Thursday, 22 November 2007

A Notable Week.

This is a big week at school. One of the cross-curricular programmes I started eight years ago is called Night Of The Notables. It is now run right across the Year 9 programme and 250 kids are presenting this week over two nights. My class were presenting on Tuesday night and they did a fabulous job. It was 37c on the day but thankfully by the evening when it all happens it was cooler - and it isn't even summer yet here in Australia. The range of choices made and the stands done were really impressive. What astounds me each year is how much improvement there is in the standard of work done.The fact it is now an expected part of the year has something to do with the success of the week. It is also about choice as the students select their own notable based on a criteria of actually having done something to benefit the world.They have a range of tasks to complete for three different subjects. It is the most powerful moment to see a student who has been struggling to be engaged all year be galvanised by the ownership of their work and a really positive way to finish the year. For the stronger students it is a chance to really shine and the incidental learning from seeing how others approach the task is huge. Anyway, in the midst of drowning in exam marking, correction and reports, this is a shining moment that reminds me of why I am still doing this job. I cannot recommend the programme highly enough. This link is to the promotional movie made by our IT Co-ordinator for the school tv station and for the introduction of students to the programme . It takes about twenty minutes , but it really captures the evening and the excitement of the planning process. I hope people will watch and give me some feedback. I am so proud of this and the wonderful movie.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Kim Corfino says it so well

Just because this presentation says so much so well, I want to thank Kim Corfino for her great work. This presentation is one she prepared for the teaching It! conference in Singapore 2007 and appears on the Developing The Global Student Wiki Take the time to look and absorb her message if you haven't already seen this .

Sunday, 11 November 2007

And then it all happens at once..

Perhaps I should rename this a blog about gardening and education as so many entries are about my garden and how it occupies so much of my time and thought.I live on the top of Mount Dandenong in a very special environment that is semi rainforest with (generally )high rainfall and extreme fire danger in summer, so keeping the growth under control becomes critical at this time of the year as well as trying to remove huge infestations of weed species- holly, ivy,sycamore etc that have taken over this landscape. We have lyrebirds, wallabies and wombats on the block and are at the head of a stream that becomes a creek. Four acres of ex-rhododendron/camellia/ foliage plant nursery that has grown flat out for twenty years untended! So I spend autumn ,winter and spring trying to clear and replant and summer worrying about bushfires and drought.
Well I have finished my burning off before the fire bans - essential to clear the amount of weeds and planted some fruit trees and reclaimed the forest floor for the lyrebirds of another quarter acre. It is slow work but things are slowly becoming more established and this year has been an absolute joy with the most amazing display from plants that were nearly dead when we arrived here.There is finally starting to be a sense of real achievement after so much backbreaking work as it is all on a hillside.I have been racing home from work to do some gardening as it is now daylight saving and then on the computer when it is dark.Busy busy but sooo beautiful...
Ok enough gardening chat! I have to thank Jo Mcleay who is such an inspiration to me for the amount she does and the breadth of her knowledge, for the lovely review she gave me on her blog. She is so generous in her spreading of the links of new bloggers and a real connector in every sense of the word Thanks Jo !!
As well as Jo's great blog , the most amazing post for me as a newby lately has been the one by Vicki Davis where she describes her most useful blog tools . It is such a comprehensive list and I shall be working through it with care as I am gradually understanding how to make use of these tools. The Victorian Knowledge bank conference (see my previous post) was quite a success and it is all online and used Elluminate very successfully. Great for Australian teachers/bloggers to have a look at the recordings- some very timely resources there.
In class ,thanks to the persistence of a very talented colleague of mine - Debbie-we have started literature circles across six year 8 classes and as we move into second and third sessions it is fantastic to watch the levels of participation and engagement among students of all ability levels.This all relates to the Leading Schools project and our new building starts being construted soon.Year 9s are making their poetry anthologies and getting ready for the big Night Of The Notables on the 20th. First they killed my father is really engaging my boys year 10 class and we are doing reflective diary writing as assessment -next year I hope this will be blogging when we have an economical option to use, but this is definitely a great success. Exams for seniors and report writing, WRAP training and then I might fall over the line to get to Xmas!Next year is looking interesting as I might finally get to use my qualification in Horticulture as a teaching subject in a year 10 small business unit- I'll get to wear overalls at school yay!!!
So that plus a Masters in IT Education sounds like a busy year- and a daughter doing Year 12!