Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Next week we are having a discussion about the use of wikis for learning and we would love to have some rich, real and relevant learning wiki links to explore - preferably at a primary school level. I have only just begun working with wikis, establishing one myself for our cluster, so it will be one step in front of the next! Will have to watch out for the potholes! Hmmm - falling in can be an adventure itself!

I have just become aware of the discussion area for each wiki page which is so awesome.
I am sure there are so many other exciting things to learn about wikis for learning. Vygotsky would be delighted. These Web 2.0 tools are "learning theories in action". What I have discovered already is that the pedagogy of learning alone should be enough to convince the most sceptical. The ease of using Web 2.0 tools and what they can do encourages all to get involved. I am beginning to feel like an evangelist and the excitement continues to grow!

Rethinking learning needs to be driven by a shared vision. This is where words and mind need to align and learning needs to have a strong presence.
We can't hold on to the old and the new. There simply isn't the room. We can all laspe into the same teaching we experienced unless we change our mental models, yet the world for our five year olds is so different to our own historical experiences. Many of us have the right words, can talk about the 21st century learning in a knowing even pasionate way. However it is our practice that counts. This is what the children feel, see, discern and accept (well, in their early years). It is our mental model that drives our practice, not our words. It is our concept/s that impact into learning in our classrooms. Where does 21st century learning really fit into our mind's model of teaching and learning? Did our practice today reflect the words we speak when we talk so enthusiastically about 21st century learners? Is there a digital divide?

When it comes down to it, the future is about "you". What did you do today to make it happen?

Rachel called in earlier (virtually) and shared how she facilitates blogging in her Nelson Central Yr 2/3 class. (See WHY BLOG? below) I did enjoy visiting her class blog and loved the Blogging Rules her class have created. She has also shared these links to her great little videos. Check them out. I am sure you will enjoy them too.... Great to create something like this for paren discussion.

Monday, May 28, 2007


How do busy classroom teachers get time to facilitate a class blog?

Our cluster is marvelling at the relevance and diversity of blogging for learning but not many have really begun this in earnest in their classrooms.

Rachel, Jody, Tom, Allanah et al - How do you manage it? What did you have to do to get started?

Nga Tii Roa Cluster members - What are the barriers?

I suspect most will say "Time" yet if this is a rich, real and relevant tool to motivate, engage and learn with, why hasn't it been given the time it deserves?

I would love to find out and perhaps help to get our class blogs off the ground and into the hands of our learners.

Recently on a visit to Te Awamutu, Gill Gibbs leant me her copy of Murray Deaker's autobiography, "The Man In The Glass". Not an avid listener of sport on the radio, I hadn't realised Murray was a teacher and his book had some interesting discussion aspects about behaviour in the classroom, the role of the teacher in and out of school as well as the sport he is so passionate about. It was an enjoyable read. What gripped me right from the start was the following poem, a poem I had shared with my son duirng his teenage years, sticking it to the mirror in his room. The poet is unknown.

The Man In The Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for the day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what THAT man has to say.

For it isn’t your father or mother or wife
Whose judgment upon you, you must pass.
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass

Some people may think you a straight shootin’ chum
And call you a wonderful guy
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest
For he’s with you clear up to the end
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the man in the glass is your friend

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of life
And get pats on your back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Just a quick flick before I head off. Several people have asked for Graphic organisers lately. Note the american spelling difference (Z) when searching. Graphic organisers need to be adaptable and people need to feel free to change them. e.g. PMI can become PMIIS etc. As we become familiar with how one works, reliance on them disappears, the organiser can disappear and use becomes automatic. Here are some handy links below.

Graphic Organisers Online.
- Some nice graphic organizers here. (Note spelling if you are searching)

Graphic Organizers
- A link also to Rubric info

Graphic organizers from ABC Teach.

More graphic organisers from Teachervision.com

Education Oasis

If you have a favourite site we'd love to hear about it.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Our cluster journey continues to explore the realm of blogging with a session at Paengaroa this afternoon.

Why blog?
What are the advantages? What are your concerns?
How does blogging cater for the diversity of the learners in our classrooms?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


WoW! Lianne's Habits of Mind Workshop yesterday rocked! Lianne whisked us away on an interactive journey into the Habits of Mind and had us sharing in the inquiry work she and her students had enjoyed. It was superbly pitched for those keen to introduce HoM into their classroom practice and into their learning inquiries. Don't they fit so well together! Rangiuru School put on a very warm welcome and added "Finding Humour" into the afternoon and into their exploration of "Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision".

http://www.habits-of-mind.net is a very supportive website. The list of quotes for each habit helped us in our tasks and of great interest as was the book lists found under Resource Development. I have used these lists in the past, as a buying guide for our school library. Each list includes titles in alphabetical order and a number corresponding to which habits of mind the book illustrates.

We would definitely be keen to hear how others are using HoM


No cost. Spread the word! Time4 Online Conference: Engaging Learners in an Online Environment


28 May - 8 June
You can go in and register now.

There is plenty in there to checkout even before the conference starts.

Plans for this online conference are fast shaping up and you are invited to an exciting time at the end of May and into June.

Sheryl Nussbaum Beach is providing the opening keynote to set the scene for how the online environment caters for collaborative learning both for her own professional life and for students in classrooms. She brings a powerful message and will demonstrate in her presentation just how useful and easy these tools are to use.

In the second week of the online conference, some innovative and confident students will be sharing their experiences with the online environment, and talking about how learning has been empowered for them through Web 2.0. Threaded amongst these keynotes will be a raft of interesting workshops on why and how to use the technologies in classrooms and for teacher professional learning, supported by easy to follow tutorials and examples of the creative use already occurring in classrooms through out NZ. For all of you who like to visit classrooms and schools to get ideas and stimulus for your teaching - these visits you can make from the comfort of your own computer, or in a social setting with friends and colleagues. More information will come to hand each week about the NZ teachers who will be sharing their knowledge and experience with you during the conference.

Make sure you have the dates May 28th to June 8th marked in your calendar. Make plans with colleagues to view material and discuss how the new learning can be applied in classrooms. Get ready to get excited about what the environment can do for your students in your classroom and all with very limited technology skill required. All welcome.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


This afternoon after school we had another successful cluster workshop where we created our own hotlists using Filamentality. What a great tool this is to link learning between home and school. Particpants marvelled at how easy it was and how useful for student learning, home partnership links and classroom management of ICT. Tools such as this aid inquiry and allow us to have students learning in small groups on inquiries based upon their interests. It assists 25 students to work in small groups exploring a range of various inquiries as opposed to all doing the same. We explored Hotlists and there are more options to find out about - scrapbooks sound interesting...

To access Filamentality go to: http://www.kn.att.com/wired/fil/
For the one I made on the Brain check out:

RSS Feeds

Do you know how these differ from a blogline? I don't. It is late and I have an early start in the morning. Will post this in and fingers crossed I can come back and decipher RSS feeds tomorrow night. By Lee and Sachi Lefevedr, this is supposed to be good. From http://www.commoncraft.com/rss_plain_english

Monday, May 14, 2007

ICT Infused Inquiry

A lot has been happening of late and I feel we are moving into a new zone. Coming to terms with Web 2.0 tools was one of our cluster goals this year and yep, I know that there are so many tools out there that we haven’t explored yet, but! We are getting into new territory and it is like landing in a new world.

Classroom blogs are progressing well and I take no responsibility for staff meetings that don’t want to stop. Isn’t it is great to leave before everyone else does or wants to!

ICT Infused Inquiry” kicked off with a great workshop last Friday with 15 of us combining our talents and sharing our thinking and practice. The day began with an Inquiry Trail and participants then shared their best or worst experiences with inquiry or technology. Definitions of Information Literacy were explored with key components being identified and new definitions formed by each group.

Information Literacy and Inquiry – Are they the same? How are they related? This provided some great discussion and with it, there seems no right answer. We would love more feedback on this.

What does a "rich inquiry" classroom look like, feel like and sound like?

Participants then used a rubric to reflect on their own classroom practice. And all this before lunch!!

After lunch a quick foraging activity provided an informative energizer before the hands-on computer activities. Short sharp research with key questions began investigations into inquiry models and Web 2.0 tools. We all learnt from the feedback sessions following these investigations. The cluster’s ICT Infused Wiki provided a good source of information and people are looking forward to collaborating through this, as well as the Moodle online environment. The benefit of the wiki is that it will still be there after the course is completed and can be continually added to etc. Feedback showed this to be a valuable day for everyone who attended.

ICT Infused Inquiry” aims to integrate Web 2.0 tools with Inquiries at a primary level. We initiated this online paper to serve the needs of our cluster and suggested ICT Infused Inquiry as a special topic towards the Graduate Diploma in IT in Education. Our small beginnings have grown and there is a keen interest by other clusters to be involved. We have decided to trial it with our smallish group this year and already it looks like Wintec will be offering it as a regular paper from next year onwards. We have a small but very special and powerful learning team. Gail and Vicki from National Library are there as advisors. Jan Marie and a group from the Coromandel cluster are learning alongside us. Pauline, a new cluster facilitator from the Waikato also asked to be involved and we are delighted to have so many people willing to share their own special talents and experiences to benefit us all.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Most of us will have checked out a myriad of videos available at www.youtube.com but have you visited www.teachertube.com ? They can take a while to download but certainly worth a regular check in to see what's new.


Our Cluster Journey Together Into New Horizons.