Saturday, October 13, 2012

Why I love teaching

During the last few days of the holiday, I was still reflecting on a busy Term 3, 2012 that’s gone by too quickly.

I realised that there were days that I felt totally worn out, as I had again put a lot of pressure on myself with thoughts/ideas on how I could assure that my students would stay interested in learning, with a desire to keep inquiring and thinking and exploring.  I had to ensure that my students would be getting the best individual learning experiences possible and willingly engage in learning by encouraging them to want to learn.
There were lots to celebrate, but a special and uplifting moment came when out of the blue; one of my 5 year old students came into class with a huge guitar case.  He walked up to me and said:  
“Ms van der Spuy, I brought you a flower.” He opened the guitar case and took out this one little flower!  This can be viewed here:

This gesture from a 5 year old is just one of the reasons why I love teaching!

As I am not very fond of paper work, I had to work on remembering to record and note down everything and anything to ensure I gather, interpret and collect enough evidence to support my OTJ from informal assessment opportunities and learning conversations.  Collecting this information was something that I have always had done by remembering what each student accomplished and needed help with.    

Tools that I started using were Evernote and the Voice Memo app on our iPods.  These were lifesavers and students started recording their learning on the iPods.  We then uploaded this evidence onto their individual eportfolios.

I felt proud of my efforts and the students were excited about their learning (illustrated by the following example):

During week 10, one of the students brought a dead morepork to show to the class. We had a discussion, making a KWL chart and thought about questions we would like to ask.  We reinforced why we asked questions and what a ‘rich’ question is.  Someone said; “How old is the morepork?” We discussed that this might be hard to answer and thought of how and if we could change the question to get an answer.  Then suddenly: “We can ask an expert.”  This was amazing and showed me they remembered about our Inquiry from Term 2, when there were differences in evidence collected.  This stemmed from our questions then used: “Do those two ideas agree?” and “How is that different from what was said?” Yay!!! I felt so proud!

At the end we decided to change the question to “How long does a morepork live for?”  Students suggested that they need to use search engines or search for answers on Google. J

They've managed to answer all the questions and we could celebrate the success of their learning as a class together.

This made me feel that I had real superpowers, which is why I love this poster, I came across on Pinterest.

My head's already buzzing with new ideas and I am looking forward to any challenges Term 4 might bring!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A new learning journey

Google Apps for Education New Zealand Summit was held on Auckland's North Shore on Tuesday,
9th October 2012, produced in partnership with the Ulearn12 Conference.

Unable to be there, though very exciting to follow the Twitter stream learning with an awesome PLN of edutweeters! 

Brain overload with new learning!

My Goal is to explore the following further:
* Great Google Doc Templates to use to liven up Docs:

* 20 things I learned about browsers and the web:

* Notes about Google maps sessions:

* How to successfully implement Google in your school:

* Moving From Neutral to Warp Speed with Google Drive:

* Google Hangouts:

* Google Lit Trips:

* for teaching based playlists already created & curated.
* The new IFTTT recipes to import Instagram into Google Drive (ex. Create recipes to tell you what you want it to do...e.g. if I tweet a link then put in my Evernote):
* Awesome Tutorials on how Teachers can Use Google Forms:

 I have also found this great article on 80 Ways to Use Google Forms in Your Classroom:, which I shared during #gafesummit.

So many new things to learn and explore, but it is clear that all teachers should know how to and use Google Docs.