Module 2

In Module 2 we set up blogs so that we can reflect on the learning we have done during the course. I already had this blog so I decided to use it for my reflections. The staff that I am supporting in completing the course all set up new blogs. I am looking forward to reading their reflections as it will help me assist them as best I can.

I have been a huge fan of blogging for a few years now. My class has a blog and my students this year are working towards setting up their own blogs for reflection. I can’t imaging teaching without a blog now. The value my class gets from blogging is amazing. We are able to take time and reflect on our learning in a way that wasn’t done before we started blogging. We now take photos of our work and classroom everyday. It has become part of what we do. We are always ready to make a new post. I really like the feedback that we receive from our class blog. We have communication with parents as well as the wider global community. We have participated in things like quadblogging that enabled us to connect with schools around the world. When we participate in special days such as World Read Aloud Day we are able to connect with a global audience. I am shocked at the number of visitors we constantly have on our blog. Another great teaching opportunity that blogs present are discussions about real life cyber safety. Each time we post something we agree to follow our guidelines. We can have many in depth discussions around staying safe online as part of blogging in our classroom.

You can visit our class blog by clicking on the picture below:


Module 1

I am completing an online web 2.0 course run by the Catholic Education Office. It runs for 20 weeks and covers 10 modules. I hope that I can support the staff and my school with this course and learn a few things along the way.

In Module One we were asked to explore what web 2.0 is and look at some web 2.0 tools. I already have a good understanding of web 2.0 and use a lot of the tools listed. I liked the overview and that there were videos to watch rather than huge amounts of text.

There are nine staff from my school completing the course. As the ICT leader in the school I am trying to assist everyone with the course. In this module I helped everyone sign up for a Google account. We set up Google Chrome and Google +. We enjoyed using Google + and have set up a community for our group called HF Tekkie Brekkies. We used Tekkie Brekkies in the name as we meet in the mornings twice a week to work on the course. I think Google + will be a great tool for us to share our learning. I hope that the staff I am working with will be able to see the value of social media as a tool for professional learning.

Pre Assessment with Explain Everything

We recently got a set of six iPads for our level (Grades 3/4) to use. As I am the ICT coordinator I wanted to test out some of the apps to make sure that they ran smoothly for when others in my level used them. This meant I had to think of some quick activities I could do. I decided to use the Explain Everything app for our first project. I really love this app and wanted to encourage others in my level to use it too.

We have just started investigating addition and subtraction in my class. We began by looking at adding/subtracting 10, 20, 30 or 40 from a range of two digit numbers. We have a huge focus on mental strategies at my school and we encourage our students to record their thinking in a variety of ways. One strategy we use to record our thinking is the jump strategy. The students had only been learning about this strategy for about a week but I thought it would be good to use the Explain Everything app to have them create videos explaining what they know.

I have shared some of the videos they made below:

The Jump Strategy EE 1 from Aimee Gale on Vimeo.

The Jump Strategy EE 2 from Aimee Gale on Vimeo.

The Jump Strategy EE 3 from Aimee Gale on Vimeo.

The Jump Strategy EE 4 from Aimee Gale on Vimeo.

The Jump Strategy EE 5 from Aimee Gale on Vimeo.

I love that these videos are examples of the students learning, including errors. They show what my students already know as well as their misconceptions. It’s also interesting to listen to the language the students use. I can hear that some students haven’t developed the language required to explain the jump strategy in great detail. They are not referring to tens and ones, rather just a jump of ten. I can also see that some students are mixing up where they need to put their numbers and jumps. You may notice that some students are far to worried about where the ‘dot’ goes rather than thinking about the equations!

I am going to use this example of my students learning to help me plan for the next part of our addition and subtraction sequence. I am also going to put them on our class blog so that the parents can see how the students are going. I don’t want our blog to just be a showcase of the best work my class can do, but rather an example of our learning journey. Towards the end of term , after a lot more learning my students will create new Explain Everything videos and the students, their parents and I will be able to compare them to their first attempts. We will have a great measure of progress.

Meaningful Assessment

This year my personal goal to improve my teaching is to further develop my assessment techniques. I have always used assessment to guide my teaching but this year I want to refine what I do and keep better records. I also want to focus on the growth the students make and track if what I am doing is working.

I have been researching some different assessment ideas and thinking about strategies I already use. My aim is to blog about each of the strategies as I use them in my classroom so that I can reflect on how useful they are in giving me the information I need to assess my class’ understanding.

Some of the strategies I am going to focus on are listed below:

Exit Slips

Exit slips are a simple strategy of asking your students to record a reflection at the end of a lesson. Often they are used as a ticket out of class. It is important that enough time is allowed at the end of the lesson if you want the students to reflect deeply on what they have learned. It is a good idea to give the students a prompt for their reflection to help guide their thinking.

  • What was the most important thing you learned today?
  • What questions do you still have about …?
  • How can what you learned today be used in real life?
  • What do you think we will learn next on this topic?
  • Summarise today’s lesson in 25 words.
  • What would you like to work on in the next lesson on…?
  • What stuck with me today?

You can also use this strategy at the beginning of a lesson to gather information on the students prior knowledge. The Read Write Think website has more information on exit slips as well as some printable slips.

Audio Recording

I am hoping to use Evernote as my go to tool for recording students thoughts and reflections. I have started by using it for recording running records but I would like to use it to also record interviews with the students on particular topics as well as samples of explanations of strategies that they are using.

QT – Quick Test

QT is a strategy from Whole Brain Teaching. It stands for Quick Test and the idea is that you have the students close their eyes and then ask them a series of true/false questions based on the material that they have just learned. Students put their thumbs up if they think the statement or question is true and they put their thumbs down if they think the statement is false. In an ideal setting you would record on a checklist the students who were unable to correctly answer the questions. If they get less than 90% correct then they need intervention possibly in the form of a focus group or targeted work on the topic.

Explain Everything (or a similar app)

Explain Everything is a great app for recording student’s thinking. It is an interactive whiteboard app with many functions such as simple annotations, inserting media, pointers, drawing shapes and adding text. You can also record audio over the top of what ever you do in the app, making it very effective for recording reflections and the students teaching strategies we have worked on. We have it installed on the iPads that are available for class use next term, so I am looking forward to using it more effectively.

Prove It!

Prove It! is another strategy from Whole Brain Teaching. In this strategy you choose sample test questions (NAPLAN or other state tests) that relate to the content that has just been covered. The students must prove which answer they think is correct as well as proving that the others are incorrect. This can be useful when state tests are coming up as well as preparing students to justify their responses for multiple choice questions. I have also used a similar strategy where you give four maths problems that have already been solved. One is correct and the other three are incorrect. Students must look at the working out as well as the answer to work out which one is correct. They then justify their answer.

Choice Boards

Choice boards are used when you want to give students different options for the assessment task. The number of options are up to you. I have seen lots of choice boards based on multiple intelligences but they don’t have to be. It could be something as simple as “Write a persuasive piece based on one of the following 4 choices”. I want to work harder at giving my students choice when they show me what they know. Choice boards can also be created with the students input. You will be amazed at some of the ideas they can come up with for how they can show you their understanding.


I have started to take photos of my students work more and more often. Sometimes I will even quickly grab the camera and take a photo of the task and then take the photos home instead of the pile of workbooks. I sign the students work to highlight that I have seen it, but I am not always correcting it. Sometimes instead of the time I would spend on correcting the work I look at the photos and record “next step” statements for each student. This way I know which students need revision of the topic and those who are ready to move on. I find this is a much more valuable use of my time than correcting every misspelled word and ticking each part. Obviously spelling is a focus at other times.

Yes-No Way

Another quick strategy from Whole Brain Teaching, Yes-No Way is used when you want to quickly gauge whole class understanding. You simply ask a yes/no question based on the topic and the class passionately respond with either YES or NO WAY. One thing to keep in mind with this strategy is that you are only getting a snap shot of the whole class and some students will just go along with the majority rather than show their true understanding.

End of Unit Review

The ‘old’ end of unit review strategy is something I have been using for years, often in the form of a written test. I will use this strategy at the completion of a topic or term to find out what the students know about particular content. Often I will use this strategy for maths. For example when we finished a term’s work on Conceptual Place Value I gave my class a test to see what they had retained. This strategy is even more effective if you can do a pretest first so that you have a clear indicator of growth.


Edmodo is a safe social networking service that can be used with classes. I used it with my class last year and I am hoping to have it ready to go for next term with my current class. A feature of Edmodo is that you can assign tasks for students to complete. I used this last year to have students reflect on their learning and also to give me a quick summary of where their groups were up to with projects. I hope to expand on how I use Edmodo this year.

Do you have any great assessment strategies that have been effective for you?

Please share in the comments section.

I am always looking for new ideas for how I can improve my assessment. Hopefully by reflecting on what I am doing on this blog I will be able to challenge myself to improve.


Searching for Online Content Using CC

Throughout Week 3 of the Creative Commons for K-12 Educators course I have been searching for content that I can use to teach my Year 3/4’s and the staff at my school about Creative Commons. You can see the content I found in my previous blog post.

Did you find what you were looking for?

 To begin with I used the suggested sites to search for resouces. These included:



OER Commons


I found these to be very useful and easy to use.  I had used most of them before but without specifically narrowing the search options to only show Creative Commons licensed work. I had never used OER Commons before and found this to be a useful site. I think I will be going back to that site in the future to look for resources. I also used You Tube to search for videos. I found this quite useful as you can narrow the search to only include work licensed under Creative Commons.

I found quite a few resources but would like to keep searching for more. I would like to find some videos that are suitable for students to view. It has been difficult to find any videos that sum up Creative Commons in a simple way for kids. I am thinking that a project for my class could be to make their own videos that explains Creative Commons simply.

How did you know if you could use it or not?

In most cases it was easy to identify the terms of use. Most sites had a Creative Commons license and I was able to check that license to see how I am allowed to use it. You can read more about these licenses here.

 Share what worked and what didn’t for you.

I found searching for Creative Commons work easier than I had expected. I think that from now on I will use this feature more often and I will be encouraging my students to do the same. I also tapped into my PLN to find more resources. A few people sent me links to their Diigo accounts and I discovered more sites through that. There wasn’t really anything that didn’t work for me.

Teach Someone Something With Open Content

Creative Commons
“Image used courtesy of Flickr’s jorgeandresem”

I am getting a head start on the Creative Commons for K-12 Educators course this week as I am on holidays. Week 3’s task asks us to find some content on a topic of our choice that is licensed under Creative Commons. I decided to find content on Creative Commons as I want to be able to teach my class and the staff at my school more about it.

Below is a Linkroll from Diigo with the links I have found so far. I have also made annotations in my Diigo account that highlight the Creative Commons license for each site.

Do you have any resources on Creative Commons that could be shared?

Are you really CC Savvy?

This is the post I wrote for the task in Week 2 of “Creative Commons for K-12 Educators”:

For this task I chose to teach my class about Creative Commons. The reason I am taking this course is to further my understanding of Creative Commons so that I can teach my class about it and then as ICT Leader inform the staff at my school. I teach a Year 3/4 class of 8-10 year olds. I think it is very important that my students have a grasp of Creative Commons as they use and create online content almost every day, often without a thought for the laws that apply.

Before the lesson I was wondering how they would go with the topic and how I could simplify it enough so that they could understand the content. I knew that they had very little prior knowledge except a vague understanding that Copyright protects content. Most of their understanding applied to movies and music created by organisations and famous artists. They didn’t have any understanding about Copyright or Creative Commons in relation to their own work.

My class responded really well to learning about Creative Commons. I thought they may find it boring but they were actually very interested and excited to be learning about it. I used lots of examples in the lesson to try and express how different people want to license their work with different options.

One student asked: “What happens if they don’t catch you?” This was a great question and led to a discussion about the ethics behind using other peoples work. We discussed the similarity in using online content without permission to shop lifting and not getting caught. My class agreed that taking online work without the correct permissions is not the right thing to do, even if they don’t get caught.

Some of the questions my class still have are:

  • Will they change the Copyright laws?
  • Will there be more Creative Commons symbols?
  • Who made the Copyright and Creative Commons law and when was it made?
  • Why is Copyright international?
  • How many people have been caught not following the law?
  • What if you copy a photo or music into your presentation but you don’t share it on the Internet?
  • What happens if you want to use a photo that you are not allowed to and you ask the person, but they don’t respond?

Creative Commons and Copyright is definitely a topic that my class will be revisiting. I hope that every time we create and use online content we will think about and discuss these laws. I also hope that my students might start to use the Creative Commons licensing tool to share their work.

P2PU Creative Commons Course

I have joined another online course. This one is called Creative Commons for K-12 Educators and is run by P2PU which stands for Peer to Peer University. I have had a lot more success with this course compared to some of the other MOOC’s I have signed up for. The other MOOCS have not been user friendly for Australian time zones and I don’t think my heart was really in them. This meant I dropped out fairly early on and missed out on fully appreciating MOOC’s.

I had been wanting to learn more about Copyright and Creative Commons so when the opportunity to do this free course came up I thought I’d give online learning another go.  This course has been structured in a really simple way with each week’s lessons set out concisely with clear expectations for each task.

Last week we were introduced to Creative Commons and this week’s task involved teaching my class about what I have learned so far. I told my students that I was doing this course and that part of it required me to teach them about it. I also told them why I was doing the course and how important it is that they know what Creative Commons is. My students thought it was great that I am still learning just like they are and wanted to help me do the course.

I hope that I can gain a good understanding of Creative Commons and use this knowledge to teach both my students and the staff at my school.

#etmooc Introduction

As part of the #etmooc course which is starting tomorrow we have been asked to introduce ourselves. The idea was to make a visual introduction and publish it on our blogs. I have made a Toontastic story as a way of telling you a little bit about myself. I wanted to use a creative tool that I hadn’t used before. I am hoping that Toontastic will be a fantastic tool for my class to explore further this year.



Next week #etmooc begins! I am looking forward to joining in my first MOOC – Massive Open Online Course. Etmooc will be covering a range of topics, including: connected learning, digital story telling, digital literacy, the open movement and digital citizenship. You can find more by visiting the etmooc website here. It is not too late to sign up! I will be posting about my experiences on my blog using the category and tag #etmooc. I will also be tweeting during the course using #etmooc.