Primary Glowing

24 01 2010

Here are a few things which are going on in different primary schools in SLC with glow. (I’ll come back to secondaries.) It might give someone an idea for themselves:

• P.4 teacher using the VLE with her primary 4 class for Vikings topic. They are doing their homework on it. Any kids who do not have access at home have a chance one lunchtime a week where she goes in the ICT suite with them so they can do it then.

• P.7 teacher using the VLE with her primary 7 class for their Living in a Democracy topic. They are using it to do their topic tasks when they come to the ICT suite all together.

• P.1 using Glow for lots of different things. Many pages in the group. Pupils using the discussion pages to write about what they learned/ liked about Chinese New Year. They have done Glow Chat within the group. Some pupils have parents helping them, some have done it themselves.

• P.4-7 teacher using it for 2 main purposes with her class. She has a language page where there are tasks and discussion web parts for each reading group. They do weekly comprehension/discussion of their respective reading groups in these discussion boards instead of in their jotter. They also use the Learnewsdesk and another discussion board to do weekly news items. Either the pupils find a piece of news they are interested in and write about it in discussion board or teacher can pick the news piece and set reading for information questions on it. She also has a page for her tropical rainforest with all sorts of different information on it for pupils so they can complete research etc. This is a small school, no ICT suite and so three computers in the classroom so they can be scheduled on the computer for their language tasks during language time so each group at least gets once a week.

• P.7 teacher has a good WW2 group with lots of discussion questions for pupils. Different discussion web parts for different elements ie rationing, evacuation etc and they have questions set in these which they have to find out the answers to and put in the discussion board.

• In a different authority I am helping someone to run a pilot project within her school for 10 P.2 pupils in her class and their parents. She is running an after-school club for these 10 kids each week for 10 weeks. She then puts up a document for parents explaining what they have doing that week so that parents can help them follow it up at home. There are some lovely discussions on the literacy page about what their favourite book is and why. We have set up a multiple choice survey for this week using a news article from the Learnewsdesk on Haiti. I will be helping her to set up surveys as an evaluation at the end.

I love the Learnewsdesk and always show that first along with the discussion boards as a way to use Glow for learning and teaching. It is something which practically guarantees enthusiasm from teachers and as described above with the P.4-7 teacher I am encouraging and helping lots of teachers to set this up as a starting point, particularly in small schools.

That’s only a snapshot of a few that I have seen/helped with recently!

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Looking back and looking forward

3 01 2010

I always find August more of a new start and I tend to think then about what I want to achieve in that school session but after reading some very inspiring blog posts from Ollie Bray,  Alan Hamilton and Tom Barrett it got me thinking about the previous year and what I would like to do in 2010.

Professional achievements

  • I have really had the chance this year to develop my skills and confidence in presenting to others whether it be with Glow, literacy, international education, co-operative learning or assessment is for learning.  This has varied from small to large groups of various professionals, although mostly class teachers, in twilight and full day courses both by myself and working with others in the team.  It has also included one or two instances where due to technical failures etc things have not gone to plan and this is when I have had to learn to work under pressure and difficult circumstances.  That is not a good experience at the time but a good learning curve.
  • One of the most valuable learning and teaching CPD courses that I attended was the 4 day academy training run by North Lanarkshire Council.  It was exceptionally well run and will be invaluable in the classroom.  I have already piloted various lessons and activities using these strategies in classes so that it remains familiar.
  • Although it has meant a lot more travelling because I have moved areas that I working with for Glow I have now had the chance to work with about 50-55 schools during the year.  It is great to just get the chance to go around different schools and see what they are doing, not just in relation to Glow and to meet different staff.
  • I spent quite a lot of time the second half of last session working in secondaries with literacy, international education and Glow.  Particularly with the literacy work that I was doing I was able to get a real taste of what teaching was like in a secondary since I spent time shadowing teachers and piloting a series of lessons myself with an S1 class.
  • I have completed 5 of the 6 modules I have to do to gain my postgraduate certificate in managment and leadership in education, although 2 of the assignments for these are for the end of January. 
  • I returned to Malawi for a third time in the summer to complete more work with the staff and pupils of Gwengwe Primary.  This was difficult but extremely rewarding and I am very glad I returned.  My school set up an official link through the charity LINK Community Development but because I have not been in school this has been difficult to implement thoroughly.
  • I have developed my IT/web skills further with front page, twitter, prezi, wikis, media sharing, video streaming etc.

 That is as much as I can remember/get from my blog just now as I do not have my CPD records etc on me.  If I did look at them I would end up writing far too much!  It does not look like a lot of work for a year but so much is repeated many times at courses/in-sets etc and so much time is spent preparing.  This was also about looking at new things I had done or developed not the everyday run of the mill stuff.  These things have also had a major impact professionally and personally.

Personal achievements

I wrote on my running blog that 2009 had been a disaster and in terms of running, and especially compared to 2008, it certainly was but I still managed a few more things than a lot of people probably.  The problem is your view of what you have accomplished becomes very tarnished when you mostly hang out with ultra runners!  But I did complete:

  • My first two triathlons
  • My 8th marathon
  • My first ultra marathon (53 mile Highland Fling from Milngavie to Tyndrum on the WHW)
  • Summiting Mount Kiliminjaro

To me because there were no pb’s all year and I was not happy with my efforts in any of the above events except Kiliminjaro it feels a bit of a disaster.  Then having to miss two further ultramarathons due to injury and now not having run for 13 weeks due to supposed plantar fasciitis it feels I am carrying this on into 2010.

In achieving the above goals I did raise £2,200 for the teacher’s house I want to have built in Gwengwe village in Malawi, with a lot of help from the SLC Advisory Service and and my dad in conjunction with Glasgow City Council Finance Department so there was another benefit to come out of the hard work last year.

To 2010

In terms of work I feel very much in limbo just now as I am due to finish my secondment this session and go back to school in August.  This is a little more complicated than it should be and I will come back to that at another time.  Not related to my specific post within education there are other things I want to achieve:

  • Finish my postgraduate certificate in leadership and management in education and begin the diploma
  • Build up the use of my blog, Glow and especially twitter in engaging with others educationally and hopefully attend the Perth teachmeet.
  • Extend my reading, inlcuding but not exculsively within education.  I love reading and have several bookcases full of books but most of the time I feel too tired to read/concentrate on my many non-fiction books and end up just flying through girlie trash!
  • In relation to running etc as always I want to lose weight,  I would also like another active holiday this year but cannot make plans just yet.  I need to get back to running but that is totally dependant on this injury and so in the meantime the goal is to keep building fitness and endurance in the gym and continuing to work on my weight training which I am loving.  My only set goal until I know my injury is gone is to do the Caley Challenge in June but I hope there will be a marathon and a couple of ultras in the second half of the year.
  • I feel very strongly about doing something but I am not sure what in terms of volunteering/fundraising/giving something back/helping others basically.  I raised money for the teacher’s house in 2009 and I need to see that through plus we have the official link with Gwengwe Primary which I must do more with but I feel really strongly that I need to do more.  I do not just want this to be about fund raising though.  I have been to Malawi the last three summers to work and develop education in a school out there and this will continue with the link but I won’t be back this summer.  I would rather be helping out/doing something for kids in third world countries as they are the ones, rightly or wrongly, that I feel most injustice and anger about but other than just raising money I am not sure what to do.  And South East Asia, particularly Cambodia is always in my mind after a trip to that region in 2006.  I really don’t want to get to the same time next year and realise that I have not done anything about this and so was hoping by writing it on here it would encourage me to do something!  I began by being quite inspired today by an article in the Sunday Herald by Bob Holman (different article, could not find today’s online),  and have kept the article about modest/moral living, which I may blog about more later.

That last point seems a bit woolly and I guess it is, I will have to actively work on this.  Any ideas welcome!