Our fabulous little year ones have been very busy writing poems about jelly. Once they’d finished, their wonderful wobbly creativity deserved to be printed out and published in class. Unfortunately, our little buddies lacked the skills needed to type up their literary jelly gems so they asked if we could help. We jumped at the chance and spent a fabulous hour teaching the year ones how to type and format their work. Check out the photos below.
“Kids these days!” So many times I’ve heard words like these (I even remember them being said about my own generation). Even the media like to jump on the bandwagon when they need a story with a bit of shock value to sell their papers or boost their ratings. However, being a teacher I get to see the infinite positives in our youth, the positives which rarely get into the headlines. I recently posted a blogging task asking the students to think about a change they’d like to see in the world and the responses were very enlightening. They showed me that the youth of today really does understand the important issues and are prepared to take a stand to make a difference. I think the future looks pretty bright (in LA14, at least). Below is just a small sample of the responses to this latest task.
I think one of the best ways to create an interesting blog is to vary the topics you write about. I’m always telling my students this and encouraging them to write about things they do at home and on the weekend, but I very rarely take my own advice. Well, I had such a great weekend that, for once, I thought I’d write a post about it.
Saturday was an awesome day which we spent in Fremantle, having dinner, shopping and waving my daughters off on a three day cruise. However, even better was to come on Sunday as Mr Bakreski (a fellow teacher) and I took a trip to Gingin to visit the British car show. Having grown up in England and having worked on cars for a few years this show was a fabulous, nostalgic treat. We had an awesome day and I took quite a few pictures of the high quality vehicles on show. See if you (or your parents) recognise any.
Mother’s Day was a mad, hectic and stressful time for LA14 this year. I set the students the challenge of producing a very personalised gift for their mums, but the short time-frame (one and a half weeks) meant we would be cutting it extremely fine. The students created a wooden photo, a rectangle of wood that has their photo transferred onto it and varnished. The students did ALL the work: they accurately measured and sawed the wood; they sanded it and glued on the stand; they took a photo and stuck it onto the wood; they finally (and carefully) removed the paper and varnished their gift. The process had to be done in several stages and squeezed into our usual, busy timetable. Happily, we did it!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.