Thursday, July 31, 2008

My friend Sue

I have to acknowledge the inspirational debt I owe my friend and colleague, Sue. If it wasn't for her talent, guidance and enthusiasm, I doubt if I would be having the fun I am having with technology in the classroom.At least once a week I take my year 7's, 8's and 10's into a computer room to work on their blogs. They are either posting up some creative or reflective writing or doing some text based responses. Lately they have been enjoying working on mystudiyo where they can create their own quizzes. Further down the track, I intend to learn how to do podcasts and have students interview each other on various topics. Once again, my guru Sue has led the way in podcasting at our school. For a wonderful acknowledgement of what Sue is doing with taking classes into the digital age, see Anne Baird's comments on her blog.
Adding this extra dimension to my teaching has been challenging but very satisfying and exciting. The majority of my students have responded in a positive way to this alternate manner of presenting work.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A cold July night.

Our central heating has broken down so we are experiencing a cold Melbourne night in July. I am sitting under the doona as I write this in an effort to keep warm but my nose is freezing!
However, I was fortunate enough tonight to partake in another amazing meeting with the OzNZ Educators group. Every Sunday 20 or so teacher-type folk put on their headsets and adjust their webcams and prepare for an interesting discussion. Tonight's topic was based on a member's blog entry in which she observed how the "e" tag placed on learning etc has blown out of proportion. We have become obsessed with ethis and ethat and have lost sight of what's really effective in teaching today's children.Anyway you can read her blog for yourself if you follow the link.
I helped my 9year old grandson create his own blog today. He hasn't put much in it yet but he would be very thrilled if you dropped in to visit. I'll insert a clustrmap so he'll know if you've been there

Saturday, July 19, 2008

School's back in

Survived the first week back at school which is always a challenge after a break. Routine is a comfort we take for granted until we have a break from it. Anyway, I have started 3 different classes blogging! This is my exciting achievement for the moment. I have 2 classes working in 21 classes and one class in Edublogger.

However, I must say I'm finding Edublogger a headache - it's clunky and obscure compared to the much more amenable 21classes platform. Edubloggers has a tremendous array of support backups but they certainly need them - there seems lots of little quirks and tricky aspects. But I am determined to stick with Edubloggers for this one class - I've spent so many hours trying to work it out that I don't want to throw it all in now!

My students' reactions have varied. My most challenging class - a remedial yr8 seem quite engrossed during their blogging session. Some of my clever little year 7's are struggling a bit with the concept and have questioned why they need to have computer skills in English. This response is slightly infuriating but I just remain calm and explain how they will come to appreciate the opportunity to share their views online / comment on others and build up their own web spaces. Funnily enough my 16 year old year 10's seem the most flummoxed by the whole blogging experience. They know nothing! I thought I was the old newb. But, it's early days and I won't let little hiccups dampen my new found enthusiasm.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Due on my birthday!

Apologies to the not so baby minded...
Great news today - another gc on the way. Very early days but daughter No1 said she doesn't mind if everyone knows - if something should go wrong then she would be just as upset if she was 6 months down the track. In the olden days, there was much secrecy about a pregnancy until it was well established. Then in the unfortunate event of a miscarriage, the grieving parents were not given any acknowledgement of their loss. So, anyway, that's the modern thinking and it makes sense. so - here's hoping for a successful outcome! Don't worry - I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Oh Brother, where art thou??

I have spent about 3 days trying to get our wireless router to talk to our new fancy Brother Multi Function Centre - printer / fax/ scanner whatever. I am delighted to say it is finally happening but - what a slog! a very frustrating and infuriating experience. We eventually employed a techno wiz type young person to come and help us but even he had a battle. The problem was that the settings on the machine were defaulting to something incorrect. So, even when we got it working, after the power saver was turned off and turned on again the next day, the settings had been lost -urrgh! Any way, it's working now and it's great, so there you are.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

a Peanut butter wiki for year 11

I've been putting together a pbwiki for Year 11. I've posted up a lot of resources on the play, Freedom of the City by Brian Friel and some study questions. Of course, it's meant to be a collaborative enterprise so I've emailed the other yr11 English teachers and they can add or change things as they wish. I was following a link posted by Jo McLeay who is still over in Texas doing the NECC thing but still thinks of us living our prosaic lives down under and looking for inspirations in the antipodes. I am quite pleased with myself actually and even managed to insert some bubble share slide shows from images I pilfered from Google - which reminds me I will have to acknowledge their origin. anyway, you can check out my pbwiki (free) at and make any suggestions if you feel so inclined.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A few energetic days

Close detail of Fairies' Tree, carved by Ola Cohn, 1930's
Fairies' Tree - restored somewhat

Inside Captain Cook's Cottage

The last few days have been "on the go" as we say in aussiland. My 2 precious grandchildren have been staying with us - sometimes accompanied by a parent or 2, sometimes not. Young children are lots of fun and lots of work! My grandchildren are not toddlers anymore - ages are 5 and 9- but they sure keep you on your toes and remind you what a demanding job child rearing is. Anyway, we had a successful day visiting Captain Cook's cottage and the carved "fairies' tree" in Melbourne's Fitzroy Gardens. We then walked round to the Old Treasury building that has been converted into a fascinating museum covering early Melbourne history.