Useful links

 Do YOUR Kids Think that Being Right is More Important than Being Curious? | CTQ #CTQCollab Some good discussion here. “Questions with no clear right answer should be fun to think about and wrestle with.” “Our educational system has failed if it has trained students to think that “there must be only one answer, and the teacher knows what it is, and they have to be the first to guess what it is.”
Detecting Bias, Browsing, Freshness, Backlinks, Red Flags… – ThingLink An interactive fluency model. It is a useful reminder for students about plagiarism, author bias and search strategies. The links to Information fluencey have changed but by going to ythe home page they can be found.

Soundtrap – Make music online Soundtrap allows you to make music online, from any device, with your own instruments or the virtual ones on the site. The free version offers 5 projects, many loops, instruments and sounds as well as other features. It works on Mac, Windows, iPad, Android tablets and phones, Linux and Chromebooks. It allows you to start, edit and collaborate on your recordings and, being cloud-based, wherever you are. You can collaborate with others and share your music on Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud, as well as Spotify and iTunes. You can sign in with Office 365, Google, Facebook or an email account.

There are premium options with more features and fewer limits.
Did Shakespeare write his plays? – Natalya St. Clair and Aaron Williams – YouTube This is an intersting visual explanation tht offers and interesting way to introduce Shakespeare to students, making it more accessible.
10 of the Most Engaging Uses of Instructional Technology (with Dozens of Resources and Tools) — Emerging Education Technologies Kelly Walsh shares ’10 highly engaging uses of technology in the classroom, along with dozens of tools and resources for implementation’ in 10 of the Most Engaging Uses of Instructional Technology (with Dozens of Resources and Tools). This is a great place to explore for new ideas as the new school year begins.
The Difference Between Doing Projects Versus Learning Through Projects Terry Heick has created a visual comparison of traditional projects versus how current projects can assist in deeper learning. It is helpful for understanding the changes to pedagogy in our schools today.
Digital Content Guide ” The Digital Content Guide has been developed by a group of creative rights holders and creative content industry associations to help consumers find licensed content online across a range of services and platforms. The funding members are: Australian Screen Association; APRAAMCOS; ARIA; Copyright Agency Ltd; Foxtel; News Corp Australia and Village Roadshow.”
Teaching ideas – School libraries – guides at NSW Department of Education “Curriculum and policy support for school libraries – meeting the needs of future learners”
Activity Ideas & Resources – Teen Read Week Links to many ideas to celebrate books and reading
4 secrets to building rapport with students (even when it’s hard to connect) | The Cornerstone “Rapport is a relationship in which the student enjoys working productively with the teacher. It is the single most important facet of a successful educator, and its effectiveness depends upon the character of the teacher and how efficiently this is employed in all interactions with his or her students.”
5 skills students need to be contributing global citizens – Mr Kemp “Educators need to provide students with the behaviors, knowledge & skills to become responsible global citizens who can take action to solve a problem either individually or with others. So what are the important skills, behaviors, and attitudes that students need to become contributing global citizens? Here is a list of the 5 skills (there are many more, but these are the ones this teacher perceives to be most important) they believe students need to demonstrate:”
Teachers Digital Skills Chart ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning The chart features some 21st century digital skills that every teacher should be familiar with. For each of these skills they have come up with a collection of web tools that can help develop such skills “
A New Excellent Google Forms Feature to Auto Grade Quizzes ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “Google Forms has recently introduced a new powerful feature that allows teachers to auto-grade multiple choice and checkbox questions.Additionally, ‘Teachers can also add review materials in the form of explanations, supplemental websites or review videos — so students can get quick, actionable feedback. Plus, teachers can get instant feedback on student progress, so they know which lessons need more explanation and what to teach next. We’ve also added a common request from educators to disallow students from sending themselves a copy of their responses.’ We are working on a detailed guide on how to incorporate this new feature in your Google Forms quizzes and we’ll share it with you as soon as it’s ready.”
Arduino or Raspberry Pi: Making The Right Choice For Your Project | YourSpot Good comparison piece explaining the strengths of both . “Arduino and Raspberry Pi are two different boards designed for different applications. The choice of using one completely depends on the type of project one is trying to make or the amount of knowledge one has of electronic components and software languages. “
Free Technology for Teachers: How to Create a KWL Chart in Padlet “A useful way to use Padlet is to have students collaboratively create multimedia KWL (Know, Want, Learn) charts. To provide students with guidance on where to place their notes, I use a custom background on Padlet. The background is a just a screenshot of a three column page that I make in Google Documents (any other document program will work just as well) that is uploaded to Padlet. “
ISTE 2016: 5 Tech Trends Reshaping Education | EdTech Magazine An overview of some current and emerging technological trends that are shaking things up in the K–12 space. These are put under the headings: Big Data, Augmented Reality, The Semantic Web, Extreme BYOD and Transmedia. Interestiing discussion.
6 Must Haves for Developing a Maker Mindset | EdSurge News “Best defined by the research and work of Carol Dweck, Jo Boaler and Eduardo Briceno, growth mindset is the recognition of the brain as a muscle that—with practice, effort, and nurturing—can continue to grow and develop. When you think of an inventor or innovator, past or present, what descriptors come to mind? Creative. Persistent. Curious. Fearless. Passionate. But educators know that most students don’t show up to your class on the first day of school exhibiting these qualities. So how do we provide not only the physical tools but the mental tools to Make? Here, in this post, are the essential pieces:”
9 Excellent Dropbox Features for Teachers ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “Dropbox is a file hosting service that allows you to ‘keep your files safe, synced and easy to share.’ You can use it to upload files, videos, pictures and documents as well as generate unique URLs to share with others. Dropbox has introduced a new suite of productivity features that make creating, sharing and collaborating easier.  Tis post offers a quick round-up of the main features included in Dropbox:”
Minecraft in Education. 30 ideas for using minecraft in the classroom – teachwithict It is well documented how using games in a classroom context can facilitate collaborative learning, promote problem solving and stimulate an engaging learning environment. One methodology that demonstrates all these elements is Game Based Learning. One game that seems to optimise Games Based Learning is Minecraft. inecraft is a sandbox game where players have to build structures, fight monsters, hunt for food and gather resources in order to survive. Because of its sandbox environment, Minecraft is an perfect tool for engaging students and fostering creativity. Due to its open-ended nature, Minecraft also lends itself to a variety of subject areas and some are discussed here..
Why better STEM programs are the key to creating global citizens | eSchool News We live in a society today were facts are at our fingertips through ready access to the internet and search engines. To keep pace, our educational system needs to focus less on memorization of facts and more on how to use facts and how to ask the right questions.
How to Teach Digital Citizenship to All Students – Advancement Courses “In a world filled with blogs, tweets, texts, social media posts, and memes, it’s more important than ever that students understand the norms of appropriate and responsible technology use. No matter which subject or grade you teach, you can help your students live, grow, and work in a technology-driven global community.  Not sure how to begin teaching the many components of 21st century, technology-based learning? The nine elements of digital citizenship are a great place to start.”

99 texting acronyms and phrases every parent should know “By now, texting acronyms like LOL and OMG are pretty pervasive in pop culture; my daughter knew them in preschool, you hear them from the least hip anchors on TV morning shows, and heck, your own parents probably have texted you an LOL at some point. But when you’re the parent of a tween or teen, and you’re keeping careful track of who – and what – they’re texting, it’s good to be able dig a little deeper. Here, 99 texting acronyms and expressions that every parent should know. It’s not complete by any means, but it’s a start. Of course, lots of text speak will vary by region or even school or peer group. This is really just to help you understand that this kind of language exists in the first place. And yes, there will be completely new ones by the time you have these memorized”

Learning in the classroom Some good charts for measuring learning that could be used in most classrooms
Using Scratch in the Curriculum · TeacherCast Educational Broadcasting NetworkbyJeffrey Bradbury “In this episode, Jeff sits down with Kasia Chmielinski to learn how Scratch is being used in over 150 countries in more than 40 languages.  Join Jeff, Rob Pennington, Kevin Donatello, and Sam Patterson as we dive into the Hour of Code and Beyond on TeacherCast Podcast 124.”

Not All Student Engagement is Good Student Engagement Student engagement is a hot topic in schools these days. Students who are bored or disinterested tend to zone out in class, which zaps their enthusiasm for learning—or, so the thinking goes. On the other hand, students who feel inspired and energized in school perform better. Former school principal and education leader Eric Sheninger in a new book out called, “UnCommon Learning: Creating Schools That Work for Kids” says educators should be careful: Engagement doesn’t always translate to learning, especially when it comes to the integration of school technology. Sheninger says the key to a strong technology implementation is to establish clear measures and “observable evidence” that learning has actually occurred—and he outlines several questions school leaders should consider. Listed here are a few of his ideas

Education & Skills Today: How to transform schools into learning organisations? “The OECD-UNICEF Education Working Paper, “What makes a school a learning organisation?” should be seen as a first step towards building a shared understanding of the concept that is solidly founded in the literature and is recognisable to all parties involved, i.e. scholars, educators, policy makers, students and parents.

Based on an in-depth analysis of the literature and informed by a small network of experts, the paper identifies and operationalises an integrated model that consists  of seven over-arching ‘action-oriented’ dimensions which show how to transform schools into learning organisations”
Questions you need to ask when developing a digital strategy | Jisc  “Digital isn’t just a nice to have, it’s a necessity in the modern world. A digital strategy that unifies effective use of technology to enhance teaching, learning and assessment, and makes processes more effective and efficient, is a must for providers to deliver for learners and stay competitive.”
Blended Learning Slides and Resources #iste2016 @coolcatteacher” At ISTE Tom Arnett, Jon Bergmann, Mike Gwaltney, Aaron Sams, Stephanie Sandifer, and Jerry Obermyer all did an incredible job discussing blended and flipped learning. Shell Terrell shared the session on Periscope” links and slides

Useful Links

Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character by rhondda.p, on Flickr

Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by  rhondda.p 

Learning to Code: New Possibilities Through Collaboration at School | EdSurge News Discussion piece. “When you drill down to the(US) school level, only one in four schools in the United States teach computer science. For some school districts the resources are simply stretched too thin. And while there are websites that offer coding tutorials, many of which are free, some teachers may also be unaware that so many resources exist for their students. In other districts, the resources may be available but there is still a desire to find new opportunities for students to interact with technology professionals. One way to overcome these hurdles is for school districts to collaborate with outside organizations and companies, many of whom are thrilled to provide volunteers and support. This can be accomplished by looking to organizations and companies in your local community and/or best in industry, and reaching out to them to see if they would be interested in working with your school. Additionally, seek out and learn from colleagues in other school districts who have fostered these relationships, with a focus on best practices and collaborations that were particularly successful.”

Are Your Students Learning The Digital and Social Literacy Skills Needed to Succeed? | @LearningDotCom · TeacherCast Educational Broadcasting NetworkbyJeffrey Bradbury “Jeff Bradbury sits down with Risa Snethen from Learning.com to talk about the many resources offered to provide students the digital and core literacy skills needed to get them ahead in the classroom.”

Tech Tips for Teachers: 4 Ways to Use Google Forms | EdTech Magazine “The latest version of Google Forms, for instance, can not only simplify administrative tasks but also give teachers new outlets for connecting with parents and students. Jennifer Carey, the director of educational technology at the Ransom Everglades School in Miami, Fla., offers a glimpse of recently added features in a post on Daily Genius. She writes that Google Form users can now: View responses as they are submitted. Insert videos and images into survey questions. Create multiple choice grids that prevent respondents from selecting the same column twice. Publish Forms with pre-filled responses. Insert useful add-ons, such as formLimiter and Choice Eliminator 2. As educators begin to master these new capabilities, they can also explore a few of the tried-and-true ways teachers already use Google Forms in the classroom:”

Geo Map » Show What You Know with Media A Geo-Map media project can include text, hyperlinks, images, and videos connected to locations on virtual maps. Geo-Map projects can provide windows into events, concepts, places and stories which join disparate media elements into a cohesive digital narrative. Some great ideas about how to use this in the classroom.
The secret to successful use of technology in the classroom – ICTEvangelist “In order to get impact with technology in the classroom, for me it’s really quite simple and involves three easy to remember elements; technology for learning shouldn’t be about bells and whistles, it’s about what works”
The @DavidGeurin Blog: 7 Reasons To Use Social Media In Your School (INFOGRAPHIC) “Social media is here to stay. Never before have people been able to connect, share, and learn from one another as we do now. As a result, our students need skills to win at life in a digital world. The ability to use social media to support life goals and possibilities can be a game-changer. I know it has been very powerful for me in my professional life.” & reasons are discussed by the author.
4 Strategies to Bring History to Life For Students | Getting Smart “You can tansform students from passive to active learners through the power of archives. Timelines, textbooks, PowerPoint presentations and even Wikipedia articles have a role in learning about the past, but it is time to open the archives and unleash the power of primary sources to bring history to life. ” 4 strategies for educators explained.

15+ Ways of Teaching Every Student to Code (Even Without a Computer) | Edutopia “The resources discussed in this post will assist in teaching programming to every student and every age.”

How can school libraries use a makerspace to support learning? A set of presentation slides that explain an investigation of what a makerspace is and identify criteria for an effective makerspace. It examines how an effective model of a makerspace in a school library can support and develop digital literacy skills in the context of a connected learning framework.

When Tech Meets Project Based Learning | EdSurge News Paul Curtis, Director of Curriculum for the New Tech Network, is confident that project-based learning can happen without much technology. But use it right, he adds, and technology can change the “tone” of the classroom in powerful ways. “It asks teachers to give up ‘the script’ for the classroom,” he says. Curtis sees technology shaping project-based learning in multiple ways. First technology can fuel students’ curiosity and put them in charge of learning and exploration. Next: technology can provide teachers a construct or scaffolding for doing project-based work. A well-built learning management system, Curtis says, is an essential tool for helping teachers structure classroom time and manage work.”

An Introduction to Google Sites | TeacherCast University A good introduction to how to go about using Google sites in the classroom
The Best Online Resources for Coding Instruction “In this article they talk about fostering logical thinking through coding instruction for kids. They also have a look at some of the best online resources out there for coding instruction. Other than a possible career in computer sciences, what does coding knowledge have to offer students?”

What Are Your Ideas For Incorporating the “Maker Movement” In Teaching English Language Learners? | Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day… “The best way to activate your classroom is for your students to make something. This might an amazing high-tech invention or it might take the form of costumes for a historical reenactment, homemade math manipulatives, a new curtain for the local auditorium, toys, a pet habitat, a messy science experiment, or a zillion other things. Best of all, you don’t need expensive hardware, or to start by mastering a programming language. You can begin with found materials: buttons, bottle caps, string, clay, construction paper, broken toys, popsicle sticks, or tape (hint: Google “tapigami” or “duck tape projects”). What are you having your students “make” to help them learn English?”

How to create digital homework that students love | “Let’s redesign homework. When’s the last time your students got excited to do homework? Or said things like, “Wow…just WOW. It is amazing how much is out there that we just don’t know about”? What if every homework assignment could expand a student’s worldview while engaging a kid’s natural curiosity? One middle school teacher took on this challenge — so you don’t have to. For her TED-Ed Innovation Project, US History teacher Jennifer Hesseltine created a digital homework space that students love. Here are her step-by-step instructions on how you can do it too:”

Librarian Approved: 30 Ed-Tech Apps to Inspire Creativity and Creation | MindShift | KQED News “Tool discovery is often a challenge for teachers interested in finding ways to use technology that will change the way they and their students work. With so much going on in the classroom, many teachers don’t have the time to test out various apps and find the perfect tool to meet their needs. Luckily, several tech-savvy librarians have been curating the apps their colleagues find useful and sharing the all-stars with one another through personal learning communities (PLC) and edWeb webinars.”
Education – Culture Victoria – Linkis.com A great source of information about life in the state of Victorian
The Other 21st Century Skills: Educator Self-Assessment | User Generated Education Jackie Gerstein designed useful chart featuring 12 attributes and skills that teachers should tend to in their instruction. ” This post provides links and resources about these skills as well as an educator self-assessment. This assessment contains questions to assist the educator in evaluating if and how s/he is facilitating these skills and attributes in the learning environment.” It could be used as a self-assessment checklist to help evaluate teaching practice. Jackie’s set of attributes featured in this chart link in with Giroux’s view of education as a way of producing citizens who are ‘critical, self-reflective, knowledgeable and willing to make moral judgements and act in a socially responsible way.
5 Excellent Rubric Making Tools for Teachers ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning This is an annotated list of 5 useful applications. “Rubrics are helpful for both teachers and students: teachers can use them when designing lesson plans and grading assignments; students can use them to make sure they meet the learning expectations and requirements of an assignment or project work. Rubric making should not be a complicated task, it should only speak to the core requirements of a given task while channeling focus to the learning outcomes. There are  a wide variety of web tools and mobile apps teachers can use to create rubrics.”
How to Start a Blog – ReadWriteThink “No matter what kind of entries teens write, blogs give them a chance to communicate with their readers. Like any kind of writing, composing a blog entry gives teens practice in organizing and presenting their ideas effectively. Once a teen posts an entry, readers can ask questions, make comments, and provide encouragement. This process teaches teens the importance of paying attention to what readers say and think. Teens can later apply these skills to every other kind of writing that they do.”
Free Technology for Teachers: How to Use the New Version of Padlet Richard Byrne exlainshow teachers can make the best use of the 2016 version of Padlet. “Padlet introduced a revamped version of their online corkboard tool. The core functions of Padlet are still the same, but the user interface has changed a little bit. The primary changes are in the way that you customize your Padlet boards. In the video that is embedded in the posthe provides an overview of this version of Padlet”
[3934] 3 Things Every Teacher Must Know About Digital Citizenship An “Every classroom matters” program presented by Vicki Davis where Gord Holden discusses with her three important things about digital citizenship and young people.
Things Every Teacher Should Know About Digital Citizenship @coolcatteacher An “Every classroom matters” program presented by Vicki Davis where Gord Holden discusses with her three important things about digital citizenship and young people.
8 digital skills we must teach our children | World Economic Forum A short piece about how we can assist you people to better understand how to make the best use of the digital world. It looks at “Digital intelligence or “DQ” whixh is defined as the set of social, emotional and cognitive abilities that enable individuals to face the challenges and adapt to the demands of digital life. These abilities, that can broadly be broken down into eight interconnected areas are explained”
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Preparing Students to Present

Our year 7 students have a couple of major presentations this semester – in English and Science. The points in this infographic are both simple and pertinent. I hope to put this infographic up in each year 7 home classroom to serve as a reminder to both teachers and students

An Ethical Island

Students will at some point be required to give a presentation. If the students are prepared, they are more likely to be comfortable. Here are 27 ways to help prepare students for successful presentations. The main thing I left out was to create an open,team environment… where  mistakes = learning…. and every presentation is a success.

presentation

What do you do to prepare?

~Mia

View original post

Useful links

Technology Addiction Research Executive Summary | Common Sense Media “The executive summary of our research brief Technology Addiction: Concern, Controversy, and Finding Balance highlights the six key findings from the report; presents findings from a poll of over 1,200 parents and teens examining how families feel about their mobile device use and how that use is affecting child-parent relationships; and offers advice for creating balance in this “always connected” world.”

Redesigning Thinking in Libraries with Hamish Curry (with images, tweets) · camillaelliott · Storify Storify “Redesigning Thinking in Libraries with Hamish Curry. At this workshop hosted by School Library Assoc of Victoria, Hamish Curry of NoTosh guided library staff through a design thinking approach to exploring the future possibilities for their individual school libraries.”

Makerspace Ideas & Resources For Maker Education “Makerspaces.com is made up of makers, geeks, educators, technology/stem leaders, library media specialists, librarians, school principals & superintendents, instructional technology specialists, edtech leaders, maker educators, makerspace operators, 3d printing enthusiasts, robotics club and so much more. Our mission is to bring makerspaces into the educational system, so we can bring the educational system into the 21st century. “
Take Charge To Maximize Your Library’s Online Presence | School Library Journal All libraary staff want to provide excellent library services for users, to be more integrated into the fabric of our communities, and to impact student engagement and achievement. This article looks at what you can do to improve your online presence to work towards accomplishing this. Recommendation: “Start small, learn from others, and make your online presence a priority. Your students, staff, and community deserve it!”
Architect Andre Chiote’s Minimalist Library Illustrations Focus on the Buildings’ Architectural Details – CityLab These posters offer artists impressions of the library buildings – with no books, but plenty of architectural details.
How Google Impacts The Way Students Think Interesting reflection on how we use Google and what thinking goes with that.
Moving at the Speed of Creativity | Comparing Risks and Benefits of a PreTeen YouTube Channel Wesley Fryer reflects on his daughter’s foray into the digital world. “While Shelly and I acknowledge the risks Rachel is facing by publishing a YouTube channel and using social media channels like Twitter and Instagram, at this point I do think the benefits of her learning, literacy development, and identity formation outweigh them. Decisions like these are definitely going to vary by family and by parent. I’m thankful we have open lines of communication to continue talking about what she’s doing and encountering. It’s certainly a dynamic situation that could change at any time”
What Does Learning Commons Mean for Your School? | PFAU LONG ARCHITECTURE  A reflection about one school library faculty’s goal of creating a positive learning environment with space that would help students and teachers develop real-world connections and the approach they took to creating it. The ideas for the space included housing the collection, helping students and teachers collaborate, being a hub for learning with a flexible floor plan and supporting newly developing areas in educational technology. The school decided to create a learning commons to move beyond traditional thinking about libraries and respond to what the kids and teachers really needed. The faculty envisioned their environment to be developmentally appropriate for their young students, as well as to foster a sense of creativity, inspiration, and encourage dialogue and a sense of community. The new learning commons library offered more space for stacks, added conference rooms and a lounge area, but the learning commons concept informed more than the library. These design changes increase opportunities to be inspired by student work and performances and create stronger interpersonal connections among students and faculty.
Free Newspaper Template Pack For Word. Perfect For School “Post has links to newspaper templates. it includes some good designs that students can choose from to create their own newspaper. They are all for Microsoft Word.
Student-Made E-Books: A Beautiful Way to Demonstrate Learning | Cult of Pedagogy
How to Use Padlet in the Classroom: A Fantastic Teaching Tool “Padlet is a versatile and easy-to-use tool. The post offers a great way to learn the basics.
So Many Fun Ways To Use Blabberize In The Classroom — Emerging Education Technologies “Blabberize is a free online tool that allows you to quickly create talking images. It provide opportunities to improve student engagement and collaboration. This post offers some ideas and examples of how it coould be used.
How Game-Based Learning Can Help Students of All Ages Learn | Edudemic
http://www.edudemic.com/game-based-learning-help-learn/

Game-based learning offers an approach where learning and play aren’t at odds with each other; in fact, games are the vehicle and environment for learning.
Printing Press A way for students to create a more professional version of their work. Works (short/stories/poems) can be published using the ReadWriteThink Printing Press. It is interactive and uses 3 simple templates. Students can save their draft then share it or publish it when they are happy
B’s Book Love : Technology-Based Poetry Activities for Poetry Centers and Poetry Stations A how-to about creating digital blackout poems. “These can help struggling readers focus on the MOST important words in the poem to find the main idea/theme of the poem in a fun and artful way:” There is an example of how to use You Doodle as well as a non-technology option.

Create Time-stamped Multimedia Notes on Your Android Device | Android 4 Schools This looks to be a promising app for ome of the students i work with who have difficulties with text but very good auditory and thinking skills. “Mic Note is a free Android app that allows you to create voice recordings, text notes, and image-based notes on one concise notebook page. The notes that you record with your voice can be time-stamped by clicking on your Mic Note note page while you’re recording. You can also take notes without recording any audio. ”

Top 100 education apps by subject and grade – Microsoft in Education A useful curated list of 100 microsoft education apps that you can get frokm the Windows Store. Downloadable PDF doc.
100+ Great Google Classroom Resources for Educators This is a very comprehensive post from Vicky Davis. It is a consolidation of the many things that Google can offer teachers and students. They are categorized under useful headings, many links to follow up and some useful videos are also embedded.
How to Use Padlet in the Classroom: A Fantastic Teaching ToolA very comprehensive explanation about how teachers could use Padlet with their classes making it a very versatile tool. Includes links and video
What Counts as Civic Participation? | Harvard Graduate School of Education A discussion that considers what we have included in our citizenship courses and what should/might be included now that the on-line world is so readily available to most.
Word Mover – ReadWriteThink Word Mover (By ReadWriteThink) is designed to help students develop poems and short stories Students can use word banks already created or they can also add new words to the list. They can then drag onto a canvas they have selected to construct their poem or story. They are also able to manipulate and move the text as they wish to creatively publish poetry. There are six different categories and 12 canvas backgrounds students may select. Useful lesson plans that use the app for a variety of learning levels and subjects are also shared.
Should I Download That App? A Ten Question Checklist for Choosing Tools Worth Your—and Your Students’—Time | EdSurge News Advice worth looking at. “Whether you are a classroom teacher, instructional coach, or administrator, ask yourself these ten questions before going any further”
Teaching literacy is more than teaching simple reading skills: it can’t be done in five easy steps | EduResearch Matters A good article about developing literacy skills. “All Australian children and young people becoming literate I believe it is vital we understand and define the complexity of literacy. Literacy encompasses the knowledge and skills students need to access, understand, analyse and evaluate information, make meaning, express thoughts and emotions, present ideas and opinions, interact with others and participate in activities at school and in their lives beyond school. “
Make a Book Map with Google Maps – Reading By Example “A nice class activity when the books, being read by the students, have specific locations for the settings. You can create a book map using My Maps from Google to highlight the settings in which these texts took place.”
Your Library@CSU: The Wonders of Trove “Trove was created and ismaintained by the National Library of Australia (NLA). It allows users to find and use resources relating to Australia, from more than 1000 collections; spanning libraries, museums, galleries, archives, govt agencies, research orgs, and other unique Australian content.  There is a useful how-to video embedded in the post”
Note Taking Skills for 21st Century Students @coolcatteacher “Note taking skills aren’t just automatic. We tell students “take notes” but they have no idea what that means. What makes “good notes.” What do they write down? How should notes look?” Lesson plans and teaching ideas for teachers
Worlds of Learning | Makerspace Vision Statement “What makers this process unique is that it offers a thematic approach to planning and creating a makerspace.  After deciding upon the themes you want to advance in your makerspace, and procuring the necessary equipment, materials and supplies to support each theme, attention can be given then to designing the physical aspects of your makerspace.  A good place to start this process is to think about your school’s mission statement and vision and then think through how your makerspace can be seen as a physical representation of that strategy.  “
What is a Makerspace? | Create, Collaborate, Innovate Author looks at the universal ideas/themes that lie behind different types of successful makerspaces.
21 Digital Tools To Build Vocabulary – Annotated list of tools. “Digital tools must coexist alongside more traditional tools. Online tools, compared to their more traditional counterparts, can provide a broader array of information about words and word meanings. Some tools also allow teachers to customize words so that students can practice, review, and play games with content or unit-specific words. “
EdTechTeam: Get coding in your classroom! Enter the Challenge.“Do your students code?” Some ideas to get you started – not all digitech heavy and many other resources are freely available.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Character Scrapbook: responding to Wonder

In Wonder by R. J. Palacio. the author has provided the reader with details not only about the main character August (Auggie) Pullan), but several other characters who

The information about the characters has been written down by the author in descriptive sentences, events that directly involve charactesr, and by how the characters behave, think and say about each other and especially the main character.

There will be several ways for students to show what they have identified about a character from the novel. They will begin by createing a digital scrapbook for a character of their choice.

Character Scrapbook is produced by Scholastic and is a web resource that is a simple to use. It offers a reader’s response activity that students can use to analyse any character in a book or story.

The template allows them to include details and reflections about a character through text, but it also provides the students with an opportunity to create a visual representation of that character.

Character Scrapbook (Scholastic)

On the left-hand “page” they can choose from a selection of options (including some animal options) to build up an “identikit” image of their character.

On the right-hand side they list the character traits. There are 6 different “pages” that the students need to fill out to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the character. These include:

  1. Ten things I know about XX
  2. Ten words that describe XX.
  3. Ten facts about XX’s personality
  4. Ten details about XX’s personality
  5. Ten challenges XX faced in the story.
  6. Ten accomplishments XX achieved.

Once created they can save or print it as a type of scrapbook. .

It offers is a simple way to engage students and also offers an opportunity to help them form a deeper understanding of a book’s character(s).

Character Scrapbook could be utilized with fiction or non-fiction text as an individual, small group and/or even whole class assignment

There is a detailed teacher’s guide on the Scholastic site that has a detailed how-to as well as lesson extensions.

Some of the suggested Character Discussion Questions, designed to help students deepen their understanding of their characters, included the following:

  • How would this book be different without this character?
  • How did this character affect the events in this book?
  • How did this character affect the other characters?
  • How was this character shaped by the setting of the book?

Responding to the class novel: Wonder by R. J. Palacio.

Wonder wordlist-on cover image

Created using Tagul https://tagul.com/

This term our year 7 students are reading Wonder by R. J. Palacio. I have been working on different activities that our teachers could use with their classes. This week I have been working with one of the year 7 classes and they been the first to trial the some of the activities.

One of the first activities, for those that had finished reading the book, was to think about the vocabulary used in the novel, creating a list of words that the boys then created their own word searches. We use Word Search Generator that allows you to create your own printable “word find” worksheets. It is very simple and easy to use. There are several options that allow you to tailor the style of word search very easily. Some boys worked in pairs and others preferred to create one on their own. Some have already been shared with boys from other classes. Both groups have been totally engaged in their work and there has been some great discussion.

Wordsearch

An example of a word search

Wordsearch-Wonder

 

These same boys have now gone away to create crosswords using Eclipse crosswords. This is a tool I have used many times to generate crosswords as extension activities. Our student book club boys have created some, based on books they have been reading, recently as well.

These new crosswords will be shared with the class next week. Eclipse offers another very simple tool that allows boys to explore the language used in the novel.

Eclipse crossword 2016-html

Book Review: First Class Murder by Robin Stevens

Just finished the first week back after 5 weeks of long service leave. I took my kindle, loaded up with many novels and, as has happened before, some of the novels I took to read were set in areas I travelled through. I do not plan this but I suppose if I like English stories and I am lucky enough to spend it in the UK, it is bound to happen.

Whilst there I visited the several National Trust houses and gardens. I spent a week in the Torbay area, staying in Torquay. The weather was lovely and I was delighted to find I could take either a ferry or steam train to visit Greenway, the Georgian house and garden that was the holiday home of Agatha Christie. Many personal items and written reminiscences from family and friends make the visit worthwhile, especially if you are a Christie fan. There are many editions of her books and some of the estate has appeared in the Poirot television series.

There was also a connection with the latest Wells and Wong book.

First Class Murder (Wells and Wong, #3)First Class Murder by Robin Stevens My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third book in the Wells and Wong series. Robin Stevens has written another wonderful detective story for younger readers and paid tribute to the Queen of the crime novel, Agatha Christie. The setting for Daisy Well’s and Hazel Wong’s third mystery is on the Orient Express. The year is 1935 (only one year after the original ading | Tagged: book review, children’s_literature,publication date of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express”) and the details of the 1930’s train and the passengers seem very realistic. Hazel and Daisy have been taken on holiday by Hazel’s father, who has forbidden them to do any more detecting but once again the girls are caught up in a mystery.
In this story, just like the “Murder on the Orient Express”, the plot depends on one of the passengers on the train being the murderer and a detective on the train who will have to interview all the passengers to discover just who is telling the truth and who is lying.
There are some very questionable characters in the first class carriage with Hazel and Daisy as well as Hazel’s father, who is trying to keep a close watch on the two girls. However, with their usual determination they are soon on the case.
In another nod to Agatha Christie, one of our young detectives, Daisy, is actually reading a copy of “Murder on the Orient Express” in this story.
This is a mystery story, with spies, priceless jewels and a murder, that will keep young readers guessing until the “clever denouement”. I would recommend it to anyone who loves the challenge of unravelling a good mystery.
A list of the series on Robin Steven’s website http://robin-stevens.co.uk/the-books/
About the author: Robin Stevens

View all my reviews

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