jobs to be done’ list. We are all part-time and I thought this would allow us access from home and will provide a way for us all to keep up with what is coming up or needing to be done. This is a trial only, as an excuse for us all to get used to it for a real purpose.

Wow! I didn’t realise how much I had done in an already busy week until I see it all set out here. And I haven’t even started on the extension activities! I have found this week’s activities to be very valuable due to the hands-on nature of what we are doing. I am now off to catch up with Elluminate session I missed and that might be enough for today. It would be nice to not be playing catch up every week, doing week 4 posts when we are about to start week 6! I will give it my best shot this week as we have a bit of down time due to exams. Here’s hoping!

I will also try to make regular smaller posts rather than epic ones like this which the counter below me says is 935 words! Way too much for anyone to be expected to read – sorry! ( Oops…. 949 now :))

Week 4 : Learning and teaching tools Part 1

Just spent the last 40 minutes making a plan of our library using Gliffy. It will be very valuable for putting things back when we have rearranged for guest speakers, exams and special events. We all seem to look at each other and wonder where everything went! I had thought I would put a copy here to show you, but realised that the ‘Blog and share this diagram’ signs you up for features that you have to pay for.
I have been able to save it though, so can print it for my future use.