Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Setting up blog Pages

I have helped a few teachers over the last few weeks to set up blogs through blogger.com
Blogger has the ability to add pages so you can jazz up your blog by adding some interactive games for your students.
Some of the ones I have been showing teachers are Embed Sudoku

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And another favourite of mine is uploading your photos to jigzone.com and making jigsaws out of them.

To add pages in Blogger, go to Design if you are on your blog and then to Pages (which is down the side) or if you are in your Dashboard go to Pages
  • click on New Page - Blank Page
  • Name your page
  • click on the HTML button and paste in the code of your chose game (Sudoku or Jigsaw) and click Publish
  • where is says 'Show Page as', choose Top Tabs, Save Arrangement and then go look at your blog.
To upload a photo to Jigzone, create an account if you don't already have one, click on New to Jigzone, click here 
To add a Photo
  • go to jigzone.com scroll down and click on Your Jigzone area at the bottom of the page
  • click on Add a Photo
  • click on Choose File
  • click Open
  • click Upload
  • then click on Embed/Link
  • change the Default Puzzle cut depending on what your students are capable of
  • scroll right down to the bottom of the page and copy the code above the last Jigsaw image
  • Paste on to your page once you have clicked the HTML button
Have a look at the tabs at the top of this blog, I have added the Pages 'Sudoku' and 'Jigsaws' as examples.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Making Spaces

I have been working with a lot of teachers in setting up their rooms to make spaces and a more mobile environment. This involves bringing furniture such as cupboards and tables away from the walls and using it to make spaces within the room. I liked Stephen Heppell's idea about writeable surfaces and I have been encouraging teachers to paint whiteboard or blackboard paint over backs of cupboards and on top of old tables so that they can be used as surfaces for children to write on. Julie has started with this idea and the kids love using the whiteboard. Eventually they will use it for several purposes
  • mindmapping
  • publishing of work (take a photo when it is done)
  • graffiti wall (words only i.e examples of compound words or homonyms)
  • graffiti art wall (drawings only i.e. We are studying Communication, add a drawing that has something to do with communication and be able to explain what it has to do with communication when asked)
  • maths races (who is the fastest multiplier etc)
  • mural on our topic
  • practise my spelling words
  • do my maths working out
  • messages
It is only limited by your own and your student's imaginations.

To add whiteboard paint or blackboard paint to a surface, there does need to be some preparation. Julie's caretaker, sanded it, then added 2 coats of primer. Julie painted it with one coat of pale blue paint and then two coats of whiteboard paint.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Starting the School Year

I was thinking about how I could best start an e-Learning class at the beginning of the year. I want my students to become independent learners as soon as possible so the best way to introduce them to this is the 'Orientation Contract'
This would include
  • the 'Getting to know me' form
    • great way of finding out how your students like to learn
    • find some things out about them that you don't know
  • the Wonder Wall
    • get them thinking existentially
    • great starters for discussion and independent investigations 
  • Tasks in the spaces with small independent investigation
    • individual, peer and group tasks
  • Management Chart
    • students start to manage their time and track their learning
  • Digital citizenship tasks
    • ongoing tasks for the year
  • Device care contract
    • how to look after equipment
  • Setting up of books standards
    • ensure that high expectations are set for book work i.e use of rulers etc
  • Getting to know apps and trouble shooting
  • How to work in a work station
    • how to mirror
    • how to turn on TVs/Projectors/Apple TVs, troubleshooting
  • Using class wiki and resources
There are a lot of tasks here, but what you can do is start off with a small number of them and once completed they would open up more tasks.
If you make your wiki or site the place to go to get the tasks then students will get used to the wiki.