Monday, 12 December 2005

Plagiarising Richard - Bruce Hammonds

I hope you don't mind Richard but I borrowed your notes from your site
(they were so much more refined than the original ones you sent me)
I have been a bit under the weather of late, working at a snail's pace and finding it really hard to keep up with stuff. And this was important stuff so felt it needed to be on BardWired.
So: "Don't ask for permission, Ask for forgiveness!"
Thanks Richard @ Toko School

In the morning the Management team and anyone else that was able to get there listened to and talked with Bruce Hammonds. An excellent mornings discussion. Big messages for me were:
We are not curriculum delivery boys and girls... we make the icecream! IN other words we design the curriculum for the kids we have. We are best placed to do this and distant unmanagable curriculums from Wellington are not part the answer.
We are the curriculum experts! The untapped wisdom is ours!!!
We need depth not coverage! Fewer things well...
Realistic meaningful units are memorable for children.
IEP's for everyone...... personalised learning is the future for learning. Just a bit scared of this one....
Portfolios are shot, (always were) Children's exercise books, valued an cared for are the best samples of children work.
SO we have to look after them and not let them disappear!!!! Even staple two together to get a feel over time. Kids will value their books.
Children need to be taught shown modeled layout and design. They don't learn it through osmosis. Design is an essential skill.
Handwriting and book layout and care and attention and measuring, and planning , are vital skills and we need to be more tenacious with our children's exercise books. They are the standard we expect. They reflect our teaching.
Developing relationships is key to success. Collegiality not necessarily congeniality. A school with new ideas and direction and belief wont always be a smooth path.
Literacy numeracy and learnacy... do they still want to learn! LEARNACY what a good word. Do our children still want to learn... If they don't they will certainly fail.
The very word teacher implies a series of promises to children. What do we promise?

Questions to think about.
What is working well at our school?
What is not working well?
What do we need to do?

Just to add to this some recommended reading:
Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
The Tipping Point - ditto
Re-imagine - Tom Peters
In the Early World - Elwyn S. Richardson
Simplicity - Edward de Bono
Developing Teacher Leaders: how teacher leadership enhances school success - Frank Crowther

Monday, 5 December 2005


Not a lot of in-school time left - quite a few days coming up here @ SPS. Nothing formally organised (who would at this time of year..) But just getting around the classrooms catching up on where everybody is up to. Teachers are requesting my time to help them with the nitty-gritty 'How To' stuff. From how do you log on to the classroom computer (i kid u not!) to how do you use this Panoramic software - wahoo.

Spent some time with Fiona this morning. She organised her time with me in the classroom really well so she could have the opportunity to pick my brains and still run a class at the same time! (5 year olds on independent Activity rotations) I wish more teachers would organise my time with them so well. It was a bit tricky trying to set her up on a classroom computer that is not networked and which the CD drive doesn't work & running Win98 - YUK. So we couldn't introduce anything new - luckily Kid Pix is already installed on this computer so that will be a big focus for this class of 5 year olds. Hopefully there will be some changes in 2006 to access to quality gear & the network to bring it in line with the other classrooms.

Worked with Lynn - reviewing her FrontPage skills so she can make some changes to the school Intranet. The existing content needs a overhaul to make it more relevant and useful. We are not really making any structural changes but stripping & replacing content. So all Lynn needs to know is how to make hyperlinks and to use the Microsoft tools that are common on all those programmes - oh yes not to forget file management (no. 1 webmaster skill)

The rest of my time today exploring new software. The new networked printers have scanning capabilities so they are being used quite extensively & scanned documents saved to file. A lot of the time though they are not very useful just as a picture file. So you need some OCR software (Optical Character Recognition) to convert scanned documents to word files. You can download free software called SimpleOCR It lives up to it's name & looks really easy to use - you can register & pay a few bucks for it to convert handwriting to text also.

The other software i played around with today was Panorama Composer from Firm Tools. It is only a 15 day trial but fully functional & again so easy to use. Sherrilyn wants to use it to get a panoramic shot of her kids celebrating as part of their Christmas production presentation. My brief from Sherrilyn was to investigate the software that could do this for her & then give her a 5min PD session with it :-) Teachers are too busy to do a lot of this stuff - when it comes to exploring new software, trialling & problem solving. They know what they want to do they just want someone to give them the right tool & show them how to do it. So i can do that - it's my job :-) Here are the results of my trial. A 360 degree view inside my office. It is a downloadable exe file - let me know if you can get it to run - i promise it is safe - no hidden viruses ;-)

Sunday, 4 December 2005

Take a Chill Pill Miss!

Yes! I have had students say this to me - what a leveller! (When i was a classroom teacher that is - nothing phases me now... ;-) A change in the air around many of our schools as teachers are beginning to feel the load lighten & see the light at the end of the tunnel - summer holidays beckoning. If you are still feeling a little stressed then have a laugh at this. Thanks Richard@Matau for sending this one in. (I know none of our school communities rate an answerphone system like this one - or do they?)

"This is the message that the Pacific Palisades High School (California) Staff voted unanimously to record on their school telephone answering machine. This came about because they implemented a policy requiring students and parents to be responsible for their children's absences and missing homework. The school and teachers are being sued by parents who want their children's failing grades changed to passing grades even though those children were absent 15-30 times during the semester and did not complete enough school work to pass their classes.
This is the actual answering machine message for the school:

"Hello! You have reached the automated answering service of your school. In order to assist you in connecting the right staff member, please listen to all your options before making selection:

"To lie about why your child is absent - Press 1

"To make excuses for why your child did not do his work- Press 2

"To complain about what we do - Press 3

"To swear at staff members - Press 4

"To ask why you didn't get information that was already enclosed in your newsletterand several flyers mailed to you - Press 5

"If you want us to raise your child - Press 6

"If you want to reach out and touch, slap or hit someone - Press 7

"To request another teacher for the third time this year-Press 8

"To complain about bus transportation - Press 9

"To complain about school lunches - Press 0

"If you realize this is the real world and your child must beaccountable and responsible for his/her own behavior, class work, homework, and that it's not the teachers' fault for your child's lack of effort: Hang up and have a nice day!"

Friday, 2 December 2005

Digital Blue

Have a look at some of this stuff at Digital Blue - so cool! This little microscope is probably nothing on a proscope - only goes up to 200x magnification. But you can still get a really good look at a dead fly, the inside of a flower, do a time lapse on your lunch rotting, a chrysalis opening. Wow the possibilities are endless - you can hook it up to your computer to capture and work with your images.
Sitech Systems are NZ distributors. I went to a demo they put on the other day and saw a range of Digital Blue gear. To be honest i wondered why you would by a little 16mb Movie Camera - but when i saw it in action with the software onboard - i would definately pick up one of these just for claymation/animation work. The music mixer 'thingy' was pretty cool too - it is something that we don't do a lot of in our schools generally (except for Marco & Matau) Yet when our Taranaki kids go away to Wellington - what is the highlight? Capital E & in particular making music! It would be great to get one of each of these to try out amongst our schools. Approx $160 each - its peanuts!