My classroom the past few weeks. . .

It’s been a busy time settling into a new school and teaching new classes, courses and curriculum! It’s been a happy adventure so far. I’ve been having a lot of fun with my classes, getting to know students has been the challenge. But just like them, I learn by doing – doing and having practical experiences with them.

ABOVE: Using conductive playdough  to make circuits and learning about levers – making catapults.

If you want the link to the conductive circuits practical: https://tinkering.exploratorium.edu/squishy-circuits and recipe: http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/apthomas/SquishyCircuits/conductiveDough.htm

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Reflections of a different classroom

In February I began attending a weekly craft gathering at The Happenstore in Annandale, which then transformed 2017 into the year of CRAFT! I spent the year knitting, crocheting, making, tinkering and sewing, there was no project unfinished and my hands never busy enough! I was continually inspired by the Tuesday “Craft night in” group, I loved our weekly chats, we shared skills, laughs, ideas. . . Even though I have been knitting for years I always thought of myself as untrained as I learnt from my Nanna to knit with instinct, eye and whim. At The Happenstore I worked my way through formal patterns, learning abbreviations, stitch names and techniques from those around me (and Youtube), getting assistance from the brains trust as I needed every Tuesday. . .

I was an inspired student in someone else’s space, I grew in confidence to try projects that were harder, learnt new skills and I challenged myself.

With my newfound confidence in December I put my hat in the ring for something I felt was quite brave, I applied to be a TEST KNITTER! *for those non-knitters, test knitters trial a pattern to work out necessary corrections prior to publication by making the pattern themselves* My test-knit application was successful and I worked with French knitwear and pattern designer Julie Dubreux aka “Julie Knits In Paris” – https://www.ravelry.com/designers/julie-knits-in-paris – Julie’s patterns and style aren’t the typical knit which is why I was attracted to her as a test knitter, she creates non-traditional patterns I would love to make and wear. Julie set up an email thread with the other 18 or so test knitters (who came from ALLLL over the world), Julie was intending to release the pattern at VOGUE KNIT LIVE in New York – I had a MONTH to make a sweater.

This was an opportunity to test myself and those growing formalised and refined skills. I was signing up to knit a jumper during the heat of summer!

I started small by swatching the yarn, testing needle sizes and practicing the techniques –  the design is called “Lolly Sticks” named after the alternating colourwork section that creates the shape. . .

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Then I began the pattern starting at the neck, calling out for help as I needed with the test knit email group as my support. . .

I continued to knit this merino jumper through the heat wave of summer, taking the project on trains, to picnics – sneaking in knitting time while dinner was cooking. . .

The jumper is almost finished with the last section on the second cuff to go, you can check out Julie’s pattern here: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lolly-sticks

 

I always think of myself as a reflective teacher, continually reflecting on my practice, improving and developing. A highlight of 2017 (the year of craft) is that I became an appreciative reflective learner. Becoming a part of unconventional classrooms outside my PLN and industry to focus on self development has left me feeling fulfilled by the challenge and personal growth.

If 2017 was the year of craft I am not yet sure what 2018 will bring.

Marking makes me happy! *said not enough teachers ever*

 

This familiar feeling . . . .

 

  

 

All too often we complain about marking, I do it!  Especially in junior years or at times of reporting when BULK work is collected and turned around at a stupid rate.

But really, when I actually sit down and open a student’s book, or read a final reflection, or see photos of a finished project my heart gets happy! 

As we come into our final term, that point where exams are being sat, student numbers used incorrectly, books collected, work samples scanned, projects finished, reports are being written – instead of sharing those memes, let’s share an item that makes our hearts happy!

 

Some photos from Year 8 Technology – Plant Production:

 

Crochet Pattern Reading

 

I can’t remember when I learnt to crochet, just like knitting it is something that my Mum taught me to do that was instinctive based on the look of the stitches, I understand the shape the trebles and chains create and only recently learnt how to read a pattern. Pattern reading has become one of my craft night goals, the ladies there have become my brains trust for recommendations, deciphering instructions and support through reading patterns. Jackie gave me her pattern and assisted me to start, initially walking me through the schematic image to match the techniques I knew to create a triangular shawl. . . .

 

 

Resources for new skills I learnt

Crochet pattern schematic key:

 

Creativity, making, learning. . .

There are fond memories in my life that have shaped me into a maker, a designer, a problem solver and a creative soul. Memories of standing on a stool while my Pa worked on his lathe, sawdust going between my ankles and socks, sitting at the dining table while my Mum sewed – using scraps to make finger puppets or scrunchies, Nana asking if I was cold – the next visit I would have a beautiful new handmade knit made especially for me. . .

 

While I teach design at high-school level, I practice my craft in works and projects of my own, to not only further develop my skills but to also promote a passion for design. In projects, I like to combine traditional techniques with advanced technologies to create imaginative design pieces. Recently I started spending Tuesday nights at The Happenstore, using the weekly craft night in as an opportunity to embark on a journey to continually develop my skills, my blog is also a reflective journal of my learning, experimentations and making. . . .

 

T-Shirt yarn projects – Textile industry waste

Before these T-Shirt yarn projects I had never crocheted in the round using a magic loop method for cast on, using this new technique I created a yarn basket as well as a baby rug:

 

Resources for new skills I learnt

Magic loop – http://www.crochet-world.com/blog/?p=7618

Crochet rug pattern I used as a starter –   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0lus0FjSlE

 

I have now been saving/collecting T-Shirts so that I can make my own T-Shirt yarn (rather than using premade t-shirt yarn).  I am thinking of it as a way to repurpose old clothing as well as the opportunity to use the same techniques with non-textile items as the material – such as plastic bags or re-woven textile waste materials (collecting various waste materials, cut offs and selvedges) . . .

 

“Australians are currently disposing of 6,000 kilograms of fashion and textile waste every 10 minutes, and while some of it may go to op shops, only about 15 per cent of donations are actually sold again locally.”

– http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-27/war-on-waste-make-your-own-clothes/8487510

 

Cultures of Thinking – Project Zero – Sydney

– I am so excited to share some of my notes with you from Saturday’s conference, it was a free PROJECT ZERO event at Shore School that I attended, it was much bigger than expected, with 550 registrations, a highlight of the day for me was seeing old friends and having time to have rich conversations with colleagues . . . . I will sum it up briefly by sharing some parts that were a standout for me. . . .
  
Ron Ritchhart was the keynote, his engaging talk covered some core Project Zero research projects . . . .
– The 8 cultural forces are:
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This video unpacks them nicely: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faXX-hETf68
 
An exercise he did with the audience was ask: “What are three things you did at the start of the school year to establish a culture of thinking amongst your students and in your classroom” it is a great reflective exercise and maybe one that you could do! – a follow up question was “what was one think you did to build that culture that you hadn’t done in the past”  — this is asked to acknowledge risks you take in the classroom to build better practice and deeper thinking. 
He then introduced the understanding map, this was really unpacked in great detail, so if you like the graphic below there is more information here: http://www.pz.harvard.edu/resources/understanding-map
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During his talk and my short workshops we were introduced to a simple questioning technique that makes students think deeper and use evidence: “what makes you say that” – maybe you could try using this questioning technique in your classes?
More reading on “What makes you say that” here —-> http://www.visiblethinkingpz.org/VisibleThinking_html_files/03_ThinkingRoutines/03d_UnderstandingRoutines/WhatMakes/WhatMakes_Routine.html
In my short workshops we were shown a thinking routine called “See – Think – Wonder” – this is used to encourage enquiry thinking, prompt students to seek their own research and to really build deep discussions about art, sources, artefacts and texts.
More info on the  “See – Think – Wonder” here —->  http://www.visiblethinkingpz.org/VisibleThinking_html_files/03_ThinkingRoutines/03c_Core_routines/SeeThinkWonder/SeeThinkWonder_Routine.html
The tweets the appeared on the #pzsydney hashtag really value added to the day! – Thank you to Andrea who created this awesome Storify:  https://storify.com/stringer_andrea/project-zero-sydney-pzsyd-25-feb-17#publicize
Thank you to the Project Zero team for hosting!

Differentiated PD – Innovation Focus

 

IMG_2037Today we started term 3 with a Staff development day, the focus was INNOVATION – and each workshop was to align with our school goals of: CREATIVITY, ENGAGEMENT and QUALITY ASSESSMENT.

This is the first time we have had a real go at differentiated PD for staff – with a variety of options and using our teaching staff as presenters/experts – T3 PD Workshops.

With all the planning and preparation that went into today before the term ended and over the holidays from myself and presenters, I felt excited this morning and a sense of pride in how well the day ran!

What was your first day of term like?

 

Edmodo-Con V3.0

 

Flashback to 28th July, 2011 – a copy of my very first blog post. . . .

 

hmmmm, so, what am

I thinking???

Well, I do have my own private blog for journaling, but since being whisked away on this amazing EdmodoCon journey I feel like the only teacher that isn’t expressing their thoughts, pedagogical practices and lesson plans via a blog!
I did sign up for for a twitter account about an hour ago, but THEN the first suggested person I followed was Justin Timberlake???? it really just irked me out! hahahaha!
So I’m having a go at journalling my journey. As both a teacher and a student.
*insert twitter name here later
On the 20th July, 2011 – Betsy Whalen from Edmodo emailed me to let me know that I had been successful in my application to be a part of the FIRST EDMODO-CON, at this point in time I had been using Edmodo since late 2008 – the news sent me into a complete fan-girl state. There were a few requirements, like start a blog, get a Twitter account, install Cisco WebEx and there are three other Aussies that I was to present alongside. 
Betsy connected me with Henrietta Miller, primary teacher local to the Northern Beaches, Bianca Hewes, Secondary English teacher who lived around the corner from my place on the Northern Beaches and Jess Melkman, Secondary art teacher ALSO local to the Northern Beaches?  We met up at the local McDonalds to plan our Edmodo-Con presentation and laughed at the fact that Edmodo had selected four women who were alike in passion, ideas and lived in the SAME AREA?
Look at these four Edu-dorks . . .
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The FIRST Edmodo-Con was a whirlwind – we presented at about 4am Australian time from our respective workplaces, homes (I was in my PJ’s eating vegemite toast and drinking tea). Bianca Hewes Mc’d the hour session – it was surreal. There were 11,000 people listening to us online, and they loved Edmodo as much as we did.
*** For flashblack – here is the Edmodo Blog update for the FIRST Edmodo-Con: https://blog.edmodo.com/2011/07/25/edmodocon-2011-presentation-schedule/ 
*** AND – I dug up my powerpoint presentation! edmodo_dalli2011
POST EDMODO-CON 2011 – I fell in love with the online collaboration of Twitter and began networking with teachers outside of my school, diocese and subject area. The possibilities for my PD were now limitless.
In 2013 I was lucky enough to present at ISTE in San-Antonio, during this time I did a short workshop at the Edmodo booth with Jess and Bianca. I got to meet Lucia Giacomantonio in person and thank the Edmodo team IRL for powering technologies in my classroom. The second photo below is really pretty special to me as it has Bianca’s husband Lee, her boys and Andy McKeil – a Canadian edu-geek I met and connected with via twitter.
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At the same time as this Edu-Adventure, Jess and her husband Mark got married. Bianca, Lee and their boys and I got to attend. . . special Edu-family.
Who have thought that 3  years later, I would have the opportunity to present at Edmodo-Con for the SECOND TIME, THIS TIME LIVE IN SAN FRAN??!!
Jess and I talk shop alllllllll the time, tech tools, project ideas, Edmodo uses. . . all this teacher banter eventually turned into an application for Edmodo-Con 2014. . .
We had 7 days off work – with 2.5 days of travel there/back we were in San Fran for 5 days? – It was a jam packed schedule. Highlights were visiting the Edmodo office and shaking the hands of those that respond to our help queries and honour our development ideas!
*** Our presentation was about how our Edmodo use had evolved and like an onion it had many layers!
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This year, I am not presenting formally – I am not travelling abroad, I am a “Chat facilitator” – I will be working the backchannel in between speakers and connecting like minded educators together over their common love, Edmodo.

In thinking of my up-coming role in Edmodo-Con 2016, I have been really sentimental for the opportunity and the spring board that the Edmodo team gave me back in 2011.
Today, I bought a book that Bianca and Lee wrote together and spent the day playing with Jess’ daughter Lottie who is ONE on Friday. The opportunities, learning journey and friends that emerged from my 2011 experience is what I hope to give back to others.
Oh Edmodo, since 2008 you have been making my classroom a connected online learning space, you started my first blog post, my Twitter account, connected me with edu-nerdy friends . . . . you will always have a place in my heart.
If you haven’t registered for Edmodo-Con 2016, you really should!

What our students need. . . .

 

 

  • At the end of last year I surveyed our teaching staff in reference to students digital skills.

  • Emmaus is in a phase of transition with technologies – in 2016 we will have two year groups with 1:1 iPads.

 

In my time at Gilroy I lead and programmed a subject that the Principal and Assistant Principal started that was called Integrated Learning, IL started as a course designed to teach skills for learning but as our students needs changed it became a cross-curricular subject that taught DIGITAL SKILLS.

For more info on IL you can read about it here: https://moniquedalli.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/how-integrated-learning-works-at-gilroy-with-ipads/

The time has come for Emmaus students to have the same opportunity, with a timetabling success our past Principal Brad Campbell is leaving me a legacy of TIME. The hour a week class is called iLearn.

 

Because no school is the same (students certainly aren’t!) I sought to better understand from both a teachers and students perspective of what digital skills were needed. . . . (*note I did NOT edit responses, but have not included all)

 

Our 2015 year 7 students were asked:

What was your most MEMORABLE LEARNING experience this year when using technologies?
  • Playing kahoot – popular response!!
  • The iMovie we did for religion, that was really enjoyable.
  • My memorable experience this year using technology was when I was designing a room for my tech assessment in the 1st & 2nd term.
  • I think the most memorable learning experience this year when using technology is making different group projects
  • Science- We had an assignment where we had to build an Island and the class used MineCraft to build it.
What is your FAVE app:
  • Notability
  • Pic Collage
  • Popplet
Subject I use my iPad in the MOST:
  • Science
  • Tech
  • Religion

My take homes are: they LOVE creating, interactive tasks, they like apps that keep them organised and present their work beautifully. 

 

Our staff were asked:

What deficits do you see in students digital skills:
  • I think that there is a lack of core skills. We assume that as digital natives that they are aware and know how to use apps etc; however, they do need to have framing done for them and have the foundation skills placed down in front of them. There needs to be a distinction made between tool and toy; by that I mean that their various devices can add to learning rather than being a distraction. And that they can see the social networking and media devices can be used an meaningful learning devices.
  • Knowing how to find reliable sources online! Very surprised when I have worked with students and they didn’t know what a “blog” was!
  • Using the Internet to research Using Word/PPT – or Google docs effectively
  • – researching difficulties / discernment of reliable sources – accurate referencing of sources – difficulties achieving a quality product…

What digital skills would you like student to develop further?

  • Research skills that help them identify more than just the obvious webpage.
  • Ability to translate research into their own words and determine the validity of the website they use for the research
  • Smoother integration of electronic work and written book work

My take homes are: research and information seeking is an apparent concern, organisation skills are mentioned but not as prominent as authoring.

 

 

So, these holidays i have been busy working on the iLearn program, there are SIX UNITS:

Digital Native: Technologies are a big part of our lives, at the age they are at they have always known technology and are considered digital natives. This unit will set the standard of digital expectations for the course and year group in: netiquette, behaviour, rules and quality of work. Technologies DO make their lives easier and CAN enhance their learning IF used to their potential and safely. Students will connect to the network and download their school apps as part of the iPad roll out.

Copy Write: You cannot just simply GOOGLE? Research skills are important foundation skills for secondary students, they need to be able to SEARCH, DISCRIMINATE, FILTER and REFINE their research. This unit of work will look at tricks and tips to use when researching online, how to be a discriminate seeker of information AND how to implement researched content WITHOUT plagiarism.

Monster Maintenance Manual:  The aim of this unit is to demonstrate the variety of apps they have on their device and HOW they can LINK and work together to create a project outcome much like a school assessment. They will digitally submit their work, collating their final chapters as one class book using tools like BookCreator and Drive. They will write a chapter of their own that includes: image, text, audio based on the work of an existing text/author (“The Monster Maintenance Manual – A Spotters Guide”)

Moral of the Story: Each student has a story to tell, this unit looks at different ways of expressing their stories – focusing on a stop animation movie. Students will have created a movie that is produced to demonstrate a chosen MORAL or MESSAGE that is important to them, their family or community.

My Best Selfie: Students have a digital footprint. My best selfie is about promoting their LEARNING as something to be proud of. In Technology Mandatory they have started a personal blog/website, this unit will continue the work of that subject by getting students to share and promote their learning success. We will look further into Cyber Bullying and Digital Footprint, the focus is to produce a positve one!

Game On: Students are gaming consumers! This unit will demonstrate how they can create an app, a game and share it with their classmates. We might see the next upcomming developers and coders in this unit!

 

 

I have attached the programs and scope so far for you to read, evaluate, use and maybe even give me some feedback?! I need to attribute the 21st Century Fluency project for their resources and training I did in 2012 as well as the Author of the Monster Maintenance Manual book – Peter McMannis as he graciously allows us to use his book as a learning resource for students!

 

2016iLearnScope

2016DigitalNativeProgram

2016CopyWriteProgram