Last week I tried my hand at some time lapse photography in my classroom. I did a little research (thanks to the sister of a colleague who attended Learning@School this year) and discovered some Mac software called gawker which runs on your computer taking photographs at whatever interval you specify. I showed my students how it worked then set my laptop up to run during 3 different blocks of time during the day: literacy time; maths time & lunch time (which was very interesting to watch). I’d like to get a whole day but that would mean a little more thought as I’d need to reposition things for power supply etc.
So here we go – a glimpse of Room 9 on St Paddy’s Day.
Teachers are notorious for spending their weekends doing “school stuff”. I’m working on spending less time at school on the weekend but sometimes I just can’t avoid it – especially if I have display work to do that involves ladders.
I am not an artist – at least I’m not a graphic artist (although I am a musician!). Sometimes as a teacher it’s hard to inspire your students in an area you are personally weak in – like art for me. How is it then that we are currently completing our 3rd major piece of art in 7 weeks? (Given my reputation for lack of art work – in previous years I’ve used the excellent art ability of my CRT teacher to produce art work!)
The answer is a session I attended at Ulearn09 presented by my friend Rachel Boyd. I really attended it in order to pick up some information to share back with our junior teachers but I’ve ended up using the ideas for my classroom. Her session was called “Juniors can do IT” – and if you get a chance to attend one of her workshops you must because it really should be STUDENTS can do IT (and teachers for that matter). I’ve embedded one version of her slideshow below:
The second piece of art was a kind of blue screening effect (slide #22) where the students sketched a picture with them in it; then a buddy took a photo of them in the correct pose for the picture; printed the picture and cut themselves out; drew the background and stuck themselves into the picture. Here’s our results:
The third piece (and not all finished) was a take on Andy Warhol style pop art (slide #23). We did two versions – using 4 colours for each set of 4 pictures. Instead of paint or dye we used pastels or coloured pencils for our pictures. Some of the colour choices were quite inspired.
Do you know anything about Fire Poi and how to use them?
If you want to know come ask my class because they know!
My daughter Emma has visited my class to show them how to do poi and they were excited to hear that she has now bought fire poi. Unfortunately they are not something she can bring to school and demonstrate for several reasons – one being her university schedule and the other being that the best effect is at night time. So how is it that my class knows all about them?
I took photos of her preparation of the poi and her in action (and some video). Then I opened up a mimio notebook and started to put together a picture story.
I put one photo per page and included one of the videos towards the end.
Then in the morning during literacy time I threw this up on the screen for the class to see. As we viewed each page the students talked about what the picture showed and I wrote the steps on the page.
Once we had gone through all the pages I went back to the equipment page and the students went off to write their own versions.
While I think that some of the students would have written quite an adequate report if they’d just heard about fire poi, it was obvious that being able to show the graphics in this format and being able to brainstorm class answers helped all the students to come up with their own versions. Most students added in information that we hadn’t explicitly talked about. One boy even added a touch of humour to his instructions – his last instruction said “when the poi have cooled down put them on the deck and give your arms a rest” a clear reflection on comments made while watching the video. Other students used words like ‘flammable’ and ‘fuel’ which clearly showed they’d grasped some important facts and figured out the technical words to use.
While I could have shown the photos using iPhoto and the video using VLC it was a lot easier to do it with them embedded into a single mimio notebook.
One of the huge benefits of eLearning is providing authentic contexts for students to work in.
This year, for the first time, I have students clamoring to share their mihi with others. Sometimes the Te Reo we learn becomes a rote kind of thing, especially if we’re not visiting a marae any time soon. This means that learning their mihi becomes just another thing to do.
So why the difference this year?
I had spoken with my friend Myles @ Melville Intermediate, Hamilton via Twitter and arranged to skype with a class at his school to share our mihi. Another friend, Claire, from a school in Dunedin got in on the act too. (We skype with them this week.) Suddenly there was an authentic reason to learn their mihi.
We used our school’s learning journey as the basis of our mihi and did lots of practise. My Maori students also were able to find out which iwi they belonged to with one discovering that she was a descendant of Te Rauparaha and then discovering that she and another student shared a connection with the Tainui waka. That was very exciting especially as we live in the area that Te Rauparaha lived. (Our mihi relates to Kapiti Island which was Te Rauparaha’s tribal stronghold.)
As our skype appointment drew close I asked for volunteers to share their mihi with the Hamilton class. Nearly 1/2 the students wanted to share so I had to divide them into two groups one for sharing with each school. Our skype session was fantastic and all those who shared are very proud of themselves.
We finished with a waiata – Ka Mate – appropriately written by Te Rauparaha! I used my RearSight gadget to quickly change the webcam view from front to back so the whole class could be seen while they sang/danced the waiata.
We hope to skype with St Clair’s School in Dunedin this week and all those who shared last week want to share again along with those scheduled to share.
One side effect that I’ve noticed is that the students pronunciation has improved rapidly over the last couple of weeks – knowing you have an audience that’s not just your class really raises the standard for students (and teachers).