About Thinks

Sometimes good thinks happen and sometimes bad thinks happen. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two.

Some thinks need immediate action and some thinks may remain as thinks forever. Thinks can be angry and heated. Thinks can be joyful. Thinks should never be cold.

These thinks are linked to many other wonderful thinks and I like to attribute these.

These thinks do not necessary reflect those thinks of my employer.

Think long, think on.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Inquiry/Enquiry TO WITH and BY

I've been contemplating the world of inquiry-based learning...

Owing to a busy schedule this term our 'learning pathway' programme is taking a bit of a back seat so I have been trying to squeeze as much in as I can, where I can.

Having been inspired by the notion of using envirethical themes within school programmes
my classes 'question' this term is Where is it From?

Here the kids get to investigate their favourite thing and find out about its origins (where is it made? who makes it? what are the working conditions like?)

In one of those spontaneous brain-waves (you know, the ones you have in a split second and the 'plan' for the day flies away) I decided one afternoon to 'model' the process using chocolate as an example.

I chucked a few questions onto the board and the kids googled away for 10-15 mins to come up with more information.

What are the ingredients of chocolate?
Where in the world are cocoa beans found?
What does child labour mean?

Interestingly these questions generated some interesting questions and statements from the kids:

Where is the ivory coast? Where is Ghana? (woop, spontaneous meaningful geography lesson)
Cocoa beans look like Coconuts, Miss! (Using prior understandings)

We then watched the Bitter-sweet BBC doco

And more questions came:
Why are they making those kids make chocolate for the world? (Critical Thinking)

Could they come to NZ and make us do it?

(I reassured them that we have laws in NZ to protect children and workers) Then one of them brought up Warner Brothers, but that's a different story. Needless to say, that was a lot of learning packed into 45 mins.

Some of them are now going to continue our chocolate study as their inquiry and I have noticed that the other individual research projects are benefiting from having gone through this process.

Normally we have talked about research methods, key words etc and then I have sent them on their merry way where I then 'react' to their questions and problems.

According to Harry Hood, a good literacy programme should have a balance of TO, WITH, and BY. In the early years there is a larger focus on TO and WITH and as the years go by it lies more heavily on WITH and BY. So why are we not doing this with inquiry-based learning? Or will this turn it back into 'topic'?

Watching The BBC Documentary

Friday, October 15, 2010

Edmodo - Speed Teaching?

So i have brought Edmodo into my class. Turns out it is a fast-paced teaching tool.

The kids embraced this social networking tool with both hands, staying up all hours of the night posting hilarious youtube videos and shooting the breeze.

I'm trying to embrace this enthusiasm into something more meaningful so i tried to digitise the good old theatre-sports game - word at a time (but it was more like phrase at a time).

The result was quite remarkable. Everytime a kid wrote a sentence we were able to comment (out loud) "That doesnt make sense, you need punctuation, what does that mean? How does that relate? etc etc ).

Feedback was fast
Feedback was instant
It was exhausting. We were having fun - but it was condensed.

Where are we headed?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ulearn Thanks

Wow thanks uLearn!

This has been a beautiful adventure that I hope will never end.

On completion of my presentation I did not feel a feeling of relief or that it was 'over'. It's only just begun.

Sharing the ideas with the eFellows, I have discovered that although our research may appear to be vastly diverse we are all on the same path.

My kids could be the luckiest kids in the country (we all say that though don't we).

But they are about to embark on a journey where their horizons will be expanded via skype (Thank you Florence), they will see new class news shows where Te Reo is sustained (Thank you Puti). They will be aware that 4 year olds have the patience and discipline to do animation (Thank you Margaret). Their maths programme will be more meaningful and less wordy while at the same time communicating with them through social networking out side of 'learning hours' (Thank you Joel). And they will have a raised sense of social responsibility and awareness and will start to have conversations in relation to their purchasing choices(Thank you Nathan).

They will also continue to reflect on their presentation and group behaviour skills as well as collaborating with a bunch of other kids from all over the world.

So I am a buzzing mess but at the same time at ease. I have achieved a true love for my work.

Thank you Michael, Thank you Vince, Thank you Naketa, Thank you CORE