Term 1 Topic – The ANZAC

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Throughout the term we have been looking at the ANZAC’s. We have investigated things such as the route the Australian’s took to get to Gallipoli, What is ANZAC day?, What is the last post?, What do they read out at ANZAC day?, Why should we commemorate it?, What does Respect mean?, Why did they go?, What does peace look like?, Where is Gallipoli? and What other battles were there during World War 1?. All these questions linked into the Australian Curriculum through Geography, History, Civic and Citizenship, Visual Art and Health. We watched lots of really great snap shot clips from Splash. We had lots of great discussions about what peace means. We wrote the ode in handwriting and talked about the meaning. Children drew the path the soldiers took from Albany to Egypt before heading to Gallipoli. We talked about the landing at Galliopoli and how horrible it must have been. We looked at the trenches and were amazed and fascinated about how the Australian’s left self shooting guns (so they could escape).We looked at the symbols of ANZAC day and what each one means, including the rising sun. The children enjoyed the whole unit and in the end we turned to look at what peace looks like. What would the young soldiers be thinking about what they would like for peace. We brainstormed ideas and ended up making a hand peace mural (this coincided with Harmony day). We also talked about how Australia was very thankful and why we should be thankful. They made little soldiers (including nurses) and wrote why they are thankful underneath. We finished off the unit by making slouch hats, poppies and making ANZAC biscuits with our lovely SSO- Jodie.

During the term each child had the opportunity to take home a bag. In the bag it included the book ANZAC TED,an army teddy from legacy and a questionnaire asking for any information on family members that have served. The learning behind this was to get the children in my class to understand the impact war had on so many families. The children collected pictures of family members and I made a presi presentation on every child’s story. They children love watching it. I have included it <a href="https://prezi.com/embed/syndy9h-pysx/?bgcolor=ffffff&lock_to_path=0&autoplay=0&autohide_ctrls=0#“>here.

Below is a slide show of all the things we did during term 1 in our unit on ANZAC Day. It would be wonderful if at the start of term 2 that some children can say they have attended the ANZAC Day service.

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Learning spaces term 3 2014

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This term I have redesigned the classroom. Using the knowledge I have gained from implementing the daily five and being lucky enough to go to EduTech this year, I have created spaces within my classroom for independent and group activities. The children took to the change like ducks to water and with only a few hiccups I have changed the way I plan every subject. This term sees us doing individual research projects, making stop motion movies and investigating magnets. It’s a hugely exciting time for me and The one thing for me that is a oh yes moment is when I look at my programme book and see I am working more with individual children or small groups while others are working more independently.

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My Recap on EduTech and the last few crazy weeks!

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Recently I had the opportunity to go to Brisbane to attend Edutech 2014. For an ordinary educator to have the opportunity to go to a gathering of top researchers and educators was a huge blessing. To see what I saw in those two days has changed my teaching forever. I feel that I have always looked at new technology but to see what I have been thinking come to life was amazing. Recently I have been fortunate to go to Westbourne park primary school and observe their implementation of the Daily five. I picked up the book about a year ago and have been slowly implementing it. I have come across some challenges but to observe a school implementing it, it has been beneficial for my teaching. Then to go to Edutech and see the daily five methodology being promoted as a good way to teach really makes me think yeh I am on the right track. What really excited me was I went to Edutech with two other colleagues and my principal. We talked throughout the day and we bounced ideas off each other. To come back to school and know that at least two other educators are doing the same thing as me has made me feel valued. To know also that the changes you plan to make have already been seen by the principal makes me feel confident.

If I was to take one thing from Edutech it would be the presenter Sugata Mitra who has done research called the whole in the wall. It was amazing to see how someone could put a computer in front of a group of children who had not been exposed to a computer and give a few words and then sit back and watch the learning take place. To be told that to have a computer, laptop or ipad for only 1 in 4ish children makes sense (and more achievable in a pubic school). Having an educator that doesn’t know the answers but can help question you so you can work out the answer yourself is brilliant! I am so excited about going back to my school and starting to implement some of these strategies learnt.

Because I had the opportunity to go to Brisbane I now have the obligation to teach others at my school the strategies, thinking and skills I learnt. We are having a school closure and the four of us will present our findings. We must be careful not to overwhelm our staff but have enough passion and excitement so that other teachers will take up the challenge to buck the system and change our way of teaching so that children are ready for the 21st century. Next term I plan to look at the capabilities more and first and the content second (in the Australian Curriculum). I want to ask ungooglable questions so my children are challenged. I want to set my classroom up so that children have learning spaces not desk spaces. This is going to take a while but thanks to my colleagues we are already started that process but writing a letter to parents asking for equipment such as bean bags etc to make our spaces wonderful and comfortable. Another presenter from EduTech said small steps. I have made a goal that I will gather resources and by the end of next year I hope to have my classroom environment set up and on my way.

I love this new and forward thinking and to top it off next week I am attending The Writing Book workshop with Louise Dempsey. This is going to be great because one year ago I went to the reading book workshop by Sheena Cameron and my reading programme blossomed. As soon as the writing book was released I grabbed it and started using it. Both programmes work beautifully with the daily five methodology. To be given three fantastic opportunities this term has blown me away. Now I need to put my head down and turn my classroom into a 21st century classroom where children get the skills they will need to gain the jobs we haven’t invented yet!!

Well as all good teachers I have been too busy to publish this to my blog so I thought I would add a little more before I do. Today we had our student closure day. It was super with Selina Woodward teaching us Google Earth in the morning (something else to learn and use in my classroom!). The afternoon was dedicated to the four who went to EduTech. We built the session on Creativity and Collaboration. The session I guide was about our own classrooms. I highlighted some quotes from EduTech that related to taking one step at a time. Then I gave each teacher a piece of paper and asked them to draw their ideal classroom. We talked about the principal from Margaret River Primary School and what he has done at his school to guide them into the future. Most teachers had a good go. At the end of the session I gathered the pieces of paper and highlighted the first change they were going to make. I will now display them in the staffroom so that we can all see our journey.

We have to think creatively with how we are going to do this. I want so much but unless I win the lotto all my changes cannot come quickly. Baby steps. Watch this space!

It’s good to be appreciated

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What a week! Term two is going soo quickly. This year is a big new challenge with taking on a different age group. It is a wonderful opportunity to extend my knowledge and widen my horizons. I have been working quite hard to set up my classroom so that everyone has an opportunity to learn. I have attended NEP meetings and working out how I can cater for the varing abilities in my class. This has taken me a good term and I can tell you right now that I don’t stop changing my programme to meet the changing needs of my kids. My programme changes on a regular basis. I have tried many communication strategies to keep in contact with parents. Last year I had all parents on email and they regularly came in. This year with a different group of parents I have one or two responding on email and I hope that the rest are reading my newsletters because I rarely see or hear from them. This interests me that teachers are not able to relax in their every day dealings with parents because it changes every year. We need to continue to use every avenue in the hope that parents are helping their child throughout the year. What made me smile like a Cheshire cat today was when one of my beautiful students came up to me with a pot of tulips and a box of chocolates. She said that her mum had heard on the radio that is was World Teacher Appreciation day today so she said I did a great job so here you go!!! I was lost for words.

Happy World Appreciation day to all you hard working teachers out there!! May your sleeps be peaceful and your days be busy but productive!!

Mining in South Australia

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p>We have been learning about our world this term. We have looked at the Layers of the Earth, rotation of the Earth, moon and sun, importants of water and lots of other Earthy information. I decided to look at what mines we have in South Australia. We use Atlas’ to find where they were. I had compiled a Notebook document about what each mineral mined looked like and what they were used for. We then discussed who is a stakeholder in mines but in particular Miners, farmers, State Government and Environmentalists. We then used our knowledge about expositions to discuss the opinion of each one. It was interesting the hear the children’s pros and cons for mining in South Australia. We have a few mining families within our class (including myself) and it was good to see people respecting each others views but also valuing them at the same time. We agreed that it is about balance. We concluded with an activity where the children received mining tools (tooth picks and serviettes) and then a piece of Earth (a double choc chip biscuit). The instructions were to mine the choc chips out doing minimal damage to the biscuit. It was a fantastic activity of persistence and determination. One child had a huge pile of chocolate where one child had no pile of chocolate (too good to resist) and lots of holes in a biscuit. We talked about how mining companies have to ensure the miners don’t take home the gold!  As an educator it is my job to teach children using a curriculum that is unbiased and encourages the children to ask questions and seek answers! I think this activity achieved this. They could see the sides of everyone and how our Earth is also important to care and look after. They also saw how Earth resources can and are used in our everyday life.

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