Winter reading

Home these last few days and weather is bitter outside. Decided to sit inside and read some books I have had on my bookshelves for a while now.

The first is by an Australian YA author, Tristan Bancks. I often read his blog posts and pass on many of his tips and advice to my students.
The FallThe Fall by Tristan Bancks

This is a nicely plotted crime thriller for middle-years readers, with shades of Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Sam Garner, staying at his Dad’s 5th floor apartment whilst recovering from leg surgery, is hampered in his movements because he is on crutches. He has not left the flat since arriving almost a week before. In the middle of the night he is awoken by an argument in the apartment above. Hobbling to the window to hear better, he is further shaken when a body falls past the window onto the ground below. He goes to find his crime-reported dad only to find he is alone. Going back to the window he sees another man below bending over the body. Was it the killer and did he spot Sam? Although very frightened he goes to investigate a little further only to find the body has disappeared.
Sam begins to wonder if what he saw was real until someone breaks in to his Dad’s apartment.
The reader is drawn into the story and is pulled along with Sam as he tries to make sense of what he has seen and what he suspects might be happening. Sam is a realistic character. He has anger issues he has been dealing with and idolises his father, who until now has been absent from his life, and wants to follow in his fathers crime-reporting footstep. He’s no superhero on the surface, instead is scared most of the time but what he endures proves that he has strengths he didn’t know he had. All the characters, including his mum and dad, are believable and you can sympathise with all of them.
Tristan Bancks has created strong characters, recognisable settings and a suspenseful plot that should keep the readers totally engaged to the end.

The second is a biography written as a graphic novel about a long-time favourite Agatha Christie.
Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha ChristieAgatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie by Anne Martinetti

This was fun read. A long-time fan, I read all her books when I was a teenager and occasionally go back to them for some light entertainment and relaxation. It is written as graphic novel which offers a very insightful glimpse into Agatha Christie’s life, ranging from her childhood to her death and covers her mysterious disappearance to Harrogate. It was also an interesting device – using imaginary conversations she had with her most famous characters, Poirot, Miss Marple and Tommy and Tuppence Beresford.
Last year I read The Mystery of the Blue Train, and visited her home Greenway in Devon as well. This slim biography is another nice acknowledgement of the amazing writer and woman known as Agatha Christie.

Advertisements

Useful links 06/09/2017 (p.m.)

  • Goodreads | Tristan Bancks’s Blog – Vision Boarding for Writers – June 08, 2017 05:57

  • Python – teachwithict  A collection of free Python lessons Lessons include: Shakespearean Insult Generator, Magic 8 ball, Sorting hat, Mad Libs, Chat bot and Coding Golf

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

Useful links

  • Fantastic, Fast Formative Assessment Tools | Edutopia Good formative assessment removes the embarrassment of public hand raising and gives teachers feedback that impacts how they’re teaching at that moment. Instant feedback. This post explains how we can do this in a way that suits our classes best. Tools are listed and discussed. Direct links to them are provided.

  • 15+ Ways of Teaching Every Student to Code (Even Without a Computer) | Edutopia  “Every student in every school at every level should be taught how to code. They need this skill not because they’ll all go into it as a career but because it impacts on every career in the 21st-century world. Any country recognizing that will benefit in the long term.” There is an annotated list of resources that can be used to teach programming to every student at any age.

  • Stop telling people to love libraries – Library AF – Medium  4 ways to flip advocacy on its head. it’s about doing not talking.

  • Computational Thinking Across the Curriculum | Edutopia “Bringing computational thinking into your classroom is simple, and can only help your students achieve the learning objectives you’ve already identified. Think about these skills and attitudes when planning lessons, and use this language throughout the year. Introduce some ambiguity in your projects, link lessons to real-world examples and evidence, and dream big—over time, your students may surprise you with the connections they make and their confidence in diving into new challenges.” Links to classroom lessons as well.

  • The Ultimate EdTech Chart for Teachers and Educators ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning  This list features a number of key websites and online resources arranged into different learning area categories. Not all areas are covered. The purpose is to provide teachers with a repository of EdTech websites that can potentially help them with the teaching their classes.

  • Why Effective Practice Is Just As Important As the Hours of Practice | MindShift | KQED News “Researchers believe that practice helps build up the protective layer of myelin, the fatty substance that protects axons in the brain. Axons move electrical signals from the brain to our muscles and when they are better protected by thick myelin they move more efficiently, creating an “information superhighway” between the brain and muscles.”

  • Python – teachwithict A collection of free Python lessons Lessons include: Shakespearean Insult Generator, Magic 8 ball, Sorting hat, Mad Libs, Chat bot and Coding Golf.

  • Learning Blog: 5 Subject-Specific Ideas For Using Google Forms  Google Forms is a useful tool to collect student responses.You can add images quickly and easily. There are 5 options discussed here.

  • Learning Blog: 10 Tools For Student Voice Welcome! – Computational Thinking Curriculum at Excel Some of the lessons and projects undertaken at the Excel Public Charter School.

  • Finding Age Appropriate Books for Gifted Readers Some ideas about where to find age-appropriate reading materials for gifted children.

  • 8 Good Android Science Apps for Elementary Students ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning  This is a list of useful tools if you are using Android devices with students in class. It is a collection of science apps curated specifically for elementary students. When using these apps, young learners will get to explore and learn about different science topics in fun, engaging and challenging ways.

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

Useful links

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

Why we should include infographics in our teaching

Many of our students have told me that prefer lesson that involve some visuals to aid their learning. They like images too stimulate their imaginations, explain data and to help them see connections. The infographic below offers 10 different reasons why we should use visual material when we are in our classrooms as well as what might work best for various types of  information.
Types of Visual Content to Improve Learner Engagement Infographic
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

Learning and games

I like the way this infographic explains the difference between game-based learning and gamification. We use both to create inreresting learning experiences in our school.

An Ethical Island

Here’s a brief- very brief- overview of different types of game-learning.

gamelearning
Creative Commons License
This work by Mia MacMeekin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

View original post

Useful links

 

Getting Critical About Critical Thinking | Edutopia “Critical thinking is when the brain is active, making connections to the material and applying original thought to the concept. It’s the difference between struggling to remember (“ugh!”) and struggling to solve (“yeah!”).” Whilst all kids think, not all activities trigger critical thinking. There are some ideas here that use targeted approaches and strategies to cause those young brains to work.

Writing 25 Word Stories [Handout] | THE TEMPERED RADICAL “A 25 word story is exactly what it sounds like:  A 25 word story.  It’s a writing style that I first discovered by following Kevin Hogdson — a really remarkable sixth grade language arts teacher — in Twitter. ”

5 Fantastic, Fast Formative Assessment Tools | Edutopia Updated post from @coolcatteacher (Vicky Davis.) ” Formative Assessment done as students are learning makes better teachers.” Some great ideas/tools discussed here.

Become an OneNote Expert in 50 minutes – Microsoft IT Showcase – YouTube Video how-to for the optimum usage of Microsoft OneNote, published on YouTube on 17 Feb 2017.
“Brian Moring, productivity trainer with Microsoft IT Showcase, demonstrates how to use OneNote for collaboration and increased productivity. Find out how to create a OneNote notebook, manage your task list and action items, and share notes in meetings. Shows how OneNote integrates with other Office apps, and learn how to access OneNote from Windows, iOS, or Android device. Brian answers questions about best practices for using OneNote.”

10 Reasons to Create Makerspaces in Your School – The Edvocate 10 things to consider when thinking about creating a makerspace in your classroom.. These should assist you to understand why you would consider it and encouragement to do it.

How to Self-Edit Infographic | Now Novel Learning how to self-edit your writing empowers you to polish your prose. Ernest Hemingway famously quipped that you should ‘write drunk and edit sober’. This might not be good advice for teetotallers (or in general). But there is a grain of truth in Hemingway’s words: you need a state of mental clarity that allows you to be methodical when editing. A professional editor who has polished many novels can turn your promising manuscript into a sleek novel. Yet if you can’t afford professional editing services at present, or want to tidy up your work before showing it to an editor, you can learn how to self-edit well. Useful infographic that lists the for top tips on editing your story

Write. Create. Publish: 4 Student-Centered Writing Projects to do Before Summer Break | Shaelynn Farnsworth Ideas to encourage students to start writing and sharing their voice with the classroom and globe. This will foster engagement, relevance, and practice with essential skills all students need.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves Test your comma IQ  – online quiz

School Librarians of Rhode Island Raising the Profile of Their Profession | School Library Journal  The School Librarians of Rhode Island (SLRI) found that the image students, and parents in particular, held of Rhode Island public school libraries was behind the times. It was clear that perception needed to evolve along with reality.What they decided to do is explained.

How to Use Google Forms’ New Quizzes Feature – Using Technology Better

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