Tag Archive | 30 Goals

Goal 11: Feel the Weight of Your Impact

Goal 11 is going to be a shorter entry. We are asked to work out how many students we have taught in order to feel the weight of our impact. I worked out that over 7 years of teaching I have taught approximately 180 students. I have also taught quite a few students twice, but I haven’t compensated for this in the total number as I like to think I have have had twice the impact ūüėČ

This task has made me realise that over such a short time I have had the opportunity to work with a large number of students. I  am thankful for all the experiences these students have given me and I hope that I have made a difference to their lives.

I am looking forward to beginning the school year and getting to know my next 25 students. I hope we can have a fabulous year together with lots of great learning and reflecting.

 

Goal 10: Spread Your Knowledge

Goal 10 is about sharing information and resources about a topic.

I have decided that for Goal 10, I will share the tools that I use for storing all my online resources and how I keep on top of the constant flow of ideas that come from my wonderful PLN.

Bookmarking:

The two main bookmarking tools that I use are Diigo and Pinterest.

Diigo

I like that I can save all my links in the one place with Diigo and that I can share these links with others. I use the Diigo extension in Firefox and Chrome to save links as I am browsing the Web. It took a long time to find an RSS Reader app that would allow me to save links directly to Diigo, (most had lots of other options of where to save the links) but now that I have found Mr Reader there is no going back! I get most of my bookmarks from ideas that I read in blogs I am following so having the feature of sending bookmarks straight to Diigo through Mr Reader is important.

The most powerful feature of Diigo is the social element. I haven’t used this as much as I would have liked to but I have joined some groups and I share my bookmarks using Enhanced Linkrolls. The Enhanced Linkrolls enable me to embed a list of links sorted by tags, into my classes website, this allows my students to gain quick access to links for a particular topic. I am hoping to explore the social elements of Diigo more this year.

Pinterest

I love Pinterest. I like the way it displays links as images. This is great for me as I am a visual learner. I tend to use Pinterest as a stand alone service. I haven’t got into the habit of saving links to Pinterest that I find in other services or while searching the Web. I would use Diigo as my go to bookmarking service when searching. I use Pinterest as a place to go to find resources and then I save them from there by ‘repinning’ links I like. There are many great teachers on Pinterest that you can follow so that as they ‘pin’ ideas you can see what is being pinned in your homepage. You can have as many boards as you like in Pinterest, I use these to sort my links into categories.

Here is an image of my “boards” section of Pinterest. I have other boards that don’t fit onto the screenshot.

You can follow me on Pinterest by searching for Aimee Gale in ‘pinners’ or by clicking on the following button:

Follow Me on Pinterest

Read Later:

Instapaper

I use Instapaper to save anything that I want to read later. Diigo does have a read later feature but I prefer to use Instapaper. I can use Instapaper from services such as Twitter and Mr Reader (RSS reader) as well as using it as an extension in most web browsers. If I find a link on Twitter that I think might be worthwhile having a closer look at later on I will just click the send to Instapaper button. This option is available on most Twitter clients, I use Tweetbot and Hootsuite. When I log in to my Instapaper account, my links are all there waiting for me to explore.

 

I think having tools such as Diigo, Pinterest and Instapaper help to keep me organised. I feel like I have control over the constant stream of information that I am receiving. I can search for teaching ideas and keep them all sorted in a way where I know that I can find it all again.

Goal 9: Teaching Ourselves and Them to Overcome

Goal 9 asks us to share a lesson or idea that has helped students to overcome negativitiy.

Reflection Rocks

Reflection rocks are something that I first saw on Laura Candler’s Blog. I found the post by chance at a time when a number of my students were feeling very negative about themselves. I knew that I needed to help my students feel positive and these rocks seemed like a great place to start. I found the website where you can purchase happy thought rocks:¬†We Originals, but I wasn’t sure if they could ship them internationally.

I decided to try and make my own reflection rocks. I collected some rocks from the backyard and bought the paint I would need. It did take a little bit of time but I was really happy with the results.

I placed the finished reflection rocks into a special box and they are now kept on our class prayer table.

We use them for morning prayer and part of meditation. Each student takes a rock and holds onto it during meditation. They silently tell the rocks some good thoughts and the idea is that each good though the rocks are told helps keep them smiling. It is a lovely way to start the day and the students love sharing some of their good thoughts with the class.

 

Goal 8: Share an Activity

Well after quite  a long break I have decided to resume the 30 Goals Challenge. After some reflection I decided that the 30 Goals Challenge allowed me to reflect on my teaching and although it takes some time to complete the tasks and prepare posts I feel as though I gained a lot from the tasks I have completed so far.

So here goes…

Goal number 8 asks  me to share an activity that I believed worked well with learners. The idea is to create a community of collaborators. This could be within the school setting or online. I think this is a very valuable goal.

For me sharing successes and things that haven’t worked so well is an integral part of teaching. Within the school setting sharing lessons helps to lighten the load but more importantly promotes collaboration and helps to build a team. I believe that schools that are the most successful have strong teams of teachers who work together to plan and have a shared understanding of all students in the level. At times this can be challenging.

Some questions to ponder include:

  • Are all teachers on the same page?
  • Do the teachers value each others opinions?
  • Is time provided to support collaboration?

If the answer is yes to these then I think successful teams can be developed and sharing of ideas will develop naturally.

Teachers can also look outside their school for places to collaborate with other teachers and get ideas. There are many websites and blogs where teachers share lesson ideas that have worked well for them. One of my favourites at the moment is¬†Runde’s Room. This site is run by Jen who has a 5/6 class. I really love the maths reflections that she uses and the way they are explained on the site. I have even bought things from her Teachers Pay Teachers site and I have found the products very useful.

Teach Meets are a fantastic place to find enthusiastic teachers who just by their presence at the meet show their commitment to sharing ideas. The idea behind teach meets is for teachers to gather and listen to each other share things that have worked well for them. Presentations can be 7 or 2 minutes so you get a taste of the idea and can then explore it further later on. Often there is a “teach eat” afterwards allowing for further connections to be made. I have developed some friendships with educators all around Victoria from the Melbourne teach meets that began last year. The next Melbourne teach meet is next weekend on Saturday 17th November and is being held at the Gould League in Moorabbin. Visit the Teach Meet Melbourne Wiki or follow #TMMelb on Twitter for more information.

Twitter is another great place to find teachers to collaborate with. By developing a personal learning network (PLN) on Twitter you have an instant network of people to share ideas with as well as take support from. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a question, posed it on Twitter and had the answer in a matter of minutes. Twitter chats is another way to not only share ideas and learn from others but also grow your PLN. Two of my favourite twitter chats are #ozprimschchat and #globalclassroom. The #ozprimschchat runs at 8:45pm (edst) on Thursdays and the times for the #globalclassroom chats can be found here.

Mini Inquiry Project

The lesson that I have decided to share is my mini inquiry project that my students have been working on independently as part of their reading contracts. They check in with me for one to one interviews so I can see how they are going and offer support. I wanted to give my students an opportunity to investigate something that interested them. I was thinking about how when I want to learn something it is usually because I want to, not because I am told to and I wanted to give my students the skills they need to do their own research and find their own answers. I often have students emailing me in the early hours of the morning or in the evenings asking if we could please learn more about a particular topic. I thought this could be a way to nourish their enthusiasm for learning.

Here is the contract that I used. My students just worked through each of the steps. They haven’t presented their learning yet but are almost there. They have been extremely motivated during this task and even those students who usually try to avoid reading tasks have been caught up in the excitement of choosing their own topic.

Download a MS Word version here:
Mini Inquiry Project

Goal 3: Ask a Learner

Goal 3 of the 30 goals challenge asks us to interview a learner about his/her learning style or habits. I decided to use the information I gathered from my 3/4 class.

My class are doing a unit that focuses on learning about how they learn. One of the activities looks at their preferred intelligence based on Howard Gardner’s approach. They completed a survey with a variety of questions based around each intelligence. Some students came out with equal results for more than one intelligence.

The results were:
Naturalist = 5 students
Mathematical-Logical = 7 students
Verbal-Linguistic = 2 students
Musical-Rhythmic = 2 students
Visual-Spatial = 7 students
Bodily-Kinesthetic = 6 students
Interpersonal = 3 students
Intrapersonal = 2 students

After we gathered the results each student had the chance to share with the class how they felt about how they had scored. Most students said they expected the results they got and they thought it really reflected how they learn and what they like to learn about. Some students were surprised. One student came out with high scores in the Intrapersonal intelligence and had no idea he would. I reflected on this and I was not actually surprised. He is a student that will often pick working by himself over working in a group and does have some difficulty in listening to other people’s point of view. This activity gave the students an opportunity to reflect on how they learn best even if it’s not what they first thought.

These results made me stop and think about how often I cater for all the intelligences. Visual-Spatial and Mathematial-Logical were the two intelligences that scored the highest in my class, probably because most of my students love art and maths. This result has made me think that when I am planning I do need to include activities and opportunities for students to express themselves visually. I do include visual tasks but I think it is good to reflect on how powerful these tasks can be and to include them more often. The results also made me aware that I need to continue making connections with mathematics in all areas of the curriculum. All of the multiple intelligences are important and it will be essential that I include opportunities for my students to experience all of the learning styles.

As part of our unit my students will be further researching the multiple intelligences and exploring their preferred learning styles as well as looking at some of the intelligences that they might like to know more about.

Below are some examples of my students ‘Wordles’ that they created to visually represent their preferred multiple intelligences:
Wordle: MI

Wordle: MI

Wordle: MI

30 Goals Challenge 2012

The 30 Goals Challenge is back for 2012 and I have decided to try and complete all 30 goals. I am not sure if I will be able to keep up with the time frame of two goals per week but I will attempt to.

The first goal is to create a “Me Manifesto”. A manifesto is a declaration of principles and intentions. The idea is to publicly declare your ideals about teaching and learning. I decided to create a Glog (my very first attempt at Glogster) to depict my “Me Manifesto”.