Monday, 16 February 2015

February Catch-Up

So... I really do suck at keeping up with the daily posts aye. Oh well. Started off well. Not.

The problem is... I'm more likely to write if there is no pressure to. If I want to write I will. Sometimes I just don't have anything to say.

This month though there has been plenty.

Like my amazing new social studies class. Always asking pondering questions as we begin our year looking and immersing ourselves within the context of the Holocaust and Human Rights. Or lack thereof in most cases we'll look at. How they consistently develop a empathetic and resounding awareness of the pain and torture these people went through. That they're critically thinking... already. I'm just completely blown away at how awesome they are.

My new classroom is beginning to take shape. It needs a hell of a lot more tlc but it's getting there. A new bracket for the projector to connect to the ceiling and some new curtains would be a fabulous start. The desks continue to move as students adjust the learning environment. Beanbags are used but they are beginning to lose their novelty which is great and instead are being opted for learning rather than because it's cool. Trying to create spaces for each individual student is hard. Harder when you're working in a class that used to be two tiny classes. The outside area is absolutely brilliant though. Students out on the grass in the sun and under the shade. Very very cool. And out of the way of the rest of the department too which is great.

Trying to figure out what to teach my English classes... am now thinking I have Y12L sorted - Paper Towns and Fault in our Stars by John Green for their novel. Still a huge class so it's important that there are enough novels. Cloud Atlas for the visual text.

11English... V for Vendetta - visual text. A dystopian collection for novel - The Giver, The Hunger Games and Divergent.
Having such a range will help coming to the 1.8 assessment too.

12EngA... is a bit harder. Still a big class but film needs to be just right. Also want to do some written text with them too. Maybe Kate and Witi's short stories again? Hmm...

10English is harder still. Mainly because I had them last year and also because I don't know all of the kids properly yet. Film: Freedom Writers or Remember the Titans? Novel: White Ute Dreaming? I need to have another look.

Really enjoying the meetings with K and N where we discuss social studies and how we're going. Collaborative discussions are awesome! Really enjoy working together that way and hope it begins to cross over into other areas. I feel like I'm being stretched to think differently and fully about the teaching and learning and assessment in my classroom. More importantly it's cool just sharing resources with K :)

I'm keen to flip but hard when I can't have devices in class and not everyone has them at home.

Still struggling with the fact that our students don't have email addresses. Maybe if our IT guy saw what we can do with them or if we had a solid digital citizenship programme and moved away from the cybersafety/control aspect perhaps we'd have more of a chance. Maybe if we looked into Hapara Teacher Dashboard too then maybe...

I'm looking forward to going to the Excel meeting at Boys High tomorrow too. Will be good to meet the Auckland researchers and meet some of the pedagogy team.

Was really good to see that D wanted me to go to it too. Made me feel appreciated and hopefully be a source of help when we finally start moving this massive ball towards BYOD. Eventually.

What I'm frustrated with mostly is that it's just an email. Yes there will be teething issues and bullying. But there already is. We need to think beyond those cybersafety/control issues and more about the potential just having school emails have for their learning. Google Classroom for instance. Accessing apps and Drive effectively. Being able to use Flubaroo and other eLearning tools. The fact that they blog and email at primary schools.... gah.

Ok. I feel better now.

I just need to keep looking forward. Tomorrow at Boys will be good. Need to stay positive because things will change. They have to. For the betterment of our kids.

Also... should probably do a session on using Google Apps for Education at school. Need to see when those Professional Learning Communities are going to start.