Sunday, February 24, 2013

Wondering at work

Last Thursday some colleagues and I were treated to a day with the Apple Educators team at Ciragan Palace Hotel. The hotel is number 14 in the 15 most expensive hotels in the world. Luxury and History rolled into one. I admit - I was a little sceptical about the day - I was expecting to have Apple products promoted all day long. We were all given ipads to play with but apart from that there was little mention of Apple products. We were there to look at teaching and learning and that we did. 

My favourite part of the day was with Ewan MacIntosh. He was talking about creativity and problem solving and how we can use some of the models for creative thinking on how to help our students become great inquirers. He has been working with schools to help them develop classrooms which create inquiry. One of the things he had them doing was to generate as many questions as they could right at the start of the Inquiry. They write them on post-it notes. Then they classify them as Googleable and nonGoogleable. The Googleable questions they then go and find out about directly from the Internet. They gather as much information as they can to become experts in their particular interests. Then they try to find experts in the fields to directly ask the questions. The students become problem finders and then problem solvers. 

Ewan MacIntosh speaking about problems and problem solving on TEDx

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Love Reading Week - Author visit

Author visits are fantastic. Ree Gillett and her puppets were a big hit with our students. She spent two days with us and shared not only her story and songs but also provided some great thinking routines for teachers to use with their students. Thanks Ree.

Ree and Freddy visit our school on PhotoPeach

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Love Reading Week starts tomorrow...
I have written 15 quizzes - one for each day of the week at the three levels; lower primary, upper primary and secondary. The idea is for classes to take the quiz each day. The questions are of course about books, our library, our library management system, Destiny, and searching. Last year these were really popular - I hope they will be again.

In the secondary quiz the final question each day is the answer to a google a day Google post a new question daily and people have to use their search skills to answer it. I am hoping this will lead to some homerooms deciding to take the Google a day quiz each morning. 

Why a daily quiz? It is part of our desire to become an Inquiry Library. 

Other events and activities this week - Ree Gillett is visiting both campuses. It is exciting to have an author visit during Love Reading Week. Every lunchtime we will have story readings for both primary and secondary students. On Friday we have a school spirit day - dressing up as a book character. Our PYA is running a Book Swap at both campuses. 

It will be busy. It will be fun. I hope it will be a great celebration of our love for reading.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Making thinking visible 370.152

This afternoon our Professional Learning Group (PLG) began our discussion of Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church and Karin Morrison. Our PLG has been going for two years and with staff leaving and  new staff coming in each year the number remains about 8 - 10 people. Up until now we have read articles and reports to discuss. Terie (my colleague, teaching coach and HOD Math) and I try to provide treats to eat - today Terie made an amazing carrot cake for us - good food and friendly chat with colleagues makes for a great PLG meeting. This is our first book. We started with the first two chapters. 

We started by viewing one of the clips from the DVD that came with the book. This is a new variation on our PLG. It did slant our discussion towards critiquing the thinking routine we saw being used rather than the chapters we had read. I have been trying to use thinking routines more in my lessons these days as I want the students much more involved and engaged with their own learning. The focus of the first chapter was to show how thinking and learning share the goal of creating understanding. The thinking routines, explaining thinking through Blooms taxonomies or other models all need to enable the students to come to an understanding of the subject they are learning.

We will be reading the entire book and discussing it over the next few weeks. More cake and friendly chat to come.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Getting ready for Love Reading week

 The week after next will be our annual "Love Reading Week" . Well when I say 'annual' we started last year and we are doing it again this year and will be continuing again next year - that makes it annual doesn't it?

Last year all the primary classes wrote poems which began "I read because..." inspired by the poem by Richard Peck 

I read because one
 life isn’t enough, and 
in the pages of a book I can be anybody;
I read because the 
words that build 
the story become mine, 
to build my life;

I read not for happy
 endings but for new
 beginnings; I’m just
 beginning myself, and 
I wouldn’t mind a map;

I read because I have
 friends who don’t, and
 young though they are,
 they’re beginning to
 run out of material;

I read because every
 journey begins at 
the library, and it’s
 time for me to start 

I read because one
 of these days I’m going
 to get out of this
 town, and I’m going to
 go everywhere and meet
 everyone, and I want
 to be ready.”

–Richard Peck, author
, Zihuatanejo, Mexico, 

So each student wrote their own line to add to the poem and then I created a tagxedo cloud picture. I blogged about the whole week last February.

Now getting ready for this year we have added to the mix - an author visit, reading in the library at lunchtimes and a final dress sup day (what was I thinking?)

I have yet to write the quizzes which were such a big hit last year. I am thinking of adding a Google a day to the secondary school one just to see how they go.

More on this later - obviously...