Sunday, September 18, 2011

Middle Earth

If there is one major upside to seniors being out for mock exams its that you get to spend a lot more time with junior classes and you get time to spend on more creative and exciting lessons with them. I have just finished reading "The Hobbit" with one of my Year 7 classes so today was the day we started working on studying the content. I had a bag of molding clay in my room from an idea I had last term and we were finally able to use it. I started off by randomly giving them all one of the characters from the book to craft. They were then each given a lump of clay and some tools.
An amazing lesson of awesomeness ensued. A lot of them finished their character really quickly so went on to create a setting from the novel. They simply wanted to play with the clay so when I told them they had to make something novel related in order to get more clay to work with the entire Middle Earth appeared on our front table. It was amazing and I was blown away with most (if not all) of the work they produced.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Perfectly poetic

Wow, I had the most amazing poetry lesson with my Year 9's today. I started off by gathering 12 photos of just random things from the net. I then printed those off, laminated them and then sellotaped them to the top of a piece of white A3 paper. I wrote the following instructions on the board:

Steps 1-3 Step 4 and poem

They created the most awesome poems and were so on task and focused the whole lesson. Half of them even stayed late into lunchtime to share what they had made. Here are a few pics of them in action:

Troy and Geoff


Wave of sound

On task BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Act of teaching

Sometimes I feel like a full-time actor rather than a teacher. It can be something as simple as hiding my laughter when someone answers a question in an obviously wrong manner. Or more serious like on Friday when I was in absolute agony with chest pains but pretend like I was alright. In the end I could act no more and broke down and told the kids I had to leave because of the pain.
Why do we feel like we have to be superhuman in front of our classes. I share way more with my kids than I probably should. Most of them know about my battle with depression, they know where I last worked and that I went to the rival high school when I was a student. Yet despite this I felt I couldn't let them see me vulnerable.
I wonder if it would have been different if I had been at an all girls school, am I become staunch because I am surrounded by boys all the time? The teachers I remember most were ones I had a personal relationship with and knew as more than just a teacher. It's that fine line we seem to dance around a lot as teachers.

On an unrelated note my doctor wrote "tonite" on my medical notes. I just lost all faith in him.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Proud teacher moment

Well, we did it! I am using a very loose version of 'we' as I actually did very little. But as a school we have just finished our production run of High School Musical. It was phenomenal. Absolutely legend - wait for it - ary.

I had my absolutely proud teacher face on for most of the last two weeks. They have just been so focused, determined and dedicated. Unfortunatly this has resulted in a lot of time out of class, but our cricket/rugby/football/tiddlywinks/any sports team have far more lessons off so I can absolutely let them have 2 lesson off out of the year for a production of such epic magnitude.

There were over 300 people involved in making the production such a success, and all 5 shows were sold out. Man, the buzz was just unbelievable. It's shows like this, when everyone comes together for a common epic goal, that make being a teacher so totally worth it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

After the break

I always thought that an 11 week term wasn't really that bad, it was only one week longer than usual, but of course I was mistaken. By the end of last term I was so exhausted that nothing but an epic 15hour sleep could renew me. So when I found myself on a plane flying to Auckland on Sunday afternoon after only one day of rest, I was wondering why the hell I had actually thought that going to a 4 day conference in the middle of my much needed holiday was a good idea.

It turned out it was much more than a good idea, it was an amazing experience. I was able to meet all these people that I had only been communicating with in the virtual world up until now. I mingled with some of the best in the country at what we do. I attended lectures with fantastic keynote speakers from around the world. I came back buzzing with new ideas and inspiration.

The only downside was that it was in e first week of the holidays, which meant that when I came back buzzing with ideas and inspiration I still had a week and a half of my holidays before I could really put my ideas into action.

I have still managed to set up quite a few things though. I have set up my own Weebly account so I can share photos, videos and students work with our wider school community. I have set up a google doc. that my Year 9's are using to collaboratively write their own novels. I have been using emails and their own private facebook pages for alerts on homework and assessments that are due (without them being able to actually access my personal page). There were so many ideas that were shared that I haven't found a use for yet but I am constantly looking.

I have been to my fair share of boring, mundane and irrelevant PD days, but this was something more. This was relevant, exciting and forward focused. I have been scouring the NZ teaching pages to look for new PD sessions I can attend now. It has made me fall back in love with learning, which I have always been but my passion has now been fully reignited. After suffering such crippling depression last year it was just what I needed at the right time to really lift me up.

So thank you so much to everyone who helped organise it, or presented or even attended. It was a fantastic way to spend some time in the holidays am I am very appreciative of all of you.

Cheers :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Google docs

So this week I got asked to present at staff meeting. It's always nice to know that even as a so called "baby teacher" my colleagues still recognise my strengths and want to learn from them. So I did up this presentation which is the absolute basics about using googles docs to share work with your students. I have set them up for 2 others in my department and am starting to use them a lot more myself as well. I also use Moodle, and as much as I love it, there are just some things that are easier to use google docs for.

About an hour ago the staff meeting was called off because the IT guy is away sick and the other person they were meant to be meeting to continue on from my discussion had his car break down on the way in. So seeing as I had spent so long setting up this presentation I had to share it somehow, so I thought I would upload it here for anyone who is unfamiliar with google docs and how they can help:

(Hopefully that worked!)

Hope you like it. If anyone has some stunning ideas as to how else they can be used in an English classroom then let me know! I am always looking for good IT relevant as well as classroom ideas :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011