For the previous two weeks we have been developing our skills with watercolours with a view to producing a piece of art. Today was the day we began the creative process. We were using a work by Kyle Brock called Sails and Sunsets as our inspiration. Below are a couple of pictures of the students concentrating on their art.
The thing about IT is that, as a teacher, you’ve always got to have a bucket load of adaptability standing by, just in case of emergencies. Even the best laid Plan A’s have a tendency to go up in iFlames if you turn your back for a second, then you’ll find yourself emptying your bucket in an attempt to put out the volcano of stress rising inside your chest. The trick to success in integrating IT into the classroom is (and this is my all time top techie teaching trade secret) to assume that life with your trusty bucket is the norm. There are no perfect Plan A’s, just good, well thought out intentions. And that’s where we find ourselves right now!
The students have begun blogging, but the laptops have all been sent back to the leasing company for renewal. The problem is, that was weeks ago and the new ones still haven’t arrived. No tantrums or dramas here, though, just a healthy dose of “Crack On!” and a nose dive into the bucket. So far the majority of posts have been done at home (no, not ideal) so this week I’ll be rolling out rotations between iPads and desktops in between other activities. To be honest, this is actually how I like it. Three or Four groups all rotating at hour intervals (two, two hour sessions over two days) with blogging being just one of the activities. The timetable has to be adapted, too, but that’s okay. The result should be that we see even more positive blogging work from the students this week. Even so, the bucket will be ready and waiting – just in case…
In the meantime, have a look at Abbey’s blog to see a great example of the variety of writing that goes into a good blog.
Doctor Who, glass art, the conflicts in the Ukraine, teenage self image, computer games, family visits and cricket. Who said the youth of today hasn’t the depth or quality of previous generations? If this sample of week 1 blog topics are anything to go by then the students of LA19 have got their collective fingers firmly on the pulse. In contrast, this latest blogging task is a bit of fun.
Some song lyrics, for whatever reason, strike a chord in our minds and end up having an impact, or at least stay in our memory. This line from Big Country’s hit In A Big Country has always stayed in my mind:
“I’m not expecting to grow flowers in the dessert,
But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime.”
I’ve never been a particular fan of their music, but when I first heard these lines they just made such an impact they’re still in my mind. Maybe it was because they convey a message that I can totally relate to, almost like a personal, laid back philosophy (it feels like I should have ended that sentence with, “man”). Other songs have stuck, too, but these lyrics are more meaningful than most. The task for LA19 this time is to tell the world about a song or some lines from a song that, for whatever reason, have stayed with you. What are the words? What do they mean to you?
I look forward to your completed tasks.
Well, all I can say is, “Wow!” Some of the new bloggers have gone as crazy as a bunch of tweenies at a 1D concert. I was actually going to make this post a “Blog of the Week” post, but it became simply too hard trying to choose just one. Instead I want to give a thoroughly deserved “Well Done” to several bloggers in LA19.
Bursting out of the starting blocks like a jet propelled Usain Bolt have been Aimee, Demi, Sarah and Kianne. These bloggers will transport you to a fascinating world filled with hobbies, family life, pets, political issues and heaps of fun. Not only have these beginners shown great enthusiasm, but they’ve also demonstrated impressive maturity through their adherence to our very strict blogging guides and rules (which can be read via the page link right).
However, I also have to mention a few of our bloggers from last year (in my class for another year, lucky them). Georgia is still going strong, blowing away all my records, constantly updating and regularly getting more visits than myself (I think I’m pleased…). But, as equally impressive have been Benn, Jackson and Michael. These students have risen to the new challenge and are really making a great effort to update their blogs. Well done!
Please remember, the students are just that – students. They make mistakes, learn then pick themselves up to be better the next time. Your patience, understanding and encouragements are appreciated.
Finally! The students of LA19 are now up and running with their blogs. If you click on their names on the links menu on the left of this blog then you’ll be able to see how they’re going. As always, this is a new bunch of bloggers so they may need a little time to find their feet, but if their current enthusiasm is anything to go by then I’m sure they’ll soon be true professionals. Remember, students progress at different speeds so please be patient with us as we begin our new blogs.
As part of our Geography studies we’ve been looking into the features of an area that can make it a more or less desirable place to live. We conducted a traffic survey on several streets within our local area to see how different sections within the same suburb can have a very different appeal. We counted the number of vehicles and the types that passed within a set time-frame. We also conducted an environmental survey at the same time to measure the cleanliness, greenery and general attractiveness of the same streets. Below you can see a couple of photos of the students counting vehicles as they pass along.
Now the blogs have been created it’s about time we started moving things along. This week sees the first blogging task to be set for the new group of students bloggers. Hopefully, by the end of this week, it would be great to see all the blogs have a set theme, header, background and greeting. Also, an initial post to welcome people to your blog would be a great idea, or, if you feel ready, a post on a topic you feel is worth sharing with the world. Don’t forget, all posts and images need to adhere to our strict code of conduct. The writing has to be clear and accurate and the images must either be your own or licensed for re-use. Good luck and have fun!
“You can’t rush perfection,” I think someone once said (if they didn’t they should have). This is what I keep telling myself at the moment as I guide the new students through the initial stages of their blogging year. I know it’s true, the students from last year did such an amazing job on the back of the careful preparation they went through before they were allowed to burst onto the ‘net. All year they didn’t just talk about safe online practices they actually used them. Not once did a student give away personal details or information that could leave them compromised. It was just another example of the true usefulness of blogging.
Anyway, the new group have completed their first task, looking at other blogs to see what makes a good one and what makes a bad one (they’re all out there!) and this week they’ll be onto the all important discussions on safety, etiquette and copyright. Not long now!
The first excursion for the year has been organised and the notes have gone home, clutched tightly in the palms of the excited LA19 students. Well, I say excursion, it’s actually just a walk around the local area – the streets they play on everyday. There is a very important educational aspect to it, however, which is to address the requirements of the Geography strand of the year 7 Australian Curriculum. We’ll be carrying out traffic and environmental surveys at several points on our walk to start our investigations into the “live-ability” of an area. We’ll put our findings together, compare the different locations within our area, then compare these with other areas. I know it isn’t much of an excursion, but sometimes just getting out of the classroom is all the excitement we need.
The new header is up and what a great photo it is! It’s very much like the one I had for my class last year, only this year I had the students arrange themselves in three rows instead of two in order to see them a little more clearly. The photo doesn’t just look good, but it serves a very practical purpose. Having the students create their own personalised mask reinforces, in a physical way, one of the most important aspect of the whole blogging experience – protection of our identity and ourselves.
Some of the students, nine to be exact, were in my class last year and are still blogging away. However, that means twenty are brand new to blogging and are about to embark on a few necessary preliminary activities (as mentioned briefly in my previous post) to prepare themselves for the blogging year ahead. The first activity, which we hope to start this week if we can get the computers (which teacher hasn’t uttered those words before?) will be all about looking at other blogs to see what exactly makes a good one. We’ll be looking at layout, colour (especially text), images, frequency of posts, widgets, topic variety – in fact the whole kit and caboodle! The next step will be to look at the Blogging Guides page on this blog (to the right) and having an in-depth discussion of: the importance of privacy, the format for posts, the etiquette for comments and the serious issue of copyright.
The students’ blogs have already been created and are just waiting for them to be ready. Not long now – watch this space!