A New World

I can still remember it now so clearly despite it being so long ago. The excitement, the buzz, a sense of wonder as the teacher wheeled the television into the room for us to watch an episode of a programme called, “How We Used To Live“. This introduced me to my everlasting love of history. Then came high school. I still recall the day the school got its first computer – the one, the only one that it still had when I left. That, in a nutshell, was my whole educational exposure to technology.

Times have changed a bit since then. Over the first thirteen days of this year the students of LA14 have consistently used technology: they’ve learnt about the importance of maintaining an online presence; they created safe passwords; established their blogs and started using an online production suite; they completed online quizzes; they’ve even created a group podcast and started editing it with editing software. The thing is, though, none of this is done just for the sake of using technology, it’s all used in an educational way. The technology we use in LA14 positively assists students with their work and helps them to develop their own personal online future. Strangely, looking back on my school days I feel they could be from one of those episodes of that programme from my primary school years – it really is a whole new world!

2020 Vision!

The number of times I’ve heard that totally un-hilarious line already this year..! Not from the kids, though, but from adults who should really know better. Perhaps I’m just not “dad joke” oriented (I am really), but the 2020 vision thing is really wearing thin. If you haven’t heard it then you most likely aren’t a teacher. I’d have to admit it, though, 2020 has gotten off to a flying start in LA14 and the students have been hard at it learning new concepts, new skills and trying to absorb a new style from their new teacher. Maths has begun with revising old concepts before we dive headlong into the year 6 curriculum. In English we’ve looked at symbolism, completed character analyses and discovered that the texts we read can have multiple depths. We’ve even dipped into history and started looking at the Stolen Generation, a tragic part of our history and one we must learn never to repeat. We’ve also worked hard at our group collaborations and started working with numerous new IT tools. Any way you look at it, even without 2020 vision, our vision for 2020 is coming along nicely (sorry – I couldn’t resist).

 

Welcome to 2020

Here we go again! It’s the beginning of a new academic year and a whole new group of students have walked through the LA14 door to embark on their final year of primary school. It’s a little less congested than it was last year with 28 students (I had 30 last year), however, a year’s growth will certainly squeeze the space more tightly by the end of the year.

The blogs will soon be open for business (watch this space), but there are a few housekeeping measures to get through first. The students will be completing some essential activities on privacy, safety and blogging conventions as well as learning what it takes to produce and maintain a quality blog. Hopefully this process won’t take long and our new students will be up and running very soon. The header image above was our first step as the students made masks to symbolically hide their identities.

On Your Marks…

It’s surprising just how quick a six week holiday can actually disappear. That may sound a little gloating, especially to the majority who don’t get the same holidays as teachers, but really it’s just an observation. Time flies, it really does. I remember when I was a kid and I’d think about the day I would finally leave school behind and set off into the big wide world and it seemed a lifetime away. I remember calculating how old I’d be in the year 2000 (not saying) and thinking that it would be forever until it came around. I think it probably all comes down to perspective. If you’re waiting for something to happen, excited for it, it seems that time slows down; you become the donkey, trudging after the carrot dangling from a stick, never getting closer. However, if you’re in the middle of something and are so enjoying it you wish it could last forever… Poof! Up in smoke it goes in the blink of an eye. So, back to my holiday and… Poof! However, like I say, it’s about perspective. We often hear parents saying they can’t wait for the holidays to be over, and for those parents I suppose the six weeks may have dragged. But, a new time is about to begin. The final year of primary school for my new class of students! Maybe at the end of the year I’ll hear comments about how quick it’s all gone, or perhaps the comments will reflect the opposite. Whichever it will be, the end is a long way off (or is it?) and the journey is only about to begin. Will it be a sprint or a long distance slog?

On your marks…

Exciting Times

What exciting times these are! We are now down to our last days of the school year and the place is buzzin’. The students are all over the place visiting their prospective high schools for February. Most students will be attending the local government high school but others will be travelling a little further afield. One day this week I was left with only 6 students in my class – bliss! It’s a tricky one for the students, though. I find that those students who move with many of their classmates sometimes face friendship dilemmas, especially when trying to balance their relationships they had with their old friends with the time they need to spend with the new friends they make; this can become tricky to do without upsetting someone or sacrificing the student’s own needs. Often, the students who move on their own simply make new friends with no issues about keeping up with their previous friendships. They seem to find the transition that much easier; it’s a brand new start with brand new friendships. Whichever situation a student finds themselves in it becomes so important that they receive the comfort, assurance and support they need from home in order to make this stressful change more manageable. In my opinion, friendships become a student’s mortgage – it’s that big. As an adult, paying the bills, especially the mortgage, is the biggest issue we face, the one which causes us the most stress. Kids, obviously, don’t yet have a mortgage, their friendships and relationships are the biggest issues they face and can result in great joy or immense stress – this is their mortgage. However, with the right support it’s possible for the students to successfully pay off their mortgage and reap the emotional benefits for years to come.  Despite the challenges that lay ahead, these truly are exciting times!

Virtual Holidays

As we fast approach what we teachers call the “pointy end” of the year I’m finding it increasingly difficult to hunt down, and snare that most elusive of beasts – time! I know I talk about time a lot, but it’s possibly the major factor in a teacher’s every waking second; any teacher will tell you, we always want more, we never have enough!

In time we’ve had this last few weeks we’ve been looking at creating virtual tours of our holidays, like a digital alternative to doing the usual boring recount. I tried one first as a trial (this is easily the worst of the class) and the students followed suit. Their creative instincts kicked in immediately and the result was a fun activity (with lots of memories) and some great work. With the 360 vision you can scroll around the image for a great view. Look out for photos, points of interest and read what the students have written. Check out these from Mia, Ruby, Iman and Alyssa (best to ignore mine).

Cross Curricular Creativity

Hollywood here we come!

Anyone as old as me (very old) will recall the old stop-motion special effects in movies such as Jason and the Argonauts by the legendary Ray Harryhausen. As a kid, these movies were thrilling, state-of-the-art masterpieces that wowed audiences and had us mesmerised. Following these early great movies came the likes of Nick Park’s Wallace and Gromit, still created using the “old”, hands-on process, handling and moving the modelling clay in slow, step by step movements to create a smooth animation. The kids of today are probably more familiar with animations created digitally such as the Toy Story movies, amongst many others. This term, as part of our design and technology learning area, the students of LA 14 have begun work on their own stop motion animations: they’ve collaborated in groups to make plans based on the school values; they’ve used their English knowledge to create scripted, sequenced storyboards; they’ve used their artistic skills to make the characters; now all they have to do is integrate their digital skills and begin filming. Who knows, we may yet have another Ray Harryhausen or Nick Park just waiting to take the movie world by storm. Below you can see Mya concentrating on her characters, keeping them simple to make filming easier.

If You Can’t Beat Them…

I don’t want to worry you, but in the not so distant future the machines will rise up and replace us! You’d have to have been hiding in a cave to have not heard about the way technology is going to replace us in the workforce. Some research estimates that around 40% of the jobs we have today in Australia will be lost to automation within the next 10 to 15 years. Already robots make cars, cars can drive themselves, trucks are already autonomous, plows use gps to plow fields…  However, we have to plan for such a future and what better way than to provide students with the skills which they may need in our ever increasingly technological world.

This week we started working with Dot and Dash. We’ve already used coding in other activities but working with the robots has a little more appeal for the students. They are able to construct blockly style code in order to make the robots move, light up, speak and even communicate. We’ll be doing this for a number of weeks throughout the term. You never know, your child may just be the one who programmes the machines that put the rest of us out of a job. Not to worry, though, I always fancied having more leisure time – I seriously need to work on my tan.

The Final Countdown

I hate to sound like a typical oldie, but this year has simply flown by. It’s already mid-October and we’re heading into the final term for this crop of year 6 students in LA14. In less than 10 weeks their primary school adventure will come to an end and they’ll fly from the familiar surrounds of this school and head out in different directions on new adventures. Before then, though, we need to squeeze in so much that 10 weeks starts to seem like way too short a time and I’m sure that, just like the year so far, it’s bound to fly past and leave us breathless as we race to try to keep up. This is the most exciting time of the year for our year 6 students and I’m sure this blog will be busy recording their final journey.

One more thing – did you sing the title? If you did then congratulations, you must be a typical oldie like me!

Just Before We Go…

Okay, disregard my previous post, this is now the final one of the term. Sometimes something comes along and we’ve just got to share it. This time it’s an incredibly talented young lady called Erin. For quite a while now Erin has been doing art classes and she constantly brings in her new creations and each time I’m left in awe. Check out the examples below.