Blogging has been such a great tool for me over about the last ten years of my teaching career. I’ve spoken before about the many educational benefits of blogging in the classroom (check them out if you wish) and I’ve always been pleased when students take to their blog with enthusiasm. No-one I’ve taught has demonstrated more enthusiasm than Demi. She actually left our school two years ago, but she chose to keep her blog and post occasionally to let us know how she was going. It’s been great to get her perspective on starting a new high school, getting to grips with the work and routines and making new friends. To read about Demi’s journey take a look at her blog here.
This task is all about our recent animation activities and comes in two parts. For the first part you need to explain what we’ve been doing in our animation project. First, write a brief explanation of what stop-motion animation is and how it’s done. You can also mention the app you are using. Next, explain the steps you’ve gone through to practice, plan and storyboard your project and say what your animation is about. The second part is a little trickier; you need to write an exciting blurb for your animation to advertise your final production. Hopefully you will complete your project and upload it to your blog and your blurb will act as an advert, tempting people to watch your movie when you publish it.
Every year I let the creative side of the students run free by setting them a photographic task. The tasks always have a theme and this year it was “Light”. Every year I do this I always start off with some sort of idea in my own mind of the type of images that relate to the topic. I also have some thoughts about the type of images I’m going to get. Every year, though, I’m completely surprised by the level of talent, ideas and creativity I get from the students. Strangely, I always know I’m going to be surprised, but that’s the great thing about allowing creativity to flourish. Check out the small sample below.
Back to school this week (yes, that’s why this blog has been quiet for 2 weeks) and the final term of 2016 is upon us. From a personal perspective, this is always the busiest of terms. Not only is there the usual day job of creating and delivering the Australian Curriculum to 30 amazing young people (a life consuming effort in itself), but we have so much more: there are the end of year reports to write; a year 6 leavers assembly to organise with speeches included; a year 6, end of school-life video to create and produce; end of year testing and assessments due (data, data, data); excursions, celebrations and events to organise. Ten weeks sounds like such a short time when I consider the things that have to be done, but I’m pretty sure that when the ten weeks are up it will seem like it’s been sooo much longer. Ah well, roll up the sleeves, take a deep breath in and…
Blogging is pretty much just like any other aspect of school work in that some students apply themselves more than others. The benefit of blogs, however, is it allows students the opportunity to extend themselves at home and express themselves in ways not usually open to them. Two students who have taken this to an awesome level are Jordan and Emily; check out their amazing blogs.
Having a positive self esteem is essential to developing a healthy mind and a positive feeling about ourselves. Let’s face it, there are enough things that stress us out in life and give us a reason to worry or feel uncomfortable, so we owe it to ourselves to make sure we have a healthy balance in life. It can be useful to think of ourselves as a vehicle with a full tank of fuel; as we drive along our tank gets emptied and sometimes we get to a point where we struggle to complete a journey because the tank is so low. This task is all about refilling our personal tank. What fills your tank? What makes you feel good? Is there a place you go to that makes you feel revitalised? Do you have a hobby or interest that takes you away from the daily grind and makes you feel good? Is there a tv show that absorbs your attention and helps you forget your stresses? We all need to refuel, but what fills your tank?
By now I think most people are familiar with QR codes, but just in case… The initials QR stand for “quick response” and the codes were originally developed by the Japanese motor industry. In basic terms, the codes act a little like a barcode, containing information about the item they’re attached to. The great thing about them is that they can be customised and that makes them a great tool for the classroom (check out ours further down this page).
This week the students took part in a QR code, maths revision treasure hunt (a bit of a mouthful, but it pretty much sums it up). I created 12 QR codes with maths questions covering topics the students had learnt this year. They paired up and set off at a few minute intervals. They scanned the codes, looked through their books to remind themselves of the relevant skill and solved the problem. They then used the answer to take them to the next destination and the next code around the school. It’s often hard to get students to revise their skills, but as this was fun the students revised and had a great time whilst doing it.
Right now the students are hard at work with their novel study and it’s one of my favourites – Mr Stink (check out my bookshelf further down). There’s so much we get from this study: we’ve developed our skills in comprehension; we’ve looked into the characters in detail; we’ve examined the role of the reader; we’ve improved our understanding of the importance of visual literacy.
One of our more creative activities was making a diorama of a scene from the story. The students had a choice of a shed scene or a coffee shop scene, and they had to use their visual literacy skills and their comprehension to create their scene out of a shoe box. The results were pretty cool, as you can see from the photo’s below.
Last week all our year 6 students were invited to the local high school to see and experience the wonderful opportunities on offer in their science department. The students were able to experience an incredible variety of activities: they tried Minecraft on the computers; they witnessed lungs from a sheep being inflated; they saw rockets being shot into the air; they became part of an electric circuit; they witnessed how silver nitrate reacts with copper under a microscope; they saw robots fighting and firing balls across the room. It was an awesome experience and we have to thank our high school partners for inviting us along.
Teaching can be a funny old game. I’ve had many jobs in my life, including some very dirty, physical and labour intensive ones, but nothing has ever come close to teaching in regards of exhaustion, stress, high workload and commitment as being a teacher. So by rights my return to the classroom after an incredible seven week holiday to the UK and Europe should have been as much fun as swimming through croc infested waters wearing boardshorts made of raw steak. Strangely, however, I’ve had an absolutely fabulous week.
Apart from trying to catch up with the students and what they’ve been doing in order to get ourselves all on the same page so we can move forward with what we need to do, the week has been as busy as usual. We’ve learned about the order of operations in Maths; we’ve discussed our understanding of how narratives are constructed; we’ve refined our understanding of how we read and comprehend novels; and we’ve completed our trials for the up-and-coming faction carnival. Talk about busy! In fact, we’ve been so busy and hectic it almost seems like I’ve never been away!