Brain boogies

I’ll start off by saying that I am extremely challenged when it comes to dancing. I can only navigate the chicken dance if my partner in crime is alcohol. Wait, let me start again …. “I’m not that great at dancing, yet”. Ahhhh I feel better. That’s that growth mindset that we so importantly want to instil into our learners.

Ok, continue, I was reading Mitchell’s post this morning about a how simple tasks like dancing with GoNoodle can get the students back into a variety of modes, settling them down, preparing them for an activity, or getting them focused. Gonoodle advertises that it enables 10 millions kids to move to be their strongest, silliest, smartest and best selves, and practically every piece of feedback on the site is from teachers.

I can see great potential in this site and movement activity for the aforementioned purposes (settling, preparing and focusing), but also as a reward for children, offering a gonoodle ticket allowing a student to choose the daily after break song. A prep teacher I worked with last year was very big on gonoodle, and would often speak about the benefits of using both sides of the brain to help the brain and coordination amongst the littlest.

While this one could be a challenge for me to implement, especially if the students want to see my moves, I think it is definitely a trick I might store for future practice.

Teacher Aide? DO IT!

I am taking on four units for the first time ever, while working six days a week (five days a week as a TA, and every Sunday in retail), but despite this I have never felt on top of my uni work like this semester. EDC3100 is a tough gig, but I love it. I really enjoy the blogging component of the course. I haven’t missed a Maths EDX3280 tutorial and despite the horror stories, I’m ready for the ePortfolio bad boy. I have had a solid plan ready for action for a couple of weeks now. The EDX2170 multimodal presentation looks like one of the best assignments in the education degree. I brought home four picture books from school today and the plan is to put this one to bed very early. Finally, EDP4140 Second Language learning and pedagogy. This is possibly my favourite as it relates to my Taiwan teaching. I was asked why I feel this one by a friend this week and it got me thinking, I just feel that the four units I am undertaking are four of the best supported units I’ve taken throughout my degree, but probably equally important is working in a school setting. If I have any advice for an aspiring teacher, it’s become a TA. The network you build, and the resources that become available to you cannot be understated. In a ideal world, every year working as TA should knock a fourth year unit off your degree!

No significant learning occurs without it!

Inspired by the words of James Comar “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship”, Rita Pierson in her Ted talk called mindshift reminds us why every student needs a teacher champion. It’s hard not to see a lot of Nel Noddings in her teaching philosophy, something I genuinely try to borrow and inject into my own. Rita speaks about how relationships between teacher and student, adult and child, are fundamental to getting the best from students. This talk led me onto a bit of a google frenzy to find out more about learning and relationships, and while my end result was to find the insightful 9 Powerful Practices that speak about how to raise achievement for students living in poverty, nonetheless, its practices I believe are pertinent in any socioeconomic climate.

One a side note, I was fortunate enough to have this Ted sent to me by a friend, who is my cousin’s wife, a teacher. I love that a great deal of my educational resources, and in turn inspiration comes from teachers and pre service teachers. I am not sure if there is another field of employment that gathers together as one to share in the greater need of better the lives of others, as educators do to each other.

If you have any other Rita Pierson-like gems, please comment and share.


Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic – rubbish.

Nothing like a controversial title to draw in the reader. I used to do a paper round as a child and amongst my 35 ‘Herald Suns’, there was the ‘Truth’ newspaper which came out once a week. I remember the ‘Truth’ was notorious for two things, one the beautiful semi clad women gracing page three, and the second were the headlines; “Boony smashes 52 cans” was a vivid one. Pretty sure the ‘Truth’ was also known somewhat for being ‘not’ an overly reliable paper in terms of accurate information either …. good for the gags, though. FWIW, the dude waiting out by the mailbox for me each Wednesday wasn’t waiting to read back page sport news.

Anyway, so visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners, it it a fallacy? I just watched a great TED talk, geeee they’re great listening. Head to for a catalogue of educational gold. It’s like listening to Al Pacino is Scent of a Woman, or Any Given Sunday, or Mel in Braveheart. They really do inspire. The one I just listened to debunks the VAK theory. This backs up what our coordinator/lecturer, David Jones brought up in a lecture at the Way Station the other week. It’s not that we, or students are V or A or K learners, it’s that we have better visual, or auditory or kinaesthetic memories. That makes a lot of sense to me. To get a better appreciation of what I am on about, take a look below. It’s highly thought provoking. Grab a coffee and sit back and enjoy.

Visual formative assessor! Watch this …

I have been thinking for a while about what strategy I could use when things get a bit boring in class, especially when watching foxfooty is not an option 😉 Stand up, star jumps, go run 800, “heads, shoulders, heads, shoulders, heads, shoulders ears, clap, clap, clap”. You know, that moment when the activity is getting too long, and children are becoming disengaged, and one by one the requests for toilet breaks come … and we know they don’t really want to go to the toilet. Behold Socrative! I reckon this is it, well perhaps not to eliminate boredom during a super long peer and self editing class of narratives, but definitely an option when you need to teach something that looks a touch difficult to inspire your troops. Socrative is an online site, but also has an ios app with both teacher and student interfaces that allows for the creation of formative assessments. There are options for the teacher to;

  1. Start a quiz (I saw a similar app used to quiz during a religeous education lesson! WINNING!!!!!!)
  2. Quick question (for a polling activity); multiple choice, short answer, true/false
  3. Space race (add some competition to the task)
  4. Exit ticket

I really have been looking for something that can visualise student results to activities in real time, allowing me to unobtrusively monitor them. This is a winner and when I get them playing the rocket space race, I might log in under my pseudo student account … everybody loves winning.

Digital reflection, got that covered

The best thing about following peers’ blogs is you can come across some absolute ICT gems. Nicole makes mention of Glogster, a site that helps you create your own multi media poster. Hear that? ‘Create’, that’s higher order thinking using ICT! Tick, tick, tick. Amplify and transform that RAT. Glogster looks to be the perfect tool to tell your class room story and reflect on experiences, providing enormous scope for peer feedback and engagement. Glogster promotes its ability to engage students creatively with knowledge and develop digital literacy skills, which enable teachers to become more efficient by saving time. These are all big ticks in the RAT framework covered this week by Renee, Spil and Lesley. Glogster looks a winner, it’s going straight to the Pool Room for me, aka, the ‘Teacher Resources’ bookmarks.

Multimodal? My lord!

I guess anyone who has been through uni has had one subject that they keep putting off. I am currently embarking on EDX2170 for a third time! No, no, no, I know what you’re thing …. fail, fail, fail, you knucklehead Mr Clancy, actually to the contrary I have generally gotten off to a good start, then AFL season starts and I need to drop a subject before academic and financial penalty kick in. Cue EDX2170. This time I am prepared and I don’t care is my beloved Hawthorn are smashing all kinds of records, there’s no way I’m delaying this bad boy one more year.

The multimodal presentation assignment for EDX2170 asks that you introduce a children’s book of your choice using software during the orientation phase of a literacy lesson plan. I’ve decided to use Reel Director 2. Reel director 2 is an app for iPhone that allows you to use all three modes required for the presentation; video or photo, music, and voice over. It’s one of very few apps on my iPhone that I have happily paid for. Don’t take that comment the wrong way, by haven’t paid for I mean most apps on my phone are freeware! There’s some examples of what the app is capable of on Nexvio’s site.

I have introduced Reel Director 2 to a teaching friend of mine who used it for a presentation on the story of lent (Easter) while simultaneously showcasing the children’s artwork. If you’re after an app to make yourself look the pro, even when secretly you know you’re could be in struggle street, take a look. If there’s any other app recommendations out there, feel free to add to the discussion.

Where the blogging for kids?

After reading one of Dayna’s posts about blogging, my mind started ticking …. which of my blogs posts are making waves. One of my more popular blogs was about Kiddle, you know that cool search engine that allows you to give some autonomy to students over their learning. It was so popular that my blog post was picked up by a teacher (my mentor’s coworker) at my first prac school, when she introduced a Year 5 Geography lesson whereby all information was to come from Kiddle search! Wowwweee, talk about a PLN Highlight. This got me thinking, if I can reach out to the crowd with a few gags and the odd piece of good information, I wonder how my future students would go blogging? I think it’s something that deserves serious discussion, after all, blogging is tapping into the higher order thinking of Bloom’s digitally. So are there are good sites out there for students to start blogging? Kidblog advertises itself as safe and simple; there’s a couple of box tickers already. Thoughts? Is it worth pursuing, particularly in literacy subjects?

Technology and the RAT

It is with unprecedented interest that blog posts amongst my followers, and those I follow, like tahlianciol, have this week focused on the R.A.T. framework. The R.A.T. framework is an acronym for Replace, Amplify, Transform, and can be measured in unison with the SLIC (the themes of an event, and another acronym standing for Student Learning, Instructional Method, Curriculum goals) model to determine how effective ICT has been in a lesson. The goal of using digital technology successfully in the classroom is to amplify and transform learning. Too often digital technology is used simply to replace what happens in the classroom with ICT when we should be as educators trying to amplify (enhance) or transform what is happening in both the student learning and teaching pedagogy. As I look toward the second chapter of my learning journey in ICT, I was pointed to the RAT app which gives an overall picture of what your lesson might be gearing itself towards. While by no means a cutting edge app that will make its way to the home screen of your smartphone, it nonetheless give you a good perspective of whether or not your lesson really is using ICT to enhance the learning of your students in practice.

A class website

I have seen in my previous prac school the use of weebly to create a class website. I think this is a wonderful idea. Each KLA has its own dropdown menu indicating Term 1, 2, 3 or 4, and each lesson, or a good proportion of lessons are written into the weebly for use during class time, or for a continuation of work at home. The weebly includes links to websites required for Maths investigations, video links of teaching,  online resources used during teaching, and each lesson is dated and accompanied with the required learning outcomes. It is simply maintained by the class teacher for the purpose of her own class. I just think this is a super idea and one that instills professionalism and pride into your teaching. If we can exert this presence in the classroom, it would be hard for the student to not recognize your genuine want for them to be successful.

In promoting their ICT, weebly specifies what it can;

  • Easily create a classroom website & blog
  • Manage your students’ accounts
  • Accept homework assignments online
  • Keep your parents up to date

I’d love to know if there are any other website creators out there, particularly ones that are on par with weebly’s functionality and ease of use.