It’s all good, really

 

Image:  Galaxy black space                                                 First week back , term 2, 2015. All good, really. spaceI met my year 9s for the 2 hour double lesson yesterday morning and our  new topic was space. There is soooo much vocabulary to learn for space. Technology makes it easy and I have proof! For space I have made two different slide presentations which I converted to videos. We went through the presentations and we pronounced all the words. I had embedded those videos into a movie with space things and a loose narrative so we went over the vocabulary again. My laptop desktop was a map of Cité de l’espace in Toulouse. I explained what the areas were and then showed them 3 short videos in French about how school children have an excursion to the Toulouse space city and so they could see the real version of what was my desktop background. Some of our vocabulary was used in those videos. I played the slide presentations again to see if they could now tell me what all these words meant. We use Education Perfect for Language learning support. It’s a paid online learning tool and French covers the costs by doing everything electronically. I gave them 30 minutes to learn the space vocabulary there because I had set up the list. It’s divided into 4 ways of learning vocabulary and in the time they were learning so many of them were saying , “Look, I got 100%!” ” Look! I got 80%. That’s good isn’t it?” Some brought their iPads to show me. These students like taking learning risks because they know if they consider it unfair I will negotiate a fall back position if they speak to me about it. 20 mins into their online learning I announced they were having an online test in 5 minutes. Gasp! They ramped up their efforts and watched me set the test. I can do that in 3 minutes and the test came up on their iPads 2 minutes later. They had two chances at each word and 5 minutes to complete the 20 word test. This was the vocabulary we had just learnt that lesson. Education Perfect then emails me the results and notes the words/expressions students had the most difficulty with. All the students got 18 or 19 out of 20. There were four things they were having difficulty with. One student raised the issue they had lost a mark because they had not put a hyphen in. I could see it on his iPad. I have taught them to look out for assessment traps. The point was valid. We listened to two French songs as a break because we are looking at French music for our project this term. One of the songs meant I had to explain the difference between Francophone and French and how you get to be a French national. To finish the lesson we found a conversation in our book and worked with a partner to get the short conversation ready for today. Once I hear those I have a ProVoc presentation/ IWB quiz on the space vocabulary and then we’ll watch a French space cartoon. It’s good with technology. You can really get to work.

The great Year 10 Blogging Review

thinking-please-be-patient-thecuriousbrain.com_Image: Simple Life Strategies

My last post Why blog? was written live in class with my Year 10 students. This is the last week of Term 1 and we needed to review what we have been doing. I decided we’d do it as a blogpost fest with one post about why we blog and the other post about how we’d gone in French. Each post had 6 questions and an image and they were only allowed one sentence answers. I did the first post on my interactive whiteboard at the same time with them. One question at a time. I could show them how to do bold text. I  also wanted to show them how to backlink, make sure they ticked categories, tagged the post and then could change an image size and know how to acknowledge it properly. A number of them are really good at tagging and come up with some inventive and interesting tags. They are getting really good at picking interesting images too. I was doing my answers at the same time to take the strain off those who  were still finding blogging baffling.I did not want them going on holidays with bad feelings towards blogging. It took the pain away for them and they felt comfortable. All the class responses tell me they like and value blogging and can see worthwhile learning outcomes for themselves.

These are the questions I asked about their French for the second post:

1. What have you done this term in French that you are proud of?
2. Tu aimes le français? (Do you like French?)
3. Qu’est-ce que tu as planifié pour les vacances? (What have you planned for the holidays?)
4. Why do you need to be enthusiastic about learning languages in 2015?
5. We did Bretagne, comic characters, phone conversations and houses. Which one did you like the best and why?
6. What is one thing you can do next term to improve your French?

As for the responses to Why blog?

This is from one of the girls on her blog Pic Boisé :

Questions asked by my teacher:

1) What is the best thing about blogging?

I can voice the things I want to say online in an easy way. It is easy to write information that I gather and to show people what I know and what I do.

2) Why do you think blogging is so important in 2015?

Blogging is important in 2015 to share opinions and inform people. It is important to share ones knowledge with others in one way or another. The internet is used greatly so this is one of the best ways of informing people.

3) What is the best blog post you have written this year?

My two best blog posts are Les marchés d’Adélaïde or Bretagne! Brittany! I think the les marchés d’Adélaïde is good as it shows many things the Adelaide Markets has that is French. Bretagne! Brittany! is a good blog post as it informs people how to say common words in English, French and Breton.

4) What does blogging teach you?

Blogging has taught me just how simple it is to get your information and knowledge out to the world. Many people overseas have visited my blog which I was excited about. I didn’t think that this blog would be viewed internationally!

5) Are short blog posts or long blog posts more popular on your blog?

Long blog posts are more popular I have found as they have more information. As long as the blog post doesn’t drag on and get boring then long ones are more visited. They have more information from different sites with much relevance. Most of my blog posts are rather short but the longer ones are more viewed.

6) What is one of the things you can do better on your blog?

I think that I can improve my blog by adding more information on each topic.

This is a response from one of the boys on his blog Jbelf in France:

1. What is the best thing about blogging?

Sharing interesting info to the world and hearing feedback

2. Why do you think blogging is so important in 2015?

Most things are online or electronic now so if you want to connect with other internet blogging is great

3. Whats the best blog post you’ve written this year?

Montrer ma Maison because it was most viewed and I enjoyed having a really expensive house with a pool inside and living in the snow

4. What does blogging teach you?

On a couple of my posts about France and French life there have been comments that give me feedback but also teach me new things about France that I never knew

5. Are short blog or long more popular on your blog?

I find that short posts are more popular because they display the info without being too long that people will start getting bored

6. What’s one thing you can do better on your blog?

Post more frequently instead of once or twice a week and do post about things outside of the french classroom as well

The blog review has helped them to get a perspective on what we are doing and has underlined that all the hard work, fun and , at times, frustration have led to something they can now appreciate and value . They have also discovered the world cares about what they say and do. It has opened their eyes to the fact they can connect globally.They can even see their own way clear to the next step now. Reviewing blogging helps clarify the picture. At times, when you are new to it , it can be like working in the fog. High level learning is like that. Sunshine and blue skies in the learning arena now we have done our reviews and I have some valuable feedback to build on for next term.

Epson Easy Interactive Tools

Epson Easy Interactive Tools look a bit classier and give you some good options than the regular whiteboard tools which come with the Epson.These tools will work on any whiteboard, not just an Epson. It’s actually a good idea to do it this way. The tools which come with the board are straightforward , do not confuse people and do the job. When you are ready to move on, you can download the Easy Interactive Tools and watch this video which explains everything slowly and well. You can actually see what you can do and you can play the video and practise using the tools at the same time. That is a great way to learn because you are under no pressure to suddenly be good at something which might take a little bit of time for you to master. I use the option of showing things on the board and annotating it as I teach. It really means I can focus the learning and add to what I have selected as a visual part of my lesson. It means I can do things which are more complicated. I can erase it all in two clicks and then see how far we have come as a class. My capacity to use more and better resources is increased because of the options supplied with the Easy Interactive Tools. I have mentioned them in passing before because downloading them was the first thing I did when my new board was installed. The regular tools do a lot of the work for me but to have choices means I can change delivery modes easily and make better use of my board.

Add new !

mindset shiftLiz Watts (@fizwiz) put this up on Twitter last night and it’s a great graphic to stop you in your tracks and make you think about changing your mindset. When you carry a big workload, when you have done something for a while, you get into a routine and that can become a rut where you dig yourself deeper. The same old thinking gets the same old results. If you always do what you always did then you will always get what you always got. You know how that thinking goes. With classroom technology you have to be prepared to “add new”. You do it all the time with apps, software and sites. It’s the way technology works. It adds updates, a new interface, a new version, an upgrade, a new device. It is not going to be standing still so you have to develop a fluid mindset. It is what you also need to teach your students. They have to be encouraged to try something new, a different approach, a new platform. Offer choices. It is no longer one size fits all. Half way through my year 9 lesson yesterday we went into choose your own technology mode. Some went on the language learning site. Some used a variety of ways for recording their conversation. Some wanted to work on their Paris presentation. Two students had got themselves well ahead and so I offered them a chance to use the Elevator App to make their dialogue into an animated presentation like the one I had done at the beginning of term. It meant they had to learn to use the app. They were very excited when I said once they had done that they could import it into the fancy video app on my iPad and make something really cool. We negotiated that they would come and tell me when they had spare bits of time to do this because they were doing it as an extra. While I was helping other students and listening to dialogues I could see those two students were completely lost in their new learning. They were having to find a different way of doing things and it had invigorated them. It invigorated me too. I was learning if you know your software and hardware , you can personalise quite significant portions of learning for students without giving it over to making yourself redundant or superfluous to requirements. You are, in fact, critical to it all succeeding in a positive way.

What can a flipped classroom do?

I shall leave my last word for now on the flipped classroom to MADDrawProductions. I really like the way this video is made. I’d like to know which software was used. It demonstrates how easily you can explain something if you have the range of tools this video uses. It’s also a valid explanation of a flipped classroom. You are trying to use resources and technology to maximise the learning of individual students. They still need a teacher. They may not appreciate or understand the value of the resources you have supplied. They may not get the point of what is being said. They may not realise the implications of what they are learning. A teacher creates the meme trail for learning and sometimes you have to sit with a particular students and find the trail for them so that they can benefit from the overall content you are supplying. Trying to get that meaning to all of your students is the challenge. A multi modal approach increases the likelihood of meeting the needs of more students. This video has a nice way of explaining it all.

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