Monday, 20 May 2013

Edmodo - A Great Way to Share.

It's been a chaotic year so far, and with horror I realised that I have not updated this blog this year! How did that happen and where has the year gone!?

Anyway, let's get to it!  Last year I participated in a SchoolNet Webinar about using Edmodo which I have been using for a while with a couple of classes internally.

However, this year we have taken the step of using it with a class in Sydney, Australia. If you are not familiar with Edmodo, have a look at their site, and give it a try - you won't be disappointed and neither will your class. The opportunity for collaboration and discussion is huge!
Looking like Facebook is an added attraction to the learners.

We were involved in the Flat Rosie Project with their Grade 2's last year, and this term we decided to work together with our Grade 6 classes to discuss democracy, strengths, weakness and issues facing each of our countries.

We began by making Voki's where each child recorded a little about themselves and then they uploaded them to Edmodo. They had an opportunity to chat to one another within Edmodo to find out who they had things in common with, and leave them comments.

Their Grade 6 teacher has began the conversation and currently we are discussing what the problems are in our countries, and we are finding that we have similar concerns.

I am enjoying watching my children's enthusiasm as the project unfolds and look forward to seeing how it will play out. At the end of the term, I hope to have a Skype Video Call with their class where we can "meet"our friends face-to-face and enjoy chatting there.

Will keep you posted!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Khoisan Fables! Done.

The term is finally over and holidays are here!

Before I put away all things to do with school, let me show you at least one of the San Khoi fables that I told you we were doing. I was so proud of my class, they did a great job!

This turned out, as I expected, to be a lovely project.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

My Own Fable

My Grade 5's are busy studying the Khoikhoi and San tribes at the moment which I always find to be so  interesting. I decided to do something different this time with them and I am beyond excited about it - in fact I think I am going to do it myself!

Every second week in Assembly throughout the year, we have concentrated on different character traits that we would like to raise our children with. Things like humility, perseverance, diligence, selflessness, tolerance, patience, compassion and so on. I thought it a good idea to combine these into the final project for them this year.

I read them a couple of Fables (short stories with a moral), and then surprised them with a "package handout". In this handout was their brief which consisted of a template booklet with place for pictures & text, a written brief of due dates, and a character trait they had to use. 

Their task is to write their own Khoi San Fable using the moral they were given. For example, make up a story where the moral is "It is better to be diligent than lazy". We talked about how, in Fables, even trees and flowers, beetles and butterflies can have voices and personalities. They were encouraged to be creative with their story. It had to embrace the lifestyle of these people groups.

They have to conclude it with a poem of their own writing, titled "Tribe".

Little Bird Tales had been such a hit with the Grade 2's that I was amped to use it with the older grades. So I decided that their fable and illustrations will be done using this. They will be done in rough first, after which they will draw and type it into Little Bird Tales and narrate it. From there it will go to their Wiki which acts as their Display Board for their family and friends to view.

I would love (next year perhaps), to join together with other schools and create an online book where we all write our own fables that are indigenous to our countries and their people - and put them together and maybe Skype to read them to one another and have a Q & A time about our stories.

That will have to wait for next year... because this year is flying by so fast I can barely catch my breath!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Creating your own Blog

Today is DAY 1 of Innovate 2012: Schools' ICT in Education Conference which is hosted by e-Schools Network.

The weather decided it would be spring. This may sound odd, but considering that recently our weather was uncertain of the season, it was a welcome surprise to have a lovely sunny spring day.  It was just as exciting to see all the eagerness around in people who were coming to share and learn together.

Today I felt privileged to present a workshop here and I was so looking forward to sharing my experience as a blogger and how it has changed the way I teach.

I promised those who attended the workshop that I would upload the presentation for them - so here it is. It was lovely to meet you all today and I look forward to reading your blogs one day! Tweet me to read them when they are up and running!

Enjoy! If you need any help - feel free to leave a comment.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Little Bird Tales

I finally got around to using Little Bird Tales!

I was so looking forward to it and it didn't disappoint me or the children. 

The Grade 2's had listened to the story of The Cricket and the Ant in class and they had to write their own abridged version of it. Once they had typed that up, they drew pictures to match their story.

After that, they narrated it and I uploaded it to their Class Wiki.  I really encourage teachers to use Little Bird Tales, it's so easy to navigate and simple to use. It also just adds so much more to story writing than merely opening a lined page and doing it the traditional way.

Here is an example of one of the childrens work. Click on the Cover to view!

Have fun!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Our Intro To Glogster

Most of this term has been taken up with a fun Olympic project. How can one ignore this international event?

I involved Grades 4 -8, created an Edmodo group for them, and set up a project where they needed to source information about the Games, their origin and history. They also had to select an athlete and create a "Profile Page" on them and upload it to Edmodo for their friends to see. They had to watch their athletes events and record a radio broadcast as though they were reporting it live.

They really enjoyed this and it was fun seeing how everyone's enthusiasm was stimulated by who their friends supported.

The project is just finishing off now and as a 'finale' I have introduced them to Glogster.  Glogster is an interactive Blog/poster/pinboard in which you can upload photo's and video's. You can also do audio/video recordings.  You can add your own page backgrounds and animated graphics. The limit to its creativity is halted only by your imagination.  I think I had as much fun learning about it as I had teaching it to my children.

Here is my example that I gave them.  Enjoy experimenting with it yourself.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Adventures in Storyjumper

This term has been so hectic that I haven't had much time to update my Blog. This doesn't however mean, that nothing has been happening! On the contrary, we have had a great ICT - filled term!

One of my favourite things that we did this term was for Bookweek.  Traditionally, the children are able to come to school with their books, blankets, pillow and a toy and are given 'free reading time'. They also use this week to choose a poem, which they learn to recite to their class and 3 from each class are chosen to recite their poems to the school. This week has much more to it, but this is not the point of this blog!

What I did this year that I am so excited about because it worked really well, was to pair up a Grade 5 with a Grade 7 learner and use Storyjumper to write a collaborative story for Bookweek.  They didn't know who their partners were and, until they sat down at their PC, they didn't know what the story was about that their partner had started.

The site is user friendly, easy to open the account and simple to set up a class.  It gives you the option of either choosing one of their story starters or creating your own. 

You are also given characters, backgrounds, random pictures that you use to make up your story. Adding /editing the text is simple for even younger learners. It gives options for Parent Codes to allow the students to work from home and not only under the guidance and time-range of the Teacher.

I had one pair that got so into it, that they ended up writing volumes! I decided to upload it to Flipsnack to make into one easy reading book.

All of their work was uploaded to their Class Wiki's for easy access.

The 2 Volume Flipsnack...

They really enjoyed this activity and I am keen to do it again - perhaps with a school in another country.
That would be awesome!