Monday, July 21, 2014

on finding emaze...

Powered by emaze

emaze is a user-friendly presentation platform
more "bendable" than PowerPoint and Prezi
offering a range of templates and effects - including 3D + animation

it's FREE!

Above is my first attempt at using emaze.
I have reduced the size for this blog post, but it can be enabled to full screen.)
I wanted to trial some possibilities
but there are more...

may be added...

Storage possibilities include

and it may be shared on

The free version does not allow a download, but it allows links and embedding.

To teach is to keep learning

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Unknown Man 'E'...

There is so much darkness behind the glitter of the pharaohs...
Rameses was a man who sought fame and glory
but there were those wished to terminate his golden journey..

Did Unknown Man 'E' connect with Ramses?
Both lay in the tomb of kings...
However Unknown Man 'E' was not fully mummified - he had a sheepskin...

Amazing that with all the studies of Ancient Egypt, we still are finding untold stories...

This video is for this who still are enchanted with the histories and the mysteries of Ancient Egypt...

The video could be used for:
History - enhancing the wonder of the life of pharaohs
English - review of a documentary

More reading on the history of theories about this mummy are HERE.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

what if...

card created using my photo + haiku  and 3D Postcard Generator

what if
you took a class of reluctant Shakespeare-suffering Year 9 students

to take roles in Romeo and Juliet

there was a verandah and a couple of steps at the old drama studio
now used as a small chapel

the steps faced the oval

what if
the only instructions given the students were
sit anywhere as the audience
use anything in the immediate environment
if you have a role to play

what if
the students liked the idea
but enjoyed being outside the classroom

what if
as lessons passed
role players did not want others to take their roles
and the audience enjoyed asking the role players
questions about their character
what they were thinking
how they felt
as part of the last minutes of each lesson

what if
students owned their roles
and actually began
in character

what if
the audience
loved the play
more and more
the role players
to be
more and more
in character

what if
more and more
I had less and less to do

what if
the students were sad
that the play

what if
I was sad

Wordle: 21st Century Teacher Portfolio - blog wordle 15.7.14

To teach is to keep learning

Monday, July 14, 2014

Celebrating the Value of Failure...

team work
Thomas Edison did not "invent" the light bulb overnight.
There were many trials.
 He said,
I have not failed; I've simply found ten thousand ways that won't work.
(In fact, many claim he only improved on the electric light bulb
that had existed for up to 50 years before his 1879 U.S. patent.
The first light bulbs lasted 150 hours while Edison's lasted 1,200 hours
Further, Edison did own a power company.)

instant failure is a time to:
take a walk
think differently
improve the trial
feel excited about a new idea

instant failure wears a harness
checks the safety net

instant success has the potential for:
unforeseen hurdles
pride before a fall

instant success
heads for
free fall
without a parachute

Failure may help us to discover what we seek to learn
AND discover many byway, unexpected ideas as well.

A naval engineer, Richard Jones was trying to design a meter to monitor power on naval battleships.
He worked with tension springs and one fell to the ground from a shelf.
It kept bouncing
and bouncing...
The slinky was born in 1945...

Walt Disney's first animation company went banktrupt.
He was fired by a news editor because he lacked imagination.
Some say he was turned down 302 times before he received financing for Disney World.

JK Rowling was penniless, recently divorced, and raising a child on her own,
when she wrote the first Harry Potter book on an old manual typewriter.
 12 publishers rejected the manuscript!
A year later, Barry Cunningham from Bloomsbury agreed to publish her book
but insisted that she get a day job because children’s books were not money spinners.

It almost seems to mean that
big failure
has the potential
with persistence
to breed
big success

Let's teach our students to face failure with strength and not give them
a false sense of success.
For too long we have worried about students' self esteem
and cultivated it with a barrage of successful comment.
Their self esteem should not be built on false values in the protected school world
leaving it prime for a huge downfall out there in the open real world.

Let's give our students pride in beating failure.
Let's give them a rock
not shifting sands...

I have long believed in the merits of failure as a means of progress...

To teach is to keep learning

Sunday, July 13, 2014

on finding Padlet...

I have just found Padlet...

It is an easy-to-navigate app enhancing the teacher-student connection...

In Term 3, I will be conducting a Haiku Workshop for secondary students.
I decided to create a visual wall of prompts with Padlet.
I can make a choice to simply screen this wall to the students,
I am considering that students should create a wall of prompts with accompanying haiku in addition to this one.

All haiku are mine...
I am being a role model...
Past experience has taught me that writing with the students inspires even the reluctant writers...

The free version is quite effective. The cost versions have more bells and whistles.
Padlet comes as a convenient Chrome extension too.

To teach is to keep learning

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Reflection on Semester 1 2013

Created with the 3D Postcard Generator
Edmodo is becoming more and more an integral part of my teaching.

Year 9 English
**Edmodo proved a fine base for submitting small regular assignments.
Students could see immediate progress and could easily check on missed work.
*Students enjoyed practising their media response skills on Edmodo
*Creating haiku for board display + masks for the play Romeo and Juliet were highlights.

Students enjoyed being photographed with their masks.
*Essay writing skills improved significantly because, as a class, we created an essay response to a topic by screening the stages of preparation and essay craft.
I feel that the students at least understand what they should be doing,
even if they have not quite perfected the art.
More practice needed regularly.
**Many students were willing to try extra writing challenges to improve their skills.

Year 10 English
**A challenging semester - students involved in many other activities
- Drama + Outdoor Ed + rally days, so they missed classes, often a series of classes.
** Edmodo proved a vital ingredient in this class.
Successfully managed to keep students connected with their work, but found that most lessons needed to be "self-contained" and all work required was recorded on Edmodo.
*Many prepared lessons required re-adjustment when surprise absences were involved.
*Most lessons were after lunch, (students less fresh, less motivated) so that was an additional challenge.
I tried to avoid introducing new work at this time.
*Last week of term was Discovery Week, so all work needed to be finalised by this time.
*The more able students met the challenges of the course well - recording fine results in the examination.
*On days of significant absences, I tried to give remaining students more individual tuition.
*The King's Speech was received well - once the students empathised with the King's disability and they often initiated discussions about it.
*Most popular was the theme study - conflict - associated with Destroying Avalon.
**Trialled peer-marking of a text extract response.
Students loved the experience - especially setting some of the criteria themselves.
Must trial run more of this activity.
*Last period one afternoon, we sat in a circle and shared bullying experiences.
Somehow I felt that lesson in particular drew the members of the class closer together,
appreciating one another.

Year 9 Programme
Enjoyed exploring the dreams of the students and sharing their experiences.

VCE studies
** Edmodo was used significantly in both classes as a means of keeping individual contact - a help line.
Year 11 English - wide range of abilities and motivation levels in this class.
The writing folio unit inspired many students to write captivating short stories, but most were hesitant to experiment with other writing styles.
The media unit surprised many students because they found that they enjoyed annotating newspaper articles.
In particular, those Maths/Science students in the class who were not creative writers, tended to excel in this.
Most successful were discussion lessons where some  mature, challenging thoughts were shared.
Year 12 Revolutions -  3 students with significantly different history experiences.
Mainly needed to work on individual tuition after class discussion to upgrade and polish their skills.
Slowly the students are realising how much research time is needed for this subject.

**In the classroom, I felt that I met the wide range of challenges.
*Perhaps I should consider having more lessons - not just tasks
- outlined online to cover long-term absent students.
*I need to keep comments on students' work updated in OneNote
to reduce time spent writing comments on final reports.
* Should students have a copy of a term's weekly topics???

**I am integrating Edmodo and Diigo for my new Photography elective in Semester 2 Term 3.
Edmodo will be for students to connect me with their Picasa web album and to ensure that they are aware of the weekly changing topics.
Diigo will be for their folios of  "found" photos + sticky notes.
I am hoping that this does not become too complicated and is a means of keeping photos online
- no "I lost my USB" excuses.
Picasa + Diigo will represent students' final assessment work.

To teach is to keep learning

Saturday, October 27, 2012

English in the 21st Century

21st century learning is evolving as an ecosystem of learning driven by the advent of global, internet connections.

English is fast becoming the personal and public webmaster of 21st century learning.

English could be "the stargate" to higher order thinking.

And so the whole "texture" of English as a teaching subject is changing.
The boundaries are moving, even dissolving.
English may/could/can integrate and connect subjects AND shape that inter-curricular ideal we crave in the 21st century.

If we spend our whole lives in the silo of a single discipline, we cannot develop the imaginative skills to connect the dots or to anticipate where the next invention, and probable source of economic value, will come from. 
- OECD The Case for 21st Century Learning - Andreas Schleicher

Profile of English Years 7-12 
*developing personal micro skills (appreciating and practising quality techniques) as a reader, writer, listener, speaker and viewer
NOTE: Those who bewail students' declining grammar skills can be accommodated here.
Demoted rote learning practices can metamorphose into more dignified "recognition" learning.
I find that comparing writing styles (poor and quality esp in media articles) cultivates the students' understanding of what works well and what doesn't.
Hopefully they would like to mirror the quality version.
*developing personal macro skills (appreciating and practising associations and connotations) as a reader, writer, listener, speaker and viewer

*developing imaginative, expository, communicative and evaluative capabilities and skills
*developing the ability to use language to shape and represent both personal growth and a world understanding
*developing the ability to apply language to cross-curricular learnings and to shape inter-curricular understandings

* developing problem-solving and predicting skills

*developing a knowledge of cultural heritage and a vision for cultural future

- My ideas developed from English Teachers Association NSW (ETA) On Learning in English

English in the Senior Years
In Australia, senior high school years identify Literature as a "sub-heading" of the subject English.
While English broadly embraces the study of:
*media - including newspapers and online texts + includes practising the skills of annotation
*modern novels + drama + poetry - character and theme studies
*non-fiction texts
*creative responses to prompts

To continue quoting Andreas Schleicher of the OECD Education Directorate:
The knowledge world is no longer divided between specialists and generalists. A new group-let's call them “versatilists”-has emerged. They apply depth of skill to a progressively widening scope of situations and experiences, gaining new competencies, building relationships and assuming new roles.

NOTE - 26.4.13

  Is English leading the way to meet this "inter-connecting", "shapeshifting" challenge of the 21st century?

To teach is to keep learning