Friday, April 25, 2014

Random Snapshots of Community Life

As part of my week as curator of @EduTweetOz I decided to share some photos I have taken to try and give people a little more of an insight into the fun adventures we have in our great community. These pictures were then put together using storify Instead of posting all the pictures again on this page you can check them out along with a brief explanation here.

Hopefully they will give you a little more food for thought into getting out past the end of the sealed roads and having an adventure!

Thursday, April 24, 2014


This week I have been tweeting from the @EduTweetOz account and have learnt so much and hopefully shared a bit with people as well. My week has not yet finished but I feel I have achieved something great. We have started #IndigED Chat on Thursdays at 5pm WA time, (7PM AEST) and last night was the first ever chat and it went well. I left with some great ideas and I am hoping other people who participated also benefited.

I am teaching Indigenous students and have been since the start of 2011, somedays I feel like I have come a long way and other days I feel like I still have so much to learn. The idea for #IndigED is so that if people have great resources to share they can put them up with the hashtag and then when people like me get stuck they can turn to twitter to help get 'unstuck'. Its also about sharing the good and the bad - last nights first chat made me realise that what I am experiencing is no different to others in my position. Just a matter of finding the way to communicate with other people in my position - Hopefully others will find #IndigED helpful too.

I must also thank my ever dedicated and very awesome ATA (Aboriginal Teaching Assistant) for the fantastic idea to create #IndigED. It was during a conversation about the benefits of twitter that he asked if there was somewhere to share all the good things that happen in our class or to look for ideas to help with issues we were dealing with. So after some searching that turned up blanks #IndigED was started.

I do not have all the answers and am learnging more every day when it comes to teaching and just hope that #IndigED becomes a place for all to share their thoughts, ideas, trials, triumphs, resources and stories.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Trying Again!

My aim is to use this blog to recap events and activities that happen in my class as the year progresses. It may take us a little bit to get it running smoothly as I have tried previously and can never post consistently but this time I think structuring time for my students to update their kidblogs might give me the motivation to set aside time to update this one! You may notice some differences between my class and yours but we would love for you to share your ideas and experiences with us when I post.

A bit of background info -  I started my teaching career working teaching Year 5 in a double stream primary school in south west of WA for a year before a life changing opportunity presented itself for me to change to a K – 10 school in a remote community in the north west of WA. I am still here and have been teaching the secondary class since I first arrived in 2011.

During my time here I have mainly taught years 8 – 10, although last year I also had the year 7′s. It is a combined class where I teach all subject areas except Art, Library, Sport and Technology (Specialist Teachers). I have also taken on the role of Technology Manager and get the delightful job of trying to solve all our IT issues as well as the roll out and management of the 80 iPads we have in our school. These roles keep me busy and as you might be able to imagine there is never a dull moment in my school day.

Our aim for this year in the Secondary class -  Improve the public speaking skills of our students as well as show them ways to take on the leadership roles within the school and greater community with confidence. If all goes to plan this will all come together in a trip to Sydney in term four where the students will get a chance to participate in team building and leadership skills, build resilience while taking part in social-emotional activities, meet some great Indigenous role models such as Adam Goodes and Jessica Mauboy and generally explore the wide=worl outside their community.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Best maths lesson ever!

I had always hoped to have a maths lesson like today but I have never managed to nail it quite like we did this morning. The strange thing was I have tried this lesson before and never got the response I had hoped for - never one to give up I refined it some more and tried again. I am so glad I did.

It all started with an iPad mental maths activity, it seems we finally hit on some winner apps from MathTappers. These captured the students attention, from the strugglers to the very capable. Each  app covers a simple concept but gives both a time and accuracy result at end of each set. We had races for both time and accuracy. We ended the intro with the kids wanting more of the apps, not stressing about having to do maths. I was flying high this was a major success for me as a teacher with this group of kids, this one small step was actually a giant leap!

I was hoping that the momentum would carry through to the rest of the maths lesson and being my lucky day it did. We started by looking at an enlarged photo and thinking about all the maths questions we could ask about that picture... We started with one of our local church so the students were able to come up with questions they could answer eg how long is the church, how many seats etc. Then each group got two pictures and the first thing that they had to do was caption the picture in 5 words or less. When the picture had a caption it was then a race to see who could come up with the most 'maths' questions about the pictures. After a period of time the groups swapped sheets and added questions to the other groups pages, we followed this pattern until everyone had their original pages back.

Each student had a different coloured marker so I could see who had written lots and who needed some encouragement. This also allowed me to see who was writing the obvious questions and who was using higher order thinking and thinking outside the box. At the end all the students chose one favourite question to read out and share with the class.

The thing I loved most about this lesson was that ALL the students were talking about maths and enjoying it. We had a great catchy start to the lesson that used technology as the lure that quickly and easily flowed into a full blown maths discussion.

The challenge now is to make sure today's lesson is not a one off and to expand on the ideas and knowledge we have seen. Would love for others to share some ideas on where to go next and what to try to lure these reluctant mathematicians into a world where maths is fun and not to be run away from...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Compliments for each other

Not all engaging activities we do are on the iPads. This simple activity has been around for yonks and is always a winner. Each child has a piece of paper attached to their back and other people write nice positive compliments on their back.

We had not been able to do this activity with much success as we had a lot of ground work to do around compliments - both giving them and receiving them. It was great to see the students thinking hard to come up with great compliments for their peers and best of all the grins when each student got to read their compliments.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Our Classroom Setup

Our classroom started the term with new furniture, a new TV linked with an Apple TV to replace the IWB and projector. The old IWB was no longer interactive so replacing it with the TV was a great thing for us. It has meant we no longer have to draw the curtains in the classroom to use the IWB, this means we can very quickly and easily view student work or I can use the TV to display extra information/instructions for the students.

We have had a small number of iPads in our classroom for the last 18months, we have been lucky enough at the start of this term to get an allocation of 18 iPads for our class. This has allowed me to run a 1:1 iPad program. Most students have their own iPad that they are responsible for and the students who are not regular attendees share a couple. This means that for all iPad activities we have enough iPads to run 1:1.

We have set up a class Dropbox and YouTube account that all the iPads are linked to. This helps with workflow and saving of work. The students have chosen to make the YouTube account private so they can all view their own videos and show their parents from home but can't be searched in a general search. Hopefully as the students get more confident producing clips and videos the shame will reduce and we can change the settings.

Friday, July 12, 2013

New Road to Discovery

Ok so I have been extremely slack with writing my blog entries - that or I have just been super busy!

I am going to try and start afresh this term and see if I can blog once a week about something fantastic that has happened in our school or classroom. More often than not I foresee these posts being about the use of technology in our school/classroom. We have been playing with it over the past 12 months but now its time to step it up and make it really work.

We now have class sets of iPads in each classroom varying in size depending on the year groups. We will start the term with Apple TV's set up in all classrooms as well. These will be introduced to half our staff for the first time in a classroom setting. We will be running them through IWB in most classrooms but two classes will have 49.5inch TV's mounted on their walls.

The challenge will be to get everybody using the iPads to their full potential and that is why I need to restart this blog. I can use it to record the great things we are doing with the iPads and use it as a place for people to refer to for ideas.

I look forward to having people comment and add to the ideas and share what they have done that is similar or that can further extend my activities. W
orking in a remote school has huge benefits but the thing I miss most about working in a larger centre is the contact I have with like minded professional teachers so I am hoping this along with my twitter account will help create an online network who I might one day get to meet!

Enjoy the ride with me as I explore life in our remote community school.