Blogging Task #3

This blogging task is all for a good cause. If you’re anything like me there’ll be a number of issues in the world that cause you to get a little frustrated. Amongst the many that concern me are: climate change, deforestation, animal extinction, equal rights, plastic pollution, whale hunting, renewable energy, puppy farms, child labour, poverty, slave labour, girls’ rights, freedom of speech… I could actually go on and on and on! These are, in my opinion, just a few of the most important issues of our time and are well worth fighting for. It’s a great thing to get behind a good cause, it gives people a sense of purpose and meaning in life, not to mention the satisfaction of knowing they’re trying to achieve some good in the world.

Do you have a cause that you’d like to be part of? Is there something happening in the world that makes you frustrated? Is there something you’d like saved? Is there something you’d like stopped? Use your blog to shout out for a good cause or a big issue.

Meccano

As part of our English activities we’ve just begun using Meccano in the classroom. Meccano is such a fabulous tool with a huge educational value. Besides helping the students develop their problem solving skills and their construction skills, it is also great for their literacy development. The students are having to cooperate in pairs (boy and girl) as they attempt to read, decipher and follow the fairly complex instructions. The instructions are all visual, the type that Ikea tend to use, but a lot more detailed and complex with steps having to be followed in clear stages. As well as requiring good reading skills, the students have to use clear, polite and constructive conversation skills to overcome any difficulties they encounter. When finished they should have a great model with battery operated, working parts.

Jordan and Deacon

Jordan and Deacon

Kiara and Will

Kiara and Will

A Tough Lesson

There are so many reasons that I use blogging in the classroom and all of them are positive. I can’t really say that some of the reasons are more important than others, they’re all so different that it’s not fair to compare them to each other. However, some have more serious consequences than others, in particular the ones that can get you into trouble from infringing copyright law. In class we constantly talk about the importance of making sure that any images we use are our own and that we never just take an image from Google and stick it on our blogs. I came across this scary story recently from a blogger who was threatened with an $8,000 fine for using an image from Google. After hiring lawyers and going through a stressful legal process, he ended up having to pay $3,000 to the owner of the image. Simply put, lawyers are constantly fishing around the internet (particularly blogs) for people who are using images that aren’t their own, just so they can approach the owner of the image and drum up some business for themselves. My point here is it just isn’t worth the risk. Check your blogs and change or delete any posts with images that aren’t yours. This is one tough lesson we don’t want to have to learn!

More Photo’s

As we’re currently on our two week, end of term one break, there’s really not a great deal happening to write about. So I’m going to take this opportunity to post a few more of the students Selfie Art photo’s. The students did a remarkable job and showed a truly creative flair.

Phoebe

Phoebe

Sam

Sam

 

Canadian Friends

One of the great things about students having a blog is that their writing doesn’t just sit locked up in a book in a closed drawer, but it’s published for the whole world to see. This means, if they’re very lucky, other students from around the world can read their work and post a friendly comment. This is great collaboration and provides the students with a purpose to write and the motivation to present their highest standards. It also means that they have a great opportunity to make contact with new friends from a different country and culture.

This year we’ve been very fortunate once again to have our friends from St Lawrence School near Montreal in Quebec, Canada, visit our blogs and post some thoughtful and kind comments. In return, our students have visited their blogs and also commented. We’d like to thank the fabulous St Lawrence students and Ms Theriault for making our blogging experience fun and purposeful. You can visit them here.

Brushes Art

This week we completed another arty activity on the iPads using the Brushes App. The students started by taking a selfie and opening it in the app. They could take a smiling image or one that had an attitude to it. They then converted it to black and white by “desaturating” it. This was important because the next phase was to add lots of colour to create an expressive and balanced image. The students had to keep in mind the balance between the colour they added and the photo beneath it – too much colour and the photo would be obscured and the image would look cluttered; too little colour and it would appear bare and unfinished. The students experimented with layers, brush styles, colour and balance. Below are two examples from Jordan and Samantha.

Samantha

Samantha

Jordan

Jordan

Easter Break

We were very lucky this year in having our Easter break outside the usual school holiday dates, giving us extra holidays. Whilst some of the students seem to have been busy having fun, my break has been happily uneventful. Apart from a little gardening (we have a verge clearance this week), I managed a brief visit to Jurien Bay and enjoyed a few meals out at local restaurants. I also added the final touches to a painting of my daughters. It was my first attempt at watercolours and I only used 2 colours, red and blue. Check out the pictures below.

Watercolour Painting

Watercolour Painting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pier at Jurien Bay

Pier at Jurien Bay

Jurien Bay

Jurien Bay

Parent Task #1

This new blogging task isn’t for the students, it’s for the parents! This is a great way for parents to have a look at and get involved with their child’s online life. Although, having introduced it as a “parent task” I’d be more than happy for any close, concerned relative of the students to get involved with our blogs. Parents (grandparents, aunts, uncles…), you can either write a post or comment on your child’s blog (I’m sure they won’t mind if you ask them nicely) or leave a comment on this one. The post could be about yourselves, your work, a special moment from your own school life, an event from your past, a hobby, pastime or skill, in fact anything you like. It could even be to do with a news story, something which may spark some thoughts for the students. Perhaps, if you migrated to Australia, you could tell us about where you came from. A comment on this blog would also be welcome. Before you start, however, make sure you first ask your child about our strict safety and commenting rules. Good luck and have fun!

A Personal Story

Blogs are an awesome tool for many reasons, especially if you’re a teacher. One of the greatest assets for the teacher (or any reader) is that we get to learn a little about the personal life of the blogger and just recently that became even more poignant. One of our students has agreed to share her own, very personal story and it’s one I hope you’ll share along with us as I’m sure you’ll find it interesting and informative. Check out Shona’s story and leave a comment if you wish.

Politics

This week we tackled some of the most complex topics ever and had an incredible time doing it. Our studies of My Place introduced us to the topic of the Vietnam War. If that wasn’t complex enough, we first had to develop an understanding of the differences between communism and capitalism and the political conflicts that led to the escalation of the war. I’d have to admit that when I introduced the discussion I wasn’t sure how it would go or how the students would react. However, I needn’t have worried – the students were eager to learn and they fuelled the most engaged and lively classroom discussion I’ve ever participated in. For a teacher, there’s nothing more rewarding (yes, we’re easily pleased). A surprising bonus were the parents who spoke to me the following day to say how their child went home and continued the discussion with them. Even Better!

There were no photos for this activity, so I’ve been a little self-indulgent and below is an old one of me stepping into one of the tunnels used during the Vietnam War.

Vietnam