A Learner's Journey

March 23, 2013
by 34mk2012
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#etmchat 6 Word Story

One of our final tasks for #etmooc is to create a 6 word story prior to #etmchat on the 27th March. The topic is:
“What does it mean to be an educator and digital citizen? What is our special role?”
I won’t be able to be part of the chat but have made a story anyway using haiku deck. Here it is …

 

March 15, 2013
by 34mk2012
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Honk if you love life!

Our Inquiry and RE units this term have focussed on the concepts of community and our place within the community. It has been a rich and diverse unit and we are now at the stage of expressing our learnings about what community is and how it can be built. This video was tweeted over January and as soon as I saw it, I knew I would use it.

After watching this video, students unanimously wanted to try something similar in our own community. We had also watched the Kid President video and are reading Wonder so the students’ minds were full of wonderful phrases (or in the language of Wonder, ‘precepts’) that they thought would be valuable to others. And away they went – busily creating posters with slogans to welcome people into our community. There is nothing much more rewarding than students asking if they can PLEEEASE work on something for longer or at home!

The day we planned to share our work with the community dawned and I had most of my students at school by 8.30am to prepare. They were very excited to say the least and the reaction we got from the community was truly awesome. It was wonderful to see the smiles on everyone’s faces as they read the student’s signs and the horns were honking so much, our lovely Julie in the office wondered what on earth was going on.

Students wrote heartfelt reflections on why they had chosen their particular slogan and the impact they felt it had had on our community. We could have talked for days about ways we can build community but actually getting out there and doing it was so much more powerful. Here is a Smilebox of our experiences:

 

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It seems to me this was connected learning in so many ways. Through the inspiration of others who have built community in unique ways, to a class novel that is challenging our perceptions of community, to students taking on a project and making it their own, and then blogging about it on our class blog – so many levels of connectedness. These are the times when it feels great to be a teacher, when some of my learning is truly impacting on my students and we are all walking the walk together.

If you were to make a sign for your community, what would it say? How do you build community in your classroom, your school and your environs?

February 21, 2013
by 34mk2012
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The Power of Collegial Discussion

As part of the planning team for the RE Eastern Network, we spent quite some time last week talking about the place of dialogue in Religious Education. Our first discussion was about what constituted dialogue. We talked about what dialogue IS and what it IS NOT. This is what we came up with:

Dialogue IS: participatory, open, acknowledges difference, respectful, purposeful, seeks understanding and multiple perspectives

Dialogue IS NOT: prescriptive, closed, dominated by one person, casual, incidental conversation

We then participated in a ‘Guiding a Dialogue’ protocol where we considered some possibilities dialogue enables for the participants. There are a variety of ways to contribute to dialogue including:

  • playing with ideas – possibility thinking
  • affirming and building on others’ ideas
  • following the ideas as far as you go – giving in to the ebb and flow of different directions
  • making links with others’ ideas
  • considering multiple perspectives or various viewpoints
  • offering questions and paraphrasing as well as your own thinking

The protocol enabled us to practise our dialogical skills and challenged them also. 

At Holy Spirit Community School, we have worked hard to embed collegial dialogue as an integral part of the planning process in Religious Education. All staff are encouraged to participate in this phase of the planning, not just classroom teachers. This brings diversity and richness to the discussion. We have found that staff enjoy grappling with the ‘big concepts’ central to our RE units at an adult level. The dialogue is often loud, enthusiastic and hard to wind up! Staff value the opportunity to sort out their own thinking and ask their own questions about the key concepts we are going to be working with. This stage of the planning also helps us to resist the urge to jump in with great activities and focus on developing deep understandings ourselves before we try and do that with our students. 

Some of our staff have reflected on the value of collegial discussion in our RE planning. Here are their thoughts:

How is dialogue used in your school to improve student outcomes?

February 17, 2013
by 34mk2012
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Learning to Storify

Another #etmooc task under my belt … my first storify. I decided to storify some of the tweets from the past week that demonstrate my PLN at work via twitter. I get so much from interacting with others on twitter – ideas, educational conversation and banter, feedback, affirmation and challenge, professional reading and even new shopping sites! (Every teacher needs a break!!) Here is a taste of my week on twitter …

 

 

February 14, 2013
by 34mk2012
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Playing with Storybird

Storybird (www.storybird.com) is a great website which enables you to select from an extensive range of beautiful images to create your own story. You can search for images by themes and then arrange them in order to tell your own narrative.  This site has endless possibilities in the class room. I think the images are great for developing rich language and descriptive texts, or even for creating a simple poem, as I have done here …

 

What possibilities do you see for Storybird?

February 10, 2013
by 34mk2012
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Tennis Time!

Today I was inspired by some of my fellow “etmoocers” to try and create a gif. This is new to me although I have embedded one created by someone else onto my classroom blog. My gif tells the story of a lazy Sunday afternoon at home, where two of my boys have headed out into the backyard for our own Australian Open! Here it is …

 

 

If you would like to try creating one yourself, you can find some help here. I am wondering how this tool would be valuable in the classroom. Any thoughts …

 

February 7, 2013
by 34mk2012
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ETMOOC inspiration – digital story telling

Have just had fun sitting in the hairdresser’s chair, creating a 5 card flicr story.

Enjoy!

 


Five Card Story: Learning is like …

a #etmooc story created by Mj0401Mary


flickr photo by cogdogblog


flickr photo by allistelling


flickr photo by Henriksent


flickr photo by cogdogblog


flickr photo by mrsdkrebs

This week, my students have pondered the question ‘My learning is like a fish because…’ and have come up with some amazing thoughts and ideas. It was challenging thinking for them so I thought I should do something similar. Using the 5 card flicr site, I created a visual story that expresses how I feel about my own learning.

What images would you choose to describe your learning?

 


February 6, 2013
by 34mk2012
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Digital Story Telling

Our current topic in ETMOOC is Digital storytelling. It is the beginning of the school year in Australia and I wanted to get an essential agreement in place with my new 5/6 students. To engage them in the process, I created an animation using GOANIMATE. This is the first time I have had a play with this tool and found it simple to use. The students responded really well to the video, having a laugh but also being able to understand what was required of them and get straight to the task without me having to say a thing. I am not entirely sure this is classified as ‘storytelling’ but I guess it is part of our class story for 2013.

 

Essential Agreement by 56MandM on GoAnimate

Video Maker – Powered by GoAnimate.

I think this tool has great potential in the classroom and can allow students to tell their own stories in another way. What other tools do you use for students to share their stories?

 

January 27, 2013
by 34mk2012
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My PLN … on fire!

Over the Aussie school holidays, I have managed to connect with a couple of teachers who will be teaching the same level as me. I tweeted out just after Christmas that I had just read a brilliant book, Wonder that I thought I would use with my 5/6 class in term 1. I have blogged about that here. This tweet has lead to a great sharing of resources and information that I may otherwise not have found.

 

(and I also reveal to you my love for stationery!)

I have also enjoyed #summerbookclub over the holidays organised by @corisel. Each Sunday evening, we have participated in a twitter chat about what professional reading we have been doing and how it may effect our practice. This has been a lively discussion each week and I now have a growing list of must reads because of it.

Tonight, we have been sharing our thoughts on #whyilovegoingbacktoschool and it so So heartening to read all of the responses and realise that education in Australia is in the hands of some very dedicated and switched on teacher/learners.

 

In what ways has your PLN stretched your thinking, opened up new ideas or supported you in the last couple of weeks?

January 23, 2013
by 34mk2012
4 Comments

Connected to who, or what?

Having participated in two more ETMOOC sessions this week, the conversation has returned often to the notion of  ‘connected learning’. We have talked about Personal Learning Networks, the place of social media, how much sharing is too much and accountability vs responsibility.

There is another essential element in the connected learning framework and that is our own connection to the learning itself. We all know how our students respond when they are working on something they are interested in or love. They are engaged, motivated, eager to learn and intrinsically rewarded by the learning itself. I think it is the same with teachers and experienced this keenly in the last semester of my Masters last year.

I had two subjects to complete during Semester Two last year. One subject, Leadership Spirituality was one I was innately interested in and the other, Culture and Religion was the ‘lesser of two evils’ that I had to select from. Obviously, I was pre-disposed to enjoying the Leadership subject more but I did go into both with an open mind. 

The lecturer for Leadership Spirituality was engaging and very knowledgeable. She was able to get through an amazing amount of content in 4 days, exposing us to many aspects of the subject and coaxing us into wanting to find out more. The classes were very interactive and the cohort was lively and keen to participate and try out ideas. Both assignments allowed us to follow up on particular areas of interest within the subject and for one assignment, the format was completely open to negotiation (a first for the entire course – I did a blog post!)

The Culture and Religion subject was online and part of it involved posting ideas online. This was a task that had to be completed rather than one students seemed to enjoy. There was little interaction and no useful feedback at all from the lecturer (not classifying ‘good’ as useful). The material had the potential to be interesting, particularly in the area of delving into indigenous spirituality and what it contributes to Australia’s religious landscape but the readings were extremely academic and not very accessible. The assignments all revolved around responses to quote from the articles or books read and took the form of three essays and a powerpoint. 

You may be able to guess which subject I did better in? Of course it was Leadership Spirituality and I got a HD! Why … because I felt completely connected to the cohort of students, the lecturer and the subject material.

Connected learning is about PLN’s and twitter and MOOC’s, but is also about finding your interests and loves, and being given the opportunity to learn with and be challenged by others who share them. The beauty of this is that this form of learning can take you to places you never dreamed of …

How do we make space for our students to be connected learners?

Students from my class of 2012 working on their Author Studies – do we have to stop now?

 

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