Archive for the ‘school’ Category

Fighting off the cold

It’s been a busy week of training, school Christmas concerts and functions. On top of all this the school is suffering from a virus or something sweeping through the school – nothing too terrible mind you, but enough to make everyone cautious to go near anyone that is “infected” for too long.

Having said that, I have been fighting off a sore throat successfully up until now – but this last 24 hours I have noticed it getting worse. I’ve upped the echinacia and vitamin C that I am taking and will drink lots more water over the next day or so. To come down with the virus would be terrible for my training – it is going so well at the moment!

This is the last week of school before we break up for Christmas so it will be another busy one – not the best time to be ill either! But of course, if i do need to take time off I will. I will only fight up to a point.

This week’s planned KM: 29

This week’s total KM: 29

Total KM: 165

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Preparing for Christmas 4.0

I’ve had another busy and productive week. At school we’ve started getting right into the Christmas Concert rehearsals and at home I’ve been keeping up with all my training ending with a 14km run on Saturday.

This weekend at home we have got right into the whole Christmas thing by getting a Christmas tree. I have to say it’s one of the best Christmas trees I’ve seen – and real too. I’ll take some photos and upload them onto facebook soon.

It’s difficult to believe this will be my fourth Christmas here in the UK. We’ve made plans to have a proper family Christmas this year with my adopted family joining us here – so it’s going to be first Christmas involving children in years – crazy when I think that these days in Australia I have 5 nieces and nephews that were’nt around when I was last in Australia for Christmas!

This week’s planned KM: 32

This week’s actual KM: 32

Total KM: 136

One Extremely busy week down.

I have just had one of the busiest weeks of this year, yet it has also been extremely productive. It’s funny how in looking back, I managed to get everything done, still do all my training and still find down time throughout the week to have some ‘me’ time. Despite school trips, the usual staff meetings and marking schoolwork, catching up with my weekly tv fix, and running 29km this week, I still found myself spending numerous hours throughout the week preparing for a lesson observation on Tuesday and an interview that I had on Friday morning.

The interview marks a pivotal moment in my life here in the UK. Four years down, and with four years at my current school I decided it was time to consider promotions within other schools – and with lots of hard work and help from a number of people, I managed to get shortlisted and interviewed, and indeed was successful in getting the job! So in mid February I will say goodbye to my current school after four years and begin a new era in my UK life. It’s weird thinking that almost all my time living here in the UK has been at my current school, so understandably it will be an emotional time when I leave. But that aside – I will have amazing opportunities ahead of me when I take up the role of Phase Leader of KS1 and ICT Leader. Big responsibilities and a considerable payrise too.

But for now, my focus remains on my training and this week I clocked up 29km – which included a 13km run on Saturday morning. It’s one way to clear the mind – and in fact do lots of my thinking about what is going on around me.

This week’s planned KM:  29

This week’s actual KM: 29

Total KM: 104

Front Foot First

I’ve had a taste this week of what is to come. With a very busy week been and gone, and another busier week on the way, I’ve made it a point to make my running a priority around what is already my biggest priority – my job. So in running four runs throughout the week, squeezing them into my already hectic week is becoming somewhat easier since I have a 25 week training plan that to date, I am following to the letter.

I run a short recovery run on Monday, I cross-train on Tuesday doing anything of my choice that allows the legs maybe to rest a little, but still ensure a solid cardio workout. The last two weeks have seen this be a mixture of the cardio machines at the gym. On Wednesday I have my midweek, solid run that will progressively go from what was 6km this week, to eventually something like 13km. Thursday I find myself having another shorter recovery run and then my favourite – Friday – my day of rest. That rest is short lived though because on Saturday I have my main long training run for the week. This week was my down week (generally every third or fourth week) so it was just 8km, but next Saturday it will jump back up to 13km. Sunday is my 2nd rest day for the week – which is a nice change to what is usually a hectic week of bouncing between either work and the gym, or work and home in time for a run. But with shorter, darker and now colder days ahead – more running is at the gym at the moment, except for the long Saturday run where I have time to run when it is light in the morning (not being at work). There’ll be plenty more outdoor running though come February when the ice starts to disappear again.

This week’s planned KM:  24

This week’s actual KM:  24

Total KM:  75

ITI Journal #11: Vision for 21st Century Classroom

I don’t think I have ever actually put into writing my vision for the modern classroom. I am relieved to read that it is not something that ever is completed because it will continue to evolve – that’s good because just in the last year or so I can list a number of things that have become quite commonplace in my own classroom. For example – YouTube became valuable to me in the last year as I ventured out looking for different ways to get my points across to my class. And because it was through a medium the children could relate with, the children responded quite positively to it. Another example is wikis – I set a very basic one up just merely to be used as a base for me to put resources (such as the youtube videos) so that the students could access them at their own pace. I also created a webquest which I posted on the wiki as well.

Essentially, I like to reinforce one main point to my students: You don’t need to know all the answers, you just need to know how to find them.

Considering how technology is a means to process all this wealth of information put to society these days, it is important to me that children from the earliest age are taught problem solving skills and introduced to appropriate mechanisms for finding information they need, so that they can ultimately find solutions to their own problems – problems that are relative to their own lives and situations.

This by no means is complete. I feel the need to put a bit more time and thought into something so important, however it is the basis of anything I would develop further.

ITI Journal #9: Reflection of My Peer Coaching

I feel my own plan for peer coaching over the last 6 months was not put entirely into practice for a number of reasons, however to a certain extent it did still exist, if only at a smaller scale to what was anticipated. Understandably the main reason for this evolves around the situation of my school only just amalgamating this academic year, and I expect I’ll be able to do more with the project in the coming academic year when we return in September. I also feel that now taking on the role of ICT co-ordinator will also empower me to take a more active role in this area, rather than just be seen as a teacher who knows a lot about ICT – To a certain degree I can now be more active in this area without being concerned about stepping into someone elses domain.

With the thought of evaluating what I have already done with peer coaching in the last six months, my main concern is centered around whether I have done enough to properly be evaluated. No doubt, with a bit of creative genius in this area I will be able to come up with something. I haven’t really formally evaluated a project like this before beyond the thinking and discussing stages. To be writing something down will take it all to a new level. However, I look forward to the challenges ahead and the experience in general, as no doubt, it will be a very beneficial learning curve for me.

ITI Journal #8: Creating a WebQuest for My Classroom

I generally do not have a problem with integrating technology into my classroom, so I don’t expect that incorporating a WebQuest into my classroom will be a major problem.  The children in my class are used to me using different forms of technology with them, so I would also expect they are quite open to the idea of something new.

I haven’t reallty designed a complete “proper” webquest before, although I have designed a simple “fact finding” kind of sorts, in which the children responded very well to. Following the appropriate templates, I expect quite confidently I will be able to produce a good webquest.

ITI Journal #7: Problem and project based learning

There are many exciting avenues to be explored when considering problem and project based learning for the classroom. I cannot say that it is a regular occurrance in my own classroom, but what I can say is when I have facilitated this sort of learning experience with my students they have gained a lot out of it. It brings the students and the classroom to life, and work is produced that the students feel extremely proud about.

There are clearly some key factors that need to be considered before embarking on any learning activity such as this. Key to everything is preparation. And there is usually quite a bit of it if the activity is going to be of any success. If the teacher is not prepared completely, then children will be led up and along paths that may not have been paved yet, creating potential hazards such as children heading off-task or becoming bored and disinterested while waiting to find out what comes along next. I also believe that the experience needs to be planned to great detail to ensure that students are engaged right throughout, and not just “interested” in what they are doing. The expectations of the work they will produce, their audiences and the way they go about putting all these together needs to be carefully planned out to ensure that students can maximise the use of the time given to them. I’ve sensed it can be far too easy for expectations  not to be defined clearly enough and what follows is sub-standard work for students who have far more potential.

Ultimately I believe the more project based work students do throughout their schooling, the better they become at taking part in such activities, with follow-on effects in their ability to plan their own projects, research and produce work of their own in the future. 

ITI Journal #6: Online Resources

There is a plethora of resources available out there on the World Wide Web. The daunting task is distinguishing the fantastic from the futile. I’m always keen to check out new websites and resources that I come across on the Internet, and the emergence of Web 2.0 only feeds my excitement about the endless possibilities available to me as a teacher and on a broader level, as a professional. The important thing to remember is that we try and keep on top of whats new in terms of online resources on the Internet, and not become complacent with the “good enough” ones we already have.

It’s always interesting to have new websites referred to me by friends, family and colleagues and as such, I think I am fairly well placed in that regard. In return I like to think of myself as someone who is always happy to share resources I stumble across as well. Hopefully, for the purposes of this subject, I will be beginning to place a range of the online resources I have come across and/or often use on a page attached to this blog. That way, it is a simple matter of directing anyone who is interested to that page for reference.

ITI Journal #5: Personal Coaching Portfolio

The word ‘portfolio’ brings a vast number of images to mind. I’m thinking large black plastic folders containing drawings and artworks, and plastic sleeve folders containing A4 sheets of paper containing something or other of interest to someone. I don’t really have a particular idea of what my own “personal coaching portfolio” should be looking like. I try to picture how it can be used and this does help me a little.

Firstly I would want it to be adjustable. It’s not exactly something that will ever be ‘finished’ as such, so I need to be able to alter it at any given time. So with this in mind I think it needs to be digital in some way, and not in paper form.

Secondly, I want it to be accessible. I don’t want it locked into a hard drive or CD somewhere where it ultimately will metaphorically collect dust. If I am going to put my time and effort into putting such a portfolio together I would like to think that I, and indeed others, will be able to easily access it. This leads me to want to have it placed online, and linked to my blog here is an ideal example. This way I can access it at any time to add or edit its contents, and any interested persons can also have easy access to the information contained within it.

 Initially I expect the portfolio will contain mainly links to external websites or other resources I have played around with over time. Right now I can think of three sub-sections, namely: (a) content specific websites, (b) tools for the classroom, and (c) real-time examples, which I anticipate would be examples of how I have made use of some of the tools for the classroom (e.g. my class wikis, podcasting, presentations etc).

Until I can begin to see it form and mould as I enter different links and resources, I’m really not completely sure how the finished product will look. But in saying that, I’ve just answered my own query – there will be no ‘finished’ product as such, because it will continue to evolve as new resources and links become known to me. Ultimately it will be editing the whole thing that could be a bit of a nightmare.