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Innovations in Education » Developing Future Workskills Through Content Curation “The skills a student employs  to successfully curate information include curiosity, media literacy, ability to make connections across disciplines, information literacy, the ability to evaluate and understand perspective, synthesize and evaluate information, and a good dose of self-direction.  Here is how they line up with the 10 skills identified in this study.”

EducationHQ Australia – Maker movement gathers steam “In an educational setting, ‘making’ is a technology driven response to the widespread absence of ‘doing’ in many classrooms. In essence, it’s what psychologist Jean Piaget and other ‘constructionists’ see as experiential learning. American educator Gary Stager, author of Invent to Learn, reminds us that we are fortunate that: “this maker movement overlaps with the natural inclinations of children and the power of learning by doing”. Make sure you access Stager’s website inventtolearn.com for more information on this.”

20 Classroom Setups That Promote Thinking This is from the TeachThought blog. “This is part 1 in our #iteachthought campaign. This is our equivalent to “back to school,” and is intended to help you focus in the 2015-2016 school year on taking a thoughtful approach to your craft as a teacher. Among these shifts we’ll talk about is turning our focus from content and teaching to thinkers and thinking. This is a student-centered approach to pedagogy (and heautagogy), and will consist of three parts:
Part 1: Classroom Setups That Promote Thinking
Part 2: Learning Profiles: What Great Teachers Know About Their Students
Part 3: 50 Questions To Ask Your Students On The First Day Of Schoo”

5 Creative Strategies to Facilitate Student-driven Learning | Imagine Easy Solutions “21st century learners who are digitally literate and determined to take charge of their learning. Consequently, teachers need to adjust their strategies and give students more voice and ownership.
When the classroom moves from teacher-centered to student-centered, more learning takes place and students tend to be more engaged in the lesson. The student-centered classroom allows for more differentiation and personalized learning.
Making the transition into a student-centered classroom can be a challenge. This post looks at some strategies for getting started with creating a successful learning environment”

Key Conditions for Suspense: Part 14 – Put Your Plot Together with the Story Cycle – SFWA “It’s good to know you need to make the problem hard to solve, but how do you use all the obstacles to develop the plot? How do you layer them in? How do you start and move forward?
You follow the story cycle, which is simply a model of how we humans go about solving problems, and apply the techniques we’ve been talking about in ways that make sense to you and spark your interest. You can move forwards or backwards around the cycle, whatever is most productive to you at the time.”

10 Collaborative Mobile Apps For A Creative Classroom “Trainer, Naomi Harm shares 10 free mobile apps that will allow students to engage in rich content activities and digital projects in his training video Mobile Apps For The Classroom.”

Digital Citizenship Scope & Sequence | Common Sense Media From Common Sense Media. ” Scope & Sequence tool to find age-appropriate lessons that address digital literacy and citizenship topics for your classroom. You can browse by grade band or click a category to highlight the lessons that address that topic. From professional development materials, to student interactives, to lessons and assessments, and family outreach materials, our comprehensive curriculum is turnkey to implement.”

Why Should We Teach Storytelling? 5 Reasons to Start Today | Getting Smart “five reasons why we should be creating storytelling opportunities for students today.”

ICT is failing in schools – here’s why “National data released this week confirms an ongoing trend that now sees nearly half of Australian secondary school students failing to meet minimum digital literacy standards. Current data underpinning decision-making and the new digital technologies curriculum isn’t working for ICT in schools for these four reasons:”

Storyboard Maker – Outline a Story With Visuals | Android 4 Schools “Storyboard Maker is a free Android app.It lets you to set out your story. In the app you can outline story scenes by sketching frames then writing text to outline action and dialogue in each scene. ”

Draw Notes on Your Android Device With Google Keep | Android 4 Schools “this is an Android appthat allows you to write short notes and set reminders. It can also used be used as a mindmapping tool of sorts through the use of sticky note sorting. Google Keep for Android also allows you to draw notes in the app.”

Some Very Good Tools and Apps for Creating Educational Comics to Use in Class ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “Using comics in your instruction can be a great way to engage students in learning activities and boost their motivation. There is a wide variety of web-based tools and mobiles apps that make comics creation a simple and easy drag and drop process. Students can use them to unleash their imaginative potential and experiment with a number of various multimodal creative activities. In this post there are some examples of web tools and apps teachers can use with students in class to create great educational comics.”

How to Storyboard in Scrivener “Storyboarding as it pertains to novels and short stories is the process of mapping out your story, often using index cards, in a high-level way that allows you to see your story visually and rearrange it. Scrivener’s corkboard view provides the perfect interface to storyboard your novel digitally”

Ninja Guide to Content Creation: Top 10 Writing Tools A piece that brings together, in an annotated list, a number of useful tools for writing purposes. There are also a number of other mentioned in the comments that follow the post.

Research revolution in schools | District Administration Magazine An interesting article about the skills today’s students need. “teaching students to find reliable sources, synthesize research findings and communicate results is more urgent than ever in a world where every blogger with a keyboard can pose as an expert.”

How to Build a Growth Mindset into School Culture | Getting Smart “For all of us as educators, a growth mindset must be a prerequisite belief and an easy one to champion. However, where Dweck’s idea presents us with a narrow gap in comprehension, the divide between comprehension and practice can be quite wide. As school leaders, how can we bring awareness to this gap and implement practices to cultivate a growth mindset within our schools?”

24 Ways for Students to Showcase Their Best Work (With Tech) – InformED : There has been a lot of research that supports student learning being enhanced by using online presentation methods. This post offers an annotated list of 24 favourites.

What is Collaboration for Professional Learning? | My Island View “The time investment to accomplish this can be as little as twenty minutes a day. The warning here however is that often times a learner may actually get caught up in the learning and spend more time than planned on a given topic. Social media opens educators to the pedagogy, and methodology of others. It offers transparency to policies. It questions the status Quo. It forces reflective thinking. It acts as a megaphone for new ideas. It gives educators a voice in the discussion of their own profession. None of this will happen however unless an educator comes to the table with a collaborative mindset and a willingness to spend time collaborating. Educators should never expect less from themselves than they expect of their students. A good teacher is also a good learner, and a good learner can always become a great teacher”

Empathy and libraries – Home – Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk Blog “Building cultural understandings by building empathy is now more urgent than ever in our classrooms and libraries if we wish to create a more empathic community. I am re-posting a column about building empathy through reading below.”

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Useful links

Educational Postcard: ”Collaboration is by Ken Whytock, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  Ken Whytock 
South Orange Middle School Library – Twitter Style Book Review How to create Twitter style book reviews. This activity can be easily adapted and students of all abilities can have fun trying to create a good tweet about their book.
Transforming assessment and feedback with technology | Jisc “JISC page that provides ideas and resources to help colleges and universities enhance the entire assessment and feedback lifecycle.” There are many transferable ideas for secondary school teachers.

20 Ways to Engage Students “A research study was carried out at PROCAT to investigate students’ expectations and experiences when using technology at college. You can read the research report here. The E-Zine below is a further resource, which follows on from the research report. It provides 20 key messages for Instructors, which summarises feedback direct from PROCAT Students on how to engage learners. The magazine provides a useful checklist for teaching staff and is a resource they can keep referring to for ideas and to check they are on track. You will need flash to be installed to view the e-zine.”

Developing students’ digital literacy | Jisc A quick guide to a very good and comprehensive report on Improving the student digital experience
Growth mindset for teachers | Education Evangelist Offers a nice graphic to encourage a “Growth Mindset for teachers using technology”
‘Which Book Reader Species Are You?’: INFOGRAPHIC | GalleyCat “In this post, we’re describing and classifying close to 50 reader species-from the folks who see books as precious display objects to those who sort of hate reading.”

Kelly Fitzgerald ~ EdTech Nut: Using Collections in TweetDeck to Save Tweets I use TweetDeck. It is a useful tool for following along during a Twitter chat as it allows you to build columns that help to keep track of the many different feeds, notifications, mentions, etc. It can be difficult to check out the resources shared and keep up with it all. There are many methods for ‘saving’ the resources shared. Kelly Fitzgerald @LISDTechie uses the collections feature in TweetDeck to gather those resources to review at a later time. Here she offers advice about how to add a collection and start saving those wonderful resources people are sharing.

The Epic BYOD Toolchest (51 Tools You Can Use Now) | Edutopia Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) has shared the apps or app categories that she recommends for other teachers in their schools. “There are lots of apps, and these are just my opinion based on what I’ve used with my students or successfully tested.”

15+ Ways of Teaching Every Student to Code (Even Without a Computer) | Edutopia Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) put forward the following resources that you can use to teach programming with every student and every age

Professional Conversations | Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership “The formal and informal dialogue that occurs between education professionals including teachers, mentors, coaches and school leaders, which is focused on educational matters.What do teachers talk about professionally? Where do these conversations happen, when do they happen, and what are the conditions that are needed to make them more effective? Most importantly, what is the impact that they can have on developing teacher expertise and improving student outcomes?
he Professional Conversations Project sought to answer our questions about professional conversations by exploring the literature and asking teachers in schools across Australia about their experiences with professional conversations”

Digital Citizenship: Resource Roundup | Edutopia This id a great list that iffers many ideas babout how to approach the topic.  “Edutopia’s collection of articles, videos, and other resources on internet safety, cyberbullying, digital responsibility, and media and digital literacy.”
Designing Learning That Matters | Edutopia Deep learning often happens when learners encounter experiences that challenge them to figure something out, explore new information, and create a product.
Challenge yourself with Reading Bingo 2014 (pictures) Printable Reading Bingo containing 24 reading challenges that will help you read more and have more fun with it.
Short Stories with a Twist Ending  “A list of some short stories with surprising endings that could be used for learning or teaching careful reading. Sometimes the author tries to give the reader a fair chance to figure out what’s going to happen. Even though a twist ending is supposed to give the reader a jolt, in hindsight it should seem perfectly reasonable. The best ones seem inevitable and seamless.”
Books for Kids Who Don’t Like to Read | eBay Useful list of titles (and series).
8 Excellent Google Sheets Add-ons to Create Smarter Spdreasheets ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning“A post that looks at a collection of important add-ons to use on your Google Sheets to create smarter spreadsheets with beautiful designs and more sophisticated functionalities. Using these extensions will enable you to add different styles and fonts to your spreadsheets; remove duplicate values between two tables or in one sheet; find and clean up data; split names to several columns, search in values, formulas, notes and hyperlinks in all sheets at once; easily generate Gantter schedules from your sheets; add reminders to your sheets; smart autofilling of data into other columns based on the values of the other columns, and many more.”
Five Research-Driven Education Trends At Work in Classrooms | MindShift | KQED News Increasingly, educators are looking to research about how kids learn to influence teaching practices and tools. What seemed like on-the-fringe experiments, like game-based learning, have turned into real trends, and have gradually made their way into many (though certainly not most) classrooms.
10 Tech-Savvy Web Teaching Apps Students (& Other Teachers) Will Love — Emerging Education Technologies Ten great apps are listed and their use demonstrated with 3 Minute Tutorials for each. These videos show you how to get started and the rest is up to you

3 Ways Mobile Technology Boosts Instruction | The Edvocate The piece offers a discussion around the benefits for teachers as well as students. Three ways that teachers can benefit from mobile technologies are discussed.

” Administrative plans must go beyond simply purchasing mobile devices, or implementing bring-your-device policies that include teacher empowerment of the technology. Mobile technology has potential to change the student-teacher dynamic for the better but only if implemented correctly”
How Games Lead Kids to the Good Stuff: Understanding Context | The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning | MindShift | KQED News A good discussion about the benefits of using games to assist learning in the classroom. “Game-based learning is an instructional method that allows students to experience, understand, and solve problems in the world of a particular subject, or system, from the inside. Imagine a game that works like an instrument, but teaches mathematics. That’s how “
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Review: Night Break (Young Sherlock Holmes #8)

Our book/reading group has been reading and reviewing quite a few books this term. This is one of mine.

This is the eighth book in the Young Sherlock Holmes series. As with the other stories in this series the period detail is well-researched and convincing, the characters are engaging and the plotting is excellent.

Night Break (Young Sherlock Holmes, #8)

Night Break by Andrew Lane

In this story the Holmes brothers, Sherlock and  Mycroft, are called back to their family home for the funeral of their mother. They begin to prepare for her funeral and sort through what needs to be done as well as trying to decide how best to support their sister, Emma.
They are all dealing with a sense of loss so when Emma claims that faceless men are visiting the house Sherlock doesn’t believe her. However Sherlock investigates and discovers that three men in bizarre disguises have broken into the house in the middle of the night. When Sherlock finds them he is viciously attacked. The family seems to be caught up in some strange mystery that they have no understanding or knowledge of.
The next occurrence involves men, posing as builders, attacking their sister’s fiancé. Both Mycroft and Sherlock independently deduce that the mystery is somehow connected to the building of the Suez Canal. The paths they then follow turn out to be very different, as Sherlock, with his ever loyal friend Matty, setting out for Egypt, determined to discover just what is going on. He feels betrayed by his brother and follows his own instincts to get to the bottom of what is going on. The nature of loyalties and friendship is called into question before the book is finished.

View all my reviews

Made a few years ago, the trailer below is a good introduction to the series and should whet the appetite of all young crime and detective fiction readers

Shaun Tan’s new book The Singing Bones.

I have only just bought a copy of Shaun Tan’s new book, The Singing Bones. It is a change in style from the previous publications he has been involved in. The style of the illustrations are very Tan but the medium in which they were created is new. They are quite amazing but I will need to have more time to fully grasp what he has created as he tried to encapsulate the gist of each fairytale. As always the detail and power of his deceptively simple images is amazing. As I looked at them some seem familiar, appearing to be inspired by character drawings in his earlier publications, and others completely new and powerful in their strangeness. I am never disappointed with Shaun Tan’s works, he never ceases to inspire and challenge me as a reader.

The singing bones - Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan was approached to illustrate the German edition of a new Philip Pullman book. On his website Shaun explains how he became involved in the publication. It is interesting to read about how he came to the decision to create the illustrations for the book. It is a collection of many classic fairy tales re-told/envisioned by Philip Pullman with the title Grimms Märchen.

In the end there were more illustrations than were needed and so these were used to illustrate The Singing Bones.  Jack Zipes has written some short but potent interpretations of the fairytales to accompany the images.

There are other versions of this collection of classic fairytales re-told/envisioned by Philip Pullman under the title  Grimm Tales: For Young and Old but these are not illustrated with Shaun Tan’s wonderful figures. 

Review: Ranger’s Apprentice prequel. The Tournament at Gorlan

I have enjoyed John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice books from the start. It is a great series that the boys at my school really enjoy. I was very pleased to see that he has revisited this realm and to read more about the early days of some old friends.

An interview with John Flanagan is below and he talks about more ideas for novels.


Ranger’s Apprentice The Early Years 1: The Tournament at GorlanRanger’s Apprentice The Early Years 1: The Tournament at Gorlan by John Flanagan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a prequel to Ranger’s Apprentice series. It introduces young Rangers Halt and Crowley as they are wandering through the country after being dismissed from their jobs. They begin to develop a plan to thwart the contrivances of the sinister Baron Morgarath, who is disbanding the Rangers as part of a plan to take the throne. Baron Morgarath is a powerful and popular nobleman in Araluen and a formidable warrior. He is also a treacherous and ambitious tyrant, who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. The realm is in trouble.
Using subterfuge, Morgarath has King Oswald held as a prisoner in his castle and the rightful heir, Prince Duncan, is becoming more and more discredited as he seems to be engaged in criminal and thuggish behaviour in the North. This is not the Prince that Cowley knows and respects. Halt and Crowley decide seek out other former Rangers and hatch a plan to get to the bottom of the rumours about Prince Duncan, expose the nefarious dealings that Morgarath has been involved in and restore the true Rangers to their rightful places.
This book re-captured the spirit of the original Ranger’s Apprentice series and also filled in a lot of back-story about Halt, Cowley and Duncan as well as a young Baron Arald.
There was humour, especially in the witty banter between Halt and Crowley, and the action at the tournament towards the end of book was exciting enough for any adventure lover.
Another great addition to our library and it has already been borrowed and read by quite a few students, both younger and older ones.
View all my reviews

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Always do your best by rhondda.p, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  rhondda.p 

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Ranger’s Apprentice The Early Years. Book 1 The Tournament at Gorlan

The Ranger’s Apprentce series has been a big hit at our school. many boys can’t wait to get their hands on the latest edition so I am looking forwarc to going home and reading my new title on my kindle.

The book trailer link was sent to me today that serves to pique my interest.

We have heard about how popular John Flanagan’s series is oerseas so I found this video interesting as well. This was published on YouTube on 13 Sep 2015. John Flanagan’s editor and publisher, Zoe, kept a video diary of her trip to the Netherlands with John to be guests of honour at Ranger’s Apprentice Day. WARNING: video contains juicy information that fans will love.

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