iPads – good or bad?

I admit I’m addicted to my iPad – it means I don’t have to fight the rest of my family for the computer and I can access Uni study materials from the comfort of my lounge.  However I wonder at what age should children have iPads.  I admit that my own children (8 and 11) have their own (they had to save half of the cost first) and I am the first to acknowledge that at times they spend way too much time using their iPads.  The advantage – they both use it to help with homework (online dictionary, etc) and they use skype to keep in touch with their grandparents while they travel around Australia and my youngest uses the google maps to find her way to familiar locations (and discover some not-so-familiar but still interesting locations eg Eiffel Tower).

I came across Alana Young’s blog discussing the pros and cons of iPads at school.  You can access her blog at http://ictandstudents.edublogs.org/2013/06/06/pros-and-cons-ipads-in-the-classroom/


Class Dojo

After reading posts on facebook about Class Dojo, I decided to download it to my iPad.   Class Dojo is a behaviour management tool, which captures and generates data on students behaviour.  It looks quite user friendly (if you can ignore the “helpful” emails from the developer reminding you to register your class).

Kelly Frintzila successfully used Class Dojo on her recent prac and you can read her blog here http://mrsfrintzilas.edublogs.org/2013/05/22/improving-behaviour-with-a-little-help-from-dojo/.

Once you have entered your students names, the teacher can give positive or negative points (with comment) and generate reports at the end of the day/week.  Reports can also be prepared for parents.

I’m going to trial Class Dojo with my daycare kids (and have included my own children) to trial the software.



Interactive White Board (IWB) and EasiTeach

While on prac I had the opportunity to use the IWB (well for the 2 days it was working!) and was pretty impressed with what I could do.  The School used Easiteach software which I found quite user friendly.

By selecting the widget icon, the user can access the calculator, chart maker, clock, dice, equations, picture painter, place value, timer and much more.  One of the other teachers at my prac School developed a resource which could be used in early primary years as a literacy tool which randomly selects (pre-programmed) sight words for students to read.  This tool can also be adapted to use as a maths warm-up tool with students reading the numbers.

Easiteach isn’t the only software available for IWB, just one that I have recently discovered.

If you know of any other user-friendly IWB software programs, I’d love to hear about them.



Prac update 2

Well prac was a huge success!  Although we didn’t have a lot of ICT to use, I tried to incorporate it as much as I could.  The students started using Reading Eggs and the teacher had students bring printed certificates to show her – even from some kids who never did homework!  They loved it and often asked if it was part of the day’s rotations!  I would have liked to start them on studyladder also (for maths activities) but we had a few issues setting that one up.

At the start of my Science and SOSE lessons in week 1, I used an animation as the introduction.  The kids eyes lit up!  A few asked how the animation knew my name!

The students were working well in week 2 and instead of the usual 30 min technology session my mentor asked me to teach the students how to use the animations.   Here’s the one we did together –

Shark Animation

The students loved it so much we did one the last week on a wet weather morning tea.  I should mention that the students chose the animation, background and text!

Dog Animation

Now time to get moving on assignments to finish this semester.





















Prac update

I know I’ve been absent for a while but time to get back to the blogging grind.

I start my first prac in a school tomorrow.  Last week I had the opportunity to meet my prac mentor and class – they’re lovely (thankfully!).  I’m going to a prep/1 class in a small school in Brisbane south-west (200 students) which is a huge difference to the school my children attend (over 1,200 students).  On first impressions, it’s like another country!  Only 10 minutes from my house and this school is located between small farms!

This school has been highlighted in one of the EDC3100 learning activities for the possum boxes one of the teachers installed for students to observe the local possum habitat.  I was pretty happy when I found out I was lucky enough to be going to this school.

On arrival in my classroom, there is 5 computers, a data projector and an IWB (I guess a whiteboard as it isn’t interactive at the moment).   My mentor has asked me to prepare an activity for the Mon/Tues rotations – my first question – can I use the computers?  The problem with this is that the computers are spaced around the room – 2 on the left, 2 on the right and one at the front which presents supervision and assistance issues.  Hmmm.   So for the first few days I might give the ICT a miss until I can learn more about the students.  I’m teaching a SOSE lesson on Thursday (fish – farm to table) and a Science lesson on Friday so I think it might be best to leave my ICT for those lessons whereI have the whole class’ attention.

Class Blog

While I’m trying madly to add some blogs here tonight, I’ve come across a few students blogging about class blogs.   Their blogs reminded me about a class blog I came across while preparing assignment 1 for EDC3100.

Mrs Robyn Thiessen, a  grade 3 teacher in Surrey, British Columbia (Canada) and her grade 3/ 4 class started a class blog to complement students learning.  Mrs T’s blog can be viewed at http://mrstsgrade3sclassblog.blogspot.com.au/   Mrs T’s class aims to communicate via skype with teachers on each continent during this year.

I feel privileged to be included in this wonderful learning experience which will be held sometime during May 2013.  In addition, I have also spoken to my daughter’s grade 3 teacher who is keen to have the class participate in the skype conversation.

I will let you all know how I go.

Tips for Prac

Fellow student, Janine Allman posted a link to an interesting site on her blog, and a timely reminder for those students going on prac soon (I’m one of them!).

Top 10 tips for surviving prac:

  1. Be punctual –
  2. Dress appropriately
  3. Be flexible
  4. Follow School rules (classroom rules too)
  5. Plan ahead
  6. Befriend office staff
  7. Maintain confidentiality
  8. Don’t gossip
  9. Be professional with fellow teachers
  10. Don’t wait until the last minute to call in sick.


Frameworks/Models for sequencing learning

There have been times that I’ve listened to Uni lectures and thought “wish I had that bit of information before now”.   I had another one of those moments when I worked through the learning path for EDC3100 in week 5 and completed learnt about these other frameworks/models for sequencing learning. I’m guilty of using Bloom’s taxonomy too much (well let’s face it, so many courses in this Bachelor program include some discussion around Bloom’s).

This list certainly isn’t exhaustive, just gives us an idea of some other frameworks/models available that we should consider.   At our school, teachers use the Graduated Release of Responsibility – I do, we do, you do – which seems to work well.

I’m looking forward to my first prac placement in a school this May so I can explore a few more of these frameworks in my lesson planning.



Sequencing   logic


Dimensions of Learning Dimensions 1 – 5 built around   knowledge and aligned to the constructing/transforming construct. Retrieved from :   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuHMOVXenxg
5 step Inquiry Identify a question, Generate   hypotheses, Gather data, Assess hypotheses, Generalise Retrieved from:   http://www.caritasfsc.edu.hk/download/gis/GIMandResources.pdf
Bloom’s Taxonomy Understanding, Remembering,   Applying, Analysing, Evaluating, Creating Bloom, B. 1984 Taxonomy of   Educational Objectives Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA
Integrating Socially Tuning in, Preparing to find   out, Finding out, Sorting out, Going further, Making connections, Taking   action Hamston, J. and Murdoch, K.   1996, Integrating Socially: Planning Units of Work for Social Education,   Eleanor Curtin, Melbourne.
5 E’s Engage, Explore, Explain,   Elaborate, Evaluate Retrieved from:   http://enhancinged.wgbh.org/research/eeeee.html
TELSTAR Tune in, Explore, Look for   information, Sort the information, Test, Act, Reflect Department of Education,   Queensland. 1994, Social Investigators: An Approach to Active and Informed   Citizenship for Years 8-10, Brisbane.
Action Research Identify the problem,   Investigate the problem, Evaluate data, List possible actions, Predict   outcomes, Select the best action, Implement the action, Evaluate the action Department of Education,   Queensland. 1993, P-12 Environmental Education Curriculum Guide, Brisbane.